Tuesday, June 30, 2020

spectacle island

3/4 oz Unaged Rhum Agricole (Rhum Clement Premiere Canne)
3/4 oz Aged Domestic Rum such as Thomas Tew (Thomas Tew)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse

Build in a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with mint sprigs, freshly grated nutmeg, and an ignited spent lime shell containing overproof rum (El Dorado 151).

Two Tuesdays ago, I wanted to make a recipe from my new purchase of Chloe Frechette's Easy Tiki book, and I stopped my page turning when I came across the Spectacle Island. The recipe was crafted by Chantal Tseng of Washington DC's Petworth Citizen & Reading Room where Chantal and the staff are known for creating literary-inspired drink menus. This one besides being named for a Boston Harbor landmark was from a line in Neal Stephenson's 1988 novel Zodiac. The combination of rum, pineapple, Madeira, and Chartreuse reminded me of the Reverend Mather so I was game.
The Spectacle Island circled the nose with mint and nutmeg aromas. Next, grape, lime, and pineapple notes sailed into a swallow featuring grassy rum funk melding into Chartreuse's herbal flavors.

Monday, June 29, 2020


2 oz Bourbon (Four Roses Yellow Label)
1 bsp Honey Syrup (1/4 oz 1:1)
3 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Absinthe (1/2 bsp Butterfly)

Build in a rocks glass, add ice, stir, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Mondays ago, I was flipping through the pages of Michael Madrusan and Zara Young's A Spot at the Bar book when I came across the Beekeeper in the section on Old Fashioned riffs. While the combination appeared very much like a Sazerac, the lack of an absinthe rinse to overwhelm the nose later did not support that conclusion. In the glass, the Beekeeper instead of anise and spice notes reached the senses with lemon oil, Bourbon, and floral aromas. Next, malt and honey on the sip buzzed into whiskey, anise, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

strawberry fix

1-2 Strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 oz Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Muddle strawberries at the bottom of a double old fashioned glass to make a jam, and top with crushed ice. Shake the rest with ice, strain over the top of the crushed ice, garnish with a fresh strawberry, and add a straw.
Two Sundays ago, I selected Sasha Petraske's Regarding Cocktails from my bookshelf, and I stumbled upon the Strawberry Fix that would make great use of the fresh berries that we had bought at the market. What surprised me was that the strawberries were not muddled, shaken, and strained with the rest of the ingredients, but they were muddled at the bottom of the serving glass and held in place by a mountain of crushed ice. Once assembled, the Strawberry Fix awoke the senses with Bourbon and strawberry aromas. Next, lemon and berry notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow came through with a delightful wave of whiskey flavors.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

sinking stone

1 1/4 oz Koch Espadin Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Plantation Jamaican Rum
1/2 oz Atxa Vino Vermouth Blanco (Dolin Blanc)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum

Stir with ice, strain into a rock glass with a large ice cube (coupe glass without ice), and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Saturdays ago, I ventured out of my house to safely buy Ivy Mix's Spirits of Latin America book from the Boston Shaker store (purchasable here via their web store). That evening, I opened the book and decided to make the first recipe that caught my eye -- the Sinking Stone that I believe is one of Ivy's originals from Leyenda in Brooklyn inspired by the Negroni. With mezcal, two rums, and Cynar in the recipe, I was sold. The Sinking Stone greeted the senses with an orange oil aroma that melded into the pineapple and smoky agave bouquet. Next, Cynar's caramel filled the sip, and the swallow proffered rum, smoke, and vegetal flavors.

Friday, June 26, 2020


1 1/2 oz Rhum Agricole (Rhum Clement Premiere Canne)
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1 dash Absinthe (12 drop St. George)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Fridays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I spotted on Kindred Cocktails sourced from a Punch Drinks article called the Necromancer. This was Vince Bright's Corpse Reviver #2 riff featuring rhum agricole that he crafted at Chicago's Lost Lake, and it reminded me of the Sinking Ship Swizzle that I did as a drink of the day back in 2016 (as a rhum Corpse Reviver crossed with a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club). Here, the Necromancer awoke with an apricot and peach aroma. Next, grapefruit and nectarine notes on the sip transformed into grassy rum flavors on the swallow that finished with ginger, anise, and clove.

Thursday, June 25, 2020


1 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Linie Aquavit (Aalborg)
1/2 oz Pernod Absinthe
1/2 oz Blandy's 5 Year Bual Madeira (1/2 oz Blandy's Verdelho + 1/4 oz Simple Syrup)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
2 dash Miracle Mile Red Eye Bitters (Bittercube Jamaican #2)

Whip shake, pour into a double old fashioned glass, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds (lemon wheel and chocolate mint sprigs).

Two Thursdays ago, I was in a Tiki mood, so I reached for David Montgomery's Zombie Horde book. There, I latched on to Jim Meehan's Shipwreck that he created at PDT in 2013. The Madeira in the Zombie riff appealed to me for I had tinkered with Madeiras in the Island of Lost Souls, and the aquavit was definitely a good thing given its role in the the Norwegian Paralysis, Viking Fogcutter, and Port of Göteborg. I probably had skipped over this one since I feared that the healthy slug of absinthe would dominate this libation, but I was wrong.
The Shipwreck met the nose with rum funk, tropical, and anise aromas that were accented by my choice of chocolate mint garnish. Next, lemon, pineapple, and grape mingled on the sip, and the swallow was an intense combination of funky rum, caraway, and herbal anise spice flavors. Given how burly the spirits in the mix were, they all seemed to keep each other in check.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

youthful expression

1 oz Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Amaro Ramazzotti
2 dash Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters (Bittercube Most Imaginative Bartender Bitters)

Combine in a Collins glass, add ice, and stir to chill (combined and placed in the freezer for 30+ minutes). Pour seltzer down the spiral of a barspoon to fill (2-3 oz).
Two Wednesdays ago, I was in low energy mode, so I recalled the Youthful Expression in Sother Teague's I'm Just Here for the Drinks book that is built in the glass. Though time intensive, the effort to chill the combination in the freezer before adding the soda water was well worth it. Sother described the Ramazzotti in the mix as "the Dr. Pepper of the amaro world" with its cola, spice, and fruit notes, and the name implies that "This is the type of drink that, though sophisticated in flavor, harkens back to a simpler approach to drinking." Once prepared, the Youthful Expression greeted the nose with a pine, root beer, and Bourbon nose. Next, a carbonated caramel sip grew into pine and mint-root beer flavors on the swallow with American whiskey notes on the finish.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

menehune juice

2 oz Trader Vic Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Grand Añejo)
Juice of 1 Lime (1 oz Lime Juice)
1/2 oz Orange Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
1/4 oz Orgeat (1/2 oz)
1/4 oz Rock Candy Syrup (omit)

Whip shake, pour into a double old fashioned glass, garnish with a spent lime shell, a mint sprig, and a menehune (pea blossoms).

Around two weeks ago, Allan Katz, the owner of Las Vegas' Jammyland Cocktail Bar & Reggae Lounge (and not the New York distiller Allen Katz), went on a rant about the Mai Tai on Twitter; this should not be too surprising given that his profile reads "defender of the Mai Tai #deathtofalsemaitais." His rant was how the Mai Tai has been changed to remove its Jamaican roots, and how certain brands claimed solidarity with Black Lives Matter yet change the rum to their non-black island spirit. He argued that the Mai Tai was invented with a 17 year old Jamaican rum, and only its dwindling availability forced a change. While that rum is essentially no longer available, the base he argued needed to be Jamaican and not something other in the Caribbean. I commented that even Trader Vic knew that by calling his Mai Tai with Puerto Rican rum by a different name -- the Menehune Juice. I had never made this recipe for it appeared too similar to the Mai Tai itself, but now with this rant fresh in my head, I performed the experiment.
The Menehune Juice began to appear in the Trader Vic literature during the 1970s, and I sourced the recipe his 1974 Rum Cookery & Drinkery book. I then discovered that menehune are the flower mix in the Hawaiian lei, and I would later learn two things. First, that the menehune are mythological dwarf creatures believed by Hawaiians to live deep in the islands' forests and valleys. Trader Vic suggested that his drink would help find one by declaring, "You can't see or talk to a menehune until you drink some Menehune Juice. So drink some." The menehune here as a garnish was not a flower medley but a plastic toy or swizzle stick featuring this creature. Second, that the Mai Tai is not the same without a Jamaican rum. The Menehune Juice met the nose with a mint and lime aroma. Next, a creamy, lime, and caramel sip flowed into rum, orange peel, and earthy-nutty flavors on the swallow. Without the funk that Jamaican rum carries along, the drink was rather delightful but lacked any degree of pizazz.

Monday, June 22, 2020


2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
6 dash Peychaud's Bitters
4 dash Angostura Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with an orange twist and pineapple leaves (honeysuckle blossoms).

Two Mondays ago, I was feeling the need for something tropical, so I selected Shannon Mustipher's 2019 Modern Tropical Cocktails book. There, I selected the Lorikeet as a Jungle Bird riff that subbed out the Campari and simple syrup for banana liqueur, cinnamon syrup, and two types of non-potable bitters. This stood out more to me than the base switching from rum to rye and the citrus from lime to lemon. Overall, the concept seemed delightful, and I was curious to see how Angostura and Peychaud's would perform in place of the Campari.
Lorikeets are colorful and vocal parrots found in Australia and New Guinea, so I figured that an exotic-looking floral garnish would work rather well here since I lacked a pineapple fruit to pluck leaves from. Once prepared, the Lorikeet flew to the senses with a pineapple, cinnamon, and banana bouquet. Next, lemon and pineapple mingled on the sip, and the swallow called out with rye, bitter banana, and bubblegum flavors and a cinnamon and anise finish.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

chrysanthemum no. 2

2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Lemon Juice

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe pre-rinsed with absinthe (Butterfly).
Two Sundays ago, I was in the mood for a lighter style of drink, and I decided upon the Chrysanthemum No. 2 by Jamie Boudreau from his The Canon Cocktail Book. Boudreau took the classic Chrysanthemum and dried it out a touch by reducing the Benedictine amount as well as by adding lemon juice. I tinkered with adding citrus to the drink by mashing it up with the Navy Grog to generate the Chrysanthemum Grog with decent success, so I was willing to give this mild riff a chance. Here, the stirred variation donated licorice, lemon, and anise aromas to the nose. Next, a white wine sip with a hint of lemon faded into herbal, minty, and licorice flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

:: hospitality versus activism ::

There was a recent case in Swampscott, Massachusetts, where a bartender at a restaurant overheard a guest call the Black Lives Matter movement "liberal bullshit." Instead of bringing it to the attention of the manager or asking the guest to tone it down or leave, the bartender decided to later out the patron who was a Selectman for the city on Facebook. This led to both of them losing their jobs (although the bartender was rehired). A writer contacted me to ask about the bartenders' guild stance on "drinking in a bar and privacy? Should customers assume their conversations are going to be repeated by waitstaff? Is this ethical behavior? Also, does the Guild have a position on restaurants/bars banning customers over their politics?"

I replied, "I cannot speak for the national guild itself. I do know that the USBG has a policy of not outing publicly anyone for bad behavior by name, but they will take action to remove offenders from the organization or not fund events that they are involved in. The guild does not condone sexist and racist ideals and will act as mentioned to make the community around them more comfortable for the members albeit without making a public statement about it. I have never observed the guild act on a guest or their actions, but they have acted on restaurant and spirit industry professionals' behaviors." And I recommended that he write my personal email account since I did not want to speak for the organization.

Here is my reply:
There have been very few instances of this public shaming that I know of in the news. I have worked at places where the management would act on our complaints of a guest's racist, homophobic, sexist, or offensive comments and ban them from the establishment; however, no public statement or outing was ever made. Moreover, there are certain establishments that hang up Pride rainbow flags and similar items as a signifier that hate speech is not welcome there, but I have never heard these venues lodge guest complaints to the public (different when the police need to get involved since that becomes part of the public record).

The last time that something like this was discussed was when a waitress at the Aviary bar in Chicago spat at Eric Trump. There were various discussions about who ought to be welcome in your establishment, but very few people seemed to condone the act itself as the proper decorum for a bar or restaurant worker. Most supported having management remove the person as gracefully as possible if they are upsetting the staff or fellow patrons.

Bartending and serving are one where the worker is regular confronted by racist, sexist, or homophobic comments made at them, to other guests, or aloud in earshot of other patrons. Decisions need to be made that are often tempered by the fact that our paychecks are held hostage by the guest, and often times we put up with the abuse to pay our bills. In addition, I have worked at establishments where the owners support the guests and their money more than their staff, and that level of systemic encouragement of bad behavior is definitely a problem in the restaurant industry.

Great bartenders are known for their discretion and their respect. Some of the famous bartenders in history never told a soul what their conversations were about. One of my favorite instances was David Chan at Trader Vic's who served many Navy Grogs to Richard Nixon during his presidency; undoubtedly, Nixon revealed plenty of secrets in confidence to Chan, but Chan never broke the bartender-guest confidentiality.

I do not believe that vigilante justice has a place in hospitality, but I do fully support the welcoming and the removal of guests by their behavior in both action and word.
I was not surprised that this conservative writer set me up in his article to plead his case. I was taken aback though when he requested to use the last two paragraphs, and I agreed; however, he left out the "but" part of the last sentence from the quote he said he was going to use. It made it sound like the guest had every right to freedom of speech (since it left out the idea that the establishment can determine or alter midway who they consider guests).

The topic of what hospitality should be was discussed in depth most recently with the Eric Trump at the Aviary instance (a server spit on him). A general consensus (but certainly there were voices supporting the way the incident played out) was that hospitality was about treating all your guests well coupled with determining who your guests are or will continue to be. A staff member acting on their own volition can betray the tone and demeanor set out by the owner and management, and that is what I do not approve of without trying the proper avenues of getting their management involved first. Understanding that trouble is coming through the door whether it be a rowdy group deep into their cups or a controversial political figure is when action should be taken proactively to avoid embarrassment, anger, and intense emotion for all parties -- staff and the patrons inside included.

Perhaps I am being too idealistic here given now how extreme actions and reactions in this country have not only shown to be necessary as well as effective. There are several instances where this proactive measure to ask people to remove their MAGA hats or as recently as last night when a Denver bar owner denied entry for a person wearing a Blue Lives Matter shirt. Is that enough or just a start? I am reconsidering my personal stance on the Swampscott case since cleansing the government of a racist is an honorable bit of activism. But it does seem to come at odds of what I consider hospitality.


2 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS)
1 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
3 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Absinthe (20 drop St. George)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry.
Two Saturdays prior, I opened Michael Madrusan and Zara Young's 2017 A Spot at the Bar and came across the section on the Harvard Cocktails and riffs thereof. The Harvard Cocktail as a Cognac Manhattan first appeared in George Kappeler's 1895 Modern American Drinks with soda water, but it lost the bubbles in later publications. Here, the book offered up an Everleigh riff called the Bughouse that simply gussied things up with a dash of absinthe. The Bughouse in the glass donated a grape and bright herbal nose. Next, the vermouth's grape drove the sip, and the swallow showcased the Cognac accented by herbal, allspice, anise, and clove elements.

Friday, June 19, 2020

depth charge

1/2 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Silent Pool)
1/2 Kina Lillet (1 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano)
2 dash Absinthe (1/2 bsp Pernod Absinthe)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Fridays ago, I ventured into the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book and spotted the Depth Charge. I recalled making this drink back in 2008, but I had never written it up here on the blog. I did put it into my LiveJournal though where I noted that I sourced the recipe from Trader Vic's 1947 Bartender's Guide and utilized Junipero Gin, Lillet, and Henri Bardouin Pastis. In this revisit twelve years later, I pulled out orange oil, anise, and juniper aromas. Next, a pear and peach sip presided over a gin, citrus peel, and anise swallow. Given the gin and Lillet in the mix, I decided that this was the closest thing to a Vesper that I could get fully behind.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

between the devil and the deep blue sea

1 1/2 oz Overproof Jamaican White Rum (Wray & Nephew)
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lime wheel.

Two Thursdays ago, I stumbled upon the Coronian with apricot and Swedish punsch in the Café Royal Cocktail Book . Since I had already made that one, I took my desire for a Daiquiri and merged it with my inspiration from the Coronian in the direction and form of the Periodista. Instead of orange liqueur in the Periodista, I opted for Swedish punsch that I first discovered worked rather well with the punsch in the Havana Cocktail (see the Swedish Punsch Cheat Sheet for more pairings) and for overproof Jamaican rum as the base spirit. As a name, I called this one the Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea after a book on the most unruly of Caribbean ports, old Port Royal in Jamaica.
The Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea met the nose with a bright lime aroma over rum funk, orchard fruit, and dark notes from the Swedish punsch. Next, a lime, caramel, and orange sip sailed into funky rum, apricot, and tea flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

queen of hearts

2 oz Fino Sherry
1 1/2 oz Watermelon Juice
1/4 oz Campari
1/4 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
1/4 oz Grenadine
12 drop Absinthe (St. George)

Build in a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a watermelon slice and 2-3 dash Peychaud's Bitters.

After the Sandy Bottoms the night before, I was tempted to create a watermelon drink myself. I took a Cobbler direction with inspiration from the Corpse Reviver No. 33 with its curaçao and absinthe and the Pharaoh Cooler with its grenadine. Drinks like the Watermelon Negroni and the Sip Sip Hooray! inspired the Campari aspect (besides how well Campari pairs with grenadine such as in the Freaky Tiki. Finally, I utilized Fino as the base of this Sherry Cobbler, and this was perhaps influenced by remembering the Not a Melon the night before.
For a name, I dubbed this one the Queen of Hearts after an old heirloom watermelon varietal. Once built, it offered a watermelon and cherry nose. Next, a berry-like sip slid into crisp watermelon notes melding into bitter orange flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

sandy bottoms

1 1/2 oz White Rum (Santa Teresa Claro)
2 oz Watermelon Juice
1/2 oz Peychaud's Bitters
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with a watermelon slice, lime wheel (omit), and mint sprig.
Tuesday two weeks ago, I reached for Maggie Hoffman's Batched Cocktails and spied the Sandy Bottoms by Stephanie Andrews at Chicago's Billy Sunday. I had previously passed over this recipe since watermelon was out of season; however, I had just picked up a small one at the market the day before. Here, the watermelon juice was paired with a hefty slug of Peychaud's Bitters which seemed intriguing to me especially given how cucumber drinks such as 3185 and Not a Melon work well with bitters (cucumbers are in the same family as melons). Once prepared, the Sandy Bottoms welcomed the nose with a mint, watermelon, and anise bouquet. Next, watermelon and lime mingled on the sip, and the swallow came through with rum, watermelon, cherry, and anise flavors that came across in an almost strawberry-like way.

Monday, June 15, 2020

south sea dipper (lost lake)

1 oz White Rum (Santa Teresa Claro)
1/2 oz Aged Rum (Thomas Tew)
1/2 oz Unaged Rhum Agricole (Rhum Clement)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 tsp Ruby Port (Sandeman Tawny)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Flash blend for 3 seconds (whip shake), pour into a Tiki mug, and top with crushed ice. Garnish with an orange peel, pineapple leaves, and edible orchid (chocolate mint sprigs).
Two Mondays ago, I read the article in Imbibe Magazine that featured Paul McGee's version of the South Sea Dipper at Lost Lake. The original South Sea Dipper was first published in Trader Vic's 1947 Bartender's Guide, and Paul expanded the rums from one Puerto Rican to three different types,  changed lime to lemon, switched around the proportions, and placed the port wine into the mix instead of as a float. In the glass, this South Sea Dipper proffered chocolate mint over tropical aromas from the passion fruit and pineapple elements. Next, a nectarine note with darker ones from the caramel and grape on the sip transitioned into grassy rum and passion fruit flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

journalist cocktail

2/3 Gordon's Dry Gin (2 oz Tanqueray)
1/6 Italian Vermouth (1/2 oz Cocchi Sweet)
1/6 French Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
2 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand)
2 dash Lemon Juice (1/4 oz)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.

Two Sundays ago, I returned to the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book and spotted the Journalist Cocktail. This Perfect Martini had the touch of sweetener and citrus that I last saw in the Dry Martini riff When the British Came to Spain, and it was somewhat reminiscent of the Old Hall from the 1930s.
When I made the Journalist and posted it on Instagram, someone asked why I shook the drink. I commented, "It could have been stirred, but the book said to shake. With such a small amount of lemon juice, it could go either way. I envisioned it like an Income Tax/Bronx in my head so I went with [shaking] it." I also replied to his follow-up question with "I've had stirred citrus drinks and designed a few when the effect is to have a silkier mouthfeel. The other issue is that the Savoy frequently recommends shaking drinks that we would stir today such as the Manhattan." I remember that the Savoy Cocktail Book and others that we bought back in 2006 and 2007 were rather confusing since there were no hard and firm rules on when to stir or shake a drink. Once prepared, the Journalist wrote up an orange oil and peel aroma accented by juniper notes. Next, a grape and lemon sip gave way to gin, orange, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, June 13, 2020


1 1/2 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS)
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Saturdays ago, I pondered the orgeat-curaçao duo in the classic Mai Tai, and this combination led me to make a mashup drink. For a base spirit, I considered Cognac, and the 1862 orgeat and bitters Japanese Cocktail came to mind for the former ingredient, and curaçao and lemon Sidecar sprung into my head for the latter. As a name, I dubbed this one the Saidokā as the Japanese word for the motorcycle accessory. Once prepared, the Saidokā revved up with a lemon, brandy, and orange bouquet. Next, a creamy lemon sip drove off into Cognac, nutty, orange, clove, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Friday, June 12, 2020

elephant's ear

1/2 oz Gin (1 oz Cascade Mountain)
1/2 oz French Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/2 oz Dubonnet (1 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Fridays ago, I ventured into my 1948 edition of Trader Vic's 1947 Bartender's Guide and spotted the Elephant's Ear Cocktail. The curious name along with the delightful trio of gin, dry vermouth, and Dubonnet Quinquina lured me in, and I was distracted from the fact that I had this same recipe as the better known Salome from the Savoy Cocktail Book shortly after I purchased the new formulation of Dubonnet. Once prepared, the Elephant's Ear met the nose with an orange, pine, and cherry aroma. Next, a plum-like sip led into a juniper, cherry, and herbal swallow.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

shirley heights

1 oz English Harbor Rum (R.L. Seale 10 Year)
1 oz Lustau Fino Sherry
3/4 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup
1 tsp Passion Fruit Syrup
1 Strawberry

Muddle the strawberry, add the rest of the ingredients, and shake with ice. Strain into a Belgian glass (Collins), top with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs and a fresh strawberry.
Two Thursdays ago, I selected The NoMad Cocktail Book and spotted Julian Reingold's Shirley Heights that would make good use of the strawberries that we had bought at the market. The pairing of strawberry and orgeat in this multiple ingredient drink reminded me fondly of the Blanche DuBois at Bar Tonique as well as my Piedmont Cobbler that was inspired by Bar Tonique's gin-berry Mai Tai riff. In the glass, the Shirley Heights welcomed the nose with a mint and strawberry aroma. Next, a creamy, lime, and berry sip led into rum, passion fruit and strawberry flavors on the swallow with a nutty and vanilla finish.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

a million dreams

1 1/2 oz Aged Jamaican Rum (Appleton Signature)
3/4 oz Overproof Jamaican Rum (Wray & Nephew)
2 oz Campari
2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
6 dash Bittermens Burlesque Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a Tiki bowl, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple fronds, lemon peel, and flowers (lemon peel and mint).

Two Wednesdays ago, one of Brian Maxwell's quarantine drinks of the day, the A Million Dreams, caught my eye as a Tiki-inspired citrus-driven Kingston Negroni of sorts. The inclusion of passion fruit in the mix reminded me of the Tarzan Boy rhum Negroni, and the lemon juice, Campari, and passion fruit trio brought back memories of Jamie Boudreau's Novara. Brian named his drink after the song from the 2017 P.T. Barnum movie The Greatest Showman.
The A Million Dreams welcomed the nose with a passion fruit and rum bouquet from the mix and mint and lemon notes from the garnish. Next, lemon and pineapple flavors on the sip gave way to funky rum and the Campari-passion fruit combination that came across in a peachy way on the swallow.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020


1/2 Laird's Applejack (1 oz Laird's Bonded)
1/2 Jamaican Rum (1/2 oz Smith & Cross + 1/2 oz Plantation Xaymaca)
1/2 Lime, Juice and Spent Shell (1/2 oz + shell)
1 tsp Grenadine (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

One of the other recipes in the 1934 Laird's Applejack book on EUVS was the Aviator attributed to Marco Hatten of the Colony Restaurant in Manhattan. This specialty of the house was essentially a Jack Rose with the apple brandy base split with Jamaican rum. What was curious was that it included the spent lime shell in the shake akin to Hugo Ensslin's Jack Rose recipe from 1916, and this technique has appeared as early as Jerry Thomas' White Lion in 1862 and in my repertoire in the Fluffy Ruffles circa 2008 to donate lime oil brightness and bitterness.
The Aviator flew to the nose with rum funk, caramel, and lime oil brightness. Next, caramel, berry, and lime notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow landed with apple, funky rum, and pomegranate flavors that finished with lime oil bitterness.

Monday, June 8, 2020

sancti spiritus

1 oz Scarlet Ibis (Privateer Navy Yard)
3/4 oz Cardamaro
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1 bsp Rothman & Winter Orchard Pear (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Mondays ago, I uncovered an old Haus Alpenz recipe sheet and latched on to the Sancti Spiritus. I had previously skipped over this recipe by Kellie Thorn at the Empire State South in Atlanta for Cardamaro was a rather recent addition to my liquor shelves. I was able to match all of the ingredients save for the rum, but I figured that Privateer's Navy Yard would be a solid substitute for the Trinidadian rum commissioned for Death & Co. In the glass, the Sancti Spiritus gave forth a lemon and fruity nose that was almost peach-like. Next, caramel, grape, grapefruit, and pear notes on the sip slid into rum, bitter herbal, and pear flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

jim lee cocktail

50% Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
25% Regular Vermouth (3/4 oz Cocchi Sweet)
25% Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Miro Dry)
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist garnish.
Two Sundays ago, I began flipping through my 1933 reprint of Jack's Manual, and I spotted the Jim Lee Cocktail. I was able to trace this Perfect Martini with two types of aromatic bitters back to Jack Straub's 1914 Drinks. While nothing truly groundbreaking as a Martini variation, it was one that I was completely unfamiliar with. Once prepared, the Jim Lee Cocktail met the nose with a lemon, grape, and orange bouquet. Next, the vermouth's grape dominated the sip, and the swallow shared pine, grape, cherry, and clove flavors.

Saturday, June 6, 2020


1/2 Cognac (2 oz Courvoisier VS)
1/2 Falernum (1 oz Velvet)
1 dash Angostura Bitters (2 dash)

Build in a rocks glass, add crushed (cracked) ice, and stir; I added a lime twist.

Back in October, the Boston chapter of the United States Bartender Guild hosted rum distiller Richard Seale at Shore Leave for "A Conversation About Rum." During the talk, Seale discussed the history of falernum, and he was able to trace it back to a bill of goods of import from 1821 which suggested that it had been around since the 1700s of before on Barbados. Seale declared that falernum was very misunderstood: it was made on a sugar (rum) estate as the every day drink of the planter and not in homes as a folk cordial. All of the distillers had their own recipes including Doorly, Seale, and Taylor, and it was a simple combination of sugar, rum, and lime juice and not a mix of a dozen plus ingredient. Moreover, the alcoholic strength has always been low but high enough to preserve the combination. Spicing probably came into being later as a way to differentiate brands perhaps once the production shifted from plantation production to commercial bottling. While falernum was picked up in the 1930s by Tiki legends like Trader Vic and Donn Beach in drinks ranging from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club to the Zombie, one of the earliest uses was the Corn'n'Oil. The name derives from Deuteronomy 11:13-15:
13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
While most people will associate that recipe with rum (and the newer versions with black strap rum which would not be traditional found on Barbados), falernum, Angostura Bitters, and sometimes lime juice, Seale mentioned that earlier recipes were different. Seale's dad's Corn'n'Oil was half brandy, half falernum, and a dash of Angostura served over crushed ice, and brandy only got replaced by rum after World War I. As evidence, Seale put up the recipe found in the 1911 West Indian & Other Recipes compiled by Mrs. H. Graham Yearwood which mirrored Seale's father's preference. When I posted this recipe on Instagram, people questioned how this could be. I brought up the concept of how the Mint Julep was a Cognac drink before it became an American whiskey drink. I explained, "French brandy was what you drank when you were well off, and it gets recorded because those people write the history books as well. Early rum and American whiskey were looked upon as bulk commodity spirits for the common people and not for the cocktail class."
I ended up adapting the recipe slightly to dry it out a bit by shaping it to my preferred Manhattan spec of 2:1:2 (see the recipe above). Once prepared, the Cognac shined through to the nose along with aromatic notes from the lime twist garnish that I added. Next, the falernum's lime notes sang out on the sip, and the swallow proffered brandy, ginger, and clove flavors. Overall, it was an interesting change from the rum recipe, but I do miss the small amount of fresh citrus juice included in many modern recipes (the one I linked to had a quarter ounce of lime) for brightness' sake.

Friday, June 5, 2020


2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
1/2 oz Cointreau
2 dash Maraschinio (1/8 oz)
Juice 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)

Blend with shaved ice (2 1/2 oz cracked ice cubes) and pour into a chilled champagne glass (cocktail coupe).
Two Fridays ago, I reached for Trader Vic's 1974 Rum Cookery & Drinkery book and spotted the Daiquiri riff called the Beachcomber. I believe that I skipped over this Rum Sidecar with a touch of Maraschino before since it did not seem like an exciting shaken drink; however, with our new blender, I was game to try it as a frozen one. Moreover, Andrea was into the idea enough to ask for her own. Here, the Beachcomber met the nose with an orange and bright lime bouquet. Next, the orange ventured into the sip, and the swallow showcased rum and lime flavors with a hint of nutty cherry on the finish.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

zombie at park south

3/4 oz Don Q Añejo Rum (Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
3/4 oz Appleton VX Rum (Plantation Xaymaca)
1/2 oz Plantation OFTD Rum
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/4 oz Grenadine
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Herbsaint (20 drop)

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a tall glass (Tiki mug), fill with crushed ice, and garnish lavishly with fruit (mint sprigs).
Two Thursdays ago, I was in the mood for a Tiki drink and I recalled that I had spotted a Zombie riff by Rafa Garcia Febles on Kindred Cocktails earlier in the week. That dink was created for Manhattan's the Roof at Park South's 2018 season, and it was Rafa's blending of the 1934 and the 1950 Zombie recipes. The Zombie at Park South conjured up mint aromas over caramel, passion fruit, and cinnamon notes. Next, the caramel continued on into the sip where it mingled with the grapefruit, and the swallow came through with complex rum, passion fruit, and cinnamon flavors and an anise-spice finish.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

rio bravo

1 1/4 oz Whiskey (Rittenhouse Rye)
3/4 oz Aged Rum (Plantation Xaymaca)
1 oz Amaro (1/2 oz Cynar + 1/2 oz Averna)
1/4 oz Banana Liqueur (Giffard)
2 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I ventured back to Doug Winship's Quarantinis book and selected the Rio Bravo by Columbus, Ohio's Travis Owens. The recipe was vague as to the identity of the whiskey and amaro, so I selected a bonded rye and a duo that I loved to serve as a digestif at Loyal Nine: equal parts Averna and Cynar, respectively. Moreover, the split amari concept worked well in my mind with the split spirit base of whiskey and rum. Once prepared, the Rio Bravo donated an orange, caramel, and herbal aroma to the nose. Next, the caramel continued on into the sip, and the swallow proffered rye, rum, and funky banana flavors with a chocolate-herbal finish.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

monseigneur special

6/10 Daiquiri Rum (2 oz Flor de Caña Añejo Oro)
2/10 Apricot Brandy (1/2 oz Rothman & Winter)
1/10 Grenadine (1/4 oz)
1/10 Lemon Juice (3/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book and spotted the Monseigneur Special created by UK Bartender Guild member T. O'Connor. While the name and apricot brandy reminded on of my Instagram friends of the Hotel Nacional Special, I found it more similar to the Cuban Cocktail #6 and the gin-based Bermudian (Mr. Boston renamed that to be the Boston Cocktail). Indeed, there is something about the combination of apricot and grenadine that becomes a new flavor.
The Monseigneur Special bowed the nose with a lemon and apricot aroma. Next, lemon and orchard fruit notes on the sip slid into rum, berry, and nectarine elements on the swallow. Overall, the combination was much more rounded of a flavor than the Periodista which shares a similar drink structure.

Monday, June 1, 2020

song to the siren

1 3/4 oz Jamaican Rum (1 oz Appleton Signature + 3/4 oz Stolen Overproof)
1/4 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1 oz Port (Sandeman Tawny)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
2 dash Bitters (Angostura)

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Mondays ago, I spotted a 2014 creation by New York City bartender Rafa Garcia Febles on Kindred Cocktails called the Song to the Siren; Rafa later mentioned to me that this is a tribute to the Tim Buckley song. The combination of Jamaican rum, port, and Swedish punsch sounded like it would make for a delightful tipple with a nautical feel, and it shared some similarity with his Papa Hogo that I enjoyed a few years ago. Once prepared, the Song to the Siren welcomed the senses with caramel, funk, and woody spice aromas. Next, lime mingling with grape on the sip called out for dark and funky rum, tea, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow.