Saturday, October 31, 2020

pink panther

2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat
3 Raspberries
4 drop Rosewater
1 Egg White

Muddle the raspberries in the orgeat. Add the rest of the ingredients, shake once without ice and once with ice, and double strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Saturdays ago, I spotted the Pink Panther in Clair McLafferty's The Classic & Craft Cocktail Recipe Book and realized that I now had some frozen raspberries left over from making syrup. This drink was created by Yael Vengroff when she was in New York City, and it reminded me of a pisco Clover Club. The combination of orgeat and raspberry was one that I have had before in the obscure classic Jacksonville and the modern Rubus Swizzle, so I was game to give this one a go.
The Pink Panther sleuthed the nose with raspberry, rose, and other floral aromas. Next, a creamy lemon and red berry sip uncovered a pisco, earthy-nutty, and raspberry swallow.

Friday, October 30, 2020


1 1/2 oz White Rum (Privateer Tres Aromatique)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Syrup
1/4 oz Benedictine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe pre-rimmed with lime salt (microplaned lime zest with salt).
Two Fridays ago, I was lured in by a recipe on Punch Drinks called the Rainmaker. This Rum Sour was crafted by Alec Bales at Atlanta's Ticonderoga Club and featured pineapple syrup and Benedictine as the sweeteners; while the citrus balancing that was lemon, there was a lime aromatic as part of the garnish tying it slightly to a classic Daiquiri. Once prepared, the Rainmaker donated a rum, lime, and pineapple bouquet to the nose. Next, lemon and pineapple notes on the sip trickled into rum, pineapple, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

red grasshopper

2 oz Blanco Tequila (Lunazul)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Honey Syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a light dusting of cayenne chili powder.

Two Thursdays ago, I was perusing the recipe section in Eric Alperin's Unvarnished book when I spotted an interesting riff on the Honeysuckle (a white rum Bee's Knees). That drink was the tequila-based Red Grasshopper crafted by Michael Madrusan of The Everleigh that worked the red angle by including a piquant garnish of cayenne powder. Moreover, the idea of a tequila Bee's Knees reminded me of the 1940 Juschu Cocktail that I morphed into the Wheel in the Sky Collins in 2015.
The Red Grasshopper jumped to the nose with an agave, red pepper, honey, and floral bouquet. Next, lime and a viscosity from the honey on the sip climbed to tequila, floral, and spicy heat elements on the swallow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

8 amaro sazerac

1/4 oz Averna
1/4 oz Amaro Ramazzotti
1/4 oz Aperol
1/4 oz Amaro Meletti
1/4 oz Campari
1/4 oz Amaro Ciociaro (Torani Amer)
1/4 oz Amaro Sibilla (Fernet Branca)
1/4 oz Amaro Lazzaroni (Cynar)
4 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash Orange Citrate Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass pre-rinsed with Green Chartreuse, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make the 8 Amaro Sazerac recipe that I had spotted on the Kindred Cocktails database. Mayur Subbarao created this recipe for the opening menu at Manhattan's Amor y Amargo in 2011, and it has remained on the list there ever since. To confirm the ingredients on the database, I found a secondary recipe on the Alcohol Professor site that had only three exact matches in the eight amari, so perhaps the 8 Amaro Sazerac was a drifting target as different liqueurs came in and out of fashioned at the bar. I had previously made my own 2 Amaro Sazerac as I took a Ferrari shot (equal parts Fernet and Campari) in the direction of a Sazerac to craft the Diamonds & Spades, but I found the 8 amari content of Sother's to have rounded out the rough elements of individual liqueurs much better.
My 8 Amaro Sazerac utilized mostly the database's spirit calls with some substitutions taken from the later post. In the glass, this Sazerac proffered lemon, caramel, minty-menthol, and anise aromas to the nose. Next, caramel and citrus elements on the sip led into a complex swallow of gentian, citrus, vegetal, menthol, and anise flavors to name but a few.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

spring blossom

1 1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
3/4 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
2 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
As I made my way through the recipe section of Eric Alperin's Unvarnished book, I made notes of some interesting recipes. The one that spoke to me two Tuesdays ago was the Spring Blossom as a mezcal White Negroni riff with mole bitters crafted at the Varnish by bartender Gordon Bellaver. Once built, the Spring Blossom shared a grapefruit oil, smoke, and gentian aroma. Next, a white grape sip gave way to smoky and vegetal agave and gentian flavors on the swallow with a chocolate finish.

Monday, October 26, 2020


1 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Mondays ago, I decided to make a curious drink called the Flamenco in classics section of the Death & Co. Cocktail Book. I said curious for I have neither read this recipe elsewhere and web searches only pulled up references to their book. The combination itself was familiar save for the base of Amontillado and Genever as the rest followed the structure of the Oo-La-La and Eastern Sour. Moreover, orgeat has worked great with Genever in the Genever Daisy and Amontillado in the Four Moors, so I was game to give this one a go. In the glass, the Flamenco proffered a nutty, grape, and malt aroma. Next, a creamy orange, lemon, and grape sip danced into a Genever and nutty sherry and orgeat swallow with a tart, herbal finish.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

harvest sour

1 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
1 oz Applejack (Laird's Bonded)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with drops of Angostura and Peychaud's Bitters and freshly grated cinnamon.

Two Sundays ago, I came upon the recipe section in the middle of Eric Alperin's new book Unvarnished. There, I latched on to the Harvest Sour from the section on egg white drinks; while there was no attribution in the book, Punch linked it to Sam Ross although with an apple slice (instead of the two bitters) and cinnamon as the garnish.
The Harvest Sour met the nose with an apple, cinnamon, allspice, and anise bouquet. Next, a creamy lemon sip transitioned into rye and apple flavors on the swallow along with spice notes entering from the garnish.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

cryptic memo

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
3/4 oz Amaro Ramazzotti
3/4 oz Campari

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Saturdays ago, I began browsing the Kindred Cocktails database for a drink that featured Amaro Ramazzotti when I spotted Kelley Swenson's Cryptic Memo that he created at Portland's June (and was published in StarChefs). I became acquainted with Kelley's recipes from the Left Coast Libations book which included the Celeriac and Toto/Broken Flower, so I was intrigued. Here, the Cryptic Memo was a Black Boulevardier or 1794 with Ramazzotti subbing in for the sweet vermouth. Once prepared, the Cryptic Memo relayed a bitter orange and rye aroma. Next, caramel with a citrussy note on the sip morphed into rye, root beer, and bitter orange flavors on the swallow.

Friday, October 23, 2020

metal urbain

1 3/4 oz Cognac (Pierre Ferrand Ambre)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Amaro Nardini
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
2 dash Chocolate or Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Fridays ago, I was feeling creative, and I was inspired by the Punt e Mes-Amaro Nardini combination in the Carroll Gardens that also appears in a number of cocktails including the Six Inch Gold Blade, Mutiny Suppressor, and Gianopulos. The richness and depth of my Pierre Ferrand Cognac seemed like a great parallel to the way Amaro Nardini comes across in a drink, and from there, I opted for Green Chartreuse as an accent for it teamed up wonderfully with Nardini in the Green Hornet and Key Party, and for chocolate bitters to augment that note in both the Nardini and the Cognac (plus, Green Chartreuse and chocolate are a match made in heaven). Given the two French ingredients, I dubbed this one after one of the first French punk bands, Métal Urbain, whose album was a cult hit at the radio station I worked at in graduate school.
The Métal Urbain approached the nose with an orange, mint-like herbal, and Cognac bouquet. Next, caramel and grape flavors mingled on the sip, and the swallow showcased the Cognac and the interplay of the gentle and more rounded bitter notes of the Nardini and Punt e Mes with the more herbal Green Chartreuse and the chocolate flavors.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

barcelona fizz

1 1/2 oz jigger Gin (1 1/2 oz Maine Craft Distilling's Alchemy)
1 jigger Sherry (1 oz Lustau East India Solera)
1 spoon Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
1 spoon Simple Syrup (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice, strain into a goblet, and fill with soda water (shake with ice and strain into a Fizz glass with 2 oz soda). I added a lime twist garnish.
Two Thursdays ago, I perused the Fizz section in William Boothby's 1934 World Drinks & How to Mix Them and spotted the gin and sherry recipe called the Barcelona Fizz. Once prepared, the Fizz proffered a lime, pine, and red grape bouquet to the nose. Next, a carbonated lime and grape sip gave way to gin, raisin, and a hint of nuttiness on the swallow. While I was quite pleased with how the cream sherry performed in this recipe, in retrospect, a Fino or Manzanilla would probably be rather delightful here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

the brunswick

1 1/2 oz Old Grand-Dad 114° Bourbon
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Averna
1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Sarsparilla Tincture (1 bsp Root Liqueur)
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I selected The NoMad Cocktail Book for the evening's libation. There, I was intrigued by Jonathan Armstrong's Brunswick that paired whiskey, vermouth, Campari, and Averna together akin to the Smoking Section. I had previously passed over this recipe for it calls for a sarsparilla tincture which I have yet to make; however, I remembered that I have a bottle of the now defunct Root Liqueur which would donate overlapping flavors. Once built, the Brunswick met the nose with a lemon, orange, and Bourbon aroma along with darker herbal notes. Next, a grape and caramel sip led into Bourbon, orange, and earthy swallow with a cherry and root beer finish.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

western paradise

1 1/2 oz W.L. Weller Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 dash Bitter Truth Creole Bitters (Peychaud's)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice.
Two Tuesdays ago, I was browsing drinks on the Kindred Cocktails database when I spotted a drink that Ted Kilgore had uploaded. Since I have enjoyed drinks of his such as the Jack of No Trade and the Devil's Soul, I was curious to see what recipes that he had entered. The one that drew me in was a Manhattan-like number called the Western Promise that he crafted at Taste in St. Louis circa 2011 which split the whiskey with apple brandy and the blanc vermouth with Drambuie. Once assembled, the Western Promise donated a rye and anise aroma to the nose. Next, malt, apple, and honey notes on the sip led into Bourbon, herbal, and floral flavors on the swallow with an anise finish.

Monday, October 19, 2020

devil inside

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
1/2 oz Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year)
2 dash Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe (1 scant bsp Kübler)
1 tsp Demerara Syrup (1/4+ oz)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass pre-rinsed with Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.
Two Mondays ago, I began flipping through the pages of the Death & Co. Cocktail Book, and there in the Sazerac variations section was Thomas Waugh's Devil Inside that he created in 2011. The Devil Inside split the base of rye whiskey with some smoky Scotch; moreover, instead of an absinthe rinse, the absinthe was included in the mix and the rinse was swapped for Laphraoig to intensify the aromatic peat accents. Once prepared, the Devil Inside met the nose with a lemon, medicinal peat, and hint of anise bouquet. Next, the whiskeys' malt filled the sip, and the swallow proffered rye's spice, the Scotch's smoke, and an herbal-anise finish.

Sunday, October 18, 2020


1/2 Plymouth Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
1/2 Italian Vermouth (1 1/4 oz Cocchi Sweet)
1 dash Amer Picon (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

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

Two Sundays ago, I selected the 1935 Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book and spotted the Coxey that seemed like a Martinez or Hanky Panky with Amer Picon as the modifying liqueur, or perhaps like a gin Liberal. Although I later realized that the closest relative stemmed from the same cocktail book, namely the Fin de Siècle which included orange bitters and a bit less sweet vermouth (2:1 instead of 1:1, gin:vermouth).
The Coxey entered the room with a pine and dark orange aroma. Next, a sweet grape on the sip slid into juniper, caramel, vanilla, and bitter orange flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

cannibal cooler

3/4 oz Plantation Original Dark Rum
3/4 oz Plantation 3 Star White Rum (Santa Teresa Claro)
1/2 oz Plantation OFTD Rum
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Hasty Fassionola (1/2 oz Grenadine + 1/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup)
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Flash blend (whip shake) all ingredients with crushed ice, add 1 1/2 oz soda water, pour into a tall glass (Tiki mug), and top with crushed ice. I garnished with mint. Note: their hasty Fassionola was 3:1, but I was both lazy and hasty for my single serving and made it a la minute 2:1.

Two Saturdays ago, I was excited to try a drink posted by El Nova on the Tiki Recipes group on Facebook called the Cannibal Cooler. This was a collaborative effort between El Nova and Jason Alexander that shared little similarity with the other Cannibal Cooler that I made around two years ago. Once assembled, this Cannibal Cooler attacked the senses with mint notes over caramel, cinnamon, and tropical fruit aromas. Next, a carbonated orange, lime, caramel, and berry sip was chased by rum, cinnamon, and hints of passion fruit on the swallow.

Friday, October 16, 2020


2 oz Blended Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz Orgeat
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Dash Angostura Bitters and Peychaud's Bitters across the top of the drink to mimic tiger stripes.
Two Fridays ago, I ventured into the Food & Wine: Cocktails section of my drink book library and selected the 2010 edition. The recipe that called to me was a Flip crafted by Linden Pride at Sydney's Spice Temple which coincided well with the season's dropping temperatures. Once prepared, the peat smoke from the Scotch underneath the egg froth met the nose along with clove, allspice, and anise aromas from the garnish. Next, a creamy sip led into a delightful combination of Scotch, herbal, and almond flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

north of sunset

1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/4 oz Strega
1/4 oz Raspberry Syrup
1 bsp Maraschino (1/8 oz Luxardo)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Thursdays ago, I was thinking about the flavor combination in Chris Hannah's 'Round Midnight that was published in the 2009 Rogue Cocktails. I lifted the Strega, raspberry, and Maraschino trio, altered their ratios, and utilized it as a sweetener in a Dry Martini. The raspberry syrup made me think of the dry vermouth version of the Clover Club, and that set up the gin and dry vermouth base. For a name, I kept the Thelonius Monk theme of the Hannah's drink (I assume it was this since he is a big jazz fan) and named this one the North of Sunset especially given the splendid sunset I had witnessed an hour or two before (even though the song is about the boulevard in Los Angeles).
The North of Sunset played a lemon, red fruit, and juniper melody to the nose. Next, a semi-dry red berry and white wine sip transitioned to gin, star anise, nutty Maraschino, and vanilla flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

cora middleton

1 1/2 oz Appleton Estate Extra Rum (Appleton Signature)
1/2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 Egg White (1 Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with 5 drop orange bitters (Angostura Orange) and oil from an orange twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, I returned to Frank Caiafa's 2016 The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book and spotted the Cora Middleton. The 1935 Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book described the recipe as a "Clover Club made with Jamaican rum instead of gin" (the non-dry vermouth version). While that recipe called for lemon juice, Charles H. Baker Jr.'s Cora Middleton in The South American Gentleman's Companion was similar save for listing lime instead. Here, the modern Waldorf Astoria bartenders split the rum version from their older bar book with some Genever to bring it back a step or two toward the Clover Club; moreover, they found that grenadine worked better than raspberry syrup for their palates here. As a side note, a parallel rum drink exists in the literature named the September Morn.
This Cora Middleton proffered an orange aroma from the twist and bitters garnishes. Next, a creamy, malty, lemon, and berry sip danced into rum and Genever's botanicals on the swallow with a pomegranate finish.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

rare stamps

1 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Ron del Barrilito Rum (Don Q Añejo)
1/2 oz Cardamaro

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I selected Sarah Baird's New Orleans Cocktails as a potential source for the evening's libation. There, I spotted the Rare Stamps created at the Ace Hotel, and I had previous skipped over this Rum Negroni of sorts when I lacked Cardamaro on my shelves. Once built, the Rare Stamps mailed a lemon oil aroma over orchard fruit notes of apricot and pear on the nose. Next, orange and peach elements on the sip opened up into rum and bitter tangerine flavors on the swallow. Overall, the combination reminded me a bit of the Sancti Spiritus albeit with a less aggressive rum note.

Monday, October 12, 2020

vagalume bowl

1 oz Aged Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Cachaça (Cuca Fresca)
1 oz Apple Brandy (Morin Selection Calvados)
2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Maple Syrup
1/2 oz Jagermeister

Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a Tiki bowl, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with a flaming lime shell (El Dorado 151 ignited).

Two Mondays ago, I began to think about Don the Beachcomber's 1970 Volcano Bowl that was delicious due to the maple syrup-grapefruit juice combination. I considered taking it in a Cleirmeil direction with Green Chartreuse, but I decided to introduce the cachaça-Jagermeister duo that worked elegantly in Sother Teague's Rough Seas. For a third spirit after the rum and cachaça, I pondered Cognac before opting for aged apple brandy to tie in better with the maple syrup. Since my maple syrup was from Vermont, the Firefly Festival held there every year with their large burn at the end came to mind as a parallel to a volcano. Given the Brazilian origin of cachaça, I went with the Portuguese word for firefly in the name: the Vagalume Bowl.
The Vagalume Bowl greeted the senses with maple, apple, and grapefruit aromas once the fire was extinguished. Next, maple's mouthfeel joined caramel, grapefruit, and lime notes on the sip, and the swallow rolled on with grassy, funky, apple, maple, and ginger spice flavors.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

roman punch

2 oz Cognac (1 oz Courvoisier VS + 1 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre)
2 dash Jamaican Rum (1/4 oz Smith & Cross)
2 tsp Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1 tsp Curaçao (1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand)
1 tsp Raspberry Syrup (1/4 oz)
1 tsp Simple Syrup (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice, strain into a Highball glass, fill with cracked ice, and garnish with fruits in season (mint).

Two Sundays ago, I was flipping through Trader Vic's 1947 Bartender's Guide that seemed like a good use of the raspberry syrup that I had made somewhat recently. Trader Vic's version was Cognac driven with a Jamaican rum accent; however, the 1862 recipe in Jerry Thomas' book is two parts Jamaican rum to one part of Cognac (with pretty much everything else held the same save for dashes of port wine on top). Alas, I did not do the research at that time for I was a bit thirsty and looking to get on with the evening.
Trader Vic's Roman Punch met the nose with mint over Cognac, orange, and rum funk aromas. Next, lemon, orange, and red berry notes on the sip gave way to Cognac, funky rum, and raspberry flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

doyers street

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Bigallet China-China (Torani Amer)
1/4 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube.

Two Saturdays ago, I returned to Leo Robitschek's The NoMad Cocktail Book where I spotted his Doyers Street that read like a Brookyln Cocktail with elderflower liqueur and Angostura Bitters in place of the classic's Maraschino. Doyers Street is a short, historic street in Manhattan's Chinatown that has been deemed the bloodiest street in America. In its 200 foot length that includes a near 90 degree bend, the "Bloody Angle" was the scene of gang fights among its gambling houses, theaters, opium dens, pool halls, and prostitutes. This came later than the Irish gangs of the "Streets of New York" era in the 19th century, for it occurred between Chinese gangs in the first few decades of the 20th century. The violence using hatchets and guns was so great that records showed that it earned the title of the most violent intersection in the country.
The Doyers Street teased the nose with an elderflower, bitter orange, and clove bouquet. Next, caramel and orchard fruit on the sip slipped away into rye, bitter orange, floral, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Friday, October 9, 2020

host body

1 1/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/2 oz Amaro Nardini
1/2 oz Campari

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with both grapefruit and orange twists.

Two Fridays ago, I was in the mood for an Amaro Nardini recipe, so I searched the Kindred Cocktails database for an answer. There, I was lured in by the Host Body crafted by Rafa Garcia Febles in 2014; its Smith & Cross, Nardini, and Campari reminded me of the Six Inch Gold Blade, so I was definitely intrigued.
The Host Body met the nose with a grapefruit and orange oil over caramel and rum funk aroma. Next, the sherry's grape mingled with the rum and amaro's caramel notes on the sip, and the swallow stepped in with funky rum, smoky, bitter orange, and earthy flavors.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

black manhattan

2 oz Bourbon (Angel's Envy)
1 oz Averna
1 dash Angostura Bitters (optional)
1 dash Orange Bitters (optional)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry. Given the citrus elements in Averna, an orange or lemon twist would not be out of place here as a garnish instead.
Yesterday, I did a video shoot at Redstone Liquors in Stoneham with my brand work for Angel's Envy where we demonstrated the making of a Black Manhattan. I then realized that I had never written up this drink on the blog for I had already put it in my online drink journal in 2007. The Black Manhattan was created by bartender Todd Smith at San Francisco's Bourbon and Branch two years prior in 2005 as a delightful riff on the Manhattan. The classic recipe had the sweet vermouth replaced with the Italian bittersweet liqueur Averna which donates rich and complex caramel, bitter orange, lemon, pomegranate, and Mediterranean herbs to the mix. The original recipe called for Bourbon although more modern ones utilize rye; in addition, various recipes include both Angostura and orange bitters, only one, or none at all. As I mention in the video, this drink is rather flexible for it works with a variety of amaro including Cynar, Amaro Montenegro, Amaro Nonino, and Ramazzotti. I love the variations (see the my Cynar F.L.A.N. recipe), but I always stick with Averna when I call it a Black Manhattan proper.

blue collar

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/4 oz Amer Picon (Torani)
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Maraska)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

In the recipe section of Eric Alperin's Unvarnished book, I was drawn in by the Blue Collar by Michael Madrusan. Michael created this riff on the Brooklyn by swapping in sweet vermouth and orange bitters for the classic's dry vermouth. Actually, the recipe is closer to the earliest known Brooklyn that appeared in Jacob Grohusko's 1908 Jack's Manual which called for sweet vermouth before the literature soon drifted to dry vermouth as the aromatized wine component.
Normally, I use a softer rye for my dry vermouth Brooklyns so that I can taste the liqueurs better; however, I went a bit more bold in flavor to cut into the vermouth's additional sweetness. Here, the Blue Collar offered up a lemon and malt nose that preceded a grape and malt sip. Next, the swallow showcased the rye that was colored by nutty cherry and bitter orange flavors.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

carre reprise

1 oz Rittenhouse or Wild Turkey Rye (Rittenhouse Bonded)
1 oz Courvoisier Cognac (VS Grade)
1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
In searching for the La Bicyclette recipe, I uncovered other recipes amassed by Jamie Boudreau using elderflower liqueur. The one that called out to me was a Vieux Carré riff created for St. Germain's Rob Cooper at a Tales of the Cocktail event perhaps circa 2007 or 2008. The drink was the Carré Reprisé crafted by Brian Miller then of Death & Co., and it later appeared in the 2012 Mr. Boston: 75th Anniversary Edition cocktail book without any attribution. The Carré Reprisé not only won the competition that year, but it impressed us in the glass over a decade later. Here, it proffered a lemon oil and Cognac blending in with elderflower aromas on the nose. Next, grape and a citrussy orchard fruit note on the sip parlayed into rye, brandy, and floral flavors on the swallow with a bitter finish.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020


1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I chose the Food & Wine: Cocktails section of my library and pulled out the 2012 edition. In the Martini and riffs section curated by Eric Alperin of the Varnish, he presented his Capricious that he created for a St. Germain party at Tales of the Cocktail 2008. The combination reminded me of John Gertsen's Means of Preservation that utilized celery bitters instead of Peychaud's. Once prepared, the Capricious welcomed the nose with lemon, anise, and floral aromas. Next, a melon note with a hint of mango-peach on the sip turned towards juniper, cherry, anise, and grapefruit flavors on the swallow.

Monday, October 5, 2020

:: what covid and spirits collecting taught me about life ::

The Washington Post a few days ago had an article entitled, "Covid-19 makes us think about our mortality. Our brains aren't designed for that." This reminded me of the first few weeks of the pandemic quarantine where I noticed on social media that many people were tapping into their special bottle reserves. Personally, I too went deep into my spirits reserves and drank things such as pours of Booker's Bourbon bottled in 2007 and Daiquiris made with Plantation Panama 1997. We also tapped into our reserve beer cellar, but that was partially out of necessity for we ran out of regular beer (we were far from running out of regular spirits though). Thoughts began to drift through my head questioning my mortality and the reason for holding on to things of value. Some of those have great worth only to myself or a select few in the world, and without offspring to pass them on to, what was the point not to be enjoying them now? Alcohol collecting is one of the few hobbies where the appreciation of your collection leads to its diminishment and demise.

The article in The Washington Post described how Covid induced grief, fear, and anxiety: "It is the existential anxiety caused by reminders of our own mortality." It continued on, "Simply put, to function as a conscious being, it's imperative that you be in denial about your impending death. How else would you go about the mundane aspects of your daily life — cleaning the gutters, paying the bills, sitting in traffic — if you were constantly aware of the inevitability of your own death?" "In other words, we are wired to accept that death happens — just not to us." The concept solidified my rationale as to why a faction of our country still refuses to accept pandemic safety measures — they are refusing to acknowledge the reality of their own death.

The phenomenon intrigued me enough that in early April, I reached out to a spirits collector or two and ask people on an industry group to email me if they wanted to answer a few questions. I narrowed it down to five:
1. Name, role in the spirits/bartending world, location?
2. What liquor/liqueur type(s) do you collect?
3. What have you learned about history through collecting spirits or a spirits line?
4. How often did you generally tap into your collection (pre-pandemic) to taste?
5. How has this pandemic changed the way you view collecting? Are there bottles that you have opened up recently that you might not have thought about before?
In the end, I received only a few responses. Some who answered were distant from their liquor shelves at that time, so there was not much data to glean. The rest seemed to gloss over questions 4 and 5 which were at the root of what I wanted to learn about. A good number who received the questionnaire never wrote back. I figured that it was too heavy of an issue to confront, and that perhaps I should have been more subtle in my line of questioning. Six months later, I finally got around to writing up my thoughts.

As the world began to equilibrate to a "new normal" as fear diminished, more sensible approaches to one's personal safety emerged. With that, I noticed that I recovered a more logical view to preserving my spirits collection. It still makes me wonder about how many things we put off since its not the right time. Whether it is drinking a special bottle of wine, beer, or spirits or going on a trip. There are certainly wrong times to open something special such as in inebriated or stressful points when the appreciation skills would be low, but waiting until the "right" life moments happen is putting too much symbolism into things. The pandemic also made me realize what it would be like to be old down to the inability to travel, dine out, or spend ones wealth. Why save things later in life when you cannot physically enjoy them or do them?

In 2010, when we attended an amazing rum tasting at famed collector Steve Remsberg's house, one thing struck me when we were tasting pre-Prohibition New England rums and pre-Fidel Castro Cuban ones. Here were these valuable bottles that Steve was willing to open, appreciate, and share (as long as he had an unopened one in his library for future generations). He saw no point in not experiencing his collection; however, to tone down the reverence and re-center the guests, he would humbly comment every so often, "Tastes good, doesn't it?"


1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin (Tanqueray Malacca)
3/4 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, I returned to the PDT Cocktail Book and was lured in by the Berlioni that was sounded like a Cynar and dry vermouth riff on the Negroni. The recipe was crafted by Conçalo de Sousa Monteiro in 2004 at the Victoria Bar in Berlin after getting inspired by Chad Solomon's Bensonhurst. Once prepared, the Berlioni met the nose with orange, caramel, and pine aromas. Next, Cynar's caramel continued on into the sip, and this was followed by citrus, funky vegetal, and floral flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

juan madera

1 1/4 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Kümmel (Helbing)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Sundays ago, I was flipping through William Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix Them and I spotted the John Wood. I was intrigued but it seemed familiar; alas, I had made it over five years before, but the combination still caught my attention. Instead of continuing on in my literature search, I decided to riff on this obscure classic. The original was whisky and lemon; I opted for Scotch but Boothby grouped all Bourbons, ryes, and Scotches under the ingredient header "whisky," and the Savoy Cocktail Book had the John Wood as an Irish whiskey drink. Here, the kümmel made me think of mezcal for the liqueur pairs well with agave in drinks like the Island of Misfit Toys, Silver Surfer, and Mission Bell. I also changed the citrus to lime and dubbed this one the Juan Madera.
The Juan Madera met the nose with a smoke, agave, cumin, and cherry aroma. Next, grape and lime mingled on the sip akin to the Fig Leaf, and the swallow showcased the mezcal spiced by cumin, caraway, and clove rather well.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

:: port light video! ::

As mentioned in a post a month ago, I filmed a video at the Boston Shaker Store utilizing Angel's Envy Bourbon (which I represent here in Boston) making the 1961 Port Light. All of the syrups, tools, and Tiki mugs that you need to make this drink can be found at the store (they ship as well!).

See the link above for more information. The modified recipe I used:
Port Light
2 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Yes Cocktail Co. Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Yes Cocktail Co. Grenadine
Whip shake with crushed ice, pour into a Tiki mug, and top with crushed ice. I garnished with a mint bouquet and freshly grated nutmeg.

why not

1 3/4 oz Evan Williams Black Label Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Dark Maple Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with a lemon wheel and sage leaf.
Two Saturdays ago, I began perusing the Cocktail Codex book for the night's libation, and I stopped upon the Why Not. The recipe was Devon Tarby's 2017 Sidecar variation that paired orange liqueur with maple syrup that I only experienced together in the Dartmouth. Once prepared, the Why Not ventured to the nose with a lemon, sage, and orange aroma. Next, lemon and rich maple notes on the sip were answered by Bourbon and orange flavors on the swallow. Indeed, the maple syrup helped to bridge the gap between the whiskey and citrus elements in the mix.

Friday, October 2, 2020

better & better

1 1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/4 oz Falernum (1/2 oz Velvet)

Build in a rocks glass, add a large ice cube, stir, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Fridays ago, I began Eric Alperin's Unvarnished book, and for a drink that night, I skipped ahead to the recipe section. There, I was drawn in by the simplicity of Jan Warren's Old Fashioned called Better & Better that utilized mezcal with some funky Jamaican rum as the spirit and countered it with falernum as both the sweetener and the spice. In the glass, the Better & Better donated a bright lemon oil over mezcal smoke and caramel-y rum funk on the nose. Next, a hint of caramel on the sip transferred to smoky vegetal mezcal, funky rum, lime, ginger, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

zombie count

1 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1 oz Campari
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 dash Absinthe (12 drop St. George)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Whip shake, pour into a Zombie glass or Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs.

Two Thursdays ago, it was in the middle of Negroni Week, and I wondered if I could make an interesting mashup with the 1919 legend and a classic Tiki drink. The one that I selected was the 1934 Zombie which I had previously done in a stirred format (and no gin) with the Count Rides Again, but this concept was more citrus driven. To the Zombie recipe, I upped the grapefruit and cinnamon quotient for both pair rather elegantly with Campari such as in the Tasmanian Twister and Rum Firewalker, respectively. Moreover, I dropped the falernum for there were already enough spiced and herbal elements added to the mix. I also amped up the grenadine considerably for it has frequently been paired with Campari in modern Tiki drinks such as in the Freaky Tiki and in my Jungle Grog (one book referred to the flavor duo as "bittersweet").

For a name, it came down to Zombie Count and Count Zombie as a nod to Count Camillo Negroni, and the former won out. Once assembled, the Zombie Count lurched to the nose with a mint, berry, and pine bouquet. Next, berry, grapefruit, and lime notes attacked the sip, and the swallow bit in with gin, cinnamon, fruity, and spice flavors. Overall, the citrus combined with the grenadine, vermouth, and Campari in a complex fruit punch sort of way.