Thursday, April 22, 2021

adventures close to home

1 oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (Rhum Clement Premiere Canne)
1 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Amaro Nardini
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I was more inspired to create something than search a bunch of books for a new recipe. I became inspired by the recent Amaro Nardini drinks and wanted to see how it would sooth aggressive spirits like rhum agricole and mezcal. To give it an extra dimension, I added in Swedish punsch and both Peychaud's and Angostura Bitters. For a name, I latched on to a song by the British 1970s punk band The Slits called Adventures Close to Home that sounded like a perfect way to sum up the last year of pandemic living. Once prepared, the Adventures Close to Home showcased grapefruit oil over grassy and smoke aromas. Next, a caramel sip led into grassy, vegetal, minty, smoky, chocolate, black tea, anise, and clove flavors on the swallow. Overall, the two liqueurs did a great job smoothing the edges on the rhum and mezcal.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

old money

2 oz Bourbon (Old Forester 100°)
1/2 oz Aperol
2 bsp Nux Alpina (1/4 oz Russo Nocino)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist and a spritz of allspice dram (3 drop Hamilton's).
Two Wednesdays ago, I spied the Old Money on Kindred Cocktails by Benjamin Schiller at Boka in Chicago circa 2009. Overall, the combination reminded me of a whiskey version of the Cognac-based Mr. Burgess. Here, the Old Money welcomed the senses with an orange, allspice, and walnut bouquet. Next, malt, berry, and darker notes on the sip passed into Bourbon, orange, and walnut flavors on the swallow with an allspice and clove finish.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

tuxedo park

1 oz Aged Bols Genever (1/2 oz Bols Genever + 1/2 oz Bols Corenwyn)
1 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Fino Sherry (La Gitana Manzanilla)
1/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to the Hawthorne's bar bible and got lured in by the Tuxedo Park created by bartender Katie Emmerson (now Okane). The recipe reminded me of Eastern Standard's Tuxedo Cocktail #3 that was their aged Genever riff on the classic #1 and #2 gin versions. Relative to #3, this had sweet vermouth instead of dry and slightly adjusted proportions; moreover, it was named after a region just north of Manhattan that was once private hunting grounds in the 1880s and later became home to many socialites up until the Depression. The famous residents included J.P. Morgan, Emily Post, and William Waldorf Astor.

The Tuxedo Park began with an orange oil aroma over malt and hint of cherry on the nose. Next, a malty and grape sip rose to Genever's malt and botanicals, savory herbal, and nutty cherry flavors on the swallow.

Monday, April 19, 2021


2 oz Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Walnut Liqueur (Russo Nocino)
1/2 oz Honey Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass or serve on the rocks.
Two Mondays ago, I landed upon the Connery created by Rafa Garcia Febles in Manhattan circa 2014 as his tribute to the actor who portrayed James Bond and other roles. The idea of a Scotch Sour softened by honey and accented by walnut liqueur sounded delightful. Once prepared, the Connery welcomed the nose with a peat smoke and walnut aroma. Next, the combination of lemon, malt, and honey on the sip was displaced by Scotch, honey, and walnut on the swallow with a smoky finish.

Sunday, April 18, 2021


1 oz Jagermeister
1 oz Campari
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
2 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large cube (originally was served up in a coupe), and garnish with both an orange twist and a lemon one.

Two Sundays ago, I was perusing the ShakeStir drink database when I spotted the Saxoni that I had invented. I would not say made, for I had submitted it in 2015 without having put the ingredients together in a glass due to a time crunch -- yet it won second place in that Jägermeister competition. My description was "A Negroni inspired by a Black Manhattan," and it was not surprising that it was not the only Negroni riff (yet it got noticed). As I described in my Art of Naming a Drink essay two years later, "In competitions, the name can be rather important to win the judges' nod. Linking the name to a bit of history or geography about the ingredient can be helpful. For example, in one Jägermeister competition on ShakeStir, I stood out above the other competitors who created Negroni riffs by avoiding the common Jägeroni or Negronimeister ones that were submitted by paying tribute to the geography of the spirit and dubbing it the Saxoni."
Now almost 6 years later, I felt it was time to make this drink. The Saxoni unfurled a lemon and orange oil aroma over ginger and caramel notes. Next, caramel, citrus, and peach flavors on the sip led into ginger, bitter orange, and star anise on the swallow with a chocolate finish. After Andrea tasted it, she commented that she understood why this combination was in the winners' circle regardless of the name.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

the way of the sword

1 1/2 oz Yamazaki 12 Year Whisky (Kavalan)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Ruby Port (Taylor Fladgate)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Saturdays ago, I honed in on my Food & Wine: Cocktails section of my library, and I found the Way of the Sword in the 2015 edition. The recipe was crafted by Jason Patz at William & Graham as a riff on the Rob Roy; I had probably skipped over the drink for I lack Japanese whisky at the home bar, but I figured that Taiwanese might be close enough. In the glass, the Way of the Sword swung with an orange, grape, and vegetal aroma. Next, grape and caramel on the sip parried a whisky, dark grape, tobacco, and herbal swallow. Indeed, the port here worked rather well with the whisky as it had in other cocktails such as the classic Chancellor.

Friday, April 16, 2021

my idea of fun

3/4 oz Rhum Barbancourt 8 Year
3/4 oz Banks 5 Island Rum (Denizen 8)
1/2 oz Plantation Overproof Rum (Planatation OFTD)
1/2 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/2 oz Byrrh Quinquina
1 tsp Cinnamon Syrup
1 dash Root Beer Bitters (Bitter Queens Sarsaparilla)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange peel and freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Fridays ago, I spotted a recipe by Joaquin Simo on both BarNotes and Kindred Cocktails called My Idea of Fun. This 2013 creation at Pouring Ribbons in Manhattan seemed like the perfect Rum Manhattan of sorts to round out my day. Once prepared, the cocktail shared an orange, woody spice, molasses, and grape bouquet to the nose. Next, grape and caramel on the sip sailed into robust rums, caramel, nutty, and root beer flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, April 15, 2021


2 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey (2 oz Teeling's Small Batch)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/4 oz Caol Ila Scotch
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a coupe pre-rinsed with absinthe (Kübler), and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I spied Jeff Mason and Greg Boehm's 2009 The Big Bartender's Book, and I wondered if I could uncover an interesting recipe that I have glossed over in the past. The one that appealed to me was Jim Meehan's Thornbush that was perhaps his riff on the Blackthorn from 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book. In the glass, the Thornbush welcomed the senses with a lemon, anise, and peat aroma. Next, grape and malt on the sip transitioned to Irish whiskey along with Islay peat notes melding into the absinthe botanicals on the swallow with a clove and smoke finish.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021


1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Cimarron)
1/2 oz Lillet or Cocchi Americano (Cocchi Americano)
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
1/2 oz Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass pre-rinsed with Green Chartreuse.

After thinking about the Jaguar after making the Camerone the night before, I decided to mash up the ingredients (tequila, Picon, Chartreuse, orange bitters) with another tequila drink -- the Metexa (tequila, Lillet, Swedish Punsch) from the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book. Since I felt that the Chartreuse might overtake the other flavors, I reduced it to a rinse. For a name, I wanted to keep the feline theme and dubbed this one the Tigrillo after the Mexican wildcat the Ocelot.
The Tigrillo pounced on the nose with a Green Chartreuse herbal aroma over agave notes. Next, caramel, citrus, and peach notes on the sip gave way to tequila, dark orange, and tea elements on the swallow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021


2 oz Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
3/4 oz Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
1/4 oz Licor 43
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to the Bittermens site and spotted the Camerone created by Paul Clarke. Paul crafted this drink for his The Cocktail Chronicles blog's review of the Bittermens' initial lineup in 2008, and the recipe reminded me a less herbal Jaguar. Once prepared, the Camerone proffered an agave, orange, and vanilla bouquet to the nose. Next, a caramel sip slinked into tequila, bitter orange, and vanilla notes on the swallow with a bright citrus peel and chocolate finish.

Monday, April 12, 2021

pink twizzler (was the pink derby)

In March of 2020, I hosted a post-Speedrack afterparty at Silvertone where I organized a fundraising effort to benefit the Ellie Fund charity. My contact there recently reached out to see if I was interested in contributing a cocktail to their gala in honor of their 25th anniversary. Since the event would be held virtually this year, I schemed with them to create a cocktail followed by a video demonstrating how to make it. We wanted to work with Angel's Envy Bourbon as the spirit, and the idea of a Brown Derby elongated with sparkling wine was formed. For a name, I proposed the Pink Derby for both the libation's color (especially when made with sparkling rosé) and in symbolism for the breast cancer ribbon, and they opted for the Pink Twizzler since the gala was usually held at a movie theater in Newton, MA, and the event this year on April 25th coincides with Hollywood's biggest awards night of the year. The Brown Derby as an inspiration was also perfect for its genesis traces back to Hollywood as well. More on the charity, the drink, and the video below.
Pink Twizzler (was the Pink Derby)
• 1 1/2 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
• 1 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
• 1/2 oz Honey Syrup (equal parts honey and hot water, mixed)
• Optional: 1 piece Grapefruit Peel (around 3/4 inch x 2 inches)
Shake with ice, add 2-3 oz dry sparkling wine (sparkling rosé if possible but white is fine too), and strain into a cocktail glass, flute, white wine glass, or an iced-filled Collins. Optional: garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Here's the text that went along with the video:
The Ellie Fund's 25th anniversary Red Carpet Gala that they are hosting virtually on April 25th at 6pm before Hollywood's biggest award night. The Ellie fund was founded in 1995 and for the last 25 years has provided essential support services for breast cancer patients to ease the stresses of every day life as they receive treatment. Ticket sales for the gala will help support the assistance provided to around 600 Massachusetts patients each year, and this year’s performer lineup is amazing.

For something to drink while watching the gala, here's the Pink Twizzler that I crafted for this event. It is based off a classic Hollywood cocktail called the Brown Derby created in the 1930s in honor of that Los Angeles establishment. The Brown Derby is a combination of bourbon, pink grapefruit juice, and honey, and here with the addition of sparkling wine, we'll transform it into the Pink Twizzler. The whiskey we’ll be using is Angel's Envy Bourbon which is a high rye Bourbon finished in ruby port casks, and this finish elegantly donates light cherry, cranberry, and chocolate notes along with a delicious roundness to the spirit.

So remember to buy a ticket, make the drink, and enjoy the show on April 25th. Information can be found here under "Events":
You can watch the video here on YouTube replete with a jazz soundtrack and me wearing a smoking jacket and a tie (luckily, I still remembered how to tie one after this pandemic-induced period of casual fashion). Originally, we were to film at the theater, but the bar there had been packed away and the mirrors on the wall were a bit distracting. Therefore, I did it in my dining room in front of my cocktail glass cabinet.


1 1/2 oz Redemption Rye (Old Overholt)
3/4 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Lustau Fino Sherry (La Gitana Manzanilla)
1/2 oz Campari

Throw the cocktail until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Mondays ago, I was perusing the ShakeStir site for drink ideas when I came across a recipe by Sam Treadway at Backbar for a 2017 competition. That cocktail was the 1492 that was a 1794 variation with the Spanish elements of Fino sherry as well as throwing cocktails to mix them. Since I had never thrown a cocktail before, I figured that it was a good time as any to start, and it would give my arm still aching from my first vaccine shot that morning some needed exercise. My sore arm and lack of confidence in the technique did not allow for extravagant aerations at altitude, so I added a few additional throws to the suggested six. Once served, the 1492 gave forth rye whiskey and lemon oil aromas over grape undertones. The grape continued on into the sip where it mingled with a peachy-orange note, and the swallow continued on with rye along with bitter peach flavors.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

orchard street

2 oz Aged Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Amaro Nardini
1/4 oz Amontillado or Oloroso Sherry (Lustau Oloroso)

Stir with ice, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
While writing up the Five Points, I began to think about its similarities to the Carroll Gardens -- both maintained the combination of Punt e Mes and Amaro Nardini but had different base spirits and nutty accents. To make my own riff, I swapped the spirit to aged apple brandy, and for a nutty ingredient instead of Maraschino or walnut liqueur, I opted for an oxidized dry sherry. As I learned from the It's a Long, Long Way at Wit's End, a little bit of that sort of sherry goes quite a ways. The apple element made me think of Orchard Street in the Lower East Side in Manhattan that is less than a mile away from the Five Points neighborhood. In the glass, the Orchard Street proffered a lemon, apple, and grape aroma. Next, caramel and grape on the sip gave way to apple, herbal, and nutty flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

a rum with a vieux

1 oz Lightly Aged Rhum Agricole (JM Gold)
1 oz Cognac (Pierre Ferrand Ambre)
1/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup (Sirup JM)
4 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into an absinthe-rinsed (Kübler) cocktail (rocks) glass, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.
Two Thursdays ago, it was bartender Jim Romdall's birthday, so I decided to make his A Rhum with a Vieux that he created at Rumba in Seattle and Imbibe Magazine published last year. The recipe was essentially a r(h)um and Cognac Sazerac, and that seemed perfect for my mood. Once prepared, the drink showcased a lemon, grassy, funky, and anise aroma. Next, a rich sip slid into Cognac, grassy and funky rum, anise, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow.

Friday, April 9, 2021

salary man

2 oz Famous Grouse Scotch
1 oz Carpano Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Amaro Nonino

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe pre-rinsed with absinthe (Kübler), and garnish with 9 drops Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters (King Floyd's Cherry-Cacao).
Two Fridays ago, I ventured into the North Star Cocktails book and spotted the Salary Man by Minneapolis bartender Rob Jones. This Bobby Burns riff began with a chocolate, anise, and orange bouquet. Next, caramel and grape on the sip earned its way into a Scotch, orange, and cherry swallow with an anise finish.

Thursday, April 8, 2021


1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Angel's Envy)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Benedictine
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Thursdays ago, I opened up Brian Bartels' The United States of Cocktails and spotted the Pendergast from Ryan Maybee at Manifesto in Kansas City, Missouri. The combination reminded me of Preakness with a different American whiskey style plus an increased amount of Benedictine, or perhaps a Manhattan mashed up with a Monte Carlo or Frisco. The name was what made me curious -- a reference to Tom Pendergast who was an American political boss who controlled Kansas City and Jackson County, Missouri from 1925-1939. Pendergast was best known for helping Harry Truman begin his political career which led Truman to the Senate. After Pendergast was convicted of income tax evasion (not to mention his suspected ties to organized crime), Truman had to shake the derisive name of "the Senator from Pendergast" from his political opponents by drumming up bipartisan support for his ideas. The tie-in with Manifesto is that the cocktail lounge was originally the basement speakeasy for the Rieger Hotel during Prohibition that was frequented by Tom Pendergast and underworld figures like Al Capone.
The Pendergast began things off with a lemon oil aroma. Next, grape and caramel notes on the sip decreed a Bourbon, herbal, chocolate, cherry, and clove swallow. Imbibe Magazine in 2012 summed things up with, "Tom Pendergast... may have gone down for corruption but this no-nonsense cocktail is clean as a whistle."

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

muff pistol

1 1/2 oz Half Moon Gin (1 1/4 oz Tanqueray Malacca + 1/4 oz Morin Selection Calvados)
1 oz Byrrh Quinquina
3/4 oz Grapefruit Liqueur (St. Elder)
1/2 tsp Branca Menta
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I spotted a Negroni-inspired recipe on the ShakeStir site from Colin Shearn in 2014. He created the Muff Pistol for a Half Moon Gin competition there, and to replicate this gin with a fifth of the spirit being apple brandy, I replaced a small amount with Calvados. The name is a reference to the small flintlock guns carried by women and hidden in their hand-warmer. Once prepared, the Muff Pistol shot forth orange, grapefruit, and red fruit aromas. Next, peach and grapefruit notes on the sip recoiled into gin, apple, grape, minty, menthol, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

elder fashion

2 oz Plymouth Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Scrappy's)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
I continued on with another Phil Ward recipe that I had not made yet in the Death & Co. Cocktail Book called the Elder Fashion. This 2007 drink from the Old Fashioned section of the book reminded me of a pair of guests at Nahita who requested this every time they sat at the bar. In the glass, the Elder Fashion showcased a grapefruit and floral bouquet. Next, grapefruit and pear notes on the sip set up a gin and grapefruit swallow with a pine finish.

Monday, April 5, 2021

sea b3

2 oz Gosling's Black Seal Rum
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Mondays ago, I decided to finally make the Sea B3 from the Death & Co. Cocktail Book. The name and rum base made me think of some of Trader Vic's old recipes named after military aircraft such as the PB2Y2 (which remarkably has overlapping ingredients plus curaçao and lime juice). Besides that similarity, the recipe also read just like a dark rum Ward 8, and the link to Boston's political cocktail made sense once I learned of the back story. Phil Ward crafted this combination in 2008 and declared, "This is one of several cocktails inspired by the worst days of our battles with our community board a/k/a CB3." In early 2007, the CB3 passed a resolution to deny the renewal of Death & Co.'s liquor license after the bar had been open for a few months. After a prolonged legal battle, a large fine, and a brief shutdown, the bar was finally granted some security for its license along with a 2am closing time.
The Sea B3 greeted the senses with a dark rum aroma in a molasses sort of way plus berry notes from the grenadine. Next, dark caramel, orange, and berry flavors on the sip led into molasses-y rum on the swallow. Overall, the dark rum worked better than American whiskey does for my palate in the Ward 8.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

frank lloyd wright

2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon (Old Forester 100°)
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Pear Liqueur
1/8 oz Nocino (Russo)
1/8 oz Laphroaig Scotch
2 dash Fee's Old Fashioned Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel-Aged)

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

Two Sundays ago, I spotted an Old Fashioned riff on Barnotes for the Frank Lloyd Wright from Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco. Through the Alcademics blog, I was able to attribute the recipe to bartender Ian Scalzo who served during Malt Advocate's Whisky Week events in 2009. The use of pear liqueur as the sweetener reminded me of Erick Castro's Statesman that he created at Bourbon & Branch in 2008.
The Frank Lloyd Wright designed up a lemon, peat smoke, and pear nose. Next, a malt and orchard fruit sip built up a Bourbon, pear, and smoky Scotch swallow with a walnut and cinnamon finish.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

five points

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Lunazul)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Nardini Amaro
1 tsp Nocino (Russo)
2 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora (coupe) glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
After making the Outlaw Country, I spied another intriguing recipe in Death & Co.'s Instagram called the Five Points. This 2018 creation was attributed to bartender Jon Feuersanger at Death & Co.'s Denver outpost. The combination reminded me of the Carroll Gardens with the Punt e Mes and Nardini, but here the rye was replaced with a split of reposado tequila and mezcal and the nutty Maraschino was swapped for walnut liqueur. The name most likely revolves around the Five Points neighborhood in lower Manhattan whose mid-19th century activities were the focal point of the Gangs of New York movie. Here, the Five Points proffered an orange, vegetal, and smoke bouquet. Next, grape and caramel on the sip gave way to smoky agave, herbal, and chocolate flavors on the swallow.

Friday, April 2, 2021

ghost of my life

1 1/2 oz Zucca (Sfumato)
1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Campari
5 drop Salt Tincture (1 pinch Salt)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Fridays ago, I began searching for recipes created at the Cure in New Orleans. The one that I was drawn to was the Ghost of My Life crafted by Turk Dietrich which was published in a 2012 The Daily Meal article. With Campari and a rabarbaro, the combination reminded me of the Preceptor and Gully Brood. Once prepared, the Ghost of My Life followed to the nose with a lemon aroma over dark smokey notes. Next, a roast-filled sip summoned a gin and bitter smoky-vegetal swallow with a bitter orange finish.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

outlaw country

1 oz Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon (Old Forester 100°)
1/2 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
1/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/4 oz Averna
1 tsp Vanilla Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with a large cube; the photo showed an orange twist, so I added one.
Two Thursdays ago, I spotted a reference on Barnotes about an interesting Old Fashioned variation that had been posted on the Death & Co. Instagram. The drink was the Outlaw Country that they created at their Denver outpost, and Averna as half of the sweetener reminded me of the Autumn Sweater but with a more tropical bend here. Once prepared, the Outlaw Country showcased an orange, caramel, and pineapple aroma. Next, the caramel and pineapple continued on into the sip, and that was chased by Bourbon, funky rum, tropical fruit, and vanilla flavors on the swallow with a clove and pineapple finish.