Thursday, October 6, 2022

the royal navy dram

3 oz Zacapa Rum (2 oz Zaya)
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro (1/2 oz)
3/4 oz Benedictine (1/2 oz)
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a pinch of black lava salt or Kosher salt (sea salt).
Two Thursdays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted on the ShakeStir website called the Royal Navy Dram. This Flip was crafted by Chris Fields at the Matchbox in Chicago circa 2013 and features the Amaro Montenegro-Benedictine combination that worked well in the Alternative Ulster and Lindsey's Whimsy. Once assembled, the Royal Navy Dram proffered a caramel aroma that preceded a creamy caramel sip. Finally, rum, clementine, and herbal flavors were the final salute on the swallow.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

two roads diverged

1 1/2 oz Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
1/2 oz Maple Syrup
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/8 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/8 oz Demerara Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Wednesdays ago, I got a request for a "Fall in a glass" cocktail from a guest at Drink. I took an apple brandy bolstered by maple syrup and spiced with Benedictine, cinnamon syrup, and Angostura bitters route. Things tasted a bit thin so I added a barspoon of Demerara syrup to fatten it up. Given the success of that creation with said guest, I served it later that night for a similar style of request and then for myself as a nightcap. For mine, it offered up apple, maple, and cinnamon aromas. Next, caramel and lemon notes on the sip flowed into apple, maple, herbal, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow. For a name, I dubbed this one Two Roads Diverged after a line from Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" poem akin to my naming convention in my Miles to Go Before I Sleep.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

the clyde

2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
3/4 oz Luxardo Amaro Abano
1/2 oz Cynar

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and (optional) garnish with a crack/pinch of black pepper.
Two Tuesdays ago, I delved into the Kindred Cocktails database and spotted the Clyde by New York City bartender Rafa Garcia Febles circa 2013. The pairing of mezcal with Amaro Abano called out to me for it worked well in the Speaking in Tongues. Once prepared, the Clyde generated a caramel, smoke, vegetal, and black pepper aroma. Next, the caramel from the two amari filled the sip, and the swallow followed through with smoky agave, vegetal, and black pepper flavors.

Monday, October 3, 2022

johnny appleseed

1 oz Laird's Applejack
1 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Aperol
1 dash (~1/8+ oz) Allspice Dram

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I had dinner at Trina's Starlite Lounge. For a drink, Andrea requested the Negroni Week cocktail that the bar had posted on their social media. Called Johnny Appleseed, the combination reminded me of an apple version of Charlotte Voisey's Unusual Negroni (equal parts Hendrick's Gin, Lillet, Aperol) with an accent of allspice dram. Here, the Johnny Appleseed came through with an orange, apple, and allspice bouquet. Next, orange and orchard fruit on the sip wandered into apple, orange, and allspice flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

best fronds

1 1/2 oz Pineapple Rum (Plantation)
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
2 dash Chocolate Bitters (Angostura Cocoa)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a lime twist (express and discard).
During Negroni Week two weeks prior, I had spotted a post about a pineapple rum drink called the Best Fronds on my Instagram feed. I tracked down the recipe to the Educated Barfly site where it was attributed to Chris Day at Oakland's Kon-Tiki. While read like a pineapple rum Right Hand, the named seemd to make a pun on the whiskey-dry vermouth Boulevardier riff, the Old Pal. Since the combination reminded me of the Dashboard Hula Girl, I was all set to give it a whirl. In the glass, it donated a lime, pineapple, and dark rum aroma to the nose. Next, caramel and grape notes on the sip erupted into pineapple, rum, caramel-bitter orange, and chocolate flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

leaf fall

1 oz Laphroaig Scotch
1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Amaro Sfumato (Zucca will work)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Absinthe (10 drop Kübler)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with orange oils from a twist.
After wrapping up hosting a cocktail party at Drink and doing the books two Saturdays ago, I needed a nightcap. I recalled how well Benedictine toned down Fernet Branca in the Campo Viejo, and I wondered what it would do for Amaro Sfumato. With Autumn on its way, the Sfumato and Benedictine led me to the combination of smoky Scotch and apple brandy, and I dubbed it the Leaf Fall. Once prepared, it gave forth an orange, smoke, and apple aroma. Next, a caramel sip fluttered down into an apple, smoke, earth, and herbal swallow.

Friday, September 30, 2022

new nails

1 1/2 oz Scotch (Monkey Shoulder)
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Absinthe (20 drop Kübler)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.
Two Fridays ago at Drink, I had a guest in an after-work crowd that was ordering Rusty Nails, and like a week prior when I crafted the Big Spender, it got me thinking. Another cocktail that I had made that night was the Modernista, and I decided to take that Scotch-Jamaican rum combination and fuse it with the Rusty Nail. I dropped the citrus from the equation and ended up opting for Angostura Bitters which provided more structure than the orange bitters from the Modernista. For a name, I dubbed this one the New Nails after the 1982 song from Boston band Mission of Burma. Here, it welcomed the nose with orange, caramel, and rum funk aromas. Next, honey and caramel mingled on the sip, and the swallow rounded things off with Scotch, honey, tea, rum funk, anise, and clove flavors.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

brown bittered stirred

2 oz Russell's Reserve 6 Year Rye (Old Overholt 86°)
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz JM Shrubb (Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, garnish with lemon oils and orange oils from twists, and add a rock candy stick (omit).
After getting home from a busy night at the bar, I reached for Home Bar Basics (And Not So Basics) 3rd Edition by Dave Stolte, and I landed upon the Brown Bittered Stirred. The recipe was created by Jason Schiffer at 320 Main in Seal Beach, California, sometime in the 2010s, and it came across like an orange-tinged Little Italy. Once prepared, it donated a lemon, orange, and caramel bouquet to the nose. Next, grape and caramel notes on the sip gave way to rye, bitter, and orange flavors on the swallow with a clove and orange finish. Overall, the orange liqueur shifted the balance enough that I no longer thought of it as a Little Italy riff while drinking it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

i against i

1 oz Hampden Estate Jamaican Rum (3/4 oz Coruba + 1/4 oz Smith & Cross)
1 oz Great King Street Glasgow Blend Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1/4 oz Honey Syrup 2:1 (3/8 oz 1:1)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1/2 dash Bitter End Jamaican Jerk Bitters (Bittercube Jamaica #2)

Stir with ice, strain into a old fashioned pre-rinsed with Strega, and garnish with grapefruit oil from a twist.
After my bar shift two Wednesdays ago, I selected Death & Co.'s Welcome Home book and landed upon Matthew Belanger's 2019 drink named I against I. I assumed that it was named after the punk band from the Netherlands, but it could be named after one of Bad Brains' albums, a 2012 movie, a song from Massive Attack, and a few other possibilities. With no hint in the text, I continued on to mix up the recipe. Soon, my nose was greeted by grapefruit oil and herbal-spice aromas from the Strega. Next, caramel and honey notes on the sip charged into Scotch, funky rum, clove, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

terra firma

3/4 oz Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky (Kavalan Classic)
3/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/4 oz Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make a drink from Jeffrey Morgenthaler in Punch Drinks called the Terra Firma. This recent creation at Portland's KEX Hotel was crafted as a Vieux Carré riff utilizing Japanese whisky and apple brandy in place of the rye and Cognac, respectively. Once prepared, it proffered lemon, whisky, and herbal aromas to the nose. Next, a white grape sip entered into whisky, apple, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Monday, September 26, 2022

ward six

1 1/2 oz Old Overholt 86° Rye
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Frank's Red Hot Sauce

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to the Seaport to have dinner at Chickadee. For a cocktail, I selected the Ward Six which came off as an intense Ward Eight riff. I later spoke with co-owner Ted Kilpatrick and inquired if it were his creation, to which he replied yes, and that it was "sneakily based on sangrita" and how their restaurant is almost in Ward Six. I explained that I figured it was his since it reminded me of his Son of Chico Dusty that he crafted a decade ago at No. 9 Park. Here, the Ward Six welcomed the nose with fruity elements from the grenadine and lemon as well as fruit and spice notes from the red pepper. Next, lemon, pepper, and pomegranate on the sip voted in rye along with pepper spice mingling with Angostura's winter spice on the swallow.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

conference

1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon (Evan Williams Bonded)
1/2 oz Calvados (Morin Selection)
1/2 oz Hine H Cognac (Pierre Ferrand 1840)
1 tsp 2:1 Demerara Syrup (1/4 oz 1:1)
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters (Angostura Cocoa)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube (build in an old fashioned glass, add a large ice cube, and stir). Garnish with a lemon twist and an orange twist.
Two Sundays ago, I opened up the first Death & Co. Cocktail Book and came upon the Conference. This Brian Miller recipe was described as "a Tiki drink disguised as an Old Fashioned" due to the blending of several base spirits to make a new flavor profile akin to the Don the Beachcomber quote "What one rum can't do, three rums can." While the book lacked a date for its creation, the Bittermens site attributed it to 2007. Here, the Conference led off with lemon, orange, and Cognac aromas. Next, a rich sip jumped into rye, apple, Cognac, allspice, chocolate, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

as wine stands time

1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with grapefruit oil from a twist.
Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make another recipe that I had spotted that week on Kindred Cocktails called As Wine Stands Time; the recipe was attributed to Kirk Estopinal of New Orleans' Cure via a 2014 eGullet thread. The combination reminded me of the Midnight Maurader with rye instead of mezcal and mole bitters as well as the Bicycle Thief minus the sweet vermouth as well as different proportions. Here, the As Wine Stands Time kicked things off with grapefruit and dark caramel aromas. Next, caramel and grape notes on the sip transitioned into rye and funky herbal flavors on the swallow.

Friday, September 23, 2022

ends of the earth

2 oz Añejo Tequila (Cimarron Reposado)
1/2 oz Crème de Banane (Tempus Fugit)
1/2 oz Amaro Nardini

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Fridays ago, I was scanning the Kindred Cocktails database for an intriguing recipe when I came across Chicago drink maker Applejack's Ends of the Earth. Its combination of agave and Amaro Nardini reminded me of how well the two worked in the Don't Forget the Struggle, Don't Forget the Streets and the Five Points, and I figured that banana liqueur in the mix would make things even tastier. Once prepared, the Ends of the Earth donated an orange, caramel, and vegetal aroma. Next, a caramelized banana sip concluded in a tequila and bitter herbal swallow.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

big spender

1 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
1 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
1/2 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Fernet Branca

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I had a guest at work who wanted a Rusty Nail, and I began thinking about Drambuie. I then recalled the delightful Brambuie-Fernet combination in the Bittered Old Coot and Bonita Applebum, and I took things in a Cognac and pineapple rum direction later that evening. For a name, the song "Big Spender" by Peggy Lee was on the sound system, and I went with it. In the glass, the Big Spender proffered orange over darker aromas and fruit notes to the nose. Next, a honey and caramelized pineapple sip gave way to Cognac flavors with Fernet's bitterness on the swallow and pineapple and menthol on the finish.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

king louie

3/4 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
3/4 oz Cognac (Pierre Ferrand 1840)
1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina
1/2 oz Crème de Banane (Tempus Fugit)
2 dash Mole Bitters (Angostura Cocoa)

Stir with ice, strain into a glass, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.
Two Wednesdays after I returned home from my bar shift, I was inspired to tinker with banana liqueur that I last used two days prior in the Origami Ape with the recipe structure of the 1919 Cocktail. For a name, I dubbed this one the King Louie after the orangutan who appears in Disney's 1967 movie The Jungle Book; King Louie was not in Rudyard Kipling's book but was cast for, voiced by, and named after singer Louis Prima. In the glass, the King Louie donated a lemon, caramel, and banana bouquet. Next, caramel and grape on the sip danced into rye, Cognac, caramel, and tropical flavors on the swallow in this desserty number.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

the bedminster

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt 86°)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Amaro Nonino
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I spotted an interesting recipe on Kindred Cocktails called the Bedminster by Steve Fette; Steve created the drink in 2012 in honor of the location of the Pluckemin Inn in Bedminster, New Jersey. After having great luck with rye, Benedictine, and an amaro such as Cynar in the Death on the Installment Plan and Fernet in the Campo Viejo, having one with Amaro Nonino seemed intriguing. Once mixed, it proffered lemon, herbal, and orange aromas to the nose. Next, caramel and orange notes on the sip led into rye, herbal, chocolate-caramel, orange, and clove flavors on the swallow. I opted for a softer rye here to let the Amaro Nonino shine, but perhaps a spicier rye like Rittenhouse would have been a better choice for the balance trended on the sweeter side as things warmed up.

Monday, September 19, 2022

origami ape

1 1/2 oz Aged Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Añejo)
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Banana Liqueur (Tempus Fugit)
1 pinch Salt

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a banana chip (omit).
Two Mondays ago, I returned after a bit of an absence to Chad Austin's Everyone Has a F*cking Cocktail Book and landed upon the Origami Ape. Chad's recipe features the combination of crème de banane and Amaro Montenegro that has appeared in a trio of drinks: the Hawthorne's Flower & Vine, Dead Rabbit's Fifth Gear, and Brian Maxwell's Chiquita Old Fashioned. Here as a Daiquiri variation, it proffered banana aromas with hints of orange and lime. Next, a lime and caramel sip flowed into rum and banana-tangerine flavors on the swallow. As it warmed up, the balance tipped a bit to the sweeter side, so perhaps dropping the Amaro Montenegro to a half ounce would help things.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

havana 3 a.m.

1 1/2 oz Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1/2 oz Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Absinthe (20 drop Copper & Kings)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
One of the recipes that I make for Scotch-citrus requests at work is the Modernista recipe provided by Ted Haigh in his seminal Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails book. I took a page from the Havana Cocktail as adapted in Jeff Masson and Greg Boehm's Big Bartender's Book and added in apricot liqueur in place of the orange bitters in Haigh's recipe. For a name, I dubbed this one Havana 3 A.M. after the mid-80s rock group which took its name from a 1956 album by Pérez Prado. In the glass, the Havana 3 A.M. proffered rum funk and smoke aromas. Next, lemon and caramel in the sip danced away to smoky Scotch, rum funk, apricot, black tea, and anise flavors.

Friday, September 16, 2022

hope is a waking dream

1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Grenadine
2 dash Angostura Bitters


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

Two Fridays ago at work, I made the Giuseppe's Lady for a guest who wanted gin, citrus, and bitter. When I got home, I was inspired to take those flavors in a Martini riff akin to an embittered Atta Boy from The Savoy Cocktail Book such as what was what was done in the Atta Girl with Fernet. For a name, I had still been thinking about my Lyft driver who was talking to me about Aristotle that began with the theory on the three kinds of friendship: friendships of pleasure, of utility, and of virtue. Therefore, I dubbed this one Hope is a Waking Dream after one of Aristotle's sayings.
The Hope is a Waking Dream came through to the senses with a lemon, berry, and pine aroma. Next, a crisp berry and caramel sip flowed into gin, caramel, and herbal notes on the swallow with a berry and clove finish.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

beehive

1 1/2 oz Aged Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Fernet Branca

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Thursdays ago, I returned to Dave Stolte's Home Bar Basics (and Not So Basics) (3rd ed.) and spotted the Beehive. This 2010s creation by Brandon Bramhall of Attaboy in New York City was reminiscent of the rum-based Bee's Knees called the Honey Bee in David Embury's 1948 The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks with lime and a Fernet touch akin to the Tiger Balm. In the glass, the Beehive conjured up caramel with hints of rum funk and menthol on the nose. Next, lime, caramel, and honey on the sip buzzed into funky rum blending into caramel-methol flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

the velvet touch

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
3/4 oz Amaro Nonino
1/4 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Oxford)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Wednesdays ago after my bar shift, I delved into the 3rd edition of Dave Stolte's Home Bar Basics (and Not So Basics) and found the Velvet Touch. The recipe was crafted by Dave Castillo at Truss & Twine of Palm Springs, California, in the 2010s, and it came across as a curious Black Manhattan of sorts that shared similarities with La Viña given the rye, sherry, and Nonino components. Once prepared, the Velvet Touch welcomed the senses with orange, caramel, and raisin aromas. Next, the caramel and grape notes continued on into the sip where they were overrun by rye, dark orange, and a hint of bitter flavors on the swallow with a raisin finish.

toucan sam

1 1/2 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 1/2 oz Lo-Fi Sweet (Blanc) Vermouth
1/4 oz Kalani Coconut Liqueur
1/8 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail pre-spritzed with a Makrut lime tincture (perhaps substitute lime oils from a twist or two), and garnish with a side of Fruit Loops.

For a second drink at Backbar, I asked bartender Anthony Brocatto for the Toucan Sam which seemed like a curious tropical Martini that was well received minutes before on the other end of the bar. The menu described how "this Martini will send you on a journey straight into the rain forest" especially given the lime oils and coconut liqueur; plus, the blanc vermouth (labeled as "sweet" by the producer) added cinnamon, clove, vanilla, and tropical notes to the mix. The menu continued on with, "Yes, we named it after Backbar's owner, Sam. Yes, we named it after the Fruit Loops mascot. And yes, if you follow your nose, it'll lead you to this deliciously complex clear cocktail."
When the drink was served, the Fruit Loops were provided in a sidecar cup; the menu photo had them laid across the top in a disorganized rainbow on pick. I inquired about the change of garnish, and Anthony explained how the garnish ended up getting wetted sitting atop when it was transported from the service bar to guests sitting in the room. Here, the Toucan Sam led the nose to floral and lime aromas. Next, white grape notes on the sip perched upon gin, coconut, nutty cherry, and cinnamon-herbal flavors on the swallow. Overall, it was a delight to drink even if it got a touch sweet as things warmed up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

hummingbird

1 oz Uruapan Charanda Blanco Rum
1/2 oz Flor de Caña Rum
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Giffard Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters
1 dash Rosemary Tincture (*)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an edible orchid flower.
(*) Perhaps a pinch of rosemary needles/leaves that were muddled would work as a substitute.

Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I headed down to Backbar to sample from their bird-themed menu. For a first drink, I asked bartender Anthony Brocatto for the Hummingbird that reminded me a bit of the Floridita Daiquiri given the cacao element. The menu described, "Going into battle, ancient Aztecs often wore hummingbird talismans, a symbol of valor and energy to honor Huiz, the ancient God of War. This refreshing cocktail will revitalize you and set your heart aflutter with its floral and chocolate notes." I was also excited to have a drink with Uruapan Charanda, a white rum made in Mexico that I have at home that is half agricole-style and half regular molasses rum.
In the glass, the Hummingbird flitted to the nose with rum funk, floral, and chocolate aromas. Next, lemon, roast, and a hint of fruitiness on the sip flew into funky rum, floral, and chocolate flavors on the swallow.

Monday, September 12, 2022

all signs point to yes

2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Campari

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a flamed orange twist (unflamed).
Two Mondays ago, I was interested in a Cynar-Aperol drink except I can no longer remember why that pair had inspired me. It is one that I first tried in 2008 with the biggest early impact being Aaron Butler's The Scottish Play at Russell House Tavern in 2010 and Jared Sadoian's Juan Bautista at Craigie on Main in 2011. Moreover, it appears in only one of my creations called The Elephant in the Room after watching political debate coverage in early 2020. Therefore, I set off searching the Kindred Cocktail database and found a pair of drinks with Eight Ball-themed names call the Ask Again Later and All Signs Point to Yes by Michael Alwill circa 2012 of the Cocktail Democracy blog. The latter called out to me more, and it welcomed my nose with a smoky, vegetal, and orange bouquet. Next, caramel and orange elements on the sip predicted smoky, vegetal bitter, and berry-orange flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

death on the installment plan

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Cynar

Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass pre-rinsed with apricot liqueur (Rothman & Winter).

Two Sundays ago, I had been thinking about the Benedictine-Cynar combination that I last tried out in the Lower Mills and wanted to expand on that. I opted for a 3:1 split base of Rittenhouse Rye to mezcal that I learned from several Death & Co. recipes including the Hunt & Peck and last tinkered with in the Campo Viejo. As a final touch, I added in the apricot rinse "bell-ringer" that was the signature move of James Maloney, for I have been making a few drinks from his 1900 The Twentieth-Century Cocktail Guide for Mixing Fancy Drinks at work including the Martinez Bell-Ringer. The combination of Cynar and apricot has been a delight in drinks like the One One Thousand as well as my Library Card, so that was on my mind. The Benedictine and apricot one was less on my mind despite it working well first in the Silk Road Sour that led to my Peruvian Necktie and other creations.
For a name, I dubbed this the Death on the Installment Plan after Louis-Ferdinand Celine's 1936 book. I had bought the book in the late 1990s but never read it for I got stuck reading his earlier Journey to the End of the Night and had to put it down to avoid the effects which that level of nihilism had on me as I was trying to wrap up my graduate studies for my doctorate. I had abandoned books before due to losing interest or a decrease in free time, but never have I been defeated by an author in such a way. The drink, however, was quite the opposite for it welcomed the senses with an apricot and smoke aroma with darker notes lurking beneath. Next, caramel and orchard fruit on the sip flowed into rye, smoke, vegetal, and herbal flavors on the swallow with an apricot finish.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

rhymes with orange

2 oz Wild Turkey 101° Rye (Rittenhouse)
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/8 oz Laphroaig Scotch
1/2 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
17 drop Bittercube Orange Bitters (1 dash Angostura Orange)
Two Saturdays ago after my first bar shift back after traveling, I turned to The Bartender's Manifesto by Toby Maloney with Emma Janzen and landed upon Toby's 2011 Rhymes with Orange that he created at the Violet Hour in Chicago. Once prepared, the cocktail conjured up orange and rye aromas. Next, grape and caramel notes swirled on the sip, and the swallow wrapped things up with rye, grape, smoke, and caramel-orange flavors with a peaty finish.

Friday, September 9, 2022

dolemite

2 oz Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1/2 oz Cynar

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a cherry.
After getting home from Ireland two Fridays ago, my new purchase of the 3rd edition of Dave Stolte's Home Bar Basics (and Not So Basics) was waiting for me. When I opened it up, I was searching for a solid nightcap that would be easy to assemble to get me into sound sleep as soon as possible. The one that called out to me was the Dolemite by Jason Schiffer at 320 Main in Seal Beach, California, circa the 2010s era. The recipe reminded me of my 2011 Coney Island that took the rye-cacao combination in a Punt e Mes and Angostura Bitters direction instead of Cynar. Here, the Dolemite mingled funky herbal, chocolate, and rye aromas underneath the nose. Next, caramel and roast notes on the sip got busted by rye, vegetal, and cacao flavors on the swallow.

Friday, September 2, 2022

veneto negroni

1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Sfumato Rabarbaro
1/2 oz Aperol
1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with ice, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
After posting my Dark Entries on Instagram and receiving the comment by Haus Alpenz's Jake Parrott that the "50:50 rabarbaro and red bitter is a classic café drink in the Veneto – one of many drinks in Italy to get the moniker 'mezzo-mezzo'," I was inspired to tinker two Fridays ago. I decided to use that duo of Sfumato and Aperol in a classic Negroni, and I dubbed the result the Veneto Negroni (and not the Mezzo-Mezgroni). Once prepared, the Veneto Negroni proffered a grapefruit and roasty smoke aroma. Next, caramel, roast, and orange notes on the sip launched into gin, orange, herbal, and smoke flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

trophy room cocktail

3/4 oz Bourbon (Evan Williams Bonded)
3/4 oz Cognac (Pierre Ferrand 1840)
3/4 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass, and garnisb with an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I utilized my new Patreon subscription to Bartender at Large to find that evening's libation. The recipe that caught my eye was the Trophy Room Cocktail as a Vieux Carré riff created at the exclusive Club 33 at Disneyland. Overall, the combination reminded me more of a Fancy Free and perhaps my Bourbon-Cognac split Gallivanting in Golden Gai moreso than the New Orleans classic, but I was definitely interested in having a go at it. The Trophy Room Cocktail began with an orange and nutty cherry bouquet. Next, caramel and cherry notes on the sip rewarded the senses with Bourbon, brandy, nutty cherry, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

sargasso

2 oz Aged Rhum Agricole (JM Gold)
3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/2 oz Aperol
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I came across the recipe for the Sargasso that I had made just before I had started writing for the blog here in June of 2008, so it never got entered on my LiveJournal; therefore, I decided to give it another spin 14 years later and finally post it. The drink was created by Don Lee at PDT in Manhattan, and it placed second in the 3rd annual Rhum Clement's Cocktail Challenge in 2008. The combination was very similar to the rye-based Dewey D that Daniel Eun of PDT made for us at his guest shift at Eastern Standard in September 2008. Perhaps the Lustau East India Solera Sherry-Aperol duo was a popular motif at that bar back then. In my revisit, the Sargasso put forth an orange and grassy aroma. Next, grape and orange notes on the sip floated by grassy, funky rhum, berry, and orange flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

thou shall not be named

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Amaro Sfumato
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I spied an interesting recipe on Punch Drinks called Thou Shall Not Be Named. The drink was crafted by bartender Alicia Perry in San Diego and was inspired by the Boulevardier. Since it reminded me of the Rodeo Ghost, I was game to try it out. Once prepared, it offered up a lemon, roasty, vegetal, and smoke bouquet to the nose. Next, grape and roast notes on the sip flowed into vegetal, smoke, and bitter flavors on the swallow in a sharp earthy way.

Monday, August 29, 2022

the upstart

1 oz Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum
3/4 oz Woodford Reserve Rye (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
3/4 oz Cynar
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters (Angostura Cocoa)

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
Two Mondays ago, I returned back to Kindred Cocktails where I spotted The Upstart that had been published in InsideHook. The recipe was crafted by Jim Betz at Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan that he named after the 2015 Derby hopeful. The combination reminded me of the Blossom Bar's Palm Viper and NoMad's Fortune Teller, so I figured that it would be a winner. Here, The Upstart raced to the nose with caramel and vegetal aromas. Next, the sherry's grape mingled with that caramel note on the sip, and swallow came through with rum, rye spice, dark vegetal, and dry fruit flavors.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

reef break

1 3/4 oz Suntory Hoku Vodka (Vesica)
1 oz Lustau Fino Sherry (Tio Pepe)
1/4 oz El Dorado 3 Year White Rum (Privateer Tres Aromatique)
1 tsp Giffard Passion Fruit Liqueur (Passion Fruit Syrup)
1 tsp Cinnamon Syrup

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass, and garnish with grapefruit oil from a twist.
Two Sundays ago, I came across and intriguing vodka drink in Death & Co.'s Welcome Home book called the Reef Break. This vodka Martini of sorts by Tyson Buhler in 2019 took things in a tropical direction, so I was definitely interested in giving it a try. Once prepared, the Reef Break proffered a grapefruit, passion fruit, and cinnamon aroma. Next, a semi-sweet sip flowed into passion fruit and cinnamon notes on the swallow. The sherry and rum did add a bit of complexity, but here, the modifiers directed the flavor profile.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

la avenida

1 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 oz Aperol

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Saturdays ago, I was perusing the Kindred Cocktails database when I came across La Avenida created as a perfect mezcal Negroni riff at Teocalli Cocina in Lafayette, Colorado, circa 2019. The recipe that was sourced from a Reddit thread reminded me of mezcal versions of the Perfect Pal from The Independent and a perfect Contessa from No. 9 Park. Once prepared, La Avenida showcased an orange oil and smoke aroma. Next, orange, grape, and berry notes on the sip marched into orange, vegetal, smoke, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Friday, August 26, 2022

dark entries

1 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1 oz Rhum Agricole (JM Blanc 100°)
1/2 oz Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro
1/2 oz Aperol

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a Bauhaus song medley or nothing at all.
Two Fridays ago, I continued on my rabarbaro recipe quest and decided to riff on the Knife to a Gun Fight. I took the Sfumato-Aperol combination and placed it as support to the mezcal-agricole split base that I have used a bit since the Miracles Take Longer and Up Jumped the Devil. After I posted my second pass at the drink on Instagram, Jake Parrott of Haus Alpenz (distributor of Sfumato) chimed in with "50:50 rabarbaro and red bitter is a classic café drink in the Veneto – one of many drinks in Italy to get the moniker 'mezzo-mezzo'." For a name, the roast and smoke notes pushed me towards Dark Entries after the 1980 single by Bauhaus. Here, the Dark Entries proffered roast and smoke notes to the nose. Next, caramel, orange, and rhubarb notes on the sip spun into grassy vegetal, smoke, and orange flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

campo viejo

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio)
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash Mole Bitters (Angostura Cocoa)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in an old fashioned glass, add a large ice cube, and stir to mix and chill.
Two Thursdays ago, I got home from Drink where I made a guest an Oldfield. I was inspired to take that combination of rye, Fernet, Benedictine, and Angostura in the direction of the Last American Hero (another drink that I made that night) by splitting the base 3:1 with the minor part mezcal and adding chocolate bitters. For a name, I riffed on the Oldfield and dubbed it the Campo Viejo (translation of "old field" in Spanish). The Campo Viejo ploughed through with a vegetal and smoke aroma. Next, caramel from the liqueurs provided a mellow sip, and the swallow changed things up with rye, smoky mezcal, herbal, and minty-menthol flavors.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

manhattan project

1 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 oz Zucca Rabarbaro (Sfumato)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
4 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into a coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I was scanning the Kindred Cocktail database for rabarbaro recipes to make use of my newly opened replacement bottle of Sfumato. There, I uncovered an old recipe from Carlo Caroscio that he created at Volt in Frederick, Maryland, in 2013; I met Carlo in 2016 when he joined the team at Backbar where he rose to bar manager, and he recently left Backbar for Portland, Maine, to help run the Death & Co. project The Danforth. The Manhattan Project reminded me of one of the recipes at La Brasa when I first joined in 2019 called the Law of Octaves (2 oz Old Overholt Rye, 1 oz Zucca, 1 dash Prohibition Aromatic Bitters; coupe with flamed orange twist) but this one added sweet vermouth and orange notes to the mix. Once prepared, the Manhattan Project led off with an orange, herbal, and roast aroma. Next, grape and roast notes on the sip gave way to rye, bitter herbal, and orange flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

cipher

1 1/2 oz Navazos Palazzi Overseas Malt Whiskey (Kavalan Classic)
1/2 oz Avua Amburana Cachaça (Salinas Umburana)
1/4 oz Galliano Ristretto
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Miracle Mile Red Eye Bitters (Bitter Cube Corazon)
1 dash Absinthe (15 drop Copper & Kings)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to Death & Co.'s Welcome Home where the Cipher appeared like a great nightcap. This Old Fashioned of sorts was crafted by Sam Johnson in 2019, and like the Long Story Short two nights before, it utilized a 3:1 whiskey to sugar cane spirit split. In the glass, the Cipher generated an orange, coffee, floral, and wood aroma. Next, the coffee liqueur's roast notes flowed through the sip, and the swallow conjured whisky, woody, grassy, coffee, chocolate, and anise flavors.

Monday, August 22, 2022

the ecstasy of gold

1 1/2 oz Armagnac (Marie Duffau Napoleon Armagnac)
1/2 oz Crème de Banane (Tempus Fugit)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice (*)
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, and strain into a cocktail coupe.
(*) Perhaps 3/4 oz lemon juice would balance the sweetness better.
Two Mondays ago, I was looking through the Kindred Cocktails database when I spied the Ecstasy of Gold by Chicago-based user named Applejack in 2019. The combination of crème de banane, Benedictine, and lemon was alluring for it reminded me of Sahil Mehta's Bird of Passage. Once prepared, this Armagnac drink delivered a lemon and banana bouquet to the nose. Next, a creamy, lemon, and tropical sip led into brandy, herbal, and banana flavors on the swallow. Overall, the balance was a touch sweet for me, so see my note above about upping the lemon juice slightly.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

long story short

1 1/2 oz Old Forester Signature Bourbon (Evan Williams Bonded)
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 tsp Demerara Syrup
1/2 tsp Giffard Passion Fruit Liqueur (Passion Fruit Syrup)
1 dash Bitter Truth's Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Sundays ago, I began perusing the Death & Co. Welcome Home book and spotted Jeremy Oertel's Long Story Short. This 2017 recipe reminded me of the African Queen that I had two weeks prior given the Old Fashioned structure accented by passion fruit liqueur (and where I utilized passion fruit syrup instead). Once prepared, the Long Story Short gave forth an orange, tropical funk, and cinnamon aroma. Next, caramel and a hint of fruit on the sip flowed into Bourbon, funky rum, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow with a tropical finish.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

kingston watusi

1 1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Crème de Banane (Tempus Fugit)

Build in an old fashioned glass, add a large ice cube, and stir to mix and chill. No garnish.
Two Saturdays ago, I finished my bartending work week and needed a nightcap. I was too tired to peruse cocktail books for a recipe, so I began to think about a few flavor combinations including Smith & Cross Rum-Campari in the Kingston Negroni, Campari-banana liqueur in the Banana Boulevardier, Fernet-banana in the Banana Toronto, and Campari-Fernet in the Eeyore's Requiem and more recently in the Trash Polka. As the dance of ingredients came together, I dubbed it the Kingston Watusi, and it led off with an overripe pineapple, banana, and petrol funk aroma. Next, caramel on the sip cavorted into funky and tropical bitter flavors on the swallow.

Friday, August 19, 2022

bird on a wire

2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon (Evan Williams Bonded)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Pear Liqueur
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
9 drop Fee's Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel-Aged)

Shake with ice, strain into a coupe, and garnish with a coiled lemon twist.
Two Fridays ago after getting home from closing the bar, I reached for The Bartender's Manifesto and selected Robby Hayne's 2011 Bird on a Wire. I actually made a drink called A Drunk in a Midnight Choir inspired (in name only) by Robby's drink recipe that Andrea had spotted online (but somehow we never made). Well it was time to try out this Violet Hour number, and it yielded a lemon, caramel, pear, and cinnamon bouquet. Next, lemon, caramel, and orchard fruit on the sip landed upon Bourbon, pear, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

lower mills

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt 86°)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Benedictine (1/2 oz) (*)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist (lemon twist).
(*) The drink is better balanced with 1/2 oz Benedictine to my taste instead of sticking to the David Embury ratio.
Two weeks ago, my co-worker Kevin Morrison wanted me to try his riff on the house cocktail, the Fort Point, that he created and dubbed the Lower Mills after the neighborhood he grew up in (but different from the Lower Mills created by Ted Gallagher). Here, he subbed out the Punt e Mes for Cynar while still keeping the David Embury-inspired 8:2:1 ratio. I gave it a whirl and found that it needed a bit more Benedictine to make up for the sweetness balance between Cynar and Punt e Mes. That equal parts recipe got the Cynar-Benedictine ratio similar to the Filthy Rich, Interrobang‽, and 100 Year Old Cigar. Here, the Lower Mills proffered lemon and herbal aromas to the nose. Next, caramel and malt on the sip flowed into rye and herbal flavors on the swallow with a hint of vegetal funky notes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

rubber soul

2 oz Añejo Rum (RL Seale 10 Year)
1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua)
1 bsp Campari (1/8 oz)
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters (2 dash Angostura Cocoa)

Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with a large cube (build in an old fashioned glass, add a large cube, and stir). Garnish with an orange twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I turned to the Kindred Cocktails database and landed upon NYC bartender Rafa Garcia Febles' Rubber Soul. He described his 2013 creation named after a Beatles album as an "Aged rum version of the Revolver with chocolate bitters and a bit of Campari." In the glass, the Rubber Soul proffered orange, coffee, and chocolate aromas to the nose. Next, caramel and roast notes on the sip bounced into rum, coffee, bitter orange, and roast flavors on the swallow.

Monday, August 15, 2022

merit badge

1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron)
1 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
1 dash Chocolate Bitters (Angostura Cocoa)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with a mint sprig.
Two Mondays ago, I turned to The Bartender's Manifesto and spied the Merit Badge by Aneka Saxon. This 2018 creation at the Violet Hour in Chicago reminded me of the Thin Mint Julep that Ryan Lotz made for us at Lineage in 2011. Here, things kicked off with a mint and menthol aroma. Next, caramel and grape on the sip helped to garner minty, menthol, vegetal, and chocolate flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

havana lady

1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch (Kronan)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/8+ oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Saturdays ago, I pondered the egg white Lady series of drinks that includes the more famous White and Pink Ladies and wondered if I could take it in the direction of the Havana. The original Havana Cocktail was apricot eau de vie, Swedish punsch, gin, and lemon juice, and it was updated in the 2009 Big Bartender's Book to utilize the more common apricot liqueur instead of eau de vie along with a change in proportions. When adapted to the Lady structure, the Havana Lady sashayed in with pine, floral, and apricot aromas. Next, a creamy caramel and lemon sip flowed into gin, spice, tea, and apricot flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

old number one

1 oz Aged Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
1 oz Blended Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

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

Two Saturdays ago, I was working on my cocktail article on apple drinks for the Fall 2022 issue of Edible Boston and Edible Worcester, and I need to test out a recipe. I wanted to riff on the Marconi Wireless – a cocktail "I love so much that I named one of my cats Marconi." I later wrote, "One of the earliest recipes that I fell in love with was the Marconi Wireless as an apple Manhattan of sorts. Here, I riffed on that classic by adding a Scotch element to the mix [and swapping the bitters from orange to Angostura] to generate the Old Number One named after the world's first telephone at Charles William Jr.'s house on Arlington Street in Somerville, MA." That location is under a mile from my home, so it has been part of our city's tapestry of pride along with Marshmallow Fluff.
The Old Number One began with smoke, apple, and grape aromas. Next, grape notes on the sip transmitted smoky Scotch, apple, herbal, and clove flavors on the swallow with a smoke and allspice finish.

Friday, August 12, 2022

cub room

1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Liqueur (St. Elder)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Honey Syrup 1:1

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice (coupe without ice), and garnish with a rosemary sprig (omit).
Two Fridays ago, a recipe on Punch Drinks called the Cub Room caught my attention. This recipe by bartender Anthony Rouhana at the Cub Room in Rochester, New York, reminded me of the Earthbound given the combination of honey and Aperol. Here, the Cub Room shared an orange, pine, and grapefruit aroma. Next, lemon and orange notes on the sip clawed into pine, grapefruit, orange, and honey flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

barracuda

1 oz Santa Teresa 1796 Rum
1 oz La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
For a second libation at Backbar, Andrea requested a Barracuda from bartender Anthony Brocatto. The name reminded me of the Barracuda that is a Daiquiri with Galliano, pineapple, and a champagne top that influenced Scott Holliday in the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, but the combination was more similar to Cane & Table's Death & Sundries. Once served up, this Barracuda presented a floral grape aroma that became more sherry driven as the drink warmed. Next, lime and caramel on the sip swam into rum and lime flavors on the swallow with a savory sherry finish.