Wednesday, January 19, 2022

monkey business

1 1/2 oz Gin (Bombay Dry)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Lacuesta Rojo)
1/4 oz Crème de Banane (Tempus Fugit)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I was still thinking about the Banana Toronto that I had included in my year-end wrap up of best drinks. When I had that drink over the summer, I did wonder what the addition of banana liqueur would be like in one of my favorite Fernet Branca drinks – the Hanky Panky. Therefore, I finally decided to act on that curiosity and make one. I dubbed it after a synonym for the Hanky Panky, namely Monkey Business (despite there being a Painkiller-like drink of that name already).
The Monkey Business swung to the nose with orange, fruity, and grape aromas. Next, the vermouth's grape filled the sip, and the swallow came through with gin, banana, and herbal-minty flavors. Overall, the crème de banane mellowed out the Fernet and took the edge off of the amaro.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

tattletale

1 1/2 oz Scotch (Famous Grouse)
1/2 oz Islay Whisky (Caol Ila 12 Year)
1 bsp Honey Syrup (1/4 oz)
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a rocks glass with ice, stir to mix and chill, and garnish with a lemon twist.
For a cocktail two Tuesdays ago, I ventured into Michael Madrusan and Zara Young's A Spot at the Bar book and uncovered the Tattletale. That recipe was created by Sam Ross as a boozy Old Fashioned inspired by his Penicillin but without the ginger or citrus elements. Once prepared, the Tattletale revealed a lemon and peat smoke aroma. Next, malt and honey on the sip let loose smoky Scotch, clove, and allspice flavors on the swallow with a honey finish.

Monday, January 17, 2022

at the gates of hell

2 oz 69% Multi-Island Rum (Plantation OFTD)
1/2 oz Aged Pot Still 100° Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/2 oz Blackberry Liqueur (Marie Brizard)
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Shake with crushed ice, dump into a Tiki mug or tall glass, and top with crushed ice. Garnish with mint and blackberries (omit berries).

One of the presents that Andrea recently gave me was a seahorse mug that she bought at the Boston Shaker store, and two Mondays ago, I set off to find a recipe for its maiden voyage. Thus, I selected Chad Austin's Everyone Has a F*cking Cocktail Book that I had not touched in a few months to find the answer. The drink that called out to me was his At the Gates of Hell, and I was intrigued that it called for blackberry brandy which has appeared in a few classics such as Don's Own Grog, Kamehameha Rum Punch, and Rum Runner. I had not touched that bottle of liqueur for around two and a half years when I dusted it off last to create the Rum Runner's Downfall mashup recipe.
The At the Gates of Hell proffered a blackberry and mint aroma to the nose. Next, caramel, dark berry, and lime notes on the sip waylaid into funky rum, cinnamon, and blackberry flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

word to the wise

1 oz Old Grand-Dad 114° Bourbon
1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a cherry.
Two Sundays ago, I decided to make another of the interesting recipes that I found in my search of Kindred Cocktails for Bonal drinks. This one was Ted Kilgore's Bourbon Last Word riff called Word to the Wise that he created at Taste in St. Louis, Missouri, and posted to the database in 2011. With Bonal and overproof Bourbon in the mix in place of the gin, the Word to the Wise gave forth a nutty cherry and green herbal aroma akin to the classic. Next, grape and lime notes swirled on the sip, and the swallow informed the palate of Bourbon, nutty cherry, and herbal flavors.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

year of the trees

1 1/2 oz Knob Creek 100° Bourbon (Old Grand-Dad Bonded)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Mezcal Union)
1/2 oz Amaro Nonino
1 tsp Demerara Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 drop Sarsaparilla Tincture (1 dash Bitter Queens Sarsaparilla Bitters)

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 turned to Death & Co.'s new book, Welcome Home, for a nightcap. The one that I selected was Matthew Belanger's 2019 Year of the Trees that featured the Bourbon, mezcal, and Amaro Nonino combination that I tasted in the Gryffindor Common Room, so I was intrigued. Here, the Year of the Trees met the nose with an orange, caramel, and root beer aroma. Next, the amaro's caramel note came through on the sip, and the swallow grew into Bourbon, smoky agave, and dark orange flavors.

Friday, January 14, 2022

parisian sour

2 oz Cognac (Du Peyrat Selection)
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cane Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe (single old fashioned glass), and garnish with chocolate bitters (Angostura Cocoa).
On New Year's Eve, I turned to Sother Teague's I'm Just Here for the Drinks book for a way to cap off the evening as well as the year. There, I was lured in by the Parisian Sour – Sother's riff on a Pisco Sour based off of two French products, namely Cognac and vermouth, that start as grapes just like pisco. Once prepared, the Parisian Sour donated a lemon and chocolate aroma to the nose. Next, a creamy lemon sip set up a Cognac, lemon, and herbal swallow.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

st. george & the dragon

1 3/4 oz Redbreast 12 Year Irish Whiskey (Redbreast Lustau Finish)
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dash Absinthe (20 drop St. George)

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I began flipping through the pages of Death & Co.'s Welcome Home book when I spotted Al Sotack's Bobby Burns riff called St. George & the Dragon that he crafted in 2014. In the glass, the cocktail proffered a lemon and anise bouquet. Next, a grape-driven sip gave way to whiskey and herbal flavors on the swallow with a chocolate, smoke, and anise finish.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

suro-mago

2 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron)
3/4 oz Manzanilla Sherry (Tio Pepe Fino)
1/2 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Scrappy's)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass (coupe) pre-rinsed with mezcal (Mezcal Union), and garish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I was scanning the Kindred Cocktails database when I uncovered the Suro-Mago created by Phil Ward at Mayahuel and published in Food & Wine in 2011. Phil named this drink after tequila advocate David Suro-Piñera, and the combination reminded me of the simplicity of the Elder Fashion with the reposado tequila-mezcal duo seen in his Oaxacan Old Fashioned as the spirit base (plus the addition of sherry). In the glass, the Suro-Mago greeted the senses with a smoke, briny, and grapefruit aroma. Next, a peachy sip with a hint of grapefruit flowed into tequila, floral, nutty, and mineral flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

last man on earth

2 oz White or Light Rum (Bacardi 4 Year)
3/4 oz Blanc Vermouth (Dolin)
1/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/8 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Absinthe (12 drop St. George)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a grapefruit twist. Originally published on Instagram as 1 1/2 oz rum, 1/2 oz grapefruit, and 1/4 oz cinnamon syrup with the rest held the same, but the cinnamon note was a bit too dominant.

Two Tuesdays ago, I was inspired by my Zombie President to remix it to something more simple and with fresh juice instead of liqueur in this stirred drink. I thought about how the Zombie Essence stripped down the 1934 Zombie into rums, Don's Mix (2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part cinnamon syrup), and lime. So perhaps moving Don's Mix into the blanc vermouth version of the El Presidente in place of grenadine and curaçao would likewise transfer the feel. In addition, I upped the ante by adding in the Zombie's Angostura and absinthe accents. For a name, I searched for zombie movie titles, and the 1964 post-apocalyptic Last Man on Earth stood out.
The Last Man on Earth proffered a grapefruit and floral bouquet to the nose. Next, grapefruit and white grape notes on the sip uncovered rum, grapefruit, cinnamon, clove, and allspice flavors on the swallow with a hint of anise on the finish.

Monday, January 10, 2022

storyville

1 oz Brandy (Du Peyrat Selection Cognac)
1 oz Mezcal (Mezcal Union)
3/4 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a big ice cube, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Mondays ago, I sought out more uses for my semi-new bottle of Bonal on Kindred Cocktails. There, I came across the Storyville by New York City bartender Rafa Garcia Febles in 2013 that appeared like an unusual brandy-mezcal Manhattan of sorts. Once prepared, the Storyville donated a lemon and smoke aroma that contained a richness from the Cognac and Bonal. Next, grape and caramel notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow launched with Cognac, smoky mezcal, and herbal flavors followed by a smoke and vegetal finish.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

someone else

1 oz Macallan 12 Year Scotch (Famous Grouse)
1 oz Boissiere Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Marie Brizard Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

I was perusing Kindred Cocktails when I spotted a recipe that reminded me of the Alto Cucina called the Someone Else. The similarities of the drinks where this had apricot in place of the other's elderflower liqueur were no coincidence for both were created by Stephen Shellenberger circa 2008 when he was working at Dante in Cambridge, MA. While the Alto Cucina ended up in Imbibe Magazine in 2009, this one was posted by Stephen on eGullet and left unnamed. When an eGullet user suggested "Who Else?" as a name as in "who else besides Stephen would craft this?", Kindred Cocktails' Dan Chadwick dubbed it "Someone Else" for the database. The switch to Cynar-apricot liqueur made me think of the One One Thousand, and I wondered how that pairing would change it from the elderflower version that I was already familiar with.
The Someone Else met the nose with an apricot and floral aroma. Next, caramel and stone fruit notes on the sip stepped aside for Scotch and herbal flavors on the swallow with an apricot finish.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

nite tripper

2 oz Wild Turkey 101 Rye (Rittenhouse Bonded)
3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Cynar
1 tsp Grapefruit Liqueur (St. Elder)
1/2 tsp St. Germain (St. Elder)

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass, and garnish with grapefruit oils from a twist (include peel).
Two Saturdays ago after a large Christmas Day dinner, I looked to Death & Co.'s Welcome Home book for a nightcap. There, I was lured in by the Nite Tripper which was distinct from Chris Hannah' Night Tripper despite both having an American whiskey with amaro style to them. This Nite Tripper was created by Jon Armstrong in 2015 and began with grapefruit, floral, and herbal aromas. Next, grapefruit and white wine notes on the sip fled into rye and caramel-herbal flavors on the swallow with a floral grapefruit finish.

Friday, January 7, 2022

gold medal

1/4 Seagram's Rye (3/4 oz Old Overholt)
1/4 Plymouth Gin (3/4 oz Bombay Dry)
1/4 Swedish Punsch (3/4 oz Kronan)
1/4 Lime Juice (3/4 oz)
1 dash Absinthe (20 drop St. George)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Fridays ago, I had spotted a reference to the book 1700 Drinks for the Man Behind the Bar and pulled up my copy. There, I noted the Gold Medal that reminded me a little of Crosby Gaige's Swedish punsch-containing Corpse Reviver variation as well as Gaige's Palliative Potion for Pomona. Here, instead of an aromatized wine, it was a split base spirit akin to the structure of the two spirits Between the Sheets as compared to the Lillet-containing Hoop La. Once prepared, the Gold Medal welcomed the senses with a lime, rye, and anise bouquet. Next, a lime and caramel sip entered into a rye, gin, tart lime, tea, and rum funk swallow.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

:: books that cite fred yarm's work ::

Earlier this week, Camper English on Alcademics decided to compile a list of books that used his material and cited him in the text. Since my mind can only handle so any memories at once, I decided to write them down too, and I listed them in order of their first publication year.

01. Annual Manual for Bartenders 2011, Gary Regan (2011).
02. Drink & Tell: A Boston Cocktail Book, Frederic Yarm (2012).
03. 901 Very Good Cocktails, Stew Ellington (2012).
04. The Negroni, Gary Regan (2013, 2015).
05. Craft Cocktails at Home, Kevin Liu (2013).
06. 101 Best New Cocktails (of 2013) Volume 3, Gary Regan (2014).
07. Shrubs, Michael Dietsch (2014, 2016).
08. 101 Best New Cocktails (of 2014) Volume 4, Gary Regan (2015).
09. 101 Best New Cocktails (of 2015) Volume 5, Gary Regan (2016).
10. The Complete Cocktail Manual, Lou Bustamante (2016).
11. 1210 More Very Good Cocktails, Stew Ellington (2016).
12. Difford's Guide to Cocktails Vol. 12 (plus future volumes), Simon Difford (2016 and future volumes).
13. Boston Cocktails: Drunk & Told, Frederic Yarm (2017).
14. Lost Recipes of Prohibition, Matthew Rowley (2017).
15. The Joy of Mixology, Revised & Updated Edition, Gary Regan (2018).
16. Romantic Cocktails, Clair McLafferty (2019).
17. Tiki Triangle, Justin Cristaldi (2019).
18. Batch Cocktails, Maggie Hoffman (2019).
19. The Cocktail Seminars, Brian Hoefling (2021).
20. Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails, David Wondrich & Noah Rothbaum (2021).

The following included me in the acknowledgements where my help ended up as recipes or content but I was not cited in the text. Does not including books that merely listed the blog URL in the appendix:

Drinking Boston, Stephanie Schorow (2012, 2019).
The Cocktail Chronicles, Paul Clarke (2015).
Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture & Craft Distillers, Tammy Coxen (2019).
Jupiter Disco: Preservation, Maks Pazuniak & Al Sotack (2020).

love bug

1 1/2 oz Tequila (Cimarron)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Mezcal Union)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a stripe (4 dots) of Peychaud's Bitters across the top.
Two Thursdays ago, I ventured back into Death & Co.'s Welcome Home book where I spied the agave Clover Club riff called the Love Bug. The drink was crafted by Sam Penton in 2019, and he dubbed the it after the nickname for his partner. In the glass, the Love Bug proffered a cherry-anise and smokey agave nose. Next, a creamy lime, berry, and pineapple sip flowed into agave, smoke, and raspberry flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

tragedy plus lime

1 oz Mezcal (Mezcal Union)
1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Jeppson's Malört
3/4 oz Grapefruit Liqueur (St. Elder)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 pinch Salt

Shake with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube.

Two Wednesdays ago, I spotted the humorously named recipe Tragedy Plus Lime that was created by a S. Bumgarner. Not only was I lured in by the pun, but I was curious as to how grapefruit liqueur and other elements would work with Malört. The name was based on the quote "Comedy equals tragedy plus time" that has often been attributed to Mark Twain; however, Twain may have said, "Humor is tragedy plus time." Others have unearthed a 1957 interview with Steve Allen who declared, "Man jokes about the things that depress him, but he usually waits till a certain amount of time has passed... I guess you can make a mathematical formula out of it. Tragedy plus time equals comedy." Lenny Bruce put his own spin on it by saying, "Satire is tragedy plus time." Otherwise, one might ask "Too Soon?"
The drink database entry had the description "A Malört Margarita for those summer afternoons tinged with a hint of regret." With that, I set off mixing. Tragedy Plus Lime met the nose with a smoky agave aroma that led into a dry grape and lime sip. Next, the swallow followed through with mezcal, bitter herbal, and grapefruit notes. Overall, the balance was very much on the dry side of things, but I kept returning to the glass for another sip.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

the phrasemaker

3/4 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt 86°)
3/4 oz Old Tom Gin (Ransom)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Pineapple Syrup
2 dash Chocolate Bitters (Angostura Cocoa)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to work on my #SecretSanté drink for my chosen internet bartender. The yearly Instagram event was conceived a few seasons ago by Matthias Soberon, and this year it chained 240 accounts to make drinks for another. I was assigned Zach M. @allequalparts from Augusta, Georgia, and I set out to figure out what his cocktail interests were by perusing a few dozen of his posts. After gathering up his favorite spirits, modifiers, and bitters, I set to work and fit it to a 1919 Cocktail structure. His interest in both rye and Old Tom gin made me think of the Call of the Wild, so I knew that the combination could work. Two sweeteners that he included in his cocktails were Benedictine and pineapple syrup, so why not both? Dry vermouth seemed necessary to balance the drink instead of something more bitter like Punt e Mes or oxidized like Oloroso sherry which both might drown out the pineapple notes. Finally, his sponsored post for Angostura Cocoa Bitters rounded off the recipe. For a name, I dubbed this drink after the nickname of one Augusta's most famous residents, Woodrow Wilson, which also seemed fitting since the 1919 aspect fell in the middle of his presidential term. That nickname was the Phrasemaker after his mastery of language and his not needing a speech writer during his career.
The Phrasemaker spoke out with a chocolate, pineapple, and rye aroma. Next, a lightly caramel sip led into rye, juniper, pineapple, and herbal flavors on the swallow with a chocolate finish.

Monday, January 3, 2022

love & murder

1 oz Campari (3/4 oz)
1 oz Green Chartreuse (3/4 oz)
1 oz Lime Juice (3/4 oz)
3/4 oz Simple Syrup (1/2 oz)
4 drop Saline (1 pinch Salt)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Mondays ago, I decided to make an interesting recipe that I had spotted on Instagram via @mtcocktails' account called the Love & Murder. I tracked the drink down to a Liquor.com article which attributed it to Nicholas Bennett at Porchlight in New York City. The Love & Murder is a Campari-Chartreuse Daiquiri of sorts akin to the Cynar-Chartreuse one, The Drink of Laughter & Forgetting, and Bennett named it after a Broadway play, "The Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder." In the glass, it proffered an herbal aspect from the Chartreuse and an orange one from the Campari to the nose. Next, the lime-driven sip led into herbal notes finishing with bitter orange flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

yeoman's grog

1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Bacardi 4 Year)
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Demerara Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
1 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4oz Honey Syrup 2:1 (1 oz 1:1)
1/2 tsp Donn's Spices #2 (1/4 tsp Vanilla Syrup + 1/4 tsp Hamilton's Allspice Dram)
1/2 oz Soda Water

Pulse blend in a top-down mixer with 1 cup crushed ice for 5-7 seconds (shake all but soda water with ice), and strain into a double old fashioned glass with an ice cone-straw (plus the soda water).
Two Sundays ago, I made use of my first night off in a bit to make a more involved recipe. That led me to look through the Atomic Grog Blog's articles for something tropical, and I was drawn in by a tribute to one of Mai Kai's guarded recipes, the Yeoman's Grog, as interpreted by Steve Wahlin. The fruit, honey, and perhaps vanilla elements in the mix helped to conjure up a passion fruit and grapefruit aroma to the nose despite no passion fruit purée, syrup, or liqueur being present in the mix. Next, the passion fruit note continued on into the sip where it was joined by grapefruit, lime, and honey flavors, and the swallow sailed in with rum, honey, and allspice.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2021 ::

At the end of 2010, I was challenged to declare my favorite drink of the year, and I was overwhelmed for there were so many good options to chose from. My choices were influenced by two factors -- tastiness and uniqueness; it had to be both memorable and worth repeating. In the past years, I did one post for drinks that I had out at bars and one post for drinks that I had at home; however, as I found myself going out less due to my work schedule and other factors, I cut it down to one post a few years ago. The pandemic was not a part of that decision, but it certainly affected my bar visitation rates (save for my brand work that I did up until November) in 2021. Each month here was selected for when the drink post appeared and not when it was enjoyed (unlike my real time Instagram account, I have a two week delay here before it posts to give myself an ample window to write). Like I mentioned last year, please take a moment to think of our local bars as they struggle to survive and to the workers risk their health to keep the hospitality and libations flowing. Indeed, my current bar job is on a two week hiatus as Omicron is surging here in Boston. Without further ado, here is the twelfth annual installment of my best drinks for the year with a runner up or two listed.

January: For a top spot, I rather enjoyed Sother Teague's room temperature Just the Paperwork from his amazing I'm Just Here for the Drinks book; room temperature drinks are harder to plan and balance (some combinations are better before ice and chilling enters the equation), and this one succeeds. For runners up, the dessert-y Elvis Ziggurat by Chris Goad at Canon in Seattle and Toby Cecchini's nightcap Manhattan The Erin from Brad Parsons' Last Call deserve nods. Strangely, all three are great but different ways to end one's night.

February: Simplicity was everything in Mikey Diehl's Hawaiian War Chant that he created as a Tiki-fied Rum Old Fashioned to satisfy his whiskey crowd via Amanda Schuster's New York Cocktails. A smoky Boulevardier-inspired number, Kyle Martin's Boulevard of Broken Dreams, and a Martini meets a Bijou, Little Branch's Zephyr that I sourced from the Hawthorne's bar bible, were noteworthy for the shortest month of the year.
March: Tobacco Road as a mezcal Remember the Alimony won me over; Nick Caruana's 2014 recipe showcased complexity in its simplicity. Two gin drinks also got my attention in March – namely Misty Kalkofen's Hanky Panky-inspired Hocus Pocus that she created at Drink circa 2010 for the Fourty-Four Bar in New York City, and Chuck Taggart's New Order-themed Bizarre Love Triangle of an Adonis/Bamboo meeting a Perfect Martini.

April: Instead of picking runners-up, I'm granting April a split decision for top dog. Kyle Davidson's Interpol showed me that with the help of citrus, Cardamaro can generate stunning pineapple flavors. I was also equally impressed with When My Train Pulls In by Chris Dempsey for the apricot-Swedish punsch combination (that I uncovered in the Havana Cocktail) helped to mollify Fernet rather well.
May: The Luxuria by Benjamin Perri from the 2020 Community Cocktails book reminded me a bit of the Down & Brown and other drinks and made for a great night cap. Two rum recipes won me over for honorable mention: Maks Pazuniak's Sonic Sunset that was an elegantly complex Daiquiri from the Jupiter Disco: Preservation zine, and Carlo Caroscio's El Presidente riff El Capitan that he created during his first year at Backbar and posted to the Kindred Cocktails database.

June: Like Carlo's drink, Misty Kalkofen entered one of hers into Kindred Cocktails and it got my approval for June's top spot; the Two Orchard Thieves crafted at Drink circa 2010 delightfully paired apple brandy and Genever with complementary liqueurs. For bronze and silver (no order specified) were two mezcal drinks. I finally got around to enjoying Erick Castro's 2015 Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, and the Community Cocktails book's Man in Black by Casey Estrada which took Bourbon into the American Southwest.
July: Like April, I'm calling this a tie between two amaro-banana liqueur cocktails. Ryan Polhemus' Banana Toronto at Offsuit amazed me with how well crème de banane worked with Fernet (full disclosure, my visit was paid for by my brand at the time, but sub in your favorite Bourbon here). And Chad Austin's Robert Dinero's Facial Expression from his Everyone Has a F*cking Cocktail Book stunned me with smoke notes and the banana-Cynar duo.

August: It took me a while to have a bottle of Ting grapefruit soda in house, but it paid off when I made Martin Cate's The Ernesto from the Smuggler's Cove book as a complex Paloma riff. Also noteworthy were Leo Robitschek's North Sea Oil from the NoMad Cocktail Book which intrigued me with its aquavit-Scotch combination and Keith Waldbauer's coffee-tinged tequila Manhattan riff, the Revelator, from the Community Cocktails book.
September: Imbibe Magazine provided Isaac Shumway's Great Silence as a multi-layered bitter mezcal Sour that I gave the nod to. Two of Rafa Garcia Febles' recipes spoke to me with the tropical-fruity 1794 riff Frank Hinton being the runner up here (not a pick, but his Boardroom was a great nightcap), and the other runner up was Phil Ward's Jacko's End that appears in Paul Clarke's The Cocktail Chronicles and reminded me of his Shruff's End.

October: October was a tough one to narrow down for me, but Joaquin Simo's Nitty Gritty from the Death & Co. Cocktail Book took mezcal in a Martini direction with briny Manzanilla sherry and light apricot and Benedictine modifiers and was a sight to behold. Two gin drinks got honorable mention with Kaleb Cribb's The Minton as a Negroni that wasn't and Christopher Bevin's A Study in Pink as a Jasmine that wasn't both via Kindred Cocktails.
November: I had a hard time ordering my three picks after narrowing it down from six, but Christmas in Prison by Timothy Miner checked a lot of seasonal flavor boxes not to mention being one of my entries into Sherry Week 2021. Brian Miller's Pisco Sour tribute to the Godfather of the Boston Cocktail Scene with the Brother Cleve Sour from Dale DeGroff's The New Craft of the Cocktail and Shore Leave's tropical morning Sazerac, the Dawn of Hospitality, both caught my attention in November.

December: One of the many Sazerac variations from T. Cole Newton's Cocktail Dive Bar book stood out for December, for the coffee-rinse in the Luchador was rather unique and stunning; I'm considering bringing it into my repertoire for the coming year with perhaps upping the tequila to 2 ounces. My bartending at Drink has taught me that the Charlie Chaplin from the 1930s The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book has a cult following here in Boston, and not only did I enjoy the drink, I dig Frank Caiafa's gin addition suggestion as well. Along with the Charlie Chaplin, consideration is paid to Backbar's Ricky Bobby Burns as a embittered Scotch drink that I experienced during a bartender's First Fifty initiation rite.

Trends: I definitely noted an uptick in mezcal used in citrus-free straight-spirits recipes as both an accent and as a base. Cognac recipes kept my attention for 2021 as did Manhattan and Sazerac riffs. Amaro used to generate fruit flavors or paired with fruit flavors was a cool trend, and banana liqueur with or without amaro was certainly more than a curiosity. The clean crispness of Fino and Manzanilla sherries was a delight this year, especially the brininess of Manzanilla when matched with agave spirits. Finally, elegance through simplicity won out more often than 7 ingredient drinks (although don't skimp on ingredients in my tropical drinks please!).

Conclusions: It was a real confusing time looking back over this past year as some drinks as far back as March seemed so much more recent and ones in October seemed like only yesterday. 2021 has been as bizarre of a mind game as 2020 has, but luckily, it was a tasty one for drinks. As I declared last year, "I have a feeling that the drinks mentioned above helped get me through the year that it was." Perhaps that is always true, but so much more so in the last two. Overall, I condensed the mass to 34 recipes as mementos of my trip around the sun. Good luck to all of your cocktail adventures in 2022 and stay in touch!