Thursday, March 31, 2022

wild card

1 oz Genever (Bols)
1 oz Cardamaro
1 oz Cynar

Stir with ice, strain into a single old fashioned glass, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary or an orange twist (orange twist).
Two Thursdays, I spotted the Wild Card on Kindred Cocktails created by user Peyton in 2013, and I was lured in by the combination of Genever and Cardamaro that I first discovered in 2012 adventure to Portland Cocktail Week where I had the Deck Hand and Walking Spanish. Here, the pair was rounded out with an equal part of Cynar which I used in my The Goblins Turn to Stone. Once assembled, the Wild Card offered up orange oil, malt, caramel, funky herbal, and mint aromas to the nose. Next, caramel, grape, and malt on the sip turned into herbal, bitter, and caramel flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

coffee's for closers

1 oz Caffè Borghetti Espresso Liqueur
1 oz Amaro Averna
1 oz Benedictine
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a single old fashioned glass, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Wednesdays ago, a guest at Drink wanted a dessert cocktail that was coffee flavored, and I came up with this Flip on the fly with the Borghetti Espresso Liqueur and Averna from our house Espresso Martini recipe and the Benedictine, egg, and nutmeg garnish from the Colleen Bawn. I later made it for a guest requesting a nightcap towards the end of the night (captured here in the photo before I delivered it). Overall, it was a Flip like the classic Coffee Cocktail, but one that actually tastes of coffee. For a name, I dubbed this one after a line from the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross – namely Coffee's for Closers.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

blues from a gun

1 1/2 oz Blended Whsiky (Suntory Toki at work, Famous Grouse Scotch at home)
1/2 oz Laphroaig Scotch
3/8 oz Yellow Chartreuse (*)
3/8 oz Benedictine (*)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters
10 drop Absinthe (Kübler)

At work: build in a double old fashioned glass, add a large ice cube, stir to mix and chill, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist. At home: stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with fresh ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
(*) For a slightly sweeter drink, I have used 1/2 oz of each liqueur for a total of 1 oz; however, a total of 3/4 oz seems to make most folks happy.

At Drink, there can frequently be a bigger call for Old Fashioned variations than for Manhattan riffs. Sadly, I know more Manhattan ones for the structure allows for more adaptations including the fortified wine component. This is one that I crafted on the fly for a guest who wanted a Scotch Old Fashioned, and I repeated for multiple guests over the following weeks. The liqueur combination of Yellow Chartreuse-Benedictine is one that has worked since 1895 in the Widow's Kiss from George Kappeler's Modern American Drinks and the Colleen Bawn from Edward Spencer's The Flowing Bowl. Eventually, guests began to want a name, so I decided to make myself one at home two Tuesdays ago. I ended up dubbing this Blues from a Gun after a song from the Scottish rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Once assembled, the Blues from a Gun shot forth with a lemon and peat smoke aroma. Next, a malty and semi-sweet sip tracked into Scotch, herbal, and minty chocolate flavors on the swallow with a peat smoke and anise finish.

Monday, March 28, 2022

silk road cobbler

2 1/2 oz Dry Oxidized Sherry (Lustau Palo Cortado at work, Lustau Amontillado at home)
1/2+ (5/8) oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/2- (3/8) oz Benedictine
1 thick slice Orange Wheel
2 dash Mole Bitters (Bitter Truth at work, Angostura Cocoa at home)
8 drop Absinthe (Kübler at work, St. George at home)

Muddle the orange slice, add the rest of the ingredients, and shake with ice. Strain into a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, garnish with an orange slice, and add a straw.
Two Mondays ago at home, I decided to make a Cobbler that I had made three times on Saturday night. It began with a guest at Drink who wanted something both refreshing and on the lighter side of the ABV spectrum. I opted for a Sherry Cobbler using the flavors in the Silk Road Sour as guidance. I had previous used apricot liqueur in my Sherry Cobblers, but the Benedictine has a magic effect on it. I paid tribute to my flavor inspiration and dubbed this one the Silk Road Cobbler. In the glass, it yielded an orange and nutty grape bouquet. Next, a crisp grape, orange, and caramel sip lept into nutty, apricot, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

c.i.a. (sother teague)

1 1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Water
2 dash Apple Bitters (Strongwater)

Build in a single old fashioned glass, stir briefly, and garnish with an orange twist. This is a room temperature cocktail without the need for ice or chilling.

Two Saturdays ago, I had some cocktail savvy drinkers at the bar on a date, and they wanted shooters in between rounds. For the first one, I made M&Ms which are equal parts mezcal and (Amaro) Montenegro that was created by Montegro ambassador Marco Montefiori in 2015 and popularized by bartender Rob Krueger at Employees Only and Extra Fancy in New York. For a second round, I made the C.I.A. (Cynar In Apple brandy):
C.I.A. (orginal)
• 1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
• 1 oz Cynar
• 1 dash Angostura Bitters
Build in a glass and give a quick stir.
The Brooklyn Bartender book attributed the combination to the Dram bar. Bartender Tonia Guffey described, "One of the drinks we created that's become a bit of an underground shot... I wanted the proof of Fernet, but I wanted a break from it. So I decided to take Cynar, which is lower in proof, and bonded applejack, which is higher, and I put them together 50/50 split, added a drop of Angostura, and boom, a shot was born." Later, I researched the C.I.A. and discovered that bartender Sother Teague wanted this combination to last longer, and he adapted it at Amor y Amargo into a full-sized room temperature cocktail. I jotted down the recipe for later use from Kindred Cocktails which cited Sother's 2016 Instagram post as a source.
The following night, I decided to make this C.I.A. variation. Sother elongated the portions of each part and split the Cynar with Punt e Mes; he also added a little water to open the drink up a bit and switched the winter spiced Angostura for apple bitters. The re-configuring of the C.I.A. yielded an orange oil aroma over herbal, caramel, mint, and apple notes. Next, grape and caramel mingled on the sip, and the swallow flowed with apple, caramel herbal, and minty flavors.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

amburana sazerac

2 1/2 oz Amburana-aged Cachaça (Salinas at home, Avua at work)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
4 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass pre-rinsed with absinthe (Kübler at home, Herbsaint at work), and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.
I discovered the beauty of amburana wood notes with Peychaud's Bitters and absinthe one night on a whim at home circa 2016 when I reached for my bottle of Seleta Amburana Cachaça to make a Sazerac. Amburana is a tree that grows east of the Andes Mountains that was described in an 1920 American forestry journal as, "The Umburana of Brazil is a soft yellow wood so delightfully scented with vanilla that one is tempted to eat it." Besides the vanilla, it has been described as donating gingerbread, cocoa, cinnamon, sweet, savory, and spice notes to the spirit. And here in my late night experiment, I learned that it has a stunning synergy with the elements of a Sazerac. I started making these at Drink on occasion a few months ago and finally got one of my co-workers to start making them two weeks ago with our Avua Amburana with great success. With my Salinas Umburana at home, it proffered a woody, celery, and anise aroma to the nose. Next, a rich sip flowed into funky, grassy, balsa wood, rubber, light cherry, and anise flavors on the swallow. Some of those tasting notes belie the beauty of the combination but it was the best my vocabulary could do.

Friday, March 25, 2022

old bay ridge

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye (1 1/4 oz)
1 1/2 oz Linie Aquavit (1 1/4 oz Aalborg)
1 tsp Demerara Syrup (1/2 oz 1:1 Cane Crystal Syrup)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a double old fashioned glass, add a big cube, stir to mix and chill, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Since so many guests at work request Old Fashioned variations, I delved into Robert Simonson's The Old-Fashioned book to uncover a new trick. There, I came upon the Old Bay Ridge created by David Wondrich in 2005 for the 5 Ninth bar in New York City. The book described how this was a "homage to the Brooklyn neighborhood which used to be peopled with Irish folks, who drank rye, and Scandavians, who drank aquavit." The delicious combination of rye and aquavit was one that I discovered through the Carra-ryed Away and found great success in with the Nude Descending a Staircase. Here, the Old Bay Ridge greeted the senses with a lemon and caraway aroma. Next, a rich sip flowed into rye, caraway, allspice, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

[the enigma of desire]

1 1/2 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Gentian Liqueur (Suze)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
While at Estragon, I perused bartender Sahil Mehta's Instagram and spotted a sherry drink that he had recently posted. A few days later, I made this after my work shift and dubbed it the Enigma of Desire after a Salvador Dali painting (a photo of Dali hangs at Estragon). Here, the drink donated a nutty sherry and earthy floral aroma from the gentian to the nose. Next, grape and caramel notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow showcased rye, nutty sherry, herbal, and earthy flavors.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

sister midnight

1 1/2 oz Appleton Signature Rum
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz St. George Spiced Pear (Rothman & Winter Orchard Pear)

Stir with ice and strain into a Nick & Nora glass.
Two Wednesdays ago, I returned to Death & Co.'s third book, Welcome Home, and came across Jon Armstrong's 2016 creation Sister Midnight. The drink is perhaps a reference to the song written by David Bowie to be performed by Iggy Pop, and the combination of Yellow Chartreuse and St. George Spiced Pear reminded me of the Hey Heywood!. In the glass, the Sister Midnight proffered a pear and rum funk aroma. Next, caramel and orchard fruit on the sip turned over into funky rum, herbal, and pear flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

ozymandias

3/4 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Copper & Kings Butchertown Brandy (Copper & Kings American Brandy)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Lacuesta Rojo)
1/2 oz Bigallet China-China (Torani Amer)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters (Bittermens Burlesque)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make the Ozymandias that appeared in the most recent issue of Imbibe Magazine (March/April 2022). This tribute to either the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem or the poem's muse Pharaoh Ramesses II (Ozymandias was how the Greeks referred to him as) was crafted by Nickle Morris at Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, and it reminded me of a split spirits Creole Cocktail. In the glass, the Ozymandias proffered a lemon and brandy aroma. Next, grape and caramel notes mingled on the sip, and swallow conjured up rye, brandy, herbal, and caramel orange flavors.

Monday, March 21, 2022

[bird of passage]

1 1/2 oz Angostura White Rum
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Giffard Crème de Banane
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
Two Mondays ago, we made a pilgrimage down to the South end to have dinner and a drink with bartender Sahil Mehta at Estragon; it was my first trip back since January 2020. Sahil offered up his drink notebook, and I uncovered one of his previous drinks of the day that appeared like a Voyager with banana liqueur instead of falernum. For a name, I dubbed this one Bird of Passage which is a synonym for a voyager. Once prepared, the libation offered up banana and caramel aromas. Next, lime and caramel on the sip sailed into rum and herbal flavors on the swallow with a banana finish. Overall, the balance was a touch sweet for me, so perhaps upping the lime to 3/4 oz, dropping the banana liqueur to 1/4 oz, and/or serving the drink on crushed ice could help. Moreover, the richness of an aged rum instead of a white one might work well here as it did in the Voyager, but overall the flavors came together in a rather agreeable way.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

the drink of insignificance

1 1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2+ oz (5/8 oz) Punt e Mes (*)
1/2- oz (3/8 oz) Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (*)
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a cherry.
(*) This was too aggressively Maraschino at 1/2 oz each Punt e Mes and Maraschino and too light at 3/4 oz Punt e Mes and 1/4 oz Maraschino. So perhaps 5/8 oz Punt e Mes and 3/8 oz Maraschino is a solid midpoint.

Two Sundays ago, I was inspired by the Daiquiri-esque The Drink of Laughter and Forgetting to see if its 3 parts Cynar to 1 part Green Chartreuse base would work in a Manhattan. I had previously used the duo as the support to base spirits in the Up Jumped the Devil and the Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck, but here I wanted to use them as the base again. For the support, I focused on the Punt e Mes-Maraschino combination of the Red Hook. For a name, since there was already a Milan Kundera book title connection with The Drink of Laughter and Forgetting, I likewise dubbed this The Drink of Insignificance.
I was a little overwhelmed with a full half ounce of Maraschino and did a 3/4 oz Punt e Mes to 1/4 oz Maraschino mix, and found it a bit on the lighter side, so perhaps somewhere in between. Even with a 1/2 oz each, one of my Instagram friends @Cocktails_Innit made this and wrote in their post, "Excellent stuff! Bittersweet, balanced, one of my new favorites!" Overall, the combination proffered a caramel and nutty cherry aroma. Next, grape and caramel on the sip swapped into herbal, bitter, cherry, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

am-am (amaro-amaretto) sour

1 oz Amaretto (Luxardo at work, Disaronno at home)
1 oz Amaro Averna
1/2 oz Plantation OFTD Overproof Rum
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into single old fashioned or medium-large coupe glass, and garnish with orange oil from a twist.

While bartending at Drink, I had a guest that asked for a riff on an Amaretto Sour. My mind immediately went to Jeffrey Morgenthaler's The Best Amaretto Sour in the World recipe as a starting point. My problem with Amaretto Sours for me is that they are too driven by amaretto even with a high proof spirit backbone, so I split it with Averna since it seemed like it would have a complementary flavor profile yet drive the balance in a more caramel-herbal direction. While I have never made one of Morgenthaler's Amaretto Sours for myself, I have made Brad Parson's Amaro Sour that was inspired by it, and this recipe is a hybrid of the two. Since I always keep a bottle of Plantation OFTD Rum nearby my bar station for tropical drinks, I used this as the high proof structure in my mashup. My guests have returned and asked for this Amaretto Sour riff again, so I know that it has hit its mark. To keep things less confusing, perhaps dubbing it the Amaro-Amaretto (or Am-Am) Sour would be best.
Amusingly, I just re-discovered a post I did on the Amaretto Sour for a 2008 Mixology Monday event (it was my third month participating). There, I tried to make the "guilty pleasure" drink more interesting by making my own amaretto. Certainly the Amaretto Sours that I quaffed in the 1990s had neither egg whites in them nor fresh citrus (bottled sour mix was king back then in Boston). Here, when crossed with the Amaro Sour, this Am-Am Sour proffered an orange and nutty bouquet to the nose. Next, a creamy lemon and caramel sip flowed in to nutty and herbal flavors on the swallow with a rum-tinged finish.

Friday, March 18, 2022

fleur carre

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
3/4 oz Benedictine
3/4 oz Elderflower Liqueur (St. Germain at work, St. Elder at home)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass pre-rinsed with absinthe (Herbsaint at work, Kübler at home), and garnish with lemon oil from a twist.

Two Fridays ago, I decided to replicate a drink that I had made for a guest the night before. That Thursday, I had a couple who only wanted floral drinks. For their second round, one of them wanted a flowery version of a De La Louisiane. I originally doubled up the rye whiskey (at work we use equal parts with the sweet vermouth and Benedictine but with a 110° rye) and swapped out the sweet vermouth for St. Germain. That swap and adjustment was not only a bit sweet, but a bit too bright. I added in some of the vermouth in the form of Punt e Mes especially given how well it works with elderflower in the Maximilian Affair, and that solidified the combination. For a name, I later dubbed this one the Fleur Carré when I made it at home.
The Fleur Carré opened up to the senses with a lemon, anise, and floral aroma. Next, grape, caramel, and grapefruit notes on the sip waltzed into rye, herbal, and floral flavors on the swallow with an anise finish.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

mexican razor blade

2 slice Cucumber
2 oz Tequila or Mezcal (Peloton de la Muerte Mezcal)
1 oz Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
3/4 oz Simple Syrup (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice (muddle the cucumber slices first), strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a floated thin cucumber slice with cayenne powder sprinkled on top.

When I was researching the Holland Razor Blade, I saw a comment on Kindred Cocktails that the "Mexican riff on this site is more interesting." I then uncovered the recipe for the Mexican Razor Blade on Punch Drinks created by Dan Greenbaum of Attaboy in New York City. Dan spoke about how the call for a spicy Margarita had overtaken the role of a fruity "Martini" from a few years ago, and he wanted to be able to be able to offer something a bit more advanced in that style. Besides the spirit and citrus change from Genever and lemon to tequila (or mezcal) and lime, he included muddled cucumbers in the mix as well as a floated cucumber slice in the garnish. He also commented that the recipe was very flexible, "You can swap in agave nectar or honey as the sweetener. If you have fresh chiles, you can throw them in there instead. Adding strawberries or other fruit can work well too." I have done this at work with muddled jalepeño slices in with the cucumber if folks want it on the spicier side, and I have tried the strawberry option once or twice (but it sends the drink away from the vegetal direction).
Made mezcal, the Mexican Razor Blade welcomed the nose with smoke and vegetal aromas especially from cucumber. Next, lime and more vegetal notes filled the sip, and the swallow cut through with smoky agave and fresh vegetal flavors on the swallow with increasing spice over time as the cayenne powder integrated into the liquid below.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

negroni mezcalito

2 cL Mezcal (3/4 oz Peloton de la Muerte)
2 cL Campari (3/4 oz)
2 cL Cynar (3/4 oz)
2 cL Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Lacuesta Rojo)

Stir with ice, strain into a mug (double old fashioned glass) with ice, and garnish with a black salt rim (omit), cinnamon stick, and lime peel.
Two Wednesdays ago, I decided to make a Negroni variation that I had spotted on Mauro "King of Negroni" Mahjoub's Instagram called the Negroni Mezcalito. I was lured in due to its similarity to The Last Mechanical Art from Beta Cocktails; despite the lower complexity from the Negroni Mezcalito calling for sweet vermouth instead of Punt e Mes, its garnishes donated a lot of depth here. Indeed, once assembled, the garnishes welcomed the senses with a cinnamon and lime aroma. Next, caramel and grape on the sip charged into smoky mezcal, vegetal, and bitter orange flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

fernet about dre

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 oz Meletti Amaro
2 dash Fee's Walnut Bitters (Strongwater)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a cherry.
Two Tuesdays ago, I reached for Lou Bustamante's The Complete Cocktail Manual and came across the Fernet About Dre. This Dr. Dre song tribute drink was crafted by Philadelphia bartender Ryan Shipman, and it came across akin to the Down & Brown. In the glass, the Fernet's mint and menthol joined both amari's caramel notes on the nose. Next, the caramel continued into the sip, and the swallow flowed with rye, floral, bitter gentian, and menthol flavors.

Monday, March 14, 2022

catamaran

3/4 oz Appleton V/X Rum (Appleton Signature)
3/4 oz Beefeater Gin (Bombay Dry)
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand Dry)
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Whip shake, strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a pineapple slice (spent half lime shell).
Two Mondays ago, I revisited the Cuban Cocktails Book from the Cienfuegos staff and spotted the Catamaran. The recipe came across like a standard Mai Tai with the original's rum split with gin; since the gin-based Blanche DuBois was so delightful, I gave this riff a spin. Once assembled, the Catamaran proffered a lime and caramel aroma especially with the spent lime shell garnish substitution. Next, a creamy lime and caramel sip sailed into rum, gin, orange, and earthy flavors on the swallow. Given that the Mai Tai often calls for a more funky Jamaican rum than Appleton, the additional notes from the gin's botanticals filled in for the lost flavor depth here.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

broadway nights

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Bonded)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Peloton de la Muerte)
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Lacuesta Rojo)
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Orange Liqueur (Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao)
1 dash Chocolate Bitters (Angostura Cocoa)

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

Two Sundays ago, I was inspired by the Green Chartreuse-Curaçao combination from the Knight to take it in a Manhattan direction. I opted for the rye-mezcal split spirit to not only bring in complexity, but I find that agave spirits work amazingly well with Green Chartreuse. My first attempt was with Punt e Mes akin to a Greenpoint or Redhook, but its added depth muddied up the flavors. I remade the drink with regular sweet vermouth and was quite pleased.
For a name, I dubbed this one the Broadway Nights given the Knight and the Manhattan influences; Broadway Nights is the name of a 1927 movie featuring Barbara Stanwyck. In the glass, it shared an orange, smoke, and herbaceous bouquet to the nose. Next, a grape sip led into rye, vegetal, smoke, and herbal flavors on the swallow with a chocolate and orange finish.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

knight

8 part Brandy (1 1/2 oz Du Peyrat Selection Cognac)
2 part Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1 part Cointreau & Chartreuse (1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao + 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Saturdays ago after my bar shift, I decided to make a drink that I had serving and riffing on for my guests call the Knight. The recipe first appeared in David Embury's 1948 The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks and reads like a Side Car with Green Chartreuse or perhaps a bitters-less Champs Elysée with orange liqueur. I was familiar with the drink from reading Embury's book as well as having Todd Maul's riff called Lasky Last Night at Clio. Moreover, I had tinkered with it as a gin drink akin to the Last Word in my Knight Fizz that I did on the fly for a guest at Loyal Nine. Besides the brandy original and gin variation, I have found this combination to work well with whiskey and agave spirits too (with the latter utilizing lime instead of lemon).
Made the original way with an updated balance, the Knight met the nose with a Cognac and orange aroma. Next, lemon, orange, and caramel notes on the sip charged into Cognac and herbaceous flavors on the swallow.

Friday, March 11, 2022

clockmaker

3/4 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Linie Aquavit (Aalborg)
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz Bual Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
1/2 oz Amaro Nardini

Stir with ice and strain into a Nick & Nora glass (cocktail coupe).
Two Fridays ago, I sought out a nightcap after a busy shift bartending. In the newest Death & Co. book Welcome Home, I came across Tyson Buhler's 2019 Clockmaker, and I decided to give it a whirl despite having a different type of Madeira on hand. I was drawn in for it had the split base of rye and aquavit that I last enjoyed in the Miles Ahead and last tinkered with in the Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck in the Fall. In the glass, the Clockmaker proffered a grape and herbal bouquet to the senses. Next, grape and caramel notes on the sip flowed into rye, caraway, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

honey bee

8 part Jamaican Rum (1 oz Smith & Cross + 1 oz Coruba)
2 part Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
1 part Honey (1/2 oz Honey Syrup 1:1)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
While writing up the post about the South American Bumble Bee, I made reference to the Honey Bee from David Embury's 1948 The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Beneath the Bee's Knees recipe were variations including "the same drink with Jamaican rum is the Honey Bee." I had previously written about Yvonne's Honey Bee that utilized Barbados rum, pear eau de vie, and egg white, but I had never covered the classic Jamaican rum version here. True to Embury form, he had his drink spec in 8:2:1 format; I recent learned that this structure is what inspired the recipe for the Fort Point at Drink. However, I adapted the recipe to my preferred Sour formula. Once prepared, the Honey Bee buzzed by the nose with honey and rum funk aromas. Next, lemon rounded out by the honey's richness on the sip led into funky rum and floral flavors on the swallow with a lemon finish.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

holland razor blade

1 1/2 jigger Holand Gin (2 oz Bols Genever)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz Lemon Juice)
(1/2 oz Simple Syrup)

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and dust with cayenne pepper.

Two Wednesdays ago, I guest came into Drink and requested the Holland Razor Blade. Despite never having had one, I recalled the recipe. I replied that we could get close to the recipe but we lacked cayenne pepper for the garnish at the bar; he was okay with our punt of muddling a few jalapeño slices into the mix and in fact ordered a second round with that modification. When I inquired where he had learned of such an obscure drink, he commented that he discovered it a bar in New York City. I was familiar with the drink after having read Charles H. Baker Jr.'s Jigger, Beaker, & Glass: Drinking Around the World book where he cites 1931 as his personal discovery date. I could swear that it was in other cocktail books, but I did not find it in Duffy, Trader Vic, or other mid-century collections. The recipe as written was pretty stark, and I think that I did the balance justice by adding in the sugar syrup; however, it would be so much more cutting of a Razor Blade if the citrus was left unbalanced. With a little of research, I discovered that my adaptation was close to how Eric Alperin modified the drink (he used 3/4 oz each lemon juice and simple syrup) and got it published in Food & Wine circa 2009. I also found an interview that year, where he lists the drink as one of his favorites alongside the Old Fashioned, Sazerac, and Ramos Gin Fizz, and how he put it on the menu at the Varnish earlier that year.
When I got home, I decided to make this recipe the correct way since I had cayenne pepper at hand (I have since located a source at the kitchen's spice racks at work). Here, the aroma of the Holland Razor Blade was rather malty from the Genever. Next, lemon and malt notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow came through with malt, herbal, and spicy heat. When I had muddled the jalapeños at work, the heat was immediate and consistent throughout akin to the Bone Crusher; however, with the chili powder added to the surface, the heat integrated gradually such that over time, each sip was a touch spicier than the last.

dead drop

1 1/4 oz Los Vecinos Mezcal
3/4 oz St. James Rhum Agricole
3/8 oz Cocchi Americano
3/8 oz Agave Nectar (*)
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) My recipe notes say agave syrup, but uncut agave nectar would balance this drink better.
As I was finishing up my Space Pirates drink at Backbar, I overheard bartender Anthony Brocatto describing the bartender's whim that he was serving to guests a few seats down. What caught my attention was that he mixed rhum agricole and mezcal together that I first learned about in The Wilhelm Scream and that I had great success with in drinks like Up Jumped the Devil and Miracles Take Longer. So for my second drink, I added a "me too"; while the creation did not have a name yet, I dubbed this one Dead Drop after one of Anthony's band's EPs. Once prepared, the Dead Drop proffered smoke, earthy, and grassy aromas. Next, lime with a hint of orchard fruit on the sip fell into grassy, vegetal, and mineral flavors on the swallow with a smoke and fruit finish.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

space pirates

1 1/2 oz Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum
1/2 oz Paranubes Mexican Agricole Rum
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Guava Syrup (*)
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a festive mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs.
(*) Guava purée mixed 1:1 with sugar.

Two Tuesdays ago, Backbar advertised their drink of the week called Space Pirates to coincide with their Cocktails Around the Solar System menu, and I was lured in despite having been there only two weeks prior. The drink was created by bar manager Carlo Caroscio, and this seeming Jungle Bird riff was subtitled "Adventure through the Last Frontier (* Limit 2 per Person)". I was intrigued by the guava-Campari combination here that I have seen before in the Jakartoni that I did at Loyal Nine and in Tiki Lindy's Piranha Punch.
The Space Pirates that bartender Antony "T-Bone" Brocatto made for me began with mint over rum funk aromas. Next, guava, lime, and caramel on the sip plundered the funky rum on the swallow with a bitter and cinnamon finish.

Monday, March 7, 2022

the keenan

2 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
3/8 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe pre-rinsed with allspice dram (Hamilton's), and garnish with a lime wheel.
Two Mondays ago, I ventured into the Cienfuego crew's Cuban Cocktails book and stopped upon the Keenan created by Anne Robinson at Little Park and Evening Bar in the Smyth Hotel in Manhattan. The recipe read like the Floridita's Mulata Daiquiri with the addition of allspice dram, and the end result appeared like the Dirt'n'Diesel. Once prepared, the Keenan donated a lime, allspice, and chocolate aroma to the senses. Next, lime darkened by caramel and roast notes on the sip led into molasses rum, lime, and chocolate flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

dot (variation)

1 oz Gin (Bombay Dry)
1 oz Fino Sherry (Tio Pepe)
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/2 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Sundays ago, I spotted in my Instagram feed a recipe that a friend had found on Difford's Guide called the Dot. It was created by Jason Clapham, the Cocktail Member of the St. Edward's MCR in Oxford, as a riff on the Dot Cocktail published in the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book. Jason misread the curaçao as cachaça, and instead subbed in funky Jamaican rum in its place.
This version of the Dot proffered apricot, rum funk, and juniper aromas to the nose. Next, a semi-sweet orchard fruit sip was punctuated by gin, funky rum, apricot, and savory flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

erasmus

1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater at work, Bombay Dry at home)
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with cracked ice, float 1/2 oz Genever (Bols), and add a straw.
Two Saturdays ago, a guest at Drink wanted a gin cocktail but described a Penicillin. Therefore, I made it as such with a London Dry in the mix and a Genever as the float. They enjoyed it so much that I made one that night when I got home. For a name, I searched around for a Dutch-themed antibiotic with little to show for my efforts, so I dubbed this one the Erasmus after a famous Dutch philosopher. Once prepared, the drink showcased a malty aroma from the hefty Genever float. Next, lemon and honey on the sip flowed into gin and ginger flavors on the swallow. Over time, the flavor became maltier on the sip and swallow as the Genever entered into the equation via the straw.

Friday, March 4, 2022

black adonis

1 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Oxford 1970)
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters
2 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Fridays ago, I was in the mood for a sherry drink, so I searched Kindred Cocktails where I found Rafa Garcia Febles' Black Adonis that he crafted in 2017. I assumed that the name was a reference to the 1896 book, and drink-wise, it made me wonder at first if there was Averna in the mix akin to the Black Manhattan. Instead, it was a riff on the Adonis first mentioned in 1887 with the sherry split between Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez and the sweet vermouth made more complex with the addition of Punt e Mes. Here, the Black Adonis presented a raisin and orange nose. Next, a rich grape sip from the four fortified wines in the mix let through grape, nutty, raisin, and herbal flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

bronx cocktail

2 Orange Peels (1x2 inch each)
50 mL Gin (1 1/2 oz Bombay Dry)
25 mL Amber Vermouth (3/4 oz Lacuesta Rojo)
25 mL Dry Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat)
8 mL Orange Juice (1/4 oz Cara Cara)

Express the orange peels and drop in the mixing glass. Add the rest of the ingredients, add ice, stir, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I decided to make one of the two Bronx recipes that Frank Caiafa posted on Twitter as his preferred versions. The one I went with reduced the orange juice and included in orange oils to the mix. While I did not have amber vermouth, I figured that sweet vermouth would work here in a pinch to see if this direction was better than the way I remember the original. This Bronx Cocktail offered up pine, orange, and floral aromas. Next, a semi-sweet orange and grape sip transitioned into gin, dry herbal, and bitter grape flavors on the swallow with an orange finish.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Gun for Hire

2 oz Elijah Craig (Evan Williams Bonded)
1/2 oz Averna
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
2 dash Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)

Stir with ice and strain into a glass (rocks) pre-rinsed with Islay Scotch (Caol Ila 12 Year).
Two Wednesdays ago, I was perusing the Kindred Cocktails database when I spotted the Sazerac-styled Gun For Hire by Rhett Williams at the Pour House in Vancouver circa 2013. Overall, the combination of American whiskey and bitter and herbal liqueurs reminded me of the Valkyrie, so I was game to try this one out. Once prepared, the Gun For Hire welcomed the senses with a peat smoke bouquet. Next, caramel notes on the sip shot forth into Bourbon, herbal, clove, and allspice flavors on the swallow with a smoky finish.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

december morn

1 1/2 oz Flor de Caña Rum (Bacardi 4 Year)
1/2 oz Laird's Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded)
3/4 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.

I had spotted the recipe for December Morn by Jane Danger on Kindred Cocktails, and it led me to buy her Cuban Cocktails book that she co-authored with two others from the Cienfuegos bar. This drink that Kindred Cocktails attributed to her time at El Cobre in New York City circa 2011 was described in the book as "the love child of a September Morn and Jack Rose, both from the Savoy Cocktail Book. The September Morn is a close relative of the better known Clover Club Cocktail." When I first saw the recipe, I thought that it was a cross of a September Morn with a Pink Lady, especially since the September Morn recipe that I know from Charles H. Baker Jr.'s The Gentleman's Companion is a raspberry syrup not a grenadine one.
The December Morn rose with an apple, berry, and cinnamon aroma. Next, a creamy lemon and berry sip flowed into rum, apple, and pomegranate flavors on the swallow.