Tuesday, April 16, 2024

imagine sisyphus happy

1 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados Rum (R.L. Seale 10 Year)
1 oz Amaro Ramazzotti
1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina
3/8 oz Vanilla Syrup
3/8 oz Demerara Syrup
4 drop Absinthe (St. George)
1 dash Fee's Old Fashioned Bitters (Fee's Whiskey Barrel-Aged)
1 Whole Egg

Shake one round without ice and one round with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Two Tuesdays ago, I returned to the set of online recipe flashcards for the Patterson House in Nashville, and there I selected the Imagine Sisyphus Happy from their Winter 2022 menu. This Flip with rum, Bonal, amaro, and egg reminded me of the Notorious F.L.I.P. that I had years ago with Smith & Cross and Nardini. The name was taken from the end of Albert Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus where Camus wrote, "The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy." In the glass, the Imagine Sisyphus Happy proffered a woody spice and root beer aroma. Next, a creamy caramel and grape sip rolled back into rum, vanilla, root beer, and cinnamon flavors on the swallow.

Monday, April 15, 2024

negroni negroni

1 oz Negroni (equal parts Hayman's London Dry Gin, Cocchi Sweet Vermouth, and Campari)
1 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Campari

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist. Making this with 1 1/3 oz Campari, 1 1/3 oz sweet vermouth, and 1/3 oz gin would work... but then it wouldn't be equal parts, I guess?
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I headed down to Puritan Oyster Bar where director of operations Jared Sadoian and beverage director Doug Brickel were offering up a "Dumb Delicious" menu subtitled "Buy one drink! Get that drink!" At first I thought it was an April Fools' Day pop-up, but it turns out to be the first of a series of a bartender takeover series. Amongst the quirky and pun-ful drinks on the menu, I selected the Negroni Negroni. I asked Jared if it was a Negroni made with one part Negroni instead of gin. Jared nodded, and explained that "You can keep the process going, and make a Negroni with this combination." To which I replied, "Like a homeopathic Negroni that approaches a Milano-Torino?" Only a few weeks ago, a guest at my bar requested a Milano-Torino. After I delivered the drink, she asked if I had ever had one, and I replied that I have had Americanos, Negroni Sbagliatos, and Negronis of all sorts but not that classic. And while this one approached that two parter, it still was disqualified by 1/9th part gin. The drink served to me with equal parts Campari, vermouth, and batched Negroni offered up an orange and cherry-grape aroma. Next, a plum-grape sip flowed into dark grape and bitter orange flavors with a hint of juniper on the swallow.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

return of the king

2 oz Single Grain Scotch or Bourbon (Famous Grouse Black)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Pasubio Vino Amaro

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
In searching for another use of my bottle of Pasubio, I went to the website of Haus Alpenz that imports the product. There in the eight recipes for this amaro was the Return of the King by John Filby at Augustine in Manhattan sometime between the product's launch in 2017 and the bar closing in 2020. Its format reminded me of the Red Hook and Green Point, and I opted for the Scotch option over Bourbon for I felt that it would coax out more of the smoky alpine notes from the Pasubio. Once prepared, the Return of the King displayed a lemon, blueberry, and hint of smoke bouquet. Next, grape and berry notes on the sip were vanquished by Scotch and bitter blueberry flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

devil's bargain

1 1/2 oz Denizen Vatted Dark Rum (1 1/4 oz Hamilton's Demerara 86° + 1/4 oz Rhum JM 100°)
1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Two Saturdays ago, I returned to the online set of recipe flashcards for Raines Law Room in Manhattan, and I came across the Rum Sour curiously named the Devil's Bargain from early 2021. The bar's Instagram mentioned that they would do this as a Hot Toddy as well as a cold drink. Since I had never tried the combination of Montenegro and grenadine before, I gave this one a whirl. In the glass, the Devil's Bargain anted up with a lemon, berry, caramel, and grassy aroma. Next, a lemon, caramel, and berry sip gave way to woody rum, grassy funk, pomegranate, and clementine flavors on the swallow.

Friday, April 12, 2024

house of cards

3/4 oz Old Grand-Dad Bourbon (Evan Williams Bonded)
3/4 oz Courvoisier VS Cognac (Monnet VSOP)
3/4 oz Cardamaro
3/4 oz Aperol

Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with an ice sphere (large ice cube).
Two Fridays ago, I was perusing a set of online recipe flashcards for Parlor in Des Moines, Iowa, and I found the House of Cards from their 2022 menu. The combination of Bourbon, Cardamaro, and Aperol was one that I had tried in John Myers' Boulevardier riff Every Victory as well as mixed in with lime juice and pineapple shrub in Tiger Mama's Harris Shrub. Here, the House of Cards opened up with a Bourbon and caramel bouquet. Next, grape and orange notes shuffled on the sip, and the swallow dealt out Bourbon, Cognac richness, and bitter herbal orange flavors.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

o mai

1 1/2 oz Tanqueray Gin (Beefeater)
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
4 dash Herbsaint (20 drops)

Shake with ice, strain into a coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I uncovered a set of online recipe flashcards for Luc Lac in Portland, Oregon. There, I latched onto the O Mai that is on their current menu, and Yelp has it as early as 2014 which puts it a short time after I first visited there in 2012. The apricot-ginger combination in the O Mai reminded me of the Ninety Nine Roses which also has a gin base, and I utilized it in my sherry-driven Queen Anne's Revenge that I developed for CocktailCourier. On the nose, the O Mai proffered apricot, orange, and ginger aromas. Next, lemon and orchard fruit notes on the sip slid into gin, ginger, and apricot flavors on the swallow with an anise finish.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

stirred paloma

1 1/2 oz Tequila (Olmeca Altos)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Peloton de la Muerte)
1/2 oz Pamplemousse (St. Elder)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1 pinch Salt (3 drop 20% Saline Solution)

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass (coupe), and garnish with a lime twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I returned to the online recipe flashcard set from the Eddy in Providence, and I opted to make the Stirred Paloma created there in 2015. The concept reminded me of how a proper Gimlet with lime cordial is stirred according to the earliest printed recipe in Harry MacElhone's 1922 Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, so I was curious to see how this one worked. Here, the Stirred Paloma showcased a lime, vegetal, and smoke bouquet to the nose. Next, orange and grapefruit notes on the sip led to smoky agave and grapefruit flavors on the swallow. While the Aperol was a pleasant touch, it moved things a little away from a Paloma in my mind although it did work well in the Dove & Daisy.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

rhapsody in blue

1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
3/4 oz Amaro Pasubio
1 dash Bitter Truth Celery Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a Nick & Nora glass, and garnish with a blueberry.
Two Tuesdays ago, I made an impulse purchase of the alpine blueberry Cappelletti Pasubio Vino Amaro at Ball Square Fine Wines since I had enjoyed it in a pair of drinks at Estragon and Amor y Amargo, and I had spotted it mentioned a few times on the web recently. As a starting place, I went to the KindredCocktails database and found the Rhapsody in Blue from Death & Co.'s Welcome Home book. In the book, the recipe was attributed to Matthew Belanger in 2019 as a blueberry riff on the Boulevardier. Since we had a package of blueberries in the refrigerator for use as garnish, it seemed like a great starting place. In the glass, the Rhapsody in Blue opened up with rye, blueberry, and grape aromas with a dark plum undertone. Next, a dark berry fruit sip gave way to rye, blueberry, and floral flavors on the swallow with a celery finish.

Monday, April 8, 2024


1 oz Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey
1 oz Lustau East India Solera Sherry
1/4 oz Licor 43
1/4 oz Averna
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, I made my way over to Equal Measure to attend Robert Simonson's book party in honor of his The Encyclopedia of Cocktails. For the event, there was a short menu of drinks from the book, and the only one that I had not had before (other than a clarified Cosmopolitan which was a merging of the entries for clarification and that vodka libation) was the Velveteen that bartender Eliza Whoar created for the occasion. I commented to my friend that it was very on brand and then explained how Eastern Standard and the Hawthorne loved Lustau's East India Solera Sherry including pairing it with Irish whiskey in the Goodnight Irene and with Licor 43 in the Black Douglas. Once prepared, the Velveteen opened up with an aroma of orange, vanilla, and darker nutty notes from the sherry. Next, grape and caramel mingled on the sip, and this was chased by soft whiskey, raisin, dark herbal, and vanilla flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

operation overlord

1 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac (Monnet VSOP)
1/2 oz Chauffe Couer Calvados (Morin Selection)
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1/8 oz Demerara Syrup

Stir with ice, strain into an absinthe-rinsed (Kübler) coupe, and garnish with an orange peel sidewinder.
Two Sundays ago, I returned to the online flashcard set for the Patterson House in Nashville and found the Operation Overlord in a collection of older menu items. The French spirits in the mix, especially the Calvados, made sense as the drink was dubbed after the codename for the Battle of Normandy where Allied forces landed on June 6, 1944, to begin the march eastward towards Germany during World War II. In the glass, Operation Overlord commenced with an orange and anise bouquet along with rich notes from the Cognac. Next, orange and orchard fruit akin to peach and pear on the sip charged into Cognac, apple, orange, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

going out west

1 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Peloton de la Muerte)
1/2 oz Averna
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Saturdays, I reached for my copy of Kara Newman's Nightcap book and landed on the Going Out West. The recipe was crafted by Joe Briglio at Chicago's Billy Sunday, and he described the drink inspired by a Tom Waits song as, "My interpretation of the flavors of the early American West and possibly a cowboy's campfire." This split base Black Manhattan of sorts began with an orange, smoke, and clove bouquet. Next, caramel notes on the sip meandered into rye, vegetal, herbal, clove, and allspice flavors on the swallow with a cinnamon and smoke finish.

Friday, April 5, 2024

castaneda's companions

1 1/2 oz Mezcal (Peloton de la Muerte)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe that was flamed with a spritz of absinthe (rinse with 8 drop St. George, unflamed).
Two Fridays ago, I decided to make Castaneda's Companions created at Wood Hill Table in Concord, Massachusetts, circa 2021 that I uncovered through a set of online recipe flashcards. The combination of agave spirit, Cynar, and Yellow Chartreuse was one that worked amazingly well in Under the Volcano, so I was curious to see how it worked as a straight spirits instead of citrus-laden drink. The restaurant's Instagram described, "Castaneda's Companion is named for Mexican philosopher Carlos Castaneda. It is said that Castaneda and three women took peyote together and lived in a tree house. Each ingredient represents each person: the mezcal represents Castaneda and the Cynar, Yellow Chartreuse, and dry vermouth represent each of the women. The barrel it is stored in represents the treehouse that they lived in." I was familiar with Castaneda's work through reading parts of his 1968 book The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge many years ago, so I gave this one a try despite not having stored or aged it in a barrel and skipping the flamed step. In the glass, I became aware of Castaneda's Companions with a vegetal, anise, herbal, and smoke bouquet. Next, a lightly caramel and honey-tinged sip opened up to an awareness of vegetal, piney, herbal, and smoke flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

new pal

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash Absinthe (8 drop St. George)

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I spotted a reference for the New Pal created by Jeff Hollinger & Rob Schwartz and published in their 2006 The Art of the Bar Book. It was their riff on the classic Old Pal but swapping Canadian whisky and dry vermouth for rye whiskey and sweet vermouth and adding Peychaud's and absinthe to the mix. I then found a more modern version recipe in a 2019 article in Imbibe Magazine where Meaghan Dorman at Dear Irving dried out the balance by taking the equal parts drink to a 2:1:1 format which I utilized here. With the absinthe in the mix, it made me think of Attaboy's Pin Cushion that may have been inspired by the much older gin-based Quill. In the glass, the New Pal greeted the nose with an orange and bright herbal aroma. Next, a grape-driven sip ventured towards rye, bitter orange, and cherry-anise flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

burrows in disguise

1 oz Campari
1 oz Drambuie
1/2 oz Scotch (Laphroaig 10 Year)
1/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/4 oz Dry Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange horse's neck (orange twist).
Two Wednesdays ago, I uncovered an online collection of recipe flashcards from Blyth & Burrows in Portland, Maine. The Burrows in Disguise from around 2017 was one that called out to me that utilized all off the shelf ingredients, and the Scotch, Drambuie, and Campari trio is one that has worked recently in the Plausible Deniability, in the past in the Bitter Nail, and in drinks I have crafted with the Lost in the Supermarket. Moreover, the combination looked like an abstraction of the Smoking Hand, so I was game to give it a whirl. Here, the Burrows in Disguise launched off with an orange and peat smoke bouquet. Next, honey, malt, and grape notes on the sip slid into smoky Scotch, orange, and bitter flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

federal buffalo stamp

2 oz Bourbon (Evan Williams Bonded)
3/4 oz Maple Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
4 piece Ginger

Muddle ginger, add the rest, shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice, and garnish with a piece of candied ginger on a pick (omit garnish).
Two Tuesdays ago, I made a drink from a set of online recipe flashcards from The Lion's Share in San Diego called the Federal Buffalo Stamp by Hassan Mahmood. The drink dates back to around late 2011 and is reminiscent of the Penicillin and a gingery Maple Leaf. The bar's Instagram described, "Many of you have put lips to this balanced combination of sweet and spice, it has earned its accolades as a The Lion's Share favorite/classic/happy hour staple! It's been with us since the first days of opening." The drink was originally made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon according to early articles about the bar which probably directed the name. Once prepared, the Federal Buffalo Stamp gave forth a Bourbon and maple bouquet. Next, lemon mingled with amber notes from the maple and aged whiskey on the sip, and the swallow stampeded forward with Bourbon, maple, and ginger flavors on the swallow.

Monday, April 1, 2024

armchair philosopher

2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholrt 86°)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a Laphroaig- or Ardbeg-rinsed coupe (Ardbeg 10 Year).
Two Mondays ago, I ventured back to the online recipe flashcard sets for the Violet Hour in Chicago, and in the collection of dealer's choice drinks was the Armchair Philosopher that was somewhere between a Manhattan and an Old Pal. The Aperol-containing Perfect Pal at the Independent might be more apropos than the classic Old Pal as would the Neighborhood Nine at Temple Bar. Once assembled, the Armchair Philosopher pontificated with a peat smoke nose. Next, a semi-dry orange sip flowed into rye, orange, smoke, and anise flavors on the swallow.