Tuesday, October 3, 2023

two birds

1 1/2 oz Scotch (Cutty Sark Prohibition)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Bols)
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into a coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Tuesdays prior, I opened up Raising the Bar by Jacob Grier and Brett Adams and spotted the Two Birds that they created for the book. Save for the crème de cacao and sweet vermouth aspects, it was a different Two Birds than the one created by Paul Clarke. Instead, the authors wanted to showcase the Chartreuse-cacao combination that I first learned about in the Pago Pago as well as provide the readers with another use for Scotch in this Rob Roy riff. Once prepared, the Two Birds flew to the nose with orange, peat smoke, and herbaceous aromas. Next, a grape-driven sip landed on Scotch, chocolate, and herbaceous flavors on the swallow.

Monday, October 2, 2023

divine intervention

1 1/2 oz Santa Teresa Rum
1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass with a large ice cube.
Two Mondays ago, I was invited to be a judge for the Daiquiri Showdown at Shore Leave for Boston Rum Week. Five of the six contestants had recipes that required specialty ingredients, but the one that utilized all off the shelf bottles and simple juices and syrups was the one that I jotted down the measurements for putting on the blog and my Instagram. That one was the Divine Intervention by Ian Wolf of Shore Leave, and his drink of a classic Daiquiri utilizing 3 parts rich Santa Teresa Rum to 1 part funky and overproof Smith & Cross ended up placing third. My tasting notes were that it began with a caramel and rum funk nose. Next, the caramel continued on into the sip where it mingled with the lime, and the swallow wrapped things up with rum and tropical notes from the Jamaican rum.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

humor me good

1 1/2 oz GrandTen South Boston Irish Whiskey (Teeling Small Batch)
1/2 oz Luxardo Triple Sec (Cointreau)
1/2 oz Vanilla Syrup
1 Whole Egg

Shake one round without ice and one round with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
Another drink that I spotted in my old Russell House Tavern recipe sheets was the Humor Me Good by James Miranda for the Fall 2014 menu which was in the middle of my tenure there. Our bar manager described it as a "dessert Flip to evoke childhood memories," and the concept reminded me of the Good Humor down the road at Green Street (created in Brooklyn though). In the glass, this Flip showcased a nutmeg, orange, and vanilla bouquet. Next, a creamy orange sip flowed into whiskey, orange, and vanilla flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

black knight

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Cardamaro
2 dash Walnut Bitters (4 dash Strongwater Mountain Elixirs Walnut)

Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with ice; the Instagram post showed an orange twist.
Two Saturdays ago, I was perusing online flashcards for the Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar in San Diego when I spotted the Black Knight that seemed like a curious Manhattan riff. I was able to date the recipe to around 2019 via an Instagram post by @artofpoison who had it there. Once prepared, the Black Knight reached the senses with an orange, rye, and grape aroma. Next, grape and dry plum notes on the sip lept to rye, herbal, and grape flavors on the swallow with a walnut finish. Perhaps making the Punt e Mes and Cardamaro each a half ounce might showcase the Cardamaro a bit more, but overall it was quite pleasant to drink.

Friday, September 29, 2023


1 1/2 oz Cachaça (Novo Fogo Bar Strength)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Fernet (Fernet Branca)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Angostura Orange)

Stir with ice, strain into a coupe, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Fridays prior, I was flipping through the Raising the Bar book by Jacob Grier and Brett Adams when I landed upon the Cornerstone by Dragon Axinte, founder of Novo Fogo Cachaça. I soon found a pair of references online that dated this drink to circa 2011, and Axinte crafted this after discovering Fernet as something that bartenders were into. Overall, the structure of spirit complemented by grenadine and Fernet reminded me of the Dickensian Villain and perhaps the Jim Rose (if you ignore the lime juice), so I was curious. Once stirred and strained, the Cornerstone showcased an orange oil, grassy funk, berry, and menthol aroma. Next, a red berry sip concluded with grassy melding into minty menthol flavors with red fruit undertones on the swallow.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

crosseyed and painless

2 oz Privateer Amber Rum (now called Privateer New England Reserve)
1 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac (Du Peyrat Selection)
1/4 oz Honey Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Peach Bitters (Fee's) (*)

Stir with ice and strain into an Herbsaint-rinsed double old fashioned glass.
(*) The original recipe called for a larger volume of a house peach bitters that was less intense in flavor profile, so I adapted the above for Fee's.
Two Thursdays ago, I opened up my files for recipes sheets from when I worked at Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square from 2013 to 2015. There, I honed in on the Crosseyed & Painless that was similarly named after the 1980 Talking Heads song as this drink from New Orleans' Ace Hotel was. The recipe appeared on the Spring 2013 menu which was when I just started working there, and it was a Sazerac riff that utilized house-made peach bitters. I adapted the house recipe to utilize commercially available Fee's Peach Bitters, and that yielded anise, Cognac, and peach aromas. Next, a honey sip danced into rum, Cognac, peach, and clove flavors on the swallow. Perhaps a half barspoon of peach liqueur would yield a more authentic peach flavor that the two droppers full of our house tincture did instead of the more artificial tasting Fee's bitters.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

bolt from the blue

1 oz Tequila (Olmeca Altos)
1 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
3/4 oz Averna
1/4 oz Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice; no garnish was specified but a lemon or orange twist would work here.
Two Wednesdays ago, I spotted a recipe from online flashcards for the Bolt from the Blue, and I was able to trace the recipe to the Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar in San Diego via a 2019 article in San Diego Magazine. The combination of agave spirits, Averna, Benedictine, and bitters reminded me of Misty Kalkofen's Beneficio de Café, so I was intrigued. In the glass, the Bolt from the Blue donated a vegetal, caramel, and light smoke aromas to the nose. Next, Averna's caramel filled the sip, and the swallow followed up with smoky agave, herbal, and clove flavors.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

a kidnapped drink

1 1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz split Ginger-Honey Syrup (3/8 oz each)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a spritz of Angostura Bitters (4 drops).
After writing up a Penicillin riff called the Juju Man, I became inspired to riff on its citrus, honey, ginger aspect. I mashed up this concept with the Cynar-Chartreuse The Drink of Laughter and Forgetting and named it A Kidnapped Drink after another Milan Kundera work, A Kidnapped West. I originally made it with the lemon juice common to most Penicillin riffs, but the Green Chartreuse called out for lime; I remade it that way, and my hunch was correct. With lime, the nose proffered the allspice and clove from the bitters garnish and herbaceuous accents from the Chartreuse. Next, caramel and lime on the sip were absconded by herbal, ginger, honey, herbaceous, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Monday, September 25, 2023

leather bound book

2 oz Johnny Drum Overproof Bourbon (Evan Williams Bonded)
3/4 oz Cardamaro
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
2 dash Snake Oil Tobacco Bitters (homemade Smoking Ban Bitters) (*)

Stir with ice, strain into an old fashioned glass rinsed with absinthe (Kübler), and garnish with orange oil.
(*) Substitute Angostura Bitters here.
Two Mondays ago, I came across an online recipe flashcard set that included an interesting Bourbon-Cardamaro drink that reminded me of the Rags to Riches from a few days prior but with cinnamon instead of vanilla syrup. I was able to track down the drink to a 2010 post on Alcademics about the new menu at Blackbird in San Francisco. The menu varied from the flashcard by calling for Snake Oil Tobacco Bitters instead of the more easily substitutable Angostura and an orange twist instead of a lemon one; therefore, I modified the flashcard recipe to reflect the menu's ingredients. Once prepared, the Leather Bound Book met the nose with orange, cinnamon, and anise aromas. Next, Cardamaro's grape on the sip transformed into Bourbon, cinnamon, earthy, and clove flavors on the swallow.