Wednesday, December 13, 2017

a few dollars more

1 oz Cabrito Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Agave Syrup (1:1)
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
1 pinch Salt

Shake with ice, strain into a Highball glass with 8-9 oz of CBC Flower Power IPA.
Two Wednesdays ago, I stopped into Green Street and asked bartender Zoard Wells Tyeklar for the A Few Dollars More from the smaller cocktail menu. Since IPA-style beers work well with tequila such as in the End of Days and the Zimmermann Telegram, I was excited to give this one a try. Once prepared, the A Few Dollars More offered an orange aroma that preceded a citrus and malt sip. Next, tequila mingled with grapefruit, orange, and lime notes on the swallow with a bitter hops finish.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

brotherly advice

2 oz Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum
3/4 oz Rare Wine Company Verdelho Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
1/4 oz Cointreau
1 bsp Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
2 dash Bittermens Tiki Bitters (Bittermens Burlesque Bitters)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a wide orange peel swath.

For the cocktail hour two Tuesdays ago, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted on the BarNotes app called Brotherly Advice. The drink was crafted by Peter Bodenheimer, the app's creator, who began working on a rum and Madeira cocktail. The name stemmed from his needing help to round out the ingredients, so he asked his brother Neal who co-owns The Cure and Cane & Table in New Orleans. In the end, the Verdelho Madeira's chocolate undertones (as described in this post on Madeira) were accented by crème de cacao; moreover, orange flavors are complementary to many Madeiras so I can understand the orange liqueur and bitters added here.
The garnish's orange oil aromas accented the sweet grape notes on the nose. Next, a semi-dry caramel and grape sip led into a rum, chocolate, and orange swallow with a spice-laden finish.

artists and models

2 oz Dewar's Scotch
1/2 oz Banana Syrup (*)
1/4 oz Jagermeister
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
(*) Add 6 oz sugar and 6 oz water to a pot, bring to a boil, and add 1 banana cut into 10 pieces. Simmer covered. After 5 minutes, cut each piece into half, and simmer covered 5 more minutes. Turn off heat, cut each piece in half, cover again, let cool, and strain. This is more of a flavored syrup than a sweetened purée.
To round out my Anais Nin menu at the Cocktail Lab at Earl's in the Prudential Center, I decided on making a banana syrup. Since banana worked rather well with Scotch in the Holy Molé!, I took the drink in that direction. Moreover, since banana and caramel and winter spice from an amaro worked well in drinks like the Freak C'est Chic, I supplemented the flavors here with Jagermeister and Angostura Bitters. For a name, I selected Anais' Artists and Models.

Monday, December 11, 2017

spy in the house of love

2 oz Aviation Gin
1/2 oz Lychee-Black Tea Syrup (*)
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
(*) Steep 4 tsp lychee-black tea leaves in 8 oz boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and dissolve in an equal volume of sugar. The tea can be found in decent Asian supermarkets such as Reliable Market in Union Square, Somerville, MA, or on Amazon such as this one (same brand I used).
For my second drink at the Cocktail Lab at Earl's Prudential, I wanted to utilize an unique tropical tea that I found at a local Asian market that combined lychee flavor and black tea. To bolster the fruitiness and round out the tea and tropical notes, I added Cointreau to the mix, and balanced the syrup and liqueur's sweetness with lemon. After trying a few spirits, gin seemed to allow the tea syrup flavors to shine through the best. For a name, I continued on with my Anais Nin theme and opted for her novella Spy in the House of Love.

the basque and bijou

1 oz Appleton Estate 12 Year Rum
1 oz Remy VSOP Cognac
1/2 oz Roasted Green Tea Syrup (*)
1/4 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe with 1 1/2 oz soda water, and garnish with a lemon twist.
(*) Steep 4 tsp roasted green tea in 8 oz boiling hot water for 5 minutes. Strain and mix with an equal volume of sugar.
For my fifth and final night at Earl's Cocktail Lab at the Prudential Center, I decided upon a literary tribute to author Anais Nin via a trio of drinks on the menu. The first was inspired by the Fascination Street, a punch I had made three weeks prior. I kept the Cognac, tea syrup, and lemon juice elements but split the spirit with aged rum and swapped the jasmine tea for a roasted green one. And instead of guava jelly, I added some brighter notes from elderflower liqueur to counter to the darker ones offered by the tea change as well as some soda water to lighten the body. For a name, I opted for the story The Basque and Bijou from Delta of Venus.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

jasper's rum punch

1 1/2 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum
1 1/2 oz Jasper's Basic Stock Mix (*)

Build in a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime slice-cherry flag (mint sprig only).
(*) Jasper's Basic Stock Mix: Stir to dissolve 12 oz sugar in 16 oz lime juice. Add 1 oz Angostura Bitters and 1 heaping tsp freshly grated nutmeg. Refrigerate. Shake before using. I made a scaled down version of this mix.

Two Sundays ago, I spotted a mention of Jasper's Rum Punch and recalled that I had never tried this drink before. Therefore, I hunted down the recipe and backstory from a combination of Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and Jeff Berry's Potions of the Caribbean. Haigh regaled how rum collector Stephen Remsberg in 1972 acquired the recipe from Jasper Le Franc who had created both the mix and the punch as the lead bartender at the Bay Roc Hotel in Jamaica. The recipe for the mix in Berry's book was more precise, so I ended up going with that one.
The punch provided a mint aroma over Jamaican rum notes. Next, lime with a caramel-like element from the bitters filled the sip, and the swallow offered funky rum flavors accented with a lot of spice.

Saturday, December 9, 2017


1/2 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Courvoisier VS)
1/4 Bacardi (3/4 oz Privateer Tres Aromatic Overproof White Rum)
2 dash Port (1/2 oz Sandeman Tawny + 1/4 oz Simple Syrup)
1 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a glass; I added a lemon twist and freshly grated nutmeg as garnish.
Two Saturdays ago, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to uncover the evening's libation. There, I spotted the Hudson that had elements of sangaree and punch, so I decided to give it a go. Once prepared, the Hudson offered up lemon, grape, and nutmeg aromas to the nose. Next, lemon and grape on the sip gave way to Cognac and funky rum on the swallow with a grape finish. Overall, the combination reminded me of the Chicago as well as the St. Charles Avenue Punch.

Friday, December 8, 2017

el presidente

1 1/2 oz Don Q Añejo Rum
1 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 bsp Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1 bsp Grenadine

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry and an orange twist.
The El Presidente became quite popular here in Boston around a decade ago as a combination of light rum, dry vermouth, curaçao, and a touch of grenadine. This is the way I have always made the drink, although I have not returned to the combination in years. It seemed to work for my palate and others including the night I mixed them at a friend's house using their recently acquired stash of Havana Club 3 Year. In 2012, David Wondrich in Imbibe Magazine declared that the drink recipe was first recorded as containing "Chambery" which probably meant the blanc or sweet-white vermouth that the region was famous for. For my recipe, I tracked down the 1924 Manual del Cantinero via EUVS that Wondrich referred to as well as the 1932 Sloppy Joe's Bar book via EUVS that included both the curaçao and the grenadine modifiers (the 1924 recipe had an option for one or the other). The latter recipe declared the drink a dry vermouth one (Noilly Prat is best known for their dry vermouth and appears to have never made a blanc style) as do most of the rest of the recipes to follow with the former one only suggesting at blanc vermouth.
Since many people have touted the blanc vermouth version as superior, I merged the 1924 recipe with the liqueur and syrup combination from the 1932 recipe. In the glass, the El Presidente gave forth an aged rum aroma with a hint of orange fruitiness. Next, a sweet white grape paired with the rum's caramel note, and the swallow continued on with rum, orange, berry, and floral flavors. Overall, this combination was a touch too sweet for me so perhaps upping the rum (or using a rougher spirit) and toning down on the blanc vermouth might work. In Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, they recommend subbing in a rhum agricole for any call of Bacardi during this era to better mimic its grassiness, so perhaps using an overly smooth rum is indeed a detriment here (as is the case in the Twelve Mile Limit from the same era). Moreover, this sweetness could have also been due to the lack of structure imparted by dry vermouth's acid (such as from Noilly Prat), so it came across as a bit more flabby than the recipe I am more familiar with; perhaps this might be effected by my Dolin Blanc bottle not being the freshest (despite it working well recently in other recipes).

Thursday, December 7, 2017

second sip

2 oz Compass Box Asyla Scotch (1 3/4 oz Famous Grouse + 1/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year)
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi)
1/2 oz Cockburn 20 Year Tawny Port (Sandeman Tawny)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.
After Thanksgiving dinner, I was in the mood for a digestif cocktail, and I recalled that there was a Fernet Branca recipe on the Bittermens webpage. That drink was the Second Sip which reminded me a bit of an embittered Chancellor or a less floral Skyfall. The provided history was that Avery and Janet Glasser of the Bittermens challenged Brian Miller at Death & Co. to come up with a cocktail with Scotch, their bitters, and Fernet Branca, and this was the result. Once prepared, the Second Sip gave forth a peat smoke nose with hints of Fernet's menthol. Next, a rich grape sip from the vermouth and port led into a smoky whisky and bitter herbal swallow with a chocolate-menthol finish.