Thursday, June 30, 2016

golden gun

3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1 oz Blended Aged Rum (Diplomatico Exclusiva)
1 oz Blended Lightly Aged Rum (El Dorado 3 Year)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish at will.

Two Thursdays ago, I was in a Tiki mood after my work shift so I took a gander at the Smuggler's Cove drink book and spotted the Golden Gun. I was drawn into the recipe by the apricot liqueur aspect for it has worked rather well in tropical recipes like Blackbeard's Ghost. This drink was crafted at the Tiki Oasis event in 2012 as table 11's entry in the create-a-cocktail competition.
My choice of mint as the garnish paid dividends on the aromatic end. Next, lime, grapefruit, and the richness from the demerara syrup and aged rum on the sip pleasantly stepped aside for rum, apricot, and spice flavors on the swallow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

bumbled bee

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Michter's Straight)
3/4 oz Salers Gentiane Liqueur
1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Honey Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

After the Boardwalk Flyer, I reached for the 2016 edition of The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book. The recipe that spoke to me was the Bumbled Bee that was the bar's 2015 entry into the Battle of the Bees charity event. The Waldorf Astoria bar staff originally created the recipe in 2013 as a gin drink, and the base spirit and other aspect morphed over time into this combination.
The oils from the Bumbled Bee's lemon twist brightened the gentian nose. Next, honey and malt on the sip gave way to rye whiskey, gentian, and clove on the swallow. Overall, not the Bee's Knees riff that I was expecting from the name, but instead it was something closer to a bitter Manhattan variation akin to the Brown Bomber.

boardwalk flyer

3/4 oz Aged Cachaça (Seleta Gold)
3/4 oz Blanco Vermouth (Dolin)
3/4 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Build in a Collins or Pilsner glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with a few dashes of molé bitters, freshly grated nutmeg, and mint sprigs.
Two Wednesdays ago, I made another drink from the Punch article on Swizzles called the Boardwalk Flyer. The recipe was crafted by Damon Boelte of Grand Army in Brooklyn and featured cachaça paired with banana liqueur. Once built, the Boardwalk Flyer proffered a mint, nutmeg, and my house chocolate bitter's anise note aroma. Next, lime and white wine filled the sip, and the swallow was almost pear-like from the grassy rum and the crème de banana.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

padang swizzle

1 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz English Harbor 5 Year Rum (Plantation Dark)
1/4 oz Laphroaig Scotch
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup

Build in a Pilsner or Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with a cinnamon stick speared through a lime wheel and ignited.

Two Tuesdays ago, I chose to make a recipe that Punch had published in an article on Swizzles. The one that caught my eye was Zac Overman's Padang Swizzle from Fort Defiance in Brooklyn. Like the Balao Swizzle, the Padang Swizzle had sherry as its base (true, many of the Death & Co. Swizzles like the Delores Park Swizzle have a split spirit-sherry base, but the spirit is still a major part of the drink) with rum and smoky Scotch as minor modifiers.
The Padang Swizzle shared a cinnamon and lime aroma that transitioned into a grapefruit and lime sip. The swallow was a bit more complex with nutty grape, cinnamon, and a hint of smoke.

Monday, June 27, 2016

triple arthrodesis

1 1/2 oz Nuestra Soledad Mezcal
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Clove Syrup (*)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with a lemon peel pierced with 3 cloves.
(*) Perhaps falernum would work in a pinch.

Two Mondays ago, we ventured over to Backbar after dinner, and for a nightcap, I asked bartender Dan Braganca for the drink of the day that he had created. The drink was called the triple arthrodesis, a surgical procedure fusing three joints in the foot, and the name reminded me of classics by Embury, Gaige, and others such as the Appendicitis and the Psittacosis. I inquired if the drink paid tribute to bar manager Sam Treadway's recent foot injury; however, Dan explained that the recipe was in honor of his girlfriend who is a podiatrist. So besides naming the drink after things she does at work, he included two ingredients that she loves, namely mezcal and cherry, in the mix.
The Triple Arthrodesis was less medical to the senses for it offered a delightful lemon oil aroma. Next, lemon and cherry on the sip were followed by mezcal and cherry on the swallow with a smoke and clove finish.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

lion of baltimore

2 oz Appleton Reserve Rum (Appleton V/X)
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Bonal)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Orgeat
2 dash Dale Degroff Pimento Bitters (1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

After my shift on two Sundays ago, I finished off my week with a recipe from the third book I purchased, namely Philip Greene's The Manhattan. My starting point in the book was the author's Lion's Tail riff named after a War of 1812 ship. This riff like the Hair of the Lion and A Tale of Two Kitties picked rum as the base spirit which seems like a better choice than Bourbon given the lime juice.
The Lion of Baltimore shared a caramel rum and allspice aroma. Next, grape, caramel, and lime on the sip slid into rum, earthy, and allspice on the swallow.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

the naked ape

1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1 1/2 oz Black Blended Rum (Coruba Dark)
1/2 oz Overproof Lightly Aged Pot Still Rum (Smith & Cross)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Blend with 12 oz crushed ice and pour into a Tiki mug or double old fashioned glass (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice).
Two Saturdays ago, I turned to my new purchase of the Smuggler's Cove drink book and decided on the Naked Ape. The recipe was crafted by author Martin Cate in honor of the San Francisco exotica band Ape. Despite the recipe lacking garnish instructions, I opted for a long lemon twist as well as a Smuggler's Cove swizzle stick that I garnered at an event at Tales of the Cocktail last July. Indeed, the twist part donated a lemon note to the drink's banana aroma. Next, the lemon continued on into the sip where it paired with the rums' caramel, and the swallow shared funky rum, banana, and cinnamon spice flavors.

Friday, June 24, 2016


1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Avion)
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup (Royal Rose)
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a grapefruit twist (grapefruit twist and spent half lime shell).

Two Fridays ago, I cracked open my new purchase of the recently updated Waldorf Astoria Bar Book. Bartender Frank Caiafra kept many of the original recipes from the 1930s edition, paired them with early 20th century variations from other tomes, and added more recent bar offerings such as the Frida. The Frida was created at the Waldorf-Astoria in 2010 for their Cinco de Mayo event as a tribute to Frida Kahlo. The combination of the drink's Green Chartreuse and raspberry syrup was alluring for it had worked so well in the Rose Dragon
The Frida shared a grapefruit and lime aroma that prepared the mouth for the citrussy sip. Next, the raspberry-Chartreuse combination did not disappoint especially with the tequila notes on the swallow.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

strange weaver

1 oz Rum (Owney's)
1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
3/4 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz (1/2 oz) Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

Two Thursdays ago in the midst of Negroni Week, I searched Imbibe's database of Negroni variations and stumbled upon Dominic Alling's Strange Weaver. Dominic created this drink at Beretta in San Francisco with the orgeat aspect in a foam and with a half ounce of lemon juice; I decided to keep Imbibe's orgeat in the mix as a liquid ingredient but to up the lemon juice to the original recipe that I found online.
The Strange Weaver offered up an orange aroma with hints of orgeat notes poking through. Next, a creamy lemon and grape sip led into rum and gin flavors with the earthy orgeat tempering the bitter Campari on the swallow.


1 1/2 oz Blandy's 5 Year Sercial Madeira
1/2 oz St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash (12 drops) St. George Absinthe

Shake with ice, strain into a double old fashioned glass, top with crushed ice, and garnish with a lime twist.
One of the new drinks on the Loyal Nine low octane section of the menu is a Madeira tiki number called the Navigator named after Prince Henry the Navigator who claimed the island of Madeira for Portugal in 1419. The starting point was to swap out the rum in the Test Pilot for a dry type of fortified wine which worked well in the Come Sail Away (a/k/a Royal Funchal Yacht Club). I was having problems figuring out which liqueur would work since the original's orange liqueur did not seem to fit nor did the Madeira-friendly Maraschino. Therefore, I tried elderflower liqueur that worked well in Hold the Line and I found my recipe! The Navigator name also jives well with the low proof nature of the drink, and it has been rather popular last night with businessmen, session drinkers, and people on dates.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

:: tips for tales of the cocktail ::

Next month will be my fifth time attending Tales of the Cocktail since my first adventure back in 2009. When I first attended, I had no clue what to expect for I had made my decision to go shortly after hearing that I was competing as a finalist in a bitters competition six weeks out. Since Tales is a multi-ring circus with a lot going on in tasting rooms, seminars, official events, and the year-round offerings of restaurants, bars, and music halls across the city, I felt that sharing some advice might help some to navigate a week long opportunity for not just fun, but career advancement and to avoid some perils along the way. I had previously provided advice before I went to Tales in 2011 and took some of that post and combined it with an article I wrote for the WeeklyDig and a post reflecting on Tales 2015 to write this originally as an article for the USBG National's blog. I have since adapted the article for my own here.
Since you are reading cocktail blogs, it is rather likely that improving yourself and your drink-making career are high on your list. First, Tales of the Cocktail offers a great deal of education. Be sure to pick out a few talks in regards to technique, history, culture, and team building that will advance your way of thinking about your job and enhancing the experience for your guest. Education also continues in tasting rooms via new products as well as interacting with peers and mentors who love talking about their experiences and problem solving your concerns.

Second, Tales is a great time to network. Do not overlook the old school world of business cards, and I recommend getting some printed up if there is still time. And to avoid the issue at the end of the week when you peer at a stack of random business cards, I found that writing a short note on each card will help trigger a memory of who this person was and why I should contact them in the future. Hints about what event, what they were wearing, and what was spoken about have been rather meaningful in how to follow up later. One great way to follow up is to write thank you emails to these people and reconnect when things are calmer. Now with the new school world of mobile devices, adding people to your Facebook or LinkedIn on the fly is a great tool as well, but it is not as appropriate for all situations.
Also in terms of networking, act like your potential future employers, employees, and guests are watching. Similarly, you represent your current establishment everywhere you go, so act with dignity. That does not mean do not go on a mechanical bull or other silly things at the appropriate times, but try not to do or say anything negative or hurtful. Treat others at the event including the establishments you visit with kindness, for how you behave shows a window not only into your soul, but it projects the sense of hospitality one can expect in your bar or restaurant.

Split your time between the people you know from your home city and meeting new people from around the world. Making new friends and following them to the next events can add a wonderful curveball to the week. For example, I am thankful for the group of Dutch bartenders that I befriended in 2011 as they adopted me into their circle and made me feel at home when my Boston crew were off doing other events. Likewise, try things that take you out of your comfort zone whether it's an event like a pool party, going to a jazz show, or dining in a dive bar. Memories are strongest with what was novel opposed to safe and usual.
The whole week itself is a marathon not a sprint, so find your rhythm, and find your pace. Take time to rest, eat, and drink water. Moreover, try to start your day with a decent breakfast, even if that meal is more logically called lunch; drinking on an empty stomach is rarely a good idea. Do not overexert yourself or overdrink for it will make the next day or two much more difficult. Seriously, do not drink everything offered to you; putting a drink down half way might seem wasteful, but it is better for you in the long run. Alternating busy and down days is not a bad strategy, but if you can handle the rush, remember that there will be a chance to decompress at the end of the week. And taking an extra day in New Orleans after Tales to recover is not a bad idea either.

Fear of missing out can be a major issue especially with social media providing images of missed opportunities from multiple sources. However, if your week is full and otherwise pleasurable, do not overthink what could have been. Every year, my Tales experience has been different and I do not feel that one year was better than the other because of it. Just try to fill your week with a variety of activities. If it is your one visit a year to New Orleans, do not neglect the city itself including the bars, restaurants, tours, and museums.
A few things to point out about New Orleans: First, there is quite a bit of crime in the city so do think about traveling in groups or taking taxis. Keep alert. And do not let anyone bet you as to where you got your shoes. Second, New Orleans' weather is extreme. It can go from hot and sunny to dark and stormy on a moment's notice. Carrying a portable umbrella and wearing a hat to keep sun and rain away are good ideas. Third, drinking on the street is permitted, so do partake sensibly in this activity. My favorite spot is Sidney's on Decatur Street to get great local craft brews (especially in cans, since glass on the street is frowned upon) to enjoy while walking around. So to recap, somethings to remember to pack: an umbrella, a portable cell phone battery charger, moleskin and pen for notes, business cards, sensible shoes, a hat to keep out the sun, a bathing suit for pool parties, and Advil (or your own favorite hangover cures although there is a CVS right near the Monteleone).

Unlike many other cocktail events, Tales of the Cocktail has almost too many things going on at once. Do not be overwhelmed. Give some aspects forethought but allow others to just happen as they appear. Be safe and sane, and if you see me that week, say hello and cheers!

Adapted from my article posted last week on the USBG National blog (with different photos). Link only works for USBG members with accounts.

martician vermouth cocktail

1 part Rum (1 1/4 oz Depaz Rhum Agricle)
1 part Turin Vermouth (1 1/4 oz Dolin Sweet)
1 spoon Pineapple Syrup (1/4 oz)
2 dash Noyaux (1/8 oz Tempus Fugit)
2 dash Curaçao (1/8 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with lemon oil.

After returning home from Green Street, I was in the mood for a nightcap so I reached for Louis Fouquet's 1896 Bariana. The recipe appeared like a gussied up Pirate's Cocktail with added tropical complexity from pineapple syrup, crème de noyaux, and curaçao. For a rum, I opted for a rhum agricole given the Martinique reference in the name as well as the French author (ignoring of course, the Martinique from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars that was a rye-based number).
The Martician Vermouth Cocktail presented lemon oil over a vanilla and apricot nose. The sip was mostly grape from the vermouth with the swallow giving forth grassy rum, nutty, orange, apricot, and spice notes.

double entendre

1 1/2 oz Gordon's Gin
1/2 oz Lustau Oloroso Sherry
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rock glass, and garnish with a cherry.

Two Wednesdays ago, Andrea and I stopped into Green Street for a round after dinner. For a first cocktail, I asked bartender Jordan Runion for the Double Entendre; Jordan later commented that the drink was better with a drier sherry like fino but they opted for oloroso on the menu. I was lured into the drink for it appeared like the Yeomen Warder or Grand Street with a nutty sherry instead of the vermouth (or Punt e Mes).
The Double Entendre shared a Maraschino aroma that led into a rich and lightly grape-flavored sip. The swallow was the most complex though with gin, nutty, and funky bitter notes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

old yellowstain

1 1/2 oz Golden Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Gold)
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Nectar (Goya)
1 1/2 oz Trader Vic Navy Grog (*)

Shake with ice and pour into a footed iced tea glass (double old fashioned). Decorate with a rock candy stick (omit) and mint.
(*) Equal parts (1/2 oz) lime juice, grapefruit juice, and allspice dram (St. Elizabeth).

Two Tuesdays ago, I decided to get my Tiki on with a recipe from Trader Vic's 1974 Rum Cookery & Drinkery called the Old Yellowstain. While the name sounded unappealing, it did remind me of another of Trader Vic's drinks, the Shingle Stain, which turned out rather tasty; moreover, there was some overlap in ingredients. The one major mystery of the Old Yellow Stain recipe was how to replicate the "Trader Vic Navy Grog" mix; luckily, I remembered that I had read about Jeff Berry's solution when making the Voodoo Grog where he took a tip from a 1972 Trader Vic's book and interpreted the Navy Grog mix as equal parts of lime, grapefruit, and allspice dram.
The Old Yellowstain shared a mint and tropical fruit bouquet. Next, lime and grapefruit on the sip transitioned into rum, allspice, and passion fruit on the swallow.

Monday, June 20, 2016


3/4 oz Perry's Tot Navy Strength Gin (Hayman's Navy Yard)
3/4 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin (Averell Damson Gin)
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a Double Old Fashioned glass with a large cube.

When looking for a nightcap two Monday's ago, I figured that I ought to welcome Negroni week with something fitting to the theme. Therefore, my search ended in the Negroni variation section of the Death & Co. Cocktail Book with Scott Teague's 2013 creation, the Fail-Safe. Just like the Chester Rapkin and the Red Sea, this Negroni riff included sloe gin to take the place of the vermouth and to round out the bitter notes.
Here, the Fail-Safe broadcasted orange, dark berry, and pine aromas. Next, the orange and dark berry notes continued on into the sip, and the swallow began with gin and a grape-like bitterness and finished with Angostura Bitters' spice.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Espolon)
1/2 oz Calvados (Boulard VSOP)
1/2 oz Cortado Sherry (Lustau Oloroso)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Egg White (1 whole Egg White)

Shake once without ice and once with ice, and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Sundays ago after my shift, I decided to make a recipe from Imbibe Magazine's article on tequila-sherry drinks. The one I selected was created by Paul McGee at the Cherry Circle Room in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. The bar's Facebook provided the explanation of "This refresher is named for the highland agave growing region." Besides the tequila and the sherry, Paul's drink took the form of an egg white sour with some Calvados in the mix that reminded me of the Pink Lady's structure.
The Altamira presented a fruity grape aroma that prepared the mouth for the sweet, creamy lime and grape sip. The drink rounded off with tequila, apple, and nutty sherry notes on the swallow.


3/4 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Green Tea Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Liquidy Guava Jelly (*)

Shake with ice and strain into a punch cup. Add ice and garnish with an orange twist and freshly grated nutmeg.
(*) Guava jelly melted in an equal part of boiling water.
On the eve of Negroni Week two weeks ago, I decided to re-envision the Negroni as an old school punch. It was a little late to change our event offering of Life On Mars, but there was still plenty of time to tinker. For a spirit, I opted for Batavia Arrack instead of the classic's gin but kept the Campari and sweet vermouth in place. To make things more punchlike, I added citrus and spice in the form of lemon juice and green tea syrup, and to round things off like the 1869 West Indies Punch, I donated a bit of guava jelly to the mix. I have the guava on hand at work since we have a stripped down version of the West Indies Punch on the menu. Overall, the balance was much softer, more rounded, and less bitter than a Negroni which is the way a punch ought to be.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


2/3 Brandy (1 1/2 oz Camus VS Cognac)
1 dash Swedish Punsch (1/2 oz Kronan) (*)
1 dash French Vermouth (1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1 dash Crème de Cacao (1/4 oz Tempus Fugit)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
(*) Note: the republished book listed it as "Swedish vermouth." Since all vermouths are described in the book as either Italian or French, I assumed that this was a mistake and it meant to say Swedish Punsch. Or my curiosity demanded that it say that.

Two Saturdays ago, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and found myself back on the page with the Shylock. I had always hesitated in making this drink for one of the ingredients read "Swedish vermouth." I never knew what exactly that meant, but I assumed it was a mis-transcription from either sweet vermouth or Swedish punsch. Since the book refers to the red vermouth as Italian, I finally pulled the trigger and made the drink with Swedish punsch; this is not too out of line with other drinks in that tome such as the similarly constructed Rocket. Unlike the Rocket, the Shylock partnered Swedish punsch with crème de cacao which worked well in the Battle Over Dutch. Even if I were making a mistake in interpreting the ingredients (or what a dash ought to mean), it would hopefully be a rather tasty mistake.
The Shylock's nose was full of brandy and chocolate notes. Next, a rich and somewhat dark sip led into Cognac, chocolate, and tea tannins on the swallow with a bitter orange finish.

Friday, June 17, 2016

magic julep

1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Angostura Bitters
1 oz Simple Syrup
8-10 leaf Mint

Muddle mint leaves in simple syrup. Add the rest of the ingredients and crushed ice, stir, and add more crushed ice to form a cone on top of the drink. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Two Fridays ago, I plucked some mint from the garden to make a drink I spotted in Gaz Regan's 101 Best New Cocktails email called the Magic Julep. With an heavy dose of Angostura Bitters, Giuseppe Gonzalez's creation at Suffolk Arms reminded me of a bit of his other works including the Stormy Mai Tai, and the Fernet in the Julep reminded me of Ryan Lotz's Thin Mint Julep and Nick Jarrett's Prizefighter.
The Magic Julep's mint donated heavily in the aroma department. Next, the sip gave forth a sweet caramel combination, and the swallow was rather herbal with mint, gentian, and menthol notes. Despite the extreme ingredients in the mix, the Magic Julep was not overwhelming and rather easy to enjoy (relative to my palate, that is).

Thursday, June 16, 2016

waking up ain't easy

1 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
1 oz Plantation Dark Rum
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
The other drink we tried at the Citizen Public House was the Waking Up Ain't Easy. Bartender Sean Frederick described how Richard Fiorillo created this Mai Tai-like split spirits number originally with a much longer name ("And They Said..." preceded things). I was drawn in because it somewhat reminded me of JM Curley's High Five, So Am I and many of the Campari-orgeat recipes such as the Pinwheel Swizzle. Once prepared, it showcased an earthy vegetal nose. Next, lime and rich caramel on the sip transitioned into tequila, rum, and nutty bitter notes on the swallow.

oaxacan punch

1 1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a rocks glass, top with ice, and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Two Thursdays ago, we stopped into the Citizen Public House to welcome back Sean Frederick to his old home. For one of our drinks, I asked Sean for the Oaxacan Punch created by bartender Patrick Clark. Pat was there, and he mentioned that he was rather happy with the drink's balance and later found some similarities with my Tainted Love after he created it. The Oaxacan Punch shared a grapefruit aroma that led into a rich lime sip. Next, the swallow offered smoky mezcal and complex notes from the Swedish Punsch including tea tannins, and things ended with a cinnamon finish.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


1 oz Lemon Hart 151 Rum
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
6 drop (1/8 tsp) Pernod (Herbsaint)

Blend 5 seconds with 4 oz crushed ice, pour into a tall glass, and fill with crushed ice (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a lime peel snake, mint, and sage blossoms).

Two Wednesdays ago, I went looking for the forefather of the Snake Pit from two nights ago, namely the Cobra's Fang. Beachbum Berry's books do not offer a recipe for that drink, and various recipes that I spotted online seemed like interpretations of the vague recipe. Instead, I opted for one that Berry does present: the Cobra from Chicago's Kon-Tiki circa 1962. The Cobra was created as a stream-lined version of Don the Beachcomber's circa 1940s Cobra's Fang. Overall, the Cobra reminded me of an overproof-rum laden (but not boozier overall) and slightly differently spiced South Pacific Punch.
The Cobra began with a bouquet inspired by the mint, sage, and lime garnishes. Next, tropical flavors from the fruit juices and syrups mingled with the rum's caramel on the sip, and the swallow offered dark rum, passion fruit, and clove notes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

bikini bottom

1 1/2 oz Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum
3/4 oz Averna
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
5 leaf Mint

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Fill with crushed ice, add straws, and garnish with a mint sprig and 3 spritzes Laphroaig Scotch.
Two Tuesdays ago, my bar shift let out in time to catch last call at Brick & Mortar. For a libation, I asked bartender Rob Hoover for the Bikini Bottom which seemed like a delightful yet complex Daiquiri-Smash hybrid. Once built, the Bikini Bottom shared a mint and smoke aroma. Next, caramel from the Averna paired with the lime on the sip, and the swallow offered rum, herbal, pineapple, and mint notes.

Monday, June 13, 2016

the snake pit

1 oz Angostura 7 Year Rum (Old Ipswich Tavern Style)
1/2 oz Hamilton 151 Rum (Lemon Hart 151)
1 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/4 oz Grenadine
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Amaro di Angostura

Blend with 1 cup crushed ice and pour into a Double Old Fashioned glass (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with a cinnamon stick and an orange peel snake (I added a mint sprig, too).

Two Mondays ago, I was excited to make a drink that I had spotted on TikiDontSurf's Instagram called the Snake Pit. The recipe was a Cobra's Fang riff created by Kevin UptheGrove of 5MinutesOfRum for the recent Tiki Caliente Festival. I had never had the original Cobra's Fang, and later rectified that by making a streamlined version, the Cobra, a few days later. I was definitely excited to use my new bottle of Amaro di Angostura for this recipe; perhaps a spice-driven herbal liqueur such as Becherovka or Jägermeister could substitute here in a pinch.
The Snake Pit shared an orange, cinnamon, and mint aroma from the garnishes. Next, the sip was rather fruity from the orange, pomegranate, and lime elements, and the swallow offered rum accented by dark rich notes as well as clove and other spices.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

kahala cooler

1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Caliche)
1 oz Brandy (Camus VS Cognac)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
Juice of 1/2 Lime (1/2 oz)
3/4 oz Amer Picon (Torani Amer)
1 dash Grenadine (1/4 oz)
1 dash Rock Candy Syrup (Omit)

Shake with shaved ice and pour into a 12 oz glass. Garnish with a spent half lime shell.
I was in a tropical drink mood after my shift two Sundays ago, so I turned to Trader Vic's 1974 Rum Cookery & Drinkery for a recipe. The Kahala Cooler stood out for it reminded me of Trader Vic's use of Amer Picon and grenadine in the Jayco. In the glass, the Kahala Cooler shared a mint and lime oil bouquet to the nose. Next, lime and a caramel richness from the Picon on the sip transitioned into rum, brandy, bitter orange, and pineapple flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

death bed

1 oz Pampero Aniversario Rum (Plantation Dark)
3/4 oz Barbancourt Rhum Blanc (Depaz Rhum Agricole)
3/4 oz Cherry Heering
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice

Build in a Collins glass, add crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Top with crushed ice, and garnish with a lime wheel and brandied cherries on a pick.
Two Saturdays ago, I reached for the PDT Cocktail Book for my evening's nightcap. The one that spoke to me was John Deragon's Death Bed that he created circa 2009 to sooth the malaise from a cold that left him bedridden. Once prepared, the Death Bed greeted the senses with a lime and grassy aroma. Next, the sip was filled with vague fruit notes from the muddled combination of lime, cherry, and pineapple, and the swallow began with dark and grassy rum flavors and ended with dark cherry notes.

Friday, June 10, 2016

voodoo echo

1 oz Rhum Barbancourt 8 Year
1 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing 2 oz ginger beer. Top with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with a lime twist.
Two weekends ago, a guest in the restaurant finished his Hungry Like a Wolf and wanted "something similar but different." The drink I sent out took a more Tiki direction with Haitian rhum for the Bourbon, passion fruit syrup for the elderflower liqueur, and lime for lemon. The general structure with the Pimm's and ginger beer held steady. For a name, I stuck with the Duran Duran theme and took note of the Haitian aspect and dubbed this one Voodoo Echo after one of the band's lesser known tracks.

growing old and dying happy is a hope, not an inevitability

2 oz Cynar
1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1 pinch Salt
Oil from 5 Lemon Swaths

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe pre-rinsed with absinthe (Pernod Absinthe). Garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Fridays ago, I reached for the 'zine-style cocktail book that came after the 2009 Rogue Cocktails got discontinued due to legal actions from Rogue Ales & Spirits and the 2011 Beta Cocktails came out. This photoless photocopied and stapled collection called Rogue Cocktails printed in 2010 had many of the original recipes plus 5 or so new recipes. Many of those new recipes made it into Beta Cocktails, but one entitled Growing Old and Dying Happy is a Hope, Not an Inevitability never did; actually, a similar drink appeared in Beta Cocktails called the Italian Heirloom with the whiskey being a half ounce each of blended Scotch and Laphroaig instead of the full ounce of bonded rye here. I remember asking Maks Pazuniak at Tales of the Cocktail in 2010 whether the new book had come out yet, and instead he handed me the 'zine and said soon; moreover, this drink was one of his creations. I was drawn to it for it appeared like a proof-ier adaptation of the Little Giuseppe.
The Growing Old began with anise from the absinthe mingling with the fresh lemon oil on the nose. Next, the Cynar's caramel paired well with the rye's malt on the sip, and the swallow offered minty herbal and rye flavors with an anise-herbal finish. Indeed, the salt mollified the funky vegetal bitterness of the Cynar and brought out lighter herbal notes from the amaro as it has in many drinks including the Aguamiel.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

central standard swizzle

2 oz Aged Rum (El Dorado 5 Year)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum
5 leaf Mint

Muddle mint leaves with falerum in a Collins glass. Add rest of the ingredients and crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Top with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with a generous amount of Angostura Bitters (4-5 dash) and mint (3 sprig).

Two Thursdays ago after my work shift, I turned to a recipe recently published by Imbibe Magazine that appeared like an interesting riff on the Queen's Park Swizzle. The drink created by Austin's Central Standard was their eponymous Central Standard Swizzle and seemed like an excellent use of my wood swizzle stick that I got as a thank you present from Angostura for representing them at the Blender Bender.
The Central Standard Swizzle gave forth mint and clove spice notes to the nose. Next, lemon and the aged rum's caramel on the sip transitioned to rum, clove, and mint on the swallow.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

hoptimum pine

1 oz Denizen Aged White Rum
3/4 oz Pineapple Shrub
1/2 oz Orgeat
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass with 2-3 oz Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Fill with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with a pineapple fruit leaf.
Two Wednesday ago, we headed down to Firebrand Saints for dinner. For a drink, Andrea asked bartender Dave Erickson for the Hoptimum Pine that he credited Ashley Ruest as the creator. In the glass, this beer cocktail generated a lemon and pineapple bouquet. Next, the creamy, carbonated lemon sip was followed by pine, pineapple, almond, and tart lemon flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Amaro di Angostura
3/4 oz Pineapple Shrub
3/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

As a second drink, I took Andrea's recommendation to request one of Sahil Mehta's drinks of the day that she had the last time she was in. Sahil explained that he had named this one Titania after the Fairy Queen in A Midsummer Night's Dream for he appreciated the grandness of the two big names in the ingredients list -- Angostura and Chartreuse.
The Titania gave forth a Green Chartreuse herbal aroma with hints of pineapple. Next, caramel and lime on the sip gave way to dark spice notes, brighter herbal flavors from the Chartreuse, and pineapple elements on the swallow with a clove-driven finish. Later as the drink warmed up, the swallow became more savory from the shrub's vinegar.

[banana cup no. 1]

1 1/2 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/2 oz Cynar
1 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass with 2 oz Barritt's Ginger Beer. Fill with ice, add straws, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Since I finally had a Tuesday off two weeks ago, I was able to visit Sahil Mehta at Estragon. For a start, I opted for the drink of the day for I was curious to see how banana and Cynar interacted and to determine if it was as magical as the combination with Campari in the Banana Boulevardier or Ramazzotti in the Bela Vista. Needing a name, I took the Pimm's ingredient as a cue and dubbed this one the Banana Cup No. 1.
The Banana Cup No. 1 began with a mint aroma that led into a lemon and fruity sip. Next, the swallow proved that the Cynar-banana combination was indeed delicious as it offered banana, bitter, and ginger notes.

Monday, June 6, 2016

holy mole!

1 1/2 oz Glenfiddich Scotch
3/4 oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.
Later that Monday night, I found myself at the Hawthorne for the final event to wrap up Boston Thirst 2016, the William & Grant party. For a libation, I asked bar manager Jared Sadoian for the Holy Molé! which reminded me on paper of a banana for honey Penicillin Cocktail. Once built, the Holy Molé! presented a banana aroma accented by smoky Scotch notes. Next, the lemon sip gave way to Scotch, ginger, and banana on the swallow.

surfer on acid

1 1/2 oz Appleton Signature Rum
1 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Clement Mahinia Coco
1/8 oz Peychaud's Bitters
1 pinch Kosher Salt

Blend with ice and pour into a Hurricane glass. Top with crushed ice and garnish with a pineapple leaf and a paper umbrella (omit).

Two Mondays ago, in the midst of the final night of Boston Thirst events, I found myself with a group at Hojoko. For a drink, I requested the bar's take on the Surfer on Acid. I was curious for I had tinkered with remaking the neo-classic with my Bartender on Acid and I had seen the drink during a photo shoot for The Improper Bostonian as Hojoko's Joe Camarata was setting up his drink while my take on The Blood of the Kapu Tiki was being photographed. The recipe for this drink was sourced from that article.
This Surfer on Acid offered a dark herbal bouquet. Next, a creamy sip shared pineapple and other tropical fruit notes, and the swallow divvied up rum, pineapple, and coconut flavors with a bitter and spiced finish.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

death flip

1 oz Blanco Tequila (Piedra Azul)
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Jagermeister
1 dash Simple Syrup (omit)
1 whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a Sour glass, and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Two Sundays ago after the Blender Bender, I treated myself to a nightcap from a recent Eater article called the Death Flip. I was drawn to the recipe because something rich seemed fitting and since the Jagermeister ingredient reminded me of a great icy offering at the Blender Bender. The drink itself was created by Chris Hysted of the Black Pearl in Melbourne, Australia, and it reminded me of the Colleen Bawn in structure.
The Death Flip began with a nutmeg aroma from the garnish that complemented the vegetal and herbal notes from the liquid below. Next, a creamy rich and caramel sip preceded the tequila, clove, and herbal swallow. Later, cinnamon and star anise from the Jagermeister became rather noticeable on the swallow.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

jim's special

2 oz Myer's Rum (1 oz Goslings)
2 1/2 oz Casadores Tequila (1 1/4 oz Espolon Blanco)
1 oz Lime Juice (1/2 oz)
1 oz Passion Fruit Syrup (1/2 oz)
1 oz Tiki-Ti Mai Tai Mix (1/4 oz orgeat, 1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao)

Blend with 8 oz crushed ice for 5 seconds (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with a pineapple wedge speared to a cherry (mint and a half spent lime shell filled with Don Q 151 Rum and ignited).
For my post-shift nightcap two Saturday's ago, I grabbed Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari and opted for the Jim's Special created at the Tiki-Ti circa 2000. Overall, the Jim's Special was a cross between a classic Mai Tai and Trader Vic's Chinese Itch with the base spirit split between rum and tequila. Once in the mug, the drink proffered a mint aroma. Next, lime and tropical fruit flavors on the sip led into dark rum, tequila, earthy, and orange notes on the swallow.

Friday, June 3, 2016


2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolon)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Bigallet China-China (Torani Amer)
1 tsp Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
2 dash Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
A few Thursdays ago, I turned to The Cocktail Chronicles book for a post-work nightcap and I selected the Theobroma. Paul Clarke had originally written about the Theobroma on his blog 6 years ago where he explained the origins of the drink. When Paul read David Wondrich's Esquire Drinks, he remembered reading through a list of "The Rules" where Wondrich declared that there was no such thing as a Chocolate Martini. Paul tried to figure out how chocolate got a bad rap despite being tasty in drinks like the 20th Century, and he decided on tequila as the base of his elegant chocolate cocktail. Back in 2009, Amer Picon and mole bitters were less available, so Paul offered up his alternative:
Theobroma (blog version)
• 2 oz Reposado Tequila
• 1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
• 1/2 oz Averna
• 1/4 oz Crème de Cacao
• 1 tsp Mezcal
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
While Averna can be rather chocolaty, I decided on the book version since it reminded me of a tequila version of the Coney Island. Once mixed, it shared an orange and agave nose with a darker note from either the amer or the chocolate elements. Next, grape and caramel in the sip transitioned into tequila, bitter, and chocolate flavors on the swallow with a dry ending.

daq in black

1 oz Blackwell Jamaican Rum
1/2 oz Cognac
1/2 oz Meletti Amaro
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Fee's Black Walnut Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon peel lightning bolt.
For my second drink at Backbar, I opted for Luc Thiers' drink of the day, the Daq in Black. Since it was his first day back, he created the drink as a joke about his proclivity towards amaro-laden Daiquiris all with an AC/DC reference here. Once in the glass, the Daq in Black gave forth a lemon aroma from the twist and a caramel one from the dark rum and amaro. Next, the caramel notes continued into the sip where they contrasted the crisp lime, and the swallow offered dark rum, Cognac, vanilla, and walnut flavors.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

crossroads highball

1 1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz Honey Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass with 3 oz sparkling wine. Add ice and a straw, and garnish with a lemon twist and 2 dashes of floated Angostura Bitters.
A few Wednesdays ago, I heard that Luc Thiers was back in town and bartending at Backbar, so I made my way over on my day off. For a start, I requested a previous drink of the day called the Crossroads Highball that was bartender Carlo Caroscio's riff on the Champs-Élysées. The Crossroads Highball began with a clove, lemon, and sparkling wine aroma. Next, the carbonated sip paired lemon and honey flavors, and the swallow started with Cognac and ended with herbal and rum funk notes. Finally, as the bitters began to enter the equation, things dried out and became more spiced.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

yacht rock

3/4 oz Coruba Dark Rum
3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth (should have been Blanc, see comment)
1/2 oz Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice

Shake with 3 ice cubes and strain into a snifter glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with a lime boat and orchid (lime boat, columbine flower, and mint).

A few Tuesdays ago for my post-shift nightcap, I turned to a Jungle Bird riff that I spotted in a Punch Magazine article about variations on that 1970s classic. The riff that appealed the most to me was the Yacht Rock from Garret Richard of Manhattan's Slowly Shirley and the Happiest Hour. With rums, juices, vermouth, and crème de cacao, it reminded me of the Tortuga and of course the Floridita. Here, it also had the great pairing of chocolate and Campari which I was first introduced to in the Carletti and last experienced in the All In.
The Yacht Rock shared a floral, lime, and mint nose. On the sip, caramel and a vague fruity flavor from the lime, grape, and orange led into a swallow replete with funky rums, chocolate, and softened Campari orange notes.