Thursday, February 22, 2018

alligator monday

1 oz Mezcales de Leyenda (Fidencio Espadin Joven)
1 oz Fernet Branca Menta
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orgeat
5 drop Saline 1:3 Solution (1 pinch Salt)

Short shake with ice, strain into a glass, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig and orange zest (orange twist only).

Two Thursdays ago, I received an email from the KLG public relations firm featuring recipes that showcase their clients' products such as Fernet Branca and Mezcales de Leyenda. The one that called out to me was the Alligator Monday by Maks Pazuniak at Brooklyn's Jupiter Disco. The name struck me as a reference to the Fernet Branca alligator mascot until I searched on the web and discovered that it is the song title from the math-rock band Cuzco. At Jupiter Disco, their current menu reads Fidencio Mezcal, so I utilized that as one of the equal parts here.
Even without the mint sprig, the Alligator Monday's aroma was rather minty from the Branca Menta and this joined the bright oils from the orange twist on the nose. Next, a creamy lime and caramel sip gave way to mint with nutty and smoky agave undertones on the swallow.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


1/2 Scotch (1 1/2 oz Famous Grouse)
1/3 Grapefruit Juice (3/4 oz)
1/3 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin Blanc)
1 dash Ojen Bitters (1/2 bsp Herbsaint)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a grapefruit twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to discover any passed over recipes worth exploring. When I came across the Express, I reconsidered the French vermouth as blanc instead of dry, and soon the recipe reminded me of the Bohemian with the grapefruit, floral element (blanc vermouth here and St. Germain there), and anise-driven bitters. With Scotch, grapefruit juice, and a sweetener, it also made me think of the Polly's Special. Once shaken and strained, the Express gave forth grapefruit oil over Scotch on the nose. Next, grapefruit and white grape notes on the sip led into Scotch, floral, and anise flavors on the swallow.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

super mutant

1 oz Rhum Clement Select Aged Rhum Agricole
1 oz Lustau Fino Sherry
1 oz Green Chartreuse
1 sprig Rosemary

In one rocks glass, build the rhum agricole and sherry. In a second rocks glass, add the Chartreuse and rosemary; ignite the Chartreuse and let it burn for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, add ice to the first rocks glass and begin to stir. Extinguish the fire in the second rocks glass, strain the burnt rosemary-infused Chartreuse into the first glass containing rhum, sherry, and ice, and stir for a bit more.
Two Tuesdays ago, I ventured down to Union Square, Somerville, to catch the return of Luc Thiers at Backbar. Sadly, he was not returning as a full-time staff member but merely as an alumni and guest bartender for the night as his bar in Rochester, the supernatural-themed Spirits Room, keeps him quite busy. For his guest shift, he brought with him a whole menu based off of the video game Fallout, and he even dressed up as Pip-Boy for the occasion. The drink I selected was the Super Mutant named after the oversized virally-infected humans in the video game.
Luc mentioned that the drink was based off of a Scotch Bijou drink that he once did, but the Chartreuse-burning rosemary part reminded me of the Rubicon and to some degree the Rosemary's Baby where the herb was ignited via Grand Marnier instead. The Chartreuse fire in a second glass also reminded me of the Drink duo Krakatoa and Super Nova. Once prepared, this rhum Bijou of sorts proffered grassy aromas from the agricole that melded into the Chartreuse's herbal. Next, the Fino's white wine was boosted to semi-dryness from the Chartreuse's sugar content on the sip, and the swallow was similar to the nose with grassy flavors transitioning into Chartreuse with the rosemary coming through on the finish. As the ice melted a bit, the drink got less sweet and the Fino began to shine through more and turn things more savory.

Monday, February 19, 2018

el nova grog

3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
2 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (R.L. Seale 10 Year)
1/4 oz Don's Spices (1 bsp vanilla syrup + 1 bsp Hamilton's Allspice Dram)
2 dash Bitters (Angostura)
1 oz Club Soda

Shake all but the soda water with ice, strain into a pineapple mug (Tiki mug) containing the club soda, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with pineapple leaves, mint sprig, and orchid (freshly grated nutmeg).

Two Mondays ago, I decided to make a drink that EL Nova posted on Instagram about his nameless Superbowl creation from the day before. It looked tasty, and I replied how it needed a name and how it looked "inspired by [Trader] Vic's Navy Grog, Siboney, and Old Yellow Stain, so it seems like a winner."
Since it still lacked a name, I dubbed this one after the creator, and he seemed to approve. In the mug, the Grog shared a woody spice from the nutmeg garnish I used over tropical fruit aromas from the mix below. Next, the sip was mostly the grapefruit and pineapple combination with some of the passion fruit creeping in, but most of the passion fruit showed itself on the swallow along with the rum and allspice flavors and a pineapple, vanilla, and clove finish.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

tony rocky horror

1 1/2 oz Pot Still Rum (Newport Distilling's Thomas Tew)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1/2 oz Orgeat
2 dash Absinthe (1/2 bsp Kübler)

Dry shake, pour into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs (grapefruit twist)

Two Sunday nights ago, I decided to make a drink from a Facebook video for a new libation by Sam Ross at Las Vegas' The Dorsey. The recipe was for the Tony Rocky Horror named after a character from Pulp Fiction, but the video left some gaps in the drink proportions specifically with the housemade falernum and orgeat. When I made my assumptions and posted them on Instagram, I was asked how I came to these numbers; my reply was, "I based it off of 3 things: the standard Mai Tai recipe/how much sweetener would balance 1 oz of lime juice, Sam Ross' other recipes (i.e. his spec style), and watching the pours out of the jigger [a Napier-style stepped cup] -- they were equal and about half as much as the 1 oz measure. It tasted akin to a Mai Tai -- perhaps not as sweet since Velvet Falernum isn't as sugary as curaçao/Cointreau or [probably] Sam's housemade falernum." If I did see this on paper without knowing the citrus amounts, I would have also considered the Test Pilot and made it equal half ounce parts of the two sweeteners and the citrus, but the 1 oz lime juice was not cut out of the video.
With Antwan "Tony Rocky Horror" Rockamora being half Samoan, the name is at least somewhat related to the South Pacific, even if the rest of Pulp Fiction was not. But in the glass, it was rather tropical with a grapefruit and anise aroma on the nose that led into a creamy lime sip. Next, the drink gave forth rum, nutty, lime, clove, and anise flavors on the swallow.

every dream a dream of escape even when it doesn't look like it

1 oz Rainwater Madeira (Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
1/2 oz Cointreau
3 dash Angostura Bitters
3 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, add a Champagne float (1 1/2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs), and garnish with a knotted lemon twist.

Two Sunday mornings ago, I was perusing Instagram when I had spotted a literary-inspired drink by Chantal Tseng at Washington DC's Petworth Citizen called the Every Dream a Dream of Escape Even When It Doesn't Look Like It that impressed me first due to the name length for it had one more than the previous champ of 12 words, The Facts Concerning the Late Van Hagen & The Thirsty Man's Safari. This The Underground Railroad-themed drink also caught my eye for it reminded me of a Prince of Wales minus the brandy; however, Chantal revealed her influence as a "Seelbach Cocktail with Madeira replacing the Bourbon and half the bitters." Finally, it seemed like a great brunch drink (we had the Seelbach on the brunchtails list back at Russell House Tavern for a season or two), so I did not wait until the night to enjoy this creation.
The Every Dream shared a citrus aroma of lemon and orange along with darker notes from the Madeira on the nose. Next, a carbonated grape and orange sip escaped into an elegant red wine merging into bitter orange swallow. Indeed, the Madeira-orange liqueur duo seen in drinks like the 91st Division, Brotherly Advice, and Come Sail Away made this fortified wine for whiskey swap sing delightfully.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


1/2 Scotch (1 1/4 oz Famous Grouse + 1/4 oz Laphroaig 10 Year)
2 dash French Vermouth (1 oz Dolin Blanc)
2 dash St. Croix Rum (1/2 oz Privateer Navy Yard)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist.

After a Saturday night at Our Fathers in Allston, I came home to have late night dinner followed by a cocktail. For inspiration, I flipped through Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and came upon the Burlington. This Rob Roy variation spiked in some rum complexity, and I opted for the Jim Meehan theory that sometimes "French vermouth" drinks can taste better with a somewhat sweetened blanc vermouth instead of a dry one. For a rum, the burly Navy Yard from Privateer caught my eye despite going over to my shelf to select a funky Jamaican rum (that pairing came to mind through the Modernista, Quarter Deck, and Captain Kidd) with a secondary concept being an agricole (that duo was spawned from the Start of a New Road and Two Worlds Sour).
The Burlington gave forth a lemon oil over peat smoke bouquet to the nose. Next, malt mingling with white grape on the sip gave way to Scotch merging with rum on the swallow with floral and orange notes and a smoky finish.

Friday, February 16, 2018


1 1/4 oz Rye Whiskey (Ryan & Wood)
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth (Maurin)
1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur (King's Ginger)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass rinsed with Herbsaint, and garnish with a lemon twist.
After work two Fridays ago, I was in the mood for a nightcap, so I turned to Sarah Baird's New Orleans Cocktails and selected the Lexington from T. Cole Newton of Twelve Mile Limit. I finally made a trip out to that bar last July during Tales (see below) but sadly the afternoon's light made me think more of beer than consulting their cocktail expertise. The Lexington is Cole's riff on the Sazerac that reminded me of my Sazerac-Manhattan hybrid the Merchants Exchange Manhattan but here with the added angle of ginger spice. Once prepared, the Lexington gave forth a familiar lemon and anise nose. Next, grape and malt held hands through the sip, and this was chased by rye spice, dry grape, ginger, cinnamon, and anise on the swallow.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

palm viper

3/4 oz Zacapa "23" Rum
3/4 oz El Dorado 12 Year Rum
1 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dash Bittercube Corazon Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with a lemon twist and a cherry.

Two Thursdays ago, Andrea and I ventured down to Brookline to dine at the Baldwin Bar's new sibling, the Blossom Bar, that hosts the same style of Sichuan cuisine as the Woburn location but with cocktails inspired by Central and South America. For a start, I selected the Palm Viper that reminded me of a rum Little Italy. I later discovered that the drink was crafted by Patrick Andrew as a riff on the 1919 Cocktail, and he utilized aromatic bitters from Bittercube that have chili pepper, cocoa, and coffee flavors akin to a mole to give some extra regional flare to the two Central American rums in the mix. And for a name, he dubbed this one after a poisonous snake lurking in the mountains of Costa Rica and Panama.
Once prepared, the Palm Viper gave forth bright lemon oil aromas over the bass notes from the dark rums and amaro. Next, caramel from the rums and amaro mingled with the vermouth's grape on the sip, and the swallow paired rum and funk with an elegant spice finish.