Tuesday, June 30, 2015


1 oz Bourbon (Four Roses)
1 oz Campari
1/2 oz Mezcal (Montelobos)
1/2 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a wide orange twist.

A few weeks ago, I was looking through the Negroni variation submissions for the ShakeStir competition, and I spotted an intriguing one from Boston's own Sahil Mehta of Estragon. He described his drink, The Pantomimist, as, "Beauty in simplicity, as with the Negroni, but with darker notes from the modified base and the cacao, and an additional layer of complexity from the smoke." I am not sure whether I was more taken in by the flavor combinations in the recipe or the drink name itself...
The Pantomimist offered orange oil and wood smoke notes over the Campari aroma. Next, the sip was mostly malty from the Bourbon, and the swallow packed a lot of flavor with whiskey, smoky agave, and bitter chocolate and orange elements. Indeed, the combination brought out a lot more of the orange notes from the Campari than usual, and the drink was not as chocolaty as I first expected.

Monday, June 29, 2015

zombie (1946)

2 oz Puerto Rican Rum (Caliche)
1 oz Jamaican Rum (Wray & Nephew)
1/2 oz Demerara 151 Rum (Lemonhart)
1 oz Orange Curaçao (Van der Hum)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 dash Herbsaint or Pernod (1/8 oz Herbsaint)

Shake with ice and strain into a 14 oz chimney glass filled with cracked ice.

The third Tiki challenge hosted by California bartender El Nova that I participated in on Instagram was the Zombie Challenge. The rules were open to any Zombie recipe of any decade or heritage. Since I had already written about the classic 1934, hot 1941, and various modern variations, I decided to reach for a book and see what other recipes I could find. The book I grabbed was Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink from 1946. Overall, this one appeared less spice driven, and instead of grapefruit and lime for citrus, it called for lemon and orange; indeed, it seemed worthy of a try. You can see my Instagram post and camera phone photo here.
My zealous garnishing provided a mint and citrus bouquet to the nose. Next, the sip was fruity from the lemon, orange, and pomegranate and colored by hints of caramel from the dark Demerara rum. Finally, the swallow was rich and funky from the rums with an anise spice and crisp citrus finish. Without the additional spice elements, the funky Wray & Nephew rum definitely helped to fill in the gaps with some dunder pit intrigue.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


2 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup (BG Reynolds)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime peel skull and drops of Peychaud's Bitters as a spine.
Continuing on with my Tiki trend, I turned to a recipe I spotted in the OnTheBar app called the Apocalypto. The drink was created by Audrey King of the Eddy and Aurora bars in Providence, RI, and I took the skull garnish part as a challenge. I did not try to match the Misfits-like skull of Audrey (see link), but I did my own style of skull instead. Once prepared, the Apocalypto offered a lime and passion fruit aroma in an almost floral way. Tropical flavors from the lime and passion fruit on the sip gave way to pisco, vanilla, and lime tartness on the swallow.

Friday, June 26, 2015

hilo hala

1 1/2 oz Rhum JM Blanc (Vale d' Paul Aguardente Nova de Santo Antão)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Falernum (BG Reynolds)
1 dash Mole Bitters
Lemon Zest (2 wide peels)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass (I used a Tiki mug filled with crushed ice). Garnish with a pineapple wedge (here, mint sprigs).

After returning from Licoln Tavern in Southie, we were in the mood for a nightcap. Therefore, I reached for my copy of Tales of the Cocktail A to Z and found a drink from the Tiki Now: The New Breed of Tiki Bar seminar in 2010. The drink, the Hilo Hala, was created by one of the presenters that session, namely Blair Reynolds now of BG Reynolds syrups and Hale Pele bar. If you missed the seminar like I did (though I was at Tales that year watching a competing talk, I believe), you can still watch it sans drinks (unless, of course, you make this one) on Vimeo.
Serving this in a cocktail glass did not fit my mood that night, and I sought out my humble Tiki mug collection. In addition, lacking fresh pineapple, I opted for mint sprigs from the garden. Once built, the Hilo Hala offered a mint aroma. The sip was filled with pineapple flavors and other more vague fruity notes perhaps from the St. Germain, falernum, and lemon peels. And this was followed by funky rum, clove, almond, and floral notes on the swallow.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

:: boston cocktail allstars - misty kalkofen ::

As a result of discussing various Boston bartenders and their long lasting contributions to the Boston cocktail scene, I began a series last week called the Boston Cocktail Allstars. For a starting point, I selected my first craft bartender, Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli, and soon assembled a list of local shaker heroes that needed to be covered in future editions. Next on the docket is Misty Kalkofen which temporally might have been our next craft bartender in Boston. I know that we were drinking at Green Street back in mid-2007, about a year after Misty started there, and followed her to Drink in late 2008 and then Brick & Mortar in the vapors of 2011. I am not sure whether her infectious laugh or her recipes travel further, but for now, I will deal more with the recipes (note: bring field recording gear next time). And with great difficulty like last time, I will narrow this down to five drinks that define my version of her Boston legacy.
1. Fort Washington Flip
While Misty is frequently known for her early adopter status with St. Germain, mezcal, and sherry (more on that in the next few drinks), one thing that she brings to the table, er... bar is a love of egg drinks. In fact, for Easter 2007, she assembled a egg-forward cocktail menu, and DrinkBoston quoted her as saying "You hard boil your Easter eggs. We separate and shake ours." This is not to say that she was the first, for No. 9 Park was definitely doing their share and Eastern Standard had already started their "oeuf" section on their menu. As one of her best egg drinks during this time period, Misty brought a bunch of Fall flavors together and named it after a Revolutionary War-era fortification, Fort Washington, which still exists as remnants several blocks away from Green Street. While my first egg drink was at Eastern Standard, my love of the style blossomed at Misty's bar. Though not her drink, her choice to put Angus Winchester's Peanut Malt Flip on the menu made my nightcap drink choice easy -- I would just ask Green Street bartender Derric Crothers for a "PMF."

2. Maximilian Affair
Before her love of sherry reared itself, it was St. Germain and mezcal. One of the first drinks that had both in it was the Maximilian Affair which was symbolically named after a French intervention in Mexico during the mid-19th century. When I asked Misty about the drink later, she explained how she created the drink at Green Street for Ron Cooper of Del Maguey after he pulled a bottle of mezcal out for her to try. The Del Maguey products were not available here at that time, so luckily she still had enough of a sample to use it in a St. Germain recipe competition. Until quality mezcals became available, she was often forced to use a blanco tequila in its place. Floral and fruit notes from the St. Germain intervene with the heat and smoke of the Mexican spirit, and the combination is magically bound with Punt e Mes and lemon. Perhaps her Bohemian is a better introduction to St. Germain, but I personally return to the Maximilian Affair for personal consumption more often.
3. Armada
During the Drink era, Misty did not have the benefit of getting cocktails on a menu for that bar lacks (a written) one. New ideas were more fleeting and often required them to be made by the creator. Luckily, we had quite a few of these during the time period. Originally, I was going to go with the Dunaway that showcases Misty's finesse with sherry. However, I spotted the Armada which included sherries as well as Genever -- a spirit that Misty also produced great recipes with including the 1820. Genever is less forgiving of a spirit than gin or whiskey which lie on either side of it on the flavor spectrum, yet Misty was able to craft gems like the Armada.

4. Teardrop
Once Misty moved on to Brick & Mortar, she created some of the most intriguing combinations on paper that turned out to delicious medleys in the glass. The first that I tried at Brick that December of 2011 was the Teardrop which Misty described as one the first successes for the opening menu. It also showcased a new tool in her cocktail arsenal -- having a person who could generate names. Bar co-owner Patrick Sullivan had a notebook of names that he wanted to find homes for, and Misty had a bunch of cocktail ideas that needed names. Here, Cardamaro takes center stage to balance the gin; while Averna donates a bit of richness, it is the light touch of absinthe that makes things work by brightening up the drink. Not overpowering in any direction or proof. The latter part was not so true on the Bullet for Fredo that I had that night. No, it was balanced, but this chilled but undiluted number packed a punch (see serving size below!). It also displayed how aged grappa could be utilized elegantly as a based spirit. Apparently, during Brick & Mortar training, the staff greatly enjoyed drinking Nardini Aquavite Bassano Riserva Aged Grappa over other spirits, perhaps due to its vanilla, spice, chocolate, and tobacco notes.
5. Streets of Gettysburg
For a second drink to sum up Misty's time at Brick & Mortar, I was torn between two cocktails that featured sherry and Benedictine. The one that I did not choose is the amusingly named Honky and the Donkey. Perhaps it should have gotten the nod, but Misty's love of mezcal has been mentioned a few times above. Instead, here is a rye whiskey one, but what does it have to do with the name? Legend has it that Patrick Sullivan had spotted it as the caption to a friend's photo on Facebook and put it his drink name notebook, and it later called out to Misty. The trio of sherry, Benedictine, and coffee liqueur is just magic in this drink.
Currently, Misty has taken her love of agave spirits to the next level and the next stage in her career, that of being an educator as well as working for Del Maguey Mezcal. I remember the first time that Misty visited me at Russell House Tavern shortly after making that move. I had to figure out what drink would match her tastes, and the one I chose was my Downtown at Dawn which features mezcal, apple brandy, and Benedictine that she has utilized in many of her drinks over the years. If I could have fit sherry, Lillet/Cocchi Americano, Drambuie, and egg in there as well, the world might have exploded. So let us all raise a stigi of mezcal to Misty. Cheers!

one night in bangkok

1 1/2 oz Barsol Pisco
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz Clement Creole Shrubb
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe.
For Loyal Nine's Yacht Rock Sunday menu, I mentioned my first pass at the One Night Bangkok which morphed into The Devil Walking Next To Me when I realized that the bottle I thought was allspice dram at the bar was actually Nux Alpina. To that structure (which I made at home), I swapped Batavia Arrack for pisco at work, kept the sweet vermouth and lime juice, and switched the two liqueurs to Benedictine and orange liqueur. While sweet vermouth has worked well in Sours, it seemed a little out of place here, and I ended up dropping it and upping the two liqueurs to resemble a Peruvian Honeymoon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

i can't dance

2 1/4 oz Blandy's 5 Year Sercial Madeira
3/4 oz Averna
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters
3 slice Orange

Muddle orange slices, add rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and double strain into a Collins glass. Fill with crushed ice, garnish with a fresh orange slice, and add a straw.

For the inaugural yacht rocktail menu at Loyal Nine, I wanted to do a Cobbler since we have an awesome Hoshizaki crushed ice maker at work. And of course it is a great style of 19th century drink, and one that is perfect to showcase fortified wines as base spirits. Since our spirits program at Loyal Nine focuses on spirits commonly found during the Colonial days, namely rum, brandy, and Madeira, it was not too hard to figure out which bottles I would be focusing on here. For inspiration, I turned to Bellocq's Sea Dog and changed around proportions, switched the demerara syrup to Averna, and orange peels to orange slices. The drink name came by way one of the servers, Gregorio, as his contribution to the drink list tapestry.
The drink has been so refreshing and delicious that it has become one of the shift drinks requested even on days other than Yacht Rock Sundays. Before the ice melts, the flavor profile is more dark and rich with a walnut undertone and a Madeira-driven balanced acid backbone to it. As the ice melts, the drink becomes more orange forward until the end which tastes mostly like fresh (but watery) orange. What works so well is that the dark notes of the amaro and bitters pair well with each other and complement the dried fruit notes of the Madeira (see tasting notes on Madeira types); moreover, the dried orange notes in the Madeira match elegantly with the fresh ones from the muddled fruit.


1 1/2 oz Privateer Silver Rum
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb
1/4 oz Campari

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Twist a grapefruit peel over the top and discard.
The staff at Loyal Nine got really into the naming of the drinks for Yacht Rock Sundays. While the Hungry Like the Wolf was my own name, many of the other names came from the servers and the kitchen staff. In fact, Chef Marc Sheehan is still quite proud that his drink name and pastel-y concept for week #2 became the first drink to knock Hungry Like the Wolf off the pedestal (but more on that drink later). This one, the Maneater, came from two of the servers, Matt and Sean, who figured that a Cosmo variant named after a Hall & Oates song would be a crowd pleaser. From the spirit, citrus, orange liqueur, and red element of the neo-classic Cosmopolitan, I ended up being influenced by the High Noon's spirit, orange liqueur, Campari, and grapefruit combination and switched the base to white rum and changed the proportions. However, my hint of Campari in this "Cosmo on the Riviera" just felt out of balance here with the grapefruit to the point that it was a bit flabby and thus the Campari came across as too bitter. To fix things, I knocked the grapefruit back from 3/4 oz to 1/2 oz and added a 1/2 oz of lime juice with all the rest of the elements in the recipe held constant. Indeed, I utilized the structure of a Hemingway Daiquiri to save the day. Problem solved, deliciously so.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

hungry like the wolf

1 oz Four Roses Bourbon
1 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass containing 2 oz ginger beer. Fill with crushed ice, garnish with a lemon twist, and add straws.
Three Sundays ago was the first Yacht Rock Sunday at Loyal Nine. For the inaugural list that was paper clipped to the main drink menu, I had six drinks all named after yacht rock tunes. By far, the most popular drink that night was the Hungry Like the Wolf subtitled "Mouth is alive with juices like Bourbon," and it has done quite well the next two Sundays. I am not sure if it was due to the Duran Duran influence, the fact that it was Bourbon-based, or just that it contained crowd-pleasing ginger notes. The idea was inspired by the Twelve Gauge; however, the only ingredient that remained from that recipe at the end was the whiskey. The final product was a morph of a Pimm's Cup and a Bourbon Buck. To the Bourbon backbone, fruit notes from the Pimm's, elderflower, and lemon mingled with spice from the ginger beer and floral notes from the St. Elder.

battle of puebla

1 oz Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal (*)
1 oz Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur
1 oz Amaro Nonino
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with an orange twist and add straws.
(*) 90% mezcal, 10% agave nectar will work here. Averna would also sub well for the Nonino.
A few Tuesdays ago, we ventured down to Lincoln Tavern in Southie where bartenders Nicole Lebedevitch and Kevin Mabry were at the stick. For a first drink, I asked Kevin for the Battle of Puebla. Once prepared, it offered an orange oil aroma that led into a caramel-driven sip. The swallow was a bit more complex with smoky mezcal and pepper heat with an herbal chocolate finish and lingering spice.

Monday, June 22, 2015

the devil walking next to me

1 1/4 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Salers Gentiane Liqueur
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lime wheel.

A few Fridays ago, in gearing up for Loyal Nine's inaugural Yacht Rock Sunday, I started tinkering with a few ideas. I knew that I wanted to call one of the drinks One Night in Bangkok. I figured that Batavia Arrack was the way to go given the bar's stock, and I was considering a merge of a Floridita and my Sinnerman Swizzle. Unfortunately, this drink never made the list for the bottle that I thought was Allspice Dram on the backbar at work was actually Nux Alpina. Therefore, I renamed this one The Devil Walking Next to Me from a lyric from One Night in Bangkok, and the drink named after that song became an easier drinking pisco number.
This drink though began with lime, Batavia Arrack funk, and hints of allspice. Like the Floridita, the sip was lime and a fruitiness from the sweet vermouth (albeit without the Floridita's pomegranate element). Finally, the swallow was much more complex with funky rum, earthy gentian notes, and spicy allspice accents. The combination of sweet vermouth, gentian, and allspice worked just as well here as it did my inspiration, Mike Fleming's Sinnerman at Westbridge.

tango 'til they're sore

1 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
3/4 oz Peychaud's Bitters
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a big ice cube.

A few Wednesdays ago, I spotted a curious drink on ShakeStir by Rafa García Febles of Shelter Pizza in New York City called Tango 'til They're Sore. Rafa explained his drink as, "A sloppy, booze-scented wet kiss to New Orleans, spotlighting its homegrown bitters against a backdrop of its favorite spirit, rye. I took inspiration from the Fritz, an equal parts drink of gin/vermouth/Peychaud's/Maraschino, played with the proportions a bit, and watched rye brawl gin to victory." Indeed, he was influenced by Ryan Lotz's Fritz which in turn was influenced by my inverse Sazerac Cocktail, The Gerty.
The Tango 'til They're Sore began with rye aromas spiced by anise from the Peychaud's Bitters. Malt and grape on the sip transitioned to more whiskey flavors on the swallow along with cherry, bitter complexity, and anise and other spice notes.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


1 oz Plantation 3 Star White Rum
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a large glass filled with cracked ice. Garnish with mint leaves and add straws.

A few Tuesdays ago, I ventured down the Red Line to get to Quincy Center for a visit to the Townshend. When I was greeted by bartenders Sage and Devin Adams, I was surprised to learn that they had only been open for two weeks. I had not been tracking on the time line buzz but made my decision that night because Sage had checked in via the OnTheBar app when I was looking for ideas for the evening. For a first drink, I asked Sage for the Peacefield. Sage explained that the drink was named after the home and farmstead of John Adams and later John Quincy Adams located not too far from the restaurant. The rum base seemed natural for the recipe as the oldest part of the house was built by someone involved in the rum industry from Jamaica.
The Peacefield's mint garnish contributed greatly to the aroma. Lime and a vague fruitiness from the pineapple filled the sip, and the swallow was a combination of the rum, the rest of the pineapple notes, and the Green Chartreuse's herbal elements. Overall, the Peacefield reminded me of a cacao-less Pago Pago, and the presentation was just as enjoyable as the flavor profile.

Friday, June 19, 2015

chocolate negroni

1 1/2 oz Gin (Bluecoat)
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz White Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

Three Sundays ago, I reached for the Stir Your Soul recipe book from Tales of the Cocktail 2010, and I found a great recipe to kick off the official start of Negroni Week -- namely, the Chocolate Negroni. The recipe was crafted at the Bayswater Brasserie in Sydney, Australia, and was featured in "The World's Biggest Bar Crawl" event at Tales in 2009. Since subbing Punt e Mes for sweet vermouth is my usual call when I request Negronis, this drink seemed right up my alley. In addition, the crème de cacao in the Punt e Mes Negroni made me wonder if it would work as well as in the Punt e Mes Manhattan, the Coney Island.
The orange twist over the Chocolate Negroni contributed greatly to the drink's bouquet. The Punt e Mes' grape led off the sip, and the swallow was a familiar trio of gin, Campari, and Punt e Mes bitter notes. True to its name, the chocolate reared itself on the finish and pleasantly built up over successive swallows.

franklin square

2/3 Rye (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/3 Sweet Vermouth (3/4 oz Dolin)
2 dash Pineapple Juice (1/2 oz)
1 dash Picon (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
A few Saturdays ago, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Franklin Square in the whiskey section. The Franklin Square seemed like a Liberal or Monahan Cocktail accented with pineapple juice which seemed like an intriguing concept. Once mixed, the drink offered a rye aroma with a dark fruity note. Malt and grape on the sip were complemented by the Picon's caramel, and the swallow rounded things off with rye, pineapple, and dark orange flavors. Indeed, the Franklin Square came across like a darker, sweeter Algonquin.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

javari mai tai

1 oz Cachaça (Seleta Gold)
1 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (Van der Hum)
1/2 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a spent half lime shell and mint sprigs.

About 3 weeks ago, after participating in the Puka Punch Challenge, I was game to try the next Instagram-driven Tiki-themed event. That theme was for the Mai Tai. Instead of following the ingredients to the letter (and island) as I did in the Puka Punch, I decided to move beyond the classic rum-based Mai Tai. Recapping the variations that I have had, there were the tequila Pinky Gonzalez, whiskey Bluegrass Mai Tai, fortified wine Sherry Mai Tai, rum and mezcal Tia Mia, and bitters Stormy and Bitter Mai Tais. And there was also the Nuclear Daiquiri cocktail-based Bikini Atoll, so there was a lot of ground already covered. In thinking of what might work well with lime juice and the other ingredients, I remembered a pisco and cachaça pairing I did in the Loreto Swizzle where the funky grape flavors of one spirit complemented the funky grassy flavors of the other. Therefore, I concocted the Javari Mai Tai named after the river valley separating Peru and Brazil.
The Javari Mai Tai began with mint aromas from the garnish. Lime and orange notes on the sip stayed true to the Mai Tai feel. The swallow though was grassy, earthy, nutty, and funky with a tart lime finish. Overall, the combination was a win, and it was not too distant from many rhum agricole-containing Mai Tai concepts out there. Depending on the pisco, the drink could take an earthier or a more floral direction as well.

:: boston cocktail allstars - tom schlesinger-guidelli ::

In conversations of late, I have been discussing various Boston bartenders and their contributions to the Boston cocktail scene that still hold weight in the modern day mixology world. One name that kept popping up was Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli who has graced the bars of Eastern Standard, Craigie on Main, and to some degree Island Creek Oyster Bar. Since Tom was my first craft bartender back in June 2007, he has set the bar for what hospitality and drink craftsmanship can be, and it seemed like a good place to start this series. I figured that a 5 drink or so retrospective might be a fitting tribute to these Boston Cocktail Allstars.
1. The Jaguar
Very few people were mixing with tequila in Boston back in 2007 save for various Margarita variations and the like. Everything was shaken and laden with citrus fruit to dull the edge of the spirit. A stirred tequila drink? Unheard of. Balancing it with bitter and herbal liqueurs? Sure, if it's 2012, but 5 years prior to that? The secret of this drink was how well the edges of tequila and Green Chartreuse were soothed over by the caramel-dark orange richness of Amer Picon. This drink opened my eyes to what agave spirits could offer, and how blessed Boston was back then with our unearthed stash of Amer Picon that Eastern Standard luckily did not buy up the whole of (I still have most of my one liter bottle from that discovery).
2. The Prospect Park
I remember drinking many of these in Eastern Standard's gorgeous coupe glasses (as well as Hoskins which was created by then New Orleans blogger Chuck Taggart). The recipe might have been one of the first famous Manhattan variations to come out of our city, and it showcases our inexplicable love of Maraschino liqueur. I have heard the drink described once as an Aperol-stretched (or -softened) Red Hook which could explain why the balance works so wonderfully. Moreover, I have recently had good luck switching this rye-based formula to both brandy and aged rum with great success showing how timeless and versatile the base structure is.
3. The Northern Lights
In late 2008, Tom crossed the river and helped Tony Maws transition across town from Craigie Bistro to Craigie on Main. I recall how difficult it was to score a seat in the bar or lounge back then for this level of craftsmanship was novel on this side of the Charles River. The Northern Lights was what Tom created on his brief hiatus from the stick, and was inspired by drinking with friends in Wesport, MA, under the stars. One of the Northern Lights' secret weapons was the hot new St. Germain, but it was balanced by smoke and pine notes from Scotch and another new ingredient, Douglas Fir eau de vie, respectively. The third hot ingredient in the mix was the Bittermen's Tiki Bitters. Seven ingredients in all that tie together gracefully.
4. Jerez Flip
My first egg drink was served to me by Tommy, well because I told him that I was a little scared of egg drinks. That was back at Eastern Standard, and I do remember that it was based off of a Vieux Carré with different proportions. At Craigie on Main, there was no shortage of Flips either. While the Florentine Flip almost got the spot here, the Jerez Flip won out for it focused on sherry which was rather novel and hip back then. While I would have to give the nod to Misty Kalkofen for bringing sherry to the forefront of Boston mixology, the ingredients in this drink complemented the sherry rather elegantly.
5. Pirate's Revenge
After Craigie on Main, Tom stepped back from the bar to assume a more managerial position at Island Creek Oyster Bar. Yet, he was not able to stay away from tinkering with recipes though. The Pirate's Revenge was something that he and Vikram Hedge came up with -- a four equal parter with a few dashes of something extra that has the feel of something Sam Ross would come up with.

These recipes do show but one side of Tom; the other being the hospitality side. While I do remember the first conversations we had with him back in 2007 about pastis brands and how he took the time to talk to us throughout the night despite the full bar on an early Saturday evening, one story stands out in my head about what TSG hospitality was about. It involved the Espresso Martini... and two incredulous women doubting that Eastern Standard could make a good one. Tom handled their attack with grace and explained lovingly how the house Espresso Martini was made with such poetry that I was even tempted to get one. I recall how the two women looked at each other and nodded, and then ordered probably the best Espresso Martini they have ever tasted. Perhaps due to the ingredients and thought behind it, but most definitely because someone took the time to treat their inquiry as seriously as a discussion of Islay Single Malt Scotches or rare amari on the shelves. And that is what has helped define what Boston hospitality is all about. And personally, thinking back to when I was making drinks at home and doubted my wife (then girlfriend) that there were bars out there making drinks like I was doing at home, Tom was the one that guided me across that threshold. So cheers to TSG!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

riviera di ponente

1 1/2 oz Plantation Barbados 5 Year Rum
1/2 oz Lemonhart 151 Rum
1/2 oz Amaro Ramazzotti
1/2 oz St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
6 drop Absinthe
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a tulip glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a paper umbrella, cherry, lime wheel, and mint sprigs, and add a straw.
I continued on with the Italian Tiki theme at No. 9 Park with the Riviera di Ponente. Bar manager Ryan Lotz explained that this was the first drink that he had on the menu and that previous bar manager Ted Kilpatrick had named it. Once prepared, the drink's garnishes contributed lime and mint notes. The lime continued on into the sip where it mingled with the caramel notes from the two rums and the amaro. Most of the rum notes came out in the swallow though along with cinnamon, floral, and spice flavors. Over time as the ice melted, the cinnamon notes decreased and the elderflower ones took a bit more dominance in the balance.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

amaro di cocco

1 oz Appleton 12 Year Rum
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Coconut Cream

Shake with ice and strain into a white wine glass. Fill with crushed ice, float 1/4 oz Hamilton's Jamaican Blackstrap Rum, and add straws.

The Thursday before Negroni Week began, I stopped into No. 9 Park and found a seat in front of bartender Ryan Lotz. Ryan mentioned that he had a fresh housemade coconut cream, but that did not fully pique my interest until he continued on to say that it was in their Negroni Week special!? Ryan merged a Kingston or rum Negroni with a Piña Colada, and I could not say no to that concept. It also reminded me greatly of a Jungle Bird with the addition of vermouth and coconut. However, it lacked a name at the time though and Piña Negrada was my favorite with Noce di Cocco being where the house was leaning; when the menu launched though, it appeared as Amaro di Cocco.
On the nose, the blackstrap molasses and funky Jamaican rum notes joined hints of pineapple. The thick sip gave forth caramel, coconut, and pineapple flavors, and this led into the rum, Campari, and pineapple swallow.

Monday, June 15, 2015

joie de julep

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Muddle 4 mint leaves in the lemon juice in a Julep cup. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice, stir to mix and chill, and garnish elaborately with mint sprigs.

In mentally preparing for Tales of the Cocktail this July, I reached for the Stir Your Soul recipe book from Tales of 2010. There, I spotted the Joie de Julep which placed second in the official 2009 cocktail competition for the best Julep. The recipe was created by Boston's own Corey Bunnewith then of Drink, but by the time the book had come out, he was already the bar manager at Coppa. First place that year though was Maksym Pazuniak of the Cure and Rambla with the Creole Julep. Regardless, it was time to delve into the mint patch and bring back some fresh specimens.
The Joie de Julep presented a grand mint bouquet to the nose especially with the short straw in use. Lemon and malt on the sip shared a decent mouthfeel, and this led into rye whiskey, mint, and herbal notes from the Chartreuse on the swallow.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

take a minute

1 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao

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

A few Sundays ago, I stopped into Backbar on the way home from my shift for Alex Homans was the guest bartender that night. The bar's drink of the day was Alex's Take a Minute; he described the concept as something he created for when people are out drinking and want to continue their night, so something with lots of low proof ingredients to recalibrate is needed. This shim (or low proof cocktail) intrigued me for I recall how well a slight amount of Cynar worked in the Fox Hunt (and despite my need for something more in line with uncalibrating my night after getting off work).
The Take a Minute shared a lemon aroma that gave way to a light, citrussy wine sip. The swallow though was full of strawberry and earthy bitter flavors ending in an orange peel swallow.

Friday, June 12, 2015


1 1/2 oz Blandy's 5 Year Sercial Madeira
1 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist a lemon peel over the top and discard.

When we put a "Low Octane" section on the Loyal Nine cocktail menu, I was asked for the recipe to a preprandial drink that got raved about from the few guests that I served it to. That cocktail was a riff on the classic Bamboo that utilized dry madeira instead of dry sherry. While most Bamboos are fino-based, I prefer mine with an amontillado or oloroso sherry, so swapping to a dry madeira like Sercial seemed like a decent substitution to my palate. For a name, we started riffing on bamboo-like names. I did suggest Cattail, but that name had already been taken. Since the menu needed to be printed for the evening, I opted for the best suggestion of the moment -- the "Not a Weed." Punting on the name did not pay off, and changing the name to another reed-like plant, namely the Zebratail, increased this aperitif's sales. Zebratail also made a little of sense since the island of Madeira is right off the coast of Africa.
Once prepared and served here in one of my favorite glasses here at work, it presented a lemon oil aroma over the madeira's grape notes. A dry, acid crisp sip was not thin like the classic Bamboo but contained a decent bit of mouthfeel. Finally, the swallow presented a creamy grape flavor with a spice-driven finish. Overall, the Zebratail was still solidly in the aperitif camp but with a more complex flavor profile due to the madeira substitution.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

hubba hubba (and :: the story of hub punch ::)

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo XCVII) was picked by Stuart Putney of the PutneyFarm blog. The theme he chose was "Hometown Hooch," and he elaborated on the theme with his description of, "One of the best recent developments in the world of cocktails and spirits is the reemergence of regional, craft distillers. And we say 'reemergence' because 100+ years ago, before the twin scourges of Prohibition and virtual monopolization 'industrialization,' distilling was often a truly local endeavor. Not so long ago, if you wanted some booze, it was often made in your neighborhood and for the tastes of the locals. Sadly, for a few generations, that wasn't the case... But, quite happily, those days are back... There are literally hundreds of local and regional distillers making some seriously tasty spirits... and now is the time for our monthly online cocktail party to send them some love. Your quest is simple. Create a new cocktail, or refashion a classic, using your favorite 'hometown hooch'… A little local flavor or history on your 'hometown hooch' is very welcome."
While I thought of local rum producers like Privateer and Old Ipswich a/k/a Turkey Shore and local gin producers like GrandTen, I have already covered those distilleries via tours (see links) and written about their products a bunch here. Pondering the concept of "hometown hooch" made me recall a bottle I found at a local antiques mart back in March of 2013 for a spirit made locally back in the late 19th century, namely Hub Punch. The two other parts of the above label read:
Boston, May 1, 1879.
At the earnest solicitation of a number of our hotel patrons and personal friends we have decided to offer our Rum and Brandy Punch in bottles, an article that has a most excellent reputation, having been originally prepared by our senior member, July 4th, annually. -- C.H. Graves & Sons.

The foreign liquors and cordials forming the component parts of the Hub Punch are of our importation, and guaranteed strictly pure. To warrant genuineness see that our autograph label is over each cork, under tin foil capsule. Set the Punch on ice one hour before using, and on opening, use half water or lemonade. -- C.H. Graves & Sons.
Fast forward several months, and I received an email from Will Willis of Bully Boys Distillery here in Boston asking for permission to recreate Hub Punch. While I did unsuccessfully throw the idea to another distiller shortly after I found the bottle, I had completely forgotten about this find. As described in Mise Magazine and Boston Magazine, there was a link between the Bully Boys brothers and myself -- namely, bartender and writer for BostonApothecary Stephen Shellengberger. Stephen found my find too intriguing to let drop and forwarded the concept to Dave and Will Willis. Of course I gave them my blessing to recreate the stuff and was flattered that they would even consider asking me (much less namedrop Stephen and me in interviews).

While the bottled Hub Punch was made in Boston, the original recipe stemmed from upstate New York despite Boston being known as the "Hub." The old Hub House in Thousand Island, New York, was the debaucherous hotel, dance hall, and bar that served this punch in the 1870s and 1880s. The recipe was attributed to Bart Keether, a bartender from Oswego, New York. Luckily, the Graves distillery decided to produce a bottled version of the punch, for the Hub House burned down soon after in 1883. Despite the bounty of ads for the bottled punch in newspapers and magazines of the day, there was no record of the flavor profile of the original or bottled versions. The Willis brothers decided to work backwards using what little clues they had. They assessed the flavor and sweetness balance of the bottled version by how it was supposed to be drank (see second half of the label transcription above). And an advertisement they found gave hints about the fruit component involved. They decided to utilize classic orange and lemon peels in a rum base and take their own direction with raspberries. They also mixed in an assortment of herbs and spices of which I recall tasting a hint of anise. Yes, fast forward a few more months, and Will Willis was at my bar at Russell House Tavern with a prototype. I tinkered with it and discovered that it was no drop-in for Kronan Swedish Punsch but that it would work well in drinks in the same vein as perhaps St. George's Raspberry Liqueur. I am not sure if the Hub Punch they later brought to market was all that different from my prototype bottle, but I have to assume that it is pretty close.
When deciding what to do with the cordial for this event, I turned to the OnTheBar app's recipe database and found one from bartender Tom Hardy from Saloon here in Somerville, MA, called the Hubba Hubba.
Hubba Hubba
• 1 oz Bully Boy Hub Punch
• 3/4 oz Manzanilla Sherry (Lustau Dry Amontillado)
• 3/4 oz Lime Juice
• 1/2 oz Appleton Estate Rum (Smith & Cross)
• 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
• 2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Lacking both manzanilla and fino sherry at home, I opted for amontillado which seemed like it would work well with the fruit flavors here as well as be about as dry. And for a rum, I opted for a more funky-flavorful Jamaican rum, namely Smith & Cross, instead of Appleton. Once prepared, the Hubba Hubba offered a lime and raspberry aroma. The lime and berry notes continued on into the sip along with the sherry's grape. Finally, the swallow began with funky rum and dark cassis-like flavors from the nutty sherry and the punch.

So thank you to Stuart for picking the theme and running the show once again, and thanks to the rest of Mixology Monday for paying tribute to their hometown heroes and playing along with this event. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

boylan heights

1 1/2 oz Cognac (Foret Brandy)
3/4 oz Bonal Gentiane Quina
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

After the Puka Punch, I turned to a recipe that I had spotted on ShakeStir called the Boylan Heights. Alex Flynn of Foundation in Raleigh, North Carolina, crafted this brandy-based, Brooklyn-inspired cocktail and named it after one of the neighborhoods in Raleigh. Instead of a Brooklyn, the combination reminded me more of the Prospector with Bonal here instead of crème de cacao.
The Boylan Heights's orange twist brightened the grape and hints of herbal aroma. The grape from the Bonal continued on into the sip, and this was chased by brandy richness and Bonal's bitter elements. Finally, the drink ended with Cointreau's orange, Green Chartreuse's herbal, and Angostura's spice notes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

puka punch

1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Gold)
1 oz Gold Virgin Island Rum (Cruzan 2 Year Dark)
3/4 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Passion Fruit Syrup (BG Reynolds)
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz Falernum (Velvet)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Blend with 8 oz crushed ice and pour into a large glass (shake with ice and strain into a large glass filled with crushed ice). Float 3/4 oz Lemonhart 151 Rum, and garnish with a cherry speared into a pineapple wedge and orange slice (sub lime peel "grass" for the pineapple).

Three Saturdays ago, I decided to participate in the Puka Punch Challenge. These regular Instagram-driven Tikifests focus on a single drink each time chosen by California bartender El Nova. The Puka Punch was one that I had skipped over in Beachbum Berry's Remixed because it is quite the boozebomb. Luckily, I had assistance from my wife to split the damage, and it definitely felt like a Tiki Time Out after a busy Saturday night shift was in order.
When I made this recipe created at the Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles cerca 1961, the garnishes contributed orange and cherry aromas to the dark caramel rum notes from the Lemonhart float. The garnish aromas did prepare the mouth for the fruity sip stemming from the lime, orange, and passion fruit flavors. Next, the medley of rum notes began the swallow that ended with honey and spice on the finish. Towards the end, the dark overproof Guyana rum began to dominate the profile as a solid punctuation mark to the Puka Punch.

arrowhead limited

1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz Mezcal (Montelobos)
1/2 oz Campari

Build in a Highball glass filled with ice. Add 3-4 oz IPA (Founder's All Day) and garnish with grapefruit slices.
A few Fridays ago, I turned to a beer cocktail recipe that I had spotted on the PunchDrink site called the Arrowhead Limited. Damon Boelte crafted this mezcal Negroni riff at the Grand Army Bar in Brooklyn, and he named it after a train that used to run from Minnesota to Wisconsin several decades ago. Once prepared, the Arrowhead Limited shared with the senses a grapefruit aroma with hints of malt. On the palate, dry malt and grape notes on the sip gave way to mezcal, herbal, and citrus flavors on the swallow. Finally, the swallow ended with a smoke finish with lingering bitter notes. The drink overall reminded me of the more citrus juice-driven End of Days

Saturday, June 6, 2015


2/3 Applejack (2 oz Laird's)
2 dash Sherry (1/2 oz Lustau's East India Solera)
2 dash Pineapple Juice (1/2 oz)
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
A few Thursdays ago, I reached for Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and stumbled upon the Hillside. Since sherry and pineapple juice are a great pairing, this Algonquin-like number seemed worthy of a spin. In the glass, the Hillside proffered pineapple and nutty sherry aromas. The pineapple then filled the sip and was followed by apple and sherry notes on the swallow.


1 oz Blended Scotch (Pig's Nose)
1 oz Punt e Mes
1 oz Aperol

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with an orange twist.
A few Tuesdays ago, I reached for Food & Wine: Cocktails 2008 and spotted a great Negroni variation created by Holly Roberts then of Amalia in Manhattan. Overall, it appeared like a Scotch riff that fell between a Contessa and a Patrician. Once prepared, the Ortensia gave forth an orange oil aroma that brightened the briny smoke nose. The sip was full of malt, grape, and hints of orange flavors, and it led into the swallow which mirrored the sip with Scotch and Punt e Mes's bitter notes with an orange finish.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

bywater cocktail

1 3/4 oz Aged Rum (Turkey Shore's Old Ipswich Tavern Style)
3/4 oz Picon (Torani Amer)
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1 tsp Falernum (Velvet)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

A few Tuesdays ago, I turned to Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide and spotted a drink recipe by Chris Hannah of Arnaud's French 75 in New Orleans called the Bywater. Chris described his recipe as, "On a much smaller scale, I've thought of the neighborhoods of New Orleans like the boroughs of New York City. I've always compared New Orleans's Bywater to Brooklyn, so... I decided to create the Bywater Cocktail following the Brooklyn's direction. Swapping an aged rum for rye whiskey and falernum and Chartreuse for the maraschino, I came up with a balanced cocktail." What drew me to the combination besides always enjoying Hannah's craftsmanship was the pairing of Picon with Chartreuse which worked so well in Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli's Jaguar at Eastern Standard; that drink which I tasted in 2007 was quite memorable for was the first stirred tequila drink that I had ever tried or even heard about.
The Bywater Cocktail greeted the senses with dark orange aromas. The orange notes continued on into the sip along with the rum and picon's caramel flavors, and the swallow offered funky rum and herbal notes with a caramel and spice finish. Indeed, Andrea commented that Chris Hannah "undertands the poetry of Chartreuse."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

[chappe telegraph]

1 oz Laird's Applejack
1 oz Bonal Gentiane Quina
1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Amaro Ramazzotti
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
1 dash Bar Keep's Apple Bitters (*)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
(*) Perhaps sub a scant dash of spice-driven aromatic bitters or leave out in a pinch.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I utilized my Monday night off to go visit Sahil Mehta at Estragon. While looking through Sahil's recipe notebook, I spied an applejack recipe that reminded me of a Marconi Wireless. To play on that theme, I wanted to dub this nameless drink after another form of wireless communication, a semaphore or optical chain called the Chappe Telegraph after the creator of this 1792 system, Claude Chappe. Towers with light shutters on blades could spread a communication from one tower to a distant one down the line, and Napoleon utilized this system to transmit messages across France on the order of a couple of  hours. Maybe the Napoleon Wireless would have been more catchy of a cocktail name though.
The Chappe Telegraph transmitted an orange aroma that later let through some apple notes. Next, the sip featured the Bonal and sherry's grape and the amaro's caramel. Finally, the swallow offered apple and nutty sherry notes that melded with the Bonal and Ramazotti bitter notes, and it ended with an orange peel finish.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

madeira old fashioned

1 1/2 oz Don Pancho 8 Year Rum
1/2 oz Blandy's 10 Year Malmsey Madeira
1 barspoon 2:1 Demerara Syrup
2 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with a lemon twist.
A few Mondays ago, I attended a Boston USBG-sponsored product showcase at Tavern Road. One of the cocktails that bar manager Ryan McGrale was making with some of the products was what he dubbed a Madeira Old Fashioned. In actuality, it was a madeira-tinged Rum Old Fashioned that featured Don Pancho 8 Year Rum. This rum is made by Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez who also makes Ron de Jeremy and 86 Co.'s Caña Brava, but this product line with his name on it were much more sipping rums especially the older expressions. Once prepared, the Old Fashioned offered bright lemon oil aromas. A rich orange and caramel sip gave way to more caramel on the swallow along with dried orange peel and coffee notes. Overall, the rich complexity of both the rum and the aged madeira were an excellent complement to the other.

Monday, June 1, 2015

baltimore cocktail

3/4 oz Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
3/4 oz Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho Madeira
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
A few Sundays ago, I turned to my new purchase, the Elemental Mixology book, and found an interesting recipe from the author, Andrew Willett. With the trinity of early spirits imported to America, namely brandy, rum, and Madeira, in the mix, I was definitely game to try the Baltimore Cocktail. Once prepared, the drink displayed bright lemon oil aromas over the rum's funk. The madeira's grape flavors filled the sip, and the swallow was rather complex with Cognac's richness, rum's funk, madeira's dried fruit, and cinnamon and spice notes from the syrup and bitters.