Saturday, April 30, 2016


2/3 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/3 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)
1 dash Orgeat (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.
On opening Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 two Saturdays ago, I spotted a rye and orgeat recipe, the Republic, that reminded me of another from that book, the Martinique. Instead of going a juice and spiced Manhattan direction like the latter, the Republic took a more Brooklyn route with dry vermouth and Amer Picon. After stirring and straining, the Republic greeted the nose with a rye aroma that was accented by orange oils from the twist that I added to the recipe. Next, rich malt from the whiskey in the sip gave way to rye, nutty, and bitter orange elements in the swallow. While the orgeat added a similar nutty direction as Maraschino in the Brooklyn, it was a bit more subtle and gave more of a pleasant earthiness but not the same level of oomph to challenge the Picon.

Friday, April 29, 2016

royal daiquiri

1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (2 oz Caliche)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Parfait Amour (Marie Brizard)
1/4 tsp Sugar Syrup (omit)

Blend with 4 oz crushed ice for 5 seconds and strain through a wine sieve (shake with ice and strain) into a cocktail glass.

Two Fridays ago, I turned to the Royal Daiquiri in Beachbum Berry's Remixed as my evening's drink of choice. The recipe was crafted by Don the Beachcomber in the 1950s and utilized parfait amour as the sweetener in an otherwise standard Daiquiri format. Parfait amour is a type of crème de violet that adds to the floral notes and purple color with citrus notes as well as other flavors including vanilla, almond, and other spices that can come across as a bit candy-like to the modern palate. Despite my skepticism due to previous Parfait Amour failures, I was still willing to give this classic recipe a try perhaps due to a few bartenders I know fetishizing what others have likened to something reminiscent of purple jellybeans.
Once I undusted my decade old bottle of Marie Brizard parfait amour (it pre-dated Rothman & Winter's Crème de Violet appearing on the market and was one of the few violet options out there at the time of purchase), I set to work. In the glass, the Royal Daiquiri shared a floral aroma that led into a more standard lime sip. Next, the swallow had the classic's rum along with a somewhat agreeable vanilla, orange, and floral combination.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


1/2 Jamaican Rum (1 1/2 oz Coruba Dark)
2 dash Peach Brandy (1/2 oz Edmond Briottet Crème de Pêche de Vigne)
3 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)
2 dash Grenadine (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added a lemon twist.
Two Thursdays ago, I selected Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 as my evening's drink guide. In the rum section, the Westward with Jamaican rum made me think of the Windward (and Leeward) Islands in the Caribbean, and it seemed like a pleasantly funky and fruity recipe. Once prepared, the Westward offered a lemon oil and ester-y rum aroma that set up a lemon, pomegranate, and caramel flavored sip. Lastly, the swallow showcased the elegant pairing of Jamaican rum and tart peach notes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

montgomery smith

2 oz Hine VSOP Cognac (Camus VS)
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Fernet Branca

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

Two Wednesdays ago, I reached for the PDT Cocktail Book to see if there were any gems that I had overlooked. The one that spoke to me was Nate Dumas' 2007 recipe that came about as a challenge to create a drink called the Montgomery Smith. The combination of herbal liqueurs reminded me of the rye-based Oldfield except that it was heavier on the Fernet Branca than the Benedictine as written (I made them equal in my take on it).
The Montgomery Smith shared a lemon oil aroma over herbal, minty, and menthol notes. Next, a semi-sweet caramel sip led into Cognac, bitter herbal, and chocolate flavors on the swallow with a return of that menthol element on the finish.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


1 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Tuesdays ago when I got home from my bar shift, Andrea was returning home from visiting Estragon. There, bartender Sahil Mehta sent the recipe for the Kelimutu with my wife for me to make as my shift drink since I can rarely sit at his bar due to our incompatible schedules lately. For a name, it seemed like he chose a volcano in Indonesia to give a good Tiki feel to this Batavia Arrack-laden drink.
I selected the most Estragon-like glass I owned to serve myself this tropical delight. And on the nose, it offered cinamon-scented fruit notes, and this led into a mostly lime-flavored sip. The swallow was a bit more complex with Batavia Arrack's funk, passion fruit, cinnamon, and other spice notes.

Monday, April 25, 2016


1/2 jigger Swan Gin (1 oz Tanqueray)
1/2 jigger Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
Juice of 1 Lime (1/2 oz)
(1/2 oz Simple Syrup)
2 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Absinthe (1/8 oz Butterfly)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
A few Thursdays ago, I decided to peruse The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book for any gems that I might have overlooked through the years. The Swan was one of those that I probably skipped over for it seemed rather unbalanced as written. With some simple syrup thrown in the mix, it was not too far off from the Tanglin Club in structure. Jacques Straub's 1914 version perhaps reflected what the drink was originally with only a few drops of lime juice for brightness (besides no absinthe) in a more silky stirred Martini riff:
Swan (1914)
• 1/2 jigger Dry Gin
• 1/2 jigger Dry Vermouth
• 3 drop Lime Juice
• 2 drop Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
The Waldorf-Astoria's Swan gave forth an anise and licorice bouquet. Lime on the sip subsided into gin and Good'n'Plenty-like licorice on the swallow with clove and allspice on the finish.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


2/3 Rye (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
Dash Dubonnet (1 oz Bonal)
1/3 Fernet Branca (1/4 oz)
Dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 a few Wednesdays ago, and I spotted the Jamestown. The combination of spirit, Dubonnet, Fernet, and orange liqueur here reminded me of the better known classic from that era the Don't Give Up The Ship. Since I currently do not have a bottle of Dubonnet, I opted for another quinquina, namely Bonal which worked very well with Fernet Branca in a Hanky Panky variation at Drink. In addition, I upped the quinquina amount to be closer to a Hanky Panky in structure. Once stirred and strained, the Jamestown shared a rye aroma with hints of Fernet Branca's menthol. On the sip, grape, malt, and hints of caramel switched into rye with gentian, orange, herbal, quinine, and menthol notes on the swallow.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

'round midnight

2 oz Jameson (Teeling Small Batch)
1/2 oz Strega
1/4 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)
1 barspoon Raspberry Syrup (Royal Rose)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
After my bar shift a few Tuesdays ago, I decided upon a drink recipe in Rogue Cocktails that never made it into the less lawsuit-prone Beta Cocktails called the 'Round Midnight. The cocktail was crafted by Chris Hannah of Arnaud's French 75 in New Orleans and featured his love for Strega that also appeared in his Rebennack and Accoutrement cocktails. Once prepared, the 'Round Midnight offered whiskey and star anise to the nose. The whiskey continued as a soft malt element that was joined by cherry or berry flavors on the sip. Finally, the whiskey carried on into the swallow where it mingled with nutty, star anise, and herbal notes and a raspberry finish.

Friday, April 22, 2016

range life

2 oz El Tesoro Reposado Tequila (Espolon)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz Punt e Mes

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

A few Mondays ago, I turned to the Death & Co. Cocktail Book for a nightcap idea. The one that grabbed me was Phil Ward's circa 2008 Range Life in the book's Negroni variation section. The Range Life reminded me of a Rosita crossed with a Lucien Gaudin (or perhaps my René Barbier that was influenced by Phil's Cornwall Negroni that we both made at our respective Gary Regan Cocktails in the Country retreats).
The Range Life shared an herbal agave aroma with orange notes from the Campari and Grand Marnier. Next, grape on the sip slid into tequila, bitter herbal, chocolate, and orange flavors on the swallow.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

:: mxmo swizzles wrap up ::

For Mixology Monday #108, I decided to enact an idea I had during the Fall last year, namely Swizzles. During the warmer months, I was able to host Yacht Rock Sundays that featured more easy to drink libations that perhaps took a bit more time to assemble than I would want for a regular menu item that could be ordered anytime including during the Friday and Saturday cocktail frenzy. One of those styles was the Swizzle which is one of my restaurant owner's favorite drink styles, and he encouraged me to put more on the menu (or make him ones for his shift drinks as a way to tinker). However, as Yacht Rock Sundays were dry docked for the season in October and brunch was being implemented on Sunday mornings, I began to miss Swizzles and wanted them back in my life. And the one that I made for this event was crafted for and served to that owner just like the warmer months last year. Please read the announcement post for this event to learn more about Swizzles in general and my thoughts on them, but without further ado, here are the participants for this MxMo:
• Pete from Meticulous Mixing whipped up a batch of rhubarb syrup to greet the Spring and crafted the Rhubarb Rum Swizzle. In the comments, he lamented that he was stuck with the rest of the syrup, so if you go that route, there are a few options on this blog to make more mileage out of this Swizzle's syrup!
• BoozeNerd's Christa and Shaun started their Swizzle adventure with the Death & Co. Cocktail Book with Thomas Waugh's Park Life Swizzle before becoming inspired to riff on the Rusty Nail and converting it into a Caribbean style!
• This event broke the seal on Katie of the Garnish Blog and set her on the path to craft her own Swizzles. For her first one, she got inspired by New England with a local cranberry cordial to make the Cape Cod Swizzle using the Queen's Park Swizzle as guidance.
Quantum Leap was the inspiration for Dagreb of Nihil Utopia's Q. Bakula Swizzle utilizing a three rum blend and some classic Swizzle stylings.
• GinHound's Andrea looked to New Orleans as guidance to combine the Ojen Frappe concept with floral candies to capture Spring in the Flavigny Swizzle.
• Nick of the Booze Barons claims not to be a fan of Swizzles due to their over-dilution, so he packed in the flavor in the Liquorice Swizzler with a solid slug of absinthe.
• I, Frederic of the CocktailVirgin blog, combined the Corpse Reviver #2, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and an arts'n'crafty garnish into the Sinking Ship Swizzle; I also preceded it with 3 other Swizzles to gear my self up to creating one myself.
• Kafka of Kitchen Shamanism was kind enough to write in English again instead of his native Swedish as he recrafted the Singapore Sling to reduce his issues with the classic into the Singapore Express. I was so curious about the recipe, that I have already made this one at home!
• Mr. Muddle himself, Adam, decided to Drop It Like It's Hot with a Pimm's and whiskey number.
• Valerie of the Valcohol blog started with the Queen's Park Swizzle before using it as inspiration for the Rooftop Swizzle which adds pineapple and brown sugar to the equation!
• Doc Elliot's Mixology brought the Southtown and Tepache Swizzles to show and tell this month! Those tinker with dry apricot and funky fermented pineapple flavors, respectively.
• Joel DiPippa of the Southern Ash blog went all Springtime floral with his rum and gin Swizzle, the DeGray Swizzle by way of violette liqueur and honey.
• Finally, Alex of Stag & Otter expanded his horizons with this theme and took his state's Brandy Old Fashioned into Swizzle land with the Wisconsin Old Fashioned!
• This looked rather lonely with a single image (13 would not work as groups of 2, 3, or 4 without having lucky prime #13 as a solo), so here is the Pinwheel Swizzle from the talented mixologists at Backbar here in Somerville, MA. So in the end, I did offer up 2 of the 4 Swizzles I did leading up to and for the event.
• And of course I missed one that was on Instagram because while they tagged me in the post, I did not pick up that it was for this event. So without further ado, here is WSSTIK's Strawberry Bourbon Basil Swizzle! And smashing things with a big wooden mallet makes things feel better and probably taste better too...

Thank you all for picking up your Bos Lélé or whatever barspoon or doctored up piece of timber that you utilized in its place and giving this classic and showy drink build a go! Please revisit the style especially in high humidity nights when the chilling glass can pick up an epic frost. And thank you all to the Mixology Monday readers who visited this roundup as well as all of the blogs that participated this month.


2/3 Dry Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater)
1/2 Grapefruit Juice (3/4 oz Ruby)
2 dash Orgeat (1/2 oz)
1 dash Raspberry Syrup (1/4 oz Royal Rose)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added a grapefruit twist.
Two Sundays ago, I flipped through Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 for the night's libation. When I happened upon the Jacksonville, it reminded me of an orgeat-containing Orlando with less reliance on raspberry syrup (and no orange bitters). Still, the combination of grapefruit and raspberry was alluring as it was in the Blinker Cocktail. Once mixed, the Jacksonville provided grapefruit aromas with hints of raspberry. The grapefruit continued on into the sip where it mingled with berry notes, and the swallow combined the gin with nutty orgeat and the syrup's raspberry.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

to hell with spain

1 1/2 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Bonded Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Cherry-Vanilla Bitters (Omit)

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass rinsed with absinthe (Butterfly).

Two Saturdays ago, I turned to the Food & Wine: Cocktails 2013 book's aperitif section called To Hell With Spain. The Bitter Cube Bitters' Ira Koplowitz and Nicholas Kosevich created this riff of the Remember the Maine and named it after the second half of the 1890s call to arms of "Remember the Maine, and To Hell with Spain!" that led into the Spanish-American War. The To Hell With Spain's Cherry Heering-Cynar combination worked rather well with whiskey in the Not the First Cyn and Black Lodge, so I was game to try this twist on the classic.
The To Hell With Spain gave forth a licorice and anise aroma that preceded the caramel, lemon-cherry, and malt sip. Next, the drink finished off with rye, herbal funk, and cherry flavors with a light absinthe note on the finish.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

bizzy izzy (highball)

1/2 jigger Rye or Bourbon (1 1/4 oz Old Granddad Bonded)
1/2 jigger Sherry (1 oz Lustau Amontillado)
2 tsp Pineapple Syrup (3/4 oz)
2 dash Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Drop 1 piece of ice into a Highball glass (shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass).

A few Fridays ago, I turned to Tom Bullock's 1917 The Ideal Bartender to a whiskey-sherry drink recipe that I had previously passed over. The sticking point was that the Bizzy Izzy Highball was not a Highball since it had no carbonation by was more of a tall Sour, Daisy, or Cooler. To get away from that, I scrapped the glassware presentation especially since one ice cube (unless it was a large one) would barely fill the glass especially given the volumes and I went with serving it up. Otherwise, the drink seemed like it could do no wrong and appeared like something that you might see on the menu sometime in the last 5 years in a craft cocktail bar.
Once prepared, the Bizzy Izzy gave forth a nutty grape nose. Next, lemon, malt, and hints of tropical fruit on the sip fell aside to Bourbon, nutty sherry, and pineapple flavors on the swallow. I later discovered that I had made the pineapple juice version, the somewhat similarly named Dizzy, from the 1940 The How and When, and here in the Bizzy Izzy, the less juicy nature definitely showcased the whiskey and sherry better.

Monday, April 18, 2016

sinking ship swizzle

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CVIII) was picked by myself, Frederic Yarm of the CocktailVirgin blog. The theme I chose was "Swizzles," and I elaborated on the concept with my description of, "So what is a Swizzle? And what is a swizzle stick? The literary references to Swizzles seem to begin around the mid-18th century with the written definition growing in the early parts of the 20th century. Swizzles began as a Caribbean style of mixing drinks perhaps stemming in Barbados -- mostly cold although there are certainly hot swizzles out there. Unlike say the Martini which is chilled in a mixing glass by gently stirring cubed ice with a spoon and straining into a cocktail glass, most cold Swizzles are built in the glass, topped with crushed ice, and agitated with a rapidly spinning natural swizzle stick (or facsimile) to mix and chill... The Swizzle has had a resurgence starting around 2008 or 2009 as various cocktail supply stores have procured Caribbean sources for these Bois Lélé mixing instruments... Plenty of recipes for these drinks reside in mid-century Trader Vic books and other Tiki-leaning tomes; moreover, modern drinks books have begun to embrace the style as well including the Death & Co. Cocktail Book where their house Swizzle formula was exposed to me a few years before via the Company Swizzle."
I thought about the three Swizzles that I had made earlier in the week, and I decided that the softness of including an aromatized wine of the Puerto Rican Rum Swizzle (and seen in the Death & Co. Swizzle formula) was something that I wanted to incorporate and that the garnish elegance of the Pinwheel Swizzle was something that I wanted to include (as opposed to the starkness of the Martinique Swizzle that began this series). I did like the combination of rhum agricole and absinthe in the Martinique Swizzle though, but how to combine these concepts? One idea that popped into my head was to take the Corpse Reviver #2 and convert it into a r(h)um one akin to the Palliative Potion for Pomona. With the change to rhum agricole as the spirit, I also swapped the lemon for lime, and instead of equal parts, I changed it closer to the one I used in the Corpse Reviver Fizz that best fits the Death & Co. ratios. I then added falernum to round out the Swizzle and make it more tropical in feel; the addition of falernum to orange liqueur brought the combination close to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club as well. And finally, to add some garnish panache, I modified the boat I used in the Viking Fog Cutter by trimming a lemon wedge and similarly making sails. Since the boat would be sitting on the crushed ice, it did not need to be as water tight as the previous boats were. And to add a surface effect (perhaps a sea of floating blood?), I dashed Peychaud's Bitters on top akin to the Angostura Bitters utilized in my Don't Fight It Swizzle over the summer. When I let one of the Loyal Nine owners try the drink, he noted that he loved how the ship sank in the glass as the liquid level dropped; thus, the Sinking Ship Swizzle name was determined.
Sinking Ship Swizzle
• 1 oz JM Rhum Agricole Blanc
• 1 oz Lillet Blanc
• 1/2 oz Creole Shrubb Orange Liqueur
• 1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
• 1/2 oz Lime Juice
• 1 dash (~12 drops) St. George Absinthe
Build in a Collins glass, and fill with crushed ice. Swizzle to mix and chill, and garnish with 3-4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters and a floated pirate ship made out of citrus peels.
Initially, I utilized the 3/4 oz of lime juice to match the Death & Co. model but this proved too dry with the agricole-style rum, and the amount was dropped to a 1/2 oz. I also repeated the drink for a guest who asked what I had been enjoying lately but otherwise wanted the Dose; therefore, I made him a mezcal variation of this same drink.

So for the 8th time, I get to that awkward point and try to thank the host for running the monthly shindig and I realize that I cannot really thank myself. So all of my gratitude this month goes to the participants of Mixology Monday who swizzle, shake, and stir their way into making the event into a success and for the readership who keeps the energy level high (and frequently finds themself participating one day down the line). And hopefully, the questions of why anyone would want to Swizzle a drink instead of shaking it and topping with crushed ice have been answered, for this glorious technique is one part history and one part fun showmanship. Moreover, it can promote rethinking classic drinks like how the Negroni was transformed into the Red Duster Swizzle.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

puerto rican rum swizzle

1 oz Puerto Rican Rum (Don Q Cristal)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 tsp Sugar (1/2 oz Simple Syrup)

Build in a 10 oz glass and fill with crushed ice. Add several squirts of seltzer (omitted) and swizzle to mix and chill. I added a spent half lime shell that contained ~1/4 oz Don Q 151 Proof Rum which was ignited.
In continuing with Swizzle Week last Monday, I reached for another Trader Vic book, namely the 1947 Bartender's Guide and spotted a pair of Puerto Rican Swizzles. While the one listed below, the Puerto Rico Swizzle, seemed like most of the other basic swizzles, the Puerto Rican Rum Swizzle had a degree of soft herbal elegance by lessening the spirit load by including French vermouth and removing bitters from the equation.
Puerto Rico Swizzle
• 3 oz Puerto Rican Rum
• Juice of 1 Lime
• 1 tsp Sugar
• 3 dash Angostura Bitters
Build in a tall glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill.
The Puerto Rican Rum Swizzle had a lime aroma with a hint of wine from the vermouth. Those lime and white grape elements continued on into the sip, and the swallow ended with rum and herbal notes with a lime finish.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

pinwheel swizzle

1 1/2 oz Blackwell Jamaican Rum
3/4 oz Orgeat
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Campari
2 dash Fee's Peach Bitters

Build in a tall glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Garnish with a rosemary sprig (omitted) and a pinwheel.

After I closed up the bar last Sunday, I ventured over to Backbar for last call to continue my Swizzle study. One of the previous drinks of the day was bartender Dan Braganca's Pinwheel Swizzle that had the perfect combination of orgeat and Campari akin to the Bitter Maitai, Chestnut Cup, and other drinks. Dan explained that he could make the drink, but due to the kitchen being closed for remodeling, he had to omit the rosemary sprig that was half of the garnish game.
The Pinwheel Swizzle began with a nutty orange nose from the orgeat-Campari pairing. Next, lime and orange on the sip transitioned into dark rum and an interaction of nutty almond and Campari that softened the amaro's bitter blow on the swallow.

Friday, April 15, 2016

martinique swizzle

2 oz Martinique Rum (Depaz Blue Cane)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sugar (1/2 oz Simple Syrup)
1 dash Pernod or Herbsaint (1 slight bsp Herbsaint)
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a 14 oz glass, fill with shaved ice (crushed ice), and swizzle to mix and chill.

Last Friday, I began my tribute to the Swizzle in honor of the Mixology Monday that I am hosting. I am doing the next 4 posts out of temporal order to get them out there before the event's end date of the 18th. For a start point, I turned to Trader Vic's 1946 Book of Food & Drink where I spotted the Martinique Swizzle. This recipe did not veer too far from the classic spirits, citrus, sugar, and sometimes bitters format, but it included an absinthe substitute as well and opted for a grassy rum.
The Martinique Swizzle proffered a grassy and anise aroma that came across as an almost minty note. Next, lemon on the sip led into a grassy rum that blended elegantly into the herbal Herbsaint and bitters elements on the swallow. Again, that minty note from the aroma was replicated on the finish.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

e.c. cobbler

1 1/2 oz Blandy's 5 year Sercial Madeira
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass. Fill with crushed ice, garnish with a lemon twist and grated nutmeg, and add a straw.
In turning over the menu at Loyal Nine for Spring, I wanted to change the stirred low proof offering to a second one with citrus. Since there has been an upswing of tickets for sherry and madeira Cobblers over the last few months thanks to one server's love of them, I decided to put a Cobbler on the menu. I, of course, opted for madeira since it along with rum and brandy are the trio of spirits popular during the Colonial era that our restaurant focuses on and despite the sherry Cobbler being the delicious default for the style. After hacking through some combinations, herbal Averna, spiced cinnamon syrup, and crisp lemon juice rounded out the dry madeira with perhaps some direction from my I Can't Dance last summer. For a name, I searched for shoe cobblers and producers in the restaurant's neighborhood but could only find information about the old Sears shoe factory between there and Central Square. The Cambridge Cobbler was sort of decided on -- until it appeared on the menu as the E.C. Cobbler for East Cambridge and the gang sign I like to flash with my hands when describing the Loyal Nine neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

breakfast of champions

2 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
2 oz Breckenridge Vanilla Porter
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
2 dash Mole Bitters
1 Whole Egg

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

Two Thursdays ago, I found myself in Central Square and in need of a nightcap. Therefore, I ventured over to Craigie on Main and found a seat in front of bartender Rob Ficks. The Breakfast of Champions created by Matt Baber called out to me as it reminded me of the Rumbustion and the Black Cadillac Flips as well as the still carbonated Five Points Pop-In Fizz.
The Breakfast of Champions shared a nutmeg nose that preceded a creamy, caramel sip. Next, the swallow offered molasses, chocolate, and vanilla flavors.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

:: tips for cocktail competitions ::

Last night, I had the honor to judge the Bridge & Tunnel Cocktail Competition for the second year in a row. The two judges and I made notes as the night progressed on what could be done to improve performances, and I combined that with my experiences judging, competing, and spectating. Neither judging nor competing is an easy task, but they are great tools to improve yourself as a bartender and mentor.
First, view the judges as your bar guests -- your only guests. You do not have to worry about whether seat 4 got their food, if new guests entered the bar that you need to greet, etc. Make them feel comfortable with you in front of them. And do not worry about what they want for you have already chosen the drink(s) that you are preparing for them that you believe will be exactly what they want. Do introduce yourself even if it the information is written on the score sheets and welcome them to your albeit temporary bar even if they were there first. Reclaim the space and greet them.

A lot of the next advice will be about perception of how the drink will taste before the drink hits the judges’ mouths. A drink prepared with grace and elegance will be a better experience than the same drink prepared in an awkward way. This includes technique, preparedness, confidence, and knowledge about the ingredients. Also, look like you enjoy bartending and being there. It is usually not just about the ounces and dashes otherwise it would be a web- or email-based competition.

Come to the bar or stage prepared. Have everything on the tray that you need. Before the event, make sure what will be available to you. Do you need to bring all or just some of the ingredients? What tools and glassware will be there, and do consider bringing your own. Think of it as an off-site event that you need to cater. If it is a new bar location, ask questions to the bar manager where cubed and crushed ice are, where glasses you might need are kept (and if there is a chilled stash), etc. Make set up time as quick as possible and looking as organized as possible. Unscrew and uncork; perhaps have speed pourers already in the bottles. Lay everything out on an attractive towel, mat, or tray. If there are not chilled glasses, fill them with ice and water. Even if they are not perfectly chilled by go time, the intent will be noted.

Keep things tidy. Spills and drops happen. Bring a neat hand towel or two to clean up the station when setting up (many contestants abandon the station after their round and can leave a bit of a mess) and have it handy to clean up drips on jiggers, shaker tins, and bar tops. Pride of workspace and attention to detail help to prepare the judges to think that the same level of detail will go into the drink balance and will believe that it will taste better. Indeed, hygiene is crucial to food service. Also, if you consider muddling, think about where you will put your dirty muddler. If you use a tasting straw, think about where you will put it (and not throw it on the ground).

Have a story to connect to the judges in advance. Why you like the sponsored ingredient but also why each ingredient complements that sponsor and/or why you relate to it. Show the bottles to bring the judges into the process, otherwise it is just a blur of mechanics to get the drink in the glass. Also figure out who your judges are. If that is known in advance, you can cater to their preferences and their hatreds. If last minute, figure out whether they are a brand suit, bartender, journalist, or chef.

Talk while you work. Not always the easiest thing to do, but it will make that often 5 minute window seem like a pleasant wait for the judges before tasting the drink and not just a delay of them getting up to visit the bathroom they so desperately need to use.

Obviously plan out a drink that features the sponsor in a good light by making the ingredient prominent and tasty. However, this goes beyond flavor. What about the name and the story? In one rum competition, I was told that I had the best drink by far but the other contestant was more marketable on a national level. Here in Boston, making reference to the Daiquiri Time Out and the political incidents on Martha’s Vineyard is normal, but naming a drink after the gardens off of Martha’s and making a connection was enough to make a dark shadow for a conservative liquor brand (see figure 1: the Mytoi Gardens). Likewise, do not say anything negative even if you think a story about the frustrating people at the your bar is part of why you developed a recipe.

Also, when planning out your recipe, re-read the rules several times. Is there a cap to the number of ingredients? Are infusions or house syrups allowed? Are any of your ingredients from the sponsor’s arch rival? Can any of them be swapped for ingredients under the sponsor’s umbrella. What about maximum and minimum amounts of the sponsor, total alcohol, final volume, etc.? Will the winning recipe be promoted at other bars? If so, a house infusion or syrup or an obscure ingredient like Amer Picon might make the judges shy a way.

Are any of the ingredients you are thinking of using a major allergen or dietary restriction? If you are dead set on orgeat, ask your judges as you are about to prepare your drink if any of them are allergic to nuts. Even if you asked the event promoter in advance, it shows a good deal of sincere hospitality. Similarly, bacon fat-washed might sound tasty unless your judge is a vegetarian or religiously avoidant. Getting the drink into their belly and not pushed aside (or getting them sick or upset) will only help your cause.

Is there a time cap? It was painful watching the Bacardi competition and seeing contestants talk for a few minutes before setting to work with only a fraction of their 5 minute allotment left. All of the apologies in the world will make you and the judges feel better, but it may end up with your drink disqualified for being incomplete. Or made less perfectly due to the rush.

Take BarSmarts or read lots of Hess, Degroff, and others. Know when to shake and when to stir. If you are altering from the norm, mention why. Knowing how to stir and shake well will instill confidence. Fine straining is great for shaken drinks. Do bring or borrow attractive tools (even if house tools are available).

Garnish is always a great touch and should be prepped in advance with all of the cuts made and stuck on a pick already (if you are using one). The less handling of the items in front of the judges that you do, the better. The bartender is part of the drink, but less of the bartender's physicality should enter into the equation.

Practice what you will say and what you will do. From set up to clean up. A confident bartender makes it seem like it is not their first rodeo even if it is their first competition or first time behind that work space.

Remember, it is a combination of recipe, performance, and emotional connection in many cases. Frequently, the best recipe will not win. All too often, I will get emailed recipes from a PR agency and I will not want to make the winning drink. In fact, if I do make a drink from that collection, it was from someone who did not even place. I am usually surprised when I make the winning drink at home from the collection of recipes.

Finally, network. Sure, the judges are important for reasons that I do not need to mention, but the other contestants can become friends for life. Be pleasant to them. Help them. Speak highly of them. Negativity will reflect badly on you more than them sometimes. And positive energy will often be returned throughout the night and onward. Definitely go visit their bars in the next few weeks. Friend them on Facebook. You all shared something special and powerful together so make good mileage of that bond.

Do thank the judges afterwards. Be open to what they have to say. Feel free to ask them questions but do not make them feel awkward. Were there 20 contestants and 20 drinks? They might not remember the details without looking at their notes. Ask for general advice to improve your game which might include things that the judges saw but you did not necessarily do wrong.

Keep on trying. Many of the most winningest bartenders here in Boston went through a lot of losses before they worked out what would win. And then it seemed like they could not be defeated.


2/3 Peoria Rye (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/4 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Apricot Brandy (1/4 oz Rothman & Winter)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Amer Picon)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Wednesdays ago, I spotted what appeared to be a Brooklyn variation in Pioneers of Mixing in Elite Bars: 1903-1933 that caught my attention. At first, it was not the apricot brandy for Maraschino liqueur swap that intrigued me as much as the drink name, the Montana. The best known Montana is the brandy, dry vermouth, port trio that I have also had as a rye variation (swap the apricot and Picon here for the port for essentially the same drink). I could trace that variation as far back as Jacques Straub's 1914 book Drinks that has a gussied up version with anisette and bitters, and there were other Montanas in the literature around that time including a sloe gin version in Harry Johnson's 1882 New and Improved Bartender's Manual that was like Straub's but with sloe gin instead of brandy and port. Finally, the better known trio of brandy dry vermouth, and port that trimmed the anisette and bitters appeared in the 1935 The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. Soon, I was curious as to how the Brooklyn structure could be tinkered with by switching things other than the Amer Picon to another liqueur like in the Bensonhurst.
This Montana began with a rye aroma with a slight fruitiness to it. Next, malt and dry wine on the sip gave way to rye and bitter orange-apricot on the swallow with a lingering apricot finish. Overall, not as magical as a Brooklyn but quite enjoyable as its own Manhattan riff.

Monday, April 11, 2016

charley's royal reserve cocktail

1/2 jigger Charley's Royal Reserve Jamaican Rum (1 oz Coruba)
1/2 jigger Lightbourn's Barbados Rum (1 oz Tommy Bahama Gold)
Juice of 1 Lime (1/2 oz)
1 dash Falernum (1/2 oz Velvet)
1 dash Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I floated a lime slice for garnish.

Two Tuesdays ago, I turned to Crosby Gaige's 1941 Cocktail Guide & Ladies' Companion for the evening's libation. In the rum section was the Charley's Royal Reserve Cocktail named after a Jamaican rum brand that was founded in 1892 according to the Peter's Rum Labels. Edwin Charley was not a fan of the overly flavorful Jamaican rums and decided to create a lighter blend, and through the years after his death, the rum brand changed hands with various degrees of success with its current resting place in the Wray & Nephew portfolio. In addition, the Royal Reserve was listed in the Don the Beachcomber's rum cellar around the time of the cocktail book's publication as a 15 year rum. The Lightbourn Rum label was a bit less well known with the New York Public Library putting it on two Manhattan menus in 1940 and 1953 respectively which coincides well with the cocktail book publication.
When I read the recipe, it reminded me of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club with Maraschino in place of the orange liqueur, so I adapted the recipe in that fashion. Once mixed, the Charley's Royal Reserve Cocktail offered dark funky rum aromas that mixed well with those of the nutty Maraschino liqueur. Next, lime and caramel notes on the sip transitioned into funky rum, Maraschino, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

angel maid

1 1/2 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cucumber Shrub
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Build in a rocks glass, top with crushed ice, garnish with cucumber slices, and add straws.
Two Mondays ago, I ventured over to Brass Union which was hosting along with Angel's Envy Bourbon a benefit for bartender Vannaluck Hongthong's son Rafe. Various pairs of bartenders from across town manned the bar for an hour shift throughout the night. The drink I had was Daren Swisher's Angel Maid (or perhaps Angel Made?) that he based off Sam Ross' Kentucky Maid:
Kentucky Maid
• 2 oz Bourbon
• 1 oz Lime Juice
• 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
• 3 slice Cucumber
• 6 leaf Mint

Muddle the cucumber slices and mint leaves with simple syrup in a shaker tin. Add rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice and a mint sprig.
Daren in thinking about batching out this drink decided to make a cucumber shrub instead of muddling cucumbers which would slow the number of drinks he could produce down. To adapt to the addition of shrub's vinegar, he took some of the citrus' acid out. Once served, the Angel Maid presented a cucumber aroma that led into a lime, malt, and vegetal sip. Finally, Bourbon and tart cucumber rounded out the swallow.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


1 oz Curlier Cognac (Camus VS)
1 oz Rum (Cuca Fresca Gold Cachaça)
1 mouthspoon Raspberry Syrup (1/3 oz Royal Rose)
1 small spoon Powdered Sugar (1/6 oz (1 tsp) simple syrup)
1 Whole Egg

Shake once without ice and once with ice, and strain into a goblet.

Later that Sunday, I turned to Louis Fouquet's 1896 Bariana for my own Easter drink. There, I spotted a Flip called the Too-Too; I wondered if it were a mis-spelling or mis-translation of "tutu," but "too-too" was a late 19th century term "used affectedly to convey that one finds something excessively annoying or fatiguing."
The Too-Too's aroma alternated between hints of raspberry and rum on the nose. Next, a rich creamy sip shared the raspberry's tartness, and the swallow began with brandy and grassy rum flavors and ended with a tannic raspberry finish.

Friday, April 8, 2016

corpse reviver fizz

1 oz Berkshire Greylock Gin
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Clement Creole Shrubb Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 heavy dash (20 drops) St. George Absinthe
1 1/2 oz Heavy Cream
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with, strain into a Collins glass with 2 oz soda water, add a straw, and garnish with an orange twist.
For Easter Sunday, I worked my first brunch at Loyal Nine. All week since I learned of my schedule, I decided that I wanted to do a brunch drink special for the holiday merging the classic Corpse Reviver #2 with a Ramos Gin Fizz akin to the Fireball Fizz I made on Easter two years prior. The drink never made the menu since no one could answer my concerns of whether a Corpse Reviver might be as disrespectful to the Easter story. The end result to those who got one was true to Ramos form with a deeper citrus aspect to the flavor profile without any umbrage towards the name.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

broken halo

1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin (Death's Door)
1 1/2 oz Oloroso Sherry (Lustau)
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube (cocktail coupe, no ice). Garnish with an orange twist.

The nightcap from two Saturday's ago was the Broken Halo from Food & Wine: Cocktails 2013. The recipe was created by Erick Castro of San Diego's Polite Provisions as an aperitif crossed with a nerve tonic. Overall, the recipe read like a less sweet Martinez with the dryness of the Silver Cocktail but with a sherry complementing the Maraschino liqueur akin to the Catedratico.
The Broken Halo shared a nutty oxidized sherry and Maraschino cherry pairing on the nose that was brightened by orange oils. Next, dry grape on the sip led into juniper and a return of the nutty sherry and cherry notes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

harvest moon

1 1/2 oz Wild Turkey Rye (Rittenhouse)
1 oz Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano)
1/2 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3 dash Abbott's Bitters (Housemade)

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Two Fridays ago after my evening's shift, I was in the mood for a nightcap. For a selection, I turned to my picked-over but not yet completed P.D.T. Cocktail Book for a recipe. The one that caught my eye was Daniel Eun's circa 2007 Harvest Moon. Daniel described how the drink looks like the sky "during the harvest moon -- when the reddish-orange moon rises after sunset." Once stirred and strained, the Harvest Moon offered an orange, apple, and herbal bouquet to the nose. On the palate, a citrussy wine sip led into a bounty of complex flavor on the swallow including rye, apple, herbal, and clovey spice.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

palomino sling

1 1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry
1 oz Cruzan Dark Rum
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a tulip glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with berries, a lime wedge, mint, and a pineapple chunk, and add a straw.

After Yvonne's, I cut through the alley to get to Temple Place to visit Stoddard's. There, I was greeted by bartender Trevor LeBlanc, and for a cocktail, I selected his Palomino Sling from the menu. The combination of rum, lime, orgeat, and cinnamon reminded me of a Cuban Anole, and with most of the base being sherry, this libation could do no wrong.
The Palomino Sling's garnishes contributed greatly to the nose including mint notes and fruity ones especially from the blackberry and pineapple. Next, the sherry's grape mingled with the lime on the sip, and the swallow was nutty from the sherry and orgeat and spiced from the cinnamon syrup and bitters.

Monday, April 4, 2016

:: mixology monday announcement ::

MxMo XVIII: Swizzles!

One of the drink styles that I ran with a bit during my bar's Yacht Rock Sundays was the Swizzle, and I began to miss it as Labor Day signaled the end of this weekly event. So during the Fall, I thought that it would make a great idea for Mixology Monday and I waited until the hosting list ran dry. So for April, I will host my eighth event for MxMo 108.

So what is a Swizzle? And what is a swizzle stick? The literary references to Swizzles seem to begin around the mid-18th century with the written definition growing in the early parts of the 20th century. Swizzles began as a Caribbean style of mixing drinks perhaps stemming in Barbados -- mostly cold although there are certainly hot swizzles out there. Unlike say the Martini which is chilled in a mixing glass by gently stirring cubed ice with a spoon and straining into a cocktail glass, most cold Swizzles are built in the glass, topped with crushed ice, and agitated with a rapidly spinning natural swizzle stick (or facsimile) to mix and chill. The idea of a swizzle stick got corrupted through the decades to represent that ornamental stir stick that ranged from generic to branded bar keepsake. However, Charles H. Baker Jr. described it best in The Gentleman's Companion with, "There is a wide cloud of misinformation on [what is a swizzle stick]. The authentic swizzle sticks are the peeled stem of a plant owning, at base, a fan-like branching of roots--the latter cut some 3" long--and looking like small gnarled fingers. This branched end is sunk into the pitcher with ice and drink ingredients, the stem is held vertically between the palms, and rotated smartly by sliding the palms back and forth." Baker conceded in the 1930s that the natural ones were no better than the metal versions to do this job.

The Swizzle has had a resurgence starting around 2008 or 2009 as various cocktail supply stores have procured Caribbean sources for these Bois Lélé mixing instruments with most of them smaller tined than the pitcher-sized ones Baker described. I believe that the first instance that I wrote about on the blog was Marco Dionysos' Chartreuse Swizzle, a circa 2003 recipe that I was introduced to at Drink in early in 2009. And Tales of the Cocktail was littered with tiny ones later that year. Plenty of recipes for these drinks reside in mid-century Trader Vic books and other Tiki-leaning tomes; moreover, modern drinks books have begun to embrace the style as well including the Death & Co. Cocktail Book where their house Swizzle formula was exposed to me a few years before via the Company Swizzle.

For this theme, find a classic or modern Swizzle recipe, whether hot or cold. If the creative mood hits you, take the style in your own direction whether in a Tiki avenue, by reformulating a classic cocktail, or via something more Caribbean in feel. Don't have a traditional Swizzle stick? Do not fret -- I have found that a bar spoon works great in a pinch to do all of the mixing and chilling. Want to bring the Green Swizzle back to life or perhaps turn the Between the Sheets into a Barbados crushed ice delight? Awesome!

Here's how to play:

• Find or concoct a recipe that is prepared by swizzling.
• Make the drink and then post the recipe, a photo, and your thoughts about the libation on your blog, tumblr, or website or on the eGullet Spirits and Cocktails forum.
• Include in your post the MxMo logo (either classic or the special Swizzle edition one) and a link back to both the Mixology Monday and Cocktail Virgin sites. And once the round-up is posted, a link to that summary post would be appreciated.
• Provide a link to your submission in the comment section here, tweet at @cocktailvirgin, or send an email to with the word "MxMo" somewhere in the subject line.

The due date is Monday night at midnight, April 18th which I will interpret as whatever gets posted before my next day off (and yes, I will tack on late entries since it is part of the act of cat herding).


yvonne's honey bee

2 oz Plantation Barbados 5 Year Rum
1/4 oz St. George Pear Eau de Vie
3/4 oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a coupe, and garnish with 10 drops of Angostura Bitters.

Two Wednesdays ago, I took advantage of my night off by heading into the Downtown Crossing area. As a first stop, I paid a visit to Yvonne's Library Bar where I found a seat in front of bartender Sean Frederick. For a drink, I requested their variation of the Honey Bee; the classic recipe appeared in David Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Embury explained in the gin-based Bee's Knees that "the same drink, except for the use of white Cuban rum in place of the gin, is known as the Honeysuckle. The same drink with Jamaican rum is the Honey Bee." Here, the rum is Barbadian instead of Jamaican; moreover, pear brandy, egg white, and a bitters garnish round out the changes.
This Honey Bee gave forth a clove and allspice aroma from the garnish sitting on the egg white froth. Next, a creamy lemon and honey sip led into a rum-driven swallow with a pleasant pear and spice (from the garnish) finish. Indeed, the pear eau de vie added a bit of complexity to replace the high ester content that would have been found in the classic's Jamaican rum.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

snow white

1 3/4 oz Havana Club 3 Year Rum (2 oz Caliche)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1 tsp Fresh Ginger Juice (3 slices ginger muddled)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a vanilla candy floss on a stick (lime wheel).
Tuesday two weks ago, I ventured back to Tom Sandham's World's Best Cocktails and was drawn in by a Daiquiri- or Mai Tai-inspired number called the Snow White. The recipe was crafted by George Nemec while at Chinatown and Lost Heaven in Shanghai where he was drawn to using Chinese flavors and spices. In the glass, the Snow White offered a lime and almond nose. On the palate, lime filled the sip, and rum, nutty, and ginger flavors made for a delightful swallow.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


1/3 jigger Gin (1 3/4 oz Beefeater)
1/4 jigger Apricot Brandy (3/8 oz Rothman & Winter)
1/4 jigger Grenadine (3/8 oz)
2 spoon Sweet-Sour (1/2 oz Lime Juice)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, I was perusing Boothby's 1934 World Drinks and How to Mix Them and I spotted the Bermudian which is very similar to the Bermuda Rose that I have seen in other cocktail books. I approached the recipe with another Bermuda drink in mind, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. In the glass, the Bermudian gave forth an orange oil aroma over fruit notes from the apricot with perhaps the pomegranate and lime helping out. Next, the sip was equally as fruity with lime and berry flavors and hints of orchard fruit. Finally, gin, apricot, and other fruit elements rounded out the swallow.

Friday, April 1, 2016

shruff's end

1 oz Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch
1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Benedictine
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

After my Sunday night shift two weeks ago, I needed a nightcap and the Death & Co. Cocktail Book seemed to fit the billing for what might satisfy me. The Shruff's End from Phil Ward circa 2008 was the straight spirits number that appeared like it could scratch that itch. Shruff is an a century old or so term for "rubbish" and a drink name connoting the end to nonsense seemed even more appropriate as a workweek topper. Phil described how "Benedictine can make almost any two ingredients love each other," and I have noted that it has worked rather well taming difficult spirits like Batavia Arrack in the Soekarno, bridging the gap between ingredients that hate each other like Bourbon and lime in the Junior, and bring harmony in even gentle spirits like in the Town Crier. It is hard to believe that Scotch and apple brandy do not love each other for they have worked so well in the past in several drinks including the Little Rebel.
The Shruff's End presented apple and smoke notes on the nose, and the sip was mostly the Scotch's malt. Things got more interesting in the swallow with the Scotch being lightened by the apple flavors and lingering herbal notes.