Wednesday, August 31, 2016

hoti hoti

1 1/2 oz Pyrat Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Velvet Falernum
3/4 oz Cocchi Sweet Vermouth
2 dash Absinthe

Build in a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and swizzle to mix and chill. Top with 4-5 dash Angostura Bitters and garnish with a grapefruit slice.
After Brick & Mortar, I headed up Mass Ave to have dinner at Russell House Tavern. For a drink, I asked bartender Trevor Christian for the Hoti Hoti on the menu created by Robert Sanford. Despite the Swizzle format, the structure reminded me a bit of the Jet Pilot, so I was definitely excited to try out this flavor combination. Once prepared, the Hoti Hoti shared a grapefruit and clove bouquet. Next, a fruity sip from lime, grapefruit, and grape notes led into rum, clove, and anise flavors on the swallow.

señor mucho pronto

1 oz Tequila Ocho Reposado
1 oz Del Maguey Mezcal Vida
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Amaro Santa Maria al Monte
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a Double Old Fashioned glass, fill with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Wednesdays ago, I began my night at Brick & Mortar where I asked bartender Rob Hoover for his Señor Mucho Pronto off of the current cocktail menu. On paper, the drink read like a cross between an agave Toronto (or perhaps Front Street) and an Oaxacan Old Fashioned. Once built, it offered an orange, cinnamon, and smoke nose. Next, the sip was rich and caramel tinged, and the swallow began with smoky agave and soon the agave's vegetal notes transitioned into the amaro's herbal bitterness before ending with a chocolate and cinnamon finish.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

the queen of the night

2/3 Port Wine (1 1/2 oz Sandeman Tawny)
1/3 Madeira (3/4 oz Blandy's 5 Year Verdelho)
1 dash Brandy (1/2 oz Camus VS)
1 dash Crème de Rose (1/4 oz Combier Liqueur de Rose)
2 dash Gum Syrup (1/4 oz Simple)

Stir with ice and strain into a cut glass with a dash (1/8 oz) Green Chartreuse at the bottom.

While shopping at Ball Square Fine Wines, I spotted a bottle of Combier's rose liqueur. After a moment of consideration, I purchased the specimen for I needed a crème de rose to try out a good number of recipes from William Schmidt's 1891 The Flowing Bowl; Schmidt seemed addicted to accenting his drinks with this now almost defunct cordial. Upon returning home, I assembled a list of drinks that used the liqueur, and when I read out the list to Andrea after having the Spievak Zombie, she picked The Queen of the Night for its Madeira content.
The Queen of the Night proffered a floral and grape aroma that led into a grape sip mostly from the port wine with some assistance from the Madeira. The grape next entered into the swallow where it finished with rose notes and herbal hints of Green Chartreuse.

spievak zombie

1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Caliche)
1 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Havana Club 7 Year)
1 oz Lemon Hart 151 Rum
1 tsp Demerara Syrup (1/2 oz Simple)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with crushed ice, pour into a tall glass, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Two Tuesdays ago, I was feeling the need for a tropical drink to beat the mid-August heat wave, so I reached for Beachbum Berry's Remixed. In the Zombie section was the recipe that Louis Spievak attributed to Don the Beachcomber in Spievak's 1950 Barbecue Chef. The recipe was a lot closer to the Hot Zombie found in the 1941 Ron Rico Rum Company recipe book than the 1934 Zombie associated with Donn Beach though. Beach's Zombie did change through the years, but it is believed that either Spievak fabricated this recipe or one of his sources provided him with this less than authentic variation.
The Spievak Zombie greeted the nose with a lush mint bouquet. Next, a crisp lemon and lime sip (which would have been crisper had I not upped the sugar syrup quotient) led into a rich rum swallow with tropical notes from the passion fruit and pineapple and with a spice-laden finish.

Monday, August 29, 2016

don's own grog

3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/8 oz Blackberry Brandy (Marie Brizard)
3/8 oz Simple Syrup
1/8 oz Grenadine
1 oz Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum
1/2 oz Diplomatico Añejo Rum
1/2 oz Coruba Dark Rum
1 dash Grated Nutmeg
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Two Mondays ago, I decided to continue with the blackberry brandy companion piece to the Rum Runner, namely Don's Own Grog created by Don the Beachcomber in 1937. For a recipe, I formulated a hybrid of the Smuggler's Cove and Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari recipes with the rum choices from the former and the inclusion of nutmeg in the shake from the latter (for that effect worked rather well in the Haitian Zombie). Finally, I adjusted the liqueurs and syrups to my preferred balance.
Don's Own Grog offered up a woody spice bouquet that accented the fresh mint that I added to the equation. Next, lime and berry on the sip stepped aside for dark funky rum blending into blackberry on the swallow and clove and nutmeg spice on the finish.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

spice market

2 oz Masumi Arabashiri Sake (Oyaji Gokuraku)
1 oz Beefeater 24 Gin
1 bsp Velvet Falernum (1/4 oz)

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a spritz of clove essence (omit).
Two Sunday nights ago, I made the other drink that I had spotted in the PDT Cocktail Book besides the Applejack Rabbit, namely Nate Dumas' 2009 Spice Market. This "ode to the East" combined the tea notes in Beefeater 24 with sake for a Inverse Martini of sorts. Once prepared, the Spice Market greeted the nose with rice wine since I omitted the clove tincture garnish. Next, a clean and grassy sip transitioned into gin, tea, citrus, sake, and clove flavors on the swallow.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

applejack rabbit

2 oz Laird's Bonded Applejack
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Maple Syrup (Merton's Farm, VT)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make I drink I have had but never wrote about, namely the Applejack Rabbit. The recipe I used was from the PDT Cocktail Book which described how "this could really be called the Rabbit Punch because it has the same effect." PDT cited Judge Jr.'s 1927 Here's How, but that edition had no applejack recipes at all. Thanks to all of the uploads on EUVS, I determined that it first appeared in Here's How Again, the 1928 third printing. The recipe later appeared in the more widely read 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book and then David Embury's The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. I most likely had the drink at Green Street which according to their drink bible is 1 1/2 oz applejack and a 1/2 oz each of the other ingredients served up in a cocktail glass with an orange wedge garnish (Embury's proportions were a more spirits-forward 6:1:1:1). Moreover, I did write about a Fernet Branca and gin variation called Follow that Black Rabbit from Gary Regan's Bartender's Gin Compendium, although as Embury pointed out that the gin and bitters version is known as the Old Vermont.
The Applejack Rabbit presented an apple and orange aroma with hints of maple to the nose. Next, a rich lemon and orange sip led into a delightful apple-maple combination on the swallow.

Friday, August 26, 2016

hyde park swizzle

3-4 sprig Mint
2 oz Plymouth Gin (Beefeater)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Muddle mint in a shaker tin, add rest of ingredients, dry shake, and dump into a Pilsner glass. Fill with crushed ice, swizzle to chill, top with 2 dash Angostura Bitters and 2 dash Peychaud's Bitters, and swizzle the bitters into the top layer of the drink.

Two Fridays ago, I ventured into the Death & Co. Cocktail Book once again, and I found myself in the Swizzle section staring at one of Phil Ward's 2008 creations. The Hyde Park Swizzle seemed like a gin version of the rum-based Queen's Park Swizzle with the addition of Peychaud's Bitters to accompany the Angostura Bitters swizzled into the top layer. Actually, the original Queen's Park Swizzle had the bitters as a base ingredient and not one used as a garnish or mixed in as a top layer as currently done with this classic; instead a spent half lime shell accompanied the mint sprig as garnish.
The Hyde Park Swizzle began with clove aromas from the bitters over that of juniper and mint from the rest of the ingredients. Next, the lime sip gave way to mint and gin on the swallow with clove and allspice later joining the ranks as the top layer entered into the sip. Overall, the Swizzle drank much like a Southside with bitters adding to the show in the last third or so of the drink.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

rum runner

1 1/2 oz Lime Juice
7/8 oz Blackberry Brandy (3/4 oz Marie Brizard)
7/8 oz Crème de Banana (3/4 oz Giffard)
5/8 oz Grenadine (1/2 oz)
3/4 oz 151 Proof Caribbean Rum (1 oz Don Q 151)

Blend with ice until smooth, and pour into a pint glass or Tiki mug (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice).

Two Thursdays ago, I turned to Beachbum Berry's Remixed and decided it was time to make a Rum Runner. I was first introduced to the drink name back in 2009 when I was visiting the Mixoloseum bloggers' house at Tales of the Cocktail, and Robert "RumScout" Burr entered the room demanded one. Despite the well-stocked bar, it could not be done and Robert replied, "What sort of bar can't make a Rum Runner?" I bumped into Robert 7 years later this year at Tales of the Cocktail and reminded him of that story, and he laughed and replied that it was his youthful enthusiasm that took over. So all these years later, I decided to finally figure out what this drink created circa 1972 by "Tiki John" Ebert at the Holiday Isle Resort in the Florida Keys tasted like. If I blended with enough ice to be smooth, the result would be a lot mellower in the flavor profile (as I learned from the Blender Bender this past May).
The mint garnish I added contributed aromas over the drink's banana-fruity nose. Next, lime and a vague fruitiness that was perhaps dark berries filled the sip, and the swallow offered rum and blackberry flavors with a banana finish. For a recipe that was allegedly cobbled together with bar leftovers, it did not turn out too badly. And a few days later, I revisited blackberry brandy in the 1937 Don's Own Grog so that ingredient does indeed have some history to it in the Tiki world.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

oaxacan old fashioned

2 oz Los Altos Reposado Tequila
1/2 El Buho Mezcal
1/2 oz Agave Syrup (1:1)
2 dash Bittermens Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a Double Old Fashioned glass with a large ice cube. Flame an orange twist over the top and discard.

For my second drink at Backbar as part of Sam Cronin's "First 50" exercise, I asked him for a Oaxacan Old Fashioned -- a drink that I have had but strangely have never entered into the blog. The drink was created by Phil Ward circa 2007 while at Death & Co., and the recipe eventually landed in Food & Wine: Cocktails 2011 (among other places). In that book, Phil explained, "This was one of the first cocktails I made using mezcal; I realized that combining mezcal with tequila was like putting tequila on steroids. Most tequila in the U.S. is only 80 proof, and I wanted more oomph! I discovered the oomph in mezcal." The recipe in that book utilized Angostura Bitters for the Bittermens' production of bitters had not been producing in any scale in 2007 (but was definitely around in 2011) as well as a half ounce less of tequila.
The Oaxacan Old Fashioned here presented orange and vegetal agave aromas. Next, the rich sip from the agave nectar led into smoky chocolate and agave flavors on the swallow. Overall, rather simple yet satisfying even as the large ice cube melted down.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

union mule

1 1/2 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Laird's Applejack
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass with 1 oz ginger beer. Add ice cubes and float a barspoon of Batavia Arrack.

Two Tuesdays ago, I headed down to Backbar where bartender Sam Cronin was doing his "50 Firsts". The point of the exercise is Backbar's way of training and testing all of their bartenders to make 50 house favorites that include classics and house originals by having friends, regulars, and other bar patrons order and cross off drinks on a list. I arrived shortly after open to get the pick of the litter and I started with one that I had never had before, their Union Mule. The Backbar webpage blog in September 2012 declared, "Or come have our most popular cocktail at Backbar, the Union Mule. So far, two thousand, four hundred and seventy three made and counting. This blend of Beefeater Gin, apple brandy, St-Germain, fresh lemon juice, and house made ginger beer is unbeatable!" Regardless of how their riff on the Moscow Mule sold that many in the 8 or 9 months that they were open (which would only be 10 per day), I had somehow skipped over the drink in favor of the Model T on their opening menu. When I saw the recipe written down, it did remind me of the Pink Lady in structure.
I put Sam to the task, and the Mule he presented me with offered a ginger spice and Batavia Arrack funk bouquet. Next, a lemon and pear flavored sip led into gin, apple, floral, and ginger aromas.

Monday, August 22, 2016

summertime sling

2 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
1/2 oz St. Germain
1 1/2 oz Watermelon Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
10 drop Orange Blossom Water

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass with 1 1/2 oz soda water. Top with ice cubes and garnish with mint.

For a second drink at the Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II, Andrea asked for what turned out to be one of the most refreshing drinks of the summer, namely the Summertime Sling. Bartender Vannaluck Hongthong described how it was his creation in collaboration with fellow bartender Mick Kellogg. Watermelon juice has been quite successful in several drinks that I have had including Kolb's Gem, Corpse Reviver #33, and Sip Sip Hooray due to its interaction with herbal liqueurs.
The Summertime Sling presented a rather summery mint and watermelon aroma. Next, carbonated watermelon and lemon notes filled the sip, and the swallow was a combination of floral, watermelon, and gin flavors with an orange blossom finish. Indeed, I was rather impressed at how well the watermelon paired with the elderflower liqueur with perhaps an assist from the orange blossom aspect, and Andrea commented about how the whole drink reminded her of jasmine.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


1 1/2 oz Angel's Envy Bourbon
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with an orange peel-cherry flag.

For my second drink at the Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II, I asked bartender Vannaluck Hongthong for the Halekulani. Van explained that it was his take on the Tiki classic that he pulled off of the Beachbum Berry app, and he mentioned that he upped the grenadine here and dropped the demerara from the original. The drink itself was first crafted at the House without a Key Lounge in the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki circa the 1930s. One reason that I had skipped this in the Beachbum Berry books is that it called for okolehao, the Hawaiian moonshine of sorts (there are a few legally distilled bottlings though) made from the root of the ti plant, and it listed Bourbon as a possible substitution. Overall, the Halekulani with whiskey reminded me of a Tikified Ward Eight with the addition of pineapple juice and bitters; interestingly, Yvonne's Ward Eight utilized pineapple as a garnish in an intermediary step between the two ideas.
The Halekulani proffered an orange and cherry aroma that led into a lemon and pineapple sip. Finally, the swallow began with Bourbon, orange, and pineapple notes and ended with clove and allspice from the bitters.

rumble bee

1 oz El Dorado 12 Year Rum
1 oz Old Monk Rum
1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry
1/2 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a Double Old Fashioned glass. Fill with ice and garnish with a lemon oil from a twist.

At the Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II, Andrea started with a more straight spirits drink called the Rumble Bee. Bartender Vannaluck Hongthong described how this recipe was Nika Orlovsky's first menu contribution; she originally had Benedictine and the PX sherry, but it was too sweet, so she switched to two sherries and utilized amontillado's drying qualities. Overall, it reminded me of a split rum and split sherry Arawak from 1940s era Trader Vic books.
The Rumble Bee's lemon oil brightened up the dark aroma from the rums and sherries. Next, the rums' caramel and the sherries' grape filled the sip, and the swallow was rather cola-like with rum, raisin, and nutty flavors with a cinnamon-driven spiced finish.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

jamaican bobsled

1 1/2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
3/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Allspice Dram

Shake with ice and strain into a rock glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with an edible orchid.

Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured up to Woburn to pay homage at the Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden II. For a first drink, I asked bartender Tyler Benfield for the Jamaican Bobsled off of the menu. From the ingredients list, I knew that this was a different Jamaican Bobsled than the one created at Drink which took a more ginger and chocolate route. Instead, bartender Vannaluck Hongthong provided the back history that this one was created by Mick Kellogg as a spiced-up pineapple Daiquiri.
The Jamaican Bobsled shared a floral, cinnamon, and pineapple bouquet. The pineapple continued on into the sip where it was complemented by the lime, and the swallow offered up funky rum and allspice flavors with a growing cinnamon aspect on the finish.

rock island

2/3 Rye Whiskey (1 1/2 oz Sazerac)
1/3 Sweet Vermouth (1 oz Alessio)
1 dash Crème de Cassis (1/4 oz Massenez)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Amer Picon)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Sundays ago, I returned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 to find any gems that I had passed over. The Rock Island caught my eye as a Liberal Cocktail (essentially a Manhattan embittered with Picon) darkened by black currant liqueur, and that darkening effect worked well in the Sweet Martini dubbed the Marblehead from that same tome. My best guest as to what the drink is named after is the city in Illinois located the largest island on the Mississippi River; the most notable business there is the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing plant, the Rock Island Arsenal, that is famous for their 1911 series of handguns.
After stirring and straining, the Rock Island greeted the nose with dark berry and rye aromas. Next, caramel, malt, grape, and dark berry mingled in the sip, and the swallow was rye forward and accented by bitter orange and black currant notes.

Friday, August 19, 2016


3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Licor 43
1/2 oz Barenjager
1 1/2 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (1 oz Caliche Rum + 1/2 oz Cuca Cresca Cachaça)

Blend 5 seconds with 8 oz crushed ice and pour into a Pilsner glass (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice).

Two Saturdays ago, I decided to make one of the drinks in Beachbum Berry's Remixed, the Beachnik, that I had skipped over previously. However, when it had popped up on someone else's Instagram, I figured that it was worth a try putting my dusty bottles of Licor 43 and Barenjager to work. I figured that this 2004 creation was a reference to Beachbum Berry; however, the term "beachnik" certainly dates back to at least 1960 given H. Allen Smith's Waikiki Beachnik book as a hybrid of beachbum and beatnik.
The Beachnik presented a mint and floral aroma from the garnishes I added that might have masked the rather honey aroma that I detected while shaking the drink. The honey did appear on the sip where it mingled with the lemon, and the swallow offered a pleasant combination of rum, vanilla, and spice.


The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo CX) was pickled, er... picked by Adam of the Mr. Muddle blog. The theme he chose was "Vinegar," and he elaborated on the concept with his description of, "Earlier this summer I went berry picking with the family, and we ended up with a quart of strawberries. If you don't know exactly how many berries are in a quart, let me assure you it's a lot. Obviously some of these were earmarked for cocktail usage, but I wanted to do more than garnishes and muddling. Enter the shrub, also known as drinking vinegar. The combination of fruit, sugar and vinegar has been around for centuries, particularly popular in Colonial America. While these are delicious with a splash of soda on the rocks, they bring a fresh, bright flavor when combined with spirits... This got me thinking -- how else are people incorporating vinegar into their drinks? And why stop at shrubs? For this month's MxMo, let's make the whole range of vinegary things fair game."
In thinking about this theme, I did two things: reaching for Michael Dietsch's Shrubs book and rooting around in the back of the fridge to see what shrubs I had available. In Dietsch's book, I honed in on the shrub-Negroni hybrid, the Shrugroniz, that offered up a lot of flexibility with the call for a fruit shrub of any type. In the back of my fridge, I found bottles of strawberry, mulberry, and kiwi shrubs. With disbelief, I tasted the strawberry one and it still tasted rather good for having been bottled on August 14th, 2009. Yes, the Colonial folks were on to something with their preservation methods since the flavor was still intact (albeit not as bright and vibrant) 7 years later! Strawberry and Negronis have been paired in my mind since I tried the Sbagliato Grosso from Left Coast Libations.
• 1 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater)
• 1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Tempus Fugit's Alessio)
• 1 oz Campari
• 1/2 oz Fruit Shrub (Strawberry)
Stir with ice and strain either into a rocks glass filled with ice or into a cocktail glass (cocktail coupe, served up and garnished with a floated strawberry slice).
The Shrugroniz greeted the nose with a strawberry aroma that was accented by Campari's bitter herbal notes. Next, the sip was an elegant pairing of grape and berry flavors, and the swallow began with gin and a strawberry-bitter orange combination and ended with a light vinegar tang. With the shrub, the drink was not as sweet as it would have been with a fruit syrup, and in fact, it might have been slightly drier than the classic.

So thank you to Adam for hosting this excellent theme and bringing back Mixology Monday from its hangover rest, and thank you to the rest of the Mixology Monday participants who keep the shakers shaking and the mixing spoons swirling each and (almost) every month! Cheers!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

davy jones's locker

2 oz Gold Rum (Plantation Dark)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a lime wheel.
My post-shift drink two Fridays ago came by way of Punch Drinks with a winterized Daiquiri called Davy Jones's Locker. With Fernet Branca in the mix, it reminded me of the Dirt'n'Diesel, but drink creator Brad Farran utilized Donn's Mix (two parts grapefruit juice to one part cinnamon syrup) instead of the other drink's Cynar and demerara syrup. Once shaken and strained, the Davy Jones's Locker gave forth lime, grapefruit, and lightly menthol aromas. Next, grapefruit and caramel on the sip led into dark rum on the swallow with a cinnamon and menthol finish.

double-barrel julep

1 1/2 oz Old Grand Dad 114 Bourbon (OGD Bonded)
1/2 oz Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum
1 tsp Massenez Crème de Peche (1/4 oz Edward Briottet)
1 tsp Demerara Syrup

Build in a Julep cup, fill with crushed ice, and stir. Top with crushed ice, float 1/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum, and garnish with 4 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters and a mint bouquet.
As a nightcap to my Thursday shift two weeks ago, I turned to the Death & Co. Cocktail Book and found myself in the Julep section. There, Joaquin Simo's Double-Barrel Julep with whiskey and a pair of rums stood out as a winner. Once built, it gave forth a complex aroma of mint, funky rum, cinnamon, and a hint of peach to the nose. Next, a caramel and malt sip led into Bourbon and rum on the swallow with hints of peach and later cinnamon on the finish.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

lost u-boat

2 oz Plantation Dark Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Jagermeister
1/2 oz St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur
2 dash Angostura Bitters
4 drop Orange Blossom Water

Shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs.

After Brick & Mortar, I went home to develop a drink for a reporter's request for a Jagermeister drink to tie in with the Deer Garden part of their Tales of the Cocktail article. As a start, I thought about how elderflower liqueur pairs rather well with dark herbal liqueurs such as in the Valkyrie, and I opted for using the Jet Pilot as a recipe skeleton. Perhaps I was swayed by how well St. Elder worked in my Madeira Jet Pilot, the Navigator. Working off of the German ingredient and Tiki themes, I thought the Lost U-Boat would work (although perhaps Lost U-Boat Captain might have been more parallel of a name to the Jet Pilot).
The Lost U-Boat shared a mint nose that led into a caramel, lime, and grapefruit sip. Next, the rum shone through on the swallow along with dark spice and floral notes.

jungle stirred

1 oz Plantation Jamaica 2001 Rum
1 oz Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum
3/4 oz Campari
1/4 oz Velvet Falernum
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with lime oil from a twist.

Two Wednesdays ago, my travels ended me up at Brick & Mortar where I had the chance to peruse their new menu. For a drink, I asked bartender Rob Hoover for the Jungle Stirred. Rob explained that it was bartender Matty Durgin's recipe that was a straight spirits riff on the Jungle Bird. Here, the pineapple and lime juice elements were swapped to pineapple rum and lime oil, and a spice element was added through falernum and bitters to make for a proper cocktail.
The Jungle Stirred gave forth lime and caramel aromas from the garnish and dark rums, respectively. Next, the sip was rather fruity from the Campari's orange and the rum's pineapple notes, and the swallow began with funky rum and a bitter orange-pineapple combination and ended with the bitterness transitioning into a spice finish.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

black monk julep

1 1/2 oz Evan Williams Bonded Bourbon
1 oz Averna
3/4 oz Blackberry Syrup (2:1) (* see comments)
6-8 leaves Mint

Lightly muddle mint leaves in a Double Old Fashioned glass, add rest of ingredients, and stir. Top with crushed ice and garnish with mint sprigs.
The drink that Andrea requested was the Black Monk Julep created by bartenders Ryan Lotz and Jenna Rycroft. The darker ingredients and the blackberries reminded me of Eastern Standard's Cobbler, The Bon-Vivant, but this recipe was a Julep with a boozier punch. In the glass, the Julep presented a mint bouquet to the nose. Next, caramel and berry notes were balanced by the bonded whiskey's strength on the sip, and the swallow proffered Bourbon, blackberry, and minty flavors.

Monday, August 15, 2016


1 1/2 oz Macchu Pisco
1/2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal
1/2 oz Blanco Vermouth
1/2 oz Elderflower Liqueur
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg White

Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with 5 drops of Angostura Bitters.
Two Tuesdays ago, we celebrated my belated birthday at Myers & Chang, and afterwards we were in a cocktail mood. Therefore, we headed over to the Ink Block to visit Bar Mezzana. For a drink, I asked bartender Jenna Rycroft for the 1491; she later explained that she created this along with bar manager Ryan Lotz for the opening menu with a pre-Columbus theme of New World spirits. I had previously had a 3:1 mix of pisco to mezcal in the Firecracker Cocktail, and I was up for revisiting the flavor combination. In the glass, the 1491 presented floral aromas to the nose. Next, a creamy lemon and fruity sip gave way to pisco, smoky mezcal, and floral notes on the swallow.

explorer's cup

2 oz Albilla Pisco (Encanto)
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/4 oz Lemon Juice (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with toasted quinoa (omitted).
Two Mondays ago for the cocktail hour, I turned to the Peru: A World of Cocktails booklet that I picked up in a pisco tasting room at Tales of the Cocktail. There, I chose the Explorer's Cup by Juan Coronado of the Pour Group in Washington, DC, as well as a brand ambassador for Bacardi. The Explorer's Cup came across as a Pisco Punch with earthy and nutty elements from orgeat and Maraschino added to the mix. Once built, the Explorer's Cup gave forth a nutty cherry aroma that led into a creamy lemon sip with hints of cherry. Finally, the swallow offered pisco, nutty notes, and pineapple to round out the drink.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

dr. wong

1/2 oz Lime Juice (1 oz)
1/2 oz Tonga Mix (*) (1 oz)
1 tsp Herbsaint or Pernod (1/3 oz Herbsaint)
1 oz White Rum (1 1/2 oz Don Q Cristal, 1/4 oz Wray & Nephew, 1/4 oz Vale d'Paul agricole-style)

Blend with ice for 5 seconds and pour into a Pilsner glass (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice).
(*) Tonga Mix is 4 parts grenadine to 1 part passion fruit juice.
After getting home from Backbar, I was still in the Tiki mood when the thought of a nightcap rolled into my head. After  recently hearing a reference to Dr. Wong, I searched out the recipe in Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari which provided the source as the Luau Restaurant in Beverly Hills circa 1953 as a riff on Donn the Beachcomber's Dr. Funk. Once built, the Dr. Wong provided floral and mint aromas from the garnishes that I supplemented the recipe with. Next, lime, pomegranate, and perhaps a hint of tropical notes from the passion fruit mingled in the sip, and the swallow showcased the funky rum combination transitioning into anise spice from the Herbsaint.

lovely bunch of coconuts

1 1/2 oz Mezcal
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Coconut Syrup
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice or Von Humboldt's Tamarind Cordial

Shake with ice and strain into a coconut-shaped Tiki mug. Fill with crushed ice, garnish with a paper parasol speared into a lime wheel dashed with Angostura Bitters.

After my Sunday night shift two weeks ago, I still had time to make last call at Backbar. For a drink, I asked for the Lovely Bunch of Coconuts that was on the menu. The recipe was created by bartender Kat Lamper as a tribute to the 1940s novelty song "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" that was made famous by Merv Griffin and its more recent appearance in The Lion King. Originally, the drink was created with lime juice but that week they were switching things up with a limited release of Von Humbolt's Tamarind Cordial from the Tamworth Distillery which has a high acid content to make for a close substitution.
The Lovely Bunch of Coconuts presented a clove and allspice aroma from the Angostura Bitters dashed on the lime wheel garnish. Next, the sip was creamy and rich, and the swallow offered smoky mezcal that paired well with the a bitter coconut combination.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

a dash and three dots

2 oz Berkshire Mountain Distiller's Greylock Gin
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz Clement Creole Shrubb Orange Liqueur
1/4 oz Velvet Falernum
1 barspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass, and fill with crushed ice. Garnish with either a dash and three dots imagery (such as a rectangular lemon wedge and three cherries) or a citrus peel honey bee. A lemon twist would work in a pinch.
Two Saturdays ago, I decided to try out a drink idea that I had thought of the day before which was a riff on the Three Dots and a Dash. After having made delightful tequila and mezcal substitutions for the rums, I wanted to change things up even further. First, I switched the spirit to gin and acid source to lemon from rum and lime, respectively,. And second, I took a page from Lost Lake in their Fog Cutter where they converted orange juice into orange liqueur. Since gin, honey, and lemon reminded me of a Bee's Knees, I looked to the Morse code chart and dubbed this one A Dash and Three Dots for B (is for Bee's Knees) instead of the classic's V (is for Victory). Indeed, the end result was on the drier side of Tiki with all of the flavors of the Bee's Knees with Tiki spice and a hint of orange liqueur.

Friday, August 12, 2016

shudders in a whisper

3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1/2 oz Pear Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
1/4 oz Drambuie
2 oz Seltzer
2 oz Column Still Aged Rum (Don Q Añejo)
2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Flash blend with 12 oz crushed ice and pour into a 22 oz snifter (shake all but the seltzer with ice, strain into a Tiki mug containing the seltzer, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with an edible orchid and mint sprigs (inedible trumpet vine flower and mint sprigs).
After my shift two Fridays ago, I gave my shift drink options up to the Smuggler's Cove book. The recipe that spoke to me in that tome was Martin Cate's Shudders in a Whisper where the call for pear liqueur reminded me of his Lingua Franca. Once built, the Shudders in a Whisper shared a mint and floral aroma. Next, a carbonated lime sip gave hints of tropical fruit, and the swallow was a delightful combination of rum, passion fruit, pear, and spice.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

the great pretender

2 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Vanilla Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1 tsp Cinnamon Syrup (1/4 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar.
Two Thursday ago, I reached for the Death & Co. Cocktail Book for my post-shift libation. The Great Pretender from Thomas Waugh seemed like just the thing -- a Daiquiri with pineapple and spice notes. Thomas created the recipe in 2011 as a rum take on Brian Miller's Gilda Cocktail. Once built, the Great Pretender gave forth Jamaican funk to the nose. Next, pineapple and lime on the sip transitioned into funky rum and vanilla on the swallow with a cinnamon finish.

tall as a tree and twice as shady

1 1/2 oz Blended Scotch Whisky (Buchanan's 12 Year)
1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
3/4 oz Orgeat
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice

Blend with 1 cup crushed ice for 5 seconds and pour into a Tiki mug (shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, and fill with crushed ice). Garnish with pineapple fruit leaves (mint, lemon twists, flower).

A few Wednesdays ago, I spotted an older drink on Imbibe Magazine's website from Paul McGee called the Tall as a Tree and Twice as Shady. The recipes that he created at Chicago's 3 Dots and a Dash is one of the rare Scotch Tiki drinks that includes classics like the Starboard Light and Cocoanut Grove Cooler and recent ones like the Angry Barista and The Adventures of Peat and Peat. Since the combination of whisky, orgeat, and lemon has done well in drinks like the Bitter Scotsman, I was definitely willing to give this one a go.
The Tall as a Tree and Twice as Shady proffered a mint and lemon bouquet to the senses. Next, a creamy lemon sip led into Scotch, Batavia Arrack's funky rum notes, and pineapple on the swallow with a smoke finish.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

the galleon

1 oz Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum
1 oz Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry
1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Sahil had mentioned that the Herr Professor was a possible submission for a cocktail competition, but he wanted to show me the other possible drink recipe to get my opinion as to which was better. The Galleon had caught my eye in the recipe notebook, but after having the Grease Lightning as my first, I wanted to wait on having a Bonal and Benedictine drink and opted with the Herr Professor instead. In the glass, the Galleon presented a lemon oil and grape aroma that led into a mix of sherry and Bonal grape notes on the sip. The swallow was a bit more complex with rum and savory herbal flavors.

herr professor

1 1/2 oz Lustau Oloroso Sherry
1 oz Dos Maderas (5+5) PX Rum
1/4 oz Aveze Gentian Liqueur
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Regan's Orange Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with orange oil.
For my second drink at Estragon, I asked bartender Sahil Mehta for the Herr Professor from his drink notebook which seemed like an intriguing riff on the Arawac. Once built, it gave forth bright orange oil aromas over the sherry's nutty grape (with perhaps nutty assistance from the Maraschino). Next, a dry and savory grape sip led into a nutty swallow with a earthy-bitter herbal gentian finish.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

grease lightning

1 1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quina
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a Double Old Fashioned glass. Fill with ice and garnish with a lemon twist.

Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I ventured over to Estragon. For a first drink, I peered into bartender Sahil Mehta's drink notebook and spotted a delightful aperitif called the Grease Lightning. The dry vermouth and Benedictine reminded me of the Chrysanthemum with the Peychaud's Bitters anise note subbing in for the classic's absinthe. Sahil commented that the drink's genesis was unrelated to that classic though.
The Grease Lightning brought lemon oils from the twist and grape from the Bonal to the nose. Next, a dry grape on the sip led into herbal and grape flavors on the swallow. Overall, the Bonal brought a rounder grape flavor to the mix that took the balance in a different direction from that classic.

Monday, August 8, 2016

the expedition

1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cinnamon Syrup
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup (BG Reynolds)
1/4 oz Bittermens New Orleans Coffee Liqueur (Galliano Ristretto)
2 oz Black Blended Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Bourbon (1/2 oz each Fighting Cock 103, Wild Turkey 81)
2 oz Seltzer

Add to a mixing tin with 12 oz crushed ice, briefly blend, and pour into a Kuhiko Tiki mug or other 16 oz glass (shake all but seltzer with ice, strain into a Tiki mug containing the seltzer, top with crushed ice). Garnish with an edible orchid (ornamental pea blossoms and mint).

The Monday of returning from Tales of the Cocktail two weeks ago, I turned to the Smuggler's Cove book for inspiration. There, I spotted the recipe for the Expedition which is a drink that Andrea had at Martin Cate's San Francisco bar. Luckily, she bought the vessel as a souvenir, and I was able to make this drink at home with the proper Kuhiko mug.
The Expedition presented a floral and mint aroma that preceded a carbonated lime and caramel sip. Finally, the swallow shared funky rum, Bourbon, vanilla, and coffee-caramel notes with a cinnamon finish.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

[black ravens]

1 1/2 oz Plantation Stiggins' Fancy Pineapple Rum
3/4 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz Amaro CioCiaro
1/2 oz Cocchi Vermouth Amaro
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 pinch Salt

Stir with ice, strain into a Single Old Fashioned glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.

Like the past two Tales of the Cocktail, I ended my week with an evening at Bar Tonique. There, bar manager Mark Schettler was at the stick; I had met Mark last year at the bar and discovered that the two of us would be attending the same Camp Runamok session last September. When I asked Mark this time for a menu, he apologized that all of them had been stolen and most people used the drinks on the chalk board for reference. Since most of those were classics, I offered him the opportunity to do dealer's choice and make me one of his drinks.
Mark's direction was spirits forward, and its lemon twist greeted the senses with a bright aroma. Next, the sip was rather caramel driven from the amaro and rum, and the swallow was an intriguing combination of rye, bitter orange, and pineapple. Indeed, the balance reminded me of a Brooklyn especially with the rye and Picon-like CioCiaro. In addition, it was a touch on the rich side to the point that the drink was just as good warm as it was cold. For a name, I played on Bar Tonique being on Rampart Street, found the first reference to King Arthur with "He glutted black ravens on the rampart of the stronghold, though he was no Arthur," and dubbed this one Black Ravens.

sweet valley high

2 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/4 oz Campari
1 dash Fee's Grapefruit Bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a grapefruit peel (omitted here).
Also at the Bartenders' Breakfast was Joaquín Simó representing Pouring Ribbons making the curiously named Sweet Valley High. When I inquired about the drink's recipe, Joaquin told me to write him to confirm the specs. Not only did he confirm the proportions by email, but he provided a great deal of backstory:
The Sweet Valley High was actually born out of an experience when I was still at Death & Co. I was working service bar one busy weekend night, and the waitress was having a pretty rough night. Just then a gaggle of giggly, early-twenties sorority girls all piled into one of our big booths. You could just see her eyes rolling like, "Great, now this?" So, not wanting to see her mood diminish any further, I just turned to her with a little conspiratorial wink and said, "So what do you think Sweet Valley High's going to drink?" So she starts laughing and the mood broke, and then later on when it was a little less busy in there, we asked each other, "Hey, that'd be a great name for a drink; what would go into a Sweet Valley High?"

Well, right off the bat we know it's going to be gin, because that was like the WASPiest book series of all time, so it's gotta be gin. I didn't want something that was too juniper-forward, as I wanted to maintain the broadest range of appeal possible. We added elderflower because for the intended audience, that's kind of their crack, so let's put a tiny amount of that in. We knew it should also be pink, so to counterbalance the St. Germain, we added some Campari in there. Next we pulled out the Cocchi Americano, and that had the right amount of dryness and structure we were looking for. When we were opening Pouring Ribbons and we had these beautiful house-made grapefruit bitters, I knew that was the last remaining touch for that drink to really sing. It proved to be a very popular drink for us, and while no longer on the menu, it remains one of my favorite dealer's choice options.
Joaquin added that he crafted this recipe at Pouring Ribbons in Fall of 2012. Once prepared for me, it offered gin aromas along with that of Campari's orange-herbal ones. The citrus notes continued on into the sip where things were followed up by a complex swallow of gin, Campari, and St. Germain's floral notes.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

little grey lady

3/4 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

One of the great drinks at the Bartenders' Breakfast to round out Tales of the Cocktail 2016 was created by Boston's own Jackson Cannon. The Little Grey Lady that he created at the Hawthorne was his tribute to Nantucket named after what the island appears like from a distance. Jackson acknowledged that there was some similarity here to the Sunflower Cocktail, but he declared that he came at the recipe from a non-Corpse Reviver #2 direction.
The Little Grey Lady presented a citrussy and floral aroma to the nose. Next, lemon with a vague fruit note on the sip transitioned into gin, floral, and pear notes on the swallow with a lightly anise-flavored finish.

the west coast german

1 1/2 oz Jägermeiseter
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a charred pineapple on a pick and orange oil from a twist.
Before the Bartenders' Breakfast on Saturday night, I attended the Deer Garden which was a Jagermeister-sponsored event that paired cocktails with food at the various stations. One of my favorites of the evening that could easily be reproduced was William van Leuven's West Coast German. Once prepared, it offered orange and pineapple aromas. Next, pineapple on the sip was brightened by the Lillet and lemon, and the swallow shared Jagermeister's dark spice notes. Once again, pineapple and Jagermeister were quite complementary as they were in the Adlon Cocktail. Perhaps increasing the lemon juice to 1/2 oz or dropping the simple syrup will appeal to those with drier sensibilities.

Friday, August 5, 2016

:: all americano - italy and the cocktail ::

The final talk I attended at Tales of the Cocktail 2016 was given by David Wondrich (author) and Eric Seed (Haus Alpenz importer) on the Americano. I was surprised to learn that the drink was not specifically a Campari drink, but the company's perserverance paid off to make it the dominant recipe. Americanos were simply vermouth and herbal liqueur lightened by soda water with a lot of variety in the digestif identity. Moreover, I was glad to see aperitifs being spoken of, as well as there being a celebration of low ABV drinks in general. It was explained that Italians love to drink before dinner, but they like to keep the proof rather low at that point of the evening.

American mixed drinks all filtered down from Punch with many of the drinks being English derived with some French influence before the American Civil War. The German style of drinking such as Cups also played a role around this time, and there was certainly a Dutch influence with gin. However, before the 1860s, there was little Italian influence for two reasons: one, there was not a lot of industry and exports from the region, and two, Italy was not even unified into a country back then. However, Italian drinking culture goes back 2500 years. During the late Middle Ages, Italy discovered distillation and started using it for medicinal cure-all potions that morphed into aperitifs and digestifs.

In the American style of drink making, the bartenders mix the libation for you, but in Italy, the bars have pre-bottled drinks. Italy learned to adapt with their exports. In a 1905 report on the American market, they observe that bartenders are mixing Italian cordials and vermouths with bitters and spirits, so the country needed to send something mixable and not the Italian traditional style. This Italian way included the 1869 Vermouth Cocktail that was simply vermouth, ice, and a lemon peel since the vermouth had the sugar and bitters already pre-bottled in them; other Vermouth Cocktail recipes had the addition of bitters. Martini & Rossi built the market and had about two-thirds of it, but the remaining third was still significant for the others.

Italian-influenced drinks included the Fernet Cocktail from 1906 Louis' Mixed Drinks where with a splash of a digestif in sweet vermouth, the drink becomes an aperitivo:
Fernet Cocktail
• 2 liqueur glasses Italian Vermouth (2 oz Sweet Vermouth)
• 1 liqueur glass Fernet Branca (1 oz)
• 2 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
This recipe was also very similar to William Schmidt's 1891 Appetizer a l'Italienne which utilized absinthe and gum syrup instead of curaçao.

At some point, soda water began to enter into the picture to lighten things up and make it all less sticky, and thus, the Americano was born. For example, there was a 1913 German drink book with an Americano of vermouth, Fernet, and seltzer. Indeed, the first Americanos were not Campari, but they eventually came to own the drink name through persistence, not by origin.

Of course, the story of how the Americano made with gin instead of soda water spawned the Negroni came up. There was definitely a Count Negroni who came up with the drink in 1920 but it was never published until around 1950. However, there were plenty of other drinks with different names but similar formulas. The 1926 Campari Cardinal which was lighter on the Campari had the same basic idea as did the 1927 Julio Cocktail. Similar drinks like the Boulevardier in Harry McElhone's 1923 Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails and 1927 Barflies and Cocktails and the Old Pal in the latter of Harry's books have a Negroni-structure but with a whiskey base. When any of those other drinks were first invented (versus first published) is a mystery, so it is uncertain which came first.

The war during the late 1930s to mid 1940s put a crimp on Italian ingredients entering the United States. In 1943, Italian ingredients came to Americans by way of the Allied troops entering Italy, and the soldiers were developing a taste of the Italian alcohols (the only thing available) as well as a hatred of the stuff (it reminded them of the war).

As for the question of garnish, the French preferred lemon while the Italian preferred orange, and there are drinks that call for different garnishes in different books.

:: braintending -- cognition across the bar ::

The second to last talk at Tales of the Cocktail 2016 might have been my favorite for it brought together four different voices that all swirled around the topic to complement the others and support the thesis. The panel consisted of Adam Rogers who wrote Proof: The Science of Booze that I read 2 years ago, Andrew Toplack who is a medical doctor besides running a wine and spirits import company, Gary Regan who has served as a cocktail professor to many of us and runs the Cocktails in the Country retreat, and Nick Kennedy as moderator who left his neuroscientist studies for the bar world where he now owns Toronto's Civil Liberties Bar.

Nick began the talk by discussing how this would be all about science -- not the science about the ingredients but about our brains. The brain is not a static bundle of neurons as once believed, for we are constantly constructing new neurons and connections. In fact, our jobs change our brains as neuroplasticity makes us get better at our tasks. In bartending, this improvement comes in the cerebellum for emotional tracking and in the frontal lobe for smell and taste. In a post-mixology world, bartenders could be replaced drink-wise by robots, but to make a hospitable bar, we must hire hospitable staff. And hospitable staff have the ability to make someone feel welcome.

Andrew continued on that a robot while capable of making drinks is not a human being. If you can figure out why people really go to a bar, you can try to provide it. In the end, you go to a bar because of how it makes you feel. Knowledge gleaned from a clothing designer's manifesto is that everyone is insecure -- from the shy introvert to the confident businessman. We go to bars because we hope that we might matter to someone. This can include hoping that the bartender can recognize us, is truly happy that we have been there before, and knows what we drink. While the quality of the drink is important, without the warmth and connection of the bartender, they might not be back or back as often. A training section on human emotions should be an essential part of the restaurant industry education.

People go to a psychotherapist as they are a caring person with life experience who will listen to them. The bartender has a similar role as we offer unconditional positive regard, we listen, we witness major events in their lives, and we might be the best part of their week. Andrew continued on my citing Ray Oldenburg's The Great Good Place that I discussed in last year's Tales talk The Anthropology of the Modern Bar. The three spaces are first home, second work, and third is a place that people can come together for connection. This third space is a neutral ground with no obligation to be there. There is a leveling such that outside status does not mean as much, and conversation is the main activity here. The regulars set the tone and the mood as well as attract and welcome (or make unwelcome) all new comers. This third space can be a home away from home with a lot of warmth. Social architecture, a conscious design of a social environment to optimize human interactions, also plays a role. There are definitely ways to design the social space to smooth and enhance the flow of human interaction. Statistics say that 80% of all new restaurants in NYC fail, and it is believed that poorly managed social architecture plays a major role for most of the bad reviews of these restaurants are service driven. Finally, Andrew ended his section with a quote from Paul Tuennerman:
Adam was batting third with the topic of the psychoactivity of a couple of drinks. The study of drinking goes back centuries with a great example being Thomas Nashe's 1592 pamphlet that describes the Eight Kindes of Drunkennes, and not too much has changed behavior-wise. One of the key parts of studying the brain is what happens in the perfect moment between the first and third rounds. Indeed, it is hard to give a placebo without the person knowing; however, a chilled 1:5 vodka tonic makes it rather hard to tell if there is alcohol in there. With that, you can make four groups with the axes being +/- expects booze and +/- gets booze. People who expect alcohol but do not get it still act tipsy, slur their words, and even get red in the face. This led into discussing expectancies: what you expect the night will be like is what you will be; for example, if you think tequila will make you angry and violent, you probably will be. While bartenders can build expectancies at bars, the guests bring in their own. Adam cited MacAndrew & Edgarton's Drunken Comportment: A Social Explanation where the authors declare that alcohol has no intrinsic effects for it is all what the drinker brings with them. When cultures are analyzed, the effects of drinking are different save for one: across all cultures, alcohol will make you violent. In fact, we do not know how alcohol effects the brain because we do not know how the brain works. It is known that alcohol allows for the release of opiods that effect reward processing and control and decision making. Finally, the hangover was analyzed and electrolytes and hydration do not seem to be a major factor, but perhaps inflammation is. Likewise, the flu is similar to the hangover in effects.

Gary was batting clean up at this talk with his views on the mindful bartender. I discussed some of his treatise after attending his Cocktails in the Country spring 2015, and other aspects after reading his Annual Manual for Bartenders: 2011. Gary started with a quote from Maya Angelou that has a lot of applicability to bartending, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Mindful in Gary's context is total awareness of all parts of the bar, and this will lead to a busier bar, more tips, happier guests, and a more pleasant work environment. One cannot be mindful all the time, so do not be hard on yourself about it. Also, as Oscar Wilde said, "Life is too important to be taken seriously," so never take anything including yourself too seriously. The best tool as a bartender is your intuition; Albert Einstein once said, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." Intuition will allow you to know when people are staring at you, when there is tension between two people, and when someone should not be served.

For mindful communication, make eye contact, ask the guest how they are doing, and then stand there until you get an answer. When the guest realized that you are waiting for their answer and you respond to it, you have created a bond and shown that you are generally interested in their welfare. Gary recommended that the one be mindful of their phrasing and the tyranny of "should." Once that word is used, a barrier can go up. Instead, opt for "you might want to think about..." which offers a choice to follow the advice or not. "I need your help" can also get a person to turn over their car keys or perhaps be used on a ring leader once pulled aside to get their rowdy group to tone it down or move it along to the next bar.

Gary declared that fear and love are key, and every other emotion is based on these two. Anger is based on being afraid; if you take away fear, you can take away the anger in a situation. One can count to ten and in that time figure out what you are afraid of, and when you get angry, it is really only effecting one person -- you. Finally, mindfulness can change your reality. For example, if you pretend to like the people you really do not, those people will change.

At the end of the talk, I went to shake hands with Gary and instead was greeted with a warm hug. I said that it was great to hear four voices all saying different but supportive things, and it was good to have a refresher on his material. He replied that he used to ask his brother who always carried around a Bible if he was done reading that thing already; similarly, rethinking our behaviors is not a one time cure-all.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

:: the seven pillars of classic cocktails ::

The morning talk I attended on Saturday at Tales of the Cocktail was entitled "The Seven Pillars of Classic Cocktails" and was given by the Bitter Cube's Ira Koplowitz, Marco Zappia, and Nicholas Kosevich as well as author Matthew Rowley who was serving as the group's drink historian. The concept was to teach drink rules when they acted as consultants for setting up new bar programs. The rules serve as a foundation to rest cocktails on so remembering recipes and making drinks up on the fly go smoother, and each of the pillars is a different drink class.

The Sour: The Sour starts to appear in print in the middle of the 1800s with an early reference being in an 1856 list of drinks at a Toronto bar, Mart Ackerman's Saloon. The concept stemmed from older drinks, and Wondrich referred to them as one of the "lesser Punches." Sours serve as the dealer's choice on the shaken drink with easy swaps and additions of spice while maintaining a flavor balance that is consistent with the program's sweet/tart balance and spirit forwardness. Consistent shaking needs to be taught such that ice needs to hit both sides of the tin followed by the appropriate straining (see the shaking rules below).
2 oz Spirit
3/4 oz Citrus
3/4 oz Syrup
Note that citrus here is lemon or lime for orange and grapefruit do not have the same amount of acid content. One can add citric and other acids to orange juice, for example, to make it comparable to lemon or lime as well as last longer. pH meters are great tools to test citrus consistency during a shift, between shifts, and over the course of a season. The syrup should be a 50 Brix one (a/k/a 1:1 syrup), and a refractometer (about $60-70) will confirm the amount of sugar in solution. The above recipe will yield a great Daiquiri, Gimlet, and Whiskey Sour using rum/lime, gin/lime, and Bourbon/lemon, respectively. The speakers commented that the Sour should be called the Balance to better describe the effect.

In terms of shaking, a bartender just needs to get the job done. There are four styles:
1. Short shake - homogenizes and adds a touch of aeration. Use this when adding dilution later with soda or juice.
2. Standard shake - not just 10-15 seconds but listen to the ice -- a feeling.
3. Long shake - when you want a lot of dilution. Also when using eggs.
4. Mime shake - the dry shake without ice when using egg products (also, reverse mime shake)

The Daisy: The Daisy is a Sour with a liqueur added and sometimes some soda. Daisies first appeared in Jerry Thomas' 1876 edition and many of the early ones had orange liqueur although Harry Johnson preferred Yellow Chartreuse. Since liqueurs vary in Brix and ABV, some syrup may be needed to balance the drink. And very flavorful liqueurs like violette may need less than the standard amount (with the rest being the syrup). When nudging the sweetness with syrup, a quick stir with a spoon is all that is needed since aeration and dilution have already occurred. The Margarita and Sidecar are two great examples that follow this formula.
1 1/2 oz Spirit
3/4 oz Citrus
1/2 oz Liqueur
1/4 oz +/- Syrup
The Collins: A Collins is a Sour lightened with non-alcoholic carbonated beverage. Since soda water has an acidic pH of 3-4 from the CO2 dissolved into carbonic acid, a touch more sweetness needs to be added to balance the effect (neutral water is around 7.0 and lemon/lime are around 2.0-2.2). If a sweetened soda is used, the formula will needed to be adjusted in the opposite direction. Utilize a short shake (as described above) to avoid diluting the drink too much. The Tom Collins and Mojito follow this rule.
2 oz Spirit
1 oz Syrup
3/4 oz Citrus
2 oz Soda Water
The 75: Named after the French 75, this group is a Sour plus sparkling wine that first appears in print in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. Different sparkling wines contain different amounts of sweetness, but much of the nuance is lost when citrus is added. Higher quality sparkling wine does not make better drinks; highly carbonated is optimal, and nearly flavorless is preferable so it will not take over the drink. Like the Collins, utilize a short shake and add the sparkling wine to the tin.
1 oz Spirit
1/2 oz Citrus
1/2 oz Syrup
3 oz Sparkling Wine
Rules on egg whites: 1/4 oz more syrup is needed in recipes containing egg white; egg whites dry out the tongue and this needs to be compensated for. The mime shake (dry shake) needs to be used, followed by a long shake with ice. Be confident when using eggs to reassure your guests. Air trapped in egg white drinks does not taste like bubbles but as a creaminess since the bubbles are too small.
2 oz Spirit
1 oz Syrup
3/4 oz Citrus
1 Egg White
The Old Fashioned: The original cocktail as defined in 1806 as spirits, sugar, water, bitters. The Old Fashioned is simple but very easily altered into riffs by changing spirit, sweetener, and bitters.
2 oz Spirit
1/4 oz Syrup
2 dash Bitters
The Two-One-Two: The 212 is the area code for Manhattan, and that is the drink it is based on. The Manhattan first appears in print in the 1870s. The same ratio will make a Manhattan or a Martini with London Dry Gin (with more modern gins that are lighter and more floral, increase the gin by a 1/4 oz and drop the vermouth by a 1/4 oz).
2 oz Spirit
1 oz Vermouth
2 dash Bitters
The Stepladder: Based off the Negroni which was created around 1920. While the classic is equal parts, switching the ratio adapts the balance for the modern palate.
1 1/2 oz Spirit
1 oz Vermouth
1/2 oz Bitter Liqueur

:: egg-scellence - the story of eggs in bars and cocktails ::

My Friday morning talk was on eggs in bars and cocktails hosted by Nathan O'Neill of the Nomad Hotel, Nick Wright of Suffolk Arms, and Tim Herlihy of Tullamore Dew. In 2010, I attended a talk on eggs at Tales of the Cocktail called "The Eggpire Strikes Back," and I was curious what a new crew of speakers would say this time around. Please read that post as a supplement to this one.

A lot of insight into egg production came by Tim's family starting an egg farm in 1978 that began with 5,000 hens and is now around 80,000 hens which produce 1.5 million eggs each year. Here are some random egg facts:

• A hen's earlobes match up to its egg color (save for pink and blue egg layers). There is no nutritional difference in regards to egg shell color.
• Eggs are great sources of low calorie, high protein nutrition with 6 grams protein, 12 vitamins and minerals, and only 63 calories.
• Yolk color and egg flavor comes from the feed; welfare conditions do not effect the taste.
• Double yolks come from young hens, often 16-20 weeks old.
• Yolkless eggs were considered the tool of the Devil in Medieval times and were feared to hatch a serpent.
• As hens grow older, they produce larger eggs.
• An average hen can produce 259 eggs per year.

In terms of egg usage in cocktails, the whites are useful for foam and froth to impart a silky mouth texture and can calm down a strong acid or alcohol flavor; they do not impart any flavor. Yolks donate a richness and noggy flavor to drinks, and they help to emulsify ingredients.

Possets were rather old style of drink that started out as a peasant's drink before becoming more upperclass. The drink was heated and poured into a vessel called a posset akin to a tea pot with two handles. The Red Eye, the beer, tomato juice, and egg concoction that is famous for appearing in the movie Cocktail, can be traced back to this drink. One bar guest of mine described the Red Eye as a way to get around certain states' low ABV beer restrictions on Sundays since it was a mixed drink and not a beer at that point.

While Sours can be made with or without eggs, the original recipes including Jerry Thomas' did not include them. It was not until the early 1900s that egg-containing Sour recipes appeared. Even the Pisco Sour existed without egg white until the 1920s when it gained its now essential component. Fizzes, however, have had eggs in the recipes well before Sours, even though they are Sours with a carbonated component. Fizzes were morning bracers and perhaps eggs and breakfast assisted this connection. The Ramos Gin Fizz, for example, was born in 1888 at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon by Henry C. Ramos well before Sours were reported to include egg whites.

Flips contain whole eggs and can contain cream, but unlike Nogs, they do not require dairy. The style started in England during the 1600s with beer, rum, sugar, and a hot poker before transitioning to the frothy egg drink in later centuries. Nogs use yolk or whole egg plus dairy (milk and/or cream). The name perhaps stems to 1775 when Grog was served in Noggin glasses. Tom & Jerry dates back to the 1820s and not to Jerry Thomas who was not yet bartending at the time.

Tips for working with eggs:
• A squeeze bottle of egg white or whiskey egg is safe, but storage is risky for cross contamination is very fast.
• Do not break your eggs on the exact same spot in the bar every time to avoid contamination.
• Do not wash your eggs since it removes a protective mineral oil coating.
• The fresher, the better. Do not store eggs near ingredients giving off odors since eggs will absorb these notes.
• The wet dog smell in eggs can put people off, but it does not mean the egg is bad. It is the effect of water working its way through the egg. Infusing the egg with aromas (like truffle oil) can fix this. I would add that garnishes like citrus oil or nutmeg can mask this as well.
• Salmonella exists in 1 in 20,000 to 40,000 eggs. Make sure that the eggs you use have no cracks in the shell and have no odors when cracked open.

In terms of shaking with eggs, performing a dry shake without ice will emulsify the egg proteins and add texture and froth. This change to add aeration occurs best at higher temperatures. The dry shake can be performed twice; opening the tins between rounds will get more air in. The next shake, or wet shake, is performed with ice to chill and waterize the drink. The reverse dry shake was also discussed to get a thicker head.

Finally, the bar egg was discussed as a dying bar tradition. It was born in France as a way to get rid of surplus eggs and often served with salt, pepper, and Tabasco for seasoning. It might have also stemmed from certain legislation that required that food to be served at bars, and this was a great work-around when the bar had no kitchen. Moreover, bars used to serve free lunch towards the end of the first drink to entice the patron to get a second drink, and the bar egg was a cheap way to do this.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

:: united libations ::

The final talk I attended on Thursday at Tales of the Cocktail was entitled United Libations that explored cross-cultural differences and similarities between three bartending worlds: United States, Latin America (Cuban), and Japan. Representing the three were Charles Joley, Julio Cabrera, and Shuichi Nagatono, respectively; I also had the honor of sitting at moderator Mark Schettler's bar a few nights later at Bar Tonique to see how bartending on a street level craft cocktail dive bar in New Orleans works.

The American school of bartending began with Jerry Thomas and Harry Johnson in terms of style. Even early on, there were differences between corner taverns and craft bartenders. Unlike the Latin American and Japanese styles, the American system was interrupted during Prohibition. Later after the dark years, the American bartenders were the ones that led the cocktail renaissance over the last 15 years originating in the speakeasy culture in New York City. The American school is full of different styles all making great drinks, but it is a profession that does not require any apprenticeship. Unlike the other two systems, American bartending is faster to provide the same good drink.
The cantinero or Latin American style comes from the word cantina and originates at the end of the 19th century. Aspects of the style came from Spain especially in how they serve people, the pride in the profession, and the life-long commitment to the trade. The cantinero is a professional craft, and the job is linked to culture, music, and precise ways to dress, act, and talk to customers. Although many bartenders in the United States scoff at bartending school, the cantinero in Cuba needs to go to school for one to two years to acquire a diploma. The one year certificate is for basic work and the two year diploma is for working in higher end places. Grooming is essential including shaving before every shift, and that level of pride is taught in school down to spending a month on how to properly carry a tray, classiness in fashion via jackets and bowties, and not touching garnish or straws with the hand. The style overlaps with the IBA system, but it is not the same. The bartenders are the entertainers behind the bar, and often music and bartending are combined including the bartenders singing and playing instruments behind the bar. Where the American bartender wonders how to be faster and more efficient, the cantinero wonders how they can be a better performer.

Nagatono described how he has been bartending for 25 years and still considers himself an apprentice, and this helps to preserve the lineage and style. The Japanese bartender's entire career is training and one never stops learning. "Whenever we start a student in Japan, [we tell them] when you are working, you are learning." Since there are many types of bars in Japan, there are many different sets of rules. Many of the Japanese cocktail bars are small with 7-12 seats; while they might not be financially lucrative, they are run with heart and passion by the owner/bartender and perhaps one other staff member. In Japan, the bartender makes one drink at a time for one guest at a time with great concern for technique and ice choice.

death & sundries

1 1/2 oz Fino Sherry
3/4 oz Smith & Cross Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup
1 barspoon Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
10 drop Bittermens Tiki Bitters

Shake with ice, strain into a Double Old Fashioned glass, fill with ice cubes, and garnish with mint.

For a second drink at Cane & Table, I selected the Death & Sundries which turned out to be Sam Parrie's drink. It was described on the menu as "bright and refreshing with a chocolate finish and a touch of funk." Sam was unaware of the Floridita Daiquiri #3 when she created this, but I was definitely drawn to the similarity and looking forward to the combination with the fino sherry instead of sweet vermouth.
Once prepared, the Death & Sundries gave forth mint and Jamaican funk to the nose. Next, lime and sherry's crispness were countered by the rich demerara syrup on the sip, and the swallow was an elegant combination of funky rum, fino sherry, and a hint of chocolate. Overall, the drink was much cleaner in feel than the Floridita Daiquiri #3 given the sherry and more dynamic with the interesting rum.

color of doubt

1/2 oz Gourry de Chadeville Overproof Cognac
1/2 oz Plantation Overproof Dark Rum
1 oz Spanish Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Cynar

Build in a Double Old Fashioned glass, add ice, and stir. Garnish with a mint sprig.

After the talks on Thursday, I ventured across the French Quarter to visit Cane & Table and found a seat in front of Samantha Parrie who made me the Modern Lover last year. For a first drink this year, I asked Sam for the Color of Doubt which was "inspired by the Negroni, this dark and brooding cocktail uses two overproof spirits with Spanish vermouth and Cynar and elevated by incorporating fresh mint."
The Color of Doubt presented mint, grape, and dark notes from the Cynar and rum to the nose. The bouquet transitioned well into the grape and caramel sip, and the swallow shared rum, brandy, and funky herbal and almost minty flavors.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

dead bastard

1/2 oz Citadelle Gin
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
1/2 oz Plantation 3 Star Rum
1/2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 oz Lime Cordial
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice, stir in 4 oz ginger beer, and pour unstrained into a Double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a mint sprig.

The second talk I attended on Thursday was Members Only: Club Cocktails in History presented by David Wondrich and Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. While the talk was rather entertaining and informative, I do not believe that I could do it justice here. To capture one of the most interesting and salacious sections, just go buy Mannix's The Hell Fire Club; after that "the club as playpen" section, the clubs got much less depraved. One of the better drinks presented came during "the club as executive suite" part with the 1960 Dead Bastard. The progenitor drink was Joe Scialom's Suffering Bastard that he created at the Shepheard's in Cairo circa 1942 as a hangover cure. Joe's later travels found him at Marco Polo Club in Manhattan around 1959. The crew there did not find the Suffering (or the intermediary Dying) Bastard strong enough, so he crafted the the Dead Bastard. The recipe above was part using the ingredients from the talk (sponsored by Pierre Ferrand) and part from Berry's Remixed book (particularly the mixing instructions). Wondrich described the drink as "the plutocrat's Long Island Iced Tea" given the 4-way split in the base spirits.
The Dead Bastard presented a brandy and ginger aroma to the nose. Next, a carbonated lime-flavored sip led into Bourbon, ginger, and spice on the swallow; later, mint began to infuse into the flavor profile. While there are four spirits here instead of the original's two, there is the same amount of alcohol to provide the same amount of hangover curative power. If I were to modify the ingredient choices, perhaps a more flavorful rum like an agricole or funky Jamaican would be better here for it was definitely lost in the mix. Or just leave it out completely to have the intermediary creation, the Dying Bastard.