Thursday, October 8, 2015

bairdley legal

1 oz Mezcal
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a tall glass. Add 2 oz grapefruit soda and top with ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and add a straw.

Two Mondays ago, I decided to visit Yvonne's on their opening night. Normally, I would give a bar program a few weeks to find themselves, but I had faith in Will Thompson, Sean Sullivan, Sean Frederick, and the rest of the crew to have things in order by the time the curtains opened. Yvonne's had some big shoes to fill in taking over the home of the Ward Eight, namely the old Locke-Ober space. And history was just one of the things for the space is rather immense. To combat that second aspect, the restaurant is broken up into two rooms each with a unique bar and distinct drink menu. My first stop was the "supper club bar," a long classic-feeling bar with lots of dark wood that runs the length of the dining room; my second stop was the library bar with a shorter bar and lots of lounge seating. The former bar has taller, more refreshing offerings including their take on a Ward Eight, and the latter has reinterpreted cocktail classics.
I started my evening out on the supper club bar in front of bartender Sean Sullivan and requested the Bairdley Legal. The name pays tribute to one of Will Thompson's Bon Vivants collaborators, namely Scott Baird of San Francisco's Trick Dog. Originally, the drink name started as a different cocktail that was rather "west coasty"; however, that concept did not work out as well as intended and instead they started over to create this tropical number. Once prepared, the Bairdley Legal offered mint and tropical fruit notes on the nose. A carbonated passion fruit and grapefruit-laden sip transitioned into a passion fruit and Cynar herbal swallow with a light smoke finish.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

sooner or later

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
1/2 oz Averna
1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass with 2 oz soda water. Fill with ice, add a straw, and garnish with a lemon twist.
In considering drinks for the last Yacht Rock Sunday at Loyal Nine, I was still thinking about the A Moment of Silence from Beta Cocktails. It was the great combination of Averna and apricot liqueur that made the drink shine as well as being the crux of Eastern Standard's Averna Jimjam. Merging aspects of those two drinks and converting it into a Highball generated this Grass Roots song tribute libation Sooner or Later.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

undercover angel

2 oz Blandy's 5 Year Sercial Madeira
3/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash St. George Absinthe

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

For the final Yacht Rock Sunday at Loyal Nine a week and a half ago, I wondered if I could riff on the classic Chrysanthemum by replacing the dry vermouth with a dry Madeira. In wanting to add another touch to complement the switch, I considered Maraschino liqueur which works rather well with Madeira; moreover, it would work well with the absinthe to bring about a Jerry Thomas-era Improved Cocktail feel. Instead of taking a flower naming convention with a Chrysanthemum riff like the Calla Lily, I went to the Yacht Rock Sunday playlist and chose the Undercover Angel.
The Undercover Angel greeted the nose with lemon, Maraschino, and light absinthe aromas. Next, grape on the sip gave way to orange (from the Madeira), nutty cherry, and herbal notes. Since people were rather pleased with the flavor combinations here, I opted to swap the Madeira Bamboo's place on the regular menu's low octane section with this one.

tarzan boy

1 oz JM Rhum Agricole Blanc
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth (*)
1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth (*)
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Fill with ice, garnish with an orange twist, and add a straw.
(*)Recipe works well without blanc vermouth if the dry vermouth is upped to 1 oz and 1/4 oz simple syrup is added. Also 1/2 oz sweet vermouth works well in place of the blanc vermouth but the drink loses its tropical color.
For the final Yacht Rock Sunday of the season at Loyal Nine a week and a half ago, I put on three new drinks. The first was a tropical Negroni riff that got dubbed after the playlist song Tarzan Boy. The idea started with how passion fruit modulates Campari into something tropical and not incredibly bitter -- an idea I was first introduced to in the Novara. While I have had a few Campari and passion fruit combinations, they all contained citrus; instead of going that route, I wondered if a stirred option could work and immediately targeted the Negroni as a testing ground. Rhum agricole seemed like it would bolster the tropical aspects (cachaça might have been my go-to if we had it on the bar), and it turned out to be a decent choice. Originally, the vermouth pick was an ounce of dry vermouth but the balance was a bit bitter; I was able to rescue this on the first pass with a 1/4 oz dash of simple syrup before I opted to split the dry vermouth with a half part of blanc vermouth. Sweet vermouth did work flavor-wise but the drink lost that guava-like color. For the new menu that launched a few days ago, the Tarzan Boy helped to replace the rhum agricole 'Ti Punch (see the Homere Punch) variation and the passion fruit syrup Hopping Through the Frothy Waves; both of course are still available if requested.

Monday, October 5, 2015


1/2 Swedish Punsch (1 1/4 oz Kronan)
2 dash Apricot Brandy (1/2 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur)
2 dash Dry Vermouth (1 1/4 oz Noilly Prat)
2 dash Gum Syrup (omitted)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. I added an orange twist.
For a nightcap on Saturday night a week and a half ago, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and spotted the Cedar. The recipe had caught my attention for I had been thinking about the Havana Cocktail that contains both apricot liqueur and Swedish Punsch, and I had adapted the combination with mezcal in the Tainted Love for Yacht Rock Sunday and then with tequila in the Monopoly Money for the newest menu change at Loyal Nine that went live a few days ago. Here, instead of citrus, the drying effect was achieved with French-style vermouth. In the glass, the Cedar presented an orange oil aroma that mingled with and complemented the apricot liqueur notes. Next orchard fruit flavors on the sip gave way to funky Batavia Arrack blending into apricot similar to the Havana, and it all ended with drying tea tannins and spice.

island hop

1 oz Dark Rum (Denizen Merchant's Reserve)
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Giffard Banane du Brasil
1/2 oz Solera Sherry (Lustau East India)
1/4 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds)
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with mint sprigs.

Two Fridays ago after my shift at Loyal Nine, I turned to a recipe that Josh Suchan of Hollywood's Los Balcones and Chavela posted on Instagram called the Island Hop. He had posted a photo of the drink over the summer, and I was intrigued so I requested the recipe. He replied that he would once it came off the menu, and he was true to his word.
The Island Hop as I garnished it contributed mint and floral aromas. A dry lime sip shared darker caramel and grape notes, and the swallow presented the funky rums blending into banana flavors with a bitter finish.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

blood of the kapu tiki

10 oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Privateer Amber) (*)
3 oz Lime Juice
3 oz Grapefruit Juice
3 oz Orange Juice
3 oz Grenadine (Jack Rudy)
3 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 tsp Absinthe (3 dash St. George)
3 dash Angostura Bitters

Build in a punch bowl, add ice, mix, and garnish with Tiki intent (original garnished with orange and lime wheels). We favor floating citrus peel flowers and lime wheels impaled with mint sprigs. Moreover, an inverted spent lime shell half filled with Hamilton 151 Demerara Rum and ignited never hurts. Well, assuming you're drinking responsibly. Please drink responsibly.
(*) Originally Ron del Barrilito 3 Star Rum
Two Thursdays ago, we decided to pool our shift drinks at Loyal Nine and make the large format Tiki drink on the menu, the Blood of the Kapu Tiki. Unlike the Caribbean Queen that I created for Yacht Rock Sundays, this one was crafted by Tiki mug designer Bosko Hrnjak and resides on our regular menu. Once ladled into punch cups, the Blood of the Kapu Tiki shared a hint of anise spice over an otherwise fruity aroma. Next, citrus and pomegranate flavors on the sip led into a rich rum swallow punctuated by a touch of spice.

copper swizzle

1 1/2 oz Pelotón de la Muerte Mezcal
3/4 oz Manzanilla Sherry
1/2 oz Lavender Honey Syrup
1/2 oz Falernum
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz San Pellegrino Pompelmo (Grapefruit) Soda

Build in a Collins glass, fill with crushed ice, and add 3-4 dash Angostura Bitters to the top. Swizzle to mix and chill while not completely mixing in the bitters. Garnish with a cucumber slice and add a straw.
For my second drink at the Highball Lounge, I asked bartender Matt Schrage for the Copper Swizzle. In the glass, the Swizzle offered a cucumber and clove aroma. Next, a carbonated grapefruit sip led into a mezcal, tropical, and clove swallow.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

barnyard punch

2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
1/2 oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
1/2 oz Falernum
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Celery Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass full of ice. Garnish with a lemon slice and mint sprigs, and add straws.
After Backbar, I made my way over to the Central Square T stop to take things inbound to downtown. My agenda was to support Matt Schrage at his first official shift at the Highball Lounge. For a first drink, I asked Matt for the Barnyard Punch. Later bartender Shaher Misif came by and explained that he originally created this recipe as a large format punch, but he later adapted it as a single serving cocktail for the menu. In the glass, the Barnyard Punch was anything but barnyardy for it offered mint and lemon aromas. The lemon countered the richness on the sip, and the swallow proffered Bourbon, gentian and other herbal notes, and clove spice. Even as a single serving, it was definitely easy drinking like a punch but still was packed with interesting flavors.