Thursday, March 26, 2015

[bombos y platillos]

3/4 oz Batavia Arrack
3/4 oz Apricot Liqueur
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 pinch Salt

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

For a second cocktail at Estragon, I spotted a curious four equal parts drink in Sahil Mehta's notebook. Sahil mentioned that he was inspired by the Hoop La! that appears first in The Savoy Cocktail Book; there, the combination of brandy, orange liqueur, Lillet, and lemon was so popular that it went under three other names in the book: the Frank Sullivan, the Hey Hey, and the Odd McIntyre. When I inquired about the pinch of salt and whether it was to accent the Batavia Arrack, Sahil merely felt that the drink felt unseasoned.
For a glass, Sahil chose one from the set that he competed with in the Domaine de Canton competition back in 2011; it was at that competition that I first met Sahil and was impressed by his recipe creating aesthetic. Once the drink was strained into said glass, the nose proffered a funky apricot and citrus aroma. Next, lemon with a hint of fruitiness filled the sip, and the swallow gave forth savory Batavia Arrack flavors as well as apricot notes. For a name, I dubbed it the Bombos y Platillos (literally bass drums and cymbals) which is the Spanish colloquialism for "hoop la."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

[payaso de rodeo]

1 oz Xicaru Mezcal
1 oz Lustau Oloroso Sherry
3/4 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quinquina
1/4 oz Avèze Gentiane Liqueur
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.

Two Mondays ago, I made my way over to the South End after staff training to have dinner at Estragon. For a first cocktail, I flipped through bartender Sahil Mehta's drink note book and spotted a mezcal and sherry number that was his drink of the day almost three months prior. Last time I was in, I had a companion drink called the Little Sinner that called for an amontillado sherry as the base spirit. Sahil described how he always enjoys the pairing of mezcal and oxidized sherries, but the combination of the two alone do not have a lot of mouthfeel. Therefore, he added Bonal and Avèze to round out the drink by donating more heft. For a name, I free associated about the smoky (mezcal) and earthy (Avèze) aspects and thought about cowboys and bullfighting. Somehow that seemed to fit with Estragon's Spanish theme, but El Vaquero (the Cowboy) did not capture my attention as much as El Payaso de Rodeo (the Rodeo Clown) did.
The cocktail began with a briny smoke and earthy grape bouquet. The grape followed into the sip, and the swallow gave forth an earthy bitter and agave flavor with a smoke finish. Overall, the drink was rather light and somewhat aperitif-y especially with the savory acid and bitter elements.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

haunted house

1 oz Appleton V/X Rum
1 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye
1/2 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch
1/4 oz Ginger Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange (here, lemon) twist.

Two Fridays ago, I turned to Robert Simonson's The Old-Fashioned book that I purchased for this past Mixology Monday and made the Haunted House. The Haunted House was the recipe that initially caught my eye for the event, but with a liqueur in addition to the syrup, it felt more like a cocktail proper and less like an Old Fashioned. The book attributed the recipe to Jeremy Oertel of Donna in Brooklyn back in 2011. Jeremy dubbed his drink in tribute to Donna's owner's band of the same name.
In the glass, the Haunted House shared a lemon oil aroma that brightened the darker rum notes, and the sip offered malt and caramel flavors. Next, rye and rum notes from both the Swedish Punsch and Appleton began the swallow, and the swallow ended with a tea and ginger finish and lingering hints of ginger and the Punsch's Batavia Arrack.

Monday, March 23, 2015

otoño cocktail

1 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey (Knappogue Castle 1995)
3/4 oz Patxaran (Atxa)
1/4 oz Coffee Liqueur (Galliano Ristretto)
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated dark chocolate.

Two Wednesdays ago, I decided to use the bottle of Patxaran that I found for cheap in a liquor store outside of Inman Square. Patxaran (or Pacharán) is a sloe liqueur from the Basque region of Spain that differs from sloe gin by lacking a gin base as well as by having additional coffee, cinnamon, and anise flavors in the mix. The first drink that I wanted to recreate was a cocktail that Avery Glasser made for us at his apartment as thanks for helping him with a Bittermens bottling run cerca August 2010. Therefore, I wrote Avery and asked him for the recipe and a retelling of the backstory. Avery explained that the drink was created by Fernando del Diego at the Del Diego in Madrid back when the Glassers were living in Spain in 2007. Avery asked for something with Patxaran, and the rest is history.
The Otoño Cocktail began with chocolate, Irish whiskey, and medicinal fruitiness on the nose. Next, a caramel and fig sip gave way to soft whiskey on the swallow with a coffee and spice finish. Given that Patxaran is often drank as a digestif, it was not surprising that the cocktail was a perfect closure to our dinner that night.

Friday, March 20, 2015

romer

1/2 Swedish Punsch (1 1/2 oz Kronan)
2 dash Bacardi (1 oz Caliche)
1 dash Curaçao (1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry)
1 Egg White

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Two Tuesdays ago for the cocktail hour, I turned to Pioneers of Mixing in Elite Bars: 1903-1933 once again for a diamond in the rough. There, I spotted the Romer which seemed like an interesting straight-spirits egg white drink calling for Swedish Punsch. Once mixed, orange and funk notes filled the Romer's aroma. Next, a creamy orange sip transitioned into a tea, orange peel, and funky rum swallow. I could not help but think that this combination would do better as a Flip with a grated nutmeg garnish, or perhaps a touch of lemon or lime juice to bring some brightness and cut the sweetness here. Also, perhaps a more flavorful rum option could add an additional dimension such as grassiness spirit or other.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

albariza

1 oz Lustau Manzanilla Sherry
1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Salers Gentiane Liqueur
1 dash Orange Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a flute glass. Top with 2 to 2 1/2 oz cava and garnish with a long lemon twist.
Two Fridays ago, I found my way over to Straight Law for a drink. There, I asked bartender Sean Sullivan for the Albariza on the menu. Sean explained that this was his submission to the Vino de Jerez competition; it was "basically a Sour with manzanilla and topped with cava... a French 75 of sorts." The drink name is a tribute to the clay, calcium, and sea fossil soil of the sherry growing region in Spain. Albariza is what helps to define sherry grapes from the minerality of the soil to reflecting light back to to the vines to help them grow faster. Once in the glass, the Albariza cocktail presented a lemon, earthy, and floral aroma with notes of dry white wine. Next, a crisp and carbonated lemony sip gave way to an elegant swallow where earthy gentian flavors melded rather well with those of the sherry.


jake barnes

1 1/2 oz Laird's Applejack
3/4 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge (optional, so here I garnished with a lemon twist instead).

Two Thursdays ago, I was rooting around the ShakeStir website's collection of recipes to uncover a gem. The one that caught me was the Jake Barnes by Natalie Jacob of Dutch Kills in New York. I briefly met Natalie two years ago during her tenure at PKNY -- well, not in Manhattan but in Boston where she worked a charity event called "Tiki for Their Troubles" as a benefit for the Boston Marathon victims. None of the drinks that night were her creations, so I was game to try one. In addition, I am always interested in Jack Rose variations such as the Jack's Word and David Embury's Applejack Rabbit, and this drink also had an Embury slant to it. Natalie explained, "Inspired by the Jack Rose... this cocktail combines citrussy and fruity flavors to make a sweet yet tart sultry number with a lot of depth... I also took inspiration from another one of my favorite cocktails found in David Embury's The Art of Mixing Drinks the 'Jack in the Box' aka 'Jersey City' cocktail which is an applejack sour with the addition of pineapple juice. Named after the character in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun also Rises in which Jake Barnes orders a Jack Rose cocktail at the bar of the Paris Crillon Hotel." With this recipe, Natalie also won the War of the Jack Roses competition a year and a half ago.
One of the great aspects of this drink is that most beginner home bartenders can assemble it, and if they need to go buy applejack and Angostura Bitters, those ingredients ought to be on their shelves anyways. Once made, the Jake Barnes presented lemon oils and a dark spice aromas from the bitters on the nose. A fruity sip offered a medley of lemon, pineapple, and pomegranate notes, and the swallow showcased the apple brandy flavor and bitters spice complexity. Indeed, the pineapple and bitters donate a lot of extra flavor and depth to the Jack Rose. Normally the Jack Rose does not contain any bitters, but the previous link has Boston's Jack Rose Society's preferred one that includes a dash or two of Peychaud's along with a brief history of that legendary recipe crunching team.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

backpedal

1 1/2 oz Pineau des Charentes (Chateau de Beaulon)
1/2 oz Byrrh or Dubonnet Rouge (Bonal)
1/2 oz Dry Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
1 dash Blood Orange Bitters (1 dash each Fee's and Angostura Orange Bitters)

Stir with ice and strain into an absinthe-rinsed (Butterfly) glass; garnish with a flamed orange twist (not flamed).

Two Wednesdays ago for the cocktail hour, I reached for The Art of the Shim and spotted one that called for Pineau des Charentes called the Backpedal. The drink was created by Shaher Misif when he was at Cantina in San Francisco back in 2013; a year later, Shaher moved here to Boston where he now works at the Highball Lounge with such drinks as the Rubberband Man on the menu. I initially skipped over the drink for I lack either quinquina option listed, both Byrrh and Dubonnet Rouge, at the home bar, but I decided to make it with a third quinquina, Bonal, that currently graces my refrigerator shelves.
The Backpedal began with an anise and orange oil aroma. A floral and grape sip gave way to bitter orange elements on the swallow with a hint of anise on the finish.

Monday, March 16, 2015

chestnut cup

1 oz Gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz Campari
1 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orgeat (BG Reynolds)

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass with ice. Top with crushed ice and garnish with an orange wheel.

Two Saturdays ago, I turned to the new issue of Imbibe Magazine (March/April 2015) and spotted the Chestnut Cup that seemed like a good conceptual transition from the Kingston Cup the day before. The recipe was attributed to Raul Yrastorza of the Chestnut Club in Santa Monica; perhaps the magazine recipe was an adaptation of the house one since the bar's menu also lists "bitters" as the fifth ingredient in the description.
The Chestnut Cup offered an orange aroma from the garnish that worked well with the hint of Campari on the nose. A lemon and almond sip gave way to a gin and Campari swallow and a nutty finish. Indeed, the orgeat lent a little texture and smoothness to the drink and the nutty notes shaped the combination of gin, lemon, and Campari very differently than Cointreau in the Jasmine or passion fruit in the Novara.