Thursday, May 28, 2015

rené barbier

1 oz Camus VS Cognac
1 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
1/2 oz Campari
2 dash Bitter Truth's Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters

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

Two weeks ago, I attended Gaz Regan's Cocktails in the Country (read my highlights here). One of the scheduled events was dubbed Organized Chaos and involved everyone pairing up to do a shift behind the bar for the other students as well as special guests and attendees. I think that I banged out 5 or 6 different cocktails in my half hour (all were split into taster portions). I recorded four of the recipes including the one that Gaz wrote up on the Jagermeiser Sidecar. I explained that drink on Facebook as, "When I mentioned Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Jäquiri from Portland Cocktail Week 2012 (recipe here) at dinner during Cocktails in the Country and people didn't think a "Yak-uri" or the idea sounded good, I took it as a challenge. That night during my bar shift, I presented the crowd with a Sidecar but I wouldn't tell them the spirit. It became a crowd favorite and Gary Gaz Regan kept talking about it too. The Jagermeiser Sidecar a/k/a the Meistercar (named by Christopher James) was born." Two of the other novel ones were a Ketel One-Sorel Tiki drink and a Sapin for Yellow Chartreuse Puritan-like riff, and I do recall a joking request for a Ramos Gin Fizz at the end that I gladly fulfilled.
The fifth drink I can recall making (there were possibly more) began by me eying the Camus Cognac bottle. The direction I took was inspired by the Lucien Gaudin for I paired Campari with curaçao. In the Negroni-variation vein, I also thought of Phil Ward's 2005 Cocktails in the Country drink, the Cornwall Negroni that had Punt e Mes and bitters in the mix. For a name, I stuck with the Lucien Gaudin concept and dubbed this one after another fencer, René Barbier -- a Frenchman who medalled in the 1928 Olympics. I did not take down tasting notes during the melée, but I do recall Gaz commenting that "this is my sort of drink!"

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


1/3 jigger Brandy (1 oz Foret VSOP)
1/3 jigger Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
2 dash Maraschino Liqueur (1/4 oz Luxardo)
2 dash Curaçao (1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry)
2 dash Absinthe (1 scant bsp Butterfly)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry (omit) and lemon oil.

A few Thursdays ago, I opened up Boothby's 1934 World Drinks And How To Mix Them and spotted the Morning. The combination of brandy, maraschino, curaçao, and bitters reminded me of the Brandy Crusta I make (link goes to one that I made at work and posted via Instagram that explains my preference for both the classic curaçao and the newer school maraschino). With dry vermouth in place of the lemon juice and a hint of absinthe instead of aromatic bitters, the similarities made this one worth a try.
The Morning began with lemon oil aroma with hints of maraschino and anise. The sip was rich but somewhat nondescript save for perhaps a hint of cherry. However, the swallow showcased the brandy that was accented by the orange and nutty maraschino liqueurs and punctuated by an absinthe finish.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

averna cup

1 oz Old Monk Rum
1 oz Averna
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Giffard's Strawberry Liqueur (*)

Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with 2-3 oz ginger ale, and garnish with mint sprigs and an orange twist. Add a staw.
(*) In a pinch sub a large strawberry muddled in 1/2 oz simple syrup. Add a fine straining step after the shake/strain.
For a second drink at Sichuan Garden II's Baldwin Room, I asked bartender Vannaluck Hongthong for the Averna Cup that he described as the house's riff on a Pimm's Cup. In the glass, the orange twist's aroma was stronger than the mint garnish's. Next, the sip was rather fruity with lemon and strawberry flavors, and the swallow was richer with dark caramel and molasses notes followed by a fruity spice finish.

absinthe buck

1 oz Absinthe Ordinaire
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Orgeat
3 oz House Ginger Beer

Quickly shake to mix. Pour into a Collins glass with ice. Top with 3 dash Angostura Bitters and garnish with mint sprigs and a lime wedge.
A few Wednesdays ago, we paid a visit to the Baldwin Room at Sichuan Garden II in Woburn for dinner. Behind the stick that night were Vannaluck Hongthong and Charles Coykendall, and for a first drink, I asked Van for the Absinthe Buck. The combination of ingredients reminded me of Drink's Dead Man's Mule with different ratios and minus the allspice dram. Once prepared, the Buck proffered mint and other herbal aromas. A lightly carbonated lime sip gave way to an absinthe swallow complemented by ginger and orgeat flavors. Indeed, the medley of other flavors made the absinthe less anise forward than expected.

Monday, May 25, 2015

toronja bronx

1/4 Gin (1 oz Hayman's Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin)
1/4 Sweet Vermouth (1 oz Punt e Mes)
1/4 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1/4 Grapefruit Juice (1 oz Pink)

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

A few Mondays ago, I opened up The Art of Making a Cocktail & More for some 1927 Cuban cocktail intrigue. There, I found the Toronja Bronx which seemed more interesting than a normal Bronx for it substituted grapefruit ("toronja" in Spanish) for the classic's orange juice. When thinking about the recipe, I opted for overproof gin to carry the recipe's lower proof a little further. Moreover, I thought about the Italian Greyhound and a riff, the Americano Squeeze, and how well grapefruit and Punt e Mes paired up in both, and, therefore, substituted it for regular sweet vermouth.
The Toronja Bronx greeted the senses with fresh grapefruit aromas. The grapefruit continued on into the sip where it mingled with the vermouths' grape flavors, and the swallow offered gin notes and Punt e Mes' bitter complexity along with a grapefruit finish.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

pleasure island

1 1/2 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum
1/2 oz Mezcal (Montelobos)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Don's Mix #2 (1:1 Allspice Dram and Vanilla Syrup (BG Reynolds))
1/4 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)

Shake with ice and strain into a Tiki mug. Top with crushed ice, and garnish with fire (spent lime shell with ~3/8 oz overproof rum, ignited). Garnish with mint and bitters (left out of the original instructions, so omitted here).

After mixing the Homère Punch, I had extra lime juice to use. Therefore, I decided to make a recipe that I had spotted via the OnTheBar app. This was not a Boston recipe, but one from Ryan Lobe at Seattle's Rumba. About a week after I made the drink, CocktailWonk wrote about the recipe and provided some back history and extra details about the drink. This recipe was one of the Seattle entries into the Iron TikiTender competition at TikiKon 2015. The rum that Lobe used was not regular J. Wray, but a house barrel-aged batch to mimic Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old of the original Mai Tai lore. Moreover, the drink name was inspired by the island in Pinocchio "where all the bad boys go to drink and smoke." That recipe also included mint and bitters in addition to the fire garnish.
The Pleasure Island without the mint and bitters garnish smelled of hot rum and lime aromas. The lime continued on into the sip, and the swallow showcased the funky Jamaican rum and vanilla on the swallow, and apricot, allspice, and smoke on the finish.

:: time saving juicing tip ::

Cut once, press once. Instead of cutting in half 50:50, cutting 90:10 such that the 10% is mostly shell, and the 90% displays the beginning of the citrus segments and thus most of the juice bounty.

This does not seem to work as well with limes on this juicer (shell is too small and tough), but for lemons and oranges, it reduces the pressing time and effort in half. Grapefruits are just too large to even attempt this maneuver. We used to do a very similar thing at Russell House Tavern that involved making an X with two cuts on the side of the citrus; however, the citrus had a tendency to roll off of our press when attempted on this juicer. When I posted this on Facebook, there was concern from one bartender that it put too much stress on the machine; I countered that there was very little difference between a half lemon and 90% of a lemon in strength (just increase in resistance time/distance); it seemed that there was more stress when juicing 90% of a lime due to the shell integrity though. Another was concerned with the efficiency of the technique, and for lemons and oranges, there was about the same amount of pulp and spent pulp in the shell afterwards; for limes, the shell collapsed inward making it harder to assess. Bartender Ciaran Wiese tacked on the pointer, "Make a shallow cut to the open end of the lemon, it saves the press from ripping the citrus."

Friday, May 22, 2015

homere punch

2 oz Rhum Agricole
1/2 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Orange Liqueur
1/4 oz Lime Juice

Build in a rocks glass with a large ice cube (or equivalent amount of smaller ice cubes). Garnish with a lime wheel or two floated on the ice cube (competition submission was garnished solely with lime oil).

A few weeks ago, my 'Ti Punch recipe submission made the cut for the Rhum Clément 'Ti Punch Cup. I found out after my closing shift on Wednesday night that I got accepted a little over 48 hours before the competition. I also learned that my bar manager made the cut too, and we were both scheduled for that Saturday to work. To complicate things, the other bartender had requested the day off, so unfortunately, both of us passed on competing. Regardless, here is my submission. I dubbed the riff the Homère Punch after Homère Clément, the man who had the idea to press sugarcane on Martinique like a fruit and ferment it like an eau de vie to produce Rhum Agricole. I listed my drink inspiration as, "The Haitian drink the Pétion and how flavorful rums work rather well with lime and Bénédictine, and that liqueur ties back to the French colonization of the Martinique. In addition, the orange liqueur aspect for it pairs well with Bénédictine in drinks like They Shall Inherit the Earth and the Honeymoon Cocktails."
The Homère Punch presented a lime aroma over the funky, grassy rum bouquet. On the sip, crisp lime notes were balanced by sweet orange ones, and the swallow offered grassy rum and herbal flavors along with a tart lime finish.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


3/4 oz Bonded Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy
1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur (King's)
1/2 oz Pear Liqueur (Rothman & Winter)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)

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

Later that night after enjoying the Kapuna Kane at the Independent, I found myself desiring another cocktail once dinner was over. For a recipe, I turned to Food & Wine: Cocktails 2012 to see if there were any variations of classic cocktails that I had previously glossed over. The winner was Jonny Raglin's Sidecar riff called Bondage that he crafted at the Comstock Saloon in San Francisco. Besides the two bonded spirits, the name also reflects how a sidecar is linked to and dependent on the motorcycle itself. With the classic's Cointreau swapped for pear and ginger liqueurs and orange bitters, it seemed like it could do no wrong.
The Bondage Cocktail offered a bright lemon oil and apple aroma. The lemon notes continued on into the sip where they mingled with a vague fruitiness perhaps from the pear liqueur. The swallow though started with proof-hot whiskey flavors heading into apple and ginger on the finish.