Tuesday, December 6, 2016

before night falls

1 oz Mezcal
1 oz Manzanilla Sherry
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz Combier Kümmel
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
For my first drink at Estragon, I asked bartender Sahil Mehta for the Before Night Falls. The drink's aroma was dominated by the kümmel spice especially the cumin, and the sip was rather crisp and clean from the sherry and lime components. Finally, the swallow was the combination of smoky agave and savory herbal from the pairing of the kümmel with the Chartreuse.

melting pot

1 oz Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz Fidencio Mezcal
1/2 oz Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry
1/3 oz Chai Tea Syrup

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, fill with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Two Tuesdays ago, Andrea and I had dinner at Estragon. For a first drink, Andrea asked bartender Sahil Mehta for last week's drink of the day called the Melting Pot. In the glass, the libation gave forth a lemon oil aroma that preceded a malt and crisp grape sip. Next, the rye whiskey and smoky agave paired on the beginning on the swallow, and the drink ended with a nutty spice finish. Overall, the combination of sherry and chai tea syrup mimicked a sweet vermouth such that the drink was rather like a Manhattan.

Monday, December 5, 2016

jukebox opera

1 oz St. George Terroir Gin
1 oz House-made Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, Andrea and I ventured up to Gloucester to have dinner at Short & Main. For a first drink, I asked bartender Eric Brueggeman for the Jukebox Opera that he later told me was created by bartender Christa Manalo. The assembly of complex ingredients with a gin base reminded me a little of the Hoskins Cocktail, although such assemblages are usually whiskey based such as in the Down & Brown. Once prepared, the Jukebox Opera presented an orange aroma that led into a grape-driven sip with a hint of orange from the Campari. Next, the swallow shared gin and bitter orange flavors with nutty notes from the Maraschino that transitioned into Fernet Branca's menthol on the finish.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

devery crusta

1 jigger Scotch (1 1/4 oz Pig's Nose, 1/4 oz Caol Ila 12 Year)
1/2 tsp Raspberry Syrup (1/2 oz Royal Rose)
Juice 1/2 Lemon (1/2 oz)

Shake with ice and strain into a glass with its rim crusted with sugar. I added a lemon twist.

Two Sundays ago after work, I decided upon the Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 as my evening's liquid adventure tour guide. In those pages, I found a curious Crusta in the non-American whisk(e)y chapter called the Devery Crusta. While there was no indication of what the drink was named after, one of the most famous Devery's of that time period was William Devery who became New York City's first police chief. A few years after telling his men, "They tell me there's a lot of grafting going on in this precinct. They tell me that you fellows are the fiercest ever on graft. Now that's going to stop! If there's any grafting to be done, I'll do it. Leave it to me.", he was arrested for bribery and extortion. Despite being dismissed from the police force, he was reinstated and eventually promoted to Chief of Police. The other thing Devery was famous for was buying a Baltimore baseball team, renaming it the Highlanders, and bringing it to New York in 1903; in 1912, that team became the New York Yankees.
Like many of the Crustas in Pioneers, the Devery Crusta lacks calls for the wide citrus peel garnish as well as bitters; of the two, I added back in the former. In the glass, this Crusta gave forth a peaty aroma along with the lemon oil one from the garnish. Next, a lemon, berry, and malt sip led into a swallow offering smoky Scotch melding into a raspberry finish. Overall, the whisky's peat and the raspberry made for a unexpectedly delightful combination.

autumn pimm's cup

2 oz Pimm's No. 1
1/2 oz Chai Tea Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with 2 oz hard cider (Eric Bordelet Nouvelle Vague), top with ice, and garnish with an apple slice and freshly grated cinnamon.
Two weeks ago, the theme for drink of the day was apple cider, so that Sunday I decided to do a harvest version of the Pimm's Cup using the cider in place of the lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. For a vegetal element, I regretted not bringing in some of my borage from the garden, and instead, I opted for a chai tea syrup which has mint leaves in the mix along with apple-complementary spices. While cinnamon is not in our chai mix, I added it to the nose by way of the garnish.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

black betty

1 oz Dark Rum (Coruba)
1 oz Amaro Montenegro
1 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximenez Sherry

Stir with ice and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a flamed orange twist (no flame).
Two Saturdays ago, my nightcap selection came by way of The Canon Cocktail Book. Bartender Chris Good created the Black Betty as part of Canon's "shrouded roulette" bartender's choice, and the combination reminded me on paper of a more intense Blood of My Enemies. Once built, the Black Betty gave forth an orange and menthol aroma. Next, caramel and grape on the sip gave way to dark funky rum, raisin, and orange notes on the swallow along with a menthol finish.

Friday, December 2, 2016

avenue & davenport

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey (Sazerac)
1/2 oz Bourbon (Old Granddad Bonded)
1/2 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass.

Two Fridays ago, I was in the mood for a nightcap after my work shift, so I turned to a Toronto riff that I had spotted in Imbibe Magazine. The Avenue & Davenport was a tribute by Christopher Flett of Vancouver's Pourhouse to an intersection in Toronto that softened the Fernet Branca's bite with Maraschino which has worked in drinks like Mr. Clark's Cane and All Jacked Up. Moreover, the amaro quotient was expanded with the addition of a healthy dose of Cynar.
In the glass, the Avenue & Davenport shared a whiskey and nutty cherry nose that surprisingly offered very little Fernet aroma. Next, malt paired with the amari's caramel and a hint of cherry on the sip, and the swallow offered whiskey flavors with a nutty Maraschino melting with funky herbal notes and ended with a menthol element from the Fernet.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

my favorite things

1 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Campari
1/2 oz Gin (Death's Door)
1 barspoon Green Chartreuse (1/8 oz)

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with mint.

Two Thursdays after my work shift, I was in search of a nightcap, and I decided to revisit The Cocktail Collective book from 2010 to see if I passed over any gems. The one that called out to me was Mindy Kucan's My Favorite Things from when she was in Houston, Texas, before she moved out to Portland, Oregon. Surprisingly, this perhaps tribute to The Sound of Music song contained a completely different set of ingredients from Paul Manzelli's A Few of My Favorite Things, and it reminded me more of the Bottecchia with the Fernet Branca and Campari-forward balance.
The My Favorite Things' mint garnish added fresh complementary herbal notes to the Fernet Branca's menthol nose. Next, the Fernet's caramel paired with the Campari's orange on the sip, and the swallow began very Fernet-driven at first and then leading into Campari's bitter orange elements. Despite the brash and extreme appearance of the recipe, this would make a great digestif right after a big meal.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

cobbler's dream

1 1/4 oz Rye Whiskey (Sazerac)
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz St. Germain (St. Elder)
1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe glass pre-rinsed with absinthe (Butterfly). Garnish with a lemon twist or cherry (lemon twist).
Two Wednesdays ago, I returned to The Canon Cocktail Book to try the Cobbler's Dream that reminded me of the L'Amour En Fuite that we had made at home back in 2007. Perhaps the similarity can be explained in that Jamie Boudreau utilized his "golden ratio" and Mr. Potato Head theories to move ingredients around. In the glass, the Cobbler's Dream's rinse offered up the absinthe's anise-driven notes to the nose. Then on the sip, the Punt e Mes' grape paired with fruit notes from the elderflower liqueur, and the swallow presented the familiar combination of rye and Punt e Mes' bitter flavors all with a floral and anise finish.