A collection of drink recipes, techniques, and Boston bar recommendations from Frederic Yarm, one of the authors of the Cocktail Virgin Slut blog. Quality versus quantity does not have to be a winner-take-all proposition.
1/2 Sherry (1 1/2 oz Lustau Amontillado) 1/2 Sweet Vermouth (1 1/2 oz Maurin) 2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan's)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist.
Two Mondays ago, I began with the classic aperitif the Adonis which I have had before, but I realized that I had never written up here. The discovery of the drink's absence from the blog came when I made the Tiki-inspired riff of the Adonis, the USS Wondrich, during January's "Tiki the Snow Away" theme on Instagram. Difford's Guide cited 1887 as the date when the drink name was first mentioned in print, and that it was named after the play that opened at Hooley's Opera House in Chicago in 1884 before moving to New York City's Bijou Theater the following year. Given the New York roots, I opted for the 1935 The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book recipe over the earlier 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book one; the Savoy's recipe was very similar save for a 2:1 ratio of dry sherry to sweet vermouth and only a single dash of orange bitters. Moreover, the 1935 book also provided the history of "Named in honor of a theatrical offering which first made Henry E. Dixey and Fanny Ward famous." The Adonis offered up an orange oil aroma that brightened up the grape notes. Next, the semi-dry grape sip gave way to nutty and dry spice-colored swallow with an orange finish. While the cocktail had no surprising moments, it was still a pleasure to drink.
1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Cimarron) 3/4 oz Campari 1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua) 1/2 oz Bonal Gentiane-Quinquina 1 dash Aromatic Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter) 1 dash Mole Bitters (Bittermens)
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with lemon oil from a twist (lemon twist).
On Sunday two weeks ago, I decided to seek out a Bonal drink and searched the BarNotes app. There, I stopped upon New York City bartender Rafa Garcia Febles' 2013 Lonnie DeSoto as his riff on the Nolita (standing for the Manhattan neighborhood North of Little Italy). The Nolita was crafted in 2012 by Christian Siglin in San Diego as a Negroni riff with the sweet vermouth portion split into sweet vermouth and coffee liqueur, and unlike the classic Negroni, this one had a dash of bitters an a lemon twist. Rafa took the drink in a Mexican direction by utilizing tequila as a spirit instead of gin and adding molé bitters; moreover, he swapped the Bonal for sweet vermouth which reminded me of Canon's Coraje that paired Bonal with coffee liqueur. To keep the Mexican theme, I opted for Kahlua as my coffee element here. As a name, he dubbed this one after Yolanda "Lonnie" DeSoto in the Gone Home video game whose family emigrated from Mexico. The Lonnie DeSoto greeted the nose with a lemon and dark orange bouquet. Next, grape with hints of coffee roast on the sip led into tequila, orange, and coffee flavors on the swallow with a chocolate and spice finish.
Nolita • 1 oz Dry Gin • 1 oz Campari • 1/2 oz Cafe Lolita Coffee Liqueur • 1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth • 1 dash Aromatic Bitters Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist. Via KindredCocktails.
1/2 Brandy (1 3/4 oz Copper & Kings Blue Sky Mining) 1/4 Maraschino (1/4 oz Luxardo) 2 dash Italian Vermouth (3/4 oz Punt e Mes) 1 dash Cointreau (1/4 oz)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass; I added an orange twist. Two Fridays ago, I sought out a nightcap in Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 and found the Chandler. I ended up interpreting the call for Italian vermouth as Punt e Mes to give some bitter depth to the drink, and I reshaped the proportions to be akin to a Brandy Brookyln of sorts. Once prepared, the Chandler offered up bright orange oils over brandy and nutty cherry aromas. Next, a grape-driven sip stepped aside to a brandy, nutty, and bitter orange swallow. Overall, the combination reminded me of a Brandy Red Hook or perhaps even a Hoskins Cocktail.
1 1/2 oz Jefferson's Rye (Old Overholt) 1 oz Campari 3/4 oz Cynar 1/4 oz Benedictine
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. While seeking a nightcap two Thursdays ago, I found myself on the BarNotes app searching for Cynar drinks. The one that called out to me was perhaps a 1794 riff called the Bookbinder by Trey Hughes then of Portland, Maine's Blue Spoon and now of Portland Hunt & Alpine Club. Here, the vermouth aspect was swapped for a split of Cynar and Benedictine, and the whiskey-Cynar-Campari combination reminded me of the Bitter Nail and the Barefoot in the Dark. Once mixed, the Bookbinder proffered a rye aroma along with Cynar's funky herbal notes. Next, malt, caramel, and orange came through on the sip, and the swallow shared rye and minty-bitter flavors. Overall, I was surprised at how subdued the Campari was in this drink for I expected it to be rather bitter orange driven akin to a Boulevardier.
2 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS) 1 oz Lemon Juice 1/2 oz Orgeat 1/4 oz Curaçao (Copper & Kings Distillaré)
Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice, and float 1/4 oz port (Sandeman Tawny). Note: my port float cascaded down with only a small amount remaining at the top.
Two Wednesdays ago, I reached for Sarah Baird's New Orleans Cocktails, and I came across a modern remake of the St. Charles Punch. The original appeared in Stanley Arthur Clisby's 1937 Famous New Orleans' Drinks & How to Mix'Em as a split spirits port and brandy Sidecar of sorts created at the St. Charles Hotel. This modern remake was crafted by Steven Yamada while at the Ace Hotel circa 2016. I first met Steven on opposite sides of the bar at Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29 in 2015, and then he became my cabin counselor a few months later at Camp Runamok where he crafted the Cynar Colada as our house libation. His riff here decreased the port to a short float (although given the density of port, it beautifully cascaded down through the crushed ice) and added orgeat to add nuttiness and warmth and an almost tropical feel; moreover, it made the punch below the float feel like a Sidecar crossed with a Japanese Cocktail. In the glass, the St. Charles Punch v2.0 gave forth a rather Cognac-driven aroma with hints of orange and port on the nose. Next, a creamy lemon and orange sip stepped aside to a Cognac, nutty, and grape swallow with an apple-like finish.
1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin (Beefeater) 3/4 oz Cynar 3/4 oz Lemon Juice 1/2 oz Cointreau 1 bsp Absinthe (Kübler) 1 Egg White
Shake once without ice and once with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a few drops of Angostura Bitters.
Two Tuesdays ago, I spied an interesting egg white drink on the BarNotes app called the Educated lady that was described as a "churched-up White Lady" by creator Jared Almeria of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Added to the classic was Cynar and a dash of absinthe, and the presence of the former ingredient reminded me of the egg-free Giuseppe's Lady. After having tinkered with the classic formula recently with the Silver Lady and usually down for a Cynar drink, I gave this one a go. The Educated Lady welcomed the nose with orange, anise, and clove notes. Next, a creamy lemon and orange sip led into a gin and bitter-herbal orange swallow with an anise and lemon finish. Overall, the Cynar amaro helped to take things in a more earthy direction, and the absinthe added some welcomed spice to the mix.
2/3 Gin (1 1/2 oz Beefeater) 2 dash Bacardi (1/2 oz Don Q Añejo Rum) 1 dash Sweet Vermouth (1/2 oz Maurin) 1 dash Jamaican Rum (1/4 oz Smith & Cross) 1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Torani Amer)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Two Mondays ago, my thirst led me to Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 in search of a quirky century old libation. There, I landed on the Dixie, but instead of the Bourbon or moonshine-laden number that the name conjures, surprisingly it was located in the gin section. Like the vintage Sirius and B.V.D. cocktails and the modern Astoria, Oregon, the Dixie was a gin-rum Martini riff of sorts. Once prepared, the Dixie greeted the nose with pine mingling with Jamaican funk aromas. Next, a dry grape sip led into juniper, rum funk, and bitter orange on the swallow that overall had a rather tropical feel.
1 oz Dry Gin (Nautical) 1 oz Genever (Bols) 1 oz Sloe Gin (Plymouth) 1/4 oz Benedictine 2 dash Peychaud's Bitters 2 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube, and garnish with an orange twist.
For my shift drink two Sunday nights ago at Our Fathers in Allston, MA, I plotted out a three gin riff on the Vieux Carré with dry gin, sloe gin, and Genever akin to Martin Cate's The Modern Prometheus. Here, the sloe gin was subbing in for the 1930s classic's sweet vermouth. For a name, I was inspired by the old cheer "Hip hip hooray!" as well as the drink Sip Sip Hooray! to call this one the Gin Gin Carré! The garnish's orange oil joined and complemented the drink's predominant aroma of Genever's malt. Next, the malt continued on into the dry sip where it mingled with the sloe gin's berry notes, and the swallow presented juniper and bitter-herbal orchard fruit flavors.
1 1/2 oz Cognac (Courvoisier VS) 1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice 1/2 oz Combier Orange Liqueur (Cointreau)
Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, top with Prosecco (1 1/2 oz Willm Blanc de Blancs), and garnish with 3 dash Angostura (styled with a toothpick pulled through the bitters).
After work two Saturdays ago, I reached for the Brooklyn Bartender for my evening's nightcap. There, I selected the Thug Passion by Tom Dixon at Roberta's that was his tribute to the 1996 Tupac song of that name. The lyrics defined the original sparkling drink as, "Aight, new drink / One part Alizé, one part Cristal / Thug Passion, baby." Here, the Cristal Champagne was swapped for a more affordable bubbly wine, and the fruit-flavored Cognac-based liqueur (although some varieties are vodka based) was changed to Cognac, pineapple juice, and orange liqueur. Indeed, I was drawn in for the combination of pineapple and orange liqueur reminded me of the Hawaiian Room and mid-century other recipes. The Thug Passion gave forth a pineapple, orange, and cinnamon bouquet to the nose that led into creamy, carbonated wine notes on the sip. Finally, Cognac was joined by orange and pineapple fruit flavors on the swallow.
3/4 oz Dry Gin (Hardshore) 3/4 oz Sloe Gin (Glendalough) 1 oz Punt e Mes 1/2 oz Cynar 2 dash Peychaud's Bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, and garnish with a lemon twist.
For my shift drink at Our Fathers two Fridays ago, I decided to riff on the 1919 Cocktail utilizing dry and sloe gin as the two spirits. While I kept the Punt e Mes intact, I switched from molé to Peychaud's Bitters due to their working well with sloe's fruit notes. Moreover, I swapped the original's Benedictine for Cynar to pair with the sloe gin akin to Phil Ward's Lipspin especially considering my decent results in the Perverted by Language. For a name, I was looking for a year to attach to the drink and began thinking about 1662, the year that the original bridge on my route to work was built. However, that had little to do with the drink, so I thought about what else was happening around 1919 -- namely, gangs were gearing up for Prohibition. One famous Boston gang to work bootlegging into their operations was the Gustin Gang. The Gustin Gang was formed in the mid-1910s and by the 1920s began to dominate Boston's underworld. During Prohibition, they purchased rum-running boats that brought booze from international waters into South Boston where they supplied their South Boston speakeasy, the Sportlight, as well as other local establishments. The Gustin Gang cocktail shared a lemon and berry nose. Next, the berry continued on into the sip where it mingled with hints of grape and caramel, and then the swallow proffered bitter, floral, and pine flavors.
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