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 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater) 3/4 oz Lemon Juice 1/2 oz St. Germain (St. Elder) 1/2 oz Simple Syrup 2 slice Cucumber
Shake with ice, double strain into a Collins glass with soda water (2 oz), top with ice, and garnish with 2 cucumber slices.
After my bar shift on the Fourth of July, I was flipping through A Spot at the Bar and spotted this cucumber-elderflower drink by Anthony Schmidt that reminded me of something that I had made earlier in the day. That drink was a request was for something St. Germain driven and refreshing, I ended up with a similar formula with the addition of grapefruit juice (1/2 oz), upping the elderflower liqueur (3/4 oz), and utilizing cucumber syrup that we have for our house Pimm's Cup for the simple syrup and cucumber slices here (1/2 oz). I have no clue if prior reading of Schmidt's Easy Street spec factored into the equation that moment, but I was game to give this one a shot and try out this older recipe. The Easy Street generated a cucumber aroma from the garnishes over hints of lemon and floral elements from the drink beneath. Next, a carbonated lemon and vegetal sip gave way to gin and cucumber blending into elderflower on the swallow.
1 1/2 oz Plantation 5 Year Rum (El Dorado 5 Year) 1/2 oz Fernet Branca 1/2 oz Dry Curaçao or Cointreau (Cointreau) 3/4 oz Lime Juice 1/4 oz Simple Syrup 2 small Strawberries 1 sprig Mint (8 leaf)
Muddle strawberries and mint, add the rest of the ingredients, and shake with ice. Double strain into a cocktail coupe and garnish with a mint sprig.
The other drink from Amanda Schuster's Duran Duran cocktails article that caught my eye was Marcie Andersen's Meet El Presidente that she created at Restaurant Daniel in New York City. The song's lyrics made her think of "Éva Perón, who was the famous wife of Argentinian President Juan Perón. (And Evita is definitely my favorite musical of all time.) It's a summer riff on an El Presidente with Fernet, which is very commonly consumed in Argentina." The Fernet connection to Argentina had been solidified in my mind since making the Eva Perón several years ago, and the combination of strawberries and mint pleasantly reminded me of the Blanche DuBois. The Meet El Presidente danced beneath the nose with strawberry, caramel, mint, and menthol aromas. Next, strawberry, orange, lime, and caramel on the sip transitioned into rum, strawberry, and Fernet's herbal flavors on the swallow. Overall, the balance curiously alternated between light and summery and bracingly herbal and aggressive.
1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila (Cimarron) 1/2 oz Mezcal (Fidencio) 1/2 oz Campari 1/2 oz Orgeat 1/2 oz Lime Juice 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice 1 oz Pineapple Juice 4 dash Absinthe (1/8 oz St. George)
Flash blend with ice cubes for 5 seconds (whip shake with a few ice cubes) and pour into a rocks glass (snifter). Fill with crushed ice and garnish with pineapple wedges and leaves (mint sprigs and ornamental pea plant blossoms).
After having tinkered with the Jungle Bird myself a few days before with the Jungle Hotel Bird, I happened upon Brian Miller's riff at the Polynesian that was published in Imbibe Magazine called the Jungle Booby. Here, the Jungle Bird was switched to an agave one akin to the Yucatan Bird, and other Tiki florishes were added. For one, the citrus was split with grapefruit and a bit of absinthe was added in a way that reminded me of the Jet Pilot (two citrus, two sweetener, bitters). As for that second sweetener, orgeat was utilized to round out the Campari such as was done in the Bitter Mai Tai and other recipes. Once built, the Jungle Boobie gave forth a floral and mint aroma from my choices of garnish over fruity and anise notes from the drink itself. Next, grapefruit, lime, and pineapple mingled on the sip, and the swallow offered smoky agave along with nutty orgeat melding with bitter orange flavors. Finally, the Jungle Booby wrapped up with absinthe's anise and other herbal accents on the finish.
1 1/2 oz Laird's Straight Apple Brandy (Laird's Bonded) 3/4 oz Cynar 1 oz Lime Juice 3/4 oz Orgeat
Whip shake with a few ice cubes, strain into a double old fashioned glass, fill with ice, and add an eco-friendly straw.
Two Sundays ago, I had just finished up a batch of orgeat and wanted to make one of the drinks listed in Amanda Schuster's Duran Duran cocktail tribute article on AlcoholProfessor called Planet Earth. The recipe was crafted by Joe Donahue at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge in Manhattan and was named after Duran Duran's debut single. Since Cynar and orgeat have worked well in other drinks such as the Aster Family Flip and the Waking Up Ain't So Easy, I was game to give this one a try. Given how well Cynar pairs with apple brandy such as in the Michigander made me even more excited to mix one up. The Planet Earth proffered an apple and lime bouquet to the nose with dark, earthy undertones. Next, a creamy lime and apple sip led into apple, earthy, and bitter flavors on the swallow with a lime and orange blossom water finish.
1 oz Cuban-Style White Rum (Angostura White Oak) 1/2 oz Dark or Aged Jamaican Rum (Smith & Cross) 1/2 oz Blackstrap Rum (Cruzan) 2 oz Pineapple Juice 1/2 oz Lime Juice 1/2 oz Apricot Liqueur (Rothman & Winter) 1/2 oz Campari
Shake with ice, strain into a Tiki mug, fill with crushed ice, and garnish with mint sprigs (chocolate mint).
When looking up the story of the Mojito in Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean, I spotted the Hotel Nacional and noticed how close it was to the Jungle Bird. The major differences were the rum, and the presence of simple syrup to balance the lime in the Campari-based one (but not in the apricot liqueur-based one). Since Campari and apricot have proven to be synergistic flavor pairings in drinks like the Intercept, I wondered how a mash up of the Cuban-derived Hotel Nacional and the Indonesian-born Jungle Bird would do. The Jungle Bird was also fresh on my mind since someone on Instagram had made my Yucatan Bird earlier that evening. For a name, I went with the concept of the charismatic talking parrot found in hotel lobbies across the tropics, and I dubbed this one the Jungle Hotel Bird. In terms of rums, I went with a trio here, and I started by having half the drink being the white Cuban-style rum that would have been found in the Hotel Nacional. For the other half, I split the spirit between the dark Jamaican rum called for in the original Jungle Bird and the black strap rum that Giuseppe Gonzalez discovered to work superbly to tie together the flavors. Once prepared, the drink presented a chocolate mint aroma to the nose from my choice of garnish. Next, pineapple, lime, and caramel on the sip led into rums, pineapple, and bitter apricot notes on the swallow with a bitter molasses finish. Overall, the apricot worked well to round out the Campari, and the two functioned to make a slightly bitter orchard fruit flavor.
2 oz Reposado Tequila (Cimarron) 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice 1/4 oz Demerara Syrup (Simple Syrup) 1/4 oz Campari 1/4 oz Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a grapefruit twist. Two Fridays ago, I was in the mood to make a quirky drink that I had spotted on the BarNotes app called the Sanchez de los Toros. The recipe was crafted by T. Read Richards of the Valkyrie bar in Tulsa, and I was drawn to it for the mix of a quarter ounce each of Campari and Angostura Bitters reminded me of Nicholas Jarrett's Evening Redness No. 1. Instead of a Martinez riff, this one was a Tequila Sour of sorts where Richards was driven to create a woody, citrussy agave cocktail to match his tasting notes on a tequila. Once prepared, the Sanchez de los Toros presented a grapefruit, vegetal agave, and cinnamon orange bouquet to the nose. Next, a dry, tannic grapefruit sip stepped aside to a swallow offering agave, bitter notes from Campari singing through with Angostura's spice, and a grapefruit finish.
1 1/2 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey 1 oz Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy 1 bsp Steen's Cane Syrup (JM Sirop de Canne) 4 dash Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters (Jerry Thomas Decanter)
Stir with ice, strain into a rocks glass rinsed with Velvet Falernum, and garnish with an orange twist speared with clove.
Two Thursdays ago, I ventured back into Drinking Like Ladies and spotted the Agent 355 by Kimberly Patton-Bragg of Latitude 29 who I had just met at the Tiki by the Sea event two weeks prior. Kimberly's drink was a split-base Sazerac of sorts with the accent not being an anise-driven bitters and cordial combination, but a clove-based one with aromatic bitters and a falernum rinse. The drink name refers to a female spy during the American Revolution who helped to uncover and foil Benedict Arnold's plot. While her identity has been surmised, it is still unknown; popular theories put her in close proximity to Loyalists whether by neighborhood or romantic suitors. The Agent 355 began with orange, clove, and apple aromas that preceded a malt and apple sip. Next, the rye and apple continued to mingle together on the swallow along with the bitters' and falernum's clove.
2 1/2 oz Punt e Mes 3/4 oz Lemon Juice 3/4 oz Orgeat 1 medium Strawberry
Muddle the strawberry, add the rest of the ingredients, shake with ice, and double strain into a Collins glass. Fill with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with a strawberry fan.
Since we had a carton of local strawberries, I pondered what drinks that I could find with it that matched my need for a low proof refresher. Knowing that the ones that I had seen in Death & Co. and other books were much boozier, my mind harkened back to a delightful berry Cobbler that I had at Bellocq three years ago called the Dolin Blanc Cobbler. Instead of blanc vermouth, I figured that Punt e Mes would tie in with the strawberries here. The Dolin Blanc Cobbler utilized raspberry syrup, and for a sweetener here, I was drawn to orgeat which would both sooth the bitterness of Punt e Mes and hopefully work as delightfully with strawberries as it had in the Blanche DeBois. For a name, I latched on to Punt e Mes being produced in the Piedmont area of Italy which is also known for its strawberry harvests, and I dubbed this one the Piedmont Cobbler. Once prepared, the strawberry garnish contributed greatly to the drink's nose. Next, creamy, lemon, and grape notes mingled on the sip, and the swallow was an elegant bitter strawberry and nutty almond combination.
2/3 Bacardi (1 1/2 oz Havana Club 7 Year) 2 dash Pineapple Juice (1 1/2 oz) 2 dash Marasquin (1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino) 1 dash Anisette (1/8 oz Herbsaint)
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. After returning home from work two Monday nights ago, I ventured into Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, and the Baccarress caught my attention. I envisioned the drink like a Mary Pickford with anisette instead of grenadine or perhaps the Hotel Nacional Special but with the maraschino and anise notes of an Improved cocktail instead of apricot liqueur and lime. Once shaken and strained, the Baccarress showcased pineapple, nutty, and anise aromas. Next, the pineapple continued on into the sip along with a hint of aged spirit's caramel notes, and the swallow was a delightful medley of rum, pineapple, Maraschino, and anise flavors.
2 oz Cynar 1/4 oz Smith & Cross 1/2 oz Lime Juice 1/2 oz Simple Syrup 6-8 leaf Mint
Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass with 2-3 oz soda water, top with ice, and garnish with a mint sprig. Two Mondays ago, two of my regulars stopped into River Bar for dinner and cocktails. For a final round, I could sense that they wanted something else to taste but were hitting a wall with their alcohol consumption. Therefore, I latched onto their love of Cynar and combined it with my recent fascination of Mojito variations. The concept of a Cynar Mojito reminded me of Palmer Matthew's Cynar Southside of sorts that he dubbed the Deep Six, and I included a touch of high ester rum to bring the combination a notch closer to the classic. My guests rather enjoyed the drink and raved about how flavorful it was, and I later called this one the Amargito for "little bitter."