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Archive for September, 2008

by Pink Lady

Hanky Panky’s column in this week’s Dig advocates building your home bar on a cocktail by cocktail basis: each week, choose a favorite cocktail and purchase the items necessary to mix it at home. With this method, you will never be left wondering what you can mix with the items you have on hand while adding to your encyclopedic knowledge of cocktail recipes. Below are some recipes to help get you started, economically of course — who knows what will happen to the market next.

For gin, we recommended the Hearst. You’ll need all of these ingredients for many other cocktails, so its a great way to invest your money from the start.

HEARST
2 ounces London dry gin
1 ounce Italian vermouth
dash of orange bitters
dash of Angostura bitters

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

This Boston original gets a bottle of rye in your liquor cabinet, and fresh grenadine in your fridge. Where they both belong.

WARD EIGHT
2 ounces rye whisky
.75 ounce lemon juice
.75 ounce orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine

Shake ingredients with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker; strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy, or strain it over cracked ice in a highball & top off with seltzer. Refreshing! (This is David Wondrich’s Esquire version of the drink. There is much debate over whether the proper recipe for this drink: I invite you to try on your own and leave feedback!)

The Hibiscus cocktail is a great way to deal with some light rum and make sure you’ve got French vermouth in the cabinet, too.

HIBISCUS
From Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide, Revised.
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 teaspoon French vermouth
1 teaspoon grenadine
1.5 oz light Puerto Rican Rum
Shake with ice cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This LUPEC Boston namesake will trick out your liquor cabinet with a few fun extra ingredients, and make tequila feel quite at home among the other bottles.

PINKY GONZALES
(As adapted from Trader Vic’s recipe by LUPEC Boston member, Pinky Gonzales in the Little Black Book of Cocktails.)
2.5 oz tequila blanco
.5 oz fresh lime juice
.5 os orange Curacao
.25 oz agave nectar
.25 oz orgeat syrup
2 cups crushed ice
1 sprig mint & .5 squeezed lime for garnish

Shake all ingredients and pour into a tiki mug or tall glass filled with crushed ice and the reserved 1/2 lime. Garnish with mint sprig & straw.

Oh, how your liquor cabinet grows!


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Welcome to the Endangered Cocktail of the Month, a new feature on the LUPEC Boston online home. To help us achieve our goals of “breeding, raising, and releasing nearly extinct drinks into the wild”, LUPEC Boston will select a new classic cocktail to revive at local bars and restaurants each month. We’ll write about the drink here and in our newsletter, and supply explicit instructions for how to make one at home – or how to instruct your local barkeep in making one. We encourage you to print (or write down) this recipe and bring it to your favorite local bar while you’re out and about this month, thus spread the gospel of the Endangered Cocktail and enriching the collective knowledge base of our city’s bartenders.

THE SCOFF LAW COCKTAIL
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add:
1.5 oz Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
1 oz. dry vermouth
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. fresh grenadine

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The Scoff Law Cocktail originated during prohibition and was named in honor of those who refused to recognize the 18th amendment. For more history of the cocktail, check out this post.

There are also several variations on this cocktail, many of which substitute grenadine with Green Chartreuse. If your local bar only carries bottled grenadine, opt for the Chartreuse version instead. We wholeheartedly support (and enjoy) these variations!

Please drop us a note to let us know about your experiences in the field, reviving The Scoff Law.

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by Pink Lady

scoff·law \-ˌlȯ\ – noun: a contemptuous law violator.*

As the story goes, the Scoff Law cocktail was invented in 1924 at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. The word, however, was invented in Boston the previous fall. Here’s story of how one beget the other.**

In October of 1923 prominent Anti-Saloon League member Delcevare King conceived of an peculiar sort of marketing campaign designed to bring shame and scorn upon flouters of the 18th Amendment and Volstead Act which prohibited the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.” King developed a contest to offer $200 (roughly equivalent to $2,400 today) to the person who could invent a word “which best expresses the idea of lawless drinker, menace, scoffer, bad citizen, or whatnot, with the biting power of ‘scab’ or ‘slacker’.” By the January 1, 1924 deadline 25,000 entries poured in from all over the country (with a few international ones, too), suggesting gems like scut, boozlag, alcolog, hooch-sniper, rum-rough, and law-loose-liquor-lover, according to a Boston Herald article on the topic.

Each word was judged against the following criteria: it should be no more than two syllables, begin with an “s” (to make it “sting”), refer to illegal drinkers only (not drinkers at large) and emphasize the law-breaking rather than liquor as the problem, and be linked to the following statement by President Harding: “Lawless drinking is a menace to the republic itself.” On January 16, 1924 the Boston Herald announced the winning word, the “scofflaw”, proposed by two separate contestants, Henry Dale Irving of Andover and Kate L. Butler of Dorchester. (They split the prize money.)

The entire premise of King’s contest was subject to widespread mockery in the media and beyond and using the word in vain seemed an almost instantaneous reaction to King’s earnest endeavor. The New York Times predicted “scofflaws” would be impervious to the word: “said sinners will not be startled nor abashed at being told that they do what they have never tried to conceal.”

Right. Said sinners relished the term and raised a glass. As Chicago Tribune reported on January 27, “Jack, the genial manager of Harry’s Bar in Paris, yesterday invented the Scoff-Law Cocktail, and it has already become exceedingly popular among American Prohibition dodgers.”

We’ll drink to that.

The SCOFF-LAW
Harry’s Bar in Paris version
1 oz. Canadian whiskey (originally recommended because it contained at least SOME rye)
1 oz. dry vermouth
.25 oz. lemon juice
A hearty dash grenadine & bitters.
Shake with ice & strain into a cocktail glass.

*Merriam-Webster Online. 21 September 2008
** The story is well-detailed in Allan Metcalf’s Predicting New Words, p. 44.

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We’re always sad to say goodbye to summer, but happy to welcome a new season of drinking and all that that entails. If you read this week’s column in the Dig you know we are all about the fall-tastic flavors you can create with a little Allspice Dram. Since this also happens to be National Bourbon Heritage Month (more on that later) we recommend a segue into fall that combines the two:

LION’S TAIL
2 ounces bourbon
.5 ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
.5 ounce fresh lime juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Or show ‘em what you’re made of with one of these:
NONE BUT THE BRAVE
1.5 oz brandy
.5 oz pimento dram
.25 oz fresh lemon juice
.25 oz Jamaican rum
.25 tsp sugar
Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

And if all you’re really after is cuddling up to something a little more spicy and complex, here are some great cocktails to try as the leaves start to turn.

WIDOW’S KISS
1.5 oz Calvados
.75 oz Benedictine
.75 oz Yellow Chartreuse
Dash Angostura Bitters
Shake in an iced cocktail shaker; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

BRANDY SCAFFA
1.5 oz brandy
.75 oz Green Chatreuse
.5 oz maraschino liqueur
Stir in a mixing glass with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cin-cin!

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tarragone_p2Chartreuse is an enchanting liqueur if there ever was one. As we covered in this week’s Dig, the Chartreuse we drink today is based on a recipe for an “Elixir of Long Life” that was handed down to the Order of Carthusian monks in the 17th century. Reputed since their founding in 1084 as the Catholic Church’s strictest order, the monks “dedicate themselves entirely to the service of God and to spiritual life, in permanent silence.” Sales of chartreuse liqueur, which is most commonly found in green (its original form) and yellow, support the contemplative order.

Though the Carthusian monks were handed the manuscript for the “Elixir of Long Life” in 1605, it took over a century for them to decode it into something drinkable, the Elixir Vegetal de la Grande-Chartreuse which was first distilled in 1737. 130 different botanicals and plant extracts are used as ingredients, and the drink takes is signature color from the chlorophyll therein.frenchmusthavechartreuse-9-1-19041 The original stuff was a 71% alcohol, 147 proof, but recognizing the popularity of chartreuse as more than just a medicine, the monks created a more palatable 55% alcohol, 110 proof version which is what we know and love as green chartreuse today. In 1838 the Carthusians introduced the even milder, sweeter yellow chartreuse, which weighs in at 40% alcohol, 80 proof. A kinder, gentler version of the stuff and where you might want to start if you’re new to drinking/mixing with it. White chartreuse was also produced once upon a time (1860-1900), as was a special V.E.P. in the (1960s.)

The complexity of the recipe is part of what has kept it secret for centuries. When the Carthusians were expelled from the France (along with members of all other religious orders) the recipe was nearly lost. According to the lore, the monk entrusted with the original manuscript was arrested and jailed during this time. He managed to smuggle it out of prison to another Carthusian who was also on the lam, but the recipient could make no sense of the recipe. Befuddled by the complicated instructions and believing the Chartreuse Order shuttered forever, he sold the manuscript to a Grenoblois pharmacist named Monsieur Liotard, who also didn’t “get it”. 120291702He was unable to do anything with the recipe, and his heirs returned it to the Carthusian monks after his death in 1816.
Similarly, the French government was unable reproduce the stuff after they “nationalized” the chartreuse distillery in 1903 causing the monks to flee to Tarragona, Spain. The government’s, Chartreuse-branded product failed in the marketplace within a decade (see right.)

Who wouldn’t want to sip on a liqueur that’s…

1. Made by an order of contemplative monks in the French Alps?
2. Based on an ancient recipe for an Elixir of Long Life?
3. Such a highly guarded secret that only two monks are entrusted with the recipe, and never known to any one person at a time?
4. Made from 130 different herbs and botanicals, secretly processed and mixed?
5. Has its own color scheme named after it?
6. So deliciously complex that its behavior in cocktails can be a total surprise?

Mix up any one of these and you’ll know what we mean:

GYPSY
Adapted by Contessa from a recipe she originally sampled at Bourbon & Branch
2 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz lime
3/4 oz yellow Chartreuse
3/4 oz St-Germain
Shake in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

CLOISTER
1.5 oz gin
.5 oz Yellow chartreuse
.5 oz fresh grapefruit juice
.25 oz lemon juice
.25 oz simple syrup
Shake in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cin-cin!

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by Pink Lady

When I studied abroad in Ireland my junior year, I was shocked to learn that my Irish roommates preferred Budweiser to Guinness. The American import was pissier and more expensive than their native stout, yet none of the lads would be caught in the pub with a Guinness in hand. I chalked this up to the tendency to always want what you haven’t got, and related to their impulse to eschew the familiar for the exotic.

This is not necessarily so, however, in Holland, where every fourth bottle of spirits sold is a bottle of genever. I learned this fun little fact from Bols brand ambassador Simon Duff at the Juniperlooza seminar at Tales of the Cocktail, and decided to put this theory to the test by contacting up my good friend Alexander, who hails from Amsterdam.

“Do you drink genever at all? Is it popular at home in Holland?” I texted him quite out of the blue last week while working on this week’s Weekly Dig column about different types of gin.

“Yes I do! I have a bottle in my freezer! It’s running low. Reminds me of my dad. I only drink it on special occasions…” he responded immediately.

So, there you have it folks, straight from the tall Dutchman’s mouth. The stuff is indeed popular in Holland, if impossible to come by in the US.

We had a chance to try a small sip of both jonge and oude genever while in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, and sampled it again at a recent meeting chez Bourbon Belle. President Hanky Panky managed to smuggle several bottles back to the states with her on a trip to Amsterdam last spring.

The strong juniper flavor inherent in genever makes no bones about being a great-great-great grandparent to the modern dry styles of gin we know and love today. That said, its fuller and gads maltier than the stuff you put in a modern gin and tonic, a totally different gin-drinking experience. It is indeed special stuff, and though the real Dutch spirit is hard to come by in the United States, Genevieve by the San Francisco-based Anchor Distilllery stands in as a delicious take on the product.

So here’s the ultimate challenge: get your friends who live in London to smuggle you back some Old Tom Gin and your very own tall Dutchman to return from Holland with a suitcase full of Hollands. Then mix them up in alternating batches of the following cocktail, as Seamus Harris of Bunnyhugs did and reported on here this past June.

MARTINEZ
Recipe adapted from Imbibe! by David Wondrich
1 dash of aromatic bitters
2 dashes of maraschino
1 oz Old Tom Gin or Genever
2 oz Italian vermouth
Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

This drink is believed to be a predecessor to the modern martini, and was originally concocted with Old Tom Gin. The genever version is delicious as well. I wonder — what would happen if I served this to the next person who requested “a martini” at the restaurant where I work…hmmm

Cin-cin, or as the Dutch say, Proost!

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