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Archive for October, 2008

Marilyn Monroe performing for troops in Korea

The LUPEC Boston “USO SHOW”

Friday, November 21, 7-11 p.m.

at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center


On November 21 the Boston chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails) will transform the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center into a swinging 1940′s-themed cocktail party featuring retro-libations, live entertainment, dancing, delicious canapés, a prize raffle, and a USO-style variety show. It’s a coed event, and all are welcome. This is our second annual large-scale fundraising event and was created to benefit women at The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans (NESHV). Tickets are $35 in advance/ $45 at the door, and can be purchased at Toro and Tremont 647 in the South End, Grand in Somerville, or online at grandthestore.com.

The LUPEC BOSTON USO SHOW is one component of our annual fall fundraising program, which raised over $10,000 for Jane Doe Inc. last year. Starting November 1, LUPEC Boston will partner with local bars and restaurants to offer a month-long “THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES” drink promotion, where participants donate proceeds from one LUPEC Boston-approved beverage to women at NESHV. Restaurant partners include Toro, Tremont 647, La Verdad, Eastern Standard, Rendezvous, Highland Kitchen, Flora, The Milky Way, and more. (For a full list, click here.) Proceeds from sales our recently reprinted cocktail book, THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK OF COCKTAILS, will also benefit the NESHV this fall.

The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans is a private, non-profit organization with a mission to extend a helping hand to homeless men and women veterans who are addressing the

Bob Hope entertains the troops

Bob Hope entertains the troops

challenges of addiction, trauma, severe and persistent mental illness, and/or unemployment, and who will commit themselves to sobriety, non-violence, and working for personal change. They are recognized as one of the most effective private veteran’s transition programs in the country. Learn more at http://www.neshv.org.

The LUPEC BOSTON USO SHOW will pay tribute to the 1940’s theme with of-the-era cocktails, a complimentary swing dance lesson, and a USO-style variety show emceed by Cathleen Carr and Daiva Deupree of the critically acclaimed New York-based sketch comedy burlesque Two Girls for Five Bucks. The show will feature acts by Thru the Keyhole Burlesque, Boston-based actor, improviser and stand-up comedian Harry Gordon as Bob Hope, and DJ Brother Cleve, a Boston institution, will spin ‘40s-era swing music throughout the evening. Vintage dress and creative cocktail attire is encouraged.
This event will take place at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center [85 W. Newton St., South End, Boston], with generous support from sponsors St-Germain, Hendricks, Cruzan, Milagro, Sazerac, Chartreuse, Mathilde Liqueurs, Harpoon, and SmartWater.

DETAILS:

The LUPEC BOSTON USO SHOW will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 21. Tickets are one sale now. Ticket price is $35 in advance/ $45 at the door and will include cocktail party fare, a variety show, dancing, and four drink tickets, with additional beverages available for purchase.

Light cocktail party fare will be provided for the evening by Toro, Tremont 647, and Lionette’s Market, Island Creek Oysters will be on hand shucking their acclaimed “Duxbury Pearls”, and The Boston Derby Dames will skate around with sweets provided by Taza Chocolates.

The USO-style variety show will be emceed by Cathleen Carr and Daiva Deupree of Two Girls for Five Bucks and feature Boston-based actor, improviser and stand-up comedian Harry Gordon, and Thru the Keyhole Burlesque. DJ Brother Cleve will spin ‘40s-era swing music between live acts. Vintage dress and creative cocktail attire is encouraged.

A prize raffle will feature gift certificates donated from Toro, Tremont 647, Myers + Chang, La Verdad, East Coast Grill, Taza Chocolates, Polka Dog Bakery, Vee Vee, Flour Bakery + Cafe, ZipCar, Hollywood Express, A Brix Six Gift Pack from Brix Wine Shop, tickets to the Improv Asylum and Swing City a St-Germain gift basket, a one-year subscription to Imbibe magazine and more.

All proceeds from the LUPEC BOSTON USO SHOW will benefit women at The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans.

  • Ticket price is $35 in advance/ $45 at the door including cocktail party fare and four drink tickets, with additional beverages available for purchase.
  • Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at:
    • Toro, 1704 Washington St., Boston, MA

About NESHV

The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans is a private, non-profit organization with a mission to extend a helping hand to homeless men and women veterans who are addressing the challenges of addiction, trauma, severe and persistent mental illness, and/or unemployment, and who will commit themselves to sobriety, non-violence, and working for personal change. They are recognized as one of the most effective private veteran’s transition programs in the country. Learn more at www.neshv.org.

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by Pink Gin

This week in the Dig I offered up a road-trip version of the classic martini and I have a few little baubles to add…

More on ingredients for the “HoJotini”
We’re using Beefeater gin, Noilly Prat vermouth, and Angustora orange bitters that we got through bartering on the black market. Fees Orange bitters are somewhat more available in local shops. Or look on-line.

What’s a HoJo?
For those of you too young to remember or from another country, HoJo’s is a quintessential 20th century American story of one man’s vision. It starts with New England ice cream, leads to the development of the “franchise” system, capitalizes on the needs of automotive travelers wanting reliable food and lodging, becomes a huge national success, is passed on to the founder’s son, suffers from competition, is sold off in pieces to conglomerates, and limps along today. Anyone who can comment on this blog post with ways to link HoJo’s with cocktails or women’s history gets bonus points. Here are a few links on nostalgia for the old “orange roof”:

http://www.hojoland.com/history.html
http://www.roadsidefans.com/hojo.html
http://www.slamtrak.com/hojo2003/

Modding up the liquor travel case

Also known as a “travel bar,” these can be found in a wide range of sizes and styles. The featured photo was not staged; I snapped this at a hotel on the Jersey shore. My travel companion and I had been road tripping all day and were getting ready for dinner while sipping the martini featured in the Dig. The case is an older one made of plastic and metal and includes space for two small bottles, a flask, small glasses, a stirring spoon, and an opener. We carry what you see here. The gin goes into a smaller bottle to save space, and the two plastic cups have been replaced with four unstemmed vintage cocktail glasses protected with sheets of papertowel. These are put into service when no other glassware is handy. We also add in a paring knife and a kitchen towel. With ice provided by the hotel, we are good to go.

Recipes for other cocktails mentioned in the Dig this week

FRENCH 75
1 oz gin
½ oz fresh lemon juice
Simple syrup
4 oz sparking white wine

Shake the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup (a splash or to taste) with ice, pour in stemmed glass and top with sparkling wine. Other variations include cognac rather than gin as well as different glassware.

NEGRONI
1/3 gin
1/3 sweet vermouth
1/3 Campari

Stir the ingredients with ice and serve up or on the rocks. A twist of orange is the least offensive garnish I’ve seen served with this drink.

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We also tried the Salty Dog straight up.  Drinks, photos, and original editions courtesy of k. montuori.

We also tried the Salty Dog straight up. Drinks, photos, and original editions courtesy of k. montuori.

by Pink Gin

The thing that we at LUPEC Boston have to love about Kingsley Amis is that he wrote a regular drinks column just like we do. His compilation of his articles are included in Everyday Drinking, published anew this year. We saw it on the shelves at Porter Square Books.

Older books are fun because they give you an insight into the culture of the time. In this case, the books were written rather in the “dead zone” of cocktail culture of the 70s and 80s. So, some of the drinks in the book are good and others are truly ghastly. (It will make cocktail enthusiasts appreciate how far we’ve come, especially with availability of ingredients.)

We featured the Salty Dog {LINK} in our Weekly Dig column this week, and you can find versions of the Pink Gin and the Normandy in our Little Black Book of Cocktails. So here I’d like to feature a punch that is really much better than it sounds:

JO BARTLEY’S CHRISTMAS PUNCH
3 bottles dry or medium-dry white wine
2 bottles gin
1 bottle brandy
1 bottle sherry
1 bottle dry vermouth
5 quarts medium-sweet hard cider
Ice cubes

Mix everything together and serve on ice. Go for the cheapest reliable ingredients – don’t waste the good stuff. And as Kingsley points out, if you toss in leftover drinks from last night, no one will notice.

Also, for those of you who haven’t read Lucky Jim you can try this version of a Vodka Gibson:

The LUCKY JIM
12 to 15 parts vodka
1 part dry vermouth (Martina e Rossi)
2 parts cucumber juice
cucumber slices (with peel)

Make as a martini; stir with ice and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes before serving straight up in chilled stemmed glasses.

I’d say try this with a home infusion of vermouth and hot peppers and you’ll have a vodka drink worth drinking. Cheers!

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In the context of the infinite cyber-sphere, the Internet cocktail community seems comparatively home-y. Thus we were thrilled to hear that Seattle-based cocktail blogger and author AJ Rathbun would be in Boston promoting his recently released titles, LUSCIOUS LIQUEURS and PARTY SNACKS, this week. We’d only ever met AJ through blog cross posts and track backs – could he possibly be that cool in person? Could we? LUPEC shared some communal cocktails with Rathbun over at DRINK this evening and I’m pleased to report, the answer (to the former question) is yes. (Jury’s still out on #2.)

We were subsequently disappointed to learn that AJ’s liqueur tasting/book signing at Brix Wine Shop in the South End conflicts with the Relaunch Party for the Little Black Book of Cocktails, but wanted to alert you to this great opportunity to meet the award-winning West Coast cocktail author from 6 – 8 p.m. at Brix in the South End tomorrow. Head on over before or after the LUPEC event at GRAND to purchase signed copies of the books and sample liqueurs and snacks from the new titles.

An don’t forget to ask the author what his favorite liqueur is – the first LUPEC Boston blog reader to report back with the correct answer (post it right in the comments section) receives a prize!

Cin-cin!

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The Second Edition of the Little Black Book of Cocktails is hot off the presses. We’ll be celebrating in style on October 21st from 6:00pm-9:00pm at the coolest boutique north of the Mason Dixon line, GRAND [374 Somerville Ave, Union Square, Somerville] for our Little Black Book of Cocktails “Relaunch Party”! Sip on some delicious (and complimentary!) LUPEC-approved punches, snag a copy of the book, and shop ’til you drop! (Complimentary nibbles will also be served!)

Handsomely designed by LUPEC Boston’s own Pinky Gonzales, this smart little book contains recipes for the “namesake cocktails” of the founding members of LUPEC Boston, plus recipes for some of our favorite classics and vintage-inspired originals. The updated second edition also includes the namesake & favorites of our newest member, Saucy Sureau, as well as new recipes and updates to the original.

The book costs $15 and all proceeds from book sales benefit the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans’ Women’s Unit, the chosen beneficiary for our fall fundraising efforts, including the This Ones for the Ladies Promotion and The LUPEC Boston USO Show.

LUPEC partnered with Cambridge-based photographer Matt Demers in 2007 to participate in his “Women in Pearls” series. Modeled after a striking black and white photograph of 1920s It-girl Louise Brooks (right), the “Pearls” project is Demers‘ study on body image and beauty for modern women. In the artists’ own words,

“Thanks to the photographic magic of Eugene Robert Richee the starlet [Brooks] was stripped of culturally-defined trappings. No make-up, high-fashion or salon treatments. Black on black, her physical body shape disappeared into the abyss. Over-exposed skin tones erased any skin flaws. The authentic Louise Brooks emerged, bold and exquisite.”

In Demers‘ mind, LUPEC + Pearls = a match made in heaven: “Passionate about their craft, bucking stereotypes with gusto, champions for social causes: the LUPEC ladies were a natural fit for my evolving project. Channeling the spirit of the Pandora’s Box muse, the ladies stepped in front of the camera with fearless zest to become the cornerstone of the series.”

And his images, in turn, became the cornerstone of The Little Black Book of Cocktails by LUPEC Boston.

We hope you’ll join us this Tuesday for punch, snacks, and celebration of the latest edition of LUPEC’s Little Black Book!

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Join the ladies of LUPEC Boston as we raise our glasses to raise awareness!

Starting November 1, LUPEC Boston will partner will select Boston-area bars and restaurants to offer our Second Annual “This One’s for the Ladies” drink promotion. Participating establishments will be donating the proceeds from one broad-related beverage for the month of November to women at the The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, the chosen beneficiary for our fall fundraisers and events.

The New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans is a private, non-profit organization with a mission to extend a helping hand to homeless men and women veterans who are addressing the challenges of addiction, trauma, severe and persistent mental illness, and/or unemployment, and who will commit themselves to sobriety, non-violence, and working for personal change. They are recognized as one of the most effective private veteran’s transition programs in the country. Learn more at http://www.neshv.org <http://www.neshv.org/&gt; .

We will keep an updated list of links to participating restaurants here on our blog. Check back often to see where you can go to have one for the ladies!

If you work at a bar or restaurant and are interested in participating please e-mail us at lupec@lupecboston.com!

Cin-cin!

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This week in the Dig I wrote a brief history of the cult favorite Fernet Branca.  If you are new to the world of Fernet having an entire bottle sitting on your shelf can seem a bit daunting, to say the least.  You’ve choked down a few shots in an attempt to be part of the club, but the appreciation for this bitter elixir isn’t quite there yet.  It seems as though the eagle with the Fernet in his talons is taunting you as you’re thinking there must be an easier way to get to the bottom of that green bottle.

Fear not my friends!  Here are a few more cocktails to help open your palate to the complex and ultimately rewarding world of Fernet Branca.

FERNET AND COLA

An entire country can’t be wrong.  In Argentina one million cases of Fernet Branca are consumed annually in this fashion.  Fernet and Cola is a delicious, symbiotic relationship in which the bitterness of the Fernet and the sweetness of the cola temper one another perfectly.  It’s a balanced boozie bear hug in a glass.

TORONTO
2 oz Rye 
.5 oz Fernet Branca
Dash of Simple Syrup
Dash of Angostura Bitters

Stir ingredients with ice for 30 seconds.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  

I have frequently described this drink as my savior as it is equally adept at “setting me straight” the day after a night of overindulgence or soothing a very full belly after a deliciously large meal.  I prefer to use a rye of higher proof when making this cocktail, such as Rittenhouse Rye or Sazerac 6 Yr Rye.  

The ROOT OF ALL EVIL
This recipe comes to us courtesy of Jeff Grdinich, White Mountain Cider Company, Bartlett NH.  He describes it as his irreverent tribute to Chuck Taggart and Chuck’s cocktail, the Hoskins.
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
.75 oz Grand Marnier
.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino
.5 oz Fernet Branca

Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  If you are using LUPEC approved vintage glassware, chill down a second stem and invite over a friend because this is a pretty big cocktail!  

PORTENO
This one come to us courtesy of Murray Stenson at the Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle.
.75 oz Bourbon
.5 oz Cherry Brandy
.5 oz Fernet Branca
.5 oz Velvet Falernum
.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  

 
INVERNO
1 oz Aperol
.5 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Tonic Water

Build over ice in a low ball.  Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy

QUATRO PUNTI
1 oz Punt e Mes
.5 oz Fernet Branca
Soda Water

Build over ice in a highball, adding soda to taste.  Garnish with an orange slice.

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Punch served at the July meeting by Bourbon Belle's

Punch served at the July meeting by Bourbon Belle

by Hanky Panky

In this week’s column in the Weekly Dig Pink Lady took us through the finer points of hosting for a cocktail crowd. Batching is a great way to alleviate stress and allow a host/ess to enjoy the party as much as their guests. Another way to accomplish this is by serving guests a lovely bowl of punch. Many of us only associate the punch bowl with 1950′s-era high school dances, but the punch bowl and it’s spiking has a history that dates back long before Mr. Fonzerelli.

The word punch may originate from the Hindu panch, meaning five, as punches were traditionally composed of five ingredients-spirits, lemon or lime, sugar, spices and water. It became popular among the sailors of the British East India Company in the late 16th and early 17th century as they traversed about the area of India. The punch bowl from which they imbibed was spiked with Arak, an Arabic term that is used for liquor of any kind. In the case of our British Navy friends, they were probably getting looped on spirits made from palm tree sap.

Now we all know how fun it is to tie one on with our friends, so it’s no surprise that the tradition of the punch bowl was brought back to England as a souvenir and it’s popularity quickly spread. The punch craze was carried across the great pond and we came up with our own American variations. So what happened? When did the punch bowl get relegated to the closet only to be brought out for little Suzie’s 8th birthday party? Essentially we just got too darned busy, or at least we wanted everyone to think we were busy. In the fast paced environment of the new world it fell out of fashion to be seen with your friends lazing away the afternoon hours while draining a bowl of punch.

Well the ladies of LUPEC believe the punch bowl is just what we need. Nothing eases stress like a few good friends and a bowl of hooch. Unearth your punch set and give one of our favorites a try! David Wondrich’s Esquire recipe for the Pisco Punch is truly divine!

PISCO PUNCH
1 pineapple(s)
gum syrup
1 pint distilled water
10 ounces lemon juice
24 ounces pisco brandy

Take a fresh pineapple, cut it in squares about 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches. Put these squares of fresh pineapple in a bowl of gum syrup* to soak overnight. That serves the double purpose of flavoring the gum syrup with the pineapple and soaking the pineapple, both of which are used afterward in the Pisco Punch.

In the morning, mix 8 ounces of the flavored gum syrup, the water, lemon juice, and pisco** in a big bowl.

Serve very cold but be careful not to keep the ice in too long because of dilution. Use 3- or 4-ounce punch glasses. Put one of the above squares of pineapple in each glass. Lemon juice or gum syrup may be added to taste.

For perfect authenticity, we should note, this should be made one drink at a time, as Nicol did:

In a cocktail shaker, combine: 2 ounces pisco, 1 ounce distilled water (Nicol insisted on this), 2/3 ounce (4 teaspoons) syrup (refrigerated, this’ll keep at least two or three months), 3/4 ounce lemon juice.

Shake well, strain into a thin punch glass and garnish with syrup-soaked pineapple chunk., (You can freeze these, if you want ‘em to keep.)

* The secret ingredient here, gum (aka “gomme”) syrup, is a nineteenth-century bar essential consisting of sugar syrup blended with gum arabic (the crystallized sap of the acacia tree) to smooth it out and add body. To make it, slowly stir 1 pound gum arabic into 1 pint distilled water and let soak for a day or two. When this solution is ready, bring 4 pounds sugar and 1 quart distilled water to a boil, add the gum solution, and skim off the foam. Let it cool, filter it through cheesecloth, and bottle it. It should keep, even unrefrigerated. You can find gum arabic powder in some health-food stores and at Frontiercoop.com. It’s worth the hassle. Really.

And don’t forget to check out a punch from posts past!

Cin Cin!

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So continues another week in celebration of LUPEC Boston’s Endangered Cocktail of the Month, the Scoff Law. Did you read our little ditty in the Dig this week? Then you must have seen the lovely photo loaned to us so generously by fellow Boston blogger, the Leather District Gourmet. LDG shot this pic at our very first LUPEC Boston Meet & Greet held at Tremont 647 last Tuesday. If you missed it, not to worry: we’ll be holding one of these events every month at various bars in the Boston area. Our next meet-up is tentatively scheduled for October 21st, so mark your calendars. Exact time and location TBD..

Since we introduced the Endangered Cocktail of the Month feature to this blog and our fans mid-September, we’ll continue celebrating the Scoff Law through the month of October to ensure that this drink gets its glorious due. Next time you order it, however, ask for the Green chartreuse version, listed below as it appears in the Little Black Book of Cocktails. Then compare your notes and stop back by here to let us know which version you liked best.

SCOFF LAW COCKTAIL
1.5 ounces rye
1 ounce dry vermouth
.75 ounces fresh lemon juice
.75 ounces Green chartreuse
2-dashes orange bitters
Shake ingredients with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

If you’d like to sample a Scoff Law Cocktail while out and about drinking in the South End this month, head over to Toro (for the fresh grenadine version) or Tremont 647 (for the Green chartreuse version).

Or, if you’re drinking in Kenmore, hit up Eastern Standard. (You should always hit up ES if you’re drinking in Kenmore Square.) As you may have read in last week’s Dig, LUPEC Boston was called upon to participate in the publication’s 5-Drink Minimum feature a few weeks back. You can read all about that hot mess here. Cocktail # 5 on that glorious mission was the 12 Cocktail Flight the restaurant is offering to honor the 75th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition (sampled in a similarly sloppy fashion this summer by bloggers from Boston Magazine.) Flight #6 is a Scofflaw; it was apparently also their June calendar girl.

And the bartenders at the Marliave can now make this delicious drink, as well. I asked for one on a recent visit, and though the bartender had never heard of it before when I ordered the drink, he kindly obliged to make it for me. We did this following Ted Haigh’s version from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, which I conjured ever-so conveniently using the “Cocktails” app on my IPhone. They have all the good ingredients there – Vya vermouth, housemade grenadine — so I wouldn’t hesitate to instruct them to do the same with future Endangered Cocktails of the Month.

And if you’re all done with rye after all this sipping, why not mix up one of these, also on offer at Eastern Standard as the Prohibition-era cocktail for the month of October?

SATAN’S WHISKERS (STRAIGHT)
.5 oz Italian Vermouth
.5 oz French Vermouth
.5 oz London dry gin
.5 oz fresh orange juice
.25 oz Grand Marnier

Shake well with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

SATAN’S WHISKERS (CURLED)
Prepare as above, substituting Orange Curacao for Grand Marnier.

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