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Archive for November, 2010

Recent thoughts from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

“Holidays Mean Family – We Sell Liquor,” reads the sign on a liquor store in West Somerville, reminding us that as we gather around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends, we’re probably going to want to have a cocktail in hand.

This Thanksgiving, we turn our attention to the humble cranberry. We love it in cranberry sauce, both the delicious, homemade version and the weird kind that comes in a can. We also love it in cocktails. At Toro, the Nantucket Mule is a delightful riff on the classic Moscow Mule. Served in a copper mug much like the original, it is made with cranberry vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. Stop in for one tonight as you brace yourself for the big meal.

Over at the Woodward, charming barman “English Bill” Codman is a fan of fresh cranberries for their bright, natural acidity, stunning color and tart flavor. His Hot Nantucket Night blends fresh cranberries, jalapeño, lime and tequila for a pretty pink cocktail that is the envy of every margarita. The drink is a delight and a great way to stimulate the appetite as you prepare to stuff yourself with turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing tomorrow afternoon.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! Enjoy your cranberries and enjoy your cocktails.

HOT NANTUCKET NIGHT

Created by “English Bill” Codman

7 whole cranberries, muddled

1 slice jalapeño pepper

1 oz agave simple syrup

.5 oz lime juice

1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco tequila

Shake ingredients with ice, strain over fresh ice, garnish with a jalapeño.

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by Pink Lady
Wondering why such a high percentage of Boston and Cambridge boys are sporting moustaches these days? Is it because the moustache is the new hipster beard? No – well, maybe yes, but that’s not the only reason. It’s because they’re participating in Movember a campaign to raise funds and awareness about cancers that affect men. Seems less creepy now, doesn’t it?

We LUPEC ladies believe that it is every man’s secret wish to someday grow a moustache. Just for a minute, just to see. Movember harnesses that desire challenging men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing one for a good cause. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

Tonight a good group of Boston and Cambridge boys will be throwing a big party fundraiser at Toro which you will not want to miss for the following reasons:

1. Pencil thin, Magnum PI thick, curling handlebars: the moustaches themselves are a spectacle.

2. Special Canadian Club cocktails will be served, all delightful libations created by lovely and talented barmen like Andy McNees, Nick Korn, and Chris Olds. They boast amazing names such as the Stiff Upper Lip, the Peach Fuzz, the Milk Moustache and more.

3. There will be delicious delightful complimentary snacks.

4. There will be a raffle featuring amazing prizes including Red Sox tix, gift certificates to some of Boston’s best restaurants, Canadian Club (so you can recreate those fabulous cocktails at home) and more.

5. Groove to the musical stylings of TJ the DJ and his moustache-themed mix (we can’t wait to hear what that means.)

The party begins at 10 p.m. at Toro. Click here for more details. To learn more about Movember and support our boys with a donation online, click here.

And if you can’t make the party, mix up one of these and raise a glass to our boys in moustaches (after you donate, of course)!

THE CALGARY MOUSTACHE RIDE
2oz.  Canadian Club
1 oz. Maraschino liqueur
.5  lemon
.5 pineapple juice
Dash of simple syrup
Shake ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as recently published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

As local temperatures begin to take a nosedive most of us New Englanders hunker down with hot cocktails and curmudgeonly grumblings. A recent trip to Mexico to learn about tequila gave this LUPEC lady a respite from the oncoming bitterness, introducing me the joys of a simple, refreshing cocktail called La Paloma. If you find yourself sick of sipping Hot Toddies and Perfect Manhattans in the coming weeks we suggest you change it up with a La Paloma.

The drink was invented in the tiny town of Tequila in Jalisco, which sleepily charms with cobblestone streets and distilleries nestled between unassuming houses and shops without signs. The cocktail was created at La Capilla, the oldest bar in town, by Don Javier Delgado Corona, grandson of the bar’s original owner. It’s essentially a tequila highball made with fresh lime, Squirt or whatever grapefruit soda you prefer (or fresh grapefruit and soda if you wanna get all fancy), served with a salted rim. It’s simple, refreshing, and far more popular locally than a Margarita.

Don Javier held forth at a corner table as our group of boisterous bartending gringos blew up La Capilla on a hot Tuesday afternoon in November. At one end of the bar a mustachioed barman cut fresh avocados and squeezed lime into a wooden bowl, prepping fresh, chunky guacamole. At another, a kid no older than 17 and a middle school aged barback poured drinks, squeezing fresh lime into highballs for our Palomas and Batangas and shot after shot of tequila. A roving band arrived shortly and our group of motley gringos were up and dancing in no time.

As anyone who’s visited Tequila knows all that distillery touring and taco eating will make you thirsty. The dancing and Palomas in turn made us hungry for more tacos. It’s a vicious, delicious cycle, and one we highly recommend to cure your pre-Thanksgiving November blues. If time and money can’t afford you a trip to Jalisco, recreate the experience at home with one of these.

LA PALOMA

2 oz reposado tequila (Fortaleza if you can get your hands on a bottle!)

.5 oz fresh lime juice

Grapefruit soda (Squirt, Jarrito’s, or fresh grapefruit juice & soda water)

Salt

Combine tequila and lime juice in a highball or Collins glass rimmed with salt. Add ice and top with grapefruit soda.

Cin-cin!

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*Recent ruminations from the ladies of LUPEC, originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Look at you, you savvy cocktailian. We are so proud to see so many Bostonian drinkers belly up to the bar, empowered by knowledge they’ve culled from books and websites about the history of the drink. What a joy to banter about bitters with guests rather than guide them through our “martini” list looking for the perfect vodka cocktail.

As you get more and more cocktail savvy it’s important to remember manners and etiquette as you order. Remember, the line between educated ordering and pretension can be paper-thin. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while on the boozing trail:

1. Order politely and with humility. Bar managers work hard to cultivate cocktail lists that blend interesting classics with house-developed originals. The former may have been sourced from the pages of old cocktail tomes, vintage marketing leaflets, their favorite bar in Burma, or God knows where. The latter could be made with house-made syrups, bitters, or other ingredients which you won’t find on every bar. If you try a drink that really knocks your socks off, do yourself a favor and learn the recipe so you can order it precisely when out at another bar. Teach a man to fish versus give a man a fish and all that.

2. When ordering an off the menu special, be precise and patient. If you know your drink is simply a variation on a recipe the barkeep may already know, consider ordering it in the most obvious terms and revealing its special name after its in the glass. You could order “A Margarita, San Francisco style,” potentially confusing your bartender.  Or, you could tell your busy barkeep that you’d like your Margarita with agave syrup in place of other sweetener. What would you rather hear while trying to push drinks out quickly at a crowded bar?

3. If ordering bartender’s choice, you’re ordering bartender’s choice. You’ve made your choice to not decide on a drink. If it’s not exactly what you wanted after the first few sips, remember whose idea it was to roll the dice. A good bartender will surely be happy to make you something else if you’re less than thrilled with your cocktail. But having him or her make several drinks in a row when you originally indicated you trust them enough to “make whatever they want” completely defeats the purpose. Roll the dice only if you’re in the mood for mysterious adventure.

4. Tip generously. If you’re going to be a cocktailian, tip like one: twenty percent of the tab, no less. If you order “bartender’s choice…with grapefruit, Cynar, maybe some lemon but nothing too sweet,” do bear in mind the creativity comes with composing your specified drink on the fly, especially if the bar is four people deep. In any scenario, a dollar a drink is most likely not enough; in this one, it’s a huge bummer. The kindest way to thank a bartender for their generous hospitality is to show your appreciation for their hard work by tipping them well.

Nice work, cocktailian. And if you want to really endear yourself to your favorite bartender when they’re in the weeds, order one of these.

BEER & A SHOT (a.k.a. BOILERMAKER)

Beer: It should be your beer if choice, commonly PBR, Miller High Life, or Narangannsett in Boston. Some LUPEC members are also fans of Bud Light Lime. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve try it.

Shot: Black, green, or brown, meaning Fernet, Chartreuse, or Jameson. Or whatever else you fancy. And maybe buy one for the bartender while you’re at it.

Cin-cin!


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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

If you’ve ever tried a Pisco Sour, you know the delights of the frothy drink, particularly the warm glow that steals over you after several sips. If you’re scratching your head and wondering, “WTF is Pisco???” do yourself a favor and read on.

Pisco is a distilled grape spirit that hails from Peru or Chile and is made from unique regional varietals. It’s born much in the same way as cognac or brandy, but is aged in stainless steel versus wood so typically has little to no discernible color. In its pre-Prohibition heyday, Pisco Punch was all the rage in the bars of San Francisco, with some bars devoted to serving that drink and nothing else. As the story so often goes, Prohibition nearly erased both pisco and punch from American cocktail landscape.

There are four different styles of pisco: pisco aromatica, pisco puro (single varietal), pisco acholado (a blend of aromatic and non-aromatic muscat grape clones), and pisco mosto verde (made from partially fermented grape juice.) Laws are less strict in Chile but in Peru, the production of pisco is highly regulated. A competitive marketplace yields great styles.

As a category pisco emphasizes place over process, allowing flavors of the grape to shine through by using stainless steel instead of wood for aging. Peruvian pisco is typically distilled just once or twice, and laws stipulate that the spirit cannot be rectified post-distillation so it must be distilled to proof. The quality of the grape is the measure of the distiller’s skill.

One brand of which are particularly fond is Macchu Pisco, helmed by the fabulous Melanie da Trindade-Asher. Her family-owned company also produces La Diablada, an acholado made from Quebranta, Italia, and Moscatel grapes. It’s floral, smooth, and extremely aromatic and an exciting way to try your favorite pisco cocktails. Sample a Pisco Sour with both and be changed.

PISCO SOUR

1.5 oz Macchu Pisco or La Diablada

1 oz simple syrup

.75 oz fresh lemon or lime juice

1 oz egg white

Angostura bitters

Combine the pisco, simple syrup, citrus juice, and egg white in a mxing glass. Dry shake to emulsify, then add ice and shake long and hard. Strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish by sprinkling angostura bitters onto the egg white foam.

Cin-cin!

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