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Archive for January, 2011

Ruminations from the ladies of LUPEC, as originally published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

As I type, freezing rain falls on ice outside my window. My entire street resembles a large, grey ice skating rink. Welcome to January in New England. Ever tried navigating a grey skating rink in platform heels and a pencil skirt? It ain’t fun. On nights like these, this LUPEC lady prefers to drink at home.

What’s a girl to do when marooned at home and craving a cocktail? Work with what you’ve got. When there’s no citrus to be found and a trip to the store is out of the question, straight spirits are the way to go. A Manhattan is an obvious choice, but what about a Hearst? Made with 2 parts gin, one part sweet vermouth, a dash of orange bitters and some lemon oil (if you’ve got it), this drink is an easy answer to the can’t-leave-the-house blues. Allegedly, the drink was famously enjoyed at the Waldorf-Astoria by newspapermen who worked for William Randolph Hearst.

If Campari is your bag and you’re looking to move beyond the Negroni, a Rosita (recipe below) is a nice way to go, a favorite of LUPEC member emeritus Contessa. We don’t know the origins of this drink at all but it sure does make for a refreshing aperitif to whet your appetite for the take out you’ve ordered because you can’t bear to leave the house.

And if you’re feeling like getting creative, you can always follow this basic, time-tested formula for an aperitif cocktail and see where it gets you, plugging in whatever ingredients you have at home. Start with 2 parts high-proof base spirit, 1 part low-proof aperitif (vermouth, Lillet, etc.) or fortified wine (dry sherry, port, etc.), maybe a 1 bar spoon of liqueur if you’ve got it and are feeling feisty, and 2 dashes whatever bitters strikes your fancy. Stir your new concoction with ice and taste, then modify to your heart’s delight.

And let us know what you’ve come up with! We’ve got at least 2 more months of this lovely winter weather to contend with.

ROSITA

1 1/2 oz silver tequila
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 dash angostura bitters

Stir with ice, strain into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Cin-cin!

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, a portion of which originally appeared in the Weekly Dig.

As the snow dumps and the holiday bills roll in many of us are choosing to imbibe at home, both to save money and stay warm. Such was the case last week for this LUPEC lady: my roommate whipped up a batch of jambalaya in the slow cooker and invited Alexander to come by for dinner. Alexander invited a friend who invited a friend and I invited a friend who did the same. Before we knew it, our snuggly winter dinner plans morphed into an impromptu dinner party. With all these guests on their way and only ten minutes to prep, what were we to do? Make punch!

Our group was a blend of bourbon drinkers and folks who “only drink vodka” so I turned to a bottle of Nolet’s Finest as a base, an elegant gin that uses Turkish rose petals and raspberries as main botanicals. With subdued juniper notes, Nolet’s ia a nice gateway choice for gin-phobes. I had white tea kicking about in the cabinet, lemons on the counter, a bottle of Combier and a little Orchard Apricot Liqueur on the bar. Old school recipes for punch (like, circa the 18th century) call for tea, sugar, water, spirits, citrus, and little spice. With all of these items at my fingertips, punch became possible.

When our guests arrived they were thrilled to find me batching up a bowl of punch just for them. It’s as simple as pie (easier even – have you ever tried to make pie dough?) but packs impressive, well, punch. Our guests christened it the Short Con – the Long Con has yet to be invented, but will probably use something brown as a base.

To similarly delight your guests, follow these simple steps:

Step #1: Steep tea. How much will depend on how much punch you are making; for the Short Con Punch I steeped 2 white tea bags in 1 cup of water for five minutes.

Step #2: Peel whatever citrus you choose and muddle it with sugar. Again, this should scale; for the Short Con Punch, muddle peels of 4 lemons and a lime in about a cup of sugar. Muddle until the citrus oils have been absorbed by the sugar.

Step #3: Add tea to the sugary citrus peel mix and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Step #4: Add base spirit, modifying liqueurs, and fresh squeezed citrus juice of choice in a ratio of 2:1:1. For the Short Con we started with 2 cups of gin, a little over ¼ cup of Combier, a little under ¼ cup of Orchard Apricot Liqueur and juice of 4-5 lemons. Taste as you go and modify as needed.

Step #5: Add a little water and ice.

Et voila! If serving immediately, ladle punch over ice filled cups. If you have time, allow the punch to chill for a bit (literally) before serving.

Your guests will be so impressed. But do prepare yourself for texts that blame you for their hangover the morning after.

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Happy New Year from LUPEC Boston! We’re thrilled to announce our first event of the 2011: a morning of Luxardo cocktails and Italian-inspired specials at Toro this Sunday, January 16 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Special brunch offerings include a Robiola and Mortadella panini topped with a fried egg, Luxardo cherry marscapone-stuffed French Toast, and bone marrow sformato with rye and almond.

Sample endangered cocktails and modern classics, delicious punches, and a “Make-Your-Own-Mimiosa Bar“, all made with the full Luxardo line and curated by the ladies of LUPEC.

We hope to see you there!

LUPEC Luxardo Brunch
Sunday, January 16, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Toro
1704 Washington St, South End
Punches, cocktails, Make-Your-Own-Mimosa Bar, and Italian-inspired brunch specials

Cin-cin!

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

by Pink Lady

It’s 1919, you’re a working class Italian chillin’ in North End neighborhood on a surprisingly balmy 40 degree winter’s day. Suddenly you hear a large rumbling, then rapid-fire shots reminiscent of a machine gun. The ground shakes as though a train is passing, and you look up just in time to see a massive wave of molasses twice as tall as you tearing towards you down the street. Before you know it, you’re swept away in the sweet smelling, sticky tide.

Sounds like a ridiculous plot for a B movie, right? But that totally happened 92 years ago this Saturday. A 50-foot tall steel tank containing 2.3 million gallons of molasses collapsed, flooding the North End with its contents, destroying wooden homes, a brick fire station, an Elevated Railway Car, and lifting a train off its tracks. The molasses wave measured 15-feet high at points and traveled at an estimated 35 mph at its outset.

The event was a catastrophe for the working-class Italian immigrant community that lived in the North End, where the poorly maintained tank was situated. A neighborhood decimated, 150 people injured, 21 people killed – the details of the Great Boston Molasses Flood are pretty shocking, even to disaster-weary modern minds. But the scandal surrounding the flood is a fascinating, David vs. Goliath story in itself that is deftly recounted in Stephen Puleo‘s Dark Tide.

119 separate legal claims were brought again United States Industrial Agriculture, which the Superior Court of Massachusetts decided to consolidate into a single legal proceeding, “creating in effect, if not by strict legal definition, the largest class-action suit to date in Massachusetts history and one of the largest ever in U.S. legal annals,” writes Puleo. USIA tried to blame anarchist bombers for the tank explosion, but were ultimately held responsible and paid hundreds of thousands of damages to North End residents.

Pick up a copy of Dark Tide to learn more and relax with one of these as you marvel at this obscure piece of Boston lore.

THE STUDEBAKER

2 oz Laird’s 7 ½ Year Apple Brandy

.5 oz Lillet

.5 oz Grand Marnier

.25 oz Benedictine

1 barspoon molasses

Stir with ice in a mixing glass. Serve in a chilled vintage cocktail glass.

Cin-cin!

 

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Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

This time of year occasionally makes the ladies of LUPEC a little sad as the cold winter settles in without the parties and festivities of the holiday season to look forward to. At times like these we need to refocus on the little things, like delightful hot cocktails on a snowy winter’s day. A favorite among these is Hot Buttered Rum.

Butter + hot drinks is a tradition that dates back to the days of Henry the VIII, when buttered beer or ale was recommended as a remedy for hoarseness. Where and when spirits entered the equation is unclear, and by the pre-Prohibition Golden Age of cocktails, most imbibers eschewed this delightful buttery treat for Hot Scotch. A few still swore by it as we continue to today.

Hot Buttered Rum is even celebrated with it’s own National Holiday, January 17. We’re not sure who declared it but it certainly gives us something to look forward to on such cold, dark days. This recipe is a favorite of our pal Adam Lantheaume, proprietor of The Boston Shaker in Davis Square.

HOT BUTTERED RUM

2 heaping tbsp batter (see recipe below)

1 1/2 oz. aged rum (We enjoy Appleton Estate Extra or Mount Gay Extra Old)

2-3 ounces of boiling water

In a preheated coffee mug, combine 2 heaping tablespoons of batter with 1 1/2 ounces of rum. Top with boiling water and stir well to mix. Serve with a spoon.

Hot Buttered Rum Batter:

1 lb light brown sugar

1/2 lb unsalted butter (softened)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground allspice

2 tsp vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, beat together softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and spices until well combined. Refrigerate in an airtight reusable container for up to a month, or place in the freezer until ready to use.

If you can, make the batter in advance so the spices have an opportunity to get to know each other. Be sure to remove batter from refrigerator at least 6 hours prior to serving to allow it to soften.

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