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Archive for the ‘Bitters’ Category

*as posted in DigBoston

 

If a Sazerac tastes delicious to you and drinking several makes you drunk, what’s an easy way to make the experience of imbibing them even better? Why, make them stronger of course. But how do you make a cocktail that’s already about as boozy as they come even more so?

A high proof spirit is the solution.

As women who love spirits, we are always delighted to sample from this category of potables, known as “Navy Strength” products. In seafaring days, spirits would be distilled to a higher proof to ensure that if a bottle was ever spilled onto a pile of gun powder during an evening’s revelry, the ammo would still explode.

 

High proof spirits are also fun for party tricks, such as flaming shots, Blue Blazers, and the particularly showy display of blowing fire. Trying at home without supervision is not recommended. Instead, grab yourself a bottle of high proof rye and get busy mixing up a batch of the aforementioned Sazerac.

 

 

If mixing at home isn’t your thing, head on over to the Citizen where any of their team of skilled mixologists can mix one up for you, preferably with a perfectly spherical cube of ice.

 

SAZERAC
Adapted from The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

1 sugar cube
3-4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Proof
splash of Absinthe, Pernod, or Herbsaint
Lemon peel

Take two rocks glasses and fill one with ice to chill for serving while preparing the drink in another glass. In the bottom of the prep glass, muddle the sugar cube and bitters until the sugar is dissolved; a splash of water can execute the process. Add the rye and several ice cubes, and stir to chill. Take the serving glass, toss out its ice, and add the splash of Absinthe, Pernod or Herbsaint. Swirl it around to coat the inside of the glass, and then pour out any liquid that remains. Strain the chilled cocktail into the prepared glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

 

CIN-CIN!

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zenmartini1 by Pinky Gonzales

For those of you who consider the Pink Gin an old familiar friend (not to be confused with LUPEC member Pink Gin), below you’ll find an array of comments on its existence. For the unacquainted, or who read this week’s Dig column to the bitter end, Pink Gin is a keep-it-simple, Zen-like libation, which looks tranquil enough but can scorch your gizzard if drank with abandon. However, it’s a fine way to try various brands of gin and bitters if you wish, or simplify life in general while achieving enlightenment.

Plymouth gin is most favored here for it’s palatable smoothness and historical use. High-ranking British Royal Navy Officers were known to celebrate their high seas happy hour with straight gin-with-bitters (as opposed to swilling ubiquitous rum like their lowly, not possibly as manly, subordinates). Angostura bitters was something sailors were accustomed to as a remedy for sea sickness, fevers, and stomach disorders, so why not mix medicines, right? They referred to this cocktail as “pinkers” or “pink gin.” They even had a special flag or “gin pennant” on ship they’d hoist up announcing it was Miller time in the wardroom to other ships’ officers. It was an inconspicuous green triangle which depicted a drinking glass.

“It certainly goes a ways toward explaining how an island off the coast of Europe ended up ruling one-fourth of the earth’s land surface,” quips David Wondrich. His Esquire drinks database recipe instructs one to roll around a few good drops of Angostura in an Old-Fashioned glass, dump them out, then pour in 2 ounces of Plymouth et voilà.

Personally, I like a chilled Pink Gin, but not all my fellow LUPEC’rs do or care. Robert Hess has a good video of himself stirring up a Pink Gin and serving it in a small cocktail glass. He uses 1.5 oz of Hendrick’s in his. It’s on his excellent Small Screen Network here. If you are easily distracted like me you can mouse your cursor over the liquor bottles and watch the words “liquor bottles” pop up, or over Robert’s shirt that it declares a “bowling shirt,” etc. Just saying.

LUPEC Boston’s one-and-only water engineer and devoted Kingsley Amis fan, Pink Gin, says that the traditional Plymouth with Angostura, warm or chilled, is her preference. She was very against Amis’ preferred Booth’s Gin,  however, though she and “DUDEPEC” member K. Montuori both agree that Miller’s Gin with a little orange bitters “makes for a nice change of scenery.”

The honorary Barbara West likes Plymouth with Angostura “warm and blushing,” while LUPEC Prez Hanky Panky similarly likes “rose-colored.”

Other variations: Pink Lady says a chilled, Genever “pinker” is a positive experience. Fee’s peach bitters with Old Tom gin is a personal favorite variation, though Bourbon Belle and I do not recommend this as a way to finish off an evening of imbibing.
And lastly, Panky, Joe Rickey, and “John Collins” (Dudepec) over at Drink have been setting afire the Angostura then pouring in 2 oz Plymouth. They’ve been referring to this as “Burnt Toast”, and it is positively dee-licious.

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mxmologoLUPEC Boston is honored to be hosting today’s Mixology Monday at our humble abode.  Inspired by a chance encounter that Pink Lady had with a cocktail novice, we’ve decided to consider those cocktails that would be suitably delicious for the first timer.

Obviously there are a couple things to consider when offering up advice to the amateur cocktailian.  First off your suggestions need to be balanced.  Something too bitter, too sweet or too boozey results in our possible convert spending an eternity in vodka/soda purgatory.

And secondly we should consider accessibility.  Folks are afraid of words they don’t know or understand.  And rather than ask for guidance and clarification they will often just turn and run.  Cocktails for the first timer should be relatively simple and incorporate common ingredients.  Not only do we want the cocktail newcomer to enjoy and understand what they’ve just imbibed, we want to be able to write down the recipe and make it clear that it is something they can easily create for themselves at home!

Let’s hear from some of lovely ladies of LUPEC Boston.  How would they pave thelupec_logo72 way to cocktail glory for an amateur?

Pink Lady is a firm believer in the power of the Jack Rose.  “I think in sweeter incarnations and made with a little Peychaud’s, it could easily trick booze-fearing drinkers into swilling back something made with a brown liquor.”

Bourbon Belle chimed in with the Sidecar.  She describes “the combination of the bold and interesting flavor of brandy that is juxtaposed with the sour kick of fresh lemon juice and balanced with the sweet orange flavor of Cointreau” as a great well-balanced cocktail that goes down easy for the novice drinker.

Pink Gin agrees that the brown spirits tend to be an easier sell to the cocktail beginner.  She suggests a Mint Julep (hopefully served in the proper vessel) or perhaps her father’s favorite, a Bourbon Manhattan.  If Pink Gin gets her charm from her father I’m sure he could successfully put a Manhattan in the hands of any teetotaler!

Pinky Gonzalez pipes in with some options to help a newbie recover from any previous gincidents.  She’s used the Left Bank (Gin, St Germain and Sauvignon Blanc) to make “gin-drinkers out of many an unwitting soul.”  She also recommends the Vesper, saying “it’s good for vodka drinkers/gin fearers; the idea that there is vodka in there is enough for some to ‘go there.’  The Lillet offers the vermouth-fearer an alternative and the James Bond reference is a good hook for some folks.”

As someone who spends a big chunk of my life behind the stick making drinks for the general public I’m constantly considering gateway cocktails.  There is nothing more gratifying than introducing someone whose “usual” is a vodka and soda to the wonderful world of flavorful, balanced cocktails.  For this reason I’ve taken to calling them my greatway cocktails.  For our purposes today we will be focusing on gin and whiskey, the two base spirits that seem to be most misunderstood by the masses.

Let’s start with gin.  There is an erroneous fear of gin running rampant through our society that LUPEC is attempting to quell.  Gin is delicious and according to our good friend Patrick Sullivan it makes you smarter.  Armed with this fact and a few cocktails conversion is imminent.

Fine and Dandy Cocktail (from the Savoy Cocktail Book)

1/2 Plymouth Gin

1/4 Cointreau

1/4 Lemon Juice

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

The Fine and Dandy is a greatway cocktail for many reasons.  Like Bourbon Belle’s suggestion of the Sidecar, the sweet and sour aspects of this cocktail are wonderfully balanced but do not overwhelm the nuances of the gin.  In addition this cocktail gently introduces bitters, a cocktail ingredient that unnecessarily frightens the cocktail neophyte.

imagesThe Stork Club Cocktail

1.5 oz Gin

.5 Cointreau

1 oz Orange Juice

.25 oz Lime Juice

1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Orange juice equals breakfast, the start to one’s day.  Why not start one’s cocktail journey with the juicy house cocktail of one of Manhattan’s most historic hot spots.

As a lover of all brown spirits I can’t imagine not enjoying a perfectly made Manhattan.  But as I know this is not the case for all let’s consider a couple of whiskey based greatway cocktails.

The Scofflaw Cocktail

1 oz Rye Whiskey

1 oz French Vermouth

.5 oz Grenadine

.5 oz Lemon Juice

1 dash Orange Bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This delicious cocktail is perfect for introducing someone to the joys of whiskey and vermouth.   It’s sure to make a newbie ooo and ah.

The Algonquinothers_46780_8

1.5 oz Rye Whiskey

.75 oz Dry Vermouth

.75 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Another juicy option for introducing folks to the joys of marrying whiskey and vermouth.  Encourage the newbie to raise her or his glass to Ms Dorothy Parker, one of our favorite forebroads and member of the Algonquin’s famed round table.

Thank you to all who have participated in our Mixology Monday saluting First Timers.  Check back in the next couple of days for our round up!

Cin Cin!

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elit_midnight_millionaireValentine’s Day is just around the corner and folks are clamoring for reservations at romantic locales all about town.  With the state of the economy and the big event falling on a Saturday many, however, may be choosing to spend the night at home.  That would be my choice as nothing is dearer to me than cooking, cocktailing and enjoying with my sweetie at home sweet home. 

Now the ladies of LUPEC are no slouches in the  kitchen, but that it is not our expertise.  If you are deciding to spend a romantic night in with your honey there are a plethora of great ideas for delicious treats at blogs such as Married…with Dinner or in the lovely pages of Bon Appetit.  But if you need help with some lovely bubbly libations to start your amorous evening, we are the broads for you!

This week’s column in the Dig features the Champagne Cocktail.  To us this is the little black dress of sparkling cocktails.  Simple, elegant and fitting for almost every occasion.  If simplicity is what you are searching for you can also try a Kir Royale.  This French classic is named after former mayor of Dijon Count Felix Kir who enjoyed drinking the local Bordeaux wine with a touch of Cassis.  For a Kir Royale drizzle between 1/8 and 1/4 of an ounce of Cassis in a glass of Champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.  

One of our favorite women behind the stick, Audrey Saunders, is the source of the following delicious rum based bubbly cocktail.

shak184The Old Cuban

1.5 oz Bacardi 8

1 oz Simple Syrup (or less to taste)

.75 oz lime juice

1 dash angostura bitters (we like 2)

Mint

Champagne

Muddle mint, syrup and lime in a mixing glass.  Add rum and bitters and shake with ice.  Double strain into a larger cocktail glass and top with Champagne.  Garnish with a mint leaf.

If you’ve finished a dinner and still have some of the bubbly in the bottle the Seelbach is a bitter filled sparkling cocktail that’s perfect as a digestivo.  The Seelbach is named after the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.  According to Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails the restaurant director found this forgotten pre-Prohibition recipe in 1995.  He began serving the cocktail in the hotel but kept the recipe a secret.  He finally divulged the full recipe in 1997 at the urging of Gary and Mardee Regan.

The Seelbach Cocktailsbhhotelgroup18851

1 oz Bourbon (Old Forrester was specified)

.5 oz Cointreau

7 dashes Angostura bitters

7 dashes Peychaud bitters

Champagne

Stir Bourbon, Cointreau and bitters briefly over ice.  Strain into a Champagne flute and top with bubbles.  Garnish with an orange twist.

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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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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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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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Today the streets of New Orleans are flooded with revelers for the culmination of Carnival, Mardi Gras. The city ‘s population has doubled as tourists have flooded in to scurry for beads and doubloons thrown from floats as krewes snake through the city. We, the ladies of LUPEC, would like to raise our glasses to the Krewe of Muses, the only all female krewe.

Formed in 2000, the Krewe of Muses has over 1100 members. The Krewe was created to celebrate the nine muses, the Greek goddesses who presided over the arts and sciences. The daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, they are believed to inspire artists, especially poets, philosophers, and musicians.

Each year the Krewe of Muses selects one of the nine muses for the season. The Krewe then selects an honorary muse, a woman who embodies the spirit of that muse by having made a significant contribution to New Orleans in the area that muse represents. This year the Krewe celebrated Polymnia, the muse of sacred song, and honored Marva Wright, Louisiana’s Blues Queen.

On January 31, the Krewe of Muses presented a 26 float procession entitled Muses Night Fever. Sporting their famous hand-deocrated glitter shoes, the ladies discoed their way through the garden district pleasing the crowd with unique throws, including Rubik’s Cube beads and disco balls.

Let us raise our glasses to the Krewe of Muses!

New Orleans
1.5 oz Bourbon
1 dash Orange Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
.25 oz Anisette
.25 oz Pastis
Sugar to taste
Stir ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist

Cheers!

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Born in 1849 in Pearlington along the Mississippi River, Eliza Jane Poitevent became the first woman owner and publisher of a major daily newspaper in the United States, the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Eliza began her career as a poet under the pen name Pearl Rivers. In 1870 she was offered the position as literary editor at the Picayune. Against the wishes of her family she moved to New Orleans and joined the male work force as the first woman in Louisiana to make a living at a newspaper. Two years later Eliza married Col Alva Morris Holbrook, the owner and publisher of the Times Picayune.

In 1876 Holbrook died, leaving the paper $80,000 in debt. Eliza’s family encouraged her to declare bankruptcy, but Eliza persevered and at the age of 27 she became the editor and publisher of the Times Picayune. Although some of the staff left, the majority remained at the paper showing their loyalty to Eliza. Under her management the Picayune evolved into a family paper which included departments for women, children, fashion and household hints. As a philanthropist, Eliza used the editorial page to speak out against cruelty to animals. Eliza incorporated elements of the modern syndicated newspaper, thereby tripling the circulation of the Times Picayune from 1880 to 1890.

And now a toast to Pearl Rivers!

Cocktail a la Louisiane
1 oz Rye
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Benedictine
3-4 dashes Absinthe
3-4 dashes Peychaud Bitters
Stir in a glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass in which has been placed a maraschino cherry.

Cheers!

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Last night the lovely ladies of LUPEC Boston gathered at the home of Pinky Gonzalez to raise our glasses to the women of New Orleans. We nibbled on Shrimp “Arnaud,” fried okra, fried oysters, jalapeno cornbread, and “Bananas in Jackets”/”Nuts in Sticks.” And we washed it all down with the following delicious cocktails!

Pimm’s Cup
Pimm’s No 1
Lemon Juice
Simple Syrup
Ginger Ale
English Cucumber

Obituary Cocktail
2 parts Gin
1/4 part Dry Vermouth
1/4 part Absinthe
Stir and Strain

New Iberia Cocktail
2 parts Brandy
1 part French Vermouth
1 part Sherry
3 drops Tabasco
Shake and Strain

Sazerac
1 sugar cube
7 drops Peychaud Bitters
1/2 oz water
2 oz Rye
Splash of Herbsaint
Muddle the sugar cube, bitters and water in a mixing glass. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add rye. Stir with ic e for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass that has been rinsed with Herbsaint. Garnish with oil from a lemon peel.

(Shake Your Own) Ramos Gin Fizz
Egg White
2 parts Gin
1 part Simple Syrup
1/2 part Lemon Juice
1/2 part Lime Juice
3 drops Orange Blossom Water
1 1/2 part Cream
Club Soda
Put all of the ingredients except cream and ice into a shaker. Shake. Add the cream and ice. Shake hard for 10 minutes. Strain into a collins glass leaving 1/2 an inch for soda. Add soda and garnish with a long orange spiral.

Vieux Carre
(created by Walter Bergeron, Head Bartender, Hotel Monteleone c 1937)
1/2 tsp Benedictine
dash Peychaud’s
dash Angostura
1/3 Rye
1/3 Cognac
1/3 Italian Vermouth
Stir and Strain

Keep checking back this week for posts about the great broads of New Orleans!

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