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Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

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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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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by Pink Lady

Boston residents will soon be able to get their weekly dose of LUPEC in print as well as here online.

Starting next week The Weekly Dig will publish a weekly LUPEC Boston column filled with all manner of boozy material including cocktail history, tips for how to mix awesome classic drinks at home, introductions to new spirits, the story behind vintage spirits, news about our upcoming events, and more — and a cocktail recipe each week, of course.

Pick up a copy of this week’s Dig to read an introduction by our fabulous editor and fellow cocktail maven, Christine Liu.

Try one of these as you toast our new print home!

THE IRMA LA DOUCE
A LUPEC ORIGINAL, 2007 from Little Black Blook of Cocktails: Namesake & Favorite Recipes by LUPEC Boston. Irma La Douce is a movie in which Shirley MacLaine plays a Parisian prostitute who wears bright green stockings.

1.5 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
.5 ounces Green Chartreuse
.5 ounces cucumber purée (peel and blend fresh cucumber, then pass through a sieve)
.5 ounces fresh lemon juice
.5 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
.25 ounces simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cin-cin!

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by Pink Lady

Whenever LUPEC throws a party I find myself gleefully overwhelmed: So many cocktails on offer, so little time…however will I sample all of the delicious drinks on this list in one evening? Perhaps I’d try if I were a guest, but since I’m there representing a ladies club devoted to sophisticated and responsible imbibing, I abstain, lest I end up dancing on a table with a lampshade on my head.

But what about all those cocktails I missed out on?

Now, thanks the the recently available Little Black Book of Cocktails by LUPEC Boston, many of those drinks can be made in the comfort of your own home. Handsomely designed by LUPEC Boston’s own Pinky Gonzales, this smart little book contains recipes for all ten of the “namesake cocktails” of the ladies of LUPEC Boston, plus recipes for some of our favorite classics and vintage-inspired originals — approximately 40 favorites in all. We’ve designed it with readers like you in mind, so you may enjoy these fine drinks at home, on your own time — lampshade chapeau-ed dance optional.

The book costs $15 and all proceeds from book sales benefit the Friends Boutique at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which provides wigs, prosthetics, scarves and services for people dealing with the appearance side effects of cancer treatment.

LUPEC partnered with Cambridge-based photographer Matt Demers last fall 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.

To order a copy of The Little Black Book of Cocktails email us at lupecboston@gmail.com. You can also pick up a copy at Magpie (617-623-3330) in Davis Square, Somerville, or Buckaroo’s Mercantile (617-492-4792) in Central Square, Cambridge.

And let us know what you think of the drinks by dropping us a note in the comments section. The first reader to respond letting us know they’ve tried all ten cocktails just might receive a special prize at our next event!

A sante!

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Raiders of the Lost Cocktail, anyone? This event, hosted by The Spirit World, was designed to:

“…re-examine some of the slightly more obscure products which might be gathering dust on the shelves of bars across America (if not the world), and to see if our intrepid little band of explorers can uncover some forgotten gems of recipes which might breathe new life into those products.”

We’ll drink to that!

This month’s theme is Apricot Brandy, and it just so happens that the namesake cocktail of one of our founding broads features this nearly forgotten ingredient. On behalf of the ladies of LUPEC Boston, I present to you: The MiMi! It’s most delicious.

MiMi
Courtesy, Hotel Georges V, Paris

1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 dashes grenadine

1/5 apricot brandy

3/5 gin

2 drops cognac

1 egg white

Rub rim of small wine glass with slice of lemon. Dip edge into powdered sugar. Shake ingredients with ice, and strain into glass.

From Ted Saucier’s Bottom’s Up, copyright 1951.

Cin-cin, all!

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It’s Mixology Monday again! This month we are, with our host Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour, exploring Variations.

Here in Boston the ladies of LUPEC have been very excited with the recent availability of the Rothman and Winter Creme de Violette. It’s always thrilling to have a new product available, but in this case this is a new old product which opens up yet another window into cocktail past. In honor of our new favorite spirit we are going to take a look at three cocktails featuring gin, creme de violette, absinthe and french vermouth.

Within my modest collection of cocktail tomes I found the first recipe for the Atty Cocktail in The Savoy Cocktail Book.
ATTY COCKTAIL
1/4 French Vermouth
3 dashes Absinthe
3/4 Dry Gin
3 dashes Creme de Violette
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.
Now we adore all of the ingredients in this cocktail and think it is delicious. However when looking for a cocktail to showcase the Creme de Violette this would not be our first choice so let’s continue on to some other variations…

Thumbing through Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Official Mixer’s Manual we find the Attention Cocktail.
ATTENTION COCKTAIL
1/4 French Vermouth
1/4 Absinthe
1/4 Gin
1/4 Creme de Violette
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
Stir well with cracked ice and strain.
Once again, all things we love, but equal parts doesn’t really work for us. The strength of the Absinthe overpowers the other ingredients.

Jones’ Complete Bar Guide has the following recipe:
ATTENTION
1 oz gin
1/2 oz Pernod
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz creme de violette
2 dashes orange bitters
Ah…we’re getting closer. The increase in the base spirit created a nice platform for the other flavors. Truth be told, we used Ricard instead of Pernod…desperate times call for desperate measures. The Ricard still was a bit powerful, but seemed to complement the Creme de Violette rather than battle it as was the case with Absinthe.

Sticking with Mr Jones we find the Arsenic and Old Lace. From the name alone we have very high hopes!
ARSENIC AND OLD LACE
1-1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Absinthe or substitute
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz creme de violette
Once again we used Ricard and it was good, but we miss the bitters.

So in conclusion, there is no conclusion. As women dedicated to our cause we will happily continue our research!

Cheers!

Oh my goodness! I almost forgot two very important things!

A huge shout out to Eric Seed, the man behind the availability of Creme de Violette. Besides having the cutest daughter in the world who claps when she eats head cheese, through Haus Alpenz he is making amazing products available to us! Please check out his website and encourage your local retailers and bars to carry his products.

For an updated variation on the Arsenic and Old Lace head over to this post on Cocktail Chronicles where Paul Clarke checks out Simon Difford’s Flower Power Martini.

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