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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 LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

Tales of the Cocktail is just around the corner, and the rank and file of LUPEC are beside ourselves with anticipation. This marks one of our favorite weeks of the entire year, when we join thousands of like-minded liquor nerds in descending upon New Orleans for five days devoted to the celebration of all things cocktail—history, preservation, technique … even hospitality behind the bar.

We wish we could take all of you down to NOLA for a few fabulous days of booze-filled revelry; in lieu of a plane ticket, we’ll offer a vicarious trip through LUPEC’s eyes (we are a charitable organization, after all). We suggest you start getting in the mood now by mixing up a Vieux Carré, a potation invented by Walter Bergeron in 1938 while he was head bartender at the Hotel Monteleone, the site of all the action at Tales of the Cocktail.

The Monteleone was first christened in 1886, when Antonio Monteleone purchased a 64-room hotel on the corner of Bienville and Royal streets in the heart of the French Quarter, a section dubbed by French Colonials “the Vieux Carré.” An industrious Sicilian nobleman who operated a successful shoe factory in his home country, Monteleone moved to New Orleans to seek his fortune in the 1880s. His hotel grew and expanded via five major additions over the years and has always been a jewel of the French Quarter. After four generations, it’s still family owned and operated.

Within the hotel is the famous Carousel Bar, a gilded, rotating bar fashioned to look like its namesake, and it literally never stops turning. Since opening 61 years ago, the Carousel Bar has played host to many famous authors and musicians. Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote warmed barstools there, as have musicians like Etta James and Gregg Allman.

LUPEC spends many a morning, noon and evening at the Carousel Bar during the Tales of the Cocktail festivities. Won’t you join us vicariously by mixing up one of these?

VIEUX CARRÉ

1 oz rye whiskey

1 oz cognac

1 oz sweet vermouth

1 tsp Bénédictine D.O.M.

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

2 dashes angostura bitters

Mix all ingredients in a double Old Fashioned glass over ice; stir. Garnish with a lemon twist.

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL IS JULY 21st-25th IN NEW ORLEANS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT TALESOFTHECOCKTAIL.COM.

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by Pink Lady

Along with several other LUPEC ladies, I spent 5 days in July pickling myself at the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans. Instead of heading home after so much debauchery, I continued my trip over to the Left Coast where my high school bestie’s wedding was scheduled for the following weekend. For future reference, I would NOT recommend tacking another whole week of boozy travel on to the week after Tales, unless you have a liver the size of Texas. That said, my travels introduced me to a whole new world of Left Coast libations of which I was thrilled to partake. The adventure included a night of bar-hopping in Seattle to check out the Zig Zag Cafe and meet living legend, Murray Stenson, followed by several drinks at the ultra-sleek cocktail venue Vessel, Tini Biggs for a visit with blogger/bartender Jamie Boudreau, and last call at Sun Liquor. (Special thanks to my lovely tour guides, Rocky and Kevin.)

After a one-evening break (which involved sipping rose instead of cocktails), I headed to Portland, Oregon, where I was shepherded from train station to nail salon to dinner in a whirlwind of bachelorette party madness. I’m typically wary of bachelorette parties – penis straws and screaming girls wearing identical tee-shirts and over-sexualized pieces of flair are just not my thing. I circumvented silliness this time by planning the party myself.

IMG_3306Perhaps against his better judgment, PDX bartender Dave Shenaut invited me to bring the ladies to the Teardrop Lounge. The venue is a classy place, not one I’d typically bring a gaggle of drunk, screaming girls into, but Dave insisted it would be the best place to take our group. He arranged for there to be pitchers of cocktails waiting for us on the table they’d reserved, allowing me to introduce the group to the deliciousness that is the Hemingway Daiquiri. Each pitcher was cooled with meticulously carved special ice: one held two perfectly round balls, the other contained the obligatory phallus. As we imbibed, they played the bride’s all-time favorite movie on the screens above the bar, Dirty Dancing. Around 11:30, just as the busy evening crescendoed, the lounge-y background music suddenly stopped, supplanted for a few glorious minutes by this song/scene from Dirty Dancing. The ladies – and some other awesome bar guests – sang along.

To outside observers, especially jaded restaurant industry vets like myself, the drunk, screaming bachelorette party can seem insufferable…until all of a sudden you’re inside the lady explosion. Then it can be fun. Thanks to Dave and our good friends at the Teardrop Lounge, I think it’s safe to say: the bride had the time of her life.

HEMINGWAY DAIQUIRI

1.25 oz white rum

.25 oz maraschino liqueur

.5 oz fresh grapefruit

.75 oz simple syrup

.75 oz fresh lime juice

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

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by Pink Gin

LUPEC Boston has been busy this summer traveling the country and doing important cocktail research for the benefit of our loyal readers. Sure, you could have found several members at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans but we also took on a bigger challenge: where to get a decent mixed drink in Alaska?

It wasn’t easy. Anchorage is a beer town. You can’t trip over a curb without finding great local beer. With three Anchorage-based breweries/brew pubs and great halibut, salmon, and other seafood in every hole in the wall pub – you could be content for some time.

Undeterred, we found a hidden gem at the Double Musky Inn as featured in this week’s Dig. Sitting at the bar was a pleasure – our wishes almost magically fulfilled by our “bartendress” Suzette and a busy but attentive crew. Sipping on the Deanna’s Garden, named for the proprietor’s wife, had us dreaming of other ways to play with herbal teas in simple syrups. You can order the Spring Garden herbal tea at Summit Spice & Tea Company or find a similar blend locally.

We also loved Club Paris in downtown Anchorage. I bet a lot of people pass it by (actually we sat at the bar and watched some of these people skittishly peer in the door and then scurry away). That’s OK, we probably didn’t want to drink with them anyway. We were drawn to it on our first day (love at first sight?), and I’d be a fixture if I lived any closer – like say, Worcester. We later read this Frommer’s review:

Coming from a bright spring afternoon into midnight darkness, under a neon Eiffel Tower and past the bar, I sat down at a secretive booth for two and felt as if I should lean across the table and plot a shady 1950s oil deal with my companion. And I would probably not have been the first. In contrast to Sullivan’s Steakhouse, across the street, which contrives a masculine, retro feel, Club Paris is the real thing, decorated with mounted swordfish and other cocktail-era decor. The club is the essence of old Anchorage boomtown years, when the streets were dusty and an oil man needed a classy joint in which to do business. Steak, of course, is what to order, and rare really means rare…

bar03

The bar was (refreshingly) without any beer taps, and
Steve mixed a fine Maker’s Mark Manhattan on the rocks. And I’m not sure how or where they find the cows, but they have the finest steaks we’ve eaten anywhere (without the pretense, mini-skirted escorts, and power egos that come with our so-called steakhouses). A week later we joined the regulars at the bar again, and Steve was already reaching for the Maker’s before we sat down. If you find yourself in Anchorage, don’t miss it. The low key “old-school” experience is one that is hard to find in Boston these days – classic bar, classic menu, classy service.

DSCN0596

MAKER’S MARK MANHATTAN
2 oz Maker’s Mark
1 oz sweet vermouth
few dashes Angostura bitters

Build in a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir.

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