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Archive for the ‘Whiskey’ Category

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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By Pinky Gonzales

roffignac2Of course it is the week of Fat Tuesday and Lent, and the good city of New Orleans is on our minds and so are it’s drinks. LUPEC Boston’s column in this week’s Dig is on the Roffignac cocktail, a kind of elegant, no-frills, tasty highball. Its exact story is fuzzy, but its origins seem to go back to the early part of the 19th century, when cocktails were fledging. The drink is named after a French Revolution refugee-turned-progressive New Orleans Mayor and state Senator, Count Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac, who may have liked to drink ‘em. It’s a Cognac or Brandy, raspberry, and soda water concoction, and personally, makes me pine for summer. Not a bad Winter blues beater (take it from me!) The original used a now-extinct raspberry syrup called Red Hembarig. I don’t know what our best store-bought choice is today as there are a number of them but I made a fresh raspberry simple syrup and that was not only good enough for me it was delicious.

So as Mayor in the 1820s, Roffignac, perhaps more of an “Obama” of his day than say, a Bush (ouch it’s hard to type his name), introduced and implemented a fistful of forward-minded ideas to make the Crescent city what it is today. According to Ryan Mayer in Where Y’At magazine, “He seems to have been the first official in New Orleans to appreciate its dawning commercial importance, and set himself earnestly and laboriously to prepare the city for its coming greatness.” Cool. He paid great attention to keeping the streets clean, planted trees, paved the streets, spearheaded some early levee planning, and lit the lantern-carrying Quarter with streetlamps in 1821. Pittoresque, no?

The swell little tome, Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix Them by Stanley Clisby Arthur is a fun source for the recipe and a bit of history. It instructs:

untitled1“1 jigger whiskey

1 pony sirup

seltzer or soda water

raspberry sirup

Pour ito a highball glass the jigger of whiskey (or use Cognac, as in the original drink). Add the sirup, which may be raspberry, grenadine, or red Hembarig, the sweetening used in New Orleans a century ago [that would be 1837.] Add the soda water. Ice of course.

Cheers to progress, cheers to the swampy city.

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The 2008 election has come and gone, and wasn’t it enough to drive anyone to drink? In this week’s Dig column, we suggested whipping up a batch of Martha Washington’s Rum Punch to muddle through that post-election hangover. (You can read more about the punch here.) Here’s a list of some other Presidential favorites from administrations past and some fun facts on Presidential partying, culled from Sarah Hood Solomon’s book of Presidential fare and trivia Politics and Pot Roast. Imagine yourself in period garb, washing down any of these concoctions before, during, or after a White House dinner, and see how fun history and politics can be.

From the First administration…

MOUNT VERNON’S MINT JULEPS
Recipe from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association
Handful of fresh mint
1 to 4 tablespoons sugar
1/8 to 1/2 cup water
Crushed ice (about 1 cup)
1/2 to 1 cup bourbon
Powdered sugar

Reserve one mint sprig for garnish. Put remaining mint in the bottom of a (tall) glass, and crush with a mortar. Put in simple syrup (made from the sugar and water). Fill with crushed ice. Pour bourbon on top. Dip mint sprig in powdered sugar as garnish. Quantities of the ingredients may be adjusted for individual tastes.

From the Madison Administration, President #4…

President Madison’s Favorite WHISKEY SOUR
Recipe supplied for Montpelier, the Madison home in Virginia by a family descendant. It is supposed to produce the same whiskey sours served at the White House during Madison’s tenure.
4 lemons
1/2 pint water
1/3 cup sugar (more to taste)
1 pint aged bourbon whiskey (100 proof)

Squeeze juice from the lemons and set aside. Boil water, sugar and lemon rinds for 3 minutes. Cool. Add lemon juice and bourbon. Taste, adding a little more sugar if needed, and refrigerate at least 12 hours. Remove rinds and squeeze dry. Strain and bottle.

From James K. Polk’s Administration, President #11

RASPBERRY SHRUB
President James K. Polk occasionally sipped these poured over crushed ice; adapted from The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Marie Child, 1844
4 cups fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups sugar
2 cups brandy

Place raspberries in a bowl and pour in vinegar and lemon juice. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Crush the berries to a pulp with a spoon or potato masher. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the mixture sit for 5 hours at room temperature.

Remove the cloth and strain the juice to remove all seeds and pulp. Mix brandy with the juice. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. This dinner drink can be served at room temperature as an after dinner drink, or served over crushed ice on a hot summer day.

From Ulysses S. Grant, President # 18

ROMAN PUNCH
1 quart lemon sherbet
1 cup rum
1/4 cup Cointreau
1 split champagne

Put lemon sherbet into a chilled bowl. Slowly mix in rum and Cointreau. Quickly add champagne and stir until it is a mushy texture. Ladle into sherbet dishes. Serves 10.

Presidential Tipplin’ Trivia

  • In later years the Mount Vernon distillery became a commercial operation, making Washington the first and only founding father to own and operate a commercial distillery. It enjoyed two good years of robust whiskey production before Washington’s death in 1799.
  • Though Polk occasionally partook in the aforementioned Raspberry Shrub, he and his wife Sarah took their roles in the White House very seriously (and solemnly). Food & drink were not served at most receptions and dancing was forbidden.
  • Grant’s Army quartermaster served as White House chef for a brief time, preparing basic and unimaginative menus for the first family. Eventually Grant’s wife rebelled and hired an Italian to chef replace him. State dinners became extravagant affairs where the new Italian chef Melah served Roman Punch as a post-entree digestivo. It was also served at daughter Nellie Grant’s White House wedding.
  • The simple ceremony planned to celebrate Andrew Jackson’s inauguration went horribly awry when 20,000 people invaded the White House mansion. The celebrants caused a ruckus of epic proportions, breaking windows, china, furniture and causing several fires. The place was so packed that people who came in the door had to crawl out the windows. Clever cooks eventually lured revelers out of the Presidential mansion by putting out tubs of whiskey on the lawn.
  • President James Buchanan had a legendary tolerance for alcohol & once reprimanded a liquor merchant for sending pint bottles of champagne to fulfill orders of bubbly because they were too small. On his way to church, he liked to stop at the Jacob Baer distillery to purchase a 10-gallon cask of “Old J.B.” whiskey, tickled that he and the whiskey shared the same initials.
  • Alice Roosevelt, Theodore’s oldest daughter, was an independent woman after our own hearts: “She smoked on the White House roof, wore pants, and was known to have a cocktail.” To Alice!
  • Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt were fond of informal Sunday dinners consisting of eggs scrambled by the First Lady in a tableside chafing dish (allegedly the only recipe in her repertoire) and martinis poured by self-appointed bartender, FDR.
  • While Governer of NY, FDR never let a guest’s glass go empty, often pressing his company to have a second and third cocktail. “How about another little sippy?” he’d ask and pour another of his favorite drink, a ‘Haitian Libation’ (made with orange juice, rum, and grenadine.) Over-served guests dumped the excess in the houseplants.
  • President and First Lady Truman were fond of Old Fashioneds, which their butler never seemed to make correctly. They were finally satisfied the day he tried the following recipe: pour bourbon over ice; serve. Truman was prescribed 2 shots of bourbon a day by his doctor, which he took each morning with a glass of orange juice.
  • John F. Kennedy’s favorite drink was beer; Jackie Kennedy liked daiquiris.

And as we look ahead and drink in a new administration, we offer you this advice, taken from the sage “Etiquette Rules for State Dinners” in The White House Cook Book, circe 1887.

“Don’t, when you drink, elevate your glass as if you were going to stand it inverted on your nose…Drink gently, and not pour it down your throat like water turned out of a pitcher.”

Cin-cin!

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by Pink Gin

The theme of the May LUPEC Boston meeting was Travel.

We live in an amazing time when women have status and choices and when travel is cheap and easy. The ladies of LUPEC Boston celebrated the convergence of these ‘movements’ with food, drink, conversation, and authentic costumes from around the world. Featured readings came from Stuff at Night (on the topic of LUPEC’s Little Black Book of Cocktails), the Complete Book for the Intelligent Woman Traveler by Frances Koltun, published in 1967 (on the lively topic of bidets), and Easy to Make Maidens and Cocktails: A Mixing, Swingers Bar Guide published by Enrol in 1965 (illustrated with a saucy dame for each base spirit).

Recipes were selected on the theme of travel, including the traveler’s imperative to seek out local specialties – in this case, JP!

Monday-night Mug

MONDAY NIGHT MUG
2 bottles of Cantina Bostonia White Table Wine
~12 oz. Picon
~6 oz. St. Germain
10-12 dashes orange bitters
1 lemon
Mix the refrigerated wine and other liquid ingredients into a punch bowl. Slice the lemon and float on top.

This recipe was inspired by the French classic of mixing local white wine and Picon. Cantina Bostonia is the only Boston-based wine maker. They make sulfite-free wines just a few blocks away in the brewery complex. The wines have plenty of character and will definitely remind you of homemade. In this case the recipe testing and decision to create a punch came late the night before the LUPEC meeting. Thanks to k. montuori for recipe development and for saying, “In JP you don’t get punched, you get mugged.”

PINK GIN
Recipe as given in the Little Black Book.

Inspired by thoughts of the high seas, of course!
NORMANDY
Recipe as given in the Little Black Book. Harpoon Cider is the featured Boston ingredient.

IRISH COFFEE WITH A SECRET
~1 tsp. sugar of any sort (I happened to have agave syrup last night and it was fine)
2 oz. Irish whiskey (Powers was the brand on hand)
8 oz. stovetop espresso brewed with a generous portion of red pepper flake (thanks to mcoffee for the brew)
Heavy cream (from a New England farm of course)
Assemble the sugar, whiskey, and coffee in a stemmed glass. Stir. Whip unsweetened cold cream to desired consistency (I like it just shy of soft peaks) and carefully spoon on top. One story has it that the original Irish Coffee was invented in the Shannon International Airport Lounge. Truth or fiction? Who cares! The secret is in the spice.

Cheers!

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by Pink Lady

Dear Boston Drinkers,

The ladies of LUPEC Boston would like to invite you all to raise a glass to our very favorite holiday week: World Cocktail Week.

The brainchild of the geniuses behind the Museum of the American Cocktail, World Cocktail Week was established to celebrate the rich history of the cocktail and recognize the craftsmanship and skill of the bartenders who have been mixing them for over 200 years. It starts today, May 8th and culminates on World Cocktail Day, Tuesday, May 13th.

We will be celebrating World Cocktail Day on May 13th at the Drinkboston party at Green Street (details to follow on that.) Hopefully some of you will join us there. In the event that you can’t, why not start the celebration today with a Sazerac? Believed by some to be the “original” cocktail, and unarguably one of the oldest cocktails around, we couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the celebration than kicking back with one of these.

THE SAZERAC
Recipe borrowed from drinkboston.com
1 sugar cube (4-7 grams)
7 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 oz water
3 oz Sazerac rye whiskey
A few drops of Herbsaint (pastis)
Muddle first three ingredients in mixing glass. “Rinse” a pre-chilled, old-fashioned glass with Herbsaint (pour drops of Herbsaint into glass, swirl and discard). Add rye to mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well for 30 seconds and strain into Herbsaint-rinsed glass. Squeeze lemon twist over glass and rub around rim. Discard peel.

Cin cin!

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texas1

by Pinky Gonzales

…This was the standard greeting you’d likely receive from the jovial, peroxide blonde manning the house at one of several Manhattan speakeasies during Prohibition. Of course, this would foreshadow the spending of all your dough, on illegal hooch and tips for the showgirls. You’d happily fork over $25 (back then no chump change) for a fifth of Scotch, or $2 for a pitcher of water if you brought your own “booster”, and whatever else followed. texasclubsignThe place would probably be packed, open a few hours later than all the rest, and the wisecracking, witty pal of Mae West named Texas Guinan would be seeing to it you were having a darned good time.

Before being seduced into the world of club ownership through bartending and guest emceeing, Texas started out in Vaudville, then in Westerns as an actress and producer. 1917’s The Wildcat introduced America’s first movie cowgirl.
1926_burlesque_drena_beach
Her nite club career included “the grandaddy of speakeasies,” the El Fey Club, opened in 1924 with gangster Larry Fey. Later came Club Intime, a Dorothy Parker hangout and subterranean spot near Times Square where entry would involve a steep staircase, two bouncers and a peephole. There was also the Rendezvous, the 300 Club, the Argonaut, the Century, the Salon Royal, and Tex Guinan’s. Infamous for being hauled off to the pokey on a regular basis and having her joints shut down by Feds, Texas enjoyed having the band strikeup “The Prisoner’s Song” on her way out the door. And always would she deny selling anything but “mixers” to at her clubs, noting “a man could get hurt falling off a bar stool!” Re-opening after raids, she would sometimes wear a necklace of gold padlocks just to show the cops there were no hard feelings. guntex1_1She worked tirelessly until age 49, when she was stricken by illness and passed away. 12,000 attended her 1933 funeral procession in Manhattan, and a month later to the day of her death, Prohibition was repealed. Looks like a Women’s History Month toast is in store for this gal!

SCOFF LAW COCKTAIL (what else?)
1 oz rye whiskey
1 oz dry vermouth
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.75 oz green Chartreuse (or pomegranate grenadine according to some recipes – also excellent)
2 dashes orange bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cheers!

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Ah, the most refreshingly delicious day of the year! World Cocktail Day!

World Cocktail Day occurs annually on the day the Balance and Columbian Repository, a Hudson, New York newspaper, printed a wonderful exchange in which the editors defined the word cocktail. During the previous week, the loser of a political race had created a witty account of their gains and losses during the race. One of the losses listed was “25 do. cock-tail.” A confused reader wrote in asking what a cock-tail was. Here is the letter to the editor and the editor’s response:


To the Editor of the Balance.
Sir,
I observe in your paper of the 6th instant, in the account of a democratic candidate for a seat in the legislature, marked under the head of Loss, 25 do. cock-tail. Will you be so obliging as to inform me what is meant by this species of refreshment? Though a stranger to you, I believe, from your general character, you will not suppose this request to be impertinent.
I have heard of a forum, of phlegm-cutter and fog driver, of wetting the whistle, of moistening the clay, of a fillip, a spur in the head, quenching a spark in the throat, of flip & c, but never in my life, though have lived a good many years, did I hear of cock tail before. Is it peculiar to a part of this country? Or is it a late invention? Is the name expressive of the effect which the drink has on a particular part of the body? Or does it signify that the democrats who take the potion are turned topsycurvy, and have their heads where their tails should be? I should think the latter to be the real solution; but am unwilling to determine finally until I receive all the information in my power.
At the beginning of the revolution, a physician publicly recommended the moss which grew on a tree as a substitute for tea. He found on experiment, that it had more of a stimulating quality then he approved; and therefore, he afterward as publicly denounced it. Whatever cock tail is, it may be properly administered only at certain times and to certain constitutions. A few years ago, when the democrats were bawling for Jefferson and Clinton, one of the polls was held in the city of New York at a place where ice cream was sold. Their temperament then was remarkably adust and bilious. Something was necessary to cool them. Now when they are sunk into rigidity, it might be equally necessary, by cock-tail to warm and rouse them.
I hope you will construe nothing that I have said as disrespectful. I read your paper with great pleasure and wish it the most extensive circulation. Whether you answer my inquiry or not, I shall still remain,
Yours,
A SUBSCRIBER

[As I make it a point, never to publish anything (under my editorial head) but which I can explain, I shall not hesitate to gratify the curiosity of my inquisitive correspondent: Cock tail, then is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters it is vulgarly called a bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said also, to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else.
Edit. Bal.]

To us it sounds like it’s time for a good Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail!

In an Old-Fashioned glass place a sugar cube.
Saturate the sugar cube with 2 or 3 dashes of bitters and a splash of water.
Crush the cube with a muddler.
Rotate the glass so the sugar and bitters line the glass.
Add ice and 2.5 oz rye or bourbon.
Squeeze a lemon twist over it, decorate with your favorite stirring rod and serve!

Cheers!

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