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Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as published recently in The Weekly Dig.

by Hanky Panky + Pink Lady

A quick look around the farmers market, and it’s clear that fall is upon us. The last heirloom tomatoes of the season are now cohabitating with local apples, leading to thoughts of crisps and pies loaded with yummy fall spices. Thanks to our friends at Haus Alpenz, the flavors of fall can also make their way into your cocktail glass via St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram.

This allspice liqueur originated in Jamaica as pimento dram, named after the pimento berry from which it is made. The first English to encounter the pimento berry found it to be a conundrum and quickly renamed it allspice, as it encapsulated the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

Although pimento dram was never a huge hit in the States, it received some attention mid-century when tiki aficionados used the exotic, full-flavored dram to add depth to their multilayered concoctions. The importation of pimento dram declined as tiki fell out of fashion.

The Haus Alpenz version of pimento dram made its debut in 2008 sporting a moniker that reflects its distinctive flavor rather than evoking images of red slivers stuffed in olives. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram is made in Austria using Jamaican allspice berries, raw sugar and an aromatic pot-stilled Jamaican rum. When used sparingly, it adds subtle spice notes to cocktails, while in larger proportions, it presents the full, warm flavors of fall.

 

LION’S TAIL

2 oz bourbon

0.5 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1 dash angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

A version of this column originally ran in September 2008.

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

by Pink Lady

Though it won’t technically be fall for another week, we’ve already begun to seek stronger, spicier cocktails made with dark spirits for September sipping. One of our favorite potations among these is the bewitching blend of applejack, Yellow Chartreuse and Benedictine, called “The Widow’s Kiss.”

Invented by George J. Kappeler while he was head bartender at the Holland House hotel in New York City, The Widow’s Kiss combines the storied herbal liqueurs, Chartreuse and Benedictine, with applejack, likely America’s oldest distilled spirit. Both Chartreuse and Benedictine trace their origins to monastic orders in France (the former in the French Alps, the latter in Normandy) and both are made from closely guarded proprietary recipes that were nearly lost during the French Revolution. Perhaps you’ve overlooked the Chartreuse and Benedictine bottles on the back bar in favor of more aggressively marketed sweeteners, but these august brands have been produced for over 400 and 500 years, respectively. They’ve outlasted many a drinking fad, and many more enthusiastic drinkers.

The Widow’s Kiss was such a hit during Kappeler’s reign at the Holland House, it made it into all the major cocktail books, including his 1895 volume, Modern American Drinks. It also exemplifies a trend that began around the 1880s of American mixologists reaching beyond the maraschino, curaçao and crème de noyaux bottles for complex herbal liqueurs to build new palates of flavors as they created innovative recipes. That tradition lives on in a new generation of American bartenders today.

We’ll drink to that.

THE WIDOW’S KISS

1.5 oz applejack

0.75 oz Yellow Chartreuse

0.75 oz Benedictine

2 dashes angostura bitters

Shake in an iced cocktail shaker, as you recklessly break the cardinal rule of stirring cocktails that contain nothing but booze; strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!

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by Pink Lady

In a week LUPEC Boston will be joining 10,000 revelers to converge on the Crescent City for five blissful days of libations, education, and cocktail preservation. As if that wasn’t enough to make our little hearts flutter, we’re thrilled to be teaming up with our LUPEC NYC brethren to host a Spirited Dinner at The Redfish Grill.

With the recent oil spill crisis in the Gulf it’s now more important than ever to support the the hospitality and seafood industries of Louisiana. We’ll be teaming up with the gals of LUPEC NYC to serve a spectacular dinner at the fantastic Redfish Grill on Bourbon Street. If you’re heading down to Tales, we hope you’ll come and join us! Check out the menu & cocktails below, which we’ll be writing about and posting recipes for in the coming weeks. Details below.

We hope to see you there!

LUPEC SPIRITED DINNER @ REDFISH GRILL

Thursday, July 22 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.

115 Bourbon Street

New Orleans, LA

To reserve a spot today, call: 504.598.1200

Redfish Grill‘s Menu
Cocktails by Kirsten Amann and Lynnette Marrero

Aperitif: Anacaona Aperitif
Dubonnet Rouge
Combier L’Original
St. Elizabeth’s allspice dram
Angostura orange bitters
brut champagne or sparkling wine
orange peel, discarded

Amuse Bouche:
Crystal marinated P& J oyster
fried crisp, served with “red-eye” mayonnaise

Amuse Bouche Cocktail: Islay Alteña
El Tesoro platinum tequila
fresh lemon juice
simple syrup
Jerry Thomas Decanter bitters
Lagavulin 16
lemon oil

First Course:
Grand Isle Shrimp and Grits
our version made with Anson Mill’s grits, hickory grilled jumbo shrimp, “roof” bacon lardoons and a slow cooked poached egg

First Course Cocktail: Cerro Quemado
Zacapa rum infused with lapsang souchong
Fino sherry
date molasses
Angostura bitters
orange zest

Second Course:
Local Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Salad
lemon marinated jumbo lump crabmeat with a salad of grilled shitake mushrooms, sugar snap peas, slivered radishes and a spicy boiled peanut emulsion

Second Course Cocktail: The Girl from Ipanema/Garota de Ipanema
Leblon cachaça
Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
fresh lemon juice
simple syrup
fresh ginger juice
lemon peel

Entrée:
Blackened Gulf Grouper
served with maque choux, lemon and shallot compound butter, basil infused extra virgin olive oil and garlic crisps

Entree Cocktail: Quimby Fizz
Tanqueray 10
lime juice
st germain
1 egg white
sage
top with club soda

Dessert:
Chef Toby’s individual angel food cake with Ponchatoula strawberries and a “brandy milk punch” milk shake

Dessert Cocktail: Pineapple Shooter
Zacapa rum
pineapple syrup
espresso cream (hand shaken cream with sugar cube and pinch espresso)

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

by Pink Lady

In just 13 days the ladies of LUPEC Boston will descend upon the New Orleans along with roughly 10,000 other mixologists, brand ambassadors, cocktail writers, and die-hard cocktail enthusiasts. Its one of our favorite weeks of the year – and one of out drunkest – and we’ve already begun prepping our livers. We hope you’ll indulge us as we get into the spirit and raise a glass to one of New Orleans’, greatest bartending broads, the late Flo Woodard.

Woodard, also known as “Ms. Flo”, became a bartender at the Court of Two Sisters in the early 1970s and held court behind the stick there for over 30 years. At the time, the company was looking for “someone with integrity and longevity, someone that could make the customers want to always visit our business again for our total experience,” Flo told the New Orleans Time-Picayune in 2009. This former hostess was a perfect fit. Female bartenders were virtually unheard of in the Crescent City in those days and The Court of Two Sisters were ahead of the times.

Woodard was a self-taught bartender who learned her craft from the pages of bar books, but the special brand of hospitality she practiced was innate. Flo was revered by customers for more than what she put in their glass. Her affable personality and zest for sharing stories brought scores of loyal bar patrons, including celebrity fans, from Cesar Romero to Tyler Perry to the entire cast of “The Young and the Restless” (a favorite show of Ms. Flo’s) to John Wayne’s son, Patrick.

Ms. Flo’s talent for engaging guests was also her passion: “Bartending has allowed me the opportunity to talk to people from all over the world. Many of them have shared much of their lives and secrets with me. When they call me Mama or Auntie, I know that I am the lucky one. I get to share my work time with people that I love. That is very big. They are very special to me. I have been blessed. That little girl from Mississippi found the rest of her family,” said Flo in her 2009 interview with the New Orleans Time-Picayune.

Flo was a star mixologist in her own right, who believed a good drink depends on to top of the line liquor, the right mix of ingredients, a fresh twist, and perfect glassware. In 2007 her Crescent City Cooler placed Second in the Tales of the Cocktail annual drink competition. Her famous Hurricane recipe was also reknown.

Flo passed away on March 16, 2010, but her legend endures. In Ms. Flo’s words: “A good bartender must have the personality of an ambassador, the attitude of a leader and the ability to be a great listener. That is the winning combination. And, of course, you must love people and talking to them.”

Let’s raise one of these to Ms. Flo and those who tend bar in her tradition by lifting our spirits with a good drink.

Crescent City Cooler
By Flo Woodard

10 Cleaned mint leaves

1 Dash simple syrup

2 Dashes of Angostura bitters

2 Dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

Juice of 2 lime wedges

2 ounces Bacardi Light rum

2 ounces Ginger Ale

3/4 ounce Cranberry juice

Lime wheel

Place mint leaves into a frosted Collins glass. Add the simple syrup and both bitters and muddle for 10 seconds. Add the juice from 2 lime wedges, Bacardi Light and ginger ale. Fill the Collins glass with ice and stir with a bar spoon. Top with cranberry juice. Serve with a straw.

Garnish: Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.

Cin-cin!

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

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

by Pink Lady

It’s easy to walk into a bar and order a call brand of gin with your martini or tonic, but how familiar are you with the gins you order and why you like them? If you’ve only ever tried the brand your dad liked, LUPEC implores you to branch out this summer.

There is art to all distillation, but when it comes to gin in particular, everything about the flavor of the end product depends on the distiller’s choice of botanicals and how they’re infused. In a sense, gin is the original flavored vodka. All gin begins as neutral spirit (typically distilled from cereal grains) which most producers purchase (though it’s usually distilled to their specifications and desired standards). The gin is then flavored by the master distiller using whatever botanicals his heart desires along with gin’s signature flavor, juniper berries.

To ensure that their product stands out in the marketplace, distillers go to great lengths to develop botanical blends that make their gins different from the rest. Common botanicals include all manner of citrus peels, coriander seed, Angelica root, cardamom, licorice, orris root powder, bitter almonds and much, much more. Once the list is finalized, the distiller must develop the gin recipe by testing it in many small batches until the perfect balance is achieved.

Another factor that directly impacts flavor is how the distiller gets those botanical essences into his high-proof neutral spirit. In one method, the botanical blend steeps with the spirit for a length of time before water’s added and the spirit is redistilled. Other distillers toss the botanical mixture into the still with the spirit and begin redistilling immediately. They may also opt to impart flavor by hanging the botanicals in a wire basket through which the spirit passes during the distillation process, picking up their essence.

With all of this in mind, we suggest you revisit your favorite gin brands and taste them side by side. There’s much more to these brands than just packaging, and we think you’ll be fascinated by the difference a brand makes. After you’ve tasted them on their own, try them in cocktails—a martini, a Pink Gin or a Pegu Club, perhaps—to see which gin is best for which occasion.

PEGU CLUB

1.75 oz gin

0.75 oz orange curaçao

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

dash angostura bitters

dash orange bitters

Shake in iced cocktail shaker; strain into a vintage cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!

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*The latest ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed them in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Women’s History Month is upon us! As much as the ladies of LUPEC love our cocktails, we also love our history. We spend a great deal of time on the finer points of cocktail history in this here column, and for the month of March, we’ll also be celebrating the great and often unsung forebroads who paved the way for us. We hope you’ll join us in raising a glass with a hearty “cin-cin!”

Monday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a holiday we first learned about from an ex-pat friend living in Italy. We don’t really celebrate it here in the US, but Women’s Day has been observed in countries around the globe for nearly a century. In Italy, men give women yellow mimosas (not bad, right?) and girlfriends gather for women-only dinners and parties (anyone who’s seen an episode of Sex and the City probably finds this commonplace, but in Italy, our friend reports, it’s kind of a big deal). In some countries, like Poland, Women’s Day is similar to America’s greeting card-infested Mother’s Day; in others, such as Pakistan, it’s a day to commemorate the struggle for women’s rights.

Women’s Day was created during the rapid industrialization of the early 20th century, which caused the rise of the labor movement. On March 8th, 1908, 15,000 women protested in New York, marching for voting rights, shorter hours and better pay. The Socialist Party of America declared February 28th the following year National Women’s Day.

In 1910, Women’s Day went global. The delegates to the second annual International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen unanimously approved an International Women’s Day, an occasion to lobby worldwide for women’s rights. The following year, on March 19th, more than a million people attended rallies around the globe, campaigning for women’s rights to vote, work and hold public office. The holiday was moved back to March 8th two years later, in 1913, and has been celebrated then ever since.

International Women’s Day has been reinvented many times since its inception. On the eve of the Great War, it was a day for peace rallies. In the 1960s, second-wave feminists revived it. In 1975, the holiday received official sanction from the UN and has been an officially sponsored holiday ever since.

LUPEC suggests celebrating your favorite ladies this Monday with—what else?—a Ladies cocktail.

Ladies’ Cocktail
Adapted from The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock

1.75 oz bourbon
0.25 oz anisette
0.5 oz pastis
2 dashes angostura bitters
1 pineapple spear

Stir in a mixing glass with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail shaker.

CIN-CIN!

FOR MORE GREAT COCKTAILS AND WOMEN’S HISTORY, VISIT LUPECBOSTON.COM.

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