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*Recent ruminations from the ladies of LUPEC as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Politics and cocktails? Yes, please. With President’s Day on the horizon we thought it only fitting to highlight some of the drinking habits of our nation’s leaders, culled from the fascinating book of Presidential fare and trivia Politics and Pot Roast by Sarah Hood Solomon.

George Washington totally made whiskey at Mount Vernon. He was the first and only founding father to own and operate a commercial distillery. It enjoyed two good years of robust rye whiskey production before Washington’s death in 1799.

Though 11th President, James Polk occasionally partook in a Raspberry Shrub, he and his wife Sarah took their roles in the White House solemnly…I mean, seriously. Food & drink were not served at most receptions and dancing was forbidden.

Andrew Jackson’s administration was a different story. The simple ceremony planned to celebrate his inauguration went horribly awry when 20,000 people invaded the White House mansion. The celebrants caused an epic ruckus breaking windows, china,and 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. He 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, Buchanan liked to stop at the Jacob Baer distillery to purchase a 10-gallon cask of “Old J.B.” whiskey. He liked that he and the whiskey shared the same initials.

Alice, Theodore Roosevelt’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.” (Cheers, Alice!)

While Governer of NY, FDR never let a guest’s glass go empty, often pressing his company to have a second and third drink, asking “How about another little sippy?” as he poured his favorite ‘Haitian Libation’ (made with orange juice, rum, and grenadine.) Over-served guests used houseplants to discard the contents of the glass.

President and First Lady Truman were fond of Old Fashioneds, but butler never seemed to make them correctly. He finally got it right when he tried this 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.

As you raise a glass of this favorite of George Washington, we offer you this advice, 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.”

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.

FOR MORE GREAT RECIPES, VISIT LUPECBOSTON.COM.

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

by Pink Lady

Leaf through the pages of the Savoy Cocktail Book or Mr. Boston, and it’s easy to feel intimidated by the idea of coming up with a cocktail all by yourself. Talented modern mixologists are transforming bartending back into the craft it once was, elevating their work behind the stick to an art, to be sure. But this doesn’t mean even a relatively inexperienced home bartender can’t invent a delicious cocktail of their own.

A while back, Bourbon Belle introduced one method of creating your own drink by taking an already existing classic, altering the recipe slightly and giving it a fancy new name. This is how she arrived at her eponymous cocktail, which spiffs up that tried-and-true classic, the Manhattan, with a bit of Mathilde Peches Liqueur. Delish.

Another simple way to craft your own drink is by using a basic template that already works and plugging in ingredients of your choice to make it your own. An easy gateway cocktail template to get you going is the basic sour. Sours are one of the oldest categories of drinks, and though commonly considered “cocktails” now (as most drink are), they represent a drink family all their own. Consider this as you glance over cocktail lists next time you’re out on the town—they’re one of the oldest drinks in the book, but they’re everywhere.

It’s easy to see why sours have stood the test of time: They are simple to create, even with limited cocktail know-how and few ingredients, and they taste delicious. The basic template softens a base spirit with something sweet and something tart. You’ll need to adjust depending on the robustness of your base spirit (gin versus anything brown), the sweetness of your sweetener (simple syrup versus a liqueur, for example) and the acidity of your citrus, but the ratios we give below, as employed in the perennial and often misunderstood whiskey sour, are a good place to start. Then, play around—switch up your base spirit, grab a bottle of St-Germain or some Benedictine and see how that works in place of simple syrup; add some egg white, and top with soda or sparking wine. When you’re through, give your new drink a name and serve it with pride to your friends. They’ll be impressed.

WHISKEY SOUR

2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 oz simple syrup
0.75 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a rocks glass, or a sour glass if you have one.

CIN-CIN!

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*The latest ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ‘em in the Dig.

by Pink Lady

There’s just something about The Great Gatsby: the gilded, glamorous, Jazz-era setting, the rich, drunk characters—as decadent as modern-day reality show stars. Plus, it’s a good book, a classic most people seem to have actually read, and one that LUPEC is very much looking forward to hearing again.

Not via book-on-tape, silly. At the American Repertory Theater’s latest show, GATZ, in which an employee at a low-rent business office finds a ragged old copy of The Great Gatsby in the clutter of his desk and starts to read it out loud—and doesn’t stop. It’s not a stage adaptation of The Great Gatsby, but a verbatim reading of the entire text. And it lasts six hours.

It sounds more like a “serious” episode of The Office than traditional theater, to be sure, but our faith in the A.R.T. has been sealed since they brought us Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, which transformed an abandoned elementary school into a 1930s-era set that featured a bar, an awesome band and authentic classic cocktails. And GATZ has received rave reviews in the eight countries it’s toured since its premiere in 2006.

What better way to usher in this exciting new show than with a 1920s-themed party at the A.R.T.’s restaurant partner, Upstairs on the Square? You have our word that the drinks will be the bee’s knees. LUPEC curated the list.

We suggest you come dressed to the nines tonight, and sip a Seelbach as you don your spats and flapper hats. The drink was created at the Seelbach Hotel circa 1917, a haunt of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s as he was writing The Great Gatsby. Its history is a Lazarus tale if there ever was one: The recipe was lost during Prohibition, not drunk again until a hotel manager rediscovered and revived it in 1995. Legend has it that Gatsby was modeled on a gangster Fitzgerald met at the Seelbach Bar, probably while knocking back many of these.

Fitzgerald himself was a party man, after all, notorious for drinking too much gin with his wife Zelda and jumping into the fountains at the Plaza Hotel, boiling party guests’ watches in tomato soup and stripping down to dance naked at parties. The Seelbach was probably right up his alley. To paraphrase LUPEC member emeritus Barbara West, “One Seelbach makes you feel like you’re at a lawn party in  West Egg; a few Seelbachs make you feel like you’re in a nightclub balancing glassware on your boobs.”

Look out, Daisy, here we come.

SEELBACH COCKTAIL

1 oz bourbon

0.5 oz Cointreau

7 dashes angostura bitters

7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

5 oz chilled brut champagne

Build in a champagne flute, stir, add champagne, stir again and garnish with an orange twist.

CIN-CIN!

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

by Pink Lady

Did you wake up after the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash with dry mouth, a pounding head and a bad case of UPDA (unexplained paranoid drinking anxiety)? It’s OK, so did we. If you’re the lucky recipient of one of the gift certificates we raffled off, we hope you chose to spend it on a little hair of the dog, as that is truly the only way to reset your off-balance nervous system once afflicted with a hangover.

The winner of a $100 gift certificate to Eastern Standard, for example, had many delicious brunch beverage options from which to choose. Roll right from our 1950s tiki party into the swingin’ ’60s with classic morning sips, like a Greyhound or a Harvey Wallbanger. When’s the last time you had Galliano?

Brunch cocktails at Toro are offered in pitchers, which is exactly what the winner of that gift certificate needed for the morning after. The Blood Orange Mimosa is a lovely, dark pink take on the classic that looks oh-so inviting in large quantities. And a pitcher of Bloody Marys is packed with nourishing Vitamin C and lycopene, which has been extensively studied for its possible antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. There’s got to be a hangover cure in there somewhere, too.

For the recipient of a gift certificate from the Franklin Café, we’d suggest brunch at the Franklin Southie over an Improved Toxic Moxie Cocktail, featuring Rittenhouse Rye, Fernet Branca, Moxie and angostura orange bitters. True New Englanders know Moxie makes everything better … as does the bacon that we suggest you add to your hangover-snuffing sirloin burger.

Can’t make a move without coffee? Lucky news for the lucky winner of 4 pounds of coffee from the 1369 Coffeehouse. If only it came with a personal barista/masseuse to rub away the pain.

Did you sleep till 4pm? There, there. Sleeping in is the best way to sleep it off. No one needs to know your early-bird dinner at Hungry Mother is the first meal of the day. The lucky winner of that gift certificate had a smorgasbord of rich, Southern-style, hangover-healing comfort food to choose from. Baked grits with tasso ham and cheddar and a bowl of potlikker soup with turnips, braised greens and ham hock should do the trick. Wash it down with a No. 56—gin, Aperol, sour and cava—the bitters and bubbles are sure to settle your stomach.

Perhaps the luckiest winner of all received a free round-trip ticket to anywhere JetBlue flies, allowing a chance to run from their hangover with real-life escapism. Actual sand and surf, and some R&R, could make you forget bitter, cold Boston and our faux tropic Tiki Bash. And Bloody Marys always taste better at 30,000 feet.

Tiki cocktails are potent stuff, but you can’t say we didn’t warn you. Thanks to all who turned out for donating your dollars—and your livers—to help support our fall beneficiary, On the Rise. We hope you had fun … perhaps enough to relive the night—maybe in a few weeks—with this modern tiki creation, a LUPEC Boston original.

KEN-TIKI

1.5 oz bourbon

0.5 oz Campari
rinse Herbsaint
0.75 oz Falernum
0.5 oz passionfruit

0.5 oz lemon

Put all ingredients except Herbsaint in a shaker and shake. Rinse glass with Herbsaint (or absinthe). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!

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by Pink Lady

Thanks to everyone who came out for our spectacular Sip & Shop at Grand yesterday! LUPEC was thrilled to team up with the Boston Shaker store to welcome special guests Dale & Jill DeGroff, who signed many books and shook many hands as we manned the Absinthe fountain and doled out delicious, spooky punch (recipes below.)

Special props to all who attended in costume, as well. We had a tough time deciding on the best one, with Wonder Woman, Quailman, and Jackie Kennedy, and more all strong contenders. The final winner was the Beekeeper, whose attention to detail (real bee carcasses attached to his jumpsuit and his very own bee) put his costume over the top. The Beekeeper was awarded a free ticket to the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash. We can’t wait to see what he dreams up for that dress-up party.

Relive the moment at home with an individual-sized version of the cocktails we served as punch :

CORPSE REVIVER NO. 2
.75 oz Hendricks
.75 oz Lillet
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz lemon
dash of absinthe

Shake with ice & strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. Originally a hangover helped designed to help moisten the clay on any given Tuesday.
BLOODBATH PUNCH
1 oz Bourbon
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
.5 oz Cherry Heering
.5 oz Orange Juice
Angostura Orange Bitters

Shake with ice & strain into a chilled cocktail glass. A riff on the Blood & Sand, only far more ghoulish.

Cin-cin!

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We LUPEC broads love to cocktail for a cause, so whenever we’re out and about and know our bar is doing their part to go green we feel pretty good stumbling home.

the perfect cocktail garnish plucked from your windowsil.

the perfect cocktail garnish plucked from your windowsil.

Kudos to some of our favorites (as mentioned in this week’s Dig), who have been doing it so long it’s old hat by now — yet still awesome. The staff at Toro in the South End has their bases covered, actively reducing their carbon footprint every day. Our favorite angle? They source locally grown and sustainably raised ingredients whenever possible, reducing the “food miles” ingredients must travel from the farm to our kitchen to your plate, and use virtually all parts of the animal being served whenever possible, harking back to rural traditions of reduced waste and delicious thrift. Additionally, all take-out products are made from biodegradable materials, all glass is recycled, biodegradable waste is composted, and an in-house water filtration system supplies guests who yearn for “Sparkling or Still.”

Christopher’s, Cambridge Common, Lizard Lounge, Toad and West Side Lounge in Cambridge use Save That Stuff for recycling and send compost to Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton. How did they get started? Owner Holly Helsop told us “It was one of our goals when we opened Christopher’s in 1981, and it’s grown from there. So we began recycling, installed an in-house water purification system (eliminating the need for bottled water)… from the very beginning.” Are patrons surprised/curious/delighted when they find out about the initiatives? Yes, however, since they “never intended to use our commitment as a ‘draw’ we haven’t really done too much in the way of publicizing what we do. We would do it anyway.” *swoon!*

Owners Bob & Mary Jo Sargent of Flora have been committed to supporting local/organic farmers for nearly two decades. Their wine list contains several biodynamic and organic wines. They even save wine corks for crafts people and local home-based wine makers — resourceful, no?

The Independent in Union Square hosts organic wines and local & craft beers, serves organic food, and recycles. Done and done!

Get your garnishes fresh and local: grow’em or find a farmer’s market at www.massfarmersmarkets.org.

More tips for your home bar can be found here, here and here.

Know of a bar worth a mention? Comment away! Know of a bar that you wish was on board? Let them know it’s important, easy, and cheap to go green.

HOME ON THE RANGE
1 oz bourbon
1 oz Red Dubonnet
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 dash Angostura bitters
Add orange & lemon peels, stir in mixing glass with ice & strain

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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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