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*Recently featured in the Weekly Dig.

by Pinky Gonzales + Pink Lady

Count Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac fought alongside the British in the Battle for New Orleans, then in the 1820’s became its Mayor. Among many things, he was credited for bringing cobblestone and city lighting to the streets of the French Quarter. He escaped the guillotine and fled his native France for the swampy shores of the Ponchartrain. And like any good Frenchman, Joseph also drank his share of Cognac, which he was known to mix with seltzer, ice, and rich raspberry syrup in a tall glass.

Little did he know this early highball-of-sorts would forevermore bear his name, alongside the classics Sazerac, Ramos Fizz, and Vieux Carré. As with (what many consider to be) the first cocktail, the Sazerac, imbibers grew to swap the more readily available and popular rye whiskey for the Cognac over time. We find Cognac or Brandy still makes for the best Roffignac, while a rye Sazerac is a match made in heaven.

Sip one of these as you prep your liver for Tales of the Cocktail this July.

Cin-cin!

Roffignac Cocktail

2 ounces Cognac, Brandy, or good rye whiskey

1 ounce raspberry syrup

Soda water or seltzer

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the first two ingredients, then top off with soda or seltzer. Swizzle and serve.

(Various raspberry syrups can be found in specialty stores, or make your own: muddle fresh raspberries with simple syrup, double-straining out the seeds.)

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

by Pink Lady

As members of LUPEC, we devote a good deal of time, both personally and professionally, to breeding, raising and releasing endangered cocktails into the wild. It’s arduous work, but someone’s gotta do it. Every now and then, we like to take a little break from the cause and diversify our activities. What better way to do so than with a night at the theater?

We were thus utterly delighted when the folks at Manderley Bar invited us to participate in the immersive theater experience Sleep No More. Produced by award-winning British theater company Punchdrunk in conjunction with the American Repertory Theater and La Morra restaurant, this performance has been making headlines since it opened in Boston in October. A cursory read of the details leaves no question as to why:

• The show takes place in an abandoned elementary school in Brookline, where each room has been transformed into that of a 1930s-era home. (Except the bathrooms, where the stalls are still portioned for little people and hark eerily back to second grade.)

• It’s theater … kind of. More precisely, the show is an installation of scenes designed to intimate the story of Macbeth told in the framework of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller.

• The audience dons masks and moves through the set among the actors, experiencing the performance on a sensory level as they choose what to watch and where to go—from pine-scented rooms full of Christmas trees to a hallway that reeks of mothballs, to room after room of props you can actually touch.

• A ’30s-era jazz club, the Manderley Bar, acts as home base for the show, where a swinging jazz quintet, the Annie Darcy Band, performs standards post performance as you mix, mingle, debrief and drink.

• The entire experience is creepy as hell but with Manderley Bar as home base, you can pop in for a tipple at any point during the show, and return to experience more art through a slightly rosier lens.

LUPEC Boston will join the staff at Manderley Bar behind the stick tonight pouring a special cocktail list inspired by the performance, including Satan’s Whiskers (Curled or Straight) and our favorite punch, David Wondrich’s Fatal Bowl, among others. These will be served in addition to the Manderley’s excellent classic menu, which features gems like this one, the Old Etonian. Mix one up at home as you toast the coolest interpretation of Macbeth to hit Boston in some time—and buy tickets online before the show ends on January 3rd.

OLD ETONIAN

1.5 oz Plymouth Gin

1.5 oz Lillet Blanc

Add two dashes each of crème de noyaux and orange bitters.

Shake with ice; strain into your favorite vintage cocktail shaker. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.

Drinks from the LUPEC Boston menu at Sleep No More are below:

SATAN’S WHISKERS (Curled or Straight)
.5 oz gin
.5 oz dry vermouth
.5 oz sweet vermouth
.5 oz orange juice
2 tsp orange curacao
1 dash orange bitters
Shake, strain up, garnish with orange twist. For straight, sub Grand Marnier for curacao.
From Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book, published in London in 1930. “We sip our Satan’s Whiskers curled if it’s still light outside and straight if it’s not.”

BLUE MOON
2 oz Gin
.5 oz lemon juice
.5 oz Crème Yvette
Shake and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass
Lemon twist

THE BLINKER
2 oz rye
1 oz grapefruit juice
2 barspoons raspberry syrup
Shake with ice, strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
First appeared in Patrick Gavin Duffy’s The Official Mixer’s Manual, circa 1934. Blinker was another term for the blinders worn by working horses to help keep their eyes on the road.

THE FATAL BOWL (aka The Wallop Bowl)
Recipe by David Wondrich
4 lemons
1 cup demerara sugar (or Sugar in the Raw)
4 English Breakfast Tea bags
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 cups Cognac
1 1/2 cups Dark Rum
fresh nutmeg
Remove the peel from 4 lemons with a vegetable peeler, and place in a large punch bowl. Pour demerara sugar over the lemon peels and muddle to release the lemon oils from the peel.
Boil 2 cups of water and steep the 4 tea bags for 5 minutes.  Add hot tea (tea bags removed) into the lemon and demerara mixture.  Let cool for 20 minutes, if possible.
Add Cognac, Dark Rum, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Place large chunks of ice, of an ice mold into the punch. Top with grated nutmeg.

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

by Pink Lady

Wedding registries serve their purpose, but what if you forget to buy a present until the last minute? Rather than choose between a gravy ladle and a celebration bowl as nuptial present for my best friend from high school, I circumvented mediocrity this July by giving the gift of booze.

The betrothed wanted to serve cocktails at their wedding, but offered just beer and wine in an effort to cut costs. Suspecting their guests might get rowdy if allowed unchecked access to an open bar, this seemed an optimal way to ensure the reception stayed classy. But the bride still longed for at least one cocktail at her wedding. A special nuptial punch created just for her was the perfect solution.

I procured a retro, 50’s-era punch bowl on EBay a few weeks before the wedding and had it shipped directly to the bride’s doorstep in Portland, OR. The night before the wedding I batched up this typical 18th century punch, tailoring it to the nuptial couple’s taste. Christened with a special name and served in their new punch bowl, it was a unique, delicious gift. Guests continue to stalk me on Facebook for the recipe.

THE ROSE CITY WEDDING CUP
For Alex and Mary’s Wedding
Serves 85

Step #1: Two days before.
Fill a metal bowl (sized to scale with the punch bowl) with water and stash it in the freezer.

Step #2: A few hours before the wedding, or the night before.
Steep 4 green tea bags in 4 cups water for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Peel 16 lemons. In a large bowl, muddle peels in 2 lbs sugar until oil is absorbed.
Add tea, 2 L cognac, and 1 750-ml bottle dark rum (I used Bacardi Dark Select, a favored brand of the father-of-the-bride.) Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add 8 cups cold water and refrigerate.

Step #3: Complete this step within a few hours of serving.
Add 24 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice to the booze-sugar-tea mixture.

Add block of ice to the punch bowl and serve. The punch doesn’t taste strong but it is; ladle conservatively into an ice-filled glass.

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