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

by Pink Lady

We’ll bet you a round that the question of how this morning tipple got its eerie name has crossed your mind at least once. Barman Fernand “Pete” Petiot is credited with inventing this cocktail in 1921 at Harry’s American Bar in Paris.

The drink was an exciting blend of two then-new products: vodka, which had recently arrived in France via refugees from Russia, and canned tomato juice, an unsurprisingly American invention fresh off the boats from the States after World War I.

According to one theory, the drink’s haunting name makes reference to Mary Queen of Scots via a lonely regular often found drinking alone at Petiot’s bar. Sipping in solitude for long, lonely hours as she awaited her beloved, she reminded barguests of an imprisoned Queen Mary, who was also known by the sobriquet Bloody Mary.

In 1936 the Astor family coaxed Petiot to move to New York to become head barman at the St Regis Hotel’s King Cole Bar, where his drink evolved further. Vodka was not yet available stateside and the St Regis’s swanky management wanted to lose the gruesome name. The new gin-based version was given the tamer-sounding name Red Snapper and earned a spot on hotel’s cocktail list. The cunning marketers at Smirnoff saw opportunity in the Bloody Mary while trying to penetrate the market with vodka in the 1950s.

They brought the original Bloody Mary back to its roots, making it a lynchpin of their legendary campaign to introduce vodka to the American marketplace. And it worked: Vodka holds forth on drink lists today, with modern brunchers asking for call-brand Bloody Mary’s by name.

But the original Bloody Mary recipe was quite simple. As such, the drink lends itself to delicious invention, and is a great template to play with until you’ve got your preferred recipe just right. As Imbibe! author David Wondrich says, “the small, idiomatic differences … are the mixographer’s delight!” Add celery salt, horseradish, and who knows what else.

BLOODY MARY

1.5 oz vodka
2 dashes Worcestershire
4 dashes Tabasco
pinch of salt and pepper
.25 oz fresh lemon juice
4 oz tomato juice

Build in a mixing glass. Roll back and forth in a tin. Strain into an ice filled glass.

CIN-CIN!

 

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*As originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

August 26 marks Women’s Equality, the anniversary of passing of the 19th Amendment, granting American women the right to vote in all public elections.

This super-momentous occasion took place behind closed doors at Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby’s private residence in 1920, “without ceremony of any kind,” according to the New York Times. “Unaccompanied by the taking of movies or other pictures, despite the fact that the National Woman’s Party, or militant branch of the general suffrage movement, had been anxious to be represented by a delegation of women and to have the historic event filmed for public display and permanent record.”

The moment was 72 years in the making, the culmination of a long and ceaseless campaign by American women and their male supporters.

50 years later, congress deemed August 26 “Women’s Equality Day” during the height of the Second Wave Women’s Movement, both as a nod to women’s enfranchisement and to women’s modern efforts toward full equality. To paraphrase, the Joint Resolution was passed because “the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States … the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex.”

This August 26, we raise a glass to voting rights for women, and to the long hard road our forebroads marched to enfranchisement.

PERFECT LADY COCKTAIL
2 oz gin
1 oz peach brandy
1 oz fresh lemon juice
Egg white

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker without ice and shake vigorously to emulsify. Add ice and shake long and hard. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!

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

by Barbara West

“Mary S.” of St. Louis, Missouri (c. 1851-1880) was an inventor who led a life of genius and poverty. Lacking finances and confidence, she sold the rights to her mechanical inventions to various male agents, for as little as $5 each. These men received 53 patents and a great deal of wealth. Mary S. herself died impoverished at roughly age thirty.

A businesswoman and former intelligence agent for the Union army during the Civil War, Charlotte Smith was known for empathizing with the struggles of self-supporting women.

The tragic story of Mary S. spurred Smith, an acquaintance, to seek justice and recognition for women inventors. She wrote about Mary S. in The Woman Inventor, a magazine she founded in 1891. She also pushed for the publication of an official List of Women Patentees. Feminists used the list to argue for women’s suffrage. Today, the list remains the major source of information on 19th-century female inventors. These women were patronizingly dubbed “Lady Edisons.”

Thanks to the list, we know that nearly 4,000 women received U.S. patents between 1809 and 1895—more than 5,000 if design patents are counted. One of the era’s most prolific female inventors was Margaret Knight of Boston (1838-1914). She is credited with about 90 inventions and 22 patents, the most famous of which was the first machine to make the square-bottomed paper bags that are still used in grocery stores today.

In the late 1890s, Smith moved to Boston, where she founded a Women’s Rescue League. In 1907, she organized a Woman’s Board of Trade. After spending thousands of dollars on projects to help women become self-supporting, and years of direct charity to homeless and desperate women, Charlotte Smith died alone in Boston in 1917. She was seventy-seven.

Here’s a cocktail with which to toast our industrious forebroads, known as “Lady Edisons,” this Women’s History Month.

EDISONIAN COCKTAIL

2 ounces brandy
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce fresh lemon juice

Shake brandy, Campari and lemon juice with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!

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

by Pink Lady

Ninety years ago this week the struggle for women’s suffrage in United States came to quiet end. At 8 a.m. that morning, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby issued a proclamation that the 19th Amendment granting American women the right to vote in all public elections had officially become part of the Constitution.

The ceremony took place behind closed doors at Secretary Colby’s private residence “without ceremony of any kind,” according to the New York Times, “unaccompanied by the taking of movies or other pictures, despite the fact that the National Woman’s Party, or militant branch of the general suffrage movement, had been anxious to be represented by a delegation of women and to have the historic event filmed for public display and permanent record.” It was nevertheless monumental, a moment 72 years in the making and the culmination of a long and ceaseless campaign for American women and their male supporters.

Fifty-one years later, at the height of the Second Wave Women’s Movement, U.S. Congress designated August 26 to be “Women’s Equality Day”, both as a nod to women’s enfranchisement and to women’s continued efforts toward full equality. To paraphrase, the Joint Resolution was passed because “the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States…the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex” designating August 26, the anniversary date of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, “as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights.”

Sounds like reason enough for us to raise a glass. The ladies of LUPEC Boston will be celebrating Women’s Equality Day as we do, with a party and cocktails, of course! We’ll team up with Bols Genever & St-Germain to host a cocktail party at the Franklin Southie on Thursday, August 26 from 9 p.m. – close, featuring $5 Women’s Lib-themed cocktails, cheap bar snacks, and general merry-making. We hope to see you there.

If you can’t make it by, why not sip on a Shaddock? It’s a delightfully delicious sip that contains both St-Germain and Bols and is simple to make at home. After all, it’s all equal parts.

THE SHADDOCK

.75 oz Bols Genever

.75 oz St-Germain

.75 oz Aperol

.75 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker. 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, 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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*LUPEC ruminations, as previously published in the Weekly Dig.

Imagine 35 pairs of arms working in tandem to produce a cocktail just for you. If you were in New Orleans for Mardi Gras circa 1915, The Stag saloon would have offered this surreal experience. There, Henry Ramos mixed up his special New Orleans fizzes, believed to be the best in the world.

Ramos invented the drink at his Imperial Cabinet saloon in 1888, when New Orleans was becoming a hot tourist destination, beloved for its quaint, historic saloons. Ramos profited greatly from this boom, as tourists thronged his establishment for a taste of his famous house fizzes. Six bartenders were employed per shift at the Imperial Cabinet, each with his own dedicated “shaker boy,” “a young black man whose sole job was to receive the fully charged shaker from the bartender and shake the bejeezus out of it,” writes David Wondrich in IMBIBE!.

Why all the shaking? This particular fizz recipe calls for egg white and cream, two ingredients that are famously difficult to emulsify. “Shake and shake and shake until there is not a bubble left, but the drink is smooth and snowy white and of the consistency of good rich milk,” Ramos said. If preparing a Ramos Gin Fizz, you’d best bring your guns to the show.

By Mardi Gras in 1915, Ramos had conceived a new format for emulsifying: 35 shakermen would shake the drink until their arms were tired, then pass it on down the line.

There is one place where you can still see great displays of mixological showmanship: Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. This five-day celebration of the history and artistry of drink-making is just around the corner. LUPEC Boston will be there. Days filled with nerdy cocktail seminars taught by the most talented folks in the beverage industry, nights filled with boozing at New Orleans’ famous bars and a chance to sample a Ramos Gin Fizz in its hometown—we wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Think about joining us as you shake your own fizz long and hard.

RAMOS FIZZ

Adapted from The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks by Dale DeGroff

1.5 oz gin

0.5 oz fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1.5-2 oz simple syrup, to taste

2 oz heavy cream

0.75 oz egg white

2 drops orange-flower water

club soda

Combine the gin, juices, syrup, cream, egg white and orange-flower water in a mixing glass with ice, and shake long and hard to emulsify the egg. Strain into a highball glass without ice. Top with soda but no garnish.

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.

We’ve barely broached the topic of tipping. Gratuity is a confusing issue, and we’d like to address the view from the other side of the bar.

The lore of tipping a dollar a drink

Once upon a time, a cocktail was sour mix and spirits and set you back $5. In those days, $1 per drink was a fair tip. But tipping 15 percent on your dinner is no longer enough, nor is tipping a buck for a $10 drink.

“If I open a $3 Bud for you, I don’t expect more than a dollar,” says Hanky Panky, a bartendrix at Drink. “When you tip me $1 on an $11 drink, that’s less than 10 percent.”

“Know how to figure it quickly and easily,” says Pinky Gonzales. “Ten percent of a $12 drink is 1.20, therefore, x 2 = $2.40 to make 20 percent. You can also make it easy on yourself and a little generous for the bartender and round up.”

“My general rule is $1 a drink or 20 percent, whichever is higher,” says Bourbon Belle. That’s easy to remember, no matter how many drinks you’ve had.

Craft counts

Anyone can pop open a brewsky, but bartending at a craft cocktail mecca is a different animal. Bartenders at the city’s finest watering holes spend days—even months—developing tinctures, bitters, syrups and shrubs for the perfect cocktail, or hand-carving a special ice formation to chill your Old Fashioned without watering it down. This extra love deserves a little extra love. And nothing says “I love you” like cash.

Be appreciative

If you roll into the bar at last call and order seven Blue Blazers, put yourself in your barman’s/barmaid’s shoes: You’re just about to log off your computer and go home when the boss rolls over to your desk. Remember that as your bartender tosses flaming hot whiskey between two mugs at 1:45am. Reward your server as you wish your boss would: with thanks. And cash.

If your bartender gives you something for free, a few bucks more than 20 percent is a small way to say thanks, and a small price to pay for the VIP treatment you’ve just received.

Bartending is a demanding job and pays about $6 an hour. Bartenders work long hours—12-14 hour days are commonplace—and the bulk of their salary depends entirely upon tips, which means it depends entirely on you. So tip generously and tip often.

Cin-cin!

TIP TOP PUNCH

1.5 oz brandy
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.25 tsp sugar
0.5 oz Benedictine

Shake in an iced cocktail shaker and then strain over new ice in a tall glass. Top with champagne.

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

by Pink Lady

Our Tiki Bash is just a few short weeks away, and LUPEC Boston has assembled a class-act event. With hula instruction, burlesque dancers, ukulele-sensation Uke Springsteen reinterpreting “the Boss” on his tiny, tiny guitar, plus cocktail historian/Boston music legend Brother Cleve spinning records, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

It wouldn’t be a LUPEC party if cocktails weren’t the main attraction. In the next few columns, we’ll offer a taste of what’s in store on November 14th to whet your appetite and introduce you to hallmarks of the tiki drinks that inspired the party, considered so delicious in their heyday, they begot a craze that outlasted every cocktail fad before and since.

First, we should note that “tiki cocktail” is a “retro” term. Inventors of these fine concoctions referred to them as “exotic drinks” or “faux tropics” (“faux” because they were invented far from the real tropics, in the continental US). Modern drinkers may feel silly about the umbrellas and the skull-shaped glassware, but for many decades, “exotics” were the height of cocktail chic. Their popularity among the Hollywood set at Don the Beachcomber’s was inspiration enough for Victor Bergeron to rip the moose heads off the walls at his Northwest-themed eatery, Hinky Dinks, transforming it from “lodge” to tropical paradise and himself into “Trader Vic.”

The Fog Cutter, one of two drinks we’ll serve at the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash, is commonly credited to Trader Vic, though Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh casts doubt upon these origins in Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. Haigh traces the drink via expert barman Tony Ramos, an original bartender at Don the Beachcomber’s in Los Angeles, who recalls the Fog Cutter as the signature drink from Edna Earl’s Fog Cutter bar in LA. Regardless of who invented it, this potent combination of three unlikely bedfellows—rum, brandy and gin—plus fresh juice, orgeat and sherry—is a memorable beverage. Provided you don’t tipple too many, of course.

If you’ve never heard of or tried orgeat, you’re in for a treat. Originally a health tonic popular among Romans, the early formula for orgeat was simply boiling water, barley and honey for several hours, then straining it (the word derives from the Latin “hordeata” meaning “made with barley”). In its modern incarnation, orgeat is a typically sweet, milky-looking almond syrup (who knows where the barley went?) made by boiling almonds and sugar and adding a little orange flower water or rosewater at the end.

Orgeat appears in many tiki cocktails, including two of Trader Vic’s most famous concoctions, the Mai Tai and the Fog Cutter. You’ll have a chance to sample both at the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash. Or, try one at home today, proceeding with caution, as this drink is potent. As Trader Vic said, “Fog Cutter? Hell, after two of these, you won’t even see the stuff.”

FOG CUTTER

ADAPTED FROM TRADER VIC’S BARTENDER’S GUIDE, REVISED by Victor Bergeron
2 oz light Puerto Rican rum
1 oz brandy
0.5 oz gin
2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz orange juice
0.5 oz orgeat
0.5 oz sweet sherry

Shake all ingredients except sherry with ice cubes. Pour into 14-ounce glass. Add more ice cubes. Float 0.5 ounces of sherry on top. Serve with straws.

PURCHASE TICKETS TO THE LUPEC BOSTON TIKI BASH ONLINE AT THEBOSTONSHAKER.COM, GRAND IN SOMERVILLE, TORO IN THE SOUTH END, DRINK IN FORT POINT, TRINA’S STARLITE LOUNGE IN SOMERVILLE, OR BUCKAROO’S MERCANTILE IN CAMBRIDGE. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS.

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