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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 in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Gin

Billie Holiday is remembered as one of history’s greatest jazz singers. Her haunting voice had a limited range (barely an octave), but she sang with a unique, laid-back style that was inspired by mellow legends like Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith. Holiday passed before our time, but luckily, the Lyric Stage Company’s latest production, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, featuring Jacqui Parker as Billie Holiday, gives us a glimpse into Holiday’s live performance and backstage drama.

Holiday’s life reflects the highs and lows of the Jazz Era. After a difficult childhood in Baltimore, she moved to New York City and sang for tips in Harlem nightclubs. She went on to perform regularly in New York, tour with Artie Shaw’s white band and make a number of recordings. A tough broad who would drink, swear and win big at dice (how cool is that?!), she would also walk out on anyone who tried to control her. But the hard life and, oh yeah, some heroin abuse, took its toll; she died at the age of 44.

The story of Holiday’s life (and its sad brevity) is just one example of what inspires LUPEC Boston to work with women’s charities. Our “cocktails for a cause” events help bring the Boston community together while raising awareness about the challenges many women face in realizing their full potential.

One of the recordings (which featured Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson) that launched Holiday’s career was “What a Little Moonlight Can Do.” We therefore raise a glass of this Gary Regan interpretation of the Aviation.

THE MOONLIGHT COCKTAIL

1 1/2 oz gin

1/2 oz Cointreau

1/2 oz crème de violette

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute.

SEE LADY DAY AT THE LYRIC STAGE COMPANY [140 CLARENDON ST., BOSTON. 617.585.5678. LYRICSTAGE.COM] THROUGH APRIL 24TH, AND FIND OUT MORE ABOUT COCKTAILS FOR A CAUSE AT LUPECBOSTON.COM.

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

by Pinky Gonzales

One of America’s most famous 1940s-era cabarets once glittered in our very own backyard. The Latin Quarter stood on quiet Winchester Street in the tiny Bay Village neighborhood, a cherry pit’s throw from where the old (and doomed) Cocoanut Grove nightclub once sparkled.

The Latin Quarter was known for its elaborate, “naughty but nice” revue. Featuring 6-foot-tall showgirls dubbed “long-stemmed roses,” national acts and Golden Era cocktails, this Parisian-inspired nightspot aimed high and ruled the roost for over two decades, spawning the big shows of Las Vegas. When owners Lou Walters (Barbara’s dad!) and Sonja and E.M. Loew (Loew’s Theatres) were bringing in half a million dollars per year, they redirected profits into building an LQ Miami, then the now-legendary LQ Times Square.

But after the Cocoanut Grove burned down in ’42, a damper was put on Boston’s nightlife. Officials temporarily closed LQ and 51(!) other area establishments to ensure they were up to code on fire inspections.

A happy remnant of this nearly forgotten place has been preserved for us today: 176 cocktails, once poured by their bartenders, recently reprinted as Latin Quarter Souvenir Book of Cocktails & How to Mix Them by Halliwell Hobbes, an LQ historian. The book serves up both sterling classics and festive sips like Diamond Fizz, Americano, Bosom Caresser, Honey Bee, Harvard, Marconi Wireless and the potion we give you here. Thanks, LQ.

ANTS IN THE PANTS

1 1/2 oz gin

3/4 oz Grand Marnier

3/4 oz Italian (sweet) vermouth

Dash fresh lemon juice

Shake with cracked ice, strain into a cocktail glass and ornament with peel of a lemon.

Also on the list of libations at the Latin Quarter:

BETWEEN THE SHEETS

1 oz Brandy (or Cognac)

1 oz Cointreau (orange liqueur)

1 oz Gin

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

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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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by Pink Lady

Raise a glass today – because  you can! On this day in 1933 the 21st Amendment was ratified in Utah,  the final state needed to repeal Prohibition by a three quarters majority, restoring the American right to manufacture, sell, and transport alcohol. To learn more about Prohibition, why it became enacted in the first place in 1919 and enforced the following year, how it increased rather than deterred our nation’s desire for drink, and the ripple effects we still feel today, check out repealday.org.

As you raise a glass, you can also check out this story from the LUPEC archives on Speakeasy owner, Texas Guinan, originally printed in the Weekly Dig last December.

by Pink Lady

If there is any time to channel your inner flapper, it is this Friday: the 75th anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. This week, the ladies of LUPEC raise a glass to those who kept the party going during those dry years, like the legendary Texas Guinan.

Texas (née Mary Louise Cecilia) Guinan got her start on Broadway and then moved to Hollywood, where she starred in silent films. She played the first movie cowgirl in her debut, The Wildcat, and enjoyed several years as Hollywood’s “Queen of the West” before returning to New York in 1922.

Soon Guinan was turning a fine profit selling illegal hooch at speakeasies like the El Fey Club, which she opened with gangster Larry Fay. She went on to open her own 300 Club, where she famously greeted guests with, “Hello, Suckers! Come on in and leave your wallet on the bar.” Booze, beautiful hostesses and chorus girls distracted clientele from the high-priced cocktails.

Guinan’s joints were frequently raided by feds, but she never owned up to selling alcohol, innocently declaring, “A man could get hurt falling off a bar stool!” Re-opening after raids, she would sometimes wear a necklace of gold padlocks to show the cops there were no hard feelings. When one club was padlocked, she simply opened a new one.

Guinan died on November 5, 1933, just a month before the end of America’s 13-year dry spell. The New York Times reported a crowd of “something like 10,000 to 12,000 persons” paid respects at her wake. We’ll pay ours by toasting the late, great Tex with one of these.

Cin-cin!

LITTLE DEVIL COCKTAIL | FROM THE SAVOY COCKTAIL BOOK

2 parts Bacardi rum

2 parts dry gin

1 part Cointreau

1 part lemon juice

Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

CLICK HERE AND HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT TEXAS GUINAN.

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

By Pink Lady and Hanky Panky

As we discussed last week, our recent involvement in the Boston Center for Adult Education’s “From Jackie to Michelle – Celebrating the First Ladies of Fashion” fundraiser prompted us to ask ourselves “What Would Jackie/Michelle Drink?” Jackie Kennedy’s love for Daiquiris in Camelot is well documented. But what does Michelle Obama drink? Our inquiries to White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers’ office went un-answered, so we improvised at the event, serving the Southside Cocktail to represent Ms. Obama, who grew up and raised her family in the Chicago neighborhood that bears the name.

We linked the drink to Chi-town for our event, but the Southside was well known as the house cocktail at the 21 Club in New York.  Owners Jack Kriendler and Charles E. Berns got into the Speakeasy business to help pay for night -school during Prohibition. They owned various joints around Manhattan, but once their operations moved uptown, they attracted ritzier clientele, including many Yale graduates and some classy broads, like Dorothy Parker and Edna Ferber.

The 21 Club’s secret Wine Cellar was once an elaborate system for hiding Prohibition-era hooch and was built to be virtually invisible. The entrance was shielded from fuzz’s watchful eyes by several smoked hams hanging from the ceiling and a shelf full of canned goods. The 2.5-ton door was built to look like part of the cement wall, and entry required sliding a slender 18″ meat skewer through one of the wall’s many cracks. Nowadays, the secret room is one of the most coveted private dining venues in the city.

There are lots of great tales about the 21 Club. One finds Clare Booth Luce stepping aside to allow Dorothy Parker entrance to the Club muttering, “Age before beauty,” to which Parker replied “Pearls before swine.” In another, Robert Benchley shrugs off his raincoat saying, “Get me out of this wet coat and into a dry Martini.”

Who created the cocktail?  Who knows.  But Dale DeGroff proudly and rightfully places it in the world of sours, which by definition are sweet, sour and strong: a simple combination that can be absolutely terrible if it is out of balance.

Boston Fashion Week starts in a few short days. Celebrate with one of these – we’re not sure if Michelle Obama has ever had one, but we’re sure she’d enjoy this decidedly fashionable beverage.

SOUTHSIDE COCKTAIL

1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
2 mint sprigs, muddle with lemon & sugar
1 1/2 oz gin

Muddle lemon, mint, and sugar in bottom of mixing glass. Add gin & ice and shake. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!

FOR MORE GREAT COCKTAIL RECIPES, VISIT LUPECBOSTON.COM.


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