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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 as originally published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Like most culinary potations, cocktails taste as good as the ingredients you put in them, a point that is most potently relevant in the case of fresh juice.

Once upon a time, the only way to impart juice into a cocktail was by reaching for whichever citrus struck your fancy and giving it a squeeze. But as American foodways developed into economies of scale and prefabricated items became vogue, use of fresh citrus in cocktails fell out of fashion. Sour mix, for example, appeared in the 1930s post-Prohibition era as a useful tool for new barkeeps thrust into the job with virtually no training after 13 dry years. Then, as now, it tasted awful compared to the fresh stuff, leaving no wonder as to why so many great classics fell out of fashion.

The best way to understand how fresh juice plays in cocktails is to taste for yourself. Squeeze room-temperature citrus whenever possible (cold fruit yields 1/3 less juice) and just squeeze what you need, as fresh juice becomes bitter very quickly and isn’t worth keeping overnight. If squeezing in any sort of volume, strain your juice with a hand-held citrus squeezer through a fine mesh strainer or chinois to remove any residual pulp.

Even bars that champion fresh lemon and lime will often buy commercial orange and grapefruit juice. Sample this cocktail with fresh grapefruit juice instead, and you’ll never again reach for Ruby Red.

BLINKER COCKTAIL

2 oz rye

1 oz grapefruit juice

1 tsp raspberry syrup

Shake in iced cocktail shaker and strain. Serve in 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

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

Ever lie to your doctor about how many drinks you have each week? In the bright glare of the examination room, checking off the “7 or more” box may make you feel bashful. LUPEC suggests dispensing with the shame – after all, for centuries, alcohol and medicine have been closely intertwined.

Many ingredients of modern mixology trace their roots to the pursuit of good health: gin, digestif liqueurs, and of course bitters, the key ingredient in the “cocktail” which spawned a whole new era of drinking in the 19th century. Without bitters, we’d all still be drinking slings.

Without Peychaud’s bitters, we’d never have the Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans. In the early 1800s, Creole apothecary Antoine Amadee Peychaud began bottling and selling his signature bitters as a “solution for what ailed one, irrespective of malady”. Though a pharmacist by trade, Peychaud became famous for this aromatic tincture, which he mixed with Sazerac de Forge et Fils brandy (the spirit du moment) and served to fellow masons after hours in the back of his shop.

The Sazerac has gone through many transformations in subsequent decades. Later generations added absinthe, then Herbsaint when absinthe was outlawed; rye took the place of cognac. Some bartenders even add a little Angostura bitters to their concoctions, but few would argue that without Peychaud’s, you can’t have a Sazerac.

As you read this, members of LUPEC Boston and thousands of other cocktail enthusiasts are descending upon the Crescent City for the annual Tales of the Cocktail conference, where we will drink many Sazeracs. Follow our hijinks through our “Live Blog” updates to the Weekly Dig’s website, making sure to take your medicine, as prescribed below.

SAZERAC
Adapted from The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

1 sugar cube
3-4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 oz rye whiskey
splash of Absinthe, Pernod, or Herbsaint
Lemon peel

Take two rocks glasses and fill one with ice to chill for serving while preparing the drink in another glass. In the bottom of the prep glass, muddle the sugar cube and bitters until the sugar is dissolved; a splash of water can execute the process. Add the rye and several ice cubes, and stir to chill. Take the serving glass, toss out its ice, and add the splash of Absinthe, Pernod or Herbsaint. Swirl it around to coat the inside of the glass, and then pour out any liquid that remains. Strain the chilled cocktail into the prepared glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Cin-cin!

VISIT TALES OF THE COCKTAIL VICARIOUSLY THROUGH LUPEC AT WEEKLYDIG.COM, LUPECBOSTON.COM, OR BY FOLLOWING US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER (twitter.com/lupecboston)

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by Pink Lady

LUPEC loves our liquor but for many of us, it was the history, the lore, and the tales of the cocktail that inspired our enthusiasm for that great American invention. We are drinkers, yes, but we are also preservationists, and it tugged at many of our heartstrings to learn that the signature “Monteleone Cocktail” of the Carousel Bar at the storied Hotel Monteleone fell victim to the ravages of time.

On this, the 60th anniversary year of the Carousel Bar, the Hotel Monteleone will make those lemons into lemonade (or perhaps, a delicious sour?) and create a new Monteleone Cocktail. They’ve put the call out to mixologists everywhere. On behalf of LUPEC Boston, we offer the following contributions to the noble cause.

THE MONTELEONE COCKTAIL

1 oz Sazerac Rye
1 oz Brandy (If using VS Cognac, change the proportions to 1.5 oz Rye, .75 oz Cognac)
.5 oz Dubonnet Rouge
.25 oz Raspberry Syrup*
1 barspoon Orgeat

Dash Peychaud’s bitters

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

THE MONTELEONE COCKTAIL II

1.5 Sazerac Rye
.75 VSOP Cognac
.5 Dubonnet Rouge
.25 Raspberry Syrup*
.25 fresh orange juice
1 barspoon Orgeat
Dash Peychaud’s bitters
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail class.  Garnish with a flamed orange peel.
RASPBERRY SYRUP:

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
Heat until sugar is dissolved, then let cool for 20 minutes
Add 1 cup fresh raspberries to warm syrup and mash until well broken up.  Let sit until syrup is completely cool, then strain out seeds.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Recipes will be judged by VIPs who will be at the Carousel Anniversary Celebration on May 21 – check back for updates on the winning recipe!

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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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