Archive for August, 2008

On August 15, the DeKuyper(R) brand announced the bottling of its five millionth case of DeKuyper Pucker(R) Sour Apple, the neon green key ingredient in that “iconic” cocktail, the Appletini. Little did they know that to leading mixologists and cocktail aficionados , the Sour Apple Martini is officially dead.

The Sour Apple Martini was declared officially deceased on July 19th at the Tales of the Cocktail Festival in New Orleans, nearly a month prior to the DeKuyper(R) brand’s announcement. A traditional New Orleans style Jazz Funeral was held in the drink’s honor. Covering the event for the Tales of the Cocktail blog, Cocktailnerd Gabriel Szaszko writes:

There was brilliant and uplifting music played in a classic jazz funeral style and a well-attended processional of the casket with Robert Hess in the vanguard…After the processional attendees were invited to enjoy drinks and scantily clad ladies in Cafe Giovanni where a “Bartender’s Breakfast” was held. Unfortunately, the talented ladies likely couldn’t be seen due to the number of celebrants trying to get a real, true, non-floor polish-infused, drink from the veteran and highly regarded bartenders. There was also dancing in the street; it was very Martha and the Vandellas.

Complete coverage of the funeral event can be found here and here. DeKuper’s release can be read here.

Now, why don’t you hunker down with a bottle of applejack and celebrate the great Sour Apple Martini debate with a drink? The blended stuff you’re most likely to find on local shelves is delicious in the following drink. If you have friends or family in Jersey, ask them to help you procure a bottle of Laird’s Old Apple Brandy, which it bills as the “original historic Applejack”, or the older still 12 Year Old Rare Apple Brandy (which you can read up on here.) My mother is traveling in the region as we speak, and was perfectly happy to be my mule. As we all know, a family that drinks together stays together.

2 oz Laird’s Applejack
3/4 oz fresh grenadine
1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist.

Read Full Post »


What would the perfect cocktail bar look like? When posed with such a question, a LUPEC broad’s mind wanders…

“Vintage glassware would be a must,” responds one broad. “Glasses like the ones I can’t stop buying on Ebay.”

“And corners…lots of corners. No one likes to crane their necks to talk to each other, like they’re sitting on some bench, waiting for the bus,” posits another.

“I dream of massive blocks of ice like they used to use before there were ice-makers,” says the third. “Imagine walking into a bar and seeing a huge chunk of ice sitting back there, waiting to be hand chipped into my drink.”

The LUPEC broads grow quiet, dreaming of the day they might walk into such a place.

According to this preview of Barbara Lynch’s new cocktail spot, such a place will open in Fort Point Channel on Sept 15th.

We are counting the days.

Read Full Post »

by Pink Lady

If you checked out this week’s LUPEC Boston column in the Weekly Dig you’re aware that creator James Pimm began to commercially produce his No. 1 Cup in 1851. The next century-plus saw the brand grow to include a total of six variations on the liqueur’s original theme – and a franchised chain of Pimm’s Oyster Houses. One can guess that the debut of each product was a sign of the times and indicative of en vogue spirits:

• In 1851 whisky-based Pimm’s No. 2 and cognac-based Pimm’s No. 3 were introduced, along with the premiere commercial version of Pimm’s No. 1
• Rum-based Pimm’s No. 4 came after the end of World War II
• Rye-based Pimm’s No. 5 and vodka-based Pimm’s No. 6 were born in the ‘60s

Pimm’s No. 2 – 5 were phased out in 1970s and around that time the oyster houses closed, too. Vodka-based No. 6 is allegedly available, if only in England, and a revamped version of brandy-based No. 3 was introduced in 2005 and dubbed the Pimm’s Winter Cup. The original Pimm’s No. 1 remains the easiest to find.

As a cocktail, the Pimm’s Cup has a home on each side of the Atlantic, both in Southern England and in New Orleans, coincidentally also in “the South”. The English-style quaff is made a little differently from the Napoleon House recipe we included in the Dig:

• First of all, the Pimm’s Cup is a high-class drink favored by Southern England’s upper crust. While New Orleans’ Napoleon House exudes an inimitable brand of faded-glory charm, it is also decidedly casual (see photos, right.)
• James Pimm poured his original in a small tankard, so if you’re a classicist, use a mug.
• “Lemonade” means lemon-lime soda in the King’s English, and British recipes are usually made with a U.K. version of Sprite or 7-Up, the exact likes of which may be tough to find here.
• Brits garnish their Pimm’s Cups extravagantly with fruits/herbs in season, such as borage, mint, orange, lemon, line, and strawberries. How common our lonely stateside cucumber must feel.

Either way you choose to enjoy your Pimm’s Cup is fine with us.

Tally ho, y’all – bottom’s up!

Read Full Post »

Clearly, Ice

by Pinky Gonzales

A world without ice implies no cold drinks – and that would be a terrible, terrible world. There of course was a time not too long ago when the world did not have chilled drinks. How did we get ’em? Boston’s own Frederic Tudor, a Beacon Hill ice trade maverick dubbed “The Ice King” was Beginning in the early nineteenth century he shipped out blocks harvested from local ponds (such as Walden) and created a worldwide demand. Thanks, Fred!

Ice and ice melt, a.k.a. water, make our cocktails more drinkable, it goes without saying that filtered ice is better than un-filtered ice. A blind taste demonstration by Alexapure Pro has shown this to be very true. A martini needs to have a little melt, otherwise you’re crazy hammered in a minute (unless your name is John Myers.) Ice gadgets for the home make it all more fun. Not everyone can

have a Kold Draft machine at their house (let alone their bar), but we can stock up on a few tools and gadgets to enhance cocktail hour. (I mention these in this week’s Weekly Dig):

Silicone trays
A company called Tovolo makes soft trays which render perfect, roughly 1″ cubes, non-messy, and which look swell stacked high in a Collins glass. $11.95 set of 2, Kitchen Arts, Newbury St. Note: You can find elsewhere all sorts of novelty shapes too, if you must, ranging from dog bones to Playboy bunnies. I have found some of these shapes exceedingly tricky to remove, however, so be wary.

The Lewis Bag & Ice Crush Kit
A great way to get your frustration out, make your guests chuckle, and have lovely cocktails. Sturdy canvas bag with a wooden mallet. $15, BeverageFactory.com.

Manual crushers
Vintage or retro-new, hand-crank, choppers, tappers, all good. Some nice ones are made by Ice-O-Mat, Dazey, and look for the neat-o Tap-Icer gadget. And speaking of the latter, which is an old tool, the back of a good bar spoon cracks ice held in the hand just as well. Check Buckaroo’s Mercantile, Cambridge, for the occasional vintage nugget.

Electric crushers
Less charm, less work. Bought mine at Goodwill for five bucks – same one I used in 1975.

Ice pick and block
Freeze water in a pan, dislodge with spot of hot water, chip away with an old pick. Drop piece into rocks glass. Fill with rye, stir with finger. Satisfyingly toast to Mr. Tudor.

For more on ice, check out what local (welcome back!!) bartender Josey Packard has to say about it here:


Read Full Post »

by Pink Lady

We are pleased to announce that LUPEC Boston’s own Bourbon Belle took home first place at the Hendrick’s Gin Beantown Bartender Battle held at Green Street last night.

Just five talented finalists were selected from the vast contestant pool to mix their cocktails at the event. The challenge? To wow the judges with a Hendrick’s based cocktail showcasing one of the signature Hendrick’s botanicals, presented with no more chatter than a witty, five-lined limerick.

“I took one sip of her cocktail and I knew instantly that Bourbon Belle was going to win,” said one Green Street staffer affiliated with the event (but not on the judging panel), who asked to remain anonymous.

The competition was fierce and the judges were tough. Other contestants included Justin Falcone, a Boston-area freelance bartender, Jeff Grdinich, bartender at the White Mountain Cider Co. restaurant in Glen, NH, Claudia Mastrobuono, bartender at Highland Kitchen in Somerville, and Chris O’Neil, bartender at Upstairs on the Square in Cambridge. The tasting panel included chef Barbara Lynch, Boston Globe writer Liza Weisstuch, bartender and cocktail historian John Myers of Portland, Maine, and Hendrick’s brand ambassador Charlotte Voisey.

Bourbon Belle was the third contestant to compete and seemed un-phased as she measured, shook, and strained, despite the high stakes of the competition. Fans and LUPEC members crowded around the bar to cheer BB on as she mixed and garnished; her screwdriver Seth remained close at hand, ready to assist or mop sweat from her brow as required.

First prize is a complimentary trip anywhere in the U.S. courteous of Hendrick’s gin. When asked where she’d like to celebrate her victory, Bourbon Belle responded without hesitation: “San Francisco. Drinking.”

We’ll drink to that.

Here’s the recipe for the 1st Place libation:

Nobody’s Darling

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add:

2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 oz Angelica Root infused Honey
.75 oz fresh celery juice
.5 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


An elixir of cucumber and rose
With a scent that amuses the nose
Angelica-honey we’ll pair
Then some celery sounds fair
Yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice and there goes!

Read Full Post »

The return of rye

A bar without rye whiskey is like a story without action.

As I explain in this week’s LUPEC Boston cocktail column in the Weekly Dig, rye has evolved from a nearly defunct, old-man drink to a much sought-after spirit by men and broads alike, thanks to the revival of classic cocktails. The “old fashioned” Old Fashioned (which I mention in the column), the Scoff Law, the Saratoga, the Old Pal and, of course, the original Manhattan — all get their personality from rye whiskey, the drier, spicier counterpart to bourbon. The Ladies of LUPEC Boston are known to knock back a rye drink or two at our monthly meetings and our favorite local bars.

Wanna know more about rye? Here are a few fun facts:

  • U.S. law mandates that rye whiskey be made with at least 51 percent rye (though most are made with 65 percent or more). The rest of the grain bill usually consists of corn and malted barley.
  • Rye whiskey is America’s oldest whiskey. George Washington distilled it.
  • Rye whiskey, in its early days, was produced in the Northeast, particularly Pennsylvania and Maryland. Most of the Northeast distilleries closed during Prohibition, and today rye is primarily produced by the Kentucky distilleries that make bourbon.
  • The “whiskey” in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 refers to rye. Western Pennsylvania farmers who distilled rye protested an excise tax on their product so fervently that President George Washington had to deploy a militia to quell the uprising.
  • Rock and Rye is a rye-based liqueur flavored with rock candy and citrus fruits.

Check out these two articles on rye whiskey: All but lost, rye is revived as the next boutique find (NYT) and Rye, resurrected (SF Chronicle).

Read Full Post »