Archive for October, 2009

by Pink Lady

We’re thrilled to announce that award-winning mixologist Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff and saloon artist Jill DeGroff will be teaming up with LUPEC Boston and the Boston Shaker Store to host the scariest Sip & Shop of the season at Grand this Saturday, October 31st from 2 -6 pm!

Saloon artist Jill DeGroff will sign copies of her new book, LUSH LIFE; Portraits from the Bar, as award-winning mixologist Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff shakes cocktails and hands and signs copies of his books, The Essential Cocktail and The Craft of the Cocktail. Our special guests will be on hand from 2-4 pm.

LUPEC will quench your thirst with complimentary, seriously scary Halloween Punch during and after the signing as you check out all the new stuff at GRAND and The Boston Shaker (“the store within a store”!)

Don your Halloween costume with pride! The best one that walks in the door wins a free ticket to the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash on Saturday, November 14.

And don’t forget, all store purchases made at Grand (excluding “Tiki Bash” ticket purchases) during the Sip & Shop are 10% off!

Sip & Shop with LUPEC Boston

Featuring Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff and saloon artist, Jill DeGroff

Saturday, October 31, 2 – 6 pm

Grand the Store, 374 Somerville Ave., Union Square, Somerville


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

by Pink Lady

Our big fall fundraiser, the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash, is just a few weeks away, and LUPEC’s thinking Tiki! Last week we discussed the Mai Tai, that simple and delicious blend of dark rum, orgeat, lime, and curacao that was a cornerstone of the Tiki craze. Did Donn Beach invent this drink, or Trader Vic? Who knows. This week, we turn our attention to a considerably more complex concoction, the Zombie. We’re certain Donn Beach invented this one – and took the original recipe with him to the grave.

As the story goes, Donn Beach (née Ernest Beaumont-Gantt) invented the Zombie in the 1930s for an aviophobic friend taking a tipple at Don the Beachcomber’s before a flight to San Francisco…or was it a friend trying to overcome a hangover before an important business meeting? In any case, the guest had three of these high-test concoctions before (presumably) stumbling off for his flight/meeting/what have you. He returned a few days later to report: the drinks made him feel like the living dead for days thereafter. And the Zombie was born.

The Zombie became a signature cocktail at the Hurricane Bar at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City and enjoyed great popularity there. The drink went on to become a staple of Tiki joints that sprang up across the US, such as Trader Vic’s and, of course, Don the Beachcomber’s, where a 2-drink maximum policy was instituted.

Donn Beach was notoriously secretive about his cocktail recipes, creating special mixes for his bartenders that boasted numbers rather than names, keeping even the staff in the dark about his signature drinks. Imitations emerged in other Tiki joints, and Donn himself very likely noodled with the original recipe over time to accommodate new products or lack of available ingredients in certain markets. Countless recipes now exist, making it virtually impossible to pin down an original with which to craft a true artifact version for home consumption.

Tiki expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry appears to have come the closest in excavating an original recipe through interviews with former staff from Don the Beachcomber’s. Poring over personal notes kept by these waiters and bartenders from their days behind the stick, several are published in his book, Sippin’ Safari. A variation via Dale DeGroff is below.

Adapted from The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

1.5 oz medium-bodied Jamaican rum
.5 oz 151-proof Demerara rum
.25 oz Velvet Falernum
.5 oz Donn’s Mix #1
1.5 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
.75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
2 dashes Angostura bitters
6 drops Absinthe
Mint sprigs for garnish

Combine with crushed ice in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour into a chimney glass, topping with crushed ice to fill the glass. Garnish with mint.


2 parts fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

1 part Cinnamon Syrup (below)

Combine the grapefruit juice with syrup and shake well. Use immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


5 cinnamon sticks, each about 2 inches long

20 oz. bottled or filtered water

1 quart sugar

Break the cinnamon sticks into pieces to create more surface area. Put the cinnamon, water, and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved, and then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool completely, then bottle; keep covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Makes 2 cups.


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LUPEC is thrilled to announce our 3rd Annual Fall Fundraiser, the LUPEC BOSTON “TIKI BASH“, to benefit Cambridge-based non-profit organization, On The Rise!

On November 14 we’ll transform the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts into a 1950’s-themed Tiki party featuring retro-libations, live entertainment, dancing, delicious hors d’oeuvres, and our famous prize raffle. This is LUPEC Boston’s third annual fall fundraising event. This year’s beneficiary is On the Rise, a Cambridge-based non-profit that supports the initiative and strength of women living in crisis or homelessness. Tickets are $35 in advance/ $45 at the door and can be purchased this Friday at Grand in Somerville, Toro in the South End, Drink in Fort Point, Trina’s Starlite Lounge in Somerville, Buckaroo’s Mercantile in Cambridge, or online now at www.thebostonshaker.com.

The LUPEC BOSTON “TIKI BASH” will pay tribute to the 1950’s theme with of-the-era cocktails, Tiki cocktail demonstrations by some of Boston’s best bartenders, and live entertainment including acts by Thru the Keyhole Burlesque, Boston-based ukulele sensation Uke Springsteen, and other Island-themed acts. DJ Brother Cleve, a Boston institution, will spin ’50s-era music throughout the evening between sets.

Light cocktail party fare will be provided for the evening by some of the city’s most highly regarded culinary talent, including Mike Smith of Toro, Greg Reeves of Green Street, Island Creek Oysters will be on hand shucking their acclaimed “Duxbury Pearls”, and The Boston Derby Dames will skate around with sweets provided by Taza Chocolate.

A prize raffle will feature gift baskets from St-Germain and Brix, a one-of-a-kind handmade handbag from Nani designs, gift certificates donated from Toro, Trina’s Starlite Lounge, Franklin Cafe, Vee Vee, Fresh Hair Salon, and many, many more!

Click HERE to buy your tickets today!
(All credit card ticket purchases will be subject to a $3 per ticket processing fee)


Villa Victoria Center for the Arts
85 West Newton Street
South End, Boston, MA 02118

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

by Pink Lady

Ever tried a Zombie or a Suffering Bastard, or any drink served in a scorpion bowl or skull mug? With out-there names and kitschy vessels, tiki drinks are apt to inspire a giggle among cocktail neophytes. In their original incarnation, these were balanced, palatable drinks built upon rum, fresh juices and flavorful syrups—legitimate cocktails that would make modern bar snobs swoon.

The tiki craze has roots that reach all the way back to Prohibition, when thirsty Americans took to the Caribbean seas (where rum flowed freely) for rum cruises. They developed a taste for exotic island cocktails, meaning the market was ripe by the time Ernest Beaumont-Gantt opened his “Don the Beachcomber” bar in Hollywood in 1934, just after repeal. Victor Bergeron soon followed suit, revamping his Oakland eatery into “Trader Vic’s,” complete with South Seas décor. Post-World War II, the tiki phenomenon blossomed into a true craze that lasted well into the 1950s.

If Ernest Beaumont-Gantt, aka “Don the Beachcomber” and Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron were the emperors of American tiki, a cornerstone of their empire was the mai tai—a drink they both take credit for inventing. Trader Vic alleges he innovated the drink as a simple way to make use of a bottle of 17-year-old J. Wray Nephew rum from Jamaica in 1944. He served it to Ham and Carrie Guild, two friends visiting from Tahiti, and after one sip, Carrie pronounced it: “Mai tai—roa aé,” Tahitian for, “Out of this world—the best.” And the mai tai was born.

Don Beach’s last wife, Phoebe, purports to have written proof Don invented the drink, in the form of a letter from a journalist describing a 1972 incident where Victor confesses that Don was the drink’s true progenitor. Some say both accounts are false, and the drink originated somewhere in Tahiti. Debate rages on, even after the movement and its founders are long gone.

When properly made, a mai tai is a revelatory cocktail; it’s no wonder Americans clamored for this delightful beverage and its tiki cousins for decades. Start your own tiki craze at home with one of these as you get in the mood for the LUPEC fall fundraiser this November: It will be a tiki bash of epic proportions.


2 oz aged Jamaican rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.75 oz orange curaçao

1 tsp orgeat syrup

Shake well with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel, a mint sprig and, if possible, an exotic orchid



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New Old Gin

Barbara West

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

by Pink Lady

Asking the barkeep for gin rather than vodka in your martini is enough to cause heads to swivel at some bars. Requesting Beefeater over a more modern, Western-style gin (one infused with cucumber and rose petals, perhaps?) is sure to raise an eyebrow. But as discriminating imbibers know, all liquor brands are not created equal. Liquor marketers use lots of bells and whistles to make big news of this; sometimes what they hype matters, sometimes it doesn’t. What it comes down to for drinker is this: each spirit brand has a unique flavor profile. As a recent tasting with Beefeater Master Distiller, Desmond Payne reminded us, gin is a particularly relevant example.

Gin is more complex to distill than other spirits, according to Payne, because the flavor profile is affected by both botanicals and distillation. Whereas whiskey distillers just have grain to worry about, and brandy distillers need only fret over grapes, gin distillers are faced with the challenge of integrating juniper plus botanicals into their spirit to produce something balanced and consistent year after year. Most gins consist of 5-20 botanicals, which may be whatever a distiller’s heart desires so long as they use juniper. These often include citrus peel, coriander seed, Angelica root, licorice, orris root, and much, much more.

Desmond Payne wasn’t just in town to visit LUPEC – he was actually here to launch Beefeater 24, the august brand’s new “premium” offering. Payne was a distiller at Plymouth for 25 years before making the move to Beefeater, and 24 is the first gin he’s designed on his own. Tea was his inspiration, which he credits to time spent enjoying gin drinks lengthened with tea in Japan (we can’t help but think it very British to add tea to the mix.) The new spirit features the same botanicals used to make Beefeater, plus additions of Japanese Sencha and aromatic Chinese green tea. The botanicals steep for 24 hours, hence the gin’s numerical moniker, before the spirit is pot-distilled.

Tea changes everything about the gin’s botanical relationship, giving Beefeater 24 a softer, gentler, texture and a longer finished than the original. The distiller’s “cut” is much shorter for this product, too –5% of gin is usually discarded for Beefeater, and 30% is disregarded for 24 – another reason for the gin’s smoother character.

Is it a better option than regular Beefeater? Not necessarily; you’ll have to be the judge, and the only way to do that is to taste. We tried – and enjoyed it – Beefeater 24 in one of our favorite gin drinks, also the cocktail moniker of one of our founding members.


2 oz gin
1 oz Amontillado sherry
.5 oz lemon juice
1 small dash Angostura bitters

Shake in an iced cocktail shaker; strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


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

Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle with Mixologists_Grand Marnier and NAVAN Summit 2008by Pink Lady

The ladies of LUPEC Boston are always pleased to see women in high places in the spirits industry , especially when those women helm delicious, reputable, family-owned brands like Grand Marnier. Since 2007, Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle has been president of Marnier-Lapostolle North America. Today, we salute her.

The great granddaughter of company founder Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle, Alexandra is known for her “tour-de-force personality.” She studied economics and accounting at the University Assas in Paris and became active in company diversification for Marnier-Lapostolle in the early 1990s. In 1994, Alexandra became a driving force behind expanded winemaking initiatives in South America, and helped create and develop the now world-renowned Casa Lapostolle winery in Chile. Using French techniques to express the region’s terroir, Casa Lapostolle garnered top-flight results early on, earning praise for Alexandra as a pioneer of fine-wine production and quality winemaking in Chile.

Ten years after launching Casa Lapostolle, Ms. Lapostolle turned her attention to spirits and created NAVAN, a vanilla liqueur, as a tribute to her great grandfather. The natural vanilla orchids planted in the private Marnier Lapostolle family garden, Les Cedres, provided inspiration for the product.

Grand Marnier recently descended upon Boston to throw a fundraiser bash for area bartenders, with all of the proceeds from the event donated to LUPEC Boston. LUPEC Boston donned our berets and brushed up on our Français to put together a “Postcards from Paris” Polaroid photo booth, kissing booth and our famous prize raffle. Our generous guests turned their pockets inside out and over the course of the night, we raised over $1,100, which will be used for our fall fundraiser, scheduled for Saturday, November 14th—mark your calendars!

Boston bartenders, Grand Marnier and president Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, we salute you! Join in the toast with one of these, created in honor of the event.


1.5 oz Famous Grouse 12-year Scotch

1 oz Grand Marnier

0.5 oz Nux Alpina

1 dash Angostura

Garnish with orange oil
Stir ingredients over ice in a mixing glass; strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass.

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