Archive for July, 2010

*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ’em in the Dig.

by Pinky Gonzalez

In the spirit of bulletproof cocktails (read: drinks very hard to fuck up), we offer the Americano. It was born in Italy, and named for us Americans. It’s a tall, soda-and-mixers drink, and you can knock back a few of ’em in the blazing heat without worrying about it going straight to your head.

Most bartenders won’t know what the hell you’re ordering if you ask for it by name, however, so do the following. Ask graciously if they are familiar with the highball Americano, as opposed to the (sans-alcohol) espresso with hot water. If not, kindly say something like, “It’s a little obscure but simple: equal parts Campari and sweet vermouth topped with soda in a tall rocks glass with an orange twist.”

Make sure it gets plenty of ice too. Some ‘tenders like to skimp on the rocks, lest they have to make (sigh, groan!) another trip to lug up more ice for their bin. Fill it with ice, pal.

Cinzano, the Italian (sweet) vermouth is preferred here. Campari is a scarlet-hued, bittersweet, Italian aperitif that is usually mixed with soda or used in Negronis. Campari was developed in Milan in 1860 by Gaspare Campari, using a secret recipe of aromatic herbs in a base spirit. Bark, cherry and orange peel often come to mind.

The Americano cocktail was originally known as the “Milano-Torino”—Campari from Milan (Milano) and Cinzano from Turin (Torino). During Prohibition, the Italians noticed a surge of American tourists who enjoyed the beverage. As a nod to their thirsty American visitors, the drink became known as the “Americano.”



Fill glass with ice, top with:

1 oz Campari

1 oz sweet vermouth

fill with club soda

garnish with orange peel


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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ‘em in the Dig.

As you read this, we’re living it up in New Orleans for the five days of boozy revelry known as Tales of the Cocktail. In addition to attending the classes, parties and tasting rooms that fill the days and nights, LUPEC Boston will team up with our New York brethren to host our very own Spirited Dinner at the Redfish Grill.

Times are tough with the current oil spill in the Gulf—several LUPEC members will take a break from the Tales action to help with relief efforts there. In light of this, we’re excited to support local restaurants during the festival.

We’re also pumped about the welcome cocktail we’ve created for this event, which combines Dubonnet Rouge, allspice dram and Combier L’Original (the original triple sec), with sparkling wine. Never before available in the US, Combier has just been released in Boston and is coming to a bar/liquor store near you soon.

Distilled in the heart of France’s Loire Valley, Combier is made from hand-selected orange peels sourced from Haiti, sugar beets from Normandy and a proprietary blend of ingredients from the Loire Valley. The Combier family developed their recipe in 1834. The liqueur is made in a triple distillation process (hence “triple sec”) where ingredients are distilled three times in the same copper pot stills first used by the Combier family. The taste is more natural, versatile and stable than the sugar- and water-based concoctions that pass for triple sec today.

With the Anacaona Aperitif, ingredients from France, Haiti and the Caribbean mingle in the glass. We’ve named the drink for Queen Anacaona, one of the earliest Taino leaders to fight off Spanish conquest of Haiti in the late 15th century. She resisted in vain but is revered to this day as one of the nation’s founders.

Drink with us vicariously by mixing up one of these tonight!


1 oz Dubonnet Rouge

.75 oz Combier L’Original

1 barspoon St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram

3 dashes angostura orange bitters

brut champagne or sparkling wine

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into an aperitif glass. Top with 2 oz brut sparkling wine.

For garnish, squeeze an orange peel over the drink to release the oil, rub rim of glass, then

discard peel.


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by Pink Lady

If you are a fan of LUPEC Boston you are likely aware that we are big fans of gin. We love this spirit for its versatility, mixabilty, and approachability when introducing cocktail neophytes to the wonderous world of classic cocktails. At Tales of the Cocktail this week, a plethora of seminars on gin await; at the top of our list is The Botanical Garden, led by the lovely and talented Charlotte Voisey, Portfolio Ambassador for William Grant & Sons, USA.

As we discussed a few weeks back, the botanical blend chosen by a master distiller is what sets his or her brand apart from all others in the marketplace. Juniper must be play a leading role but the rest are up to the choice and taste of the master distiller. We caught up with the Charlotte to delve a little deeper into the topic of botanicals, a little preview of what’s to come during the Botanical Garden seminar on Thursday morning.

LUPEC Boston: What are the most important factors distillers look for when selecting botanicals?

Charlotte Voisey: The most important thing is consistency of the berries/seeds/botanicals.  As they are natural products there can be differences from harvest to harvest so checks are needed to look at the oil content of the botanicals to make sure that they meet the distiller’s specifications.

LB: Are there common botanicals that can be found in all/most gins besides juniper? Any particular reason for this besides tradition?

CV: Generally most gins will contain angelica, coriander and citrus elements and mainly because these botanicals work together well for a good general balance of flavor and character.  Floral botanicals help give a lovely sophisticated nuance to some gins.  I believe that tradition played a part for a while, but recently the selection of botanicals used has opened right up.

LB: Does seasonality affect a botanical blend as it may with wine, like a good vs. bad vintage?

CV: In general there will be no difference during the year as the botanicals are just the berries or seeds that will be produced at the same time every year.  Some botanicals definitely have a time during the year when they are at their best and this is when they are harvested, but as long as this is kept consistent each year then so will their quality and their contribution to the balance of flavor of the gin in question.

What are the most important botanicals beside juniper? What kinds of flavors or aromas do they impart?

Juniper is the most important as it has to be, by law, the most dominant botanical.  The other botanicals all bring something to the party but it is really the balance obtained between all of the extracted oils that is the important factor. It is no use having a really dominant nose that simply swamps everything else.

Can you suggest some go-to herbs, mixers, or other ingredients that bartenders can keep in mind while developing Hendricks cocktails to enhance different facets of the flavor profile?
Hendrick’s has a lovely delicate floral characteristic that bartenders do well not to overpower; strong, bitter and herbaceous ingredients can certainly be used in Hendrick’s cocktails but are best done with a light hand. Hendrick’s seems to play delightfully in four main flavor directions – spicy, floral, citrus and refreshingly clean.

Do you have a favorite botanical?
Juniper is the almighty botanical and therefore the most respected, as without it we have no “gin”.  But I do love to draw on the refreshing subtle cucumber essence in Hendrick’s when I am mixing.

Don’t miss a chance to taste for yourself at the Botanical Garden seminar this Thursday, July 22 @ 10:30 a.m.


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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!


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

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
top with club soda

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, 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?


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.


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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC, originally published in the Weekly Dig

by Pink Lady

In just 13 days the ladies of LUPEC Boston will descend upon the New Orleans along with roughly 10,000 other mixologists, brand ambassadors, cocktail writers, and die-hard cocktail enthusiasts. Its one of our favorite weeks of the year – and one of out drunkest – and we’ve already begun prepping our livers. We hope you’ll indulge us as we get into the spirit and raise a glass to one of New Orleans’, greatest bartending broads, the late Flo Woodard.

Woodard, also known as “Ms. Flo”, became a bartender at the Court of Two Sisters in the early 1970s and held court behind the stick there for over 30 years. At the time, the company was looking for “someone with integrity and longevity, someone that could make the customers want to always visit our business again for our total experience,” Flo told the New Orleans Time-Picayune in 2009. This former hostess was a perfect fit. Female bartenders were virtually unheard of in the Crescent City in those days and The Court of Two Sisters were ahead of the times.

Woodard was a self-taught bartender who learned her craft from the pages of bar books, but the special brand of hospitality she practiced was innate. Flo was revered by customers for more than what she put in their glass. Her affable personality and zest for sharing stories brought scores of loyal bar patrons, including celebrity fans, from Cesar Romero to Tyler Perry to the entire cast of “The Young and the Restless” (a favorite show of Ms. Flo’s) to John Wayne’s son, Patrick.

Ms. Flo’s talent for engaging guests was also her passion: “Bartending has allowed me the opportunity to talk to people from all over the world. Many of them have shared much of their lives and secrets with me. When they call me Mama or Auntie, I know that I am the lucky one. I get to share my work time with people that I love. That is very big. They are very special to me. I have been blessed. That little girl from Mississippi found the rest of her family,” said Flo in her 2009 interview with the New Orleans Time-Picayune.

Flo was a star mixologist in her own right, who believed a good drink depends on to top of the line liquor, the right mix of ingredients, a fresh twist, and perfect glassware. In 2007 her Crescent City Cooler placed Second in the Tales of the Cocktail annual drink competition. Her famous Hurricane recipe was also reknown.

Flo passed away on March 16, 2010, but her legend endures. In Ms. Flo’s words: “A good bartender must have the personality of an ambassador, the attitude of a leader and the ability to be a great listener. That is the winning combination. And, of course, you must love people and talking to them.”

Let’s raise one of these to Ms. Flo and those who tend bar in her tradition by lifting our spirits with a good drink.

Crescent City Cooler
By Flo Woodard

10 Cleaned mint leaves

1 Dash simple syrup

2 Dashes of Angostura bitters

2 Dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

Juice of 2 lime wedges

2 ounces Bacardi Light rum

2 ounces Ginger Ale

3/4 ounce Cranberry juice

Lime wheel

Place mint leaves into a frosted Collins glass. Add the simple syrup and both bitters and muddle for 10 seconds. Add the juice from 2 lime wedges, Bacardi Light and ginger ale. Fill the Collins glass with ice and stir with a bar spoon. Top with cranberry juice. Serve with a straw.

Garnish: Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.



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