Archive for the ‘Tales of the Cocktail’ Category

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

by Guest Columnist John Myers

Thanks to LUPEC’s passion for a killer party, I’m stuck writing their column this week.

They evidently learned nothing in the hangover seminar I moderated at Tales of the Cocktail. Bourbon Belle, Barbara West, Saucy Sureau and Pink Lady all attended, and even though Pink Lady scribbled copious notes, I’m left to cobble something together as she sleeps off her fun in their coven-like hotel room. Her writing is illegible and I’m preliterate, so we make a great team. But still: Was she drunk when she took these?

Had the ladies listened to what Wayne Curtis and I said, they might have made this morning’s deadline. Sure, it was the last evening of Tales of the Cocktail, but the girls should have eaten dinner rather than lounging by the pool, sipping tiki drinks. Downing a quart of milk would have been better than nothing.

After their first rotation around the Carousel Bar, they should have had some water. Instead, they ordered Vieux Carrés in to-go cups for the cab ride over to New Orleans’ hot new cocktail bar, Cure.

Instead of imbibing drinks based on cognac and rye, they should have stuck with one spirit, narrowing the blend of congeners with which they pummeled their livers to one concise list. Vodka is the best for this, which makes true cocktailians scowl. Gin—the original flavored vodka—would have worked too.

Once they tired of drinking cocktails, they shouldn’t have ordered cava, which accelerates the ethanol administration process through carbonation. And they most definitely should have gone home when they found the Old Absinthe House closed at 4am. Beignets from Café du Monde seemed the perfect solution, but sipping nips of Chartreuse as they walked there? Surely not.

According to one study, hangovers cost US employers $148 billion annually through lateness, absenteeism and conflicts with coworkers. Had I been unavailable to guest-author for the ladies, it would cost the Dig, too.

When they emerge to the bright glare of daylight, I will attempt to revive them with some Pedialyte, a Devil on Horseback and one of these:


2 1/2 oz tomato juice

1 oz OJ

1 oz silver tequila

1 tsp honey

1/3 oz lime juice

1 Tbsp finely chopped onion

2 slices red hot chile

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

salt to taste

Shake and strain. Also great after a day in the fridge.

And when that doesn’t work, I’ll show them how to drink a PBR in the shower, how the cold beer in your insides, the hot water on your outsides and the cold can against your forehead is truly one of God’s great gifts to us. Vigorous exercise—another possible cure—may ensue.


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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.

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.



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by Pink Lady
If you checked out our column in the Dig this week, you know LUPEC is already gearing up for the Tales of the Cocktail in July. Boston was well-represented last year, and if you haven’t booked your summer vacation yet, or are just looking to add a little additional fun to the mix this season, we suggest you consider making the trip down to NOLA this July. Yes, we know it’s hot, but the backwards nature of making a trip to the swampy south in the summer heat means that airline tickets (JetBlue flies direct) and hotel rooms are cheap cheap cheap. If you act now (or by June 16), you can also enter to win a free trip from Luxury Experience Magazine.

Now that we’ve got you there, however will you make it through this madness? As we discussed in the Dig, booze flows all day long at Tales, starting with your first seminars of the day, which begin at 10:30 a.m., and continuing long into the night. When you find yourself at the bar yukking it up with the other cocktail aficionados in town for the event, low-alcohol sips are a great way to ensure you make it through. The Half-Sinner, Half-Saint (pictured right) is a go-to for many. If looking to take a momentary break from cocktails, switching to a lower alcohol sparkler like Moscato d’Asti can do the trick. Pairing your favorite liqueur (St-Germain, Velvet Falernum) or aromatized wine (Lillet or Dubonnet),  with a little soda and a splash of citrus can work wonders. Or try any of these.


from Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide, revised

.75 oz sloe gin

.75 oz French Vermouth

.75 oz Italian Vermouth

1 dash Angostura bitters

1 dash orange bitters

Shake with ice; strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.


1.5 oz Aperol

2 oz Prosecco or other sparkler

Splash soda water

Build over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Rose Cocktail

Rose Cocktail


2 oz dry vermouth

1 oz imported kirschwasser

1 tsp raspberry syrup or Chambord

Stir well with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

Cin cin!

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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.


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.


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.

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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by Pink Lady

Interested in the possibility of a free four night stay at a fun little cocktail convention in New Orleans this July? We were too. Well all that stands between you and four free nights at Tales of the Cocktail is a simple drink recipe. The Hotel Monteleone is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its famous Carousel Bar on May 21, 2009. From 1949 until about the late 60’s or 70’s the specialty drink menu boasted a “Monteleone Cocktail”. Unfortunately, neither the exact exact recipes nor specifics on the ingredients survived.

This May, the Hotel Monteleone is hosting an online contest to accept drink recipe nominations for a new official Monteleone Cocktail. Recipes will be judged by VIPs who will be at the Carousel anniversary celebration on May 21. There are no requirements on types of liquor or style of drink, but all drink entries must be received by May 18, so that the ingredients may be
acquired and drinks prepared at the May 21 event. The winning entry will become the new official Monteleone Cocktail, and the winner will receive four free nights at the Hotel Monteleone during Tales of the
Cocktail 2009.

Participating bloggers should post entries online, and all participants should e-mail their drink recipes, along with their name, address and phone number, to athornton@hotelmonteleone.com. The deadline is coming up, so get your jiggers ready. May the best drink win!

Cin cin!

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