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MxMo Update…

Pink Lady

Thanks to everyone for playing! What a stellar turn-out – last count we had over thirty participants, which means the LUPEC ladies have had our work cut out for us. Fortunately, we are stout of heart and have excellent liver function.

‘Til then, here’s a gem from Amelia over at Felicia’s Speakeasy to remind us of those blissful days of cocktail innocence. It’s not a cocktail photo, but as Amelia writes, represents “the essence of the virgin drinker!” May we never be jaded.



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mxmologoLUPEC Boston is honored to be hosting today’s Mixology Monday at our humble abode.  Inspired by a chance encounter that Pink Lady had with a cocktail novice, we’ve decided to consider those cocktails that would be suitably delicious for the first timer.

Obviously there are a couple things to consider when offering up advice to the amateur cocktailian.  First off your suggestions need to be balanced.  Something too bitter, too sweet or too boozey results in our possible convert spending an eternity in vodka/soda purgatory.

And secondly we should consider accessibility.  Folks are afraid of words they don’t know or understand.  And rather than ask for guidance and clarification they will often just turn and run.  Cocktails for the first timer should be relatively simple and incorporate common ingredients.  Not only do we want the cocktail newcomer to enjoy and understand what they’ve just imbibed, we want to be able to write down the recipe and make it clear that it is something they can easily create for themselves at home!

Let’s hear from some of lovely ladies of LUPEC Boston.  How would they pave thelupec_logo72 way to cocktail glory for an amateur?

Pink Lady is a firm believer in the power of the Jack Rose.  “I think in sweeter incarnations and made with a little Peychaud’s, it could easily trick booze-fearing drinkers into swilling back something made with a brown liquor.”

Bourbon Belle chimed in with the Sidecar.  She describes “the combination of the bold and interesting flavor of brandy that is juxtaposed with the sour kick of fresh lemon juice and balanced with the sweet orange flavor of Cointreau” as a great well-balanced cocktail that goes down easy for the novice drinker.

Pink Gin agrees that the brown spirits tend to be an easier sell to the cocktail beginner.  She suggests a Mint Julep (hopefully served in the proper vessel) or perhaps her father’s favorite, a Bourbon Manhattan.  If Pink Gin gets her charm from her father I’m sure he could successfully put a Manhattan in the hands of any teetotaler!

Pinky Gonzalez pipes in with some options to help a newbie recover from any previous gincidents.  She’s used the Left Bank (Gin, St Germain and Sauvignon Blanc) to make “gin-drinkers out of many an unwitting soul.”  She also recommends the Vesper, saying “it’s good for vodka drinkers/gin fearers; the idea that there is vodka in there is enough for some to ‘go there.’  The Lillet offers the vermouth-fearer an alternative and the James Bond reference is a good hook for some folks.”

As someone who spends a big chunk of my life behind the stick making drinks for the general public I’m constantly considering gateway cocktails.  There is nothing more gratifying than introducing someone whose “usual” is a vodka and soda to the wonderful world of flavorful, balanced cocktails.  For this reason I’ve taken to calling them my greatway cocktails.  For our purposes today we will be focusing on gin and whiskey, the two base spirits that seem to be most misunderstood by the masses.

Let’s start with gin.  There is an erroneous fear of gin running rampant through our society that LUPEC is attempting to quell.  Gin is delicious and according to our good friend Patrick Sullivan it makes you smarter.  Armed with this fact and a few cocktails conversion is imminent.

Fine and Dandy Cocktail (from the Savoy Cocktail Book)

1/2 Plymouth Gin

1/4 Cointreau

1/4 Lemon Juice

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

The Fine and Dandy is a greatway cocktail for many reasons.  Like Bourbon Belle’s suggestion of the Sidecar, the sweet and sour aspects of this cocktail are wonderfully balanced but do not overwhelm the nuances of the gin.  In addition this cocktail gently introduces bitters, a cocktail ingredient that unnecessarily frightens the cocktail neophyte.

imagesThe Stork Club Cocktail

1.5 oz Gin

.5 Cointreau

1 oz Orange Juice

.25 oz Lime Juice

1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Orange juice equals breakfast, the start to one’s day.  Why not start one’s cocktail journey with the juicy house cocktail of one of Manhattan’s most historic hot spots.

As a lover of all brown spirits I can’t imagine not enjoying a perfectly made Manhattan.  But as I know this is not the case for all let’s consider a couple of whiskey based greatway cocktails.

The Scofflaw Cocktail

1 oz Rye Whiskey

1 oz French Vermouth

.5 oz Grenadine

.5 oz Lemon Juice

1 dash Orange Bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This delicious cocktail is perfect for introducing someone to the joys of whiskey and vermouth.   It’s sure to make a newbie ooo and ah.

The Algonquinothers_46780_8

1.5 oz Rye Whiskey

.75 oz Dry Vermouth

.75 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Another juicy option for introducing folks to the joys of marrying whiskey and vermouth.  Encourage the newbie to raise her or his glass to Ms Dorothy Parker, one of our favorite forebroads and member of the Algonquin’s famed round table.

Thank you to all who have participated in our Mixology Monday saluting First Timers.  Check back in the next couple of days for our round up!

Cin Cin!

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By Pinky Gonzales

roffignac2Of course it is the week of Fat Tuesday and Lent, and the good city of New Orleans is on our minds and so are it’s drinks. LUPEC Boston’s column in this week’s Dig is on the Roffignac cocktail, a kind of elegant, no-frills, tasty highball. Its exact story is fuzzy, but its origins seem to go back to the early part of the 19th century, when cocktails were fledging. The drink is named after a French Revolution refugee-turned-progressive New Orleans Mayor and state Senator, Count Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac, who may have liked to drink ‘em. It’s a Cognac or Brandy, raspberry, and soda water concoction, and personally, makes me pine for summer. Not a bad Winter blues beater (take it from me!) The original used a now-extinct raspberry syrup called Red Hembarig. I don’t know what our best store-bought choice is today as there are a number of them but I made a fresh raspberry simple syrup and that was not only good enough for me it was delicious.

So as Mayor in the 1820s, Roffignac, perhaps more of an “Obama” of his day than say, a Bush (ouch it’s hard to type his name), introduced and implemented a fistful of forward-minded ideas to make the Crescent city what it is today. According to Ryan Mayer in Where Y’At magazine, “He seems to have been the first official in New Orleans to appreciate its dawning commercial importance, and set himself earnestly and laboriously to prepare the city for its coming greatness.” Cool. He paid great attention to keeping the streets clean, planted trees, paved the streets, spearheaded some early levee planning, and lit the lantern-carrying Quarter with streetlamps in 1821. Pittoresque, no?

The swell little tome, Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix Them by Stanley Clisby Arthur is a fun source for the recipe and a bit of history. It instructs:

untitled1“1 jigger whiskey

1 pony sirup

seltzer or soda water

raspberry sirup

Pour ito a highball glass the jigger of whiskey (or use Cognac, as in the original drink). Add the sirup, which may be raspberry, grenadine, or red Hembarig, the sweetening used in New Orleans a century ago [that would be 1837.] Add the soda water. Ice of course.

Cheers to progress, cheers to the swampy city.

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Screwdriver in search of fortune and good spirits

Screwdriver in search of fortune and good spirits

This month’s Mixology Monday hosted by Rowley’s Whiskey Forge is all about desperate times.  In these days of economic downturn how do we tipplers keep ourselves fully saturated?  For the ladies of LUPEC Boston its through an understanding that quality hooch doesn’t have to carry a hefty price tag.

Now don’t get us wrong.  We are more than willing to splurge on a delicious bottle of 20 year old bourbon every now and again.  It takes a lot of care to shepherd a barrel of bourbon through 20 years of aging and we will happily empty our wallets to enjoy that labor of love.  But all too frequently a bottle sports a hefty price tag due to the producer’s million dollar ad campaign.  So what about the bottle next to the $40 bottle of bourbon, the one that is only $20 and has a name with which you’re unfamiliar?  With a little research you just may find a gem. Here are a few tips and things to keep in mind as you explore:

RULE #1: Skip anything packaged in plastic.  These aren’t the desperate times of college.

RULE #2: Don’t be afraid to ask questions at your favorite cocktail bars and liquor stores.  We are fortunate to have several establishments here in Boston that stock unconventional brands in their wells and on their back bars.  If your bartender appears to have some time next time you visit your favorite local, ask a few questions about what they’ve chosen to stock and why.

RULE #3: Don’t be afraid to take a chance.  It’s doubtful that $20 bottle will be completely  undrinkable.  Take it home and taste it next to some of your higher priced bottles.  You may decide that one bottle was enough – or you may have found a diamond in the rough.


A favorite affordable bottle for the LUPEC broads is Old Fitzgerald bourbon, a quality spirit with a distinguished history.  According to the Heaven Hills web site John E. Fitzgerald started producing his bourbon in 1870 for rail and steamship lines.  Around 1900 he released his bourbon to the public and was able to continue distilling through Prohibition, thanks to the national medicine trade.  It’s also around this time that the famed Pappy Van Winkle took over Old Fitzgerald and introduced the “whisper of wheat” formula.  Today the fine folks at Heaven Hills distillery continue the tradition of Old Fitz.

The final stamp of approval for Old Fitzgerald comes from one of our favorite saucy broads of yore, Dirty Helen (aka Helen Cromwell).  A woman who wore many hats, including prostitute and madame, Dirty Helen was known far and wide.  Her bar at the Sunflower Inn in Milwaukee, WI was frequented in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s by gangsters, millionaires, society, famous sportsmen and just plain people.  With no furniture to speak of guests plopped down on the plushly carpeted floor sipping one of two options: House of Lords Scotch or Old Fitzgerald Bourbon.  And if you dared to order something else, Dirty Helen’s salty sense of humor would turn you into the spectacle of the bar.

brands_oldfitz_bottleIn 1946 her dedication to Old Fitzgerald earned her a personal invite by Julian Van Winkle to attend the three day annual sales meeting of Stitzel-Weller distillery.  In true Dirty Helen style she eschewed the offer of a free plane ticket and traveled by taxi from Milwaukee, WI to Louisville, KY with an unsuspecting cab driver named Harold.

So in honor of hard times and salty broads, grab a bottle of Old Fitz, pour yourself a shot and raise your glass to Dirty Helen!

Cin Cin!

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elit_midnight_millionaireValentine’s Day is just around the corner and folks are clamoring for reservations at romantic locales all about town.  With the state of the economy and the big event falling on a Saturday many, however, may be choosing to spend the night at home.  That would be my choice as nothing is dearer to me than cooking, cocktailing and enjoying with my sweetie at home sweet home. 

Now the ladies of LUPEC are no slouches in the  kitchen, but that it is not our expertise.  If you are deciding to spend a romantic night in with your honey there are a plethora of great ideas for delicious treats at blogs such as Married…with Dinner or in the lovely pages of Bon Appetit.  But if you need help with some lovely bubbly libations to start your amorous evening, we are the broads for you!

This week’s column in the Dig features the Champagne Cocktail.  To us this is the little black dress of sparkling cocktails.  Simple, elegant and fitting for almost every occasion.  If simplicity is what you are searching for you can also try a Kir Royale.  This French classic is named after former mayor of Dijon Count Felix Kir who enjoyed drinking the local Bordeaux wine with a touch of Cassis.  For a Kir Royale drizzle between 1/8 and 1/4 of an ounce of Cassis in a glass of Champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.  

One of our favorite women behind the stick, Audrey Saunders, is the source of the following delicious rum based bubbly cocktail.

shak184The Old Cuban

1.5 oz Bacardi 8

1 oz Simple Syrup (or less to taste)

.75 oz lime juice

1 dash angostura bitters (we like 2)



Muddle mint, syrup and lime in a mixing glass.  Add rum and bitters and shake with ice.  Double strain into a larger cocktail glass and top with Champagne.  Garnish with a mint leaf.

If you’ve finished a dinner and still have some of the bubbly in the bottle the Seelbach is a bitter filled sparkling cocktail that’s perfect as a digestivo.  The Seelbach is named after the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.  According to Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails the restaurant director found this forgotten pre-Prohibition recipe in 1995.  He began serving the cocktail in the hotel but kept the recipe a secret.  He finally divulged the full recipe in 1997 at the urging of Gary and Mardee Regan.

The Seelbach Cocktailsbhhotelgroup18851

1 oz Bourbon (Old Forrester was specified)

.5 oz Cointreau

7 dashes Angostura bitters

7 dashes Peychaud bitters


Stir Bourbon, Cointreau and bitters briefly over ice.  Strain into a Champagne flute and top with bubbles.  Garnish with an orange twist.

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Great Molasses

by Pink Lady

If you checked out this week’s column in the Dig, you know the ladies of LUPEC have molasses on the brain. As mentioned in broad strokes in print, this dark, sticky sugar by-product and the rum that it produces are about as tightly woven into the history of New England as the American Revolution. Here are a few more facts and great resources to continue reading about them, for the history buffs among us:

  • As Pink Gin mentioned in last week’s column, “History reminds us that we once had a thriving rum industry that was buried along with any acknowledgment of our role in the slave trade.” Indeed, rum in New England has a distinctly checkered past. As Stephen Puleo summarizes in Dark Tide,

It was from Salem, as well as from Boston, Newport, and Bristol, Rhode Island, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New London, Connecticut, that the slaving ships set sail for the coast of West Africa, their holds laden with barrels of rum. Once they arrived, they traded the rum to African coast merchants in exchange for black slaves, whom they sold, in turn, in the West Indies for local products – most notably molasses. These ships then transported molasses to New England to be used as a cheap sugar substitute, and to distill into rum. The cycle then began all over again. The “Triangle Trade” was born and became the backbone of New England’s economy and prosperity before the American Revolution.

For an more in-depth exploration of the history of rum in the United States, you can check out Wayne CurtisAnd A Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails, or Ian WilliamsRum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776.

  • A neighborhood decimated, 150 people injured, 21 people killed – the details of the Great Boston Molasses Flood are pretty shocking, even to disaster-weary modern minds. But the scandal surrounding the flood is a fascinating, David vs. Goliath story in itself that is deftly recounted in Stephen Puleo‘s Dark Tide. 119 separate legal claims were brought again United States Industrial Agriculture, which the Superior Court of Massachusetts decided to consolidate into a single legal proceeding, “creating in effect, if not by strict legal definition, the largest class-action suit to date in Massachusetts history and one of the largest ever in U.S. legal annals.” The USIA tried to blame anarchist bombers for the tank explosion, but were ultimately held responsible and paid hundreds of thousands of damages to North End residents. To learn more, pick up a copy of Dark Tide – it’s a compelling, well informed read that will teach you tons about early 20th century Boston history and culture.

And now for some more molasses cocktails!

Adapted from David Wondrich’s Imbibe:


2 oz. Santa Cruz rum

1 tablespoonful of molasses

“This drink can either be made in summer or winter; if in the former season, mix in one tablespoonful of water, and cool with shaved ice; if in the latter, fill up the tumbler with boiling water. Grate a little nutmeg on top.” (Source: Jerry Thomas, 1862)

Writes Wondrich: “The Nutmegs [New Englanders] so loved theif Black Strap that, according to the memoirs of Henry Soule, a New England parson, bowls of it were even circulated at weddings. One shudders.”

Here’s a modern one, which we located on Trader Tiki’s Booze Blog. It comes originally from Martin Cate of Forbidden Island, and was named Trader Tiki Most Officially Excellent and Outstanding

Original Drink for Tales of the Cocktail 2008.


1 1/2 oz Pampero Aniversario (rum)
1/2 oz Mild (aka first boil) Unsulfured Molasses
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (2:1)
1/4 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
Dash Angostura Bitters
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 1/2 Charged (fizzy) Water

Combine all ingredients except fizzy water in an ice-filled shaker; strain into a Collins glass. Top with fizzy water, stir to combine, garnish with mint & serve.

Yum! Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Trader Tiki!

Cin cin!

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Here we come A-Wassailing

by Hanky Panky

Hopefully in the midst of the holiday hustle you were able to snag a copy of this week’s Dig in which the LUPEC ladies unraveled the mystery of wassailing.  Who knew that the phrase that has been confusing us for years could actually be pointing to a delicious libation that can warm us throughout this festive and hectic season.

Thankfully making Wassail is not complicated.  It can, however, be a bit time consuming.  For this reason we decided to feature a recipe for Wassail from one of our favorite books, Jigger, Beaker, & Glass: Drinking Around the World by Charles H. Baker Jr. Mr. Baker is best known for traveling the world over to write about all things related to food and drink.  Those who are fortunate to own this tome know that his prose is as remarkably delicious as the recipes featured therein.  So who better to walk us through the ancient ritual than Mr. Charles H. Baker Jr.  Enjoy!


In Saxon times this custom of the Wassail Bowl at feast days was an important ceremony, and later it became an accepted custom at Christmas Eve, when minstrels or choirs, or village singers went about singing carols where there was a candle lit in the window.

In the Feudal castles, and manor houses, the Wassail Bowl was borne into the banqueting Hall with songs and carols, and crowned with garlands.

Nutmeg, 1/2 grated; or 2 tsp powdered

Powdered or grated ginger, 1 tsp

Cloves, 6 whole

Cinnamon, 1 inch of stick

Sugar, 1 cup

Eggs, yolks 6; whites 3

Apples, 6 cored, but not pared

Mace, 1/4 tsp


Sherry or Madeira, 2 qts

Take spices and cover with a cup of cold water.  Fetch to a boil; adding wine and sugar.  Let heat up…Meanwhile in the Wassail Bowl (Punchbowl) previously warmed:

Break in six yolks and three whites.  Beat up.  When wine is warm – not boiling – mix a teacupful with the egg.  When a little warmer, add another cupful, and repeat until five cups have been used…Now let the rest of the wine boil up well, and pour it into the bowl also, stirring well all the time, until it froths in attractive fashion…Fill cored apples with sugar, sprinkle on a little of the spice and roast until nearly done.  Time these to suit the end of the wine-pouring process.  Throw them into the bowl, and serve the whole thing very hot…Some stout hearts add a tumbler full of good cognac brandy to the whole – and we, after testing the business, heartily agree with them; since sherry of itself isn’t potent enough to make any Saxon defend his native land, much less a 20th Century wassailer, with all we have been through during one and a half decades that Saxons never even considered as drinkable fluid!


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