Archive for the ‘Weekly Dig’ Category

*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Did you know that ice is an American invention? Well, kind of. No one can claim ownership of frozen water, of course, but dropping a cube of it into beverages on a hot summer day was not such an easy luxury in the days before refrigeration. We can thank Frederic Tudor’s Yankee ingenuity for exporting the wonders of the ice-cold beverage to warmer regions of the world.

A well-to-do Bostonian, Tudor dropped out of school at Boston Latin at age 13, spurning a college education at Harvard to pursue fortune in his own inventions. As the story goes, Tudor discovered his calling at 17 while seeking a cold beverage in Cuba without success. He decided then and there to create a business out of “harvesting ice” from the local New England ponds that freeze so solidly each winter.

Tudor’s idea was at first met with ridicule but eventually grew into an empire. He sourced ice from familiar spots like Walden and Fresh Pond and shipped it around the world to Europe, the Caribbean, and even to the British East India Company in Calcutta. Tudor became known as Boston’s Ice King and died in 1864 a wealthy man. He even created an offshoot industry for Maine’s sawmills by insulating his precious cargo with the sawdust they’d previously thrown away.

Let’s raise a glass to Tudor as the holidays – and the many parties that ensue – approach. Several weeks ago, we LUPEC ladies got our hands on a special, modern invention that has satiated our high volume ice needs, the NewAir AI-100SS countertop ice maker from Air & Water. The kind folks in the marketing department offered us a chance to put this toy to the test. We’ve done so at several cocktail parties and found the machine to be true to its promise: it can make up to 35 pounds of ice per day and the first batch of ice cubes are complete in 15 minutes. Set-up and clean-up is delightfully facilement.

You may rarely have need for 35 pounds of ice, and equally little use for the urn you bought that offers coffee service for 45. But if you do enjoy entertaining, or simply enjoy being totally prepared every single time you do, this kitchen gadget may be just the thing for you.

Frederic Tudor would be impressed by how far we’ve come.



1 1/2 oz light rum

1 oz orange juice

1/2 oz falernum

1/4 oz maraschino liqueur

Shake in iced cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass.



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Recent thoughts from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

As you well know, we love a good cocktail story. One of our all-time favorites is a tale about the Gibson. We’ve heard this myth bandied about by some of Boston’s most knowledgeable bar stars, and though we’ve never seen it substantiated, we’re happy to propagate it here. Fact or fiction? Who cares, we’re drinking.

The Gibson is essentially a martini garnished with cocktail onions. As the story goes, a savvy investment banker named Gibson in cahoots with his waiter and barman used the cocktail as a ploy during business negotiations. While meeting to discuss business, as his potential partners ordered a round of martinis, Gibson would announce: “I’d like a Gibson”. This cued his server to bring him nothing more than a glass of water garnished with cocktail onions. As you can imagine, after two or three rounds of drinks as negotiations wore on, Gibson had the upper hand. The servers always knew he’d closed the deal when he said: “Now sir, I’d like a martini.”

The Gibson Cocktail traces its roots to San Francisco – this much we know to be true. One story posits that it was created and popularized by artist Charles Dana Gibson, creator of the iconic Gibson Girls. Another states it was invented for wealthy financier and Bohemian Club member Walter D. K. Gibson sometime around 1898. Perhaps he was the Gibson who used the cocktail as a ploy to make him rich. Whomever can be credited, the drink was a hot ticket by 1904.

We’ve recently been enjoying the Gibson made with Nolet’s gin, a gorgeous gin that’s recently become available in Boston. Made with Turkish rose, white peach, raspberries, and a super secret proprietary blend of botanicals, Nolet’s is floral, fruity and delightfully elegant. The juniper element we love (but so many gin-phobes hate) is less pronounced than many of its contemporaries, making this a great gateway gin for the juniper-wary. Sample one of these at home, or at Eastern Standard where the house pickled onions are reason enough to order a Gibson.


Adapted from Imbibe! by David Wondrich

1.5 oz Nolet’s Finest Gin

1.5 oz dry vermouth

Stir ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail onion.


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Recent thoughts from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

“Holidays Mean Family – We Sell Liquor,” reads the sign on a liquor store in West Somerville, reminding us that as we gather around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends, we’re probably going to want to have a cocktail in hand.

This Thanksgiving, we turn our attention to the humble cranberry. We love it in cranberry sauce, both the delicious, homemade version and the weird kind that comes in a can. We also love it in cocktails. At Toro, the Nantucket Mule is a delightful riff on the classic Moscow Mule. Served in a copper mug much like the original, it is made with cranberry vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. Stop in for one tonight as you brace yourself for the big meal.

Over at the Woodward, charming barman “English Bill” Codman is a fan of fresh cranberries for their bright, natural acidity, stunning color and tart flavor. His Hot Nantucket Night blends fresh cranberries, jalapeño, lime and tequila for a pretty pink cocktail that is the envy of every margarita. The drink is a delight and a great way to stimulate the appetite as you prepare to stuff yourself with turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing tomorrow afternoon.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! Enjoy your cranberries and enjoy your cocktails.


Created by “English Bill” Codman

7 whole cranberries, muddled

1 slice jalapeño pepper

1 oz agave simple syrup

.5 oz lime juice

1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco tequila

Shake ingredients with ice, strain over fresh ice, garnish with a jalapeño.

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as recently published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

As local temperatures begin to take a nosedive most of us New Englanders hunker down with hot cocktails and curmudgeonly grumblings. A recent trip to Mexico to learn about tequila gave this LUPEC lady a respite from the oncoming bitterness, introducing me the joys of a simple, refreshing cocktail called La Paloma. If you find yourself sick of sipping Hot Toddies and Perfect Manhattans in the coming weeks we suggest you change it up with a La Paloma.

The drink was invented in the tiny town of Tequila in Jalisco, which sleepily charms with cobblestone streets and distilleries nestled between unassuming houses and shops without signs. The cocktail was created at La Capilla, the oldest bar in town, by Don Javier Delgado Corona, grandson of the bar’s original owner. It’s essentially a tequila highball made with fresh lime, Squirt or whatever grapefruit soda you prefer (or fresh grapefruit and soda if you wanna get all fancy), served with a salted rim. It’s simple, refreshing, and far more popular locally than a Margarita.

Don Javier held forth at a corner table as our group of boisterous bartending gringos blew up La Capilla on a hot Tuesday afternoon in November. At one end of the bar a mustachioed barman cut fresh avocados and squeezed lime into a wooden bowl, prepping fresh, chunky guacamole. At another, a kid no older than 17 and a middle school aged barback poured drinks, squeezing fresh lime into highballs for our Palomas and Batangas and shot after shot of tequila. A roving band arrived shortly and our group of motley gringos were up and dancing in no time.

As anyone who’s visited Tequila knows all that distillery touring and taco eating will make you thirsty. The dancing and Palomas in turn made us hungry for more tacos. It’s a vicious, delicious cycle, and one we highly recommend to cure your pre-Thanksgiving November blues. If time and money can’t afford you a trip to Jalisco, recreate the experience at home with one of these.


2 oz reposado tequila (Fortaleza if you can get your hands on a bottle!)

.5 oz fresh lime juice

Grapefruit soda (Squirt, Jarrito’s, or fresh grapefruit juice & soda water)


Combine tequila and lime juice in a highball or Collins glass rimmed with salt. Add ice and top with grapefruit soda.


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

by Pink Lady

Look at you, you savvy cocktailian. We are so proud to see so many Bostonian drinkers belly up to the bar, empowered by knowledge they’ve culled from books and websites about the history of the drink. What a joy to banter about bitters with guests rather than guide them through our “martini” list looking for the perfect vodka cocktail.

As you get more and more cocktail savvy it’s important to remember manners and etiquette as you order. Remember, the line between educated ordering and pretension can be paper-thin. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while on the boozing trail:

1. Order politely and with humility. Bar managers work hard to cultivate cocktail lists that blend interesting classics with house-developed originals. The former may have been sourced from the pages of old cocktail tomes, vintage marketing leaflets, their favorite bar in Burma, or God knows where. The latter could be made with house-made syrups, bitters, or other ingredients which you won’t find on every bar. If you try a drink that really knocks your socks off, do yourself a favor and learn the recipe so you can order it precisely when out at another bar. Teach a man to fish versus give a man a fish and all that.

2. When ordering an off the menu special, be precise and patient. If you know your drink is simply a variation on a recipe the barkeep may already know, consider ordering it in the most obvious terms and revealing its special name after its in the glass. You could order “A Margarita, San Francisco style,” potentially confusing your bartender.  Or, you could tell your busy barkeep that you’d like your Margarita with agave syrup in place of other sweetener. What would you rather hear while trying to push drinks out quickly at a crowded bar?

3. If ordering bartender’s choice, you’re ordering bartender’s choice. You’ve made your choice to not decide on a drink. If it’s not exactly what you wanted after the first few sips, remember whose idea it was to roll the dice. A good bartender will surely be happy to make you something else if you’re less than thrilled with your cocktail. But having him or her make several drinks in a row when you originally indicated you trust them enough to “make whatever they want” completely defeats the purpose. Roll the dice only if you’re in the mood for mysterious adventure.

4. Tip generously. If you’re going to be a cocktailian, tip like one: twenty percent of the tab, no less. If you order “bartender’s choice…with grapefruit, Cynar, maybe some lemon but nothing too sweet,” do bear in mind the creativity comes with composing your specified drink on the fly, especially if the bar is four people deep. In any scenario, a dollar a drink is most likely not enough; in this one, it’s a huge bummer. The kindest way to thank a bartender for their generous hospitality is to show your appreciation for their hard work by tipping them well.

Nice work, cocktailian. And if you want to really endear yourself to your favorite bartender when they’re in the weeds, order one of these.


Beer: It should be your beer if choice, commonly PBR, Miller High Life, or Narangannsett in Boston. Some LUPEC members are also fans of Bud Light Lime. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve try it.

Shot: Black, green, or brown, meaning Fernet, Chartreuse, or Jameson. Or whatever else you fancy. And maybe buy one for the bartender while you’re at it.


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

by Pink Lady

If you’ve ever tried a Pisco Sour, you know the delights of the frothy drink, particularly the warm glow that steals over you after several sips. If you’re scratching your head and wondering, “WTF is Pisco???” do yourself a favor and read on.

Pisco is a distilled grape spirit that hails from Peru or Chile and is made from unique regional varietals. It’s born much in the same way as cognac or brandy, but is aged in stainless steel versus wood so typically has little to no discernible color. In its pre-Prohibition heyday, Pisco Punch was all the rage in the bars of San Francisco, with some bars devoted to serving that drink and nothing else. As the story so often goes, Prohibition nearly erased both pisco and punch from American cocktail landscape.

There are four different styles of pisco: pisco aromatica, pisco puro (single varietal), pisco acholado (a blend of aromatic and non-aromatic muscat grape clones), and pisco mosto verde (made from partially fermented grape juice.) Laws are less strict in Chile but in Peru, the production of pisco is highly regulated. A competitive marketplace yields great styles.

As a category pisco emphasizes place over process, allowing flavors of the grape to shine through by using stainless steel instead of wood for aging. Peruvian pisco is typically distilled just once or twice, and laws stipulate that the spirit cannot be rectified post-distillation so it must be distilled to proof. The quality of the grape is the measure of the distiller’s skill.

One brand of which are particularly fond is Macchu Pisco, helmed by the fabulous Melanie da Trindade-Asher. Her family-owned company also produces La Diablada, an acholado made from Quebranta, Italia, and Moscatel grapes. It’s floral, smooth, and extremely aromatic and an exciting way to try your favorite pisco cocktails. Sample a Pisco Sour with both and be changed.


1.5 oz Macchu Pisco or La Diablada

1 oz simple syrup

.75 oz fresh lemon or lime juice

1 oz egg white

Angostura bitters

Combine the pisco, simple syrup, citrus juice, and egg white in a mxing glass. Dry shake to emulsify, then add ice and shake long and hard. Strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish by sprinkling angostura bitters onto the egg white foam.


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

by Pink Lady

As regular readers of our column know, LUPEC ladies tend to defy general stereotypes about what women “should” drink. Flirtini? Umm…thanks, but we’d rather have a Sazerac. Girly drinks to us aren’t necessarily sticky sweet pink concoctions, and strong and stirred cocktails should not be reserved just for manly men. But putting the gender-bendy stuff aside, is there actual rhyme or reason to why we taste what we taste?

Yes, actually, there is and that’s exactly what we’ll be exploring next week at a Science of Taste Through Cocktails seminar at Eastern Standard. LUPEC has united a team of nerdy cocktail types with their scientific counterparts to explore taste through our favorite medium: alcoholic beverages. And it’s all for a good cause – proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit local non-profit Science Club for Girls.

The seminar will explore the scientific aspects of taste and flavor through cocktails. We’ll explore the five facets of taste (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami) through five unique cocktails cultivated by five Boston bartenders, featuring Nicole Lebedevitch from Eastern Standard, Augusto Lino from Upstairs on the Square, Carrie Cole from Craigie on Main, Joy Richard from the Franklin/the Citizen, and Emily Stanley from Bols (formerly of Green Street, Trina’s Starlite Lounge, and Deep Ellum). Don Katz, a Professor specializing in Chemosensation from Brandeis, will speak about the science of taste and flavor, and Graham Wright, a former chemist and general Boston bon vivant, will team up with the bartenders to explain how these concepts are applied in the glass.

The Science of Taste is a consumer event and all proceeds from the evening will benefit Science Club for Girls, a MA-based non-profit that provides free hands-on enrichment in science and engineering to over 800 children in the Boston area, many of whom are from underrepresented groups and may be the first in their families to attend college. We couldn’t imagine a more appropriate cause.

Tickets are $55 and will include a welcome punch, five sample cocktails, and light snacks. Space is extremely limited. If you’re dying to figure out exactly what umami is, nab your tickets now.

In the interim, you raise a salty cocktail at home, a variation of which which we’ll serve at the seminar.


Presented by Emily Stanley of Bols, formerly of Green Street, Trina’s Starlite Lounge, and Deep Ellum

In a chilled pint glass with a salted rim add:
1 bottle of Pacifico
.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
4 dashes Tabasco sauce

Stir and imbibe with pleasure as your cares melt away.



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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Happy 500th birthday, Bénédictine! This mysterious liqueur was invented by a monk named Dom Bernardo Vincelli, in 1510.

Vincelli, a member of the order of Saint Benedict in the French abbey of Fécamp, experimented in alchemy—more than the process of turning metals into gold, a lesser known application of alchemy involved developing secret elixirs that are thought to help prolong life. This is how Bénédictine was born.

Like another favorite monk-made elixir of ours, Chartreuse, the recipe for Bénédictine was nearly lost in 1789 during the French Revolution and was rediscovered in 1863 by wine merchant Alexandre Le Grand. While sorting through some old family papers, Le Grand discovered a recipe book that had fallen into his family’s hands decades earlier when the last monk to leave the abbey of Fécamp gave them several of their most precious books. These tomes had been collecting dust in the library, unnoticed for decades.

Le Grand spent a year decoding the recipe, but was eventually able to re-create the elixir Vincelli had invented so long ago. Bénédictine is a bewitching blend of 27 different plants and spices, all proprietary, of course, and it became popular in the 1880s.

LUPEC was thrilled to host Bénédictine’s 500th birthday party at Franklin Southie last weekend. If you missed it, you can raise a glass of one of these at home, toasting five centuries in pursuit of long life.

Old No. 27

2 oz Plymouth Gin

0.5 oz Bénédictine

0.5 oz Combier

1 dash Fee Bros orange bitters

1 dash angostura bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.


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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, as originally published in The Weekly Dig

by Pink Lady

It’s no secret that the ladies of LUPEC love vermouth. We like it poured with a heavy hand in our martinis and our Hearst’s. We have also been known to enjoy it on the rocks with a twist of lemon, orange wheel or even an olive.

A recent excursion to the left coast landed this LUPEC lady at Sutton Cellars, a winery in downtown San Francisco. Though the winery is basically a one-room operation with concrete floors and walls, a small room off the cask-filled space is Sutton’s vermouth lab. Jars filled with infusing botanicals line the walls, and the aroma of dried flowers fills the room. We sampled the freshest vermouth we’d ever tasted there, literally minutes after it was blended.

Vermouth is a special category of aperitifs that takes its name from the German word for wormwood, “wermut,” and is essentially an aromatized wine that has been fortified and flavored with herbs, roots, bark and flowers. Whether red or white in color, white wine is usually used as the base, with color imparted in the vermouth by botanicals.

Sutton’s vermouth is based on neutral white wine, fortified with unaged brandy, and flavored with a proprietary blend of 17 different botanicals. The most prominent among these is chamomile, making for a vermouth that is elegant and floral, with a little citrus kick.

Fortunately for us, Sutton Cellars vermouth is available in the Boston area, too. Hit up Dave’s Fresh Pasta or Central Bottle Wine in Cambridge to sample a bottle. Try it in a martini or on its own to whet your appetite before the dinner hour.


2 oz Sutton Cellars vermouth

splash soda

Build over rocks in an old fashioned glass and a twist of lemon or orange.


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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston as originally published in The Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

Like most culinary potations, cocktails taste as good as the ingredients you put in them, a point that is most potently relevant in the case of fresh juice.

Once upon a time, the only way to impart juice into a cocktail was by reaching for whichever citrus struck your fancy and giving it a squeeze. But as American foodways developed into economies of scale and prefabricated items became vogue, use of fresh citrus in cocktails fell out of fashion. Sour mix, for example, appeared in the 1930s post-Prohibition era as a useful tool for new barkeeps thrust into the job with virtually no training after 13 dry years. Then, as now, it tasted awful compared to the fresh stuff, leaving no wonder as to why so many great classics fell out of fashion.

The best way to understand how fresh juice plays in cocktails is to taste for yourself. Squeeze room-temperature citrus whenever possible (cold fruit yields 1/3 less juice) and just squeeze what you need, as fresh juice becomes bitter very quickly and isn’t worth keeping overnight. If squeezing in any sort of volume, strain your juice with a hand-held citrus squeezer through a fine mesh strainer or chinois to remove any residual pulp.

Even bars that champion fresh lemon and lime will often buy commercial orange and grapefruit juice. Sample this cocktail with fresh grapefruit juice instead, and you’ll never again reach for Ruby Red.


2 oz rye

1 oz grapefruit juice

1 tsp raspberry syrup

Shake in iced cocktail shaker and strain. Serve in a cocktail glass.



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