Posts Tagged ‘Velvet Falernum’

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

by Pink Lady

Did you wake up after the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash with dry mouth, a pounding head and a bad case of UPDA (unexplained paranoid drinking anxiety)? It’s OK, so did we. If you’re the lucky recipient of one of the gift certificates we raffled off, we hope you chose to spend it on a little hair of the dog, as that is truly the only way to reset your off-balance nervous system once afflicted with a hangover.

The winner of a $100 gift certificate to Eastern Standard, for example, had many delicious brunch beverage options from which to choose. Roll right from our 1950s tiki party into the swingin’ ’60s with classic morning sips, like a Greyhound or a Harvey Wallbanger. When’s the last time you had Galliano?

Brunch cocktails at Toro are offered in pitchers, which is exactly what the winner of that gift certificate needed for the morning after. The Blood Orange Mimosa is a lovely, dark pink take on the classic that looks oh-so inviting in large quantities. And a pitcher of Bloody Marys is packed with nourishing Vitamin C and lycopene, which has been extensively studied for its possible antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. There’s got to be a hangover cure in there somewhere, too.

For the recipient of a gift certificate from the Franklin Café, we’d suggest brunch at the Franklin Southie over an Improved Toxic Moxie Cocktail, featuring Rittenhouse Rye, Fernet Branca, Moxie and angostura orange bitters. True New Englanders know Moxie makes everything better … as does the bacon that we suggest you add to your hangover-snuffing sirloin burger.

Can’t make a move without coffee? Lucky news for the lucky winner of 4 pounds of coffee from the 1369 Coffeehouse. If only it came with a personal barista/masseuse to rub away the pain.

Did you sleep till 4pm? There, there. Sleeping in is the best way to sleep it off. No one needs to know your early-bird dinner at Hungry Mother is the first meal of the day. The lucky winner of that gift certificate had a smorgasbord of rich, Southern-style, hangover-healing comfort food to choose from. Baked grits with tasso ham and cheddar and a bowl of potlikker soup with turnips, braised greens and ham hock should do the trick. Wash it down with a No. 56—gin, Aperol, sour and cava—the bitters and bubbles are sure to settle your stomach.

Perhaps the luckiest winner of all received a free round-trip ticket to anywhere JetBlue flies, allowing a chance to run from their hangover with real-life escapism. Actual sand and surf, and some R&R, could make you forget bitter, cold Boston and our faux tropic Tiki Bash. And Bloody Marys always taste better at 30,000 feet.

Tiki cocktails are potent stuff, but you can’t say we didn’t warn you. Thanks to all who turned out for donating your dollars—and your livers—to help support our fall beneficiary, On the Rise. We hope you had fun … perhaps enough to relive the night—maybe in a few weeks—with this modern tiki creation, a LUPEC Boston original.


1.5 oz bourbon

0.5 oz Campari
rinse Herbsaint
0.75 oz Falernum
0.5 oz passionfruit

0.5 oz lemon

Put all ingredients except Herbsaint in a shaker and shake. Rinse glass with Herbsaint (or absinthe). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


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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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This week in the Dig I wrote a brief history of the cult favorite Fernet Branca.  If you are new to the world of Fernet having an entire bottle sitting on your shelf can seem a bit daunting, to say the least.  You’ve choked down a few shots in an attempt to be part of the club, but the appreciation for this bitter elixir isn’t quite there yet.  It seems as though the eagle with the Fernet in his talons is taunting you as you’re thinking there must be an easier way to get to the bottom of that green bottle.

Fear not my friends!  Here are a few more cocktails to help open your palate to the complex and ultimately rewarding world of Fernet Branca.


An entire country can’t be wrong.  In Argentina one million cases of Fernet Branca are consumed annually in this fashion.  Fernet and Cola is a delicious, symbiotic relationship in which the bitterness of the Fernet and the sweetness of the cola temper one another perfectly.  It’s a balanced boozie bear hug in a glass.

2 oz Rye 
.5 oz Fernet Branca
Dash of Simple Syrup
Dash of Angostura Bitters

Stir ingredients with ice for 30 seconds.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  

I have frequently described this drink as my savior as it is equally adept at “setting me straight” the day after a night of overindulgence or soothing a very full belly after a deliciously large meal.  I prefer to use a rye of higher proof when making this cocktail, such as Rittenhouse Rye or Sazerac 6 Yr Rye.  

This recipe comes to us courtesy of Jeff Grdinich, White Mountain Cider Company, Bartlett NH.  He describes it as his irreverent tribute to Chuck Taggart and Chuck’s cocktail, the Hoskins.
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
.75 oz Grand Marnier
.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino
.5 oz Fernet Branca

Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  If you are using LUPEC approved vintage glassware, chill down a second stem and invite over a friend because this is a pretty big cocktail!  

This one come to us courtesy of Murray Stenson at the Zig Zag Cafe in Seattle.
.75 oz Bourbon
.5 oz Cherry Brandy
.5 oz Fernet Branca
.5 oz Velvet Falernum
.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  

1 oz Aperol
.5 oz Fernet Branca
1 oz Tonic Water

Build over ice in a low ball.  Garnish with an orange slice and enjoy

1 oz Punt e Mes
.5 oz Fernet Branca
Soda Water

Build over ice in a highball, adding soda to taste.  Garnish with an orange slice.

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