Archive for the ‘Mr. Boston 75th Anniversary Official Bartenders Guide’ Category

IMG_7779What we have here is a Perfect Martini (gin and a 50/50 blend of sweet and dry vermouth), with the addition of orange juice.  Created around the turn of the 20th century, here’s what cocktail author Albert Stevens Crockett has to say about its origin:

“We had a cocktail in those days called the Duplex, which had a pretty fair demand. One day, I was making one for a customer when in came Traverson, head waiter of the Empire Room–the main dining room in the original Waldorf. A Duplex was composed of equal parts of French and Italian Vermouth, shaken up with squeezed orange peel, or two dashes of Orange Bitters. Traverson said, ‘Why don’t you get up a new cocktail? I have a customer who says you can’t do it.’

‘Can’t I?’ I replied.

Well, I finished the Duplex I was making, and a thought came to me. I poured into a mixing glass the equivalent of two jiggers of Gordon Gin. Then I filled the jigger with orange juice, so that it made one-third of orange juice and two-thirds of Gin. Then into the mixture I put a dash each of Italian and French Vermouth, shaking the thing up. I didn’t taste it myself, but I poured it into a cocktail glass and handed it to Traverson and said: ‘You are a pretty good judge.’ (He was.) ‘See what you think of that.’ Traverson tasted it. Then he swallowed it whole.

‘By God!’ he said, ‘you’ve really got something new! That will make a big hit. Make me another and I will take it back to that customer in the dining room. Bet you’ll sell a lot of them. Have you got plenty of oranges? If you haven’t, you better stock up, because I’m going to sell a lot of those cocktails during lunch.’

The demand for Bronx cocktails started that day. Pretty soon we were using a whole case of oranges a day. And then several cases.

The name? No, it wasn’t really named directly after the borough or the river so-called. I had been at the Bronx Zoo a day or two before, and I saw,of course, a lot of beasts I had never known. Customers used to tell me of the strange animals they saw after a lot of mixed drinks. So when Traverson said to me, as he started to take the drink in to the customer, ‘What’ll I tell him is the name of this drink?’ I thought of those animals, and said: ‘Oh, you can tell him it is a “Bronx”.'”

The key here is to use fresh squeezed juice (not from a carton or can) and keep the gin/juice ratio equal.  Too much orange and it quickly loses character and becomes too sweet.  As it is, this is an easily quaffable beverage perfect for the beginning of an evening’s festivities.

Bronx Cocktail
1oz gin
0.5oz dry vermouth
0.5oz sweet vermouth
1oz orange juice
Garnish: orange wheel

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Add orange wheel.

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IMG_7772The Bridal cocktail hails from the Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book written by Albert Stevens Crockett.  He also penned Old Waldorf Bar Days after the original hotel was demolished just months before the Great Depression began in 1929. Crockett’s two volumes are similar to the Gentlemen’s Companion set authored by Charles H. Baker Jr. at roughly the same time; in that they are full of stories about what drinking culture was like a hundred years ago.  There are recipes to be sure, but as usual, it is the stories of how drinks came to be, and those who frequented the bar that fascinate.

The Bridal is a slight tweak on the venerable Martinez, but one that works quite well.

2oz gin
1oz sweet vermouth
0.25oz maraschino liqueur
1 dash orange bitters
Garnish: maraschino cherry

Stir with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Add cherry.


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IMG_7747This lovely cocktail seems to have first appeared on the scene a few years ago at Tristan Simon’s sadly defunct Alma Restaurant in Dallas, TX.  An homage to the old-fashioned, this Mexican version works really well with an anejo tequila.  The grapefruit twist really shines here, as it adds a bitter citrus edge to the whole affair.  The addition of orange bitters also takes the place of a traditional orange wheel without overwhelming either the glass or the overall flavor profile of the delicate agave nuances.  Salud!

Bravo (Anejo Bravo)
2oz anejo tequila
0.25oz agave nectar
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Garnish: grapefruit twist

Stir with ice and strain into chilled old-fashioned glass.  Add grapefruit twist.


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IMG_7732You’d never guess it by looking at the ingredients, but this Mexican cocktail hails from tiki visionary Trader Vic’s Pacific Island Cookbook, published in 1968.  Interestingly, there is a chapter on Mexico along with a few tequila based cocktails.

The drink is really a Black Russian with tequila and a twist.  The tequila gives it a richer and sweeter flavor and depth that overcomes the strong coffee flavor.  Plus, the lemon twist adds a kind of espresso character to the endeavor.  Makes sure you express the oils onto the surface of the drink.

I think this works better than the usual mix of vodka and Kahlua.

Brave Bull
1.5oz blanco tequila
1oz coffee liqueur
Garnish: lemon twist

Pour into ice-filled old-fashioned glass and stir.  Add lemon twist.


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IMG_7722For such a simple drink, this one really works.  I used Paul Masson VSOP brandy which has a slightly bitter edge, Punt e Mes and good old Angostura bitters.  The end result was a nice after dinner cocktail.

This is the last of the “brandy” titled cocktails for now, so next time we move on to something entirely different involving tequila and coffee liqueur.  Breakfast, anyone?

Brandy Vermouth Cocktail
2oz brandy
0.5oz sweet vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

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IMG_7704Probably 9 out of 10 people will think of the Tom Hanks movie when they see the word “Gump”.  For me, it has an entirely different first impression.  I grew up reading the Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum (who happens to have been born about 20 minutes from the GSN offices).  In the second volume of his 14 book series, the main character Tip escapes from the Emerald City via a flying sofa to which is attached a Gump’s head.  Now the Gump is kind of like a moose, and this one had been shot by a hunter and his head mounted on a plaque on the wall.  The Gump’s head was brought to life by means of a magical powder.  I won’t say more in case you want to read the book for yourself, or see the rather dark Walt Disney film from 1985.

So, anyway, what is a Brandy Gump? The original drink hails from The Savoy Cocktail book.  After doing extensive research, I can only come to two possible conclusions.  1) The drink references a long running newspaper comic, “The Gumps” or 2) It hails from the name of a Yale University musical theatre group.  Perhaps both.

The drink is pretty simple, and quite tart.  Drinkable, but not necessarily a keeper.

Brandy Gump Cocktail
1.5oz brandy
0.75oz lemon juice
0.25oz grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.


The Gump from Walt Disney’s “Return to Oz”.

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IMG_7694Basically a brandy old-fashioned, this is an effectively beautiful cocktail.  When I say “old-fashioned”, I mean one without the garbage; the muddled fruit.  I’ve done away with the smashed cherries and orange wheel, the pointless soda water.  The real key here are the bitters.  They bring everything together, and lift this simple cocktail towards the sublime.  All that being said, make sure you use at least a VS, or preferably an XO cognac in this.  You are showcasing the brandy, not merely using it to add some alcoholic pizzazz.

Brandy Cocktail
2oz brandy
1 tsp simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish: lemon twist

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Add lemon twist.

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