IMG_7841Creator Ryan Maybee from Kansas City’s Manifesto has this to say about his inspiration: “It’s clearly a simple riff on a Negroni. Bright, strong, bittersweet. I’m a proud citizen of Kansas City, MO, and I’m fascinated by the history here. The name is in reference to a jazz duo in KC during the 1920’s and 30s. The drink has been on our menu here since 2009, and is still one of our best selling cocktails.”

I can see why.  This fruitier Negroni goes down easy.  I only wish I could listen to the brothers jamming away while I sip this libation.

The Brothers Perryman
1.5oz Plymouth gin
0.75oz Campari
0.75oz elderflower liqueur
Garnish: Orange twist, flamed

Stir well with ice and strain into ice-filled old-fashioned glass.  Flame orange twist and add.

A_Midnight_Modern_ConversationBack in my college days, I thought that punch equalled a 1.5l bottle of Silver Bacardi mixed together with a few cans of tropical flavored Hawaiian Punch.  After a few different occasions where this was the beverage of choice, I had enough to last me a lifetime and moved on to other less cloying things like IPA.  In fact, I hadn’t had any punch for a few decades until I read David Wondrich’s phenomenal book Imbibe! back in 2007.  I decided to make a batch of Philadelphia Fish House Punch for my first effort, and there’s been no turning back for me.  Granted, there is a bit of extra work involved than just emptying bottles into a large bowl (oleo-saccharum, anyone?), but it pays off in spades.  Not only is a real punch incredibly tasty, but you realize why punches are gaining popularity again.  These days, many of the best bars offer punch bowls on the menu, and some are even served with antique cups.

Here’s the recipe for PFHP (luckily, it doesn’t actually call for any fish).

Philadelphia Fish House Punch
(Servings: 18 – 20)
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, peeled and peels reserved
4 cups black tea (or water)
1 cup lemon juice
4 cups rum, Jamaican
2 cups cognac
1/2 cup peach brandy
Garnish: lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg

In a large bowl, add sugar and lemon peels, and rub together to release the citrus oils into the sugar. (This is called oleo-saccharum).
Allow oleo-saccharum to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Dissolve sugar with warm water or tea.
Add rum, cognac, lemon juice and peach brandy and stir to mix.
Add a block of ice to chill, and continue to add smaller pieces of ice for desired dilution.
Garnish with lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg.
Ladle into individual glasses.

Another quite popular punch is Planter’s Punch, the recipe for which was first published as a poem in the New York Times on August 8, 1908.

Planter’s Punch
This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat.
Take two of sour (lime let it be)
To one and a half of sweet,
Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —
I know whereof I speak.

Pretty easy to figure out what the measurements are, if you’re handy with a jigger.


IMG_7832Looking at the list of ingredients that make up this cocktail, you’ll either have to bite the bullet and spend well over $100 on spirits which aren’t always easy to find, or happen to work at a well-stocked bar yourself.  Luckily, I happen to be the head bartender at the Good Spirits Tiki Bar here in Syracuse.  My dilemma was choosing which styles of genever, allspice liqueur and mezcal to use.  I opted for Bols genever, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram and Ilegal mezcal.  The two syrups are from Hale Pele owner B.G. Reynolds‘ line of mixers.

Here’s some thoughts on the drink from its creator Hal Wolin, and also from the man who inspired the drink, Frank Cisneros.

“The Brooklyn Wanderer was named to reference Frank Cisneros who at the time was the NY Bols Genever Ambassador and I’d often see him wandering(or floating) back and forth between different parts of Brooklyn such as Williamsburg and Carroll Gardens and also parts of NYC within the same day. I remember him being a fan of Tiki so the Brooklyn Wanderer was my homage to his time with Bols Genever and his appreciation of Tiki cocktails. “Hal Wolin

Hal did two great things there. First for some reason Bols Genever really works well with pineapple. I don’t know the science behind it I just know my mouth likes it. Another great example of that phenomenon is Thomas Waugh’s Holland Tunnel. The other great thing Hal did is appropriate Tiki stylings to maximum effect. If Don the Beachcomber were around to witness the resurgence of Bols Genever he would be doing nearly the same exact thing.Frank Cisneros

My thoughts: very cinnamon forward on the nose and on the palate, but the genever shines here.  This is an interesting drink that should be served over crushed ice (I followed the recipe in the guide, but I disagree) and swizzled.  Despite the plethora of ingredients, everything is well-balanced and it’s not a drink that is alcohol heavy.  I like it.  Cheers, Hal & Frank!

Brooklyn Wanderer
2oz genever
0.5oz allspice liqueur
0.5oz mezcal
0.5oz pineapple juice
0.5oz orgeat syrup
0.5oz lime juice
0.5oz cinnamon syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Garnish: Fresh mint leaf

Shake without ice. Strain into ice-filled pilsner glass.  Swizzle with barspoon.  Garnish with mint.

Qtimthumb.phpuick!  How many classic crème de menthe based cocktails can you name? Go!

That’s what I thought.  Highlight the area to the right to see if you got them all -> Grasshopper, Stinger

Crème de menthe is one of those liqueurs that once you try, you will never forget.  For obvious reasons it is used in a fair amount of obscure Irish cocktails, but personally I avoid those.

Crème de menthe is not a cream based liqueur, but rather a category of spirits known as crèmes, which are more syrupy and sugar laden than standard liquors.  It is made from Corsican mint or peppermint and is either colorless (white) or vibrantly green.  Most products today use food coloring to achieve the effect.  The flavors are exactly the same however.

If you want to try making your own at home, here’s a recipe courtesy of Marcia Simmons, co-author of DIY Cocktails which I have previously reviewed here.

DIY Creme de Menthe
1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (divided)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

  • Measure out 1 cup of mint leaves and tear them in quarters Place mint leaves in a sealable glass jar and pour vodka on top. Shake and let steep for 12 hours.
  • After steeping is complete, strain mint leaves from infused vodka. Return infused vodka to the jar.
  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, then add syrup to mint-infused vodka.
  • Take the additional 1/2 cup of mint leaves, tear them, and add them to the jar. Shake and let steep for 10 hours.
  • Strain twice to remove all mint leaves, keep in resealable bottle. Keeps for two months.

indexDiageo’s Cîroc vodka has extended its flavored range with the launch of Cîroc Pineapple. Rolling out this month, Cîroc Pineapple will be available in 50-ml., 200-ml., 375-ml., 750-ml., 1-liter and 1.75-liter formats, priced at $34.99 a 750-ml. Additionally, the 35%-abv offering will  be supported by a nationwide “Tropical Luxury” campaign, featuring print, digital and experiential activities. Cîroc Pineapple is the fifth addition to Cîroc’s flavored lineup, joining the brand’s existing Amaretto, Peach, Red Berry and Coconut expressions.

indexSazerac Co.’s Buffalo Trace Distillery will release the 2014 edition of its Antique Collection limited release whiskeys later this month featuring five varieties. George T. Stagg is a 138.1-proof unfiltered Bourbon distilled in 1998; William Larue Weller, distilled in 2002, is the strongest Weller release at 140.2 proof; Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye is an unfiltered straight rye whiskey distilled in 2008 at 129.2 proof; Eagle Rare 17 Year Old is a Bourbon featuring oak, leather, cinnamon and tobacco flavors and Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old has flavors of all-spice, molasses and mint, the company says. The Antique Collection was first introduced in 2000 and is available in limited quantities for a suggested retail price of $80 each.

indexPernod Ricard is releasing a second permanent expression within The Glenlivet Nàdurra Scotch whisky range, First Fill Selection. The latest offering, priced at $80, was aged in new American white oak casks and bottled at a cask-strength 48% abv. First Fill Selection will roll out globally this month. The Glenlivet Nàdurra collection, which also includes an Oloroso variant launched in travel retail earlier this year, now features new packaging that includes a batch number, cask-like stamps and a translation of Nàdurra, the Gaelic word for “natural.”

indexBrown-Forman has unveiled the 2014 edition of its Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. The limited release—marked annually to commemorate the birthday of Old Forester and Brown-Forman founder George Garvin Brown—is a 97-proof, vintage-dated small-batch Bourbon. Rolling out this month, the 2014 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon will be in national distribution, retailing at $59.99 a bottle.

indexHeaven Hill Distilleries is releasing the 2014 edition of its Parker’s Heritage Collection whiskey, supporting ALS research, to select markets beginning in mid-September. The eighth installment of Parker’s Heritage Collection, Original Batch, is the first non-Bourbon in the series. It features 13-year-old straight wheat whiskey bottled at cask strength (63.7% abv) and non-chill filtered. With the launch, Heaven Hill is continuing its campaign supporting ALS research by contributing $5 from every 750-ml. bottle sold at $89.99 to the cause, with last year’s edition raising over $300,000.

indexLucas Bols USA has launched Bols Pumpkin Spice liqueur in the U.S. Featuring a blend of fall spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, Bols Pumpkin Spice is a seasonal entry targeted toward cocktail and after-dinner occasions. The 21%-abv offering is currently available on- and off-premise nationwide, priced at $11.99 a 750-ml. Bols Pumpkin Spice joins Bols’ existing lineup of more than 30 flavored liqueurs.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily


tin-cup-american-whiskey-77380pWith the advent of craft distilleries popping up at an ever-increasing pace in the United States, it’s always nice to try a product that is both new and yet made by someone with years of experience.  TINCUP American Whiskey is just such a spirit.  Created by Jess Graber who has been distilling for over 40 years and founded Colorado’s first legal distillery since prohibition (Stranahan’s), TINCUP is a hybrid of corn, rye and malt grains.

The bottle is striking, and yes the cap doubles as a shot glass, except it is made of tin.  The inspiration behind the name comes from an 1800’s mining town in Gunnison County, Colorado actually named Tincup.  Knowing what I know about the life of those involved in the gold rush, I have no doubt that many of them had more than their fair share of whiskey.

Tincup American Whiskey (84 proof)
Visual: Light copper.
Nose: Bright high rye notes, with an intensely aggressive leathery nose.  It fools you into thinking this is a cask strength whiskey.
Taste: Surprisingly smooth and mellow sweet notes, slowly percolate into sharper and more peppery rye accents.  There is a mellow creaminess which surprises, but makes for a warm and friendly whiskey that you will make friends with quickly.
Finish: Medium long, with more sweet tones than spicy ones.  This only leads to a desire to have yet another taste.
Overall: Totally mixable in cocktails like a Manhattan or a Sazerac, this also makes for a fine end of the evening sipper straight from the bottle.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Tincup Whiskey


Blair Frodelius enjoying an Abita at Felix’s

new-orleans-tales-of-the-cocktail-2013-logo-300x216Don’t take this as sacrilege, but Tales of the Cocktail® isn’t just about the seminars, classes, libations and parties.  It’s also about enjoying traditional New Orleans food and locales while you are in town.  After all, you can’t do much on an empty stomach.  So, when I was at Tales this past July, I made sure to visit several local dining establishments during the week.  Here are a few of my thoughts and recommendations on each.

THU Lunch at Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster House:  Most tourist’s flock to the Acme Oyster House (right across the street) and miss another classic oyster lover’s haven.  Sure, Felix’s doesn’t have the atmosphere or decor that Acme does, but you don’t have to wait in line to get a seat for 30-45 minutes either.  I walked right in to Felix’s during lunch and found a seat at the bar, where I could keep an eye on both the oyster shucker and the bartending.  I opted for the classic Bayou Platter Sampler, a trio of red beans & rice, jambalaya and étouffée, along with a Abita Andygator draft.  It was plenty filling, and I was definitely entertained by the dynamics of the kitchen staff, wait staff and oyster station maestro.  The bartender was one of the hardest working I have ever seen, overseeing the counter, doing back bar, and chatting with the customers making sure they were happy.  She got a 25% tip from me for her efforts.  Overall, a definite stop for anyone looking for good local food without the frills at lunchtime.



FRI Lunch at Remoulade: I was looking for some grilled oysters and decided to stop at this less upscale sibling to Arnaud’s.  The place was quiet, but the host greeted me with a huge smile and asked where I was from.  When I mentioned Syracuse, he lit up and said that he knew several people from there.  As I usually do when visiting a new restaurant, I asked him what he felt were the best dishes on the menu.  Surprisingly, he said that I should skip the oysters until later in the year as they didn’t have nearly as much flavor during the summer months.  Instead, he recommended the Shrimp Arnaud which indeed was killer.  A simple dish of three jumbo shrimp in a remoulade sauce, I could have eaten at least four servings.  I finished with a bowl of the Filé Gumbo and an Abita Amber.  Sated, I thanked the host and went on my way, wishing I had tried the oysters as well.  I guess I’ll have to visit again this Autumn.


Tiki Gummies

SAT Dinner at Killer Po’ Boys: I met up with some friends for dinner and we all decided to check out this tiny po’ boy restaurant located deep within one of NOLA’s bartenders’ favorite after hours hangout, Erin Rose.  Between the four of us who ordered from the kitchen, we each got to share pretty much every sandwich on the menu.  Be warned that there are only a handful of tables if you plan on dining in.  Our party took up half of the room.  The bar serves the restaurant as well, and I ordered a Guinness on draft to accent my meal.  Be sure to check out the Jameson Grilled Cheese Po’ Boy.  Absolutely luscious.

Drinks at Tiki Tolteca: After our dinner, we all decided to check out a new Tiki bar in the French Quarter.  At first I was a bit leery of the idea of New Orleans tiki, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The bar is located on the second floor of a Mexican taqueria, so make sure you don’t have too many drinks before you leave. because those stairs are a doozy.  The decor was delightfully tacky with a definite mid-century exotica feel.  Perhaps the best aspect of the bar is the laid back seating arrangement, which consists of a couch, love seats, and various chairs.  Our party was joined by another group we met earlier in the day, and all of us sat around a low rectangular table while we discussed the various merits of tiki.  Our group shared an Escorpian Punch Bowl which was more than enough to get us through the evening, while the other group had a variety of tropical cocktails along with an order of Tiki Gummies (Zombies, Mai Tais, and Hurricanes).  I finished with a Frozen Hemingway Daiquiri until we all decided we needed to get some shut-eye at 1:00am.


Menu cover at Criollo

SUN Lunch at Criollo: I was really looking forward to sampling the cuisine and cocktails at the new restaurant built within the Hotel Monteleone.  This year, several restaurants teamed up with Tales of the Cocktail to host a number of paired cocktail lunches and dinners.  Chef de Cuisine Joe Maynard met with me while I was there to talk about his inspirations behind the three course meal and working with the Carousel Bar’s head bartender Marvin Allen in designing pisco cocktails.  Not only was the lunch delicious, but it was a bargain at only $30 for three full-size drinks, an appetizer, a main course and a dessert.  Chef Maynard told me the whole concept of the restaurant was to make it as transparent to the customer as possible, so that the guests can see what is happening in the kitchen.  Another important aspect is that they source as much of the food from local farms and fisheries as possible.  When pairing with pisco, this was somewhat of a challenge, but Chef Maynard told me that he worked with several of his wait staff who came from Latin America and helped him craft the menu choices.  The meal included Squid Ceviche, Pompano (a locally available ocean fish) and Pork Belly, and Passion Fruit Creme Brule.  Each dish was a treat and the main course was one of the most inspired I have ever had the pleasure of savoring.  If you are ever in New Orleans, put Criollo on your short list of “must experience” restaurants.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.4578

Dinner at Desire Bistro and Oyster Bar:  Many of the seminars during Tales of the Cocktail took place at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, so it was only natural that I check out the hotel’s restaurant.  It was a fairly quiet night, but I was far from the only person there for a meal.  I was given a seat in the middle of the restaurant where I could keep an eye on everything.  I took my time and enjoyed an Abita Jockamo IPA while watching the dynamics of the staff and guests.  I eventually ordered the Smothered Catfish Lafitte (creole rice, crawfish and bacon cream, southern greens, fried corn bread) and was greeted with an overflowing platter of food that I could barely finish.  The food was quite good, but never quite lived up to the experience I had earlier at Criollo.  Still, I was stuffed and ready for an evening in the Quarter.


May Bailey’s Place

Cocktails at May Bailey’s Place: My last stop of the evening was at my hotel‘s bar.  When I checked in a week earlier, I was given a free drink coupon and decided I might as well use it before I went home.  I walked down around 9:00pm and the place was empty except for the bartender and a middle-aged couple at the far end of the bar who were just about to leave.  After all, this was Sunday night.  But, I looked over the available spirits and asked the bartender for a Sazerac made with Wild Turkey.  We ended up talking for over an hour about the bar scene in New Orleans, Tales, and what it was like to work in a hotel bar.  I have to say, that she was one of the most interesting people I met on this trip.  I came away with a genuine impression that she loved what she did, that it was not just a job to her, and that she had a real heart for the customer.  Not only did she have a knowledge and appreciation for the craft of drink making, but she was a true people person.  This little out-of-the-way hotel bar, had a genuine world class bartender working behind the stick.  After my Sazerac was gone, I had just decided to order a Negroni, when a couple from Australia came in.  The three of us ended up talking until 1:00am about everything from hang gliding to modern warfare until I finally remembered that I had to catch a flight back home in a few hours. Well…

MON Dinner at The Landing @ Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kenner I got to the airport on time, 3496but due to the crazy weather we’d been having all summer, my flight kept getting delayed, until finally they cancelled it altogether late in the afternoon.  Supremely frustrated, I immediately booked a hotel near the airport and a flight for Tuesday morning at o’dark thirty.  The hotel was only a few minutes away by shuttle, and they had a bar and a restaurant. So, life wasn’t all bad.  After checking in, I went down to the restaurant and asked for a cocktail menu.  Oh. My. God.  I was unprepared for the absolutely amazing menu that surpassed 80% of the cocktail menus I have seen in my life time.  For those of you who are familiar with The Dead Rabbit’s menu, this was a lite version, but no less impressive.  The history of cocktails, sections on each spirit, and a handful of cocktails for each with everything from Jerry Thomas era drinks to new creations inside of a leather bound hard cover 20 page volume.  I could have had several cocktails and been happy, but opted for just a few along with the New Orleans Seafood Pasta.  It turns out it was an excellent choice.  Normally I eschew Italian pasta dishes, but this one was amazing featuring sautéed crawfish, crab claws, oysters I finally had them!) & shrimp over linguini in a herb & garlic white wine sauce.  Between the cocktails and the entrée, it was a meal to die for.  And who would have suspected this at an airport hotel?  All in all, a great way to end my trip to NOLA and a reason to go back again as soon as possible!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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