Imbibng Mr. Boston: Chapala Cocktail

Chapala is a town in Jalisco, Mexico (where tequila is created) on the shore of Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. The cocktail is a bit watery too.

I tend to avoid most orange juice based cocktails because the flavor and sweetness tend to overwhelm all of the other components.  However, that being said, if you use a reposado tequila as indicated in the recipe, the flavors are fairly well-balanced.

I opted to use Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s awesome Pearl Diver glass instead of the listed Hurricane glass for two reasons. 1) The amount of liquid is too small for a typical Hurricane, and 2) this glass just looks more stunning.

The cocktail itself is average, but I’d rather see it served up, rather than over crushed ice.  It dilutes rather quickly.

Oh, and finding orange blossoms in upstate New York is nigh impossible. So, good luck with that.

Chapala Cocktail
1.5oz reposado tequila
1.5oz orange juice
0.75oz lemon juice
0.25oz grenadine
Garnish: orange blossoms or an orange wedge

Shake and strain into hurricane glass. Fill glass with crushed ice. Garnish with orange blossoms, if using, and orange wedge.


Imbibing Mr. Boston: Chantilly Cocktail

This is a cocktail that doesn’t know what it’s trying to be.  There is way too much going on here. Apricot, lemon, peach, cinnamon.  The closest thing I can compare it to a some ooey-gooey dessert that you only need one bite of.  And that’s pretty much what happened to me.  I love cocktails, but after one sip, I knew this one was not for me.

First of all, it has way too much sweetener.  You can easily cut the simple syrup in half.  Next, the rim simply must go.  The cinnamon doesn’t add anything to the drink.  So, having done those two things, you’re left with a passable sort-of-tiki kind of drink.  I do like the garnish.  In fact, that was the highlight for me.  I took a long thin spiral and stuck one end in the bottom of the cinnamon stick and used a fancy cocktail pick to hold on the other end.

One thing to consider is the size of the glass.  As listed this drink will make over 5oz of drink.  I would suggest cutting it down by a third, so you end up with at least a manageable sized cocktail, albeit one that still isn’t spectacular.

So, with some tweaking you may end up with something close to palatable.  Just proceed with caution.

Chantilly Cocktail
For glass: Lemon wedge, cinnamon sugar
1.5oz dark rum
0.75oz apricot brandy
10z lemon juice
1oz simple syrup
2 dashes peach bitters
Garnish: cinnamon stick wrapped with orange zest spiral

Rim chilled cocktail glass with lemon and cinnamon sugar. Shake remaining ingredients with ice and strain into glass. Add cinnamon-orange garnish.

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Chancellor Cocktail

So, so few Scotch cocktails, and yet the few that do exist are classics.  Blood & Sand, Penicillin, Rob Roy to name a few off the top of my head. The Chancellor is rarely found listed with such hallowed libations as these, but it may well deserve to be.

This is a silver age cocktail hailing roughly from the days of prohibition.  But, more than that the dusty cocktails guides of yore do not say.  I did look up the word “chancellor” and found that it is a term used in Scotland to designate the head of a university.

This is the kind of drink you’d expect to find in a gentleman’s club habituated by Bertie Wooster.  Then again, he’d probably just order a gin fizz.

(Note: the recipe below has got several things wrong. It should be 2oz whisky, 1oz ruby port and 0.5oz dry vermouth. Also orange bitters are called for. You can certainly make it as listed, but the cocktail will not “pop”).

1.5oz blended Scotch whisky
0.5oz dry vermouth
0.5oz tawny port
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Garnish: lemon twist

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

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Champs-Élysées Cocktail

Another beauty from Harry Craddock.  Found in the pages of the Savoy Cocktail Book, this looks to be a third cousin to the Sidecar cocktail. But, this is not for the faint of heart.  A seriously boozy tipple, the small serving size of this is well-chosen.  If you double the recipe you’re asking for trouble.

It’s possible I suppose that Mr. Craddock created this in tribute to the other famous bartending Harry of the day, Harry MacElhone who was head bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France. But, in all likelihood it is probably named for the fact that the two main ingredients hail from France.  In any case, this is a tasty little number that will certainly bring to mind the silver age of cocktails.

1oz brandy
0.5oz yellow Chartreuse
0.5oz lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Champs-Élysées Cocktail


A lovely little cocktail that hits the spot every time.  First appearing in print in Harry Craddock’s 1930 cocktail guide The Savoy Cocktail Book, this is most obviously a variation on the classic Sidecar cocktail.  By substituting Chartreuse for triple sec and adding a dash of aromatic bitters, it adds a layer of complexity which transforms the drink into something three-dimensional.  I love the occasional Sidecar, but really they are pretty dull on the taste buds.

If you don’t happen to have Chartreuese Jaune on hand, you can try the green (vert) version, but only use about a third of an ounce instead of the full half ounce. Otherwise things will be out of balance.

My first impression of this cocktail was of apricots with a nose of pineapple. Interesting considering neither is in the recipe.

Champs-Élysées Cocktail
1oz brandy
0.5oz yellow chartreuse
0.5oz lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 dash angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Champagne Flamingo Cocktail

img_2610Not much is known about the origins of this drink other than it appeared in a huge cocktail encyclopedia and has made the rounds ever since. Actually, Robert Hess probably has more to do with its current popularity than anyone, since he filmed a segment on it for The Small Screen Network’s “The Cocktail Spirit” about 10 years ago.  As he mentioned in the video, the vodka is key in “softening” the bitterness of the Campari.  And it certainly does work.  If you like the dryness of a Negroni, then this is it’s more upscale cousin.

Diluting the Campari is also key, although there is certainly no reason to shake an ounce and a half of alcohol, especially since there is no citrus involved.  Just stir it well with ice and you’ll be just fine.

Champagne Flamingo
0.75oz vodka
0.75oz Campari
5oz chilled champagne
Garnish: Orange twist

Shake vodka and Campari with ice. Strain into chilled champagne flute and top with Champagne. Add orange twist.

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Castaway Cocktail


This is a cocktail from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s The Grog Log.  Originally a faux-tropical shot served at Dorrians Red Hand Bar in NYC, it was called a Jamaican Dust.

I asked Jeff how the drink grew larger and changed its name. “The Jamaican Dust was a rum-pineapple-coffee liqueur shot that I just morphed into a taller drink; if memory serves, all I did was cut down the pineapple juice and coffee liqueur a bit, subbed gold Jamaican rum for the unspecified “dark rum” indicated, and shook it instead of using a blender.”

I can see why Jeff used the template for the Castaway.  It works, is simple and honestly is one of those drinks that could easily have been served at just about any mid-century Tiki bar.

On a personal note, I opted to use Gosling’s Black Seal rum (from Bermuda) to add a richer character and cut into the sweetness of the pineapple a bit more.  I think it works.  Let me know what you think.

1.5oz dark rum
0.75oz coffee liqueur
3oz pineapple juice
Garnish: Maraschino cherry speared to pineapple wedge

Shake with ice and strain into hurricane or highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with cherry-pineapple spear.