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


Well, it’s been longer than I had planned, but I am back on the Imbibing Mr. Boston Project again. 

Calvados for those who don’t know, is a French apple brandy.  Personally, one of my favorite sipping spirits.  It has more of a rustic and earthy character than Cognac, and works especially well in cocktails.  If you like Screwdrivers or Bronx cocktails, I’m sure you will enjoy this one as well.  The Calvados adds a richness and depth that you won’t get from a white spirit.  Also, make sure to use fresh squeezed orange juice and double strain the cocktail after shaking to avoid any pulp getting into the drink.

Calvados Cocktail
1.5oz calvados
1.5oz orange juice
0.75oz triple sec
1 dash orange bitters

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

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IMG_8187At first glance, this doesn’t even sound like a cocktail.  Coffee liqueur and soda water?  But, it’s one of the few thousand cocktails chosen for the 75th Anniversary Edition of the Mr. Boston Bartender’s Guide, so I have to give it a try.

Where this drink originated is a mystery.  About all I can figure is that it is a nod to the popular custom of drinking sparkling water and espresso, but that’s just a hunch.  In any case, this cocktail tastes better than expected.  I’d gladly have one of these at the end of the day.  Even the lime adds a bit of refreshment if you give it a squeeze over the glass.  Salud!

Cafe Cabana
1oz coffee liqueur
soda water
Garnish: lime wedge

Pour liqueur into ice-filled Collins glass.  Fill with soda water and stir.  Garnish with lime.

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IMG_8117-800This Canadian cousin to the Bloody Mary is one of the most popular cocktails in Canada.  In fact May 13th has been officially declared Caesar Day in Calgary, Alberta; and in 2009 a petition was sent to Parliament hoping to have the Caesar named as Canada’s Official Cocktail.  What is amazing is that the drink still hasn’t caught on outside the borders of Canada and yet 350 million of the drinks are enjoyed every year.

The Caesar was created by Walter Chell in 1969 at the Calgary Inn in Alberta, Canada.  Inspired by an Italian dish called Spaghetti alle vongole (the “vongole” being tomato sauce and clams), he worked for several months perfecting the recipe. There’s also a bit of serendipity that oddly enough took place at the same time.  The Mott’s Tomato Juice Company had developed a clam flavored tomato juice cleverly called “Clamato” just a few months after the drink debuted at the Marcos, the Italian restaurant located inside of the Calgary Inn.  The Mott’s product suddenly took off, as people being people wanted a quick mixer to use at home instead of making their own from scratch.

Today, you can still get a Caesar in the same location where it was born although the hotel is now the Calgary Westin and the restaurant has been taken over by a chain called The Keg Steakhouse & Bar.  You would be better off asking for a hand-crafted Caesar at the James Joyce Pub located just a few blocks away.

Now, on to making the drink itself.  I decided to make my own house made “Clamato” to avoid the corn syrup and MSG in the industrial product.  See below for the recipe.  This also allowed me to bypass adding the Worcestershire sauce and salt as listed in the Mr. Boston recipe.  I also chose to skip the celery salt rim.  It’s salty enough a drink as it is.

I like the slight character of the sea that the clam juice adds, as well as the heftier spice from the Worcestershire sauce.  I think this would also work quite well if you rinsed the glass with an Islay Scotch.  Be that as it may, the Caesar is definitely in a class of its own and is well deserving of a place in mixology history.

For glass: lemon wedge, celery salt
1.5oz vodka
4oz tomato-clam juice
0.5 tsp horseradish
1 dash worcestershire sauce
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper
Garnish: celery stalk, lemon wedge

Rim highball glass with lemon and celery salt, and then fill with ice. Shake ingredients with ice and strain into glass.  Garnish with celery and lemon.

*Homemade Clamato
5oz canned tomato juice
1oz clam juice
1tsp Worcestershire sauce
6 dashes of Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce
2 tsp of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 pinch chili powder
4 dashes of celery salt
1 pinch Himalayan salt

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IMG_8062-800I’ve no idea who came up with this drink, but I can tell you this: Cádiz is a province near Jerez, Spain.  This where sherry comes from.  Interestingly, both the words sherry and Jerez come from the name of the Persian ruler Rustam Shirazi who wanted a style of wine similar to Persian wine made with the Shiraz grape.  Sherry, Jerez, Cadiz, Shiraz….  Oh, and sherry was also called sack many years ago.  Perhaps because the bottles were protected by small burlap bags.  Anyway…

This is a particularly one-dimensional drink in spite of the interesting ingredients.  This is also a tiny cocktail if made with the amounts given in the recipe. You could easily double it and still be ok to drive home.

I used an Amontillado sherry.  The drier the better to offset the brandy and triple sec.  Overall, the drink is ok, but I don’t ever need to have one again in this lifetime.

0.25oz blackberry-flavored brandy
0.25oz dry sherry
0.5oz triple sec
0.5oz half-and-half

Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled old-fashioned glass.

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FullSizeRender-800I couldn’t discover much about the origins of this unusual cocktail except that it dates to around 2007.  Basically a Margarita variation with red wine, it works surprisingly well.  I’d almost hazard a guess that whoever came up with the recipe, did so by accident.  But, be that as it may, it is a gorgeous color and the flavor is definitely more intriguing than your usual tequila daisy.

(I’ve never heard of a cactusberry, but I have heard of a dragonberry, which is why I chose this Oz book as a background.  My mind works in strange ways sometimes. – ed.)

Cactus Berry
1.25oz blanco tequila
1.25oz red wine (Merlot or Shiraz is recommended)
0.5oz triple sec
0.5oz simple syrup
0.25oz lemon juice
0.25oz lime juice
1 splash lemon-lime soda
For glass: lime wedge, coarse salt

Rim chilled cocktail glass with lime and salt.  Shake remiaing ingredients with ice and pour into glass.

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IMG_7904-800I knew this cocktail tasted familiar, but the name didn’t ring a bell.  So, I tracked down Eric Alperin who told me the origin behind this tasty libation.

“It’s a spicy highball that we make with our homemade ginger syrup, lime and rye. It also goes by the name “Presbyterian”. I have been making them since my time working in the Milk & Honey family in NYC. When I partnered on The Varnish and opened it back in 2009 the Cablegram made it on one of our early menus. I remember that between the choice of using the name “Presbyterian” and “Cablegram” we chose the later.”

I agree.  I’d much rather be surprised by a cablegram than a Presbyterian at the end of the day.

2oz bourbon
1oz lemon juice
0.5oz simple syrup
ginger ale

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IMG_7881-800Here’s a modern classic that itself is a spin on a venerable cocktail, the Sidecar.  Crafted by Las Vegas bartender extraordinaire Tony Abou-Ganim, he chose spiced rum instead of Cognac and a cinnamon-sugar rim instead of a plain sugared one. Brilliant!

Personally, I don’t include a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the drink as printed in the Mr. Boston guide.  It muddies the look of the drink and adds a unpleasant powdery mouthfeel.  The original version doesn’t call for this, anyway.

Here’s what Tony has to say about this drink: “The Cable Car is a simple balance of Captain Morgan spiced rum, orange curaçao, and fresh lemon sour, served up in a cinnamon-sugar rimmed cocktail glass. Perhaps the best known of my original recipes, it was created in 1996 as a signature cocktail for Harry Denton’s Starlight Room, a nightclub and cocktail lounge atop the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. One of the city’s landmark properties, the Sir Francis Drake is located along the world-famous Nob Hill cable car tracks. Its Starlight Room is affectionately referred to as the lounge that can be found “between the stars and the cable cars.”

Cable Car
2oz spiced rum
0.75oz triple sec
0.75oz lemon juice
0.5oz simple syrup
Garnish: lemon twist, ground cinnamon
For glass: lemon wedge, cinnamon sugar*

Rim chilled cocktail glass with lemon wedge and cinnamon sugar.  Shake remaining ingredients with ice and strain into glass.  Add lemon twist and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

*Cinnamon sugar – Mix equal parts superfine sugar and ground cinnamon.

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