Imbibing Mr. Boston: Chapel Hill Cocktail

Chapel Hill, located in North Carolina is perhaps where this old-school drink originated decades ago. In any case, this is an Americanized Sidecar, with French brandy being replaced with the ultra-American spirit, bourbon.  Simple, and yet tasty as heck.

If you do visit Chapel Hill, be sure to stop at The Crunkleton and tell them Gary sent you. You won’t regret it.

Chapel Hill
2oz Bourbon whiskey (we used 1.5oz of a 10-year-old)
0.5oz triple sec (we used Cointreau)
0.5oz lemon juice
Garnish: orange twist

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Add orange twist. (We also added a dehydrated orange wheel for visual appeal)

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.

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Casino Cocktail

img_2240Probably most famously known for its appearance in Harry Craddock’s “The Savoy Cocktail Book” published in 1930, this is basically an Aviation cocktail substituting the creme de violette liqueur with orange bitters.  I’m sure the original cocktail hails from the late 1900’s and proved itself to be popular enough that it still makes appearances in cocktail guides today.

Of note is the minimal amount of lemon juice involved.  You may want to stir this drink instead of shaking.  It’s up to you, but no harm, no foul.

Casino Cocktail
2oz gin
1/4 tsp maraschino liqueur
1/4 tsp lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Garnish: maraschino cherry

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

For more information go to: Mr. Boston Drinks

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Carroll Cocktail

img_2065There’s no evidence that this drink originated in a bar in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens, but who knows?  This is an aperitif-sized Manhattan spin-off that has got to be one of the simplest cocktails in the whole Mr. Boston Guide.

It’s a sweeter, less boozy and aggressive Manhattan at its core.  Actually, I think this is a wonderful way to start a cocktail party.  Batch a bunch of these and pass them out to guests as they arrive for a soiree.  I guarantee they will appeal to everyone who imbibes.

Carroll Cocktail
1.5oz brandy
0.75oz sweet vermouth
Garnish: maraschino cherry

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

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Carré Reprise Cocktail


Every once in a while a hidden gem of a cocktail makes its way into a guide, but there’s rarely any information on who crafted it, or the inspiration behind it.  

As it turns out there’s a great story behind this cocktail as told by its creator, Brian Miller.  Here’s what he has to say, “It came about oh so many years ago. It was at Tales and I believe it was my first one. St Germain had just come out and I had been working with the brand. Rob (Cooper) had become a good friend of mine and he invited me to Tales to do some work with him. He had organized some sort of Iron Chef competition using St Germain and asked me to be a part of it. I was reluctant because I hate comps but when the boss asks you, you do what he says. Plus he said the winner would get a brand new car. Of course that sounded ridiculous but Rob is generous enough to do such a thing. I was young (yes, there was a point when I was actually young and not the middle-aged pirate you see now) and like everyone else, I loved Rittenhouse rye and old classic cocktails. So I did a simple riff on the Vieux Carré subbing St Germain for the Benedictine. I think I was more concerned with not embarrassing myself than actually winning. So when I won, I was shocked. I was thinking, what the hell am I gonna do with car in NYC? I could hardly afford rent let alone a place to keep a fucking car. Rob came up to me with a big grin and said, “Brian, let me take you to your new car.” We walked out in front of the Monteleone and parked between two cabs was the little Hoopty. We laughed and hugged each other. It was my first trophy in the cocktail world and I still treasure it to this day.  I later on created another cocktail for St Germain called the Hoopty Cooler. A picture of the car is attached.”

This is a 21st century take on a classic for sure.  Everything is quite balanced, lovely and pops on the tongue.  The only change I would highly recommend, is to either serve this with one large cube of ice, or else serve it straight up in a large cocktail glass.  Serious dilution happens when too much ice is left in the glass as I discovered.  I took the simple step of straining the drink into a large coupe with a Hawthorne strainer and transferring the garnish.


Carré Reprise
1oz rye whiskey
1oz cognac
1oz sweet vermouth
0.5oz elderflower liqueur
1 dash angostura bitters
1 dash peychaud’s bitters
Garnish: lemon twist

Stir with ice. Strain into ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Add lemon twist.

Imbibing Mr. Boston: The Caricature Cocktail


At first glance, this looks like a mish-mash of whatever the hell you can manage to find on the backbar and in the fridge, but it actually works.  The reason is that this is simply a citrus Negroni.  The ratios are completely different, but the end result is quite balanced, tasty and elegant.  In fact, you might consider this cocktail a gateway drug to the more intense flavors of the Negroni.

Here’s what creator Gary ‘gaz’ Regan recently told me about this libation: “It’s a typical regan drink since it’s just a riff on someone else’s well-thought-out cocktail! This drink is actually a rip-off of a drink called the Old Flame, created by Dale DeGroff. gaz regan played around with Dale’s formula a little, then named the drink in honor of Dale’s wife, Jill DeGroff, a graphic artist who executes fabulous caricatures of the world’s leading cocktailian bartenders.”

I like it and will gladly drink this if proffered to me. Cheers, gaz!

The Caricature Cocktail
1.5oz gin
0.75oz triple sec
0.5oz sweet vermouth
0.5oz campari
0.5oz grapefruit juice
Garnish: orange twist

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

Note: Use 100% red grapefruit juice, not white.  Very important.

Imbibing Mr. Boston: Caribbean Romance Cocktail


A slightly more interesting alternative to the venerable Bocce Ball cocktail, this beverage balances out the sweetness of amaretto with the tang of pineapple juice.  For an even more interesting take, try using spiced rum instead of light rum.  Also, make sure to use fresh squeezed orange juice for a better flavor.  As for the grenadine float, good luck with that.  Mine sank right to bottom despite carefully pouring it over the back of a bar spoon.

Caribbean Romance
1.5oz light rum
1oz amaretto
1.5oz orange juice
1.5oz pineapple juice
0.25oz grenadine
Garnish: orange, lemon or lime wheel

Shake rum, amaretto and juices with ice and strain into ice-filled highball glass. Float grenadine on top. Garnish with citrus.


Imbibing Mr. Boston: Caribbean Ginger Cocktail

IMG_0587This cocktail is perfect for springtime. A beautifully balanced and softly heat-laden tiki nuanced cocktail. From the first fragrant nose of a dusting of cinnamon, to the slow burn of ginger heat, this cocktail hits all on all cylinders.

Creator Rafael Reyes has this to say about his creation: “The inspiration behind this cocktail came based on seasonality and love for fresh ingredients, I always have been a big fan of pure ginger juice in cocktails but, you have to have the right balance so it doesn’t showcase as a one noted drink. The combination of Dark rum (Santa Teresa 1796 was normally my rum choice for this), pineapple, spices and demerara created a great marriage enjoyable in any given season.”

If you find it hard to juice ginger, you can buy a bottled version at most health food stores. I also recommend using demerara syrup as opposed to simple syrup to give it a deeper more luxurious flavor and mouth feel. Rafael is also right in his choice of rums, as the solera style version used here is a perfect match for the pineapple juice.

Great drink, Rafael! I’ll be adding these to my list of go-to drinks for guests!

Caribbean Ginger
2oz dark rum
1oz pineapple juice
0.5oz demerara syrup
0.5oz lime juice
0.5oz ginger juice
Garnish: ground cinnamon

Shake well with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Top with cinnamon.