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

IMG_7797-800This is a drink that hails back to The Savoy Cocktail Book compiled by Harry Craddock in 1930.  However, there are a few differences.  Here is the original recipe:

1 Dash Absinthe
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1 1/2 oz Dry Gin
1 1/2 oz Caperitif

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Add a Cherry.

Now here is the version as published in the Mr. Boston Guide:

Cabaret Cocktail
1.5oz gin
0.5oz dry vermouth
0.25oz benedictine
2 dashes angostura bitters
Garnish: maraschino cherry

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

These really are two entirely different cocktails, even though they are both Martini variations.  Sadly, the original ingredient called Caperitif is no longer made.  It was a South African wine-based quinquina, similar to today’s Lillet Blanc.  Although it may make a comeback someday.  We’re seeing a lot of long forgotten vermouths back on the shelves these days.

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IMG_7777-800Cocktail recipes are merely templates upon which bartenders impose their own ideas of ratios and ingredients.  So, it’s no surprise that many of the most popular cocktails are those which have been “improved upon” from the original version.  The story of the Bushwhacker goes back to 1975 and the era of the Fern Bar.  Apparently Linda Murphy, the owner of the Pensacola Sandshaker Beach Bar had vacationed in St. Thomas and discovered the drink at the Sapphire Beach Village.  She then tried to recreate it once back home.  It proved to be an instant hit, so much so that only eleven years later the first annual Bushwhacker Festival was held.  It continues to this day.

All that being said, this is very much the love child of the White Russian.  Think of it as a liquid candy bar.

0.5oz coffee liqueur
0.5oz amaretto
0.5oz light rum
0.5oz Irish cream liqueur
2oz half-and-half

Shake with ice. Pour into ice-filled old-fashioned glass.

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IMG_7761-800I had no idea that finding a bottle of strawberry schnapps was going to be such a hassle.  But, after going to five(!) different liquor stores, I finally found one.  And truth be told, it’s not a bad drink.  I’ve snuck a few sips here and there.  But, in the fruit driven Burning Sun, it really does make the difference between a bad cocktail and one that works.  The key here is to make sure that you use a high-proof schnapps and not just a bottom shelf liqueur.  The alcohol will cut through the sweetness of the pineapple juice and balance everything out.

As for using a strawberry as a garnish.  That’s a great idea in the summer, but seeing as it’s now February, not something I’d recommend.  I bought some frozen organic strawberries, but they lacked the full flavor of what would have made a wonderful edible garnish.

Burning Sun
1.5oz strawberry schnapps
4oz pineapple juice
garnish: whole strawberry

Pour into ice-filled highball glass and stir. Garnish with strawberry.

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IMG_7733-800If you are a tikiphile, you will know who I’m talking about when I say that this cocktail was created by “The Bum”.  The world’s foremost authority on all manner of tiki drinks, Jeff Berry recently opened his own bar named Latitude 29 in his hometown of New Orleans.  In fact, you can order a Bum’s Rush there if you want the true experience.

Interestingly, the phrase “bum’s rush” comes from early 20th century saloon lingo.  As Green’s Dictionary of Slang explains, “the bum’s rush” is what would happen if a vagrant entered a saloon, hoping to take advantage of “the sometimes sumptuous free lunch counters, which were meant for drinkers only.” The freeloader would be forcibly removed from the premises. (Wall Street Journal 8.22.14)

Jeff however, had a completely different reason for creating this drink as he told me recently.

bums-rush“This drink dates from 1999.  I started out trying to make a rum drink with an apple-honey flavor, but eventually realized that it worked better with tequila.  Adding the triple sec came next, since what I had now was a Margarita variation … the name was so the drink wouldn’t be out of place in the Beachbum Berry mug that Bosko had just made for me.  I gave quite a few of these mugs away over the years — to my eternal regret, as they’re now going for hundreds of dollars on eBay.  When it comes to financial affairs, once a bum, always a bum!”

Bum’s Rush
1.5oz blanco tequila
0.75oz triple sec
0.75oz honey liqueur
1oz lime juice
1oz apple cider
garnish: lime wedge

Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with lime.


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IMG_7642Even though the temperatures are in the single digits, this drink is next in line for the Imbibing Mr. Boston Project.  Made for a hot summer’s day, this simple vodka and lemonade drink makes me yearn for warmer temperatures.

I had fun using a lily pad decorated glass along with a handcrafted glass frog that I received as a gift from my wife many years ago.

1.5oz vodka
5oz lemonade
garnish: lime wheel

Pour into ice-filled Collins glass and stir.  Garnish with lime.

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FullSizeRenderWell, this one is a mystery.  Why “bulldog”?  All I can surmise is that the bulldog references Winston Churchill who I’m sure enjoyed a tipple of London Dry gin now and again.

The trick here is to find a cherry brandy that is not overwhelmingly sweet and cloying.  I deigned to use Cherry Heering.  This still is a very intense cocktail, so I’d even be tempted to make it a swizzle next time, instead of a shaken drink.  Just add a bit of soda water to lengthen the drink and I think you’ll be happy with it.

1.5oz cherry-flavored brandy
0.75oz gin
0.5oz lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

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IMG_7451Not sure why this is called a Bull’s Milk, since this is one of New Orleans’ classic libations, the Brandy Milk Punch.  Bull’s don’t even give milk.

Leaving the misnomer beside, this drink has a long history.  It even appears in Jerry Thomas’ 1862 Bar-Tender’s Guide.  Here is what New Orleanian Ned Hémard discovered about its origins.

“Is milk punch truly a New Orleans invention? Further investigation proves that it was not born in New Orleans, but like so many things in the Crescent City, it was there that milk punch had its “rebirth”.

Milk punch may have had its origins in medieval Ireland. One Irish medieval punch, known as scáiltín , contained whiskey, hot milk, melted butter, sugar, honey, cinnamon nutmeg or cloves (the original milk punch). Curiously, one of the more interesting contenders for the inventor of milk punch is the ever-intriguing Aphra Behn (1640–1689), spy, bon vivant and prolific author and dramatist of the Restoration. Working as a spy for Charles II, Behn became the lover to a prominent and powerful royal, and from him she obtained political secrets to be used to the English advantage. George Woodcock wrote: “Her talent for companionship evidently extended beyond conversation and music, for she is credited with having introduced into England that liquor favoured of eighteenth-century topers, milk punch.” It seems that English antiquary William Oldys, a specialist in the history of the stage, heard an old actor state that “the first person he ever knew or heard of, who made the liquor called Milk Punch” was none other than Aphra Behn. This particular thespian, John Bowman, should have known, having appeared in at least three of Behn’s plays (including the bawdy, punch-sodden The Widow Ranter). Bowman’s character utters these words, “Punch! ‘Tis my Morning’s Draught, my Table-drink, my Treat, my Regalio, my everything.” But Aphra Behn may have just promoted the drink, for milk punch’s first mention was in English statesman William Sacheverell’s account of his visit to the Scottish island of Iona in 1688 (during her lifetime). Milk Punch then went into hiding until the middle of the eighteenth century, when it once again became all the rage, remaining so for almost a hundred years, particularly in its bottled form.

Mr. Pickwick was thrilled to take “a most energetic pull” on a bottle of it, and a young Queen Victoria so enjoyed the version Nathaniel Whisson & Co. bottled that in 1838 she had them named “Purveyors of Milk Punch to Her Majesty”. Benjamin Franklin had his own recipe. Preparing to depart Boston for Philadelphia on October 11, 1763, Benjamin Franklin wrote to James Bowdoin, taking his leave and enclosing a recipe for “Milk Punch”. Franklin’s recipe shares characteristics of two types of beverages—possets and syllabubs. Possets combine hot milk with ale, wine, or brandy, sugar, and spices. Heat and alcohol curdle the milk. Possets were used as remedies for colds. Syllabubs combine milk with wine and lemon juice (or other acids); the acid from the wine and juice curdle the milk. Ben’s recipe exists today in his own hand, but the oldest extant recipe for milk punch (also with lemon juice) is over fifty years older. According to Montague Summers, who unearthed this recipe in 1914, it hails from “a tattered manuscript recipe book, the compilation of a good housewife named Mary Rockett, and dated 1711.”

Lin Turner, expert on numerous culinary subjects, reflects on the English origins of milk punch: “English Milk Punch, pretty well says all there is to be said about the origins of this festive beverage, but doesn’t beg the deeper question of ‘Why?’ As a strengthener for those made invalid by illness, milk was the beverage of choice back in the days of yore. A dollop of honey, a tot of whiskey and Aunt Gertie perks up. The alcohol was added to sterilize the unpasteurized milk of the day. There’s not much worse than the side effects of medicine, and I for one will demand whiskey in my medicinally ordered, Milk Punch!” In Early American Beverages there is an 1860 recipe for a brandy or rum milk punch in which the spirits are steeped in oranges and lemons; and an 1884 recipe that is sherry-based and calls for milk “warm from the cow”. And like so many milk punch recipes dating all the way back to medieval Ireland, the latter recipe calls for grated nutmeg to taste.”

There you have it.  This is one tasty drink, and it works as well chilled as it does warmed.  Perfect for those cold winter days ahead of us.

Bull’s Milk
1.5oz brandy
1oz light rum
0.25oz simple syrup
3oz milk
Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg, ground cinnamon

Shake with ice and strain into chilled Collins glass. Top with nutmeg and cinnamon.

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