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May 15th, 2011

Gracias, los cócteleros!

Muchas gracias to everyone who turned up at last Sunday’s Cócteles Latinos! party at Trina’s Starlite Lounge. The drinks, the food, the music and the vibe were all tops. It’s not every day that you can sip on a Mountain Dew Fizz (made with Beija Cachaca) while nibbling on Peruvian potato salad and pulled-pork tortillas, listening to X and the Reverend Horton Heat (thanks, DJ Dave Cagle), and basking in a complete takeover of the Starlite’s main bar. Thanks to Beau and Trina Sturm for hosting this shindig with drinkboston, and to guest bartenders Ben Sandrof and Misty Kalkofen for their dream-team antics. Below, enjoy the party photos and the recipes — just in time for your summer drinking needs — that Beau, Ben and Misty dreamed up for the occasion. Salud!

Green Street bartender George Theodore Jenich and Ben Sandrof

Chinaco Punch

2 oz Chinaco Plata tequila
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 1/2 oz watermelon juice
1 oz vinho verde

Combine all ingredients and serve in a rocks glass over a large ice cube or two. Scale up for a big punch bowl with a big chunk of ice in the middle.

Trina Sturm, Dave Cagle, Beau Sturm and Misty Kalkofen

Corn & Oil

1 1/2 oz. Brugal Anejo rum
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum
1/2 oz lime juice

Shake ingredients briefly over ice, then strain into glass with crushed ice. Top with several dashes Angostura bitters.

Phillip Naslund of Local 149 and friend Sarah

Magic Word

2 oz Chinaco Plata tequila
3/4 oz St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 1/2 oz hard cider

Combine all ingredients and serve in a rocks glass over a large ice cube or two. Scale up for a big punch bowl with a big chunk of ice in the middle.

Lillian Milagros Carrasquillo, Jonathan O'Toole, Kim Boutwell and Sean Frederick

Mountain Dew Fizz

2 oz Beija Cachaca
1 1/2 oz Mountain Dew
1/2 oz lime juice
1/4 oz agave syrup
1 egg white

Dry shake all ingredients except Mountain Dew. Add ice and Mountain Dew and shake very well until egg white froths. Strain into highball glass.

Brother Cleve with Lauren Clark of drinkboston

Strawberry Rhubarb Pisco Sour

2 oz Macchu Pisco
1 egg white
1 oz fresh strawberry syrup*
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz lime juice
Rhubarb bitters

Dry shake all ingredients except rhubarb bitters. Add ice and shake very well until egg white froths. Strain into highball glass and top with rhubarb bitters. *Strawberry syrup: puree fresh strawberries and pass through a chinois. Mix liquid 1:1 with white sugar until sugar dissolves.

Los cocteleros: Noah and Elizabeth

Zocalo

2 oz Del Maguey Vida mezcal
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz canela (cinnamon) simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters
Lemon oil garnish

Combine first four ingredients in mixing glass filled with ice and stir very well. Strain into chilled martini or rocks glass and twist lemon peel over the top.

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Posted in Cocktails, Events, Pisco, Punch, Rum, Tequila | No Comments »

April 30th, 2011

Event – Cócteles Latinos!

On May 8, drinkboston and Trina’s Starlite Lounge are throwing a party, Cócteles Latinos!, featuring cocktails (see below) made with Latin American spirits: rum, tequila, mezcal, cachaca, pisco and perhaps the odd Mayan liqueur. Salud!

Besides Mother’s Day and the beginning of World Cocktail Week, we’re celebrating drinkboston’s 5th birthday. Boston’s First Couple of bartending, Beau and Trina Sturm, will be our hosts, and special guests Ben Sandrof and Misty Kalkofen will get behind the stick. Deep Ellum’s Dave Cagle will spin party tunes, and Starlite chef Suzi Maitland and her crew will put out the Latin American treats.

Cocktail menu will feature both old-school and new-school libations, TBD. Thanks a million to our sponsors: Brugal rum, Chinaco tequila, Del Maguey Vida mezcal and Macchu Pisco.

  • Cócteles Latinos! Hosted by drinkboston and Trina’s Starlite Lounge (3 Beacon St., Somerville)
  • Sunday, May 8 (yes, Mother’s Day — bring mom!)
  • 7:00 p.m. until last call
  • Tickets are $40 and include three cocktails and Latin American snax.
  • Call the Starlite at 617-576-0006 to purchase your ticket in advance, as there’s a good chance we’ll sell out quickly.

Put on your best Old Havana nightclub threads and come on by. See you there!

THE COCKTAILS
(Exact recipes will be published after the event.)

Zocalo
Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
Dry vermouth
Canela simple syrup
Angostura bitters
Lemon oil

Chinaco Punch
Chinaco Plata Tequila
Yellow Chartreuse
Luxardo Maraschino
Lemon juice
Watermelon juice
Vino verde

Magic Word
Chinaco Plata Tequila
St Germain
Aperol
Lemon juice
Hard cider

Corn & Oil
Brugal Anejo Rum
Velvet Falernum
Lime juice
Angostura bitters

Strawberry Rhubarb Pisco Sour
Macchu Pisco
Egg white
Lime juice
Fresh strawberry syrup
Rhubarb bitters

Mountain Dew Fizz
Cachaca
Mountain Dew
Lime juice
Agave syrup
Egg white

PLUS: Classic Mojitos & Green Grape Caipirinhas

Posted in Cocktails, Events, Pisco, Rum, Tequila | No Comments »

March 30th, 2011

Nips – 3/30/11

“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month,” said Henry Van Dyke. That’s why we have cocktails and dancing.

» Opus Affair Presents: the WAITIKI Festival of Music & Cocktail, Russell House Tavern, April 10, 6:00-10:00 p.m. Opus Affair, Graham Wright’s non-profit social networking group for young professionals interested in the fine arts, and the exotica orchestra WAITIKI are planning “a night of all-out tiki to launch us into spring,” says WAITIKI bandleader Randy Wong. Imagine classical musicians, tiki geeks and cocktailians getting loose on rum-tastic drinks and grooving to sultry soundscapes by — and inspired by — the legendary Martin Denny. The godfather of exotica music, Denny would have turned 100 on April 10. Inbetween sets of live exotica, Brother Cleve and his friends Jack Fetterman and Gina of the Jungle will assume DJ and MC duties. All the while, barman Aaron Butler will lead his Russell House staff in mixing classic and original tiki cocktails featuring rums by Montanya, El Dorado, Folly Cove and Chairman’s Reserve. No cover charge for this shindig, but a donation of $20 is suggested for the musicians. More details here. Anyone remember Boston’s first WAITIKI Fest back in ’07? I do. Barely. See you on April 10!

» Bulleit Rye. I was recently mailed a small sample of rye by the makers of the well-regarded “frontier whiskey” Bulleit Bourbon. Bulleit Rye’s grain content is a whopping 95% rye (by U.S. law, rye whiskey must be at least 51% rye), which makes for an estery nose and a spicy, dry character. A Bourbon Blog review compared the finish to “cinnamon red hot candy.” In an Old Fashioned, that trait, along with the heat of a 90-proof spirit, evoked the velvety raspiness of a kitten’s tongue. I really liked the stuff and am looking forward to trying it in cocktails around town. Bulleit Rye should be available very soon and, like Bulleit Bourbon, is fairly priced ($28 or so).

» Cocktail Wars. Woodward at the Ames Hotel is doing another round of Cocktail Wars starting this Sunday, April 3. The Ames PR folks call it “an Iron Chef-style bartending competition taking place every Sunday where two of Boston’s best mixologists go head-to-head to create the best cocktail using a series of secret ingredients (typically a spirit, a fruit, an herb, or a vegetable) in the allotted time. The creations are then judged by some of Boston’s biggest industry experts.” Posing as one of those industry experts, I’ll be judging the April 24 contest. These contests are quite lively — last year I judged the finals — so swing by for a look.

» New Boston-area bars. Crikey, I’ve been so busy visiting new bars around town that I forgot to write about them. Here are some very short reviews:

  • Bergamot: This well-reviewed restaurant in Somerville where EVOO used to reside has a small bar and real cocktails executed nicely by ex-Craigie on Main bartender Paul Manzelli and crew.
  • Citizen Public House: Another success story in the Franklin Cafe/Franklin Southie/Tasty Burger constellation. Bar manager and all-around whiz Joy Richard of LUPEC Boston assembled a crack team of bartenders and instituted Boston’s first comprehensive American whiskey menu.
  • Erbaluce: Chef Charles Draghi now has a bar program commensurate with his revered cuisine, thanks to Nick Korn (formerly of Eastern Standard) and Robert Hoover (formerly of Upstairs on the Square). The two are working magic with a cordial license and will soon be offering homemade vermouth.
  • The Gallows: Well-made, approachable cocktails at a jumpin’ South End bar with killer food. Helmed by some of my fave barwomen, including April Wachtel and Danielle Marshall.
  • Local 149: Stumbling upon this new Southie outpost where the Farragut House once stood is like stumbling upon a beehive in a quiet meadow. Lots of room at the bar, good-looking eats and a solid cocktail list written in part by ex-Craigie on Main wunderkind John Mayer.
  • Temple Bar: OK, it’s not new. But after helping put Russell House Tavern on the map, Alex Homans is breathing new life into this warm Cambridge bar whose cocktails have historically been pretty ho-hum. Woo hoo!

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Posted in Boston bars, Events, Nips, Whiskey | 7 Comments »

March 7th, 2011

Drink This! With Brother Cleve at Think Tank

Hey, cats and kittens, something very cool launches TONIGHT at Think Tank in Kendall Square: Drink This! With Brother Cleve, the godfather of the Boston cocktail world. Join drinkboston, Classic Mixology and the Boston Shaker at 8:00 p.m. for Lundi Gras cocktails as we kick off “a new event series that will put me back behind the bar for the first time since 2001,” says Cleve. Here’s his write-up about the series:

“I’ll be featuring a different set of classic cocktails and new libations of my own creation every Monday, plus selecting the musical soundtrack to pair it with. We’ll be featuring appetizer specials and drink/food pairings from the kitchen, and I’ll hold a little seminar to explain the history of the drinks and assorted cocktail lore. As many of you know, I’ve been studying this stuff for a long time, and we now live in amazing times for spirits drinkers, with so many formerly “lost” liquors, bitters, syrups etc available again for the first time in decades. When Combustible Edison first hit the road in ’94, in search of the “Cocktail Nation,” you were lucky if you could get a decent Martini anywhere. Now, great cocktails are ubiquitous around the globe!

“Our launch date, March 7, coincides with Carnival — Lundi Gras is the Monday before Mardi Gras in New Orleans, so in honor of the occasion we’ll hold a pre-Lenten bash with Cleve’s Ninth Ward cocktail (a “best of show” libation at Tales Of the Cocktail in 2008, now served in select bars around the country), the Ward Eight, Boston’s best known drink and the inspiration for the Ninth Ward, as well as the Sazerac, the venerable favorite that has been designated the Official Cocktail of the City of New Orleans. There will be a soundtrack of classic New Orleans R&B, funk and jazz for your imbibing pleasure.

Cleve brings his knowledge and passion for mixology to these weekly seminars, in which he’ll share classic as well as “lost” recipes from his vast bartending library (collected over the past 25 years) along with new concoctions of his own creation. Each week will showcase a different theme or spirit, and will also feature music and videos culled from Cleve’s personal collection. Special menu items from the kitchen will also be available, and certain evenings will highlight food/cocktail pairings.”

No cover, no reservations, just show up. See you there!

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Posted in Cocktails, Events, New Orleans | 7 Comments »

December 15th, 2010

I drank Repeal Day


When Prohibition was repealed on December 5, 1933, do you think people gathered in cocktail bars and discussed the finer points of a 2:1 gin Martini? No. They grabbed hold of whatever wretched rotgut was most accessible and poured it down their gullets with wild abandon. I was merely reenacting that moment, then, when I went to the Washington D.C. Repeal Day Ball, sucked down Kamikazes in the ’80s Room and danced on the shoulders of Eastern Standard’s assistant bar manager.

I was fortunate to be invited down to the Capitol that weekend by the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild, which throws the annual bash, and Melanie Asher of Macchu Pisco, a boutique producer of Peru’s storied grape spirit. Together, they hosted an 11-person Boston contingent that also included Kevin Martin (above), Jackson Cannon and Nicole Lebedevitch of Eastern Standard; Brother Cleve, who programmed the tunes for the event’s Tiki, ’60s and Prohibition rooms; Misty Kalkofen of Drink; Alex Homans of Russell House Tavern; April Wachtel of The Gallows; Robert Hoover of Upstairs on the Square; Corey Bunnewith of the Citizen Pub; and Liza Weisstuch, freelance drinks writer extraordinaire.

The ball was set up like a swanky house party in the Maison Biltmore, with seven differently themed rooms for our cocktail pleasure: 1800s/Punch, Highballs, 1920s/Prohibition, 1960s/Mad Men, Tiki, 1980s and the Future. (In the future, apparently, we will enjoy Rum & Coke Foam and Blue Hawaiis solidified into those little dot candies you peel off of paper.) Attendees donned their finest vintage threads and partied well into the night. D.C.’s top ‘tenders and a few of their Philly brethren, plus celeb mixologists from around the nation, put their skills on display. Then there was an afterparty with even more punch in a massive space that seemed to suddenly materialize in the back of the Passenger.

Amazingly, all but the few Bostonians who had to depart early rallied, bleary eyed, on Sunday to join Garrett Peck’s illuminating Temperance Tour of Washington D.C. After the tour, Peck, who recently wrote The Prohibition Hangover, joined us for patties and Yuengling at the Burger Joint. Next, our group livened up a Sunday evening at Brasserie Beck by depleting its menu of Belgian beers, following that with a last call of Macchu Pisco Sours back at the Passenger. Phew! Here are some pics.

Not just a tux, but a tux with tails. Jackson Cannon working the Highball Room. “Let me put you into a Mamie Taylor.”

Who else but a top-hatted David Wondrich would be working the Punch Room? Seen here with his just-published book Punch: the Delights and Dangers of the Flowing Bowl, serving a hot potion out of a vintage, early-1800s Crock Pot.

The fabulously flapperesque Phoebe Isabelle Esmon of Philadelphia serves bathtub punch in the Prohibition Room. If you’re in Philly, go see her at Catahoula Bar & Restaurant.

Misty Kalkofen lounges with Brother Cleve as he spins exotica in the Tiki Room. If I had to pick the evening’s winning room… (then again, see top photo).

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, the apostle who introduced us all to the Gospel of Tiki, serves delicious ’40s-era potions in the Tiki Room. Do I remember what they were? No. But they were delicious.

Corey Bunnewith, April Wachtel and Kevin Martin made the ’80s Room theirs. Seriously, ask them about it sometime.

The next day, we got some learnin’ in. Garrett Peck begins his Temperance Tour on a blustery day in front of D.C.’s Temperance fountain, of which there were once 50 nationwide.

And since it was Sunday, we went to church. The famed Calvary Baptist Church, that is. It’s where the Anti-Saloon League, which wrote the book on pressure politics, had its first national convention in 1895. Those poor souls. The presence of our group of bartenders, hungover from celebrating the anniversary of Repeal Day, surely had them rolling in their dry graves.

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Posted in D.C., Events | 4 Comments »

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