Four Boston bartenders competed in yesterday’s third annual St. Germain Can-Can Classic at the Bowery Hotel in New York City, and two of them took home the top two prizes. Congrats to Bob McCoy of Eastern Standard for his 1st place, $5K win and to Misty Kalkofen of Drink for her 2nd place, $2K win.
Three cheers as well to competitors Aaron Butler of Russell House Tavern and Sam Treadway of Drink for rounding out Boston’s prowess in this mixology event. Each of the four bartenders became eligible to compete in the Can-Can by winning St. Germain’s monthly cocktail contests.
McCoy, who also employed the elderflower liqueur to great effect at drinkboston’s Bartenders on the Rise event, impressed this year’s Can-Can judges with the mixture below. More recipes and tidbits to come as I get them.
By Bob McCoy
2 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz St. Germain
1/4 oz Becherovka
1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters
6 drops Pernod Absinthe
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and stir. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
Here we come a wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering
So fair to be seen.
– Traditional Christmas carol
* * *
We serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don’t need any characters hanging around to give the joint “atmosphere.”
– Nick the bartender, It’s a Wonderful Life
» Clarence the Angel, the character who prompted that famous remark from Nick the bartender by ordering mulled wine, would be pleased with the offerings this Thursday, December 10 at the Franklin Southie (152 Dorchester Ave., South Boston). Drinkboston joins with Kate Palmer (aka Saucy Sureau) of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur and Franklin bev manager/bartender Joy Richard for St. Germain Industry Night. Like the inaugural industry night that featured Fernet cocktails last month, this informal gathering is an enticement for bar and restaurant workers but welcomes non-industry folk alike with signature cocktails, swag and whatever shenanigans ensue. The menu of $6 St. Germain cocktails launches at 8:00, the $1 Island Creek oysters at 9:00. The festivities last ’til closing time at 2:00. Don your reindeer sweater and come on by!
» Patrick Maguire, a regular commenter on drinkboston and a frequenter of Boston restaurants, is on a mission to drum up respect for people in the service industry. He recently launched his own blog, Server Not Servant, and was interviewed in Sunday’s Globe about his mission and its related book project. If you happen to run into him while you’re out on the town, be sure to shake his hand and say hello. Especially if you’re in the service industry — he’s got a questionnaire for you.
» Given that I touched on the topic recently, I was really excited to see an article on Massachusetts’ liquor licensing racket in the latest Boston Magazine. That’s because there isn’t a lot of thoughtful explanation out there on the matter, which looms large over Boston’s drinking culture. “The Drinks Are on Them,” by Jason Schwarz, is about how the law firm of McDermott, Quilty & Miller dominates the city’s liquor licensing. With their success in winning over state and city politicians, the liquor licensing board and persnickety neighborhood associations, “these lawyers are the arbiters of where, and how, we eat in this town,” argues Schwarz. It’s an interesting read, but, in typical Boston Mag fashion, it doesn’t delve nearly deep enough into an issue that deserves a good investigative report. For instance, the article offers up this tidbit: “That’s why a lot of [restaurateurs] boycott the city,” says Charlie Perkins, who brokers restaurant (and liquor license) sales as the head of the Boston Restaurant Group. “You have to pay $200,000 just to serve a drink. A lot of people go to the suburbs.”
Hey, how about an anecdote or two about those restaurateurs who forsook Boston for the ‘burbs? There’s nothing like a sharp-clawed exposé of Boston liquor law to put me in the holiday spirit!
I followed up my how2heroes video on Boston’s Ward Eight cocktail with this one on the Red Rot Cocktail. You may recall that Misty Kalkofen and I created this confection for a party at the Boston Athenaeum. It’s inspired by the “red rot cocktail” that book restorers use to bring musty, old, red leather-bound books back to life. Never thought you’d see footage of rotting book covers in a cocktail video, did you?
The great thing about the video is that we actually got to shoot it in the historic, Beacon Street building that houses the Athenaeum. If you’ve never been there, you should pop in someday and check out the first floor and gallery areas. Better yet, become a member and get access to the whole place. You can check out books, attend lectures (I’ve been to some really good ones) and other events, and bring your laptop and work in a spacious, art-and-antique-filled room overlooking the Granary Burying Ground. Contrary to any preconceptions you may have, you don’t have to be a blue-blooded retiree to join. All you need is a credit card and a couple of references.
As for the cocktail (recipe here): it’s pretty, it’s tasty, it’s balanced, and it’s accessible. Serve it to your vodka-swilling friends, and they will be converted to the ways of gin.
Old Mr. Boston Deluxe Bartender’s Guide (6th edition, 1946. Could be in earlier ones; 1st ed. is 1935)
2 or 3 oz rum
1/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
soda water or ginger ale
Shake first three ingredients with ice and pour into 12-oz collins glass. Fill with club soda or ginger ale, insert spiral of orange or lemon peel (or both) and dangle end over rim of glass. (In The Fine Art Of Mixing Drinks, David Embury says, “A cooler is a Horse’s Neck with a kick.”)