Posts Tagged ‘Brother Cleve’

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 »

July 7th, 2010

Nips – 7/7/10


On a steamy summer Friday afternoon, who doesn’t dream of heading straight from the office to a magical oasis of exotica music and tropical drinks? Well, pinch yourself, ’cause this is no dream: Beginning July 9, Brother Cleve, Boston’s oracle of tiki, will host Freaky Tiki Fridays at the new Cambridge “bistro-theque” Think Tank (1 Kendall Sq., Bldg. 300) from 5:00-9:00 p.m.

At this week’s special kickoff event, says Cleve, “our old pal Mr. Ho will be bringing the condensed version of his Orchestrotica — we can’t really fit all 22 members of the full ensemble, so we’ll take the quartet — for a set of exotic sounds in the style of ’50s Hawaiiana like Martin Denny and Les Baxter.” [NOTE: Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica unfortunately won’t be appearing, but the tiki party’s still on!) Of course, when live music isn’t on the bill, Cleve will spin his own vast collection of tunes to sway your grass skirt to. Meanwhile, Think Tank owner Vincent Conte has sprinkled his cocktail menu with a few mixtures that hark back to his days as bar manager of the South End’s departed Pho Republique, and each Freaky Tiki Friday will feature a drink or two from Beachbum Berry’s terrific books, which put tiki drinks back on the map of legit drinking. Soak up the rum with Think Tank’s 5-for-$5 pan-Asian appetizers that will make you “feel like you’ve gone to the Kowloon, but without the indigestion,” says Cleve. See you there!

» Congrats to Todd Maul of Clio for being named best bartender in the Improper Bostonian’s annual Best of Boston list, out on newsstands now. Maul elevated the cocktail program to the level of the cuisine for which this restaurant is famed  — and he did it with a sense of humor, e.g. a list of tiki-inspired “drinks for two … 2 straws, 1 bowl.” While we’re on the subject of fine-dining bars, here’s a shout-out to Carrie Cole of Craigie on Main. She and her mixology crew have made the cocktail program established by Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli continue to kick ass. Check out this Public Radio Kitchen interview with her, and then go have a Bird Bath.

» If you’re fairly new to Massachusetts, you’ve probably had this rude awakening: you’re out for brunch at 11:03 a.m. on Sunday and order a Bloody Mary, only to be told you have to wait until noon. Thank god that foolishness is over. Last week, the state made it legal to buy a drink on Sunday morning. I mean, with Boston-area bars closing at 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., you’re plenty well rested to start drinking bright and early the next morning.

» There’s nothing like finding your niche. Local cocktail enthusiast and California native Devin Hahn blogs about a single cocktail — the Periodista — at the Periodista Tales. So far, his posts constitute one man’s entertaining and well-researched quest for why this rum-based drink, which means “journalist,” is something of a fixture in Boston while being unknown in virtually every other city he has visited.

» A few good reasons to stay out late on a school night this month: the Franklin Southie continues its Thursday Industry Night series on July 15 at 9:00 p.m. with a $6 cocktail menu featuring quality Luxardo spirits (e.g. Amaretto, Maraschino, Espresso, Fernet, Amaro Abano, Sambuca, Bitter, Sangue Morlacco, Triplum and Limoncello). And Emily Stanley, who traded in her bar towel for a new career as a brand ambassador for the malty Dutch gin Bols Genever, will host two events: a Bols Genever dinner at Aquitaine ($65) on July 19 featuring four cocktails by the talented Matt Coughlin, and a punch party at Highland Kitchen on the 26th starting at 10:00 and featuring $4-$6 punches and cocktails. See you there!

» Here’s something you might like: drinkboston’s Facebook fan page.

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Posted in Events, Nips | 9 Comments »

May 8th, 2009

Maharaja’s Revenge

Brother Cleve (a new classic with Indian rum)

2 oz Old Monk rum
1 oz apricot brandy
3/4 oz fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Note: Old Monk is an Indian rum with a unique, smoky flavor, so no substitutes.

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Posted in Brandy, Cocktails, Recipes, Rum | No Comments »

May 1st, 2009

Cactus Flower

Brother Cleve (served at Taste of Tiki party, Eastern Standard)

1 1/2 oz Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum
1 oz Cruzan Estate Light Rum
1/4 oz Cruzan Estate Blackstrap Rum
1/2 oz Bols Orange Curacao
1 oz prickly pear puree
1 oz orange juice
1 oz pineapple juice
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 oz club soda

Build in a mixing glass and dry shake. Pour into a double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice, add club soda, and stir. Garnish with an orange slice.

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Posted in Cocktails, Recipes, Rum | No Comments »

September 9th, 2008

From the Ward Eight to the Ninth Ward

A photo of Brother Cleve with his cocktail, the Ninth Ward

I’ve been meaning since I returned from Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans to write about the Ninth Ward, a drink that Brother Cleve created for the event. First, a little context. Cleve was supposed to be a presenter at this year’s Tales but wasn’t able to travel because of an illness from which, thankfully, he now appears to be recovering. His cocktailian friends from Boston (and around the country) were as sad as he was about this state of affairs. To cheer both him and ourselves up, we carried a framed photo of him wherever we went, taking snapshots of him ‘hanging out’ with us at the Napoleon House, the Absinthe House, the Carousel Bar, Vaughan’s, etc. As Cleve remarked when he saw the photo album, “Maybe Travelocity can get rid of that gnome and use me instead.”

In addition to taking the majority of the Cleve pics, Boston bar doyenne Misty Kalkofen graciously subbed for her friend at the Tales Cocktail Hour, introducing the Ninth Ward to spirits enthusiasts from around the world. The drink — a play on Boston’s best-known cocktail, the Ward Eight, and an homage to one of the NOLA neighborhoods most beset by Hurricane Katrina flooding — was a hit. It’s an unusual, sophisticated and damn tasty cocktail. The best thing for me to do is let Cleve tell you in his own words the story behind its creation.

“I wanted to create a drink for the event that would have some sort of New Orleans and Boston connection. As disparate as the cities’ cultures may be, I’ve spent a lot of quality drinking time in both. The Saturn Bar, in the Ninth Ward, is probably my favorite bar of all time — definitely my favorite dive bar. The owner-bartender, O’Neil Broyard, died not long after Katrina, which almost destroyed the bar as it did so much of the Ninth Ward. The Ninth Ward shares certain similarities with my neighborhood, Dorchester. While both are among the poorest and most crime-plagued areas of each city, there are also some spots of architecturally stunning homes in areas mostly revitalized by gays and artists.

“So my idea was to take the Ward Eight, the best-known drink created in Boston, and turn it into a tropical cocktail for New Orleans. The Ward Eight is bourbon, grenadine and lemon juice. First step, keep the bourbon. I used the Bulleit brand (known as a ‘frontier whiskey’) since the Ward Eight was a 19th-century drink, and Bulleit has the character of that era’s whiskies, sharp and smoky and not too sweet. I flipped the grenadine for falernum, since falernum is a Caribbean syrup and is found in many tropical drinks. Lime juice is also more ubiquitous in the tropics than lemon juice; almost all the classic Don the Beachcomber/Trader Vic concoctions use it.

“I added a new ingredient to the mix, the fab St. Germain elderflower liqueur. Even though elderflowers grow in the Alps, St. Germain is a French-produced beverage, and the U.S. bought Louisiana from the French. Plus, tropical cocktails almost always feature some form of liqueur, so here’s one for this drink. Then, to hold it all together, a few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, which of course were created in New Orleans.

“I guess, as a postscript, one could also say that the politics of both Boston and New Orleans have historically always been corrupt. Let the good times roll!”

The Ninth Ward

1 1/2 oz Bulleit bourbon
1/2 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
3/4 oz Fee Brothers falernum syrup*
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

* Cleve says, “I used the Fee Brothers falernum, which is non-alcoholic but works beautifully. I tried making the drink with Velvet Falernum, but it was too light. This is a problem with VF in most classic tiki drinks, as Ted Haigh has pointed out. (The VF is great in a Corn ‘n Oil or anything with black rum, like Gosling or Cruzan). The homemade (alcoholic) falernum syrup works just fine. I think this is probably closer in flavor/texture to the classic/discontinued Sazerac brand, which was probably used by Don & Vic in the ’40s. I’m sure there are some small Bermudian or Trinidadian brands that are not imported that may be closer to the Sazerac. Time for an investigative field trip!”

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Posted in Cocktails, New Orleans, Whiskey | 8 Comments »