The Orange Russian

Yep, I had to.

The other night in his monologue, Stephen Colbert served this one up on a silver platter.

“You just take a White Russian, you toss in some Cointreau, and a pinch of cat hair — you’re all good.”

orange russian

I omitted the cat hair, dialed down the vodka a bit and subbed the Cointreau for dry Curacao. Despite its origins as a joke, this makes a pretty tasty twist on a White Russian.

Thanks Stephen Colbert. Будем здоровы!

The Orange Russian
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. Curacao
1 1/2 oz. Kahlua
1 1/2 oz. half and half

Add vodka, Curacao and Kahlua to a rocks glass with ice. Top with the half and half.

Del Maguey Vida and the 4 3 1

Some days you just need a little something to whet your palate and warm you up after a rainy walk with the dog.

Today is one of those days, so I made Misty Kalkofen’s 4 3 1, an aptly named combination of Vida mezcal, St Germain, and Ramazzotti amaro.

4 3 1 2

Pairing these three bottles is beyond what I would’ve thought of on my own, but the 4 3 1 is a surprisingly satisfying drink. It’s aromatic and smokey enough to mask the smell of wet dog in my house. It even powers through my seasonal allergy congestion. A really good whiff gets you some of the floral sweetness from the St Germain. Continue reading →

A Trip to the Baldwin Bar / Baldwin & Sons Trading Co.

If you pay attention to such things, you know that the Baldwin Bar in Woburn, Massachusetts is a semifinalist for a 2017 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program.

You might recognize owner Ran Duan as the award-winning bartender who graced the cover of GQ as well as one of the figures at the center of a highly publicized debate over $4 of Chinese takeout. The controversy involved food from the Sichuan Garden II restaurant, owned by Duan’s parents.

It can be a little confusing at first to navigate the different establishments sharing the historic Baldwin House building. Sichuan Garden II is situated downstairs along with the Baldwin Bar, and the elegant Baldwin and Sons Trading Co. is upstairs in a separate room. This results in the somewhat incongruous combination of regular families out for some Chinese dinner, cocktail enthusiasts looking for the tiki kitsch of the downstairs bar, and snappily dressed enthusiasts heading upstairs for a true experience. Continue reading →

10 to 7

Equal parts cocktails make life so easy — but they’re not merely shortcuts. Some of the best classic cocktails are equal parts cocktails: the Negroni and its variations numbering among my favorites, and of course, the darling of the cocktail blogging scene, the Last Word.

The 10 to 7, created by Gabriele Modica, starts off with gin and Maraschino, but subs lime with lemon and Chartreuse with St Germain. It’s more floral rather than the deliciously herbal Last Word, and holds its own as a distinctive drink. It makes a great brunch drink or aperitif.

10-to-7

Continue reading →

the perfect daiquiri

The true test of a bartender’s skill, says the internet (probably thanks to Sasha Petraske), is the daiquiri.

Cocktail snobs might claim to prefer drinks so laced with amari or shrubs that they’re caustic, but the truth is the classic daiquiri can please just about any palate.

bully-boy-daiquiri

The daiquiri has much more to offer than its sludgy beachside cousins might suggest. Continue reading →

a proper drink: a book review

A Proper Drink is part narrative, part recipe book. In it, Robert Simonson traces the origins and growth of the modern cocktail revival from a dark time before the ubiquity of different types of bitters to the present, where cocktail bars have begun to spring up in suburbs, Nick and Nora glasses are in high demand, and cocktail recipes appear after network news.

a-proper-drink

Familiar characters amongst cocktail folk, like Dale Degroff and Dave Wondrich* make their appearances — as do more surprising cameos, like TGI Friday’s, whose early days Simonson describes as an “incubator of bartending skill and discipline.” Philip Duff, quoted in the book, goes a step further — “there would be no cocktail movement without them.”  It’s hard to imagine now, when the first drink on their Handcrafted Cocktail Menu is an Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea.

Continue reading →