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 →

oaxaca old fashioned

Yet another agave old fashioned.

Unlike the añejo old fashioned from last week, this one uses a blend of smokey mezcal and reposado tequila.

Interestingly (or maybe not), while I love drinking a good añejo by itself, reposado just doesn’t cut it and mezcal is a bit too much for my palate. Combined with a little sweetness and some bitters, though, they’re transformed.

Here, I’m using Del Maguey’s Vida mezcal, which the New York Times calls “unpolished yet sublime.” It’s certainly interesting — fruit and smoke on the nose, funky herbal spiced earth on the palate. For the reposado, I’m using Espolon. It’s got vanilla and caramel on the nose, and since it’s aged it’s got a nice toasty flavor.


oaxaca old fashioned
1 1/2 oz reposado tequila
1/2 mezcal
1 tsp agave nectar
1 dash chocolate bitters
1 dash orange bitters

Stir ingredients in an old fashioned glass. Add a big ice cube and garnish with an orange peel.