colleen’s kiss


This is my first post in participation with the Mixology Monday challenge, a “monthly online cocktail party.” Each month, bloggers and cocktail enthusiasts create cocktails around a theme — and this month’s theme, posted by Frederic, is mashups. He mentions a few mashups with the Widow’s Kiss, including the Widow’s Word, which combines the drink with perennial cocktail snob favorite, the Last Word.

I recently tasted my first Widow’s Kiss at Cambridge’s Brick and Mortar, and loved its fall flavors. It’s made with apple brandy, Chartreuse, and Benedictine, so it’s just the right combination of sweet, herbal and apple to make an autumn drink that’s not over the top.

My other favorite cocktail of the moment, the Colleen Bawn, shares the same liqueurs — it’s got the Chartreuse and Benedictine, but switches out the apple brandy for rye, and contains a whole egg. The end result is rich, creamy, and so satisfying on a crisp evening.

So, while I didn’t intend to create another mashup with the Widow’s Kiss, I found it fitting to mash it up with the Colleen Bawn.

Thus: I give you the Colleen’s Kiss. The Benedictine and Chartreuse that the two drinks share are combined with the egg and a touch of rye from the Colleen Bawn and Applejack from the Widow’s Kiss. The result is rich apple pie met with the herbal complexity of the Benedictine and Chartreuse. After making a first round with Applejack, I found it a bit too sweet and added in a touch of rye. I’d be curious to see if these proportions change if I get my hands on a bottle of Calvados to use instead.

colleen’s kiss
1 oz Laird’s Applejack
1/2 oz Bulleit rye
3/4 oz yellow chartreuse
3/4 oz Benedictine
1 egg
1 dash orange bitters
Cinnamon for garnish

Combine ingredients except cinnamon in shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds, until the shaker is frosted over. Strain and remove ice. Pour ingredients back into the shaker, and dry shake about 20 more seconds. Fine strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with cinnamon.


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.

añejo old fashioned

The old fashioned is one of the simplest and tastiest cocktails you can make — whiskey, sugar and bitters. But, like many simple cocktails, the base formula lends itself to countless variations. One of my favorites is the añejo tequila old fashioned.


If you’re not that familiar with tequila, you might just know it from margaritas or from the terrible headaches you’ve gotten from a certain leading brand which doesn’t actually make their tequila with 100% agave.

Continue reading →

the alaska cocktail

When I was a server, after my dinner shifts I’d head to the sports bar next door with my coworkers for a gin martini and a Caesar salad. The martini would be shaken and served in an oversized glass, and it would have large shards like ice floes floating on top of it.

It was a pretty bad martini, but there’s something I miss about sharing a drink with my coworkers after a long shift. Working in the service industry is almost like playing a team sport — on a good night, the staff is like a well-oiled machine. You know if you’re in the weeds, someone will have your back. And on a bad night, if you make a mistake or get a bad tip, someone’s there to pat you on the back and tell you to keep your head up.

It’s been years since I hobbled up to that bar and sipped a martini in my marinara-stained oxford shirt, but whenever I have one, it transports me back to those days.

Despite my nostalgia for those terrible martinis, I’ve come a long way since then. For one thing, I know that martinis should be stirred. James Bond was wrong. Don’t take it from me, though — this episode of Gastropod includes a good discussion on when to stir and when to shake.

The Alaska cocktail is a simple martini variation — just swap out the vermouth for yellow Chartreuse, and add a few dashes of orange bitters. A simple substitution, but the transformation is significant — slightly sweet, botanical, herbal and bitter.


the alaska cocktail
1 1/2 oz gin
3/4 oz yellow chartreuse
2 dashes orange bitters
orange peel

stir with ice, strain. express the orange peel over the glass.

the colleen bawn

If Boston has a secret handshake cocktail, it must be the Colleen Bawn. It seems that every bartender worth their salt in Boston knows this drink. It’s not too sweet, but rich and herbaceous — a perfect nightcap.

colleen bawn.jpg

Jason and I like to end our night out with a flip, but typically they don’t appear on menus, especially during the summer. Curiously enough, at almost every bar in Boston where we’ve asked for a flip, we’ve received a Colleen Bawn.

This led me to believe it was a pretty standard cocktail. But, when we visited some bars on Washington D.C., we got some perplexed looks, servers Googling the recipe on their iPhones, and embarrassed apologies that the bars didn’t stock Benedictine. (What??!) So, if you’re planning on ordering one of these at a bar, you’re probably best off in Boston.

Better yet, make it at home.  Continue reading →

negroni flip

Ah, the Negroni. So classic, so simple: equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari. So good it’s got its own week.

The balanced sweetness and bitterness of a Negroni is so refreshing on a hot day, but as the weather cools, adding a bit of unexpected richness and body in the form of a full egg and some rich simple syrup (two parts sugar to one part water) is a welcome twist. I’d love one with brunch, at happy hour, or pretty much any time.

negroni-flip Continue reading →

the bijou

Summer may be over, but this heat and humidity we’re still having on the East Coast calls for something cold and refreshing like the Bijou — the jewel of cocktails, with gin, Chartreuse and sweet vermouth.

the bijou

Many recipes I’ve seen combine these three ingredients in equal amounts, with the addition of orange bitters. I prefer a drink that’s heavier on gin, and tones down the herbal qualities of the Chartreuse and vermouth. Continue reading →