Friday, March 24, 2023

New-ish Cocktails: the Duboudreau

I stumbled upon this drink in the same way as Fred Yarm - flipping through the PDT Cocktail Book hoping to find something that looked good. This is a reimagining of Jamie Boudreau's Cooper Cocktail from Vessel in Seattle in the late-2000s during the first phase of the cocktail renaissance. It has all the features of the time - rediscovered ingredients like bonded rye whiskey and Fernet Branca alongside new ones like St. Germain. The spin takes it in a more Manhattan-y direction with aromatized wine.

Duboudreau Cocktail

2 oz rye whiskey
0.75 oz quinquina
0.25 oz St. Germain
0.25 oz Fernet

Combine all ingredients, stir with ice for fifteen seconds, then strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon twist.

The aroma leads with a big wallop of mint from the Fernet, plus herbal rye and a touch of grapefruit peeking out from behind. The sip opens fairly sweetly between the St. Germain and Punt e Mes, sliding into bittersweet rye in the middle and complex bitterness further back . The finish is balanced between continued bitterness from the vermouth and Fernet, oak tannins from the whiskey, and a soft grape-iness.

What a drink. At first sip I wasn't sure if this was going to work, but it manages to come together in a delightful fashion. Equally astounding, the robust flavors of the minor ingredients manage to keep this from feeling overwhelmingly alcoholic, which is quite an accomplishment with so much bonded rye. While definitely not a drink for the faint of heart, if you have everything on hand it makes for quite an adventure.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

New Cocktails: the Right Boulevard

While I haven't been drinking a whole lot lately, I still enjoy a cocktail now and then. While flipping through The Art of the Shim once again, I remembered how much I enjoyed the Boulevardier 1934. But let's see what happens when we give it a rhum-y spin.

The Right Boulevard

1 oz Cocchi di Torino
1 oz Cocchi Americano
0.5 oz Bruto Americano
0.5 oz aged rhum agricole

Combine all ingredients, stir on ice for fifteen seconds, then strain into a chilled coupe.

The aromas are rather shy until the drink warms up a bit, with vanilla from the vermouth leading the way followed by citrus from the Americanos and a touch of agricole grassiness/brandy. The sip opens with sweet citrus (especially grapefruit), some red bitter in the middle, fading out through classic agricole flavors. The finish is a melange of thick bittersweetness, pine, grass, brandy, and grapefruit pith.

As I suggested in my previous post, the basic form of this drink seems very amenable to modification. While my initial thought had been to drag it back into more classic territory with some rye whiskey, a bottle of Clément VSOP caught my eye. From there Bruto Americano seemed like a solid accompaniment to bring it in a more herbal direction compared to Campari. While this ended up a bit sweeter than I was envisioning, my wife declared it the best cocktail I've ever made so I'm not about to dismiss it.

Monday, March 13, 2023

New Cocktails: the Gioiello

I was in the mood for something bitter and stirred this evening. That led me to the Tailspin from Dr Bamboo's old blog. While I liked the look, the scale and sweetness gave me pause. A bit more research landed me on Imbibe's version of the Bijou, which looked promising with more emphasis on the gin. But I still wasn't sure about, so I decided to cut the proportions in half to reduce the load on my liver and replace the sweet vermouth with an Italian fortified wine.


0.75 oz gin
0.5 oz Cocchi Americano
0.4 oz green Chartreuse
1 dash orange bitters

The aromas lead with intense herbal notes from the Chartreuse, slightly leavened by juniper and citrus. The sip opens with syrupy sweet herbs, slides through grape from the vermouth, and goes into the finish with a burst of black pepper and juniper from the gin. The finish is once again focused on the Chartreuse, dueling with black pepper, orange peel, and juniper.

While I like this drink, I can see two potential directions to take it. One is to amp up the bitterness by splitting the Cocchi with a dry vermouth. Another is to nudge it in a sour direction with a teaspoon or so of lemon juice. Both would rein in the syrupy character while leaving the fundamental profile of the drink largely intact.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Classic Cocktails: the Boulevardier 1934/1929

Yet another drink taken from The Art of the Shim, the history has since been updated to show that its provenance reaches even further back. While in general form this has similarities to the more classic whiskey-based Bouldevardier from 1927, it takes a rather different and softer approach.

Boulevardier 1934/1929

1 oz Dubonnet (sub Punt e Mes)
1 oz kina (Cocchi Americano)
0.5 oz Campari
0.5 oz cognac

Combine all ingredients, stir with ice for fifteen seconds, then double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The aromas start off rather closed, but open up as the drink warms. There's a lovely melange of dark raisins, grapefruit, cognac, raspberries, and some dry bitter notes. The sip opens rather sweetly with a bit of a syrupy feel, some grape and raspberry notes right behind, then slides into an unfolding array of gentle bitterness ranging from the dry quinine and wormwood notes to the slightly more astringent Campari. The finish is pleasantly bitter, drawing from the wines and Campari in roughly equal measure, with just enough residual sweetness to keep it from being too much.

As with many drinks in this book, it helps a lot to adjust your expectations. Initially this comes off somewhat like a cold glass of vermouth, but as it sits and warms the other ingredients make themselves known and add complexity. While this won't have the punch of a more spirit-driven cocktail, there's absolutely no lack of flavor here. The form also offers some interesting room to play since I think you could swap the cognac for something like rye or apple brandy to put a new twist on it. Alternatively, swapping the Campari for a different red bitter will dial the overall bitterness up or down.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

New Cocktails: the Chartreuse Daiquiri, Two Ways

Hey there, long time no see. As the lack of posting might suggest, I haven't been drinking a ton this year, but inspiration struck recently. The hot PNW weather made me hanker for a daiquiri, but I wanted something a bit more interesting than the standard formula. So why not punch it up a bit with some Chartreuse?

Chartreuse Daiquiri #1

1.5 oz rum
0.25 oz green Chartreuse
0.75 oz lime juice
0.5 oz rich simple syrup

Combine all ingredients, shake with ice, then double strain into a chilled couple.

The aromas are balanced between herbal notes from the Chartreuse and a rounded rummy-ness with a hint of lime. The sip begins sweetly with balanced lime acidity, then opens up into gentle herbal notes and leads into the finish with a touch of rum. The finish is pleasantly tart with fading Chartreuse.

While this is good, it feels like it's missing something. I think it would work better with a more assertive rum, while the Hamilton White Stache I used is a bit too soft in this application. A funkier rum like Probitas or a grassy blanc agricole might play better. With that said, I wouldn't turn this down if served.

Chartreuse Daiquiri #2

1.5 oz rum
0.5 oz green Chartreuse
0.75 oz lime juice
0.5 oz rich simple syrup

Combine all ingredients, shake with ice, then double strain into a chilled couple.

The aromas are dominated by the green Chartreuse's herbs, with a touch of lime. The sip opens with sweet rum, quickly joined by gentle lime, then seguing through a burst of slightly bitter herbs at the back. The finish continues the herbal theme with lime pith. The mouthfeel is pleasantly thick throughout between the syrup and liqueur.

Wow, what a drink. You have to really like Chartreuse for this to work since it dominates most of the experience, but it's still mellowed significantly by the rum. It obviously makes nods to the Last Word, albeit in a less complex fashion without juniper or maraschino. Dangerously drinkable, especially on a hot day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Classic Cocktails: the Caprice

I knew I wanted something stirred, but couldn't quite decide on what. Thankfully my bookshelf overflows. This comes from the book The How & When  published in 1937 by Gale and Marco by way of The PDT Cocktail Book.


1.5 oz gin
1.5 oz dry vermouth
0.5 oz Bénédictine
1 dash orange bitters

Combine all ingredients, stir with ice, then strain into a chilled coupe.

The aromas are dominated from the gin's florals (in this case Hendrick's Midsummer) and herbal Bénédictine notes. The sip opens with floral honey, then fades into gentle bitterness at the back. The finish is dominated by the dry vermouth and lingering gin florals.

That is a pretty dang good drink. Contra some other recipes I've seen that take it in more of an accented Martini direction, this is very wet and almost sweet. While that suits my taste since I've never been particularly fond of dry Martinis, it does constitute a significant departure. Though I quite like it, I think a less floral gin might have been called for here since the aromas were nearly soapy. On the other hand the flavors felt much more integrated, so if your primary purpose is drinking it might not be such a bad direction. Overall, a solid one to add to your arsenal.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Classic Cocktails: the Old Pal

Another in the annals of lesser known siblings of more famous cocktails, the Old Pal is a clear riff on the Boulevardier that didn't quite make it into the big leagues. First printed in Harry McElhone’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, it dries out the more well-known version while retaining the same basic proportions.

Old Pal

1.25 oz rye whiskey
1 oz dry vermouth
1 oz Campari

Combine all ingredients, stir with ice for fifteen seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The aromas lead with sweet fruit from the Campari, vegetal spices from the rye, and lemon from the garnish. The sip opens with big Campari and rye sweetness up front, gets rather fruity in the middle, then fades out through dry vermouth and prickly rye spices. The finish is rather dry from the vermouth and Campari bitterness, gently accented by the rye.

Is there a Negroni/Boulevardier style drink that isn't good? If there is, I haven't found it yet. This one is another win and possibly one of the first published references to Campari in a cocktail recipe (according to Old Man Drinks). I can also see this working with Bruto Americano if you want to lean into the rye or Luxardo Bitter if you want to take it in a sweeter vanilla direction. You could also soften it with blanc vermouth instead of dry, but that would be a more radical change to the profile and bring it back somewhere closer to a rye Boulevardier. However you choose to construct it, this is clearly a winner.