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This month’s theme for Mixology Monday, Tea, was chosen by Frederic of cocktail virgin slut blog.  He elaborated on the theme: “Tea has played a historical role in cocktails for centuries. Perhaps the best documented early example was its inclusion in punches as part of the spice role to round out the spirit, sugar, water, and citrus line up. Later, teas appear in many recipes such as Boston Grog, English Cobbler, and a variety of Hot Toddies.”

So, tea and cocktails…hmmm…I first took up this challenge by exploring the hot tea route.   After trying a couple few things that I wasn’t crazy about, I decided to switch my focus.  Then I stumbled across the Royal Tea—created by Beefeater to celebrate the film The Queen and its 2007 Oscar nominations.  I tried the recipe as I found it—equal parts Beefeater gin and chilled Earl Grey tea, a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of sugar.  It was fine—like boozy earl grey tea, nothing that exciting though.

So, I took the formula and experimented a bit with other gins, other teas, other sweeteners, and other citrus.  I came up with one version that I totally loved. I used a pomegranate green tea which is less bitter and more earthy than a typical black tea.  Grenadine replaced the sugar and nicely complimented the pomegranate of the tea while adding a bit of tart.  And lime, instead of lemon, seemed to work better with these flavors.  Peychaud’s bitters were my own addition.

I think I’ll call it the Pomegranate Princess:

1 ½ oz Junipero gin

1 ½ oz pomegranate green tea, brewed and chilled

1 tbsp grenadine

Juice of half a lime

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake. Serve on the rocks with a lime wheel garnish.

I have a feeling this will be become a staple in the warmer months.  I think it would be perfect for a spring brunch, to sip while spending a warm June afternoon lakeside or as an evening cocktail on a hot summer night.

This was my first participation in Mixology Monday—fun!  Without this motivation, I would not have imagined I could have so much fun with tea and cocktails.  Cheers!


I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the French 75 because it is what sparked my passion in cocktails.  I can’t quite remember where I had my first one—maybe Bouchee or Brasserie Jo—but after one sip I was hooked.  Maybe it’s the lightness and delectable drinkability. Or the mild, refreshing flavor of gin and lemon which are given a sparkling lift from champagne.   As Kirstin and I enjoyed our French 75s last night, she may have said it best, “It’s like the best lemonade you ever had with a little bubbly added.”  I also have fond memories of a variation at The Modern in NYC in which St. Germain replaced the simple syrup.

There are bunch of different stories about the origins of the French 75.  Was it created at Harry’s New York bar in Paris? Or did American soldiers in the French countryside during World War I “make due” with what they had on hand to make something akin to a Tom Collins?  And maybe there are other stories too.

Whatever the origins may be, the name comes from the French-designed 75-millimeter field gun.  As Harry Craddock said in his 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book, this drink,”hits with remarkable precision.”

The French 75 is absolutely delicious!  Cheers!

I love when a weekend from which you expect very little ends up being a great one.  Not only did I enjoy great drinks at Drink and Deep Ellum with good friends, but I also learned a little bit about sweet vermouth and Swedish Punsch.  While I am sure most people have at heard of, if not enjoyed, sweet vermouth, but many may be asking “What is Swedish Punsch?”  I asked the same question during my first visit to Deep Ellum a couple months ago.  Max answered the question for me, and now I will answer it for you.

But first, let’s talk about sweet vermouth.  Friday night after work, Julie, Bridget and I went to Drink.  After enjoying a a delicious mulled spiced wine, I asked Josey for a Little Guiseppe.  This drink features Cynar, an artichoke based liqueur (it may sound strange, but trust me, its good stuff—buttery and complex) and sweet vermouth.  As I enjoyed this rich drink with a flavor like nothing you can quite imagine, I asked Josey which vermouth she used.   Before I knew what was happening there were 4 small glasses lined up in front of me and Josey was gathering bottles.  And the lesson began.

We began with the basic—Martini and Rossi.  She explained it was heavy on the oregano flavor which if you like oregano is a good thing, but doesn’t work in all cocktails.

Next came the Cinzano (which is what she uses in the Little Guiseppe), an Italian vermouth whose recipe dates back to the late 18th century recipe developed by two brothers in Turino.  It is herbally and slightly sweet.

Then we tried Punt e Mes. Like just about all vermouth it is made with white grapes, so you taste a sweet cola-like flavor.  But the wormwood here adds more bitterness at the end than the others.

The 4th and final vermouth, we tried was Carpano Antica. This was by far the best—after one sip, you just wanted more.  Phil and I compared the flavor to a port.  We also learned (and maybe everyone else knows this, but I didn’t, so I’ll share) to store vermouth in the refrigerator.  It’s made from grapes like wine, with a spirit added plus herbs and barks for flavor, so it doesn’t have a shelf-life like pure spirits and keeps best in the fridge.  This little impromptu lesson on sweet vermouth from Josey is one of the many reasons that I love Drink.  You go in for a couple cocktails with friends and leave having expanded your palette and mind.

Here is the recipe that sparked the whole lesson:

The Little Guiseppe

2 oz Cynar

2 oz sweet vermouth (Cinzano)

Barspoon (or quick squeeze) lemon juice

6 dashes orange bitters

Stir. Serve in double old-fashioned glass with big chunk of ice. Add pinch of coarse salt.



Little Guiseppe-- you can see the salt doing its thing with the huge chunk of ice

And now onto Swedish Punsch

So, Deep Ellum is quickly becoming one of my favorite places—killer cocktails, great beer selection, amazing food, and fun, knowledgeable staff.  One each visit I have been treated very well by Max Toste, one of the owners, and bartender Casey Keenan.  This Saturday night with Holly, Julie and Jim was no exception.  Deep Ellum may be the only place in Boston where you can get this amazingly delicious stuff called Swedish Punsch.  [They also have a great selection of Manhattans–10 ways.  I think those deserve their own post, so more on that later.]    Originally developed in Sweden in the mid-18th century, Max has revived this almost forgotten concoction (its so good, his recipe was recently featured in Imbibe magazine).  The main ingredient is Batavia-Arrack, an Indonesian spirit made of sugarcane fermented with red rice.  It’s a South East Asian version of rum.  To that, simple syrup, lemon juice, nutmeg and cardamom are added.  This is one of the most delicious things I have ever had the pleasure to drink.  You taste the rich, smooth sweetness of the Batavia Arrack followed by the wonderfully distinct spiciness of nutmeg and cardamom.


The Hesitation

I enjoyed the Swedish Punsch three ways.  First, I had a Hesitation which is equal parts rye whiskey and punsch; then I had a Waldorf, equal parts gin and punsch.  For my final punsch cocktail, I had a Contraband—gin, Batavia Arrack, Swedish Punsch, Agwa Coca leaf liqueur, and absinthe.  While all of these were tasty, the Waldorf was my favorite because the flavor of the Swedish Punsch really shines here because it doesn’t really have to compete with any other flavors.  The gin adds a nice, subtle background but allows the punsch to shine—which it totally deserves!

So, here’s to a weekend of good drinks with a little learning slipped in.  Cheers!

After submitting final grades from my Tufts class, I thought I deserved a yum cocktail.  So I began perusing The Art of the Bar, a great book from my friend Emily.  So many recipes looked good but the Singapore Sling caught my attention.  And surprisingly, I had all the ingredients.  Even though I feel like this is may be more appropriate to be drinking this while sitting poolside instead of on a cold January evening, I thought what the hell, this drink sounds good right about now.

The Singapore Sling was developed at a hotel bar in Singapore in the early 1900s.  There is a lot going on in this drink.  It packs quite a punch with gin, cherry brandy, Cointreau, and Benedictine.  Fruit juices, pineapple and lime, and grenadine add in some sweet and tart.  A few dashes of Angostura give a hint of bitters. Then the whole thing is topped off with a little soda water to add a subtle fizz.  This is a pretty drinkable combination, despite its intense booziness.

I love this vintage image!

There are lots of recipes out there with slight variations in measurements of the 8 ingredients.  Here’s the recipe I used:

Singapore Sling

2 oz gin

¾ oz Cherry Heering

2 tsp Benedictine

2 tsp Cointreau

2 oz pineapple juice

¾ oz lime juice

2 dashes grenadine

1 dash Angostura bitters

soda water

Shake all ingredients except soda water.  Pour into tall glass filled with ice. Top with soda water.  Garnish with brandied cherries and an orange slice.

Forget being poolside or needing one of those paper umbrellas, a Singapore Sling is good anytime.  Cheers!

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