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Fred Yarm's Drink & Tell

Posted by Josh Childs  October 3, 2012 11:03 AM

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Drink & Tell.pngDrink & Tell is not a big, glossy, coffee table cocktail book. It doesn't have to be. What Fred Yarm has done, importantly I might add, is assemble a personal modern history of drinks around Boston. Basically, he has used his years of research (appearing on the cocktailvirgin blog) and given it to us in one concise reference. Often I have had customers ask something like "can you make me a Fort Washington Flip? Misty made it for me a few years ago at Green Street." Instead of being completely dumfounded, I now merely access Fred's book- presto, there it is.

Fred Yarm is a Biochemist by day, not officially a bartender. Although that poses an interesting question: if one is enamored with cocktails and the historical techniques of making them, aren't we all bartenders? His scientific note taking reflects his background in focused precision. He told me: "my wife and I always had a two hand rule at the liquor store," never leaving with more than a couple bottles- focused. The extension, in Drink & Tell makes sense, "I wanted to make a drink book I would like to buy... and if it's a good drink I'll write about it."

I inquired if he had an "aha" moment that propelled his love and fascination with cocktails. "It mostly was a mix of going to places like Green Street and Eastern Standard in the early days. But a turning point certainly was when I made a Pegu Club at home (Gin, orange liqueur, lime, Angostura bitters). How can lime and bitters become grapefruit-like flavors?" This question added to the fuel that was already accumulating to propel him further into cocktail culture and drink execution.

Do you have a touchstone foundation cocktail?
Fred: For a friend's wedding I was asked to stock the bar and recommend some drinks. There was surprise when I suggested a Manhattan. But, really, you can get a good one, or walk the bartender through a good one, pretty much anywhere.
You can't always want cocktails, so what else?
If I take a break, it's a beer.
Ok, now I'm putting you on the spot. Any guilty pleasure cocktails?
Well, years ago, early '90s, I might panic and order a Red Death. I quickly went to the Manhattan- I needed a business appropriate drink. Of course my palate's gotten a lot drier.
Long pause.
A Rusty Nail. And it's still a legitimate drink.

Fred's mission is to help Bostonians learn what's out there and add to their personal drinking experiences. He highlights the cocktails and those making them as a culinary art "done in front of you at a bar."
Hmm, sounds like there's possibility for a second book. In the meantime, Drink & Tell can be purchased at the Boston Shaker in Davis Square, and Amazon.com.

Pegu Club Cocktail
2oz Gin, .75oz Cointreau, .25oz lime juice, 3 dashes Angostura Bitters,
shaken and strained, lime garnish.

poegu copy.jpg

Rusty Nail
2oz Scotch, .75oz Drambuie, serve on the rocks.

rusty nail.jpg

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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