Thanks to Derek McClusker, there is a delicious drink at Saloon in Davis Square- refreshing enough for dreams of warmer evenings but rich and spicy for winter with rosemary and ginger beer. Continuing further with this idea, check out the upcoming Escape Your Winter Woes Mezcal dinner, Thursday, February 28th. Now that's something to warm up to.
Green Thumb: Blanco Tequila, cucumber, lime, rosemary simple, ginger beer.
True to bartender form, Derek's personal shift drink is a bit more of a straight shooter and right up my alley. A Shlitz and shot of Riverboat Rye (Redemption Rye's younger brother). Cheers, and keep the great drinks flowing.
The Hawthorne, first, is the epitome of elegant design. I always feel a little like a friend and I have snuck into the family's modern, chic Park Avenue apartment and his parents are out of town. I love it here- friendly customer service, impeccable drinks, an oasis from the hustle of urban life and an answer for winter blues.
I stopped by to visit Dan Lynch the other night, and probably against his better judgement (honestly- what do I know?), he let me direct my first cocktail- the Old Pal. The drink originally appeared in Harry MacElhone's 1922 ABC of Mixing Cocktails- invented by an editor at The New York Herald in Paris. Much like a Negroni, just substituting Canadian whiskey for gin, and dry vermouth for sweet. 1 part rye, 1 part dry vermouth, 1 part Campari.
My version, via Dan, subs Aperol for Campari, making the drink lighter and less bitter (not that bitter is bad, of course!).
Old Pal variation: 1.5oz Rittenhouse rye, .75 Dolin dry Vermouth, .75 Aperol.
Dan graciously roped me into one more drink before I had to leave, aptly suggesting a second version from Harry's famous bar in Paris- the Boulevardier cocktail. By 1927, Mr. MacElhone no longer included the Old Pal; his book Barflies and Cocktails varies the drink yet again, this time Bourbon for rye, and sweet vermouth for dry. A simple drink, yet a lot for me to keep straight.
Boulevardier: 1.5 oz Elijah Craig 12 year Bourbon, .75 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, .75 oz Campari. Rich, spicy vanilla from the aged whiskey, caramel and bitter orange from the vermouth and Campari- leaving me ready to brave the cold outside.
Dan's shift drink after dealing with me?
A bottle of High & Mighty's Beer of the Gods and a shot of Siete Leguas reposado Tequila. Now that sounds elegant, fitting and well deserved. Cheers my friend.
Working the bar Bobby Flay's Mohegan Sun, it almost didn't happen. Kevin was about to move to New York City, but luckily for us, heavy recruiting swayed him to Boston. A leap of faith landed him squarely on his feet at the new (although it will celebrate one year in December), popular, jm Curley downtown.
This kid is serious about cocktails, but maybe it's his family's sports bar, where he grew up working that has rounded out his style- he puts in front of you what you want to drink. Friendly, gracious, low key, accommodating. Kid- wow, I could, in fact, be his father. Ouch.
Anyway, I stopped by the other night and tried a couple drinks- he always features a Seasonal Collins, for Autumn it's 1.5 oz Greylock gin, .5 oz rosemary simple syrup, 1 oz lemon juice with 8 muddled Concord grapes and a rosemary sprig. Deliciously refreshing.
For his Zen Den he thoughtfully credits Jeffrey Morganthaler from Portland, OR for inspiring his 5 spice rum. 1.5 oz Chinese 5 Spice Goslings, .5 oz Pierre Ferrand Orange Curacao (orange liqueur) .5 oz ginger simple syrup, .5 oz lime, orange zest.
To me the 5 spice is perfectly fall, I love the idea of contrast with a seemingly summer libation that works so well on a chilly Boston evening.
Kevin Mabry's shift drink? A pint "of whatever's hoppy on tap" (check his hop tattoo) and, you guessed it, a shot of Fernet. Maybe young and up and coming, but that is old school- I'll raise a glass with you anytime my friend.
Still thinking about St-Germain this week, with impeccable timing I got a text from Steve Shur, bartender extraordinaire at the Boston College Club, with a new cocktail. Well, kind of new meets old, and he’s used many of my favorite ingredients. Unlikely and strange as they sound together, instead of being a random jumble of flavors, the combination works, the sign of a great bartender. Sweet, sour, bitter, refreshing- a take on the Last Word cocktail, this week it’s Steve’s shift drink, and mine too, for Shur.
If you find yourself over at Estragon in the South End ready for a night-cap, Sahil Mehta may have a hard time choosing just one drink from his repertoire. Perhaps he'll decide on something "bitter, tart, spicy and slightly sweet, The Elegy. It makes for a wonderfully refreshing libation."
It sure does.
1.5 oz Calvados
.5 oz Averna
.5 oz lemon juice
5 dashes of Angostura bitters
.75 oz Lillet Blanc
Build over ice in a rocks glass and top with Lillet Blanc. Give a quick shake to mix the ingredients. Garnish with a lemon peel.
His after work shift drink, he tells me, will be a much easier decision. Sahil's usual: a pint of Estrella Damm lager and a shot of Fernet. Cheers, my brother.
Customers have asked to split a check with five credit cards and ordered Pisco Sours as their last call drinks. You still have to stock beer, break down all syrups and juices, clean the dish machine, sort all recyclables, count your bank and wipe all the liquor bottles. When your done, you've been standing on your feet for at least ten hours. The solace: a unique pleasure in sitting in an empty bar, after hours. Time for a shift drink.
Thomas Tietjen, who by day is a talented artist and creator of ASIZ industries, by night bartends at Trina's Starlite Lounge. He also suggested I start finding out what bartender's shift drinks are around town, and in doing so unwittingly is the first.
Thomas' shift drink: A Bud and Michter's Rye.