Cocktail Club

A rum tonic — and a toast — to close out 2021

Looking back on a full year of the Boston.com Cocktail Club.

A rum tonic. Andres Haro Dominguez

As another year draws to a close, it’s the time we reflect on our many blessings even as we might feel a bit of ennui. The kind of sinking feeling associated with the French expression, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, or as Yogi Berra once put it, “it’s like Deja Vu, all over again.” The more things have changed in 2021, it has seemed at times the more they have stayed the same.

This time last year we were gearing up to launch the Boston.com Cocktail Club for what we thought might be a three- to five-month run of virtual events followed hopefully by in-person classes and parties for the summer of 2021. Although the in-person events keep being pushed off, we were able to complete a yearlong run that saw thousands of guests log in to make upwards of 75 classic cocktails and chit chat about the “tips the pros use, to make great drinks at home.” We did that and along the way brought attention to how best to support local bars and restaurants in these challenging times.

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Another opportunity for which I am very grateful is that I’ve been able to write a little bit in this space about the specific drinks for each session and how they relate more broadly to Boston’s bar and drinks community. Here it’s fair to say: I’ve been standing on the shoulders of giants. Great authors I’ve cited include David Wondrich, Robert Simonson, Philip Greene, Camper English, and Gary Regan. I’ve also been able to have conversations or message threads with working bartender/writers like Derek Brown, Fred Yarm, Ivy Mix, and Dale DeGroff to clarify the particular details of recipe, history, or technique. Additional help on content was received from tenders and bar owners from all over the country who took my calls: Chris Hannah, John Gertsen, Tommy Mastricola, Anu Apte, and Evan Harrison, to name a few.

We were able to Zoom into your homes with a terrific mix of local ‘tenders representing outstanding bars and restaurants, a blend of friends I’ve known for years with a new crop of ‘tenders who were ready to answer the virtual call. Though I can’t name them all in this space, I am deeply moved that they supported us and were great sports about me constantly reminding them to show both “their heads and their hands” in the frame. Old friends like Brother Cleve, Pat Sullivan, Joe McGuirk, Jared Sadoian, and Gina Richard were interspersed with the new talent of Marsha Lindsey, Gabe Bastos, Kyisha Davenport, Ashley Sullivan, and Katie Hubbard (loved it when her cat jumped on the bar during our Sherry Cocktails session). There were many more, and I loved getting to spend time with you all in front of our guests together.

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Other support came in the form of Gordon’s making one-stop to-go packages for the first five months of the Club. They remain an excellent local stop to get everything you need for great cocktails in Massachusetts. Hearby in Cambridge made playlists for us for the beginning of our run. The brands that sponsored us helped make it possible for us to support Off Your Plate and a host of other charities throughout the year. They also brought us engaging content from the most dynamic brand ambassadors in the game including, Sebastien Derbomez, Gillian Murphy, Manny Hinajosa, Misty Kalkofen, and John E. Rodríguez.

I’ve said on numerous occasions, the best things are the simplest things done well, so as we get together this week to close out our first year of Cocktail Club, let me offer you a simple recipe and sequence for creating a rum tonic.

Let me also offer a toast that embodies the fellowship I’ve enjoyed this year even while not having the same access to service as in years past: It’s not as important what’s in the glass as who’s holding it.

Rum Tonic

Ingredients

  • 2 oz light rum
  • 4 to 6 oz chilled tonic water

Instructions

  • Build in a chilled highball glass adding the rum first then chilled tonic water
  • Add ice
  • Garnish generously with lime slices

Join our virtual cocktail class

Join us Thursday, December 30th at 7 p.m. for Boston.com’s Cocktail Club with host Jackson Cannon, Jared Sadoian, Kyisha Davenport, and other special guests! This week they’ll be making Rum Cocktails, catching up about the Boston restaurant and bar scene and sharing tips the pros use to make great drinks at home. This end of year Cocktail Club party will feature multiple guests, dropping by for a classic daiquiri time out or rum tonic ritual. All the while taking your questions in the chat. Everything you need is in the shopping list here.

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