Cocktail Club

Recipe: Make the Charlestown Buck from ‘Distilled in Boston’

Author Zachary Lamothe walks us through how to make the bourbon drink.

Zachary Lamothe and Drink
Zachary Lamothe will show you how to create the Charlestown Buck. Photos courtesy of Adam Mannar and Kassandra Laskarides

Greater Boston may be in the middle of a distillery boom, but it’s an industry with deep roots in the region. From the colonial era to Prohibition to the present day, Boston loves its spirits.

To honor Boston’s long history with distilled spirits and the resurgence in the craft distilling industry, Zachary Lamothe decided to write “Distilled in Boston: A History & Guide with Cocktail Recipes.” Released last week, the book unravels the story behind the craft spirit movement in Greater Boston, while showcasing recipes from businesses such as Boston Harbor Distillery and Bully Boy Distillery.

Lamothe did not have a background in bartending when he began writing, but he said that his work on the book taught him a great deal. “What I love about writing is the research and the complete learning process,” Lamothe said. “I feel like a student, once again.”


One of the recipes featured in the book is the Charlestown Buck, created by Chattermark Distillers. Below, Lamothe walks us through how to make the bourbon-based cocktail and shares what you’ll find in his new guide. Scroll down to find our Q&A with him, and learn how you can make this drink.

This interview was lightly edited for clarity.

What do you enjoy about the Charlestown Buck and what makes it a classic Boston recipe?

The Charlestown name [comes from] the location of Chattermark. … Kind of a fun fact, they are — at least self-proclaimed — the first grain to glass bourbon that’s ever been released in the city of Boston. That’s kind of neat. It’s just one of those drinks that’s refreshing, but the bourbon still gives it a lot of character and more of a full body to it. The lemon and the strawberry balance it out. And then that ginger beer top makes it super delicious.

Walk us through how the cocktail is made.

You’re basically putting the ingredients all into the glass. You muddle the strawberry, then have the bourbon with it, then freshly squeezed lemon (it’s important for it to be freshly squeezed, instead of lemon juice [from a bottle]), and follow it up with a half ounce of simple syrup and a couple dashes of bitters. Then, put it in a shaker, serve it in a highball glass with ice, and then [add] the ginger beer on top, to get that little extra zing to it.

Distilled in Boston
Zachary Lamothe’s new book, “Distilled in Boston:
A History & Guide with Cocktail Recipes.” – Photo courtesy of Zachary Lamothe

Tell us a little about what readers can learn from “Distilled in Boston.”

I like to [say that] you’re kind of going back to school. There are four different major parts to it. The first one is your history lesson. It’s not super in depth, but it’s definitely enough to get the idea of the history of distilled spirits in the Boston region. The second part is what I call the science lesson. You’re learning about the distillation process. The third section, I call the geography/English section, where you’re taking a tour of each of the distilleries in the Greater Boston area and learning their backstories. The fourth part, I call the math part. It’s where you have the cocktail recipes, which have been submitted from most of the distilleries. It’s a nice collection you can make at home.

What can you tell us about the craft spirit movement in Boston?

Anything craft or artisanal, right now, is certainly having a resurgence of some kind. I think this is in part because people look for local. If you’re taking something like Short Path Distillery — where the name “Short Path” comes from having the shortest path between the ingredients to the distillery itself — whether it is something that’s artisanal or craft, something that’s [not mass produced], made with [quality] ingredients, that’s a huge part of it.


I have Dirty Water Distillery down the street from me. If I ever needed a bottle of vodka or rum, instead of going to the liquor store, I would always go to that distillery. My bar is stocked with that, because I’d rather support local. I’d rather have something where I know where it’s coming from.

Dirty Water Distillery in Plymouth will host Zachary Lamothe for an author discussion on July 21, and Chattermark Distillers will feature him at an event on August 23.

The Charlestown Buck


  • 1 muddled strawberry
  • 1.5 oz. of Chattermark bourbon
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon
  • .5 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 dashes of aromatic bitters


Shake and serve in a highball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer.