Monthly Archives: May 2008

Boston, Part One:

Houston\'sFreedom Trail Cocktails

 

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of bar-hopping my way through Boston. My journey began at a familiar landmark that brought back memories of junior high fieldtrips—Faneuil Hall (At this point I feel the need to reveal that I am a complete nerd for American History. I eat the stuff up, and thus, have visited Faneuil Hall and walked parts of The Freedom Trail many-a-time). But this time was different. Instead of power-walking my way through The Trail, signature tourist map and camera in hand, I decided to stop-off at a few watering holes along the way.

 

First stop was Houston’s, a classy bar (and part of the national chain). It featured a sliding glass wall that opened to an outdoor patio and, beyond that, a crowd gathered around a group of (very talented, I must say) hip-hop dancers. It was still early and not very busy when I bellied-up to the bar, but the staff was working feverishly to prepare for the busy night ahead. The Celtics were playing the Pistons and the game was sure to fill the bars.

 

Still, my bartender took the time to discuss some of the latest cocktail trends with me. The web has been buzzing about St. Germain for awhile now, but it’s just starting to get big in Boston. I St. Germain Cocktailstried an untitled cocktail with Absolut Citron, St. Germain, a champagne float and an orange peel garnish—light, crisp, and a little bit fruity. I loved it. I’m officially jumping on the St. Germain bandwagon.

 

Just off The Freedom Trail at 150 Bowdoin Street was 21st Amendment, a pub-style bar that draws in local politicians on their lunch hours and after work. The bar was small, dark, and pretty full for 3:30 in the afternoon. It had a real “neighborhood” feel to it, like I thought Cliff and Norm were going to saddle up beside me with a couple tall beers.

 

I took the suggestion of my bartender (who, I swear, looked like Curtis Stone from “Take Home Chef”) and tried a “Nantucket Mojito.” I normally shy away from Mojitos, which are a little too sour for my taste, but this one was perfect. It cut out some of the lime juice and replaced it with cranberry juice, which gives the drink a lovely light pink color. It was refreshing and delicious—absolutely perfect for summer.  

 

There are many more wonderful places to wet your whistle along The Freedom Trail—to describe them all would take days and far too many blog posts. If you’re planning a little field trip yourself (perhaps you too are an American History geek), I suggest allocating some time for a few tasty libations along the way. Freedom never tasted so sweet! More from Boston in the coming days…

 21st Amendment

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What’s with WordPress?

I was poking around on my wordpress dashboard, trying to figure out how to apply google analytics tracking code to my blog. Turns out, I can’t. WordPress says they’re already using google analytics on my site (and that’s why I get some stats for it when I log on). But the stats they’re providing me definetely don’t go into as much detail as they would if I were to apply google analytics to the site myself. Any fellow bloggers out there have a remedy?

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Rain On Me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As part of my ongoing education in the field of spirits, wine, and beer, I took today’s lunch at the award-winning Olive Bar (http://www.olivebarct.com) in nearby Unionville (You’ve got to love a job that encourages this kind of behavior!). This Mediterranean style bar is an extension of George’s Pizza & Restaurant, which makes a killer eggplant grinder (the left-overs of which I regrettably forgot to take home—I am notorious for that). While enjoying said grinder, I had the opportunity to sit down with owner George Psaras to discuss a few new cocktails he’s working on and— aw shucks! I had to play guinea pig.

           One of the works-in-progress at Olive Bar is the Princely “Purple Rain,” a cocktail that (for now, anyway) consists of grape-flavored vodka, triple sec, and Chambord, garnished with beads of frosting that look like shimmering rain drops in the glass. A tester was whipped-up by our bartender Bryce, who was critical of his own creation. The first sip was good, the second even better, but I’ve got to agree with Bryce—the drink was missing something that would give it a crisper, more refreshing taste. Perhaps a splash of soda water would do the trick, but I think it’s the flavored vodka that threw me off. I would much prefer regular vodka with the flavor coming from additional ingredients. Still, not bad for a trial run.

          George lamented that he didn’t have a grape liqueur, which might work great in the place of the Chambord, but said they’re not readily available. None of the bars I’ve worked at carry grape liqueur (but to be fair, these were restaurant bars that sold more Miller Lite than martinis) and I’ve never tried it myself, but I’m going to make it my mission to track some down and give it a go. 

When I got back to the office, I searched other “Purple Rain” recipes online and found they’re all pretty different. Let me know if you’ve tried anything like these. Oh, and if you’re thinking about mixing one of the following up, I suggest Hiram Walker (full disclosure-a wonderful client of mine) for your Blue Curacao.  

 

“Purple Rain” from Drinknation.com

       1 ¼ oz. Blue Curacao

       1 ¼ oz. Vodka

       2 oz. Grenadine

       ¼ oz. Lime Juice

       2 oz. Pineapple Juice

 

 

 

 

“Purple Rain” from iDrink.com

       1 oz. Gin

       1 oz. Rum

       1 oz. Tequila

       1 oz. Vodka

       1 oz. Chambord

 

 “Purple Rain” from Drinksmixer.com

       1 ½ oz gin

       Cranberry juice

       Splash Blue Curacao  

       Splash Sweet & Sour Mix

       Splash Soda Water

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The Newbie

It was only a matter of time before I too started publishing my thoughts about all things cocktails. I’ve been a big fan of several cocktail blogs for awhile and finally thought I’d break the silence and say my piece. Am I a journalist? Well, not quite. A bartender? Was. Cocktail enthusiast? Sure! Though I won’t pretend to know everything about them. I’m still learning. The truth is I work hand-in-hand with the spirits, wine, and beer industry, and wanted to join the cocktail blogosphere to start playing a part in some real discussion about cocktail culture. Join me for a round! 

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