When Brian Shebairo Chris Antista opened up hot dog joint Crif Dogs in Low East Side back in 2001, followed by a certain PDT, little did they know how far ahead they were of a trend when they started applying the concept of gourmet-style dedication to the heart of fast food cuisine.

The resataurnt-style dedication given to their hot dogs is only scratching the surface. Look a little deeper, however, and you’ll notice something else; American popular culture is reinventing itself, especially within the food and drink area. It’s rebirth and makeover from the hotdog to the cocktail are evident to say the least. And London can’t get enough of it.

As the infatuation of PDT’s ideology of a junk food and cocktail joint slowly make it’s way across the Atlantic, entrepreneurs in London are looking at ways to cash in on how cocktails and the fun-filled elements of American culture can be fused together.

Examples throughout the capital are plain to see. Want to live out your Big Lebowski fantasy by drinking a Caucasian and hitting a strike? All Star Lanes have got it sussed. Want a heart-stopping burger and a well-made cocktail? MEATliqour is your choice of venue.

Whether Shebairo and Antista helped kick off a trend, rather than something they inadvertently stumbled upon is up for debate. But for those who are dining out in London, either as a resident or a tourist, the amount of restaurants that are offering well-crafted junk food have now become outright destinations to visit instead of a place you just went to eat.

Cue Dach & Sons, the third venue from the gentlemen at Fluid Movement aka, the guys behind the famed Purl and Worship Street Whistling Shop, an American-themed diner with industrial-esque décor and some professionally and proficiently cooked diner food.

Located in Hampstead, the venue is the first of its kind in the area, and is the definition of American sub-culture through and through; the interior of the downstairs are lined with tiles and neon lighting, reminiscent of something that lies between a clean subway toilet and an American 1960’s milkshake diner.

As well as hiring a full-time butcher who make their own frankfurters, sausages and burgers onsite, the venue also employs  progressive cooking techniques such as sous-vide and flash frying, and is set against a backdrop of American craft beer and a good selection of whiskey; boilermakers are matched with burgers and hotdogs, with an emphasis on well-cooked and locally sourced meat.

The menu itself is impressive; bone marrow popcorn was the one that caught my eye, with an option of sliders also available for those of us who suffer from the old ‘option paralysis’. But, just like the guys over at MEATliqour and Crif Dogs, the food served is fantastic reminder of how the category of fast food, a category that has tired over the last 20 years, mainly due to aggressive expansionism by the likes of McDonalds and KFC, can be given the ‘craft of the chef’ treatment and become a well executed and excellently marketed food type set in contemporary surroundings.

On top of that, there’s a mysterious ‘Flat P’ on the next level, a speakeasy-style bar where you don’t really have to talk quietly to reveal what it is that’s going on in there, with the ‘Flat P’ a clever (or lazy) ‘wink wink’ to the smaller ‘Purl; MK II’. Expect Sazeracs given the usual absinthe air treatment, and an outdoor space to enjoy the sunnier climates and rooftop views of the London skyline.

Those who want that PDT-style experience of up market junk food and solid, stiff drinks without flying across the Atlantic need to look no further. While the UK have yet to accomplish a drinking and eating concept which PDT seem to effortlessly execute, no doubt that there’ll be another trend emanating from the US within the next few years, where the following equation of cocktails + x = hundreds of fun. Until then, however, Dach & Sons will be fulfilling that gap in the market (and in the stomach) with their  appetising mix of burgers and beer, and is definitely here to stay.

With a pint of green Chartreuse,

Ain’t nothing seems right,

You buy a Sunday paper on a Saturday night.

Sometimes, when you get a bottle of wine, it can go either two ways; you can keep it in the bottle, unopened, and it will get better with time, increasing in value, with the eventuality that when it is opened, it is enjoyed thoroughly.

On the hand, it can cork; it can go off – pretty badly in some circumstances – with the ultimate problem of whether to open it or not becoming a moot point, simply because what lies within is not worth washing your feet in, ultimately becoming a huge anti-climax.

In a strange and peculiar way, online blogs can be the same. They can flourish and grow with time, or they can become boring, sometimes even stale.

Neither of these things have happened on this site, though if it were, it definitely wouldn’t lean towards the former metaphor of getting better with age.

As a new chapter has started within the life of this writer, it seems fit that the sight be modernized a little, even if just to freshen up a project that has stop-stared for two. Like a paint job on your first ever home, however, hopefully it won’t need to happen again – no matter what job or bar the writer works behind next – and that the short attention span that most bartenders suffer from can be kept at bay, at least in terms of content and ‘freshening’ up this particular site.

That said, we welcome you to our new home (the royal ‘we’, that is) at apintofgreenchartreuse, and hope that boredom/enjoyment you have reading these posts will be exaggerated further by the metaphorical lick of paint name change that this sight has received.

Cheers. 

So Tales of the Cocktails 2012 seems to have been the best one yet, according to friends, friends of friends and colleagues that went this year. Which is great if you were there, not as great if you weren’t there. Still, joy was had for everyone, especially for those who were following the events unfold back home in the UK, celebrating the fact that we’ve won more awards in the US than we’ve collected medals at the London Olympics (oh dear).

But most importantly with the liquid side of things, it’s not really about winning or losing, as long as everyone has an awesome time, that knowledge and information is exchanged, with the aim of being able to give the paying customer who goes into a bar for a great drink and an even greater time. Right? Right…

So, here we go with the criteria’s and announcements, with the winners highlighted appropriately.

 

American Bartender of the Year: From Jerry Thomas onwards, American bartenders have been amongst the most influential on drinks styles and cocktail culture in general. This award seeks to recognize the most influential American bartender today. The winner should be proficient at making all recognized classic drinks and also have created contemporary cocktails that have been copied by his/her peers. Nominees must actively be working behind the bar.

  • Eric Alperin
  • Charles Joly
  • Jeffrey Morganthaler
  • Joaquin Simo

Best American Brand Ambassador: An award which recognizes the importance of personality in the promotion of drinks brands and their creative use of brand communication to engage the trade and their ability to execute compelling education and seminars. This person must be working as an Ambassador full time in the USA. Nominees must NOT be working behind the bar.

  • Erick Castro
  • Elayne Duke
  • Jamie Gordon
  • Jim Ryan

Best American Cocktail Bar: This award recognizes the influence on cocktail trends within the United States and seeks to award the country’s best cocktail bar. Menu, bar teams, atmosphere and cocktail quality are all considered.

  • Anvil Bar & Refuge – Houston, Texas
  • Clover Club – Brooklyn, New York
  • Columbia Room – Washington, District of Columbia
  • The Varnish – Los Angeles, California

Best Bar Mentor: Not everybody who is having an impact on the quality of the cocktails we drink are working behind the bar as bartenders. There are many people who are creating fine bar programs, training the next generation of great bartenders, and playing an active role in designing the bars we all love to drink in. This award is to recognise those individuals who, in their professional life, play a crucial role in raising the quality of bars, bartenders, and cocktails without currently working as a bartender. Nominees must NOT be working behind the bar.

  • Bridget Albert
  • Wayne Collins
  • Francesco Lafranconi
  • Steve Olson

Best High Volume Cocktail Bar: Awarded to the bar that consistently delivers top quality cocktails at bars with 100 seats or more. This award celebrates those bars that deliver cocktail culture to the masses efficiently. Cocktails, lists, bartending and service are all considered.

  • Beretta – San Francisco, California
  • Clover Club – Brooklyn, New York
  • Eastern Standard – Boston, Massachusetts
  • La Descarga – Los Angeles, California

Best Cocktail Writing: Great journalism is one of the best ways to communicate to the general public the value and significance of great cocktails and related products. This award is for any non-book journalism (Magazine, Newspaper, Website, etc) that promotes bars, bartender, or cocktails in general. Please attach samples below. This award is split into two sub-categories: non-book author and non-book publication. 

Non-Book

  • BarLifeUK
  • Liquor.com
  • ShakeStir.com
  • Time Out NY

Authour

  • Gary Regan
  • Robert Simonson
  • Dave Wondrich
  • Naren Young

Best International Brand Ambassador: An award which recognizes the importance of personality in the promotion of drinks brands and their creative use of brand communication to engage the trade and their ability to execute compelling education and seminars. This person should work in an International capacity or in a country other than the USA. Nominees must NOT be working behind the bar.

  • Jacob Briars
  • Ian Burrell
  • Claire Smith
  • Angus Winchester

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book: The best book published in 2011 regarding cocktails, liquor, bars, bar design or bartending in general. New editions of existing works may also be nominated.

  • The American Cocktail by the Editors of Imbibe
  • Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-all
  • Gaz Regan’s Annual Manual for Bartenders 2011
  • PDT Cocktail Book

Best New Product: This is awarded to what the judges consider to be the best newcocktail ingredient (spirit, liqueur, syrup or juice) or piece of cocktail equipment (muddler, shaker etc.). To qualify products must have been launched after March 2011 and must be on general retail sale in at least three US states as of March 31, 2012.

  • Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
  • Cognac Pierre Ferrand 1840 Formula
  • Lillet Rose
  • Perlini System

Best Restaurant Bar: This award is for the restaurant bar that is dedicated to creating a great cocktail experience for their dining guests. Considerations will go to the approach they have to aperitif and digestive drinks, how well they work with the kitchen to pair cocktails with food as well as general bartending and mixing excellence.

  • Bar Agricole – San Francisco, California
  • Rivera – Los Angeles, California
  • Saxon + Parole – New York, New York
  • Slanted Door – San Francisco, California

International Bartender of the Year: The absolute best drinks mixer in the world. The winner must have received international recognition of their work with their own recipes crossing borders to appear on cocktail menus in numerous countries. (US citizens are not excluded.)

  • Zdenek Kastanek
  • Alex Kratena
  • Sam Ross
  • Dushan Zaric
World’s Best Cocktail Bar: Only truly world-class bars will be considered for this illustrious title. Some bars attain worldwide recognition and this award recognizes the very best of the best.
  • 69 Colebrooke Row – London, United Kingdom
  • Black Pearl – Melbourne, Australia
  • The Connaught Bar – London, United Kingdom
  • The Varnish – Los Angeles, California

World’s Best Cocktail Menu: The judges seek to reward innovative and thirst inducing cocktail menus. Both the design and content will be considered. Nomination requires inclusion of PDF or JPEG copy of the menu being nominated. Please attach samples below.

  • Black Pearl – Melbourne, Australia
  • Callooh Callay – London, United Kingdom
  • Clover Club – Brooklyn, New York
  • Mayahuel – Manhattan, New York

World’s Best Drinks Selection: A venue stocking an outstanding range of spirits and liqueurs. The judges will favour discernment as well as sheer number of bottles stocked.

  • Artesian Bar at The Langham – London, United Kingdom
  • Death & Co. – Manhattan, New York
  • Eau de Vie – Sydney, Australia
  • Salvatore at The Playboy – London, United Kingdom

World’s Best Hotel Bar: The classic ‘American Bar’ played an important role in the history and development of cocktail culture. The judges are looking for hotel bars that uphold this tradition (but are not necessarily old) and offer five-star service and consistently well made drinks.

  • Artesian Bar at The Langham – London, United Kingdom
  • Clive’s Classic Lounge – Victoria, British Columbia
  • Clyde Common – Portland, Oregon
  • The Zetter Townhouse – London, United Kingdom

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar
Criteria: Only bars which opened after March 31 ,2011 may be nominated. This award aims to reward new creativity and ideas as well as well executed drinks.

  • Aviary – Chicago, Illinois
  • Candelaria – Paris, France
  • Canon – Seattle, Washington
  • The Zetter Townhouse – London, United Kingdom

An extended congratulations goes to Alex Kratena and the Artesian Bar at The Langham, to Gaz Regan for picking up the Helen Davie Lifetime Achievement award, and to the rest of London that both  represented and won in their respected catgeories. Until next year folks, when I may or may not be there. Cheers!

PDT Cocktail Book: Best Cocktail Book

Throughout the last 150 years or so of documented drink making, there are some cocktails that are synonymous with either the bar in which they were born within or from the person that gave birth to them.

Fred’s Club doesn’t go down as the most memorable bar in Soho in the last 30 years, but Dick Bradsell’s creations there, namely The Bramble and the Espresso Martini will always be synonymous with the man, even if we forget the venue.

The Penicillin, for example, will forever be tied to Sam Ross and his time at Milk & Honey, while the Singapore Sling will always be remembered for being created at Raffles hotel in the early part of the 20th Century, even if the drinks creator tongue-twisting name Ngiam Tong Boon is a name that we sometimes fail to commit to memory.

But when Harry Craddock released The Savoy Cocktail book back in the 1930s, little did he know how much the book and its recipes would resonate throughout the ages.

Loads of drinks.

The book is an important piece of cocktail history in terms of bridging together drinks both sides of Atlantic in a period that stretches more than 40 years.

There’s no doubt that the book is a well-constructed manuscript of accepted plagiarism; not only were the recipes featured a reflection of modern drink trends at the time, but they also had some new drinks, too. The Corpse Reviver No.2 is probably the most high-profile drink to make it’s way from weird obscurity to modern day forgotten classic, while the Blood & Sand makes it’s first English-print debut after being named following the film release of the same name eight years previously.

But apart from giving us a glimpse into drink trends of the early 1900s, it does something else; it ties together some of the most popular drinks of the era, penned by one of the most famous bartenders of the 20th century, with a reputation that is firmly rooted in both the history and the premises of The American Bar at The Savoy.

Other cocktail books that are from the era, such as Hugo Enslin’s Recipe for Mixed Drinks, which was one of the main books that Harry Craddock took inspiration from, or Stanley Clisby Arthur’s Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’em, are just as important recipe wise but are based more on specific drinks and unique ingredients or individual recipes from a specific city.

The reputations of some drinks, such as the White Lady, were made at The American Bar, even if the drink wasn’t created there. Other drinks, such as Ada Coleman’s Hanky Panky, will always be synonymous The American Bar and The Savoy Cocktail book, even if the drink was before Harry’s time.

Modern drink trends and contemporary cocktails, especially from the US and York in specific, have shown us how being influenced by old formulae can still lead to new styles of drinks and different flavour combinations. But it’s still great to dive into a cocktail book over 80 years old to catch a glimpse of drinks from that time, even if not all of them are applicable to today’s pallets.

And the best thing about The American Bar in the modern era? They’ve just given a bartending position to a heavily tattooed, slightly rough and most definitely northern accented guy.

For different reasons, though in the same way the previous two blogs were, this is dedicated to the people I’ve worked with over the last two years at Bramble, especially Paul Graham and Terri Brotherstone, and in particular Mike Aikman and Jason Scott, all of whom are responsible for helping become the bartender and the man I am today.

Before I sign off, however, I’ll leave you with a recipe for the Hanky Panky, and a video of my new colleague Erik Lorincz(!) preparing one that’s made been chillin’ hard in a barrel for a few weeks.

At The Savoy, we prepare ours with Bombay Sapphire and Punt E Mes, though my preferences leans towards a more flavourful gin and a less bitter vermouth, especially as I see this as a soft gateway to spirit-driven drinks.

Hanky Panky  

  • 37.5 ml Gin
  • 37.5 ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 7.5 ml Fernet Branca

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, and stir, thinking how awesome it would be to have been served by a female bartender in the early 1900s. Then strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist. Serve.

NB – Use a good gin, and, depending on your preferences, go a little heavier on the gin side. This was the original recipe, and, unusually, I’m quite a fan of this equal part ratio. The drink should be soft yet slightly rich, with the botanicals of the gin, vermouth and Fernet mingling together nicely. The finish should be warm and inoffensively bitter.

Ada Coleman, possibly or possibly not making a Hanky Panky.

Slante!

So. Nostalgic sentiments and memories of the many Miss. Venezuelas I met aside, the trip to South America did at least serve a few purposes.

Hell yeah.

Coupled with tours and talks with the award-winning blender Tito Cordrero – only the third master blender in the history of the distillery – and hanging out and making drinks for owner, proprietor and ambassador-at-large Jose Ballesteros, there was a another matter that needed attending to whilst on foreign soil…

A photo shoot had been organized in the almost-opened Martini’s Bistro in the Jirahara hotel where we were staying in Barasquimento. Along with Daniel Baernreuther, the current beverage manager at American Bar at The Savoy, who was showcasing the recently-revised ‘Savoy Daisy’, the two of us made our drinks as part of a photography event organized by DUSA and Diplomatico for their forthcoming cocktail book, which is to be released later this year.

The idea of the book, which came from Alfonso ‘The Host with the Most (The Fonz, for short)’, is to showcase the drinks that have been made with Diplomatico over the last few years years, with references to the bartenders, their current place of work and the reasoning behind the drinks.

With 21st century cocktail books becoming more common these days, from bars like PDT in New York to brands like Diageo releasing drink and cocktail-orientated books – Diageos book, for example, showcased the drinks and challenges from the World Class 2010 final in Athens – the Diplomatic cocktail book is there to pay homage to those on the frontline who have helped bring their style of rum to a wider audience by showcasing the most inventive and intricate drinks that have appeared within the cocktail scene over the last few years.

Such sentiments are rare in the bartending world. Indeed, while some brands use it as a marketing tool to promote and forward their brands, it’s nice to see an independently owned company to pay their respects to those who have worked with brand on consistent, daily basis.

And so with that, this blog, like the last, is dedicated to those who have helped work together to bring the Diplomatico cocktail book from a concept to a literary conclusion.

Emisario

  • 50ml Diplomatico Reserva Exclsuive
  • 15ml Coffee-infused vermouth
  • 10ml Nardini Amaro

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir with ice until well mixed and well chilled, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with three cherries on a pick, twist an orange peel over the surface of the drink, and serve.

Coffee-infused Vermouth

  • 125g whole coffee beans
  • 500ml sweet vermouth

Fill a storage jar with coffee beans. Add vermouth until the liquid covers the beans, and store in a cool place for 24 hours. Strain, bottle and refrigerate.

The Emisario. Hells Yeah.


Savoy Daisy

  • 60ml Ruby port
  • 30ml Lemon juice
  • 25ml Diplomatico Exclusiva Reserva
  • 15ml Muscovado sugar
  • 2 barspoons grenadine
  • 2 barspoons Bacardi 8

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake, strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Daniel Baernreuther’s Savoy Daisy.

Like the one before, this post and the drinks are dedicated to those who looked after us during our stay in Venezuela. Sláinte!

A couple of weeks ago, myself and Mike Aikman, one of the two owners of Bramble, endured a nightmarish seven-hour delay to our journey from Caracas in Venezuela to Edinburgh in non-Venezuela.

After the tanker dudes in Frankfurt decided to have a wee strike, the three flights we had booked were subsequently delayed and/or rescheduled, meaning our lovely arrival back in Scotland went from an early evening reintroduction to Scottish climate to a drudging after-midnight energy sapper of a journey.

Mike Aikman tried to keep himself occupied during the strikes.

Still, none of us can really have a right to complain, especially since we had just been on an all-expenses paid trip to the DUSA site in La Miel and a trip to coast that involved dancing with hot woman and eating fresh lobster, courtesy of the awesome dudes at DUSA – and, more to the point, Diplomatico rum – and those lovely folk at Speciality Brands.

The trip came about for different reasons; with Mike kidnapping most of the Speciality Brands staff with threats of violence and rape unless they gave him a freebie, I arrived at the trip after humbly winning a nationwide cocktail competition held in Leeds back in November, on the same day that Bramble celebrated its fifth birthday.

Still, the trip was a welcome distraction from the hectic festive period and the dark, cold days that followed us through thr months of January and February. Out went making 20,000 Old Fashioneds’ at midnight on a busy Saturday, in went rum on tap and intense humidity set against a backdrop of a rather dangerous South American country that was littered with a ridiculous amount of attractive Latin women. My first holiday in nearly two years and first weekend off in over 16 months was definitely a welcome distraction to, well, pretty much anything work related.

After spending two days in Barquisimeto, with consecutive day trips to the DUSA site, we headed to the coast for two days of over indulgence and brutal hangovers, though it was the first two days that caught my imagination.

The DUSA distillery boasts some impressive figures and a colorful history; initially set up by Seagrams, the company lists both Diageo and Pernod Ricard as previous owners, and has a production capacity of around eight million nine-liter cases a year, both of which fill export and domestic markets. The distillery also produces rums for the blending of Pampero, the best-selling rum in Venezuela Cacique (both brands of which are owned by Diageo) as well as gin and vodka, and also blends and bottles whisky for consumption within the country (for more info, check out Simon Diffords article in Class Magazine here).

Barrels of rum in a warehouse at DUSA. Awesome shit.

The enigmatic Jose R. Ballesteros Melendez, who also represents the Diplomatico brand on his travels abroad, now owns the distillery after purchasing the site and several bulk spirit-producing contracts in late 2002. Not only did we have the pleasure of meeting Jose and witness his generous and awesome hospitality, we also had chance to try and dry out his supply of rum – which we almost succeeded in – as well as trying the recently released Diplomatico Ambassador (more of that later).

Still, while it would be easy, if not boring, to talk about rum production and the range that the guys over there produce, it would skip entirely over the fact of how important rum is in the daily lives of modern day cocktail drinkers and bartenders who lean towards the mixed drink side of the industry.

As a young bartender, rum was both the first brown spirit and overall spirit category that got me thinking about drinking spirits neat and the effect of barrel ageing and mellowing. As I got more into gin and whisky, beliefs that were reinforced as I moved north of the boarder, my respect for rum diminished in the wake of fresh gin drinks and trying to make the perfect Rob Roy.

While gin and scotch still occupy my thoughts when it comes to serves and iced drinks, the bartender who shuns rum does so at his or her peril; not only is rum a great way to challenge an average drinker into trying new things, it’s also one of the more accessible. Sure there’s vodka, but that’s too easy, and not to everyone’s taste, while there are still some old-school prejudices about gin.

The drinking of rum and the good times that were had in Venezuela were a timely reminder of how important rum is in the daily lives of both imbibers and those that are involved in the industry. Not only does no other spirit have the ability to capture the party time atmosphere or the ‘fun in the sun’ experience that rum is inevitably involved in, it was also a timely reminder of the way that rum can capture a mood and lift the spirits of those who drink it, be at a beach party or street carnival.

Outside of being spoilt rotten and to educate those on the front line, brand trips exist to convince those who remain unsure about their product or to remind and reinstate the qualities that lie within a certain brand. The trip that Specialty Brands and those who work at DUSA managed to put together achieved both of these objectives and more. Therefore, this blog is dedicated to the people based in London, Leeds and Venezuela who helped make the trip possible.

Special thanks go to Declan McGurk, the current Speciality Brands manager who looks after the South and London, and Robert Jupp, who helped bring about this trip. A personal thank you is extended to the Diplomatico family, especially Jose Ballesteros, Tito Cordrero and Alfonso Gonzalez for their patience with us and the never-ending hospitality we received. This blog is dedicated to you.

Dedicated to you, ‘Fonzy’.

Welcome to Hell.

Brrrrrrap!

After receiving old friend Megs Miller into the bosom of the Edinburgh bartending scene, and the inevitable catch-ups and late night boozing sessions, it turns out that not only is it Halloween here in the UK, there’s less than two hours left of the day until midnight, and the 1st of November, thus rendering a Halloween and a drink-related post almost obsolete. But then again, posting a drink-related post as the seconds creep towards midnight doesn’t make up for the fact that by the time this piece is read, readers will either be hungover (if you’re in Australia), about to go out partying (UK), about to come home from ‘Trick or Treating (kids in the UK – who shouldn’t be reading this), or about to getting ready for a shift at work, if not at work already (UK/US).

Procrastinating and justifying aside, a post and a drink needs to be articulated, and articulated well. With the 2nd annual Chartreuse heat about to go ahead next month, the deadline for drink submissions is less than an hour away.

The inspiration behind the drink lies mainly with the Purgatory, a rye-based drink created in 2008 that uses both Green Chartreuse and Benedictine to smooth out the rye. Whilst being a tiny bit unusual – mainly because no bitters are used – the best thing about this devilish cocktail comes from the fact that the complexity and length is added to the drink  in the form of two French, herbal, monk-related liquors (Gary Regan talks about the drink here).

Purgatory (Adapted from a recipe by Ted Kilgore, Monarch Restaurant in Maplewood, 2008)

  • 50ml Rye whisky
  • 12.5ml Green Chartreuse
  • 12.5ml Benedictine

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir lovingly (or hatefully) with ice, assuring proper dilution(!). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist and serve.

With this in mind, and basing a drink around the rule of using at least 25ml of Green Chartreuse, a drink was devised that followed suit of the original Purgatory, but with an obvious twist; living in Scotland and being a fan of scotch, a smokey single malt came into play as opposed to rye. Out with the Benedictine and in came Bitter Truthe Elixir, a distant relative of the Italian Amaro, with two drops of Orange Blossom water for some light floral notes. The ingredients were toned down to equal measures, more so to support each other on equal terms as opposed to fight for supremacy based on sheer volume.

The name is taken directly from the film of the same name, with a direct reference of the literal and spiritual journey the monks have made throughout the last nine centuries, a story and history that includes governmental persecution and underestimation, misunderstandings and exile, and distillery destruction and forgery.

And so with that, ladies and gentleman, here we go…

Road to Perdition

  • 30ml Cask-rested Green Charetreuse
  • 30ml Islay Single Malt Scotch
  • 30ml Bitter Truth Elixir
  • 2 drops of Orange Blossom/Flower water

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass in a dark and morose manner. Add ice, stir devilishly and strain the dark, smoked, herbaceous liquid into a chillingly cold glass with one drop of orange water in the base of the glass. Add the second of drop onto the surface of the drink, and torture out the oils of a lemon peel be squeezing and twisting without mercy. Serve to the poor soul in front of you.

NB – Go for Lagavulin or Caol Ila. Something with both smoke and body is important here, mainly to stand up to boldness of the other flavours. And don’t be afraid to stir for a while if you have the right ice; the texture of this drink could be a problem due to under dilution. As for the cask-aged Green Chartreuse, this is the by-product of a project that is looking to reproduce the Purgatory into a single liquid, using casks that have been seasons with Green Chartreuse and Benedictine. More information of this will follow in the coming months…

Tom Hanks having a post-Green Chartreuse night-before breakfast.

Happy Halloween folks.

PS – For other reasons on why I haven’t posted on here in a while, go here and here to read some articles I’ve wrote for old friend (though not just in terms of age – sorry) Shay Leighton.