This past Tuesday was the fourth installment of “Corktails Night” at Puffy’s Tavern. These glorious events are designed so I can improve my bartending & mixology skills at a place where I usually just pull pints and make those accursed “Goose & Sodas”. I practice making classic cocktails while also experimenting on my own boozy creations. The best part of it though is I get to wrangle up my crew to hang out with me on these normally slow and painful nights at Puffy’s. So far we’ve had a shit load of laughs while at the same time expanding our palettes and knowledge of cocktail & beverage culture. It’s probably the best thing I can offer my friends at this point of my life.
My favorites were The Trinidad Sour & the Hot Buttered Rum (even though it was borderline gross with the tablespoon of butter in each glass, I was the only one who liked it). The duds were The Corpse Reviver (another lemonade) & The Black Forest, which I think I fucked up. I brought back my own Cherry Blinker (I made for my girlfriend a couple of times over the summer) which is now called “Caruthers Cocktail”. It was good, but too much of the stingy Maraschino which makes it too candy like for my taste. Is it me or are the fruit flavored Fee Bros. bitters not very good?
This past week was a light showing. The usual Corktail Club members Frankie, Zach & George. Kevin also showed up but he wasn’t drinking. The most loyal of participants is George. He’s been to each one and has brought me a bottle of booze to the past 2 meetings. Apparently he also saves the menus (this week’s is above). Once the tasting menu was finished, true to form… Drunk George got drunk. He has to be the jolliest drunk I’ve ever known. Frankie’s suggested that he actually gets “high” when he has enough to drink. I’ve seen him become both Superhero & Supervillain during his famous intoxications, which I’ve partaken in plenty myself. Despite his claims of never actually reaching the condition of being “drunk”, he is by far and large, my favorite drunk. Cheers to you, George!
Although I anticipate getting a new job soon where I won’t have to babysit a couple of old neighborhood drunken maniacs in an empty bar, I can’t help but think that these Corktail nights at Puffy’s are just flat out fun. I look forward to keep making them better each time around. We’ll see.
I tried to make a simple Halloween night punch that was green at the end (though you wouldn’t know by the photo). Slime, boogers, nuclear waste… these all came to mind as a reason to go green for a Halloween beverage. And why? “Because…because… it’s a Halloween-a” (check out the clip-0:44: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-nZanL6AAo )
Ecto-Punch is basically a boooo-zy sweet mint green tea with a slight hint of peach. Someone from Death & Co. said a good punch has caffeine in it.
Recipe (about 18 servings):
- 15 oz. Plymouth Gin
- 10 oz Jameson
- 10 dashes Angostura bitters
- 10 dashes Peach Fee Brothers bitters
- bundle of fresh mint
- 10 oz green tea (3 tea bags steeped in 10 oz water)
- Oleosaccharum of 6 oz turbinado sugar & peels of 6 lemons
- 8 lemons juiced
- 4 limes juiced
- 2 limes and 1 lemon cut into wheel slices for garnish
Prep: muddle all the mint with simple syrup. Fine strain into a punch bowl. Add all of the ingredients, stir and garnish with limes & lemons. You could top each punch glass with a champagne floater. I didn’t because my bar only carries garbage.
My friend Drunk George reminded me about this Puerto Rican wedding I bartended on the top floor of Terrace On The Park (Corona, Queens) in 1994. This wild fella in a gray suit came up to my mobile bar and introduced himself as if we had been long lost friends for some time (I’ve observed over the years that there is a particular type of guy that will treat me as if I was the same bartender serving them at some other bar the night before: continuing stories from the middle, expecting me to know their drink, etc). “Get me a glass of olive oil”. I was confused. He gave me a $5 bill, which was a big tip at that place and told me to just get it for him. I went into the kitchen and asked one of the Mexican cooks for the oil. He gave it to me, no questions asked. But the cook did make the drink motion to his mouth with his hand and said, “whicky!”. When I came back, he was taking off his jacket and I noticed that his sleeves were already rolled up. Trouble. I served the oil to my guest and he drank it all in one go. “You know why I drink this buddy… If you drink a glass of olive oil before, you can drink all you want and not get sick”. He ordered a double shot of Bacardi and then gave me a handshake with $20 in it. Another double shot, another $20. Fifteen minutes later, he’s groping women on the dance floor and knocking over glasses. He was the first guy I ever saw bounced from a party. Now I don’t know if drinking olive oil before downing shots will keep you from getting sick, nor do I know that if you squeeze lemons into your armpits, it will cure your hangover. But I do know that if you put back double shots of Bacardi, you will go fucking insane and you will be escorted out of the function you’re attending. Also, catering halls suck!
The Harry Nilsson Cocktail. Named after song, “Put the Lime in the Coconut”. This was originally conjured up by this guy “Jefff With 3 F’s”, who’s regular at Puffy’s Tavern. I added a little of this & that to bring it more into the Tiki range of things.
- 2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal rum
- ¼ oz Benedictine
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 oz CoCo Lopez
- 1 oz coconut water
- ¼ oz simple syrup
- ½ fresh lime
- lime wheel, mint sprig garnish
Prep: Squeeze & “Put the lime in the coconut”, add ingredients into shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously and strain into snifter with crushed ice & garnish.
Ramos Gin Fizz (New Orleans Fizz)
New Orleans was a popular tourist destination in the 1890’s. The Imperial Cabinet Saloon which Ramos operated was known to be “The most famous gin fizz saloon in the world”. He was known to shake the fizz around 15 minutes a piece and hired “shaker boys” to do it while he made the drinks.
1887 Carl Ramos Recipe:
▪ Tbl spoon sugar
▪ 3 drops of orange flower water
▪ ½ lime juice
▪ ½ lemon juice
▪ 1 ½ oz old tom gin
▪ one egg white
▪ 2 tbl spoon of heavy cream
Prep: shaker with crushed ice, strained into a bar glass,.Muddle sugar and lemon/lime, add flower water, gin, egg white and cream. Shake vigorously for at least 1 minute until the egg and cream emulsify. Strain and fill with seltzer and light stir
My thoughts about egg drinks up until now were “NO WAY!”. But the Ramos Fizz changed me thinking.
Queens Park Swizzle
- 3oz. Demerara rum
- 2 oz. rich simple syrup
- 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 8 to 10 mint leaves
Served in high-ball with crushed ice, garnished with mint sprig, squeezed-out lime shell.
Swizzle technique: long handed bar spoon in the middle of the fine ice and liquid ingredients; rotate back and forth (like a washing machine) until condensation appears on the outside of the glass.
It’s basically a more complex and fancy mojito from Trinidad. For me, it’s all about the 3 separated colors. When I first saw this drink in a Carroll Gardens bar this past Spring, I thought to myself, “I really need to get better at this bullshit, man”.