Chrysanthemum Spout

chrysathemumSpout

Chrysanthemum Spout

  • 1.5 oz. Medford rum
  • 0.5 oz. Hibiscus liqueur
  • 0.25 oz. Allspice dram
  • 1 pinch of salt

Stir with ice and strain into coupe. Top with 1.5 oz. of Whale’s Tale Pale Ale and garnish with a lemon twist.

I’m opening in a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel today with Reagle Music Theatre in Waltham, and like a bottle of Champagne smashed against a ship on its maiden voyage I thought I would christen our journey with a cocktail (less messy, and doesn’t waste Champagne).

This idea came mostly from my spotting of Whale’s Tale Pale Ale from Cisco Brewers in Nantucket. You see, in this production I am playing the scheming whaler Jigger, and in one particular lyric in the show he sings:

“Or to climb aloft to be
The very first to see
A chrysanthemum spout come out of the snout of a whale!”

So I wanted to make something with the ale. I started with the Chrysanthemum cocktail, which is dry vermouth, Benedictine and absinthe. Very nice, light, aperitif. Topping that with the ale was pleasant, but I didn’t think an improvement. So I started to play with proportions or swapping out to create something new. The thing was, I didn’t think any of my tweaks improved on the original.

And so I went a completely different direction, beginning with a rum base (from New England, preferably), then adding hibiscus liqueur to incorporate something floral for the sake of the drink’s name and add the sweet element. The allspice dram added some depth, and played really nicely with the rum. This made a fairly decent sipper in itself, but then adding the bitter element of the ale brought it all together.

The salt is for the sea, of course.

Taste My Blues

I haven’t been doing “show” drinks in a while — since La Cage a year ago, and that was the only group that year. I don’t think I’ll likely return to the point where I am doing constant collections, and instead I will simply — and occasionally — post a single drink here and there, when inspired. (I do have one more old collection to post, from a 2011 production of Assassins, which was the first collection I ever did, once I get around to remaking the drinks and taking pictures.)

I am inspired at the moment, for a production of The Wild Party that I am excited to be a part of, with Moonbox Productions in Boston. I was actually in another production of The Wild Party in 2012, for which I made a collection of drinks, but that was actually another version (famously, there were two productions of The Wild Party in New York presented at the same time — one on Broadway and one Off). This is the Michael John LaChiusa version, and, interestingly enough, I am playing the same role, that of the violent and unbalanced Vaudeville clown Burrs.

In one song, “Gin,” when Burrs is reaching his breaking point and cutting loose, he sings the lyric “Don’t give me no whiskey ’cause I need more than booze. Just pour me the real stuff so I can taste my blues!” Thus:

tasteMyBlues

Taste My Blues

  • 1.5 oz. Magellan Gin
  • 1.0 oz. Hpnotiq
  • 0.5 oz. Dolin Blanc vermouth
  • 2 dashes Yuzu bitters
  • 1 pinch salt

Stir ingredients with ice, then strain into cocktail glass and top with 2.0 oz. Champagne and lemon twist.

On the surface, this has many similarities with the Out of the Blue drink I did for the other production. But as the other one takes the blue-hued gin and takes it in the direction of vanilla, this one takes the gin (of course, had to be gin) and adds tart and sweet fruit through Hpnotig, evens it out with the vermouth, and adds the Yuzu bitters and salt to temper the sweetness and create a little more depth. We end that with Champagne or sparkling wine for some bright and popping indulgence.

I think we’re due to have a wild party. Hotchizadee!

Saint-Tropez

Mixology Monday

It’s been a while since I participated in the monthly Mixology Monday, but as I finished up my recent collection of La Cage Aux Folles cocktails I happened upon the announcement on Cocktail Virgin and it fit in nicely with what I like to drink as well as a problem I was looking to solve.

The problem begins with an explanation. For those who have just come to the site and don’t know me, I am an actor on the side and in the aforementioned La Cage production I was lucky enough to be playing Albin, who works in the club in drag as Zaza (for those who don’t know La Cage, but know of The Birdcage, which was based on the same play, Albin was the character that Nathan Lane played in the movie). Just for some high heeled kicks, here’s a pic of me in the performance:

zaza2

Now, there already exists a cocktail called the Zaza, which is also (or more commonly) known as the Dubonnet Cocktail. It’s 2 parts gin to 1 part Dubonnet with a twist, and I don’t like it at all. So I thought I might make an “Improved Zaza,” which is the time that I stumbled upon the current Mixology Monday post. Here it is:

For this theme, actuate it any way you’d like as long as the drink resembles a Manhattan. Want to take 19th century Manhattan recipes or variations to the test? Want to figure out what the best whiskey to vermouth pairings and ratios are? Or perhaps subbing out the whiskey or vermouth for another ingredient or adding in a liqueur or other modifier or so to the mix? Awesome, you’re right on track! There are plenty of Manhattan and Manhattan variations out there in the literature, and there’s plenty of room to explore and tinker if that’s your thing, too.

Since with a Manhattan we have the same 2:1 ratio (plus some bitters) I thought that making the Zaza more like a Manhattan was just the thing to kill two birds, so to speak. I went through a number of variations with gin, exploring a bit with St. George’s Dry Rye (and the aged version as well). In the end, I just wanted the whiskey with the vermouth, so I turned back to rye.

Of course, rye and vermouth itself, even Dubonnet, isn’t straying too far from your classic Manhattan, so I had the thought of making a bit of a tweaked composite of not only the Manhattan, but two of my other favorite cocktails, the Boulevardier and the Vieux Carre. I thought this might be a nice additional nod to the show since Albin is actually three distinct characters within the piece — Albin, Zaza and Mother. And so I came to the Saint-Tropez:

SaintTropez

Saint-Tropez

  • 1.5 oz. Rye
  • 1.0 oz. Dubonnet
  • 0.5 oz. Cognac
  • 0.25 oz. Campari
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s

Stir with ice and strain into old fashioned over ice. Spritz a little Absinthe on top for, you know, Molin Rouge.

OK, you got me. I threw in a little Sazerac as well. As for the name, I took it from the setting of the musical. Another St-Tropez cocktail already exists, but c’est la vie.

Angelique the Devilish

angelique

Angelique the Devilish

  • 1.5 oz. Silver Tequila
  • 0.5 oz. Mezcal
  • 0.5 oz. Creme de Cassis
  • 0.5 oz. lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. agave nectar
  • 0.25 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with three drops of rose water.

Sweet and fruity with some underlying kick. The mezcal provides that smoky kick to the tequila layered with blackcurrant liqueur, agave nectar and lemon juice, with the chartreuse rounding it out. The rose water is a floral mask hiding the danger underneath (and a nod to the rose I slap in her mouth during The Best of Times).

Drink up! The best of times is now! Is now! Is now is now is now (smack)!

Chantal of Avignon

chantal

Chantal of Avignon

  • 1.5 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 1.0 oz. pink grapefruit juice
  • 0.5 oz. Cointreau
  • 0.25 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • 0.25 oz. lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into coupe. Spritz Absinthe over glass.

Fruity with triple sec was my instruction here. I turned to pink grapefruit to offer something a little different from your standard citrus. It became a sort of fruitier, drier Last Word variation, sprayed with a bit absinthe for Miss Mister herself.

Mercedes the Magnificent

mercedes

Mercedes the Magnificent

  • 1.0 oz. White Rum
  • 1.0 oz. Dark Rum
  • 0.5 oz. Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz. cream of coconut
  • 0.5 oz. lime juice
  • 2 dashes Bitterman’s Burlesque Bitters
  • 2 dashes Bitterman’s Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into glass over shaved ice.

A little tiki for Mercedes, with a mix of dark and light rums, acid from lime, some rich sweetness from a coffee liquor and cream of coconut, and then some healthy doses of bitters, both Tiki (not pictured) and Burlesque (of course). Suck slowly through a straw.

Derma Derma Derma

derma

Derma the Dynamic

  • 2.0 oz. Vodka
  • 0.5 oz. Pama
  • 0.25 oz. Creme de Cacao
  • 2 dashes lemon bitters

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Twist of lemon and discard.

Chocolate and pomegranate. Do I need to say much more on this one?

Nicki the Peacock

nicki

Nicki the Peacock

  • 1.0 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 0.5 oz. Sloe Gin
  • 0.25 oz simple syrup
  • 1 barspoon Absinthe

Stir with ice and pour into cocktail glass.
Top with 2.0 oz. Champagne.

A mix of high and low ingredients, with a stab and a miss at sophistication, for the failed ballerina who would drink champagne from a can. We start with a gin (though a nice one here) and add some sloe gin for a sweet and tart punch, then straight simple syrup to smooth out the sweetnesss. The absinthe is the fleeting green fairy for the artist, and the champagne adds an effervescence to the final product.

Ideally you would garnish with a peacock’s feather. If you can get if from her wig.

Phaedra the Enigma

phaedra

Phaedra the Engima

  • 1.5 oz. 100 proof Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz. Michigan Tart Cherry liqueur
  • 1 barspoon Extra Virgin Harvest Riesling vinegar

Stir without ice and pour over rocks.
Top with 2.0 oz. Mexican cola.

The origins of this one are a bit of an enigma, though it might be said to be a tongue-in-cheek take on a virgin cocktail of a cola with a cherry. Here we have 100-proof Bourbon mixed with a tart cherry liqueur. The extra virgin vinegar balances out the sweet and tart. Then we add that cola in the end. Sip it or lap it up with your tongue.

 

Odette the Ethereal

odette

Odette the Ethereal

  • 1.5 oz. Cognac
  • 0.5 oz. Framboise
  • 0.25 oz. Benedictine
  • 0.25 oz. Hibiscus liqueur
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Top with spritz of Absinthe.

She wanted French, so I started with Cognac and added the Framboise for some sweetness and some Benedictine for an herbal smoothness. Odette’s a bit of a flower child, so I threw in some hibiscus liqueur for some additional sweet and floral hints. Peychaud’s added a little spicy bitters, and the Absinthe mist really tickles the nose on the sip.