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Kona Nightcap

Kona Nightcap

  • 1.5 oz. Dove Tale Florida rum
  • 0.5 oz. Cruzan Black Strap
  • 0.5 oz. coffee liqueur (Kahlúa)
  • 0.5 oz. orgeat (Yes Cocktail Co)
  • 0.5 oz. lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz. Benedictine
  • 0.25 oz. vanilla liqueur (Giffard’s Vanille de Madagascar)
  • dash of Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into tiki mug over crushed ice. Garnish with lime moon.

I wanted to do a tiki cocktail with a strong coffee presence. I have made a Last Word variation in the past that combined coffee with lime and tequila, so knew that the coffee and citrus could work together, but found this much harder than I expected. In the end it came down to which coffee liqueur. I had others that tasted more of coffee and imparted more bitterness, but those didn’t blend as well into the final drink. The sweet and richness of Kahlúa worked best, and the vanilla and orgeat complimented it nicely.

I’ve only had the chance to get to Hawaii once, and it was to the Kona coast on the Big Island. The coffee was fantastic and the best way to start the day. I wouldn’t mind having this drink to end it.

Beeline to Ptown


Beeline to Ptown

  • 2.0 oz. Short Path Gin (SPD)
  • 0.5 oz. cranberry liqueur (Flag Hill)
  • 0.25 oz. Short Path Triple Sec
  • 0.25 oz. Cocchi Americano
  • dash of Fee Brothers Cranberry Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Still playing a bit with Flag Hill’s cranberry liqueur, I thought I might toy with a Cosmo/Cape Cod type cocktail. Not something I generally drink, but I like the sour template of the spirit, cranberry and triple sec. Here I opted for gin over vodka. Short Path has a New Western style (not their London Dry or seasonal offerings, all of which I enjoy but I opted against here) as well as a triple sec. Then the cranberry liqueur and some vermouth to lengthen with some bitterness. I chose the cranberry bitters to add to the color and cranberry flavor without sweetening. Because of the tartness of the cranberry liqueur I didn’t think any additional acid was needed.

Since Short Path was used for two ingredients (they also have a vermouth if you want to go all in) I wanted a nod to them in the name. “Short Path to Cape Cod” was too much on the nose, but I liked the B and P interplay of “Beeline to Ptown”. So hop on the ferry and raise a glass.

Strawberry Fennel Forever


Strawberry Fennel Forever

  • 1.0 oz. akvavit (Aalborg)
  • 1.0 oz. genever (Hofland)
  • 0.5 oz. strawberry fennel simple syrup (Royal Rose)
  • 0.25 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • 0.25 kümmel (Combier)
  • 0.25 oz. thyme liqueur (Thym)
  • 0.25 oz. lemon juice
  • dash of lemon bitters (Bitter Truth)

Shake with ice and strain into coupe. Garnish with strawberry.

I started here with the Royal Rose strawberry fennel syrup. For the base I split akvavit/aquavit for some caraway and genever for a little funk. I decided to go all in with the herbal ingredients and grabbed Chartreuse, Thym and kümmel for its fennel flavor. To this I added lemon for acid and some bitters to round everything out.

I was stuck for a name for a bit, but when I focused on “strawberry fennel” as the catalyst for the drink this one came pretty quickly. Let me take you down.




Stir with ice. Strain into old fashioned over ice. Garnish with cherry “rose.”

I wanted something on the boozy, Old Fashioned side, and I thought I might play with Tamworth’s chicory liqueur. For the base I went with apple brandy (Tamworth also makes an excellent offering here, if you can get it) and added my mainstay Benedictine to play with the bitterness of the chicory. Riffing on the Old Fashioned’s (sometimes) cherry and orange, I added cherry and orange liqueurs to sweeten things up. The coffee bitters completed it with a nod to NOLA’s coffee and chicory.

The name just came from rhyming Old Fashioned — nothing particularly insightful there. The rose seemed appropriate for the name. No thorns provided, except perhaps from the bite of the alcohol.

A Night in the Forest


A Night in the Forest

Stir with ice and strain into snifter. Garnish with rosemary.

I wanted something piney. Generally in this case I reach for my Clear Creek Douglas Fir eau de vie, but I had just picked up the Rogue Spruce Gin and thought I’d explore that. To enhance the herbaceous notes I added in the Leopold Bros alpine liqueur, and at this point had all the pine I wanted. It needed something sweet and, I thought, floral, so then came the elderflower. To brighten it up and add some bitterness I finished with Lillet Blanc and a touch of lemon bitters.

The name comes from Annie’s Song by John Denver, this line of which was the first thing I thought of when I sipped this. It certainly filled up my senses, in all the right ways.

The Departed


The Departed

  • 1.5 oz. Irish Whiskey (Jameson)
  • 0.5 oz. rye (Rittenhouse)
  • 0.5 oz. crème de noyaux (Tempus Fugit)
  • 0.5 oz. cranberry liqueur (Flag Hill)
  • dash of Angostura bitters

Stir gently with ice and strain into old fashioned over ice.

I have been playing a bit with Flag Hill’s cranberry liqueur and thought I might do a play on the Godfather (Scotch and amaretto) that I find too sweet and in need of some brightness. Enter the cranberry. With that in hand, I thought I might go full Massachusetts (though Flag Hill is in New Hampshire, the cranberries come from the Cape) and swap in Irish whiskey for the Scotch. I wanted a bit more bite, so subbed in a little rye for the base and ended it with Angostura. The crème de noyaux has a similar taste to amaretto and is less cloying to my palate, so that was swapped in as well.

Since I was transplanting the Godfather to Boston I thought Scorsese’s film The Departed was a suitable name. I only saw it once so don’t have any clever quotes to throw out to you. Other than whatever you do don’t attempt a Boston accent after drinking this. On second thought, don’t attempt a Boston accent when sober either.

There Are No Monkeys in Hawaii


There Are No Monkeys in Hawaii

Shake with ice and strain into glass over crushed ice.

Ok, so I wanted to make another tiki drink with banana, and after a couple of iterations I developed the above. As I was writing this up I thought I might compare it with other banana drinks I might have made (there have only been a few). Turns out, I inadvertently replicated almost exactly a drink from a year ago, Daylight Come, except for the addition of honey syrup and blackstrap.

So enjoy a second round on me!

Old Dog / New Tricks


Old Dog / New Tricks

Shake with ice and strain into coupe.

Here’s a Last Word variant using the Wild Moon birch liqueur out of Connecticut. The ratio is very different being much more gin forward and swapping lemon for lime, plus the addition of some bitters.

Just when I think I’ve milked the Last Word for all it can offer I get another drink out of it, hence the name.

Orange Parrot


Orange Parrot

Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with lime.

I was making my wife and kids some non-alcoholic drinks using some carrot juice (different combinations and ratios of lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, ginger ale, orange bitters) and the carrot juice gave such a beautiful color. I wanted an alcoholic cocktail version.

The Chesuncook spirit is carrot-based, so that was the natural choice. The turmeric liqueur seemed a perfect complement for carrots. The ginger liqueur and cinnamon syrup added some spice and sugar, and the lime gave a bright acid. A cocktail needs bitters, so I reached for Abbot’s.

The name comes from the joke, “What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?”

I didn’t say it was a good joke.




Shake with ice and strain into Nick and Nora.

I haven’t used soy sauce in a cocktail in years, but I love it and am not sure why I don’t take advantage of it more. Well, it can overpower, that’s why. But when it’s up against bourbon and lemon and ginger with allspice thrown in for good measure, it fits in perfectly.

This one started as a riff on the Lion’s Tail and remains fairly close. Lemon is in for lime, and the ginger replaces the simple syrup. The soy is extra. Thus the name of the variant, after the Chinese imperial lions, or shishi.