Archive for Recipe

Fire Belly


Assassins cocktail #4, after Giuseppe Zangara, attempted assassin of President Elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A truly spicy margarita variant, served in a SHORT glass, of course.

Fire Belly

  • 2.0 oz. Habanero-infused Silver Tequila
  • 1.0 oz. Limoncello
  • 0.5 oz. lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz. cinnamon syrup

Shake and strain into an old fashioned glass over ice.
Add two dashes of lemon bitters and fresh pepper.

The Head of the Line


Assassins cocktail #3, after Leon Czolgosz, assassin of President William McKinley. A deceptive cocktail, vodka wrapped around the hidden absinthe, with sour notes introduced by the garnish.

The Head of the Line

  • 2.0 oz. Vodka
  • 1.0 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth
  • 1 barspoon Absinthe

Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Serve with lemon twist.

The French Ambassador


Assassins cocktail #2, after Charles Guiteau, assassin of President James Garfield. A French 75 variation, with American sparkling wine instead of French champagne, and a little nuttiness added.

The French Ambassador

  • 2.0 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 1.0 oz. Amaretto
  • 1.0 oz. orange juice
  • 3.0 oz. sparkling wine

Shake all but wine with ice, strain into highball with ice, top with wine.

Vainglorious Actor


Assassins cocktail #1, after John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. Boozy and bitter, trying to be a mint julep but a little fake.

The Vainglorious Actor

  • 1.5 oz. Rye
  • 1.0 oz. Applejack
  • 0.5 oz. Amaro Nonino
  • 0.25 oz. Aperol
  • 1 barspoon mint simple syrup

Stir with ice, strain into old fashioned over ice.
Garnish with mint.



For a production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Vokes Players in Wayland, MA, I created a poll online to see what drink should be made. Moonfall won, thus:


  • 1.5 oz. Midnight Moon Moonshine
  • 0.75 oz. Cocchi Americano
  • 0.25 oz. Benedictine
  • 0.25 oz. Ruby port
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 dashes acid phosphate

Mix all but the port with ice. Add the port over a barspoon so it sits at the bottom of the glass. Add mesquite smoke to glass and cover (preferably with an ice sphere). Let sit for a few minutes, then remove ice and stir drink.


One last trip on the carousel. Here’s one named for a hashtag coined by our incomparable director/choreographer Rachel Bertone for our production, and one that is also all too fitting for an alcoholic consumption.



  • 1.5 oz. silver tequila
  • 0.75 oz. Pama liqueur
  • 0.75 oz. Cocchi Americano
  • 0.25-0.5 oz. creme de cacao (Tempus Fugit)
  • 2 dashes mole bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe.

There’s no thematic tie-in here. It’s just flavors we liked to drink. And we did. And we all had a real good time.

Chrysanthemum Spout


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:


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!


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:


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:



  • 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 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)!