Archive for Theater

My Newfound Queerness

I wasn’t sure I had a fourth Fun Home cocktail in me. For a while I had been playing with a Paper Plane/Aviation hybrid to riff on the “I wanna play airplane” lyric, but that didn’t pan out (mostly because I’m not that crazy for either of those cocktails anyway). There was nothing else really thematic that was striking me. But it was the last week of the show and I knew I wanted to do something. I was very close to taking one of my pre-existing unnamed drinks and giving it a Fun Home title, something I’ve really tried to avoid here up till now.

In the end, though not directly tied to a strong, unified drinklist theme (which none of these Fun Home cocktails has adhered to anyway — one being a song, another being a twist on a lyric, another being a line from the show), I did hit upon something. There are a few ingredients that are referenced, in one way or another, here and there in the show: cherry (the casket wood), coffee in the diner, chocolate in the NYC scene. I thought these would all fit nicely into one drink. As for the name, our scene breakdown provided such a great offering I had to use it:


My Newfound Queerness

  • 1.5 oz. silver tequila (Corzo)
  • 0.5 oz. mezcal (El Búho)
  • 0.5 oz. Tempus Fugit creme do cacao
  • 0.25 oz. St. George coffee liqueur
  • 0.25 oz. Leopold Bros. Michigan tart cherry liqueur
  • dash of mole bitters (Bittermens)

Stir with ice and strain into a Nick and Nora (why not?).

The St. George offers a nice bitter coffee taste, so that, along with the mole bitters, counters the chocolate nicely. The cherry in Leopold Bros. is especially tart, compared to, say, Cherry Heering, so that adds some needed brightness. And these ingredients just screamed tequila/mezcal to me. It might not fit a theme, and the name might not be evocative of the ingredients, but it’s sure tasty. Sometimes I should just worry about making a good drink.

Oh My God, Danke?

This one is short and sweet. I was given the name “Oh My God, Danke?” as a drink name which is a line from the show Fun Home, and I decided to basically throw whatever German ingredients I had at a cocktail over something American (preferably Pennsylvanian) as a sort of cover up. The result:


Oh My God, Danke?

  • 1.5 oz. Wigle Landlocked Spiced
  • 0.5 oz. Blackberry liqueur (Echte Kroatzbeere)
  • 0.5 oz. Jägermeister
  • 0.25 oz. Bärenjäger
  • 0.25 oz. lemon juice
  • dash of Underberg bitters

Shake with ice and strain into coupe.

Wigle is a Pennsylvania distillery, and their honey-based Landlocked Spiced is a great base for this drink. Add to that blackberry, a honey liqueur in Bärenjäger and an herbal liqueur in Jägermeister and you have a complex — and sweet — spiced drink. The lemon helps bring out the blackberry and the bitters (also German) help to balance out the sweetness. Austrinken!

Changing My Major (to Gin)

This was a tough one. The joke of the title (the song in Fun Home is “Changing My Major to Joan”) was one that was told me before the show was even fully cast, and I knew I wanted to do something with it. But beyond it containing gin what should the cocktail be? The song doesn’t really give any hints like the House On Maple Avenue did, and I wasn’t sure I just wanted to do a generic gin drink with no theme. I thought perhaps I could take a popular drink with another base spirit and swap in gin (Changing Mojito to Gin, perhaps?) but swapping in gin (or another spirit) is fairly common and though I tried some Manhattan variations that stayed closer to a Manhattan than a Martinez nothing really took off. I also tried to do a mixture of gins — adding in an barrel-rested gin with a London Dry, then some Damson Gin liqueur or Sloe Gin for sweetness — but this wasn’t successful.

That’s when I turned to a gin cocktail I had previously developed but had yet to name or feature. In itself it is tasty but nothing out of the ordinary. I just really wanted to use Pamplemousse Rose, a wonderful and delicate grapefruit liqueur. But what attracted me to it was the fact that there was an ounce and a half of gin with three other ingredients that were simply stirred, not shaken. Because of that, I thought it would be interesting to mix up the other ingredients, without ice, and then split the mixture into thirds. I could then mix a half ounce of gin with each and have a single cocktail flight — or study, hey! — where the same flavors could be tested against three different gins. You could do it with three London Drys, or three New Western, or one each from several categories, which is what I chose to do in the end, splitting the cocktail into one London Dry, one Genever-style and one Old Tom. I found it worked with each.


Changing My Major (to Gin)

  • 1.5 oz. London Dry gin (Bombay)
  • 1.0 oz. Cocchi Americano
  • 0.5 oz. Pamplemousse Rose (Combier)
  • 0.25 oz. Maurin Quina

Stir with ice and strain into coupe.

Alternatively, mix all ingredients but the gin without ice. Split this into thirds. Pour 0.5 oz. of gin into each third, stir with ice and strain into separate glasses. Class dismissed!

House on Maple Avenue

It’s been a while, but after some requests from my colleagues to come up with some drinks for my current show, Fun Home in Boston at SpeakEasy Stage, I thought I might put up one or two (or more) in the next couple of weeks. I’ll start with an easy one that sort of defined itself.


House on Maple Avenue

  • 1.5 oz. Don Q Gran Añejo rum
  • 0.75 oz. maple syrup
  • 0.5 oz. lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz. Fernet Branca

Shake with ice and strain into coupe.

This song in the show is a classic list song, so I just scavenged what I could: the rum for the “bust of Quixote”, the lemon for the “Lemon Pledge”, the Fernet for the eucalyptus that needs wiping, and the maple syrup for obvious reasons. Simple and yum.

The Wicked Stage

The Wicked Stage

  • 2.0 oz. FEW Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz. allspice dram
  • 0.25 oz. huckleberry shrub
  • 0.25 oz. lemon juice
  • 1.0 oz. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel ale (to float)

Shake all ingredients but the ale with ice, then strain into coupe. Top with the ale.

I created this attempting to incorporate ingredients from Kentucky, Illinois and Mississippi into the recipe (for how the character of Kim was named in the show, though I prefer this name to simply calling this the “Kim cocktail”). FEW is made in Illinois, the beer comes from Kentucky. I couldn’t get a hold of a Mississippi ingredient that worked (I played with pecans and looked for sorghum), so opted for huckleberry shrub, as the plant is at least found in Mississippi.

In the end, I just wanted to make a tasty drink, though (don’t try to find meaning in the allspice dram), and I think this one succeeded. All aboard!

Alone in the Dark


Assassins cocktail #9, after John Hinkley, attempted assassin of President Ronald Reagan. Totally cribbed from PDT, with the addition of a hint of chocolate, a perfect drink to enjoy during a personal viewing of Taxi Driver.

Alone in the Dark

  • 2.0 oz. Buttered popcorn-infused Silver Rum
  • 0.25 oz. Coca Cola reduced syrup
  • 0.25 oz. Godiva Liqueur

Build in an old fashioned. Ice optional.

Ford (Near Miss)


Assassins cocktail #8, after Sara Jane Moore, attempted assassin of President Gerald Ford. A Ford cocktail variation, with Old Monk rum substituted for the Old Tom gin providing a somewhat misplaced funkiness, and also making it, fittingly, a cousin of the El Presidente.

Ford (Near Miss)

  • 1.0 oz. Old Monk rum
  • 1.0 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 3 dashes Benedictine
  • 3 dashes Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass.
Garnish with orange peel.

Red Robe


Assassins cocktail #7, after Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, attempted assassin of President Gerald Ford. A red hue, a little tart, with a focus on “herbal” ingredients.

Red Robe

  • 2.0 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 1.0 oz. Hibiscus liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. Andean Fire Orchid Elixir (or grenadine)
  • 0.25 oz. lemon juice
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Muddle elixir and bitters with rosemary.
Add other ingredients, shake with ice and double strain into cocktail glass.
Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Beer in the Headlights


Assassins cocktail #6, after Sam Byck, attempted assassin of President Richard Nixon. This Bud’s for you, in a spicier, bitter Boilermaker.

Beer in the Headlights

  • 2.0 oz. Budwieser, stirred to release carbonation
  • 1.0 oz. Blended Scotch
  • 1.0 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. lime juice
  • 1 dash Boston Bittahs

Shake with ice and pour into old fashioned glass.
Grate fresh ginger on top.



Assassins cocktail #5, after Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy. What starts as a New Orleans Sazerac gets twisted with Russian vodka over American apple pie.


  • 2.0 oz. Sazerac Rye
  • 1.0 oz. Russian Vodka
  • 1.0 oz. Apple Cider
  • 0.5 oz. Cinnamon Syrup
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake with ice and strain into cocktail glass.
Sprinkle cinnamon on top.