Around Town, Special Edition Cocktails

Sazeracs at Nubar

2 Comments 23 February 2012

The Sazerac. The classic New Orleans cocktail. Fortunately, you don’t have to go all the way to NOLA to find a well made one. The recently re-vamped restaurant at Harvard Square’s Sheraton Commander, Nubar, has made it their house specialty. Nubar’s GM Richard Mann and barman Don were kind enough to take us through their fine execution of this strong cocktail of bourbon, bitters, sugar, and absinthe. Continue Reading

Special Edition Cocktails

Single Serving Eggnog

No Comments 23 December 2011

eggnog served in simon pearce norwich beakerSure, eggnog is a holiday tradition, but so is fruit cake. Personally, I’ve always liked it, but if that many people really loved eggnog, I think we’d see cartons of the non-alcoholic stuff for sale year round. Most people tend to prefer their alcohol without raw eggs and in my experience, punch bowls, pitchers, and non-alcoholic cartons largely go untouched at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. This is all not to say that eggnog doesn’t have it’s devotees, those who love its sweet, creamy taste and frothy texture, and who couldn’t imagine Christmas without it. But this is the minority.

If you’re entertaining this weekend, let me caution you against putting out an entire punch bowl of homemade eggnog in an attempt to either please the few or project a guise of being traditional. The majority of your guests will thank you for something lighter like punch, champagne cocktails, or beer, wine & basic spirits.

Eggnog is a drink best made to order. Mixing it immediately before serving in individual portions keeps it colder, frothier, and saves eggs, milk, and booze from your drain pipes. Here’s a quick recipe for a single glass of eggnog that you can mix up for Uncle Chuck, or whomever wants it this Christmas. We served ours in a Simon Pearce Norwich Beaker, Simon Pearce’s curvaceous spin on an old fashioned glass. Like all Simon Pearce barware, it’s a substantial piece of glass that’s a pleasure to drink out of because of its weight and clarity. Continue Reading

Special Edition Cocktails

the green fairy: absinthe

2 Comments 13 September 2011

By Hairee Lee

Clockwise from top right: Oscar Wilde, Van Gogh, Arthur Rimbaud, Earnest Hemingway, Marilyn Manson, 'The Absinthe Drinker' by Edouard Manet, 'Green Muse' by Albert Maignan, 'Angel Fernández de Soto with Absinthe' by Pablo Picasso, and 'Monsieur Boileau Au Café' by Toulouse-Lautrec

Or “la fée verte” in French, absinthe’s cultural influence is as dramatic as those who were influenced by it. Van Gogh, Toulous-Lautrec, Manet, Picasso, Degas all have paintings inspired by absinthe and absinthe drinkers. Oscar Wilde and Rimbaud, just to name two of my favorite dead writers who were into the drink, were devotees.

Maktub Absinthe. On the label it says, 'Je Suis l'Inspiration,' meaning 'I Am Inspiration'

Wilde said of absinthe: “After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” Such a drama queen, but I love him anyway.

But much of Absinthe’s notariety as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug seems to be exaggeration and confusion. That is, exaggerated from it’s association with famous artists and writers who lauded it, and confusion from the psychoactive properties of its high alcohol content, rather than the presence of the hallucinatory agent, thujone. Absinthe’s psychoactive properties, apart from those of alcohol, is exaggerated as shown by research done at Rutgers.1

The chemical, thujone, is blamed or touted, depending on your perspective, for absinthe’s alleged harmful effects. But with absolutely no convincing scientific evidence of thujone’s purported hullucinatory effects, manufacturing of absinthe continues in Europe in a dozen countries, most notably in France, Switzerland, Spain, and the . And so does the shipping of absinthe from Europe to the North America.

William Hogarth's Gin Lane. Notice the falling baby and the mother pouring gin down her baby's mouth on the left.

The mythic status of absinthe derives largely, it seems, from the national ban and its romanticization by poets and artists. Its effect on social order is far less impactful than, say, gin in England during the 18th century as illustrated in Hogarth’s “Gin Lane” above.

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  1. Researchers at Rutgers University tested attention performance with low and high doses of thujone in alcohol. The researchers administered 0.28 mg/kg in alcohol, 0.028 mg/kg in alcohol and just alcohol to their subjects. The high dose had a short term negative effect on attention performance. The lower dose showed no noticeable effect. []

Special Edition Cocktails

Northern Lights

No Comments 18 August 2011

By Hairee Lee

Aka Aurora Borealis if you go up to the Arctic, don’t let the name deter you from trying this cocktail during the summer season. If you’re like me, it might make you think of the always-too-soon-to-arrive winter, snow, polar bears, wool. But the only chill you’ll get is from the incredibly unique flavor of this cocktail.

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