October 30, 2008

Drinks on the Road: Boston Drinks

I just returned (well, not too long ago) from a week on the road talking to folks about the new snack and liqueur books (wow, that plug happened so quickly, I almost didn’t realize I was slipping it in there. No, wait, I did, and I’m shameless. But I can admit it, so don’t look down at me too much), and had more tasty drinks while gone than I can even remember. However, I do wanna shine a light on some highlights, as my East Coast drinking tour was rather amazing (there is such an enormous amount of worthy drinking spots and drinkers in Boston and New York, which were my main stops, that I felt embarrassed a bit by all my choices).


My first serious cocktail happened on a Boston Sunday (after spending Saturday evening drinking giant PBRs with Megan at the Pour House, which is also awesome), at Eastern Standard, which I was taken to by my pals (and key Harvard Common Press components) Betsy and Valerie. I’d heard lots and lots about Eastern Standard, about the on target bartenders and drink list, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Great open space, cheery wait staff, and the Frisco cocktail I had, which featured a healthy helping of rye tinted and tilted the right shade via the addition of Benedictine and lemon, was absolutely the way for me to start a week of cocktailing. It’s funny that I just wrote a book that has a completely different Frisco cocktail in it (made with apricot brandy, lemon juice, grenadine, and sparkling wine, and a lemon twist), but I think the world is big enough for both, and maybe a few more. I was so happy with the drink at Eastern Standard that I might be willing to change the name of the one in the book at a future printing to “The Bubbly Frisco.”


The next night (after having a little fun with Gene at Fox TV) I enjoyed a treat that I can’t sing loudly enough about (if you could hear me singing right now about it, you would realize how loud that really is. I may not be on pitch, but dang, I can shout), which was getting to go out for delicious drinks with the amazingly friendly and fun ladies of LUPEC Boston. If you don’t know the LUPEC, then take a stroll over to their blog at once–I insist (just come back–even though you may not want to once you’re there). Okay, now that you’re back, I’ll continue. I was with the out-of-sight Pink Lady, Bourbon Belle, and Fancy Brandy, and they took me to a fresh cocktail spot in Boston called DRINK (simple and lovely, isn’t it?), where Misty (founder of LUPEC Boston and cocktail-slinger extraordinaire) was behind the bar helping out Josie, who made us two rounds that any true-blooded cocktail connoisseur (or happy barfly) would have loved. The first was a Fort Point, which contains rye, Punt e’ Mes, and Benedictine, and which was served in a delicately curved glass pitcher, from which she strained the drink into the most rad little cups with roosters on them–leaving the pitcher for refills. As a big fan of the communal drinking, a big fan of the rye, and a big fan of glasses with roosters on them, you can imagine that I rose at that very moment into a cocktail heaven made just for me. Oh, I got so into thinking about the drinks and company that I didn’t describe the bar, which was really interesting. It was three sort-of bar “areas” (somewhat like an “E,” as Pink Lady adroitly pointed out). The first one is the “ice” bar, which hits late 1800s drinks and style with only a big block of ice for chilling. The second is a more early-19th-century style, and has a real herb garden behind the bar and enough fresh juice to keep a whole 1st grade class in vitamin C for a week. The third is more mysterious, and provides a kind of back-up as needed. Visit DRINK in Boston and go home happy, likeably tipsy, and enthralled with the staff.


For our second drink at DRINK, the LUPEC ladies and I went for a slowly stirred and chilled pitched of Hemingway Daiquiri’s that I could go on and on about (how well proportioned they were, and how the tang followed up the slightly tougher “umph” of the Fort Point perfectly, how I think Josie made it with white rum, Maraschino liqueur, lime juice, and a touch of grapefruit juice over some seriously huge pieces of ice), but instead, check out this pic of the finished product (pic taken by Fancy Brandy–thanks a bunch FB):



In closing, here’s a big cheer to Boston and its many fine cocktail spots. Next up: New York.


PS: Tons of thanks tothe brillant store Brix, and the sweet folks there who let me sign books. If you’re in Boston and need wine or some of the best booze that side of the Mississippi, you should stop into Brix.


PSS: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention also Oleanna, where I had a dinner with Boston ne’er-do-wells Bruce, Howard, and Adam (after going to DRINKS) that was so good, it should have its own epic written about it. Or at least a serious ode.


PPSS: Hey, I’m having a cocktail conversation this week at CookThink, with bar champions Greg Boehm and Rob Chirico. Check it out.


PPPSSS: If you’re in Boston, be sure to sign up to see and be a part of the rollicking LUPEC USO Show. It’s going to be the hippest thing happening on the whole east coast in November.

Pink Lady said:

Aw, AJ, we had a blast as well! Great video on Fox 25, you’re so good on TV! Wish you could join us at the USO Show. We think you should schedule another media trip to coincide with the event.


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