You may have noted that it’s been some time since my last post. I have a legitimate excuse:
I was drunk.
This past weekend I negotiated a leave of absence from parental duties and attended a bachelor party in Boston. The trip marked three notable “first-times” for me:
my first time visiting the Hub;
my first time attending an NHL game (the Bruins decimated the Hurricanes); and
my first time witnessing a man attempt necrobestiality on a roasted suckling pig.
I wish with all my might that the last one on the list did not come to pass; however, no amount of squeezing my eyes shut and rocking back and forth in the fetal position has been able to undo this truly horrifying act of depravity. With a bit of luck, the lives of all those unfortunate enough to have witnessed this obscenity were ruined forever… always thinking that just around the corner in all their favorite restaurants, men in grisly beards and red linen scarves are about to get incredible kicks from making love to their food.
I shan’t give further details – let’s move on. While in Boston I had the opportunity to drop by Drink, a cocktail bar located in the basement of an old wool warehouse in Fort Point. This bar happens to have been crowned “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” at Tales of the Cocktail in 2013. Regarded as one of Boston’s most talented bartenders, John Gertsen manages the place and is responsible for their cocktail program. As you can imagine, I was stoked to sample their wares. Images of 50 lb blocks of crystal clear ice danced in my head as we caught a quick gypsy cab from Chinatown to Congress Street.
Four of the ten debaucherlor partygoers decided to accompany me. As some may know, Drink doesn’t have a menu. You can ask for a specific drink that catches your fancy, or alternatively, explain your preferences and dislikes and they’ll whip you up something that fits all of your needs and desires. For the next few posts, I’ve decided to feature the drinks that were mixed, stirred and strained for me and my compatriots at this fine drinkery. First up: the Greenpoint.
The Greenpoint was created by Michael McIlroy at New York’s famed Milk & Honey in 2011. The drink is named after the Brooklyn neighborhood which is situated at the northmost tip of the borough. Word on the street is that Michael – Mickey to his friends – used to stroll through Greenpoint when he wasn’t slinging drinks. At first glance, you might think that this cocktail looks like a Manhattan variation – and you’d be right. However, if we want to get technical, it’s actually a variation of the Red Hook, which itself is the progeny of the Manhattan. Mr. McIlroy’s meanderings through Little Poland purportedly gave him the idea to create a spin-off of the Red Hook (incidentally also named after a Brooklyn neighborhood). Compared to a Manhattan, the sweet vermouth is swapped out for the more bitter Punt e Mes and a splash of Yellow Chartreuse is added for good measure. The Red Hook, which I’ll cover in a future post, uses Maraschino rather than Chartreuse. Enough history – let’s drink.
- 2 oz. High West Rendezvous Blended Straight Rye Whiskey
- 1 oz. Punt e Mes vermouth
- 1 barspoon Yellow Chartreuse (~tsp.)
- 1 dash Angostura Aromatic bitters
- 1 dash Regan’s No. 6 Orange bitters
Add the ingredients to a mixing glass, along with enough ice to fill the glass ¾ full. Stir until properly chilled. Be sure to stir quickly before your drink becomes gentrified and is too expensive to drink, forcing you to imbibe further afield. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist (remember to express the lemon oils over the surface of the drink and rub the rim of the glass, peel side down, before placing it in the drink).
It was a challenge tracking down the yellow variety of Chartreuse – it’s a bit of a rarity at the LCBO, but well worth the hunt. The yellow version is much more mellow than the green, exhibiting sweet honey, fresh mint, zesty citrus, and some piney notes.
Now, Punt e Mes is less than rare – it’s nonexistent. Luckily, an incredibly thoughtful friend of mine happened to be in Calgary for work and happened to pop into a specialty liquor store and grab me a bottle. A God among men, I tell you. As I mentioned earlier, Punt e Mes is more bitter than sweet vermouth (including Antica Formula), with notes of spice, honey, stewed fruit, cinnamon and cranberry. It’s like Antica and Campari combined, i.e. it’s glorious.
I’m a big fan of this cocktail. It’s superb. Think of a more herbal and bitter version of a Manhattan. Given that rye is my favorite spirit and “bitter” and “herbal” reside at the top of my flavour ranking scale, it’s like this drink was purpose built for the Paternal Drunk. Come to think of it – it was. Nice work, Drink. You had me at Greenpoint.