• Mixology Monday LXXV Cocktail: The Carlos Danger


    The Carlos danger Cocktail.

    Time for another Mixology Monday! This time our host is also the “keeper of the flame” Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut. Thanks again from keeping things going Fred. Let’s get right to our theme “Flip Flop”:

    danger8I thought of the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday shortly after making the Black Rene, an obscure drink from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933. The combination of brandy, amber rum, lemon, and Maraschino was tasty, but I felt that the recipe could be improved if I swapped in different ingredients. Taking a page from Max Toste of Deep Ellum who converted the Black Devil into the White Devil, I flipped around the ingredients to be pisco, white rum, lime, and Maraschino instead. With this combination that I called the White Rene, the drink really sang but it was still recognizable as being an alteration of the original recipe. Others have done similar swaps with grand effect including the Bluegrass Mai Tai that changes the two rums to two whiskeys and swaps lime for lemon from the classic while holding everything else the same.

    danger1Find a recipe, either new or old, and switch around at least two of the ingredients to sister or cousin ingredients but holding the proportions and some of the ingredients the same. The new recipe should be recognizable as a morph of the old one when viewed side by side.

    danger2This theme was a fun one for us to play with, as we were already doing some experimenting with tweaks to classics. So we decided to use the Manhattan as our foundation. Ever since we tried the excellent Ile St. Honorat from the Liquid Culture Project, an aged rum Manhattan variant, we have worked on our own version. Now we decided to do a fully “flipped” Manhattan using aged rum instead of whiskey, amaro in place of vermouth, and Amargo Chuncho (Peruvian) bitters for Angostura (we kept the orange twist we like to use with our Manhattans). We pretty much went for the “full flip”, just like that idiot guy from Manhattan Anthony Weiner sometimes fully “flips” into his alter ego, Carlos Danger. (Sorry, not much of a segue, but it’s what we had- and we couldn’t resist the name.)

    danger3danger4Since we had the orange twist and the herbal, coffee-ish notes of the Amargo Chuncho bitters, the big question was the choice of aged rum and amaro. We wanted a mild, slightly woody sipping rum, and after trying a few bottles settled on the Matusalem Gran Reserva, a 15-year-old rum with well-integrated floral and burnt sugar flavors. The Matusalem is an easy sipper, and a good fit for this kind of spirit-forward cocktail. As for the Amaro, we tried a bunch. Maria a Monte was good but a bit too minty and boozy (worth revisiting, good stuff), Cynar didn’t quite fit and Averna was too sweet. We settled on Amaro Montenegro with its less bitter, light herbal and orange peel notes.

    danger5danger6So how does the Carlos Danger taste? It has light floral, orange and coffee notes up front with a bit of kick from the booze in the middle (it’s a strong drink, no question). But the cocktail closes with a soft, dry vanilla note from the rum and amaro that is simply delightful. We tried the Carlos Danger up and on the rocks and it works both ways. So if you want to try something new, try a Carlos Danger cocktail and leave that cell phone alone. Continue reading

  • Weekly Cocktail #39: Blood On The Adriatic

    Blood on the Adriatic.

    Blood on the Adriatic.

    After the detours of the holidays and Mixology Monday, we now resume our normal weekly cocktail schedule. And we are happily back at “work”. As for this week’s cocktail, it certainly checks a lot of our boxes for how we choose drinks. Seasonal ingredient? Check. Excuse to try a new type of booze? Check. Not too boozy? (it’s January, we’re a bit pickled from the holidays) Check….Oh, and does it tastes really good? Check.

    blood3The Blood on the Adriatic combines blood orange juice, Amaro Montenegro and Aperol, shaken and strained into a cocktail glass. It is easy to make, uses the blood oranges that are in season, is barely stronger than a glass of wine, looks beautiful (IMHO)…and packs a lot of complimentary flavors. We based this cocktail off of the Adriatique Cocktail from Jackson Cannon at Boston’s Island Creek Oyster Bar.

    blood4Serious Eats wrote this cocktail up a while ago and we loved it, with the sweet, acidic orange juice playing well with the herbal and bitter Amaro and the citrus and rhubarb of the Aperol. But both of us immediately thought the cocktail would be better (at least for us) with the more tart, berry-ish complexity of blood oranges. And we think we were right. The tart, acidic berry flavors add to the sweet orange and balances the bitter notes. This cocktail is very refreshing and has a wonderful aroma. And we will admit that we just love the color.

    blood7As for the ingredients, you can find blood oranges in most good produce or farmers markets this time of year. We tend to prefer the deeply colored Moros, but all blood oranges will have that berry-ish flavor. As for Amaro Montenegro, it is a type of Italian “Amari”, a family of bittersweet, herbal liqueurs and digestifs (here is a good intro guide). Amaro Montenegro is one of the more “accessible” Amaro, it is sweeter and less bitter than most, with complex herb and honey notes and only about 25% alcohol. Aperol is basically Campari’s sweeter, lighter, and less bitter, boozy and “ashy” cousin. Aperol has lots of sweet citrus and rhubarb flavor with a bitter finish. Both the Aperol and Montenegro are good introductions to more bitter-flavored cocktail ingredients.

    bloodWhile these may seem like disparate flavors to put in a cocktail, they all share a similarity. Each has sweet notes on its own, but is balanced by another flavor. Blood oranges have the tart berry flavors, Amaro Montenegro has herbal notes and the Aperol adds more fruit and a bitter finish. When you put them together you get a sip that starts with tart, moves to sweet, fruity and herbal and ends with a clean, slightly bitter finish. And for all that flavor, this cocktail is way less than half-strength, so you can have more than one. Good stuff? Check.

    blood2Blood On The Adriatic:


    • 1 oz. blood orange juice
    • 1 oz. Amaro Montenegro
    • 1/2 oz. Aperol


    1. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass, coupé or flute. Serve.