We’ve been eating out a lot for the last week. Thursday at The Bristol, Friday at Parson’s, Saturday ordering Dante’s, Sunday at Frontier, and finally Monday at Publican. Beautiful food, rich food, beer, cocktails … we ate it all and loved it but by the time we reached the final stretch at Publican … we’d just finished eating a huge plate of porchetta, so when the dessert menu came and I saw, under Liquid Dessert, something called “kyle’s after pork” digestif, I needed to know what it was. Our server said it has Cynar, Green Chartreuse, rum and mint. That sounds weird, I thought. I’ll have that, I said.
It was delightful. And I wanted to always have it, so with the taste fresh in my mouth, I set about trying to recreate it at home. Now, what I came up with is not nearly as beautifully balanced as what I had at Publican, and we didn’t have mint on hand, so I let go of that. But I still think this is pretty nice.
I didn’t now what kind of rum or what proportions. I used Appleton since we had it on hand, and I think it works to make a a little post-dinner tipple inspired by the Publican’s digestif.
Not “Kyle’s After Pork” Digestif
- 3/4 oz Cynar
- 1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
- 1/3 oz Rum
Stir ice & strain into a large shot glass/small rocks glass/whatever the proper name is for something that holds 3-4 oz.
It’s better than a cigarette for finishing a fine, rich meal. And I highly recommend getting a meal at Publican if you possibly can.
“Maraschino and mezcal? Yeah, OK. I want to know what that tastes like.”
And that is how At the Pawnshop made it into our cocktail rotation and a bottle of mezcal graced our bar. I know next to nothing about agave spirits – so we haven’t collected the array of bottles like we have for gin, whiskey and rum. I don’t know what I like or how to use it.
This I can handle. I love this drink. It has the same basic structure as an Old-Fashioned. But it’s smoky, unexpected and a little bit shady. Like a pawnshop.
Recipe here. I make it the same way except I just use the Appleton rum we have on hand instead of the Plantation they recommend.
I learned to make an Old-Fashioned early on, and I’m very snobby about my Old-Fashioneds. I have rules.
- No smashed up fruit. You can put a cherry in at the end to garnish if you want. But don’t muddle it, mash it or squish it in any way. Don’t put an orange slice in there either.
- No fizzy stuff. No club soda. No 7-Up.
- If you smash up fruit & put brandy in it, call it by it’s proper name: Wisconsin Old-Fashioned.
- Use a pretty good whiskey.
It’s not too hard, really. Plenty of people will break these rules and serve it to you in a glass … so it goes. I’m pretty careful about where I order an Old-Fashioned these days.
1/4 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes bitters
Put ’em in a glass & mix it a bit. Then add a great big ice cube and mix it a bit more.
2 oz. bourbon or rye
Add it to the glass, give it a stir and wait a minute. Maybe toss in a pretty bourbon cherry. Don’t smash it.
And this is delightful and simple and what I like to drink when I want to pretend I’m a classy lady. But last year, I found Jamie Boudreau’s recipe for an Old-Fashioned “Cubed” … an Old-Fashioned within an Old-Fashioned. The Inception of Old-Fashioneds. I won’t reprint it here – you can find the recipe in detail here. Click it. Make it. Drink it.
It’s all the same ingredients, plus two more boozes, two more bitter … bitterses. And 3 times the awesome. It is also Pip-approved.
I’ve been trying to make every cocktail in Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (see the cocktails I’ve already made here) – partly because it’s an unusually well-curated cocktail book, and partly because it’s written so well, with a little history of each cocktail and notes on the recipe. I’ve actually read it cover to cover.
When Girl Scout cookies come around every year, I order shortbreads. Always. 2 boxes. I love those damn shortbreads. So it seemed like a good time to try out Milk Punch – Milk Punch and cookies.
Generally speaking, the idea of milk or cream cocktails sounds really gross to me. I could blame my lack of naturally-occurring lactase for that, but I felt that way before my body quit making lactase, too.
But this milk cocktail is surprisingly tasty. Milk, dark rum, brandy, simple syrup, a touch of nutmeg … it’s one of the few things brightening the last bleak, frigid days of winter.
The Milk Punch recipe in Haigh’s book is heavy on the milk – 4 ounces. I also own The PDT Cocktail Book, and Jim Meehan’s recipe calls for just 1.5 ounces, and bumps up the rum & simple syrup a bit. I like Haigh’s addition of a few drops of vanilla, and the lighter milk portion and higher rum content of Meehan’s. Haigh calls for serving over crushed ice; Meehan over one large cube.
Since the two couldn’t quite agree, I pieced the two recipes together and came up with this compromise that doesn’t taste like a compromise:
2 oz. whole milk
1 oz. brandy
1 oz. dark rum
3/4 oz. simple syrup
a few drops of vanilla extract
Shake well with ice. Strain into glass with one ice cube. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top. Enjoy with a few* Girl Scout cookies.
* They package them in the sleeves because that is one serving, right?