>Cocktails for a Cause! LUPEC Throws a Party!

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The inaugural Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) group was founded in 2001 in Pittsburgh.   The group was established with the goal of “dismantling the patriarchy – one drink at a time.”  Their Mission Statement:

“In a post-millenium world of beer and prepackaged Chex Mix™, LUPEC works tirelessly to breed, raise, and release cocktails that are endangered or even believed to be extinct.  The collecting of anachronistic recipes by women, and the resulting creation of endangered cocktails in an all woman setting is intended to achieve the following goals:
    • To create a secular “coven-like” atmosphere in which Classy Broads of today can invoke and honor the spirits of their Forebroads
    • To continue the 150 year American tradition of dangerous women calling themselves Ladies and getting together in groups, clubs, and societies to work undercover while they chipped away at the patriarchy.
    • To protect the collective Joie de Vivre of LUPEC members by assuring them at least one good party a month
    • To encourage the accumulation and use of vintage serving and barware.”

Since the formation of the original Pittsburgh group, active LUPEC chapters now exist in a number of other cities such as New York, Boston, Denver, Portland, and Seattle

Saturday Night, the Seattle Ladies of LUPEC opened the door (of the Rob Roy Penthouse) to the masses.  What an opportunity was bestowed upon the Seattle cocktail community.  Lucky guests (yes, guys too) could join the Ladies for a night of tasty, original cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.  The cocktail menu included drinks by Anu Apte and Jenn Hegstrom and were made with the new Makers Mark 46 (loved the Hestia!), Voyager Gin, Sound Spirits Ebb and Flow Vodka, and Corrido Tequila.  Proceeds from the evening benefited the Jubilee Women’s Center. 

Ted Munat was there mixing cocktails and signing his book Left Coast Libations.  (Buy. This. Book.) Please read his wildly entertaining blog post about his coming-of-age exploits with a young pre-LUPEC group. 

The integrated LUPEC party was a great success.  Stay tuned for more LUPEC fun.  I’m sure there will be future opportunities for the boys to join again.

LUPEC Ladies with Token Boy

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>Mixing the Museum – The Aviation

>While surfing the World Wide Web doing my research for the next installment of Mixing the Museum, it quickly becomes clear to me that everyone except for me has mixed, drank, reviewed, and written up the Aviation.  Basically, The Aviation has been put to bed.  However, I will not let this thwart my determination to become a better booze aficionado.  I will stand by my commitment to mix every drink in MOTAC and Mr. Hess and Ms. Miller say that The Aviation is next.  So onward we go….

The Aviation cocktail first appeared in print in 1916 in the book “Recipes for Mixed Drinks,” authored by Mr. Hugo Ensslin, the bartender at the Wallick Hotel in Times Square, New York.  It is unknown whether Mr. Ensslin created the cocktail or merely was the first to record its ingredients allowing others to re-create this drink.  In fact David Wondrich, cocktail historian extraordinaire has found a 1911 reference to The Aviation cocktail (though no recipe was included with the mention).  Mr Ensslin’s original recipe called for gin, lemon juice, maraschino, and creme de violette, a floral violet liqueur.  The recipe next appeared in print in the classic 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book.  However, between 1916 and 1930, the Creme de Violette dropped from the recipe. 


For this exercise I wanted to mix the cocktail from MOTAC, but also Mr Ensslin’s version with the Creme de Violette.  But first a word about Violet liqueur….

Creme de Violette appeared in several pre-prohibition cocktail classics, but fell out of favor post-prohibition.  Perhaps, the violet, floral notes of the liqueur were thought to be old-fashioned and really, who wants to equate hugging your grandma with drinking a tasty cocktail.  Unless, of course, your grandma doesn’t wear flowery perfume and can drink you under the table.  No matter, in 2008, Rothman and Winter resurrected Creme de Violette.  The liqueur is “produced from a careful maceration of Queen Charlotte and March Violets in “Weinbrand” (this distilled from grapes), with cane sugar added for sweetness.”  And it is a beautiful color.  

Let’s mix The Aviation (x2) and toast to Grandmas everywhere.

The Aviation (MOTAC)
2 oz. Plymouth Gin
0.5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
0.25 oz. lemon juice

Shake with ice – strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a cherry.

In searching for a recipe using the Creme de Violette, I came upon Stevi Deter’s post where she mixed, with great success,  The Aviation using Magellan gin.  Perfect.  She suggests using Magellan in the violette version of The Aviation.  I’ll do it.

The ‘Blue’ Aviation
2 oz. Magellan Gin
0.5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
0.25 oz. Rothman & Winter Creme de Violette
0.5 oz. lemon juice

Shake with ice – strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a cherry.

I enjoyed both variations of this classic cocktail, but preferred the slight sweetness imparted by the Creme de Violette in The ‘Blue’ Aviation.  Besides, I’ve always been a sucker for the color blue and my Grandma.

Cheers, Grandma!

>Mixing the Museum – A Triumvirate to Start

>I’m certainly glad I didn’t commit to 100 drinks in 100 days.  After more than two weeks of mulling things over and numerous delays, we are finally kicking off the “Mixing the Museum” project we described in our last post.   The book, the Museum of the American Cocktail Pocket Recipe Guide (MOTAC) compiled and edited by superstar cocktail aficionados Robert Hess and Anistatia Miller, is a brilliant little tome that everyone must have in their cocktail libary.  There are 100 cocktail recipes that we will be working our way through in the days to come.

KB’s visit was a perfect opportunity to dive into the MOTAC project.  Two super-tasters in the house!…right on!…let’s try to get through a few of these cocktails.  First up…The Algonquin.

A swank hotel that opened in the early 1900’s in New York City, the Algonquin was known for being one of the first hotels to accept single women travelers.  Notably, the early literary feminists Gertrude Stein and Simone de Beauvoir were known to frequent the Algonquin Hotel.  While it is intriguing to think about the conversations these women would have engaged in over a cocktail, their talk would not have been loosened by liquor as prohibition was in full force during much of the time that Gertrude and Simone might have crossed paths in New York City.  Let’s sip an Algonquin in their honor and imagine sharing the bar with these avant-garde women.  

The Algonquin

The Algonquin
2oz. rye (Old Overholt)
1oz. dry vermouth (Dolin)
1oz. fresh pineapple juice

Shake with ice – strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a cherry.

I wanted to like this cocktail.  Rye, vermouth, pineapple juice…what’s not to like?  But the flavor combination just didn’t knock me off my feet.  No complaints from KB and CR.  What’s next?

Turn the page….The Americano.…..  Queue the singing gondolier…

This cocktail dates to the mid 1800’s and was created by Gaspare Campari, and was first served in his bar Caffe Campari in Milan, Italy.  As you probably guessed, Gaspare created the aperitif herbal liqueur Campari.  With a tip of the hat to the ingredient’s brand geography, it was originally known as the Milano-Torino.  Apparently, in the early 1900’s there were such great numbers of Americans in Italy enjoying the Milano-Torino, the people of Italy chose to show their appreciation and affection by renaming the cocktail, the Americano. 

Fun DrinkScience Fact (I’ll do the research so you can impress your friends at your next cocktail party):

The red color of Campari used to come from these little guys:

Dactylopius coccus

The little red beetle makes this stuff:

Carminic Acid = Red Dye

The red dye is also known as carmine.  The cochineal beetles are such impressive carmine factories that the dye actually occurs as 17-24% of the weight of the dry insects.  Besides, Campari, carmine is also used to color a number of other products, such as yogurt and ice cream as well as cosmetics. 

Apparently in the mid-2000’s Campari stopped using crushed Dactylopius coccus as a source of red carmine, and instead began to use “artificial color” to achieve the brilliant red of it’s famous liqueur.  I checked my bottle and sure enough the label reads ‘artificially colored.’

Regardless of whether my red Campari has insect based carmine or FD&C Red 40, let’s mix the Americano.  (I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never tried the Americano).

The Americano

The Americano
1oz. Campari
1oz. sweet vermouth (Dolin)
Soda Water

Build in a highball with ice.  Stir.  Top with soda water.  One more gentle stir.  Garnish with lemon twist. 

Bitter, sweet, tasty.  This is a cocktail that CR and I will enjoy sitting in the steamers looking out at the water next summer.  Or the next time we are in Milan.  Cin Cin!


The last in our triumvirate of cocktails from the MOTAC kick-off party is the Arnaud.  According to Sir Hess and Dame Miller, the Arnaud was “Invented in the 1920’s as part of a promotional campaign in which Booth’s Gin asked famous British stage and screen stars to select their favorite libations.  This particular drink was selected by and named after the French actress Yvonne Arnaud…” 

Yvonne Arnaud

Yvonne Arnaud’s singing and stage career singer spanned from the early 1900’s to 1958.  As a cocktail enthusiast, I have to say I find it impressive in a trading-card-cocktail-geek kind of way that Yvonne has a cocktail named in her honor.  I think one’s prominence in history should be measured by the fact that a classic cocktail bears their name.  Why not?  Sure, all the other stuff that they did to ensure their name is still recognized today carries a lot of weight too.  But a cocktail?  That’s cool.  And a tasty cocktail…even better. 

The Arnaud

The Arnaud
1oz. gin (Plymouth)
1oz. dry vermouth (Dolin)
1oz. creme de cassis (Clear Creek Cassis Liqueur)

Stir with ice – strain into a cocktail glass.
I didn’t garnish, though some recipe variations call for a blackberry garnish.
This was the favorite of the night for KB and CR, and I also enjoyed this cocktail.  We’ll mix it again.  This recipe makes the cocktail notebook for future use.