MxMo in the Crescent City

Mixology Monday logoFor this month’s Mixology Monday, which has a New Orleans theme, I’m going with a couple of drinks, both inspired by panels that I attended at Tales of the Cocktail.

The first drink is the Sloppy Joe’s Mojito, inspired obliquely by the To Have and Have Another panel, on the drinking life of Ernest Hemingway. Whether Hemingway actually drank Mojitos appears to be in some dispute. The eminent Eric Felten argues persuasively that he probably did not, but it is clear that old Papa frequented the Havana bar that originated this version of the classic rum drink. He even apparently persuaded the proprietor of a Key West saloon to rip off the Havana original’s name. So, who knows?

Charles Baker, writing in The Gentleman’s Companion, describes the drink thus:

Put several lumps of ice into a 16 oz collins glass, toss in 1 tsp sugar or gomme, insinuate a spiral green lime peel about the ice, turn in 1-1/2 jiggers of Bacardi; white, or Gold Seal, and the strained juice of 1 small green lime–not a lemon. Stir once, fill with really good club soda and garnish with a bunch of fresh mint.

What I love about this variant is that a) it’s not too sweet, and b) it’s not too minty. I don’t feel like I’m chewing rum-spiked Doublemint gum.

The second drink comes straight from the Beefeater reception at Palace Cafe and also the Juniperlooza session. I had heard of this drink prior to Tales, but I had never tried it. It’s the Jasmine cocktail, devised by architect and booze writer Paul Harrington. It tastes remarkably like grapefruit juice even though it contains no grapefruit whatsoever. Honestly, this is one of those drinks that I often post where I’m sure the majority of my single-digit readership is thinking, “What! New to the Jasmine? He needs to crawl out from under Plymouth Rock or wherever the hell he lives and actually drink from time to time!”

No argument here, Skippy. I will say this, though. I’ve mixed a lot of cocktails at home, and I’ve had many others out. It’s a rare treat when something passes my lips and earns a spot in my regular drinks rotation. The Jasmine is right there. Jen and I both adore it. It tastes like an old-school cocktail, even though it’s not old enough to drive, let alone drink, and the ingredients are perfectly balanced. A new favorite.


  • 1-1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz Campari
  • lemon twist for garnish

Technique: Shake, strain, add garnish, sip, and smile.

Many thanks to Paulernum Clarke for hosting.

Photos by Jennifer Hess.

Tales of the Cocktail Webcast

Natalie Bovis-Nelsen from The Liquid Muse has a series of webcasts from this year’s Tales of the Cocktail. In installment 3, she attends the blogger party and invites each blogger to introduce himself or herself to the camera. I’m in there, too.

I have lots more to say, but since I had to dive back into the freelance life today, I haven’t had a chance to write much. More soon, I hope.

Also, I plan to announce soon what I hope will be fun new feature of this blog, so stay tuned. Next up, though, will be tonight’s Mixology Monday post, as if I haven’t blogged enough in the past week. (ETA: I just noticed Paul’s announcement of the extension. Whoo hoo!)

For Whom the Bell Bols*

My first panel of Tales 2k8 was also among the discussions I most eagerly awaited. I am not what you might call a dedicated Hemingway fan, but I’ve read many of his books and they never fail to entertain me. Now that I am also a drinks nerd, I like reading them with a barfly’s eye.

Led by Phil Greene, cofounder of the Museum of the American Cocktail and Hemingway enthusiast, we romped through passages from Papa’s novels, short stories, and letters, and tasted some of the giant’s favorite cocktails.

We began with the Jack Rose, and may I say, this was the finest version I’ve had of this drink. I suspect the Fee Bros.’ grenadine played a role in that, and I should order a bottle when I return home.

Jack Rose

Next, was the Green Isaac’s Special, a drink that Hemingway himself invented and named after a Caribbean island:

Um, no, it's not green. Nor it is supposed to be.

To break from the red drinks, we had a Montgomery martini. If I remember Phil’s story correctly, it’s named such because British field marshal Montgomery was said to avoid leading his men to battle unless they enjoyed a 15 to 1 advantage. Hemingway mixed his martinis to that ratio, and, thus, the Montgomery Martini:


Next, the Papa Doble Daiquiri; his love of the daiquiri is legendary, so I’ll say no more:

Papa Doble

Finally, the Death in the Afternoon. This apparently originated in a recipe that Hemingway submitted to a book (So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon) collecting the tipples of famous writers and actors. A fine drink:

Death in the morning before the afternoon

*N.B.: Bols played no part in this. Don’t blame them for the pun.

TotC, Day 1

Blew in to New Orleans, La., yesterday morning after a layover in Charlotte, N.C.  Got my luggage and met the Airport Shuttle. The driver was delightful, full of wit and good stories about the city, pre- and post-Katrina. I was happy I was toward the end of his route so I could listen to him a few minutes longer!

Checked in to the hotel without a hitch, and they even had a room ready, even though I arrived about 3 hours before normal check in. Even better, I have a top-floor room with a window view!

A room with a view

(I’m not crazy about this picture, actually, but it’s the best one I have of the view. I want to fix the colors, so it looks more like this picture, from the Riverview Room on the rooftop, but that will have to wait.)

I settled in to the room and then stepped out for a bite to eat. I wanted my first meal in town to be a muffaletta and Pimm’s Cups at the Napolean House, and lo, it shall be done.

Napolean House

It wasn’t until after I got my bearings that I realized I was seated right next to a table with Misty Kalkofen, from Green Street in Cambridge, Mass., and several of her peers from other Boston-area bars. I wanted to say hello, but then again, I didn’t want to interrupt a lively conversation.

I came back to my room after half a muff and two Pimm’s Cups. I wanted to shower the airplane stench off of me and change clothes. I made my way to the rooftop, where the Toast to Tales of the Cocktail kickoff was scheduled. I met up with a Twitter friend, John Martin, and he introduced me to Joe Gendusa, who leads a cocktail tour, year-round, through New Orleans. Shortly thereafter, I heard someone say, “Mike?” I turned, and Blair, from the blog Trader Tiki, introduced himself to me.

I met several of the booze bloggers (and a hanger-on or two), and we made haste to have a drink at the Swizzle Stick Bar, before 4:30’s Booze Blogger Meet and Greet. I had a delicious Mai Tai:

Mai Tai, at the Swizzle Stick Bar

Then, it was back to the Monteleone, for the blogger meetup, sponsored by Cabana Cachaca, which served up two drinks–a Cabana Shrub, with raspberry shrub syrup, and a classic Caiphirina. I met a lot more bloggers there, and then we repaired to the next room, for a Sloe Gin cocktail tasting.

I went up to my room for a bit, to call Jen and rest. Our next stop was the Palace Cafe, for a Beefeater-sponsored reception, with good food and gin cocktails. I ate, drank, and mingled. Ran into Matt Rowley again, who introduced me to author and Esquire columnist David Wondrich, with whom I chatted briefly before Dale DeGroff distracted him. The Beefeater reception was crowded and loud, and the room was warm, so although I was enjoying the food and drink, I was too uncomfortable to stay.

I came back to the hotel and got a couple of Sazeracs at the Carousel Bar. I had apparently just missed Cameron and Anita, so I texted them and arranged to meet at the Carousel. We chatted a little while, but they needed to freshen up a bit, so we parted for half an hour and re-met in the lobby to go to the Daiquiri party at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar. I stayed there about an hour, and met Erik Ellestad and his wife, but I was beat, so I came back to the room.

I’m about to head downstairs for the Hemingway panel and the start of Day 2. Salud!