Category Archives: AMARO

Customer Appreciation Post — Boulevardier

A Boulevardier that I made a friend last night:

Gin is good, but sometimes you just gotta have bourbon!

From a New York Times article by Tony Cecchini:

The drink is credited to Harry McElhone, the founder and proprietor of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, and dated to 1927. It is mentioned only glancingly in his book “Barflies and Cocktails,” not in the 300-odd cocktail recipes that make up the bulk of that volume, but rather in a tongue-in-cheek epilogue that follows, recounting the antics of his regular customers.

Cecchini continues on to talk about Erskinne Gwynne, McElhone’s customer who created the drink — and the article gives the history of Gwynne’s version and McElhone’s version and modern twists by present day bartenders. It’s a worthwhile read.

Further Reading:

—A write-up by Serious Eats.
—Imbibe Magazine’s recipe.
—Don’t call it a comeback.
—The recipe on Difford’s Guide.
—The Boulevardier and another drink called the 1794 Cocktail!

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New Boozes At The Bar

We have four new bottles we’ve added to our shelves!


APEROL — Aperol is an Italian aperitif made from gentian, rhubarb, chinchona and bitter orange among other ingredients. You’ll usually see it stocked on a back bar sitting next to the Campari. Aperol was introduced in 1919 and has an ABV of 11 percent. The most well-known cocktail using the apertif is the Aperol Spritz.




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24 Hours In Buffalo — Cecelia’s & Blue Monk

For the second half of our overnight in Buffalo, we started Sunday morning with brunch at Cecelia’s.

Cecelia’s a small restaurant located on Elmwood across from Blue Monk. I’ve blogged about it before.

Cecelia’s Ristorante & Martini Bar:

And the exterior:

The last time my wife and I were at Cecelia’s was a weekday, and we ordered off the lunch menu — a salad, pizza, hamburger and other delicious lunch items. However, the first time we ever ate at Cecelia’s was several years ago on a Sunday, and the brunch we had was one of those meals that the two of us have brought up to each other time and time again throughout the years.

Thankfully, we were lucky enough to get seats at the bar this trip. We didn’t have reservations for brunch and there weren’t any tables available.

Since it was 11 o’clock, no one could drink (as per New York State law). But like clockwork, the mimosas started flowing right at noon.

Everyone who orders one of the restaurant’s premium brunch dishes is entitled to a free mimosa.

By 12 o’clock though we were just about done with our meal: a crepe to share and a dish of their eggs Benedict for each of us.

Even though we were each entitled to a mimosa, we passed on them — and that would have been the end of our Cecelia’s experience but I saw a bottle of Strega behind the bar.
The last time I was at Cecelia’s I got to try an amaro is never had for the first time. And so similarly this trip I decided to end my meal with a shot of Strega.


Strega is an Italian herbal liqueur that’s been in production since 1860. Like so many bitter digestifs, it contains saffron which gives it its yellow color — though it’s a little less yellow than Galliano.

Although it’s termed a liqueur, Strega is 80 proof (40% abv) and among its 70 herbal ingredients are mint and fennel.

It is slightly sweet, semi-viscous, and has a bold, complex flavor with strong minty or coniferous notes.
Another neat fact about Strega is that it’s the Italian word for “witch,” which made it an appropriate drink for the Halloween weekend.

One last thing about Cecelia’s, as if I haven’t gushed enough, is that I love the natural light they get in their bar from their skylights:


Also along this section of Elmwood is Blue Monk.

I had a quick beer at the popular beer bar after Cecelia’s, but we didn’t stay long. We’d purchased some sponge candy at Watson’s and were itching to get back to Resurgence to pair the candy with the brewery’s stout.

My short stop at Blue Monk did yield me two badges though:


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24 Hours In Buffalo — Savoy & Vera Pizzeria

The reason I went to Buffalo over the weekend was to get myself some quality craft cocktails for my birthday.

My first stop though was for a quick beer, as I detailed in my last post, but the plan for the evening was very much about craft cocktails. We checked into our hotel and got gussied up for Halloween, then headed first to Savoy for a drink and Vera Pizzeria for dinner.

Savoy’s Beet Around The Busch:


My wife had a non-alcoholic cocktail which the bartender shook up and topped with ginger beer.

The first drink I had at Vera was a cocktail called Dill Breaker:


My second drink at Vera was a cocktail called Vice Admiral:


By the time we got to Vera it was very dark out, and the house lights were low (for Haloween I’m guessing) — and so I brightened the above pictures as best I could. Apologies for all the graininess, but I’m happy I at least got a pic at all for the blog. I easily could’ve left my phone at home and just enjoyed the atmosphere and overall experience. 

Our meal was excellent and the staff members at Vera were knowledgable and friendly. I finally got to try Amaro Di Angostura and the bartenders were kind enough to chat with me about their Fernet-Branca on tap!

The two cocktails I had are on Vera’s new Fall 2015 cocktail menu:

The Dill Breaker:


The Vice Admiral:

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Fernet-Branca Bar Mats

These came in while I was away on vacation:


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Filed under AMARO, BRANDS

Arendell Room

Destination Cocktail:
Arendell Room’s Craft Drinks

The Arendell Room in Morehead City was just a short few minutes from the place where I stayed this past week in Pine Knoll Shores.

I’m glad I found the Arendell Room because, from what I can tell, they serve the best cocktails in the region.


Now, I don’t write that as hyperbole or to diminish what other bars in the area do, but it just seems apparent from what the Arendell Room puts forward — which is that their cocktails come first.

In fact, that phrase is a part of the bar’s tagline — “Cocktails first, questions later.”

And I’m not going to lie, seeing that phrase really enticed me to get out to this bar at least once during my trip. I found the bar while searching the area with my Yelp app, and only after I’d switched my search from “restaurants” to “cocktails.” I don’t know if the bar serves food or not, but I’m glad I changed what I was searching in the app otherwise this place might never have made my radar.

I was a part of a group of five on Wednesday night and we arrived at Arendell Room after having already had dinner and drinks somewhere else. The five of us grabbed the corner seats at the bar, which was particularly nice because the corner seats afforded us a nice view of Arendell Room’s bourbon selection. I’d been drinking Basil Hayden elsewhere and one of the others in my party stuck with bourbon on ice. Another had a glass of white wine and a third had a split of champagne while my wife got a very nice non-alcoholic drink — made with mint and watermelon and something carbonated to give it bubbles. It was really quite tasty.

There were several drinks on the menu which caught my eye — as well as a quirky set of “house rules,” but having already been drinking elsewhere I knew I’d probably only be having just one drink at this bar. With that in mind, I went with the custom drink option listed on the cocktail menu and I let the bartender make me something of his choice.

When going the custom route, the menu suggested telling the bartender what types of liquors and drinks you normally like — so I mentioned bourbon and amaro and specifics like Aperol and Fernet.

What I got was a Boulevardier, a bourbon drink that’s sort of like a Negroni. I saw the bartender pour Buffalo Trace, which was nice, but I wish I would’ve seen what vermouth he used. The drink was phenomenal — velvety and sweet with a strong orange flavor plus that dry, bitter Canpari finish.


The photos above are my own, but this one from the bar’s website shows a little more of the Arendell Room:


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Fernet-Branca Creme Brûlée

Creme Brûlée made with Fernet-Branca and Domain de Canton:


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Building On The Prizefighter #1

The Prizefighter #1 is a cocktail that was created by Nick Jarrett.

I’ve written about the drink before, and you can read that post here.

Last night I was serving something to customers that was sort of like the Prizefighter #1, but different in that it had pineapple juice… So I figured I’d give the drink its own post today (and I don’t know if Nick Jarrett has already made this variation, so if someone knows… Leave me a comment).

Ingredients in the Prizefighter #1:
•1 oz. Fernet Branca
•1 oz. Carpano Antica
•3/4 oz. simple syrup
•1/4 oz. lemon juice
•6-8 mint leaves
•3-4 lemon wedges
•Pinch salt

Pineapple Prizefighter


And here’s how I made the above drink last night:

•1 oz bourbon
•1/2 oz. Fernet Branca
•1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
•1/2 oz. simple syrup
•1 oz pineapple juice
•1/2 oz. lemon juice
•6-8 mint leaves
•3-4 lemon wedges
•Pinch salt
•Sierra Mist


Now, whereas with the Prizefighter #1 you shake and double-strain and serve up or on the rocks, I was serving this pineapple drink in a Collins glass finished with Sierra Mist.

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Stormy Weather 

Today was Lena Horne’s birthday.

I don’t know whether there’s a Lena Horne cocktail or not, but I did find two different cocktails called Stormy Weather:


Stormy Weather seemed appropriate for today because of the song, film and album associated with Lena Horne.

I found the following Fernet-Branca-based recipe on a site called From Absinthe To Zombie:

Stormy Weather
Charles Schumann, 1980

•3/4 Fernet Branca
•3/4 oz. dry vermouth
•1/4 oz. white crème de menthe

Stir well over crushed ice or cubes in a small highball glass.


Instead of stirring, I shook this drink. It has a strong mint flavor, obviously, from both the Fernet and the creme de menthe. It definitely would work as an after dinner drink. I’ll have to try it again tomorrow, but stir it instead to see whether the ice chunks from shaking made that big of a difference.

Another Stormy Weather:


About This Drink:

I found this drink on The Washington Post‘s website: An original recipe for a Yellow Tail shiraz cocktail created by mixologist Trudy Thomas in Scottsdale, Ariz.


•1.5 oz dark rum
•1.5 oz shiraz
•1/2 oz lime juice
•1/4 oz agave nectar
•1 dash Angostura bitters
•Ginger beer

Add all the ingredients except the ginger beer to a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice and top with ginger beer.

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The Prizefighter No. 1 Cocktail

Today I’m writing about the Prizefighter cocktail, keeping in theme with yesterday’s pugilist post.

Yesterday was Jack Dempsey’s birthday and I wrote a blog post about the Dempsey Cocktail, which can be found by clicking here.

Dempsey was not only a boxer. He opened a restaurant later in life and also appeared in the film The Prizefighter and the Lady:

The Prizefighter cocktail is a contemporary take on the smash/sour — with Fernet-Branca as the base spirit.

The drink was created by bartender Nicholas Jarrett in 2010 and was included in the 75th anniversary edition of Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide.


The following is from my Bar Notes page, which mirror’s Nick Jarrett’s post about the drink:

About This Cocktail:

I recently tried my hand at making Nicholas Jarrett’s Prizefighter No. 1 — an original from Clover Club, which I found the recipe for on the Bar Notes app.

•1 oz. Fernet Branca
•1 oz. Carpano Antica
•3/4 oz. simple syrup
•1/4 oz. lemon juice
•6-8 mint leaves
•3-4 lemon wedges
•Pinch salt


Muddle the lemon, mint and salt in the simple syrup. Combine the other ingredients in the tin, and whip shake the drink. Fine strain over crushed ice, and garnish with mint.

Still Thirsty For More?

—Read this post on Cocktail Virgin Slut. The proportions of the simple syrup and lemon juice have been modified in order to eliminate the lemon wedges from the equation. It definitely simplifies things a step. I made the drink this way as well yesterday… And cutting back on the simple syrup didn’t seem to hurt it.

—A write-up about Fernet on Cocktails & Cologne that mentions the Prizefighter.

And here’s another picture: