Devin Hahn

Multimedia Storyteller, Writer, Cocktail Blogger

Category: Boston Bars

Periodista Tales: Drink—Taste of Place

“Scott didn’t want to hire me. I was this punkass kid from Newbury street with silver hair. I’d been working across the street from a hair salon, and we used to trade drinks for haircuts. There was this guy who worked there—he was insane. He had horns—real horns, implanted into his head. He used to cut my hair, and I let him use me as a hair model for this one show. He died my hair ‘steel gray,’ put in this wax stuff and twirled it up into curls until my head was covered in shiny, silver spikes. That’s how I showed up to my interview with Scott. He really did not want to hire me.”

I was sitting at Drink listening to John Gertsen tell me about getting his start in the industry. He was wearing a conservative button-down shirt and vest combo with a bow tie. His hair’s short, not at all silver. No spikes, either—not that day, anyway.

Gertsen was leaning on the bar next to me. Behind it, Misty Kalkofen was mixing drinks for their few early customers—Drink opens at four and it was still a few minutes shy of five. Next to her, Will Thompson was sorting mint. He looked like he’d been doing it all his life.

“But, of course, he did hire me,” Gertsen said. “And it’s a good thing he did, because if I hadn’t met Scott Holliday I probably wouldn’t have had my first Negroni, and I never would have made a Sidecar, and I never would have met Barbara Lynch.”

Misty chimed in, “Can you do a little chart please?”

“We do need a flow chart,” said Gertsen. “The family tree of Boston chefs and restaurateurs is really like a family hedge. It’s so thick with connections you can’t even see through it.”

“And then if you start putting in who slept with who,” said Misty, “it’s gonna get thicker.”

“I gotta go,” said Gertsen. Misty laughed and Gertsen disappeared behind the doors to the kitchen.

I watched Misty work. Misty double-fists a pair of shakers like no one I’ve ever seen. Her tattoos blend together in the frenzy. She presented a drink to a customer next to me. It looked like an Aviation. I could smell the maraschino. The Luxardo cherry garnish sat in its own glass, next to the cocktail.

“What do I do with it?” asked the customer. “Should I put it in the drink?”

“You can do whatever you want,” said Misty cheerfully. “It’s your drink, now.”

The customer dropped the speared cherry into his cocktail. He didn’t look happy. Until he tasted it.

Everyone I’d talked to about the Periodista had mentioned the name Misty Kalkofen. Aside from Joe McGuirk, Misty’s been slinging Periodistas longer than anyone else in town. Here I was, sitting across from her, and I didn’t have anything to ask. All my blanks had been filled in. The Periodista’s trek through Boston was sketched out clear as a blueprint. So what was I doing there?

Going through the motions. I didn’t have any fresh leads on the Cuban story, so I was retracing my steps through my own backyard.

When Misty came back to my part of the bar I asked how she got her start.

“Oh, lord,” she said. “It’s been fifteen years since I started bartending. I barely know what I did yesterday.”

I waited. Misty grinned.

“I started at the Lizard Lounge shortly after it opened,” she said. “I was a cocktail server at first, but I ended up behind the bar shortly thereafter. I was attending Harvard Divinity School at the time, studying Early Christian History and Greek textual criticism. I was in school the whole time I worked at the Lizard Lounge.”

Misty placed four large ice cubes in a glass and laid a thick slice of cucumber between each cube. She dropped another four slices of cucumber into a pint glass and started to mash them with a  wooden muddler.

Brother Cleve started Saturnalia not long after,” she continued. “Man, that was a ball. Every week he’d come in and have his drink of the week, and he’d drink it all night long. Always a pre-prohibition classic cocktail. By the end of the night I’d have the recipe memorized. That’s how I got a huge selection of recipes in my head, just the repetition of making the same drink for Cleve over and over again. Then at the end of the night Cleve and I would go back to his house or mine and drink rye Manhattans and talk about booze.”

Misty added ice and a healthy dose of Pimm’s to the pint glass and shook it. She strained the drink over the stratified cubes and cucumber and handed it to another customer.

I asked for her thoughts on the Periodista. Motions were there to be gone through.

“Everybody kind of has their own take on it,” she said. “The way we used to make it back at the B-Side—with the Apry and the Rose’s lime juice—was, for me, terribly, terrible sweet.”

I suggested that there were still people in Boston who preferred them that way.

Will piped up from behind the mint, “You know Kazuo Ueda? He’s this Japanese bartender. He talks about how you have to have four recipes for every drink. There’s the original, classic recipe. There’s the recipe that fits the modern taste. There’s the recipe that’s perfect for you, the bartender. And then there’s the recipe that’s perfect for your guest.”

I thought about the Periodista. I had the classic recipe care of the Club de Cantineros de Cuba, with its light rum and extra sugar. Joe McGuirk’s original dark rum version would be the one that fit the modern taste. I’d collected favorite recipes for the drink from bartenders all over Boston. But which was perfect for me?

I asked Misty to make me a Periodista. She set it in front of me and I took a drink. It wasn’t the one, but it was damn good.

Misty looked out over the still quiet bar. She clapped her hands together. “Okay, Thursday,” she said. “Let’s do this.”

I watched the bar fill up. Drink attracts an eclectic clientele. A group of women were dressed for a Seaport gala. There was a clique of Government Center pinstripe types and a few lone cocktail nerds who looked like they hadn’t left the house in days. Somehow, at Drink, they gel.

I walked among them, taking in the scene.

Drink is buried a man’s height below street level. There are windows along the sidewalk where you can watch people pass by, and they can watch you watch them. Cases full of gemlike beetles on pins—cocktail garnishes for the Goth set—line the back wall, where people who got there too late for a seat mingle on foot. Three massive concrete pillars keep the nuovo-Italian diner, Sportello, from crashing through the ceiling. A long wooden bar snakes between the pillars, creating a series of three prosceniums, around which customers cluster to vie for a bartender’s attention. Because of the layout, catching an eye is easier than catching a drunkard’s drift.

The concept for Drink has undergone a few revolutions. The story I’d been told was that Drink’s original vision was for each of the three peninsular bars to have its own identity. The first bar would create cocktails in the tradition of the 19th century—heavy on the rye, hand-chipped ice from massive blocks—the second bar would focus on 20th century cocktails, and the third would experiment with modern techniques like molecular mixology. Back then they didn’t expect to get more than a hundred customers a night. These days they end up getting a hundred customers at a time, all night, every night.

I ended up in the elbow of the 19th and 20th century bars watching Scott Marshall hack away at a giant ice block. He’d brought it from the back room, hefting it with a pair of cast iron ice hooks.

John Gertsen reappeared and joined me, leaning on the other side of the elbow. There was one mystery I thought he could solve. I asked Gertsen if I had him to thank for putting the Periodista word out at Tales of the Cocktail.

“Well, Brother Cleve came in here a few weeks back,” he said. “Cleve, as you know, is kind of the Boston godfather. He’s the Yoda to the Obi-Wans and the Luke Skywalkers of the Boston scene. He came in wearing his little hat, and when we got to chatting he told me all about your investigation into the Periodista. And I thought it was just fascinating. Here we were, telling ourselves the same story about this drink, and for all we knew, none of it was true. So when I heard you were going to be down at Tales, I spread the word to Dave Wondrich and Dale DeGroff.”

That was one question answered.

“It’s funny,” said Gertsen. “For a while there was actually some controversy here at Drink about how the Periodista was going to be made. Because, of course, Misty’s here, and she’s been making them her way, tried and true, since the beginning. So I’d be on this side of the bar, talking to my guests about how I was sure it was originally a drier drink, probably made with a light, Cuban rum, and on the other side of the bar Misty’s making them in the Boston tradition, with dark rum. Of course hers is much less sweet than the original, but still a little sweet for my taste. In general the profile of Drink is a little less sweet than a lot of places. We have a spirit-heavy formula. A lot of classic cocktail bars, even in Manhattan, use a 2-¾-¾ basic formula. We go 2-½-½, because I think it lets the spirit dominate a little more.”

Gertsen took a breath. He’s a talker. I used the opening to ask about Drink’s reputation. Drink gets lauded and lambasted in equal measure. A recent issue of GQ ranked them among the top 25 bars in the country. Good press, but the magazine’s 70-word blurb found room for a dig at Drink’s unorthodox methods. I wondered how the author of those methods felt.

“I never thought that it was going to be what the press has made it,” Gertsen said, “which is, you know, ‘They’re mind readers down there at Drink.’ I remember getting a phone call from Mat Schaffer at one point and him being like, ‘Oh so you’re kind of like a cocktail consultant, right? Or a guru?’ I’m like, ‘No. I’m a bartender.’”

Drink doesn’t have a cocktail menu. It doesn’t have a visible back bar, either. When you walk into Drink, it’s just you and the beetles.

“The one thing that Barbara and I got back to time and time and time again,” continued Gertsen, “was that we didn’t want to open a bar that just has customers, where we’re making drinks as fast and as furious as we can. We wanted to have guests who we invited into our cocktail party. Drink is a cocktail party. Come on in. Sit down. I’m not going to give you a list to read, I’m going to ask you, ‘What are you in the mood for? I’ve got some gin, I’ve got some vodka, I’ve got some of this. What do you like?’ Just like what I’d do if you came over to my house for a drink.”

Marshall had separated a chunk of ice from the block and was chipping at it with a meat cleaver. Across the bar from him, Fred Yarm and Andrea Desrosiers, the duo behind the exhaustive Cocktail Virgin blog, were sipping from stemmed glasses. Not customers—guests. Desrosiers chatted with Marshall about the progress of his tattoos while Yarm scribbled furiously. He’d have the recipe posted before the night was out. I envied his dedication.

“My idea was that we could have people come in here and they wouldn’t be hit with a barrage of bottles,” Gertsen said. “You know, humans are such ocular beings that advertising has an unfair advantage. If you see something, say, an advertisement for a new flavor of Bacardi, that image will stay on the top of your mind long enough that you’ll go into a bar, you’ll see it, and you’ll want it. I have people come in here and go, ‘Oh, I’d like a Captain and Coke.’ And I say, ‘I’m very sorry, but we don’t have Captain Morgan. We do carry Coca Cola, and I’ve got a couple of other rums you could try.’ They’re like, ‘Nah, just give me a Tanqueray and tonic.’ They switch spirits completely! And then the last thing they say is, ‘Well if you don’t have that, I’ll have just a Bud Light.’”

Marshall had managed to sculpt a perfect, fist-sized cube. He placed the ice in an Old Fashioned glass, poured a jigger of rye whiskey over it, and began to stir.

“People get their heads filled with all these brand names,” Gertsen continued. “And I don’t want those names to be there. My sales reps will probably kill me for this, but I want drink names to be there. I want some of the work that we’ve all done looking through these old books, brushing the dust off of great old cocktails—I want the names of the cocktails to be back out. And I hope that that’s what’s really happening at Drink.”

On the wall above us, The Board illustrated Gertsen’s point. It was the kind of board you might find in an elementary school classroom—black, with white plastic letters that never quite line up right. In this case, they spelled out cocktail names. Hemingway Daiquiri was there. The Bee’s Knees. The Maximilian Affair—one of Misty’s. No Periodista, but I didn’t hold it against them.

“We have a long history as a group of talking about storytelling and taste of place,” Gertsen said. “Those are two things that the BL Gruppo does so well. We joke sometimes that we don’t even charge people for the drinks. We just charge them $10.75 for the stories. And I think there does need to be that dialogue, because that’s really what our bar is all about. It’s about conversation. And I’d be hard-pressed to look around here and find one person that’s not involved in a conversation right now. And to me that’s success. No TVs. No advertising. Let’s just have a bar where people can come in and talk.”

Marshall had chilled the Old Fashioned. He placed it in front of his guest, who paused her conversation to thank the bartender.

Drink’s Periodista

1 ½ oz Myers’s dark rum
½ oz lime juice
¼ oz Combier triple sec
¼ oz Rothman & Winter Orchard apricot liqueur
¼ oz house-made lime peel simple syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled antique coupe glass.  No garnish.

Tasting notes: “We certainly don’t use Rose’s,” Misty says. “We make a lime simple syrup at Drink. We steep lime peel, so you get the nice oil flavor. It’s much more complex, has a nice, long shelf life, and just tastes so much better. We also use Combier triple sec, which has that nice bitter orange quality to it.” Interesting to note that Misty hangs on to the addition of simple syrup, rather than sweetening the drink with just the liqueurs, as in McGuirk’s and Cannon’s recipes. A holdover from the old days?

Periodista Tales: Lauren Clark—The Critic

It wasn’t with the rum drinks. No, that would have been too easy. It was in a catchall section called “Mezclas Multiples.” The recipes were in alphabetical order. I flipped pages, past the As with their Antilles and their Astoria, the Ds with their Delmonico and Douglas Fairbanks. But it wasn’t in the Ps between Pelayo and Perry. No, that would have been too easy. I flipped to the end. There it was, in the bottom right-hand corner of page 399, after the curiously-spelled Zazerac cocktail.  All by itself.  Like it didn’t want to be found.


Come. On. What?”

I was sitting in the Franklin Cafe with Lauren Clark on a Tuesday. Joy Richard was behind the bar. Joy works Tuesdays. That’s why we were there instead of the library.

“So, what does it say? Bacardi blanca, okay. Apricot, okay. Límon is actually lime, right?”

We were looking at the copy of El Arte Del Cantinero that I’d brought along for show-and-tell. I was seeing a girl who was tight with the Harvard librarians, and she’d found the book on WorldCat and put in an interlibrary loan request. Easy as that. The copy we’d gotten was from Yale. What Yale was doing with it I couldn’t figure. Probably not mixing Zazeracs.

“That’s amazing.  That is so—wow.  So at least 1948, then?”

Uh huh. El Arte proved it. The Periodista was Cuban, and it was at least as old as 1948, when the Club de Cantineros de la República de Cuba put out their bartender’s manual. The book is credited to Hilario Alonso Sanchez, apparently the Club’s secretary, and the full title is El Arte Del Cantinero, Los Vinos Y Los Licores.

The thing is an inch thick. 450 pages cover to cover, with 100 pages devoted to recipes. (I’d strapped myself to Google Translate and was holding on tight—not the first time I regretted taking French in school.) The first 350 pages cover everything a good barman should know: grape varietals, the therapeutic qualities of beer, “the truth about alcoholism,” five different theories on the origin of the word “cocktail,” how to stock a bar, how to dress, how to treat a good customer, how to deal with a bad one. It also includes the origin stories of a number of classic cocktails. Not the Periodista. My copy was bound in brown leatherette and had the word CINZANO stamped on the fore edge. No respect, those Yalies.

I took a sip of the drink Joy had made me. It was something she was working on for the cocktail menu of the Franklin family’s new joint, the Citizen. It was pink and tasted vaguely of dark chocolate. I liked it. Clark ordered the Cape Bjare Daiquiri. I’d beaten her there by a good half hour and was already on my second. Model of restraint.

Lauren Clark is the editor of—and sole contributor to—the blog In some ways, Clark’s work has defined the Boston bar scene. Sometimes a movement doesn’t realize it’s a movement until it has a critic to talk about it. Lauren Clark: Clement Greenberg of Boston cocktaildom. I’d met her a couple months back at Green Street and told her about the Periodista project. She’d said something vaguely encouraging. I’d started working on it the next day.

“Now,” said Clark, flipping the brown, crispy pages of El Arte, “are there a lot of recipes in here that call specifically for Bacardi?”

Clark didn’t have anything new for me on the Periodista, but sitting there with her and a 1948 recipe for the Periodista, I felt like I’d come full circle. I ignored her rum question and brought things back around to the Club de Cantineros de la República de Cuba. According to the irrepressible Havana Club website, the Club is still active today.

I observed to Clark that she also belongs to a cocktailing club of sorts. (A cheap segue is like a cheap drink: you may not like it, but it gets you there.)

“You mean LUPEC,” she said. “LUPEC Boston, I should say. The first chapter was founded in Pittsburgh in 2000. Ladies United for the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktail. That’s us.”

I asked how LUPEC Boston came together.

Misty was the one who got the whole ball rolling,” she said. “She had been working in town for a while and already had a reputation just as a hoofer, you know? Like she’d been on Broadway for a long time and had done a lot of shows, but she was finally starting to really get on stage and be in the spotlight. I think she wanted to figure out how the cocktail thing was going to move forward.”

Ladies United for the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktail. The name had the sooty air of the 19th century all over it. I thought about the Jack Rose Society. What was it about the cocktail renaissance that had people roleplaying the Victorian era? Too much time nose-deep in Jerry Thomas? I asked Clark her opinion.

“I think that’s probably a little more true of the Jack Rose Society,” she said. “I think in a lot of ways they were more practical. They always had an agenda, like, let’s figure out the best recipe for the Ward Eight. And you know Jackson and John—they would all bring their books and there would be a kind of nerdfest going on. LUPEC was less about that. For us it was more about just finding this thing to be enthusiastic about, and finding kindred spirits, and then spreading the love through this group of enthusiastic people.”

Down the bar, Joy eyed the ice cubes that were spinning in her mixing glass. As the crushed ice at the bottom of the glass blended with the spirits, the larger cubes on top began to sink. Like Clark, Joy Richard was a founding member of LUPEC Boston.

“It was also about bringing drink-making women out of the shadows,” said Clark. “Bartending is a very male-dominated passion, and there are certain preconceived notions when it comes to cocktails and women. We wanted to say loud and clear, like, ‘Hey, we’re making Rob Roys too. We’re not just drinking Cosmos. We’re the real deal.’ So that was a big part of it. But, you know, I haven’t really been actively involved with LUPEC in over a year.”

Typical of my investigative techniques.  Find someone who hasn’t touched your lead in twelve months and grill them. Swell. I asked her about something I knew she was still up on, her own blog.

“I started Drinkboston in 2005,” Clark said. “I’d just completed a major freelance assignment, this beer piece I wrote for the Times. And I was like, ‘Oh, wow. I got an article published in the New York Times and it was not fun for one second.’ So I started looking for a way to do my own thing with my writing. At the same time I was becoming more aware of the bar scene. Back then, like early 2000s, dirty martinis were still the big thing, and people were just discovering Cosmopolitans.”

She pointed to my cocktail glass. V-shaped with a stem. You know the one.

“People started drinking stuff out of this glass,” she said, “like they never had before. So bartenders started making more drinks for that glass.”

Joy brought over Clark’s daiquiri. It was in that glass.

“It all gelled while I was doing a brief freelance stint for the Herald,” Clark continued, “writing for their Sunday food section and alternating each week between beer columns and wine and spirit columns. Every time I sat down to start writing a column I would Google ‘best Boston bars,’ ‘best Boston bartenders,’ ‘Boston cocktails,’ things like that, trying to find background information. There was, like, nothing. After the tenth time doing that I kind of said, ‘Hey, this looks like something I might be able to do myself.’”

Of course, now when you Google any of those search terms, Clark’s blog comes up. First result. I thought about a time not too long ago when I’d been desperately Googling “periodista recipe” and coming up short. Try that search today. Not the only way I’d followed in Clark’s footsteps.

“I started interviewing bartenders,” she continued, “writing profiles, doing reviews. I wanted it to be a platform for my writing, but I also wanted it to be, you know, a loose narrative of what was happening in the Boston bar scene.”

Clark’s narrative covers the past five years. I arrived on the scene in 2007, started trailing the Periodista in 2010. But my questions went back at least to 1995, and not a single person I’ve wanted to get access to has left town. Clark had profiled almost all of them years before I showed up.

“The top people in Boston are definitely the ones who have been slogging it out for a long time,” Clark said. “Jackson, Misty, John—but there’s this funny thing happening now where a twenty-three-year-old will start working at a bar, and be kicking ass and doing great, but have the expectation that they’re going to be, like, brand ambassador and a celebrity bartender within five years.  Now, that has definitely happened in New York, and probably San Francisco. Not really here. But I think if there’s anyone in Boston working now who’s on that trajectory, it’s Misty.”

Of course. Kalkofen again. I felt as if she’d been the shadow protagonist of the Periodista story from day one. That was one reason I had for talking to her. But there was a better one. She knew David Wondrich and Dale DeGroff personally. DeGroff owed me a Cuban bartending school textbook, and Wondrich—well, I’d take what I could get. If anyone was going to be able to get me on their dance cards, it was Misty Kalkofen.

El Club de Cantineros de la República de Cuba Periodista (1948)

1 copa Bacardi Carta Blanca
¼ apricot brandy
¼ Curazao
½ limón pequeño
¼ cucharadita de azucar

Hielo.  Bátase, cuélese y sirvase con una guinda y una cáscara de limón.

Tasting notes: This is as close as we’ve gotten yet to what might be the original recipe for the Cuban Periodista. It’s made with white Cuban rum, in this case calling specifically for Bacardi’s signature rum. As many rum experts will tell you, the stuff currently under the Bacardi label is a pale mockery of the once great Cuban spirit, but I’m not sure what an appropriate substitution would be. El Arte Del Cantinero has a fairly lengthy sermon on the merits of Marie Brizard Apry, so I think we can assume that would be the apricot brandy of choice for los cantineros. Add curaçao, juice of half a lime, shake with ice and serve with, in this case, a cherry and a lime twist.

Periodista Tales: Highland Kitchen—McGuirk’s Vindication

I was sitting at Highland Kitchen in Somerville drinking my third glass of water. I’d sweat my weight biking up Central Street to get there. On my right, an old man with a handlebar mustache was chasing a cucumber slice around his glass with a straw. On my left, three women were talking loudly with Boston accents.  ighland Kitchen is your best bet on finding a good Boston accent and a good Aviation in the same room.

Joe McGuirk was behind the bar. I’d been watching him for an hour. The man’s a maestro. He pours spirits with a sixth sense and quarters limes like a ninja. He’s a big man with a ponytail and a light beard—the Mario Batali of the bar. His face is a mirror of his guests’ faces. Serious drinkers get a somber McGuirk, happy drunks get a smile. Women always get the smile.

One of the women next to me leaned across the bar and leered at him.

“I’m looking for something strong,” she said. “Do you come in a glass?”

McGuirk winked and refilled her water. He keeps his bar packed and happy.

McGuirk was the last piece of the puzzle. For the past 18 years he’d been at the vanguard of Boston’s cocktail evolution. He’d been on the opening staff of practically every bar in town—The B-Side Lounge, Toad, Salamander, Green Street, Game On, Bleacher Bar, Highland Kitchen, to name a few. Most importantly, he’d been there at the beginning, when Chez Henri first opened. When the Periodista first appeared on the scene.

Paul O’Connell had led me to expect a challenge. “Joe’s grumpy,” he said. “He doesn’t have a lot of patience for people who are that enamored of what he does.”

When there was a drop in the action I asked McGuirk if he could solve a mystery for me.

“I can try,” he said.

I asked about the Periodista.

“We usually have it on the menu,” he said, “under Highland Classics. But we can always do them. You want one?”

I said I did, and McGuirk swept out of earshot.

At the front of the bar, tall windows look onto Highland Avenue. A kid on the sidewalk smoked a cigarette and reached through a window to drink his beer. On the back wall, a steer’s skull was celebrating Christmas while Jonathan Richman played on the juke. A family of five had wedged themselves in the front entrance and were being led to a table.

McGuirk returned with a full shaker. As he poured my drink I asked him where the Periodista came from.

“It’s a Chez Henri drink,” he said. “We had it on the opening menu there. We were the first bar to serve it that I know of. At the time nobody knew what it was.”

McGuirk smiled.

“I remember,” he said, “I was drinking at another bar—it must have been ’95, ’96—and somebody ordered one. I laughed, because I watched the guy make it. He put in, like, sweet vermouth, triple sec. He was just making it up. But it was really popular at Chez Henri, especially among regulars. Around ’97 or so, one of the local magazines, Stuff at Night or the Improper Bostonian, gave it props as the Best New Cocktail.”

Before he could escape I asked him how the Periodista ended up on Chez Henri’s menu.

Paul and I were kind of under the gun when we were opening Chez Henri,” he said. “We were putting together the cocktail menu—we knew we were going to do a Mojito, and we were looking for an up drink. We found a recipe for this drink called the Periodista in this little tropical cocktail book.”

I held my breath.

“It was a really small book,” he said. “Almost like a pamphlet. It looked like something put out by liquor companies in the ‘50s or ‘60s to try to sell Bacardi, you know what I mean? It looked like Hawaiian Punch drawings on the cover. I can’t remember the name of it.”

Why was I not surprised?

“But the recipe in that book called for white rum,” he said. “White rum, triple sec, apricot brandy, Rose’s lime, and a pinch of sugar. We tried it and we were like, ‘oh, it’s kind of insipid.’ It lacked character, it lacked body. It was sweet, but it didn’t have any depth. So I decided to try it with dark rum. Myers’s was the dark rum at the time, Gosling’s wasn’t really around. So we tried it with Myers’s. It had a nice viscosity, a nice mouth feel, a nice smoothness. We decided that was the best way to do it. And that’s the way it’s been made ever since.”

McGuirk smirked.

“It was kind of a source of mirth when the B-Side first opened,” he said. “I was working there, and Pat Sullivan would be like, ‘Oh yeah, Joe, you invented the Periodista.’ And I’m like, you guys can keep laughing, but at some point I’ll be vindicated. It is my drink. The drink that we served at the B-Side is from Chez Henri.”

An old-timer waved to McGuirk from the other side of the bar and he disappeared again.

That was it. The cocktail that Boston has been drinking for the last fifteen years, the one on the menu at Noir, at Eastern Standard, at Clio—it’s a Joe McGuirk drink. I should have felt some sense of triumph. I had my answer. Except I didn’t.

McGuirk didn’t create the damn thing from scratch. He reinvented it, but there was an original Periodista out there.  A white rum drink with a story. Where did the first Periodista come from? Did Hemingway drink them? Was it even Cuban? I still didn’t know.

McGuirk came back around. I asked him, just for the hell of it, if he had any idea where the thing originated.

“I would guess that that recipe is probably from the ‘50s,” he said. “We don’t get a lot of cocktail recipes out of Castro Cuba, so it must pre-date ’61. Of course, there’s La Floridita and the Hemingway Daiquiri, and everybody says the Mojito showed up at the same time—so I guess that’s the idea with the Periodista, too. But Hemingway talks about a lot of the drinks that he drank, and I don’t recall any Periodistas.”

He shook his head.

“It’s funny,” he said. “I don’t think any of us ever think, when we’re putting together a cocktail list, that anybody’s actually going to give a fuck. You know what I mean? We talk about how World War I history contributed to drinks like the Sidecar and the French 75. We should remember that someday, and maybe that day isn’t too far from now, people are going to want to know the history of these things.”

McGuirk ripped off a printout and started on an order from the restaurant. Mostly bottled beers.

“I would like to see that little book again,” he said as he popped the cap off a Bud.

So would I.

I biked away from the bar, letting the hillside on Central Street carry me back toward Cambridge. I thought about the people I’d talked to over the past two months. Paul, Scott, Dylan, Alice, Cleve, Jackson. I had all their stories. McGuirk had filled in the last part of the Boston puzzle. And after all that, I still didn’t know where the Periodista came from.

It was time for me to start knocking on some new doors. I needed to get at the heavy hitters of the cocktail world. The hard core historians. The true scholars of cocktailia. Fortunately, I knew where most of them were going to be…

Highland Kitchen’s Periodista

1 ½ oz Gosling’s dark rum
¾ oz Cointreau
¾ oz Leroux apricot brandy
½ oz fresh lime juice

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a wedge of lime.

Tasting notes:  Joe claims that the Leroux apricot makes his Periodista taste the best.  “The test for a Periodista is smelling it,” Joe says.  “When I make them I smell it to make sure there’s enough apricot in there, because that really makes the difference in the drink—it’s that apricot flavor that wins people over.”  With the same proportions as the Eastern Standard recipe, Joe’s Periodista makes for a nice comparison between the Myers’s and Gosling’s versions of the drink.  Joe’s is a more intense, spicier cocktail than Jackson’s, but doesn’t taste as delicately balanced.

Bonus recipe! Below is the recipe that Joe used when the Periodista first appeared at Chez Henri.  It underwent some modifications on that menu, including dropping the pinch of sugar, and eventually switching from Myers’s to Gosling’s (though that was after Joe had already left).

Chez Henri’s Periodista (1995)

1 ½ oz Myers’s dark rum
¾ oz Leroux triple sec
¾ oz Leroux apricot brandy
½ oz Rose’s lime juice
A pinch of sugar

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a wedge of lime.

Periodista Tales: Eastern Standard—Lifting Hemingway’s Prints

It was 3:25 in the afternoon and hot as hell. I should have been at work. Instead, I was racing down Commonwealth Avenue and breathing exhaust. I had an appointment to make. Jackson Cannon, the bar manager at Eastern Standard, had agreed to an interview. If I could do it that day.

I crossed into Kenmore Square sweating bullets and pulled my bike up in front of Eastern Standard. Beneath the red overhang, people in polos and shades were dining al fresco. I felt like a barnyard animal. I wiped my dripping forehead with my shirttail and went inside.

Cannon was sitting at the corner of the long marble bar, talking intently with a man in a suit. I let the AC dry my face before interrupting. He asked for fifteen minutes. I ordered a drink. It was a Wednesday.

While Hugh was filling my order, I looked around. Eastern Standard’s back bar is a metropolitan skyline of bottles, like something Hector Guimard would have dreamed up in a drunken slumber. At scale, it goes for miles. A row of high tops separates the bar from the restaurant proper. I’ve never been on the other side.

Cannon wrapped up and I joined him. He has hair from the ‘50s, glasses from the ‘80s, and his finger on the pulse of the drinks industry. He talks about things like “regulating depletion levels” and “shifting the landscape on the Old Fashioned.” He’s also created some of the best original cocktails in Boston.

I remembered Scott Holliday telling me about Cannon getting the cocktail religion hard. I asked him how that happened.

Cleve and Misty,” he said. “Without a doubt. I was working as the assistant to the booking agent at Lizard Lounge when Brother Cleve started Saturnalia. And of course Misty was bartending. Misty unlocked a lot of this world for me. She and I lived together for many years leading up to my opening this place in 2005. We shared a house with Cleve—he and his wife had the top floor, we had the bottom floor. There were a lot of late night, bartender-centric meetings in that house. That’s how the Jack Rose Society started. Me, Cleve, and Misty are the founders. Gertsen came along pretty shortly after. But I think it’s safe to say that as far as the Boston bar scene goes, if there was no Misty, there’d be no Jackson.”

That was sweet, but not why I was there. I asked about the Periodista.

“Our first menu had six cocktails,” he said, “and the Periodista wasn’t on it. I think my first order for a Periodista actually had to go unfilled. You know, when you open a bar this size, you order several tens of thousands of dollars of liquor, and I think we had a pretty robust ingredient list at the time, but I didn’t order an apricot brandy right away. I just didn’t like the products that were available. So I couldn’t make the drink.”

So people were ordering the Periodista at Eastern Standard before it was even on the menu. Boston had already discovered the drink by the time Cannon came on the scene. There was no question in my mind where: the B-Side Lounge.

“At a certain point a higher-quality apricot brandy came on the market,” Cannon continued. “The Marie Brizard Apry, which I enjoyed mixing with, and so I decided to do a Periodista.  I remember the day we started to get our recipe together. Andy McNees was here, and I think he was doing the mixing, and I was calling out the ratios—”

Ratios of what, I asked him.

“Most cocktails are based on pretty simple formulas,” he said. “The ‘classic’ formula is 2:1:1.  Like, a daiquiri is two parts rum, one part simple syrup, one part lime juice. I have another formula called the ‘set,’ which is six parts base spirit, three parts fortified wine, two parts sweet liqueur, and one part bitter—it sounds more complicated than it is. And these formulas are tools for bartenders.”

Cannon pointed at Kit. Kit was shaking a cocktail and talking loudly to two women about a book he’d just read. Apparently it was about oysters.

Cannon continued, “I want Kit to be able to get into a dialogue with you about what you like, and to create a cocktail for you that’s of the moment. Well, he has to have some tools to do that, and an understanding of the underlying formula of cocktails will allow him to indulge your current interest in—”

Cannon’s eyes flicked up to the back bar, taking in the skyline.

“—Macchu Pisco, say. He can take that as a base spirit and plug different things into the other fields based on what he knows about complementary flavors. Using a reasoned judgement, he can do what we call ‘mix by assignment’—you know, you’ve assigned him an ingredient—and create something of the moment that achieves our standard of quality. It’s living mixology.”

Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was because I was skipping work, but I’d heard enough on ratios. I was there for one reason. I grabbed a cocktail menu and told Cannon to tell me what it said there under Periodista.

“Oh,” he said.  “‘Rum for the intrepid reporter.’  Yeah, I mean, I come from a family of journalists and historians.  Hemingway was a big presence in our household growing up. My dad was from the generation that—you know, when he was cutting his teeth as a reporter, the old-timers could tell stories of overlapping with Hemingway. I still remember when I was a kid, my father was reading The Sun Also Rises to me out loud. I guess I wasn’t showing a lot of interest, because at one point he turns to me and says, ‘You enjoying this?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ He’s not convinced. He tosses the book at me. ‘Well, you’re on your own now, kid,’ he says, ‘Finish it yourself.’”

Cannon grinned.

“And I did,” he said. “And it was great. So Hemingway was an iconic personality to me even when I was really little, and then more so as I grew.”

Again, sweet. But what did it have to do with the Periodista?

“Hemingway is someone who’s pretty dear to mixologists,” Cannon said.  “When you look at the 20th century, I don’t think any other non-practicing person has as many fingerprints all over our trade as he does. He invented the Bloody Mary. That’s a fact. When he was living in Cuba, La Floridita changed their ‘No. 3 Formula Daiquiri’ to the ‘Hemingway Daiquiri.’ And of course it sold off the charts. And I think it was during that same period in Cuba when the Periodista was created for him. But, honestly, I’d have to hit the books to remember if that was it.”

What books, I asked.

Jackson shrugged. “I’d probably start with the reproductions of the recipe books from La Floridita. And Sloppy Joe’s—that was another major bar in Havana.”

I told him it wasn’t in them. Brother Cleve had done my homework for me. Jackson rattled off the names of a number of classic cocktail books in which I was likely to find it. All the same books Cleve had checked. It wasn’t in any of them.

“Well, they got it from somewhere!” Cannon was a little flustered. “I mean, periodista. It’s Spanish for ‘journalist.’ Hemingway was the journalist. There’s no question about it. It’s a rum drink, you know what I mean? I mean—that’s—that’s just good marketing—whoever came up with it.”

Kevin Martin, the assistant bar manager, appeared behind Cannon and said something about refrigerators. Cannon excused himself. He was a busy man. A busy man who sold a lot of drinks.

I looked around some more. Hugh was at the register, counting out bills and muttering to himself. Nicole was pulling a beer for an old man in a Red Sox shirt. Kit was still talking over the sound of his own shaker. Bar backs swept to and fro. Jackson’s army.

Cannon came back and sat down. He looked at me. I looked back at him.

“It’s funny,” he said. “People might look to me as a bit of an expert on certain historical things. Hemingway in particular.”

He paused.

“But I don’t have the connection you’re looking for.”

I didn’t say anything. Down the bar, Kit emptied his shaker into a frosted coupe. Golden amber, like sunset in a glass. I could just smell the apricot.

“I will say this,” Cannon said, after a moment. “Hemingway was called the ‘Periodista’ as a nickname, that’s a fact. And the minute I saw that drink.” He snapped his fingers. “It connoted all the stuff I just told you about. And I’ve been selling with that ever since.”

He sat back and looked out over his bar. Maybe he saw the same things I saw. Maybe a thousand others. He smiled.

“When my brother comes in here,” he said, “He always orders a Periodista. And he goes, ‘Oh there’s this great drink my brother invented for me.’ And I’m always like, ‘That drink’s as old as dirt,’ you know? It’s become our own little mini oral tradition that we’ve invested a certain romance in.”

He shook his head.

“But we had to get the spark,” he said. “There’s a spark somewhere.”

There was.  I didn’t know where.  But maybe I knew who did.

I thanked him and started to leave. As I was pulling my bike bag over my shoulder, Cannon put his hand on my arm.

“I just got this weird feeling,” he said. “What was the Cuban place that the guy who did the Four Seasons opened up in the ‘60s in New York City? Joe Baum’s place. Joe was putting things like the Pisco Sour on the menu in like 1962. He’s was a keeper of the flame. If anyone had had a Periodista on the menu back in the day…”

I’d never heard of him.

“That might be a question for Dale DeGroff,” Cannon said. “Dale had all these original menus from Joe Baum’s restaurants. The only problem is, they were in Windows on the World when the Trade Center went down. Cocktail menus from everyone for decades in New York City. They disappeared with the towers.”

Eastern Standard’s Periodista

1 ½ oz Myers’s dark rum
¾ oz Marie Brizard Apry
¾ oz DeKuyper triple sec
½ oz fresh lime juice

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass.  No garnish.

Tasting notes:  If you want to hear a story involving pomegranates and Ernest Hemingway, ask Jackson why there’s no Rose’s in his Periodista.  Eastern Standard’s Periodista is one of my favorites.  Myers’s is not a challenging rum, but the Apry and fresh lime complicate the drink just the right amount.  In Jackson’s words, “Dark rum with orange liqueur and apricot—it’s a rich, sweet drink, but I think it’s complex enough to support it, and it’s sour enough that it works.”  Works for me.

Periodista Tales: Brother Cleve—The Godfather

In a Harvard Square basement, exposed-filament bulbs burned golden beneath steel housings, Arcade Fire rumbled in the eaves, and a man in a straw porkpie hat and a beard sat alone at the bar. Outside, it was ninety-five degrees and the 4th of July. Down there, the AC had already started to dry my throat. I was at one of the newest fixtures of the Boston cocktail scene, Russell House Tavern, to meet with one of the oldest: Brother Cleve.

I’d heard whispers about Cleve since I started drinking cocktails in Boston. Some call him the Godfather of the cocktail scene. He was there when the B-Side Lounge opened. He’s a musician. He’s an influence. His name appears in print alongside all the notables: Kalkofen, Gertsen, Cannon—a familiar list by now. He’s mythic.

I introduced myself and took the seat next to him. Cleve knew the story thus far.

“I have, like, two hundred and fifty bartending books,” he said. “I haven’t had a chance to look through every single one of them, but the Periodista’s not in any of Trader Vic’s books. It’s not in the La Floridita guide and it’s not in Sloppy Joe’s—those are the two most famous bars in Havana. It’s not in any of Jeff Berry’s books, it’s not in Ted Haigh’s book, it’s not in Paul Harrington’s book, it’s not in the Savoy, it’s not in the Waldorf, it’s not in David Embury’s book, it’s not in Bottom’s Up. It’s not in any of the classics.”

We were off to a great start.

“I never thought about this until you brought it up,” he said. “It’s really fucking weird. Now I’m fascinated.”

Cleve sported large, round glasses and a blue silk kimono-print shirt. Plus the hat. I felt like drinking a Mai Tai. Aaron Butler, the bar manager of Russell House, asked for our order.

“I’ll have a ginger beer,” Cleve said.

I raised my eyebrows, then ordered the same. We drank our ginger beers. I asked Cleve how he fit into the puzzle.

“I was really the guy who introduced the whole classic cocktail thing to the city,” he said, matter-of-factly.

I told him I was going to need a little more than that.

“Okay,” he said. “Let’s do this in chronological order. Back in 1985 I was on tour with this band. One night we were at this diner in Cleveland, and on the back of the dinner menu was a cocktail menu.  I started looking at the names of the drinks, and I was like, ‘Whoa!  Grasshopper? My grandmother used to drink those. Ward 8? My aunt used to drink those.’ I left the restaurant and on my way to sound check I went over to a bookstore and bought an old Mr. Boston Bartender’s Guide. I said, I gotta get to the bottom of this. What the hell is a Ward 8?”

I knew the feeling.

“What you have to understand,” he continued, “is that at that time in history, in America, there were people of a certain age who were seeing parts of their culture disappear for the first time in their lives. Things like drive-ins, Tiki bars, spy movies, certain types of ’60s fashions. Cocktails were part of it. You know, shots were the thing in the ’80s. But things like martinis and Manhattans, nobody drank them.”

He looked at his ginger beer for a moment before taking a drink. Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me” had started playing in the bar. I thought about Ghostbusters II and the things from your past you let go of at a certain age. If you let go. Cleve continued.

“In Boston, things really coalesced in the early ’90s,” he said.  “There was this band called Combustible Edison. They started playing down at Green Street Grill in Central Square, back when it was John Clifford’s place. They would play the kind of stuff you’d get on vinyl for fifty cents at a record store because nobody wanted it. It was the musical equivalent of the drive-ins and Tiki bars. Spy scores, lounge, exotica. Mancini and Esquivel. Elevator music. Space age bachelor pad music. The first time I saw Combustible Edison I was standing there with my jaw on the floor.  Like, these guys broke into my house and stole my records and were playing them back to me.”

Cleve’s eyes glinted behind his spectacles. I could see the picture, sun-bleached, like a record left too long in the window display: Cleve’s fingertips flipping deftly through a stack of records. Vintage sunglasses perched on his ears. A thrift store pinstripe on his back. Looking for outsiders to be outside with.

“When the first Combustible Edison album came out,” he said, “it was bigger than anyone ever imagined. The Combustibles were on Sub Pop, and they were their highest-selling band next to Nirvana. When it came time to go on tour, the Millionaire—he was their front man—the Millionaire approached me and asked if I wanted to go on tour with them as their keyboard player. I said, ‘Sure.’ So we went out there in the spring of ’94, not knowing what the reaction was gonna be.”

Cleve grinned.

“But people were so ready for this it was unbelievable,” he said. “There were like-minded souls in cities across the country. Across the world, really. I would say that it was a movement, it really was.”

I asked him what this all had to do with cocktails.

“Our fans were called the Cocktail Nation,” he said. “Cocktails were a huge part of it. At a time when everyone was wearing flannel shirts and drinking Rolling Rock, we wore vintage suits with flowing ties and ascots, we drank martinis on stage. It was kind of a punk rock moment. We had a signature cocktail, the Combustible Edison cocktail. It was flaming brandy, Campari, and lemon juice. At lots of our shows you’d get a free cocktail with the price of your ticket. We eventually got a Campari sponsorship. Entire venues would be sold out, and at least half the crowd would totally get it and be completely dressed up, and everyone in there would be drinking some kind of cocktail. Much to the dismay of bartenders, who didn’t know how to do this stuff, especially in rock clubs. The best one was in Philadelphia. I remember this, when the older bartender looked at me toward the end of the night, totally exasperated, and said, ‘Why can’t you people just drink beer like everybody else?’”

Cleve laughed.

“When I got back to Boston I was a celebrity,” he said. “My picture was on the front of the Globe Arts section, with a two-page interview inside. I’m sitting there drinking a martini, looking like one of those ‘What sort of man reads Playboy?’ spreads. There was an Esquire magazine cover story, GQ, all these different major major publications at the time.”

I thought about the man on that Globe Arts cover meeting the man flipping through records in that thrift shop. A like-minded soul? Maybe.

I still hadn’t heard how the Periodista came into play. I asked about the B-Side Lounge.

“Patrick Sullivan and I opened the B-Side in the winter of 1998,” he said. “Back in ’95, Patrick had been bartending at a place called Flat Top Johnny’s in Kendall Square. I had my fortieth birthday party there, and I was going up to the bar and ordering all these drinks. Sidecars, Negronis. Patrick didn’t know what any of them were. I was like, ‘Can I tell you?’  ‘Sure!’ he said. So I showed him how to make all these drinks. That was his moment, his version of that Cleveland cocktail menu.”

Cleve took a drink of his ginger beer. I thought about asking, but didn’t. I’d finished mine, so I ordered a Coke.

“Fast forward to 1997,” he continued. “I’m back from the first Combustible Edison tour, and the Lizard Lounge is just opening up in Porter Square. The booker there asked me if I wanted to do a night.  I said, ‘Sure.’ I called it Saturnalia. My idea was to play a bunch of lounge and exotica records and have classic cocktails.”

He gave me a wry look.

“This is where it starts,” he said. “This is where it really all begins, because the bartender at the Lizard was Misty Kalkofen. So, I brought in my cocktail menu—it had eight or ten classic drinks on it—and Misty was like, ‘I don’t know anything about this. I know how to pour beer.’ This is why when you read interviews with Misty now, she calls herself my protege, because I showed her, ‘Look, here’s how you do it.’ And the rest is history. All credit goes to Misty. She took that ball and ran with it. Saturnalia was huge. It was written up in the Globe, the Phoenix. We were sold out every night, lines down the block—and nobody drank beer, everybody ordered cocktails, and Misty made every drink. It was trial by fire. She learned how to do it, and she learned how to do it fast.”

The making of a star. These days Misty is nominally bartending at Drink, when she’s not being flown to cocktailing events all over the world by tequila companies. I met her once, but that’s another story.

“After that, Misty pretty much became my personal bartender,” Cleve said. “We ended up down on Lansdowne Street—everyone does, eventually. I was DJing at Bill’s Bar and Misty was making drinks. One night Pat Sullivan comes in. He’s like, ‘You don’t remember me—.’ He tells me the story of that night at Flat Top Johnny’s. Now he was opening up a new bar. He’d bought the old Windsor Tap, which was this real lowlife kind of dangerous bar that you only drank in if your father and your grandfather had drunk there before you. He was re-dubbing it the B-Side Lounge, and he wanted the focus to be classic cocktails. He asked if I would come on to create the menu. I said, ‘Sure.’”

Cleve sat back in his chair. At the rear of the restaurant, black-clad staffers were anxiously tugging curtains, blocking the view of a long table. At the front, a large group of men and women in rolled sleeves and sundresses were tapping their feet, cracking their knuckles, and one of them was giving the hostess a piece of his mind. Such as it was.

“You know the rest,” Cleve said. “The B-Side was a huge success pretty much from the beginning. And all the folks that are the leaders of the bar scene in Boston now—Misty, Jackson, Dylan, McGuirk, Rob at Chez Henri, Dave Cagle over at Deep Ellum—they all came out of the B-Side.”

The prophet and his disciples, spreading the cocktail gospel across the land.

“And here’s the B-Side’s first menu.” Cleve opened a black folder and pulled out two narrow, beer-stained sheets of paper. There it was. Periodista.

“We knew the Periodista from Chez Henri,” he said. “Joe McGuirk had been working at Toad, and he knew I was into cocktails, so when he opened at Chez Henri he told me, ‘Hey, you gotta come check out this new place. We’re going to be doing real cocktails.’ And they had the Mojito, and they had the Periodista. That was the first place I had one. We knew it was a great drink, and they sold a lot of them, so Patrick and I put it on the menu at the B-Side.”

Talk about the story thus far. What about the Hemingway connection, the American reporters during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the whole Havana thing?

“It’s probably all bullshit,” Cleve said. He laughed. “It’s not in the books. But when you see it on menus, sure enough, it’s always tied to the Cuban thing. Puts it up there with the Mojito or even the Daiquiri—which are famous Cuban drinks. The Mojito is in the La Floridita guide. The Daiquiri is named for the beach in the town in Cuba where it was created. The Periodista—”

He shook his head.

I thought about the legend behind the drink, the stories on the menus. All those Periodistas Joe McGuirk sold at Chez Henri, all the ones Jackson Cannon sold at Eastern Standard. Did you need a story to sell a drink?  If so, how bad did you need it?

I’d been putting it off, but I knew who I had to ask.

Brother Cleve’s Periodista

1 ½ oz Appleton rum, 12-year or 21-year (depending on your budget)
¾ oz Rothman & Winter Orchard apricot liqueur
½ oz Cointreau (or Bols dry orange curaçao)
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 barspoon (⅛ oz) simple syrup

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.  “A lime garnish,” says Cleve.  “A wheel if you’ve got it or a wedge if you don’t.”

Tasting notes:  Cleve is an advocate of Jamaican rum, and his friend Jeff “Beach Bum” Berry claims that the Appleton 21-year is the closest you can get to the old Dagger’s rum, which is no longer produced.  If you can’t afford that, the 12-year (or Reserve, even) will do as a substitute.  He observes that there is no Cuban dark rum, which is why he recommends a Jamaican spirit here.  (A classic Cuban cocktail with a non-native base spirit? Hmm…)  He’s also an advocate of another unavailable product, the Bols dry orange curaçao, but Cointreau will do in a pinch.  Cleve uses only fresh lime juice and adds a bar spoon of simple syrup to balance the sour.  (NOTE:  A big thanks to Aaron Butler for indulging Brother Cleve and I and making this delicious Periodista to Cleve’s specifications)

This week’s post also comes with a bonus recipe.  Brother Cleve brought with him the original B-Side Lounge menu, and the recipe cheat sheet he would hand out to all his bartenders.  The instructions for constructing an original B-Side Periodista, the first Periodista for many a Boston imbiber, is as follows:

The B-Side Lounge Periodista

1 ½ oz Myers’s dark rum
¾ oz triple sec (generic bottom shelf)
¾ oz apricot brandy (generic bottom shelf)
1 splash Rose’s lime juice
G: lime wedge

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a wedge of lime.

Tasting notes:  Cleve is certain that Joe McGuirk would have brought this recipe over from Chez Henri.  His comment on using bottom shelf brands: “That was the other thing with cocktails, and why a lot of places got into it: the markup on these things was incredible.   As far as what it actually cost in ingredients.  Because cocktails were never made with top shelf ingredients.  These drinks were cheap to make.  We sold them—you can look at the prices, I mean these drinks were mostly five or six dollars, and most of them cost about 85 cents to make.”  Yum!

Periodista Tales: Noir—A Mystery in Print

If you’re lucky enough to be biking past the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square at 1:30 in the morning, you might begin to hear a dull roar. It’s summer, and the patio at Noir is a dense, throbbing mass of loosened ties and fallen-strap dresses. From one until two in the morning, Noir is your last chance for a last call in Cambridge.

If you show up during daylight hours, it’s a different story. I locked my bike by the Legal Sea Foods, walked through the hotel lobby and past the beaded curtain into Noir. It was happy hour, when you can drink at any bar you want. Most people were drinking elsewhere. Inside, a small staff of young women in black uniforms shuttled beers from the bar out to the patio. On the sound system, James Brown was singing about it being a man’s world. I couldn’t argue the evidence.

I took a bar seat and asked for the menu. There it was, under “classics”—Periodista. I ordered one.

Noir has the curious honor of being one of the only bars to have a recipe for the Periodista attributed to them in print: Food & Wine magazine’s Cocktails 2006. For all posterity knows, the damn thing cropped up at Noir one night in a frenzy of misplaced bottles.

As Alice Rodriguez made my Periodista, I told her what I was up to. Her reaction was typical.

“Really?  Not even in New York?  That is so strange!”

A row of martini glasses sat upended in a bed of crushed ice. Rodriguez flipped one over and filled it. I asked her how the Periodista found its way onto their menu.

“The whole classic cocktail revival really started around here with this bar called the B-Side Lounge,” she said. “And one of the guys who quit there and came here brought the Periodista to our classics list. Yep, a guy named Paul McGowan. He doesn’t bartend anymore, he teaches.”

The name was new but the story was familiar. I asked her about the recipe.

“I think I have that book around here,” she said, and disappeared under the bar for a minute. Across the room, a black and white film flickered blearily on an exposed brick wall. I couldn’t tell if it was Cagney or Sinatra.

Rodriguez emerged with the book, dog-eared and water-warped, and flipped to the page. “Yep, here it is,” she said. “I really don’t know how this recipe got into the hands of Food & Wine. It was so many years and so many managers ago. Just a sec.”

Rodriguez went to consult with a group of waitresses gathered around the cash register. I watched the couple sitting three seats down from me sip languidly at piles of olives wet with vodka. I drank my Periodista.

Rodriguez returned. “I think I was the only one here who would have been around for that,” she said. “I’m honestly not sure how it happened.”

I nodded. A dead end. I finished my drink and ordered another. It’s what Cagney would have done. Or Sinatra.

As Rodriguez made my second, I flipped through Noir’s menu. A solid selection of classics. Some inventive originals. I began to wonder why no one ever mentioned Noir in the same breath as other craft cocktail joints around town. I asked Rodriguez.

“Well,” she said. “It’s probably because we’re really known for being an after hours bar. We’re open until two every night, so lots of restaurant industry people come here, but it’s right when they get out of work, so they can only just get in here before we close. And by that point in the night every other person that’s been drinking is here, too. The place is jam-packed—it’s crazy, we move all these tables here out of the way—and it’s just, like, High Lifes and Fernets, High Lifes and Fernets. I can easily double my sales in one hour.”

One of the waitresses had been listening in. “Never a dull moment,” she said, laughing.

“And everyone is just wasted, too,” said Rodriguez. “I can understand cocktail people not wanting to come here, and that’s too bad—I do enjoy having a conversation like this, instead of just ‘youyouyouyouyouyouyouyou,’ late-night.”

Rodriguez smiled. “But I love that, too.  It’s like my hour when I get to do whatever I want.”

I smiled back. It was a fine story, but I began to see a list of interconnected names—McGuirk, Gertsen, Cannon, Kalkofen—with Rodriguez’s name not on it. That told a different story.  Maybe the wrong one, but I wondered.

A chill breeze washed through the open patio doors, carrying with it cigarette smoke and the promise of rain. I thought about the B-Side Lounge, which by all accounts had that same manic, late-night energy and still managed to make a reputation for its cocktails. I asked Rodriguez if she used to go there, knowing the answer.

“The B-Side was such a hub for all of us,” she said. “You never had to call anybody, you could just show up and someone you knew would be there. A bartender you knew would be there—no matter who it was, you loved them. And it was such a weird place because it was just a little bit out of the way, you know? It was good food, but it wasn’t exactly outstanding. It wasn’t super cheap. It was kind of dingy. It smelled. But it was fantastic.”

Lightning in a bottle, I thought.

“Pat was actually here today,” she said. “Yep. You pretty much just missed him.”

I raised my eyebrows. Patrick Sullivan, the former owner of the B-Side Lounge. Add that name to the list. I ordered another drink. Rodriguez was kind enough to oblige.

Back at my inbox that night, a little foggy from Rodriguez’s Periodistas, I found a message waiting from another name I recognized. Ben Sandrof, former bartender at No. 9 Park, Drink, and former manager of—coincidence?—Noir. I thought that maybe Alice had enlisted him to clear up the Food & Wine situation. I was wrong. His message was four words.

“Talk to Brother Cleve.”

Noir’s Periodista

1 ½ oz Myers’s dark rum
½ oz Marie Brizard Apry
½ oz Cointreau
½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a small wedge of lime.

Tasting notes:  These proportions are the ones published by Food & Wine.  The brands were scouted at the source.  Myers’s is a much rounder, sweeter rum than Gosling’s, and the Marie Brizard is one of the sweeter apricot brandies.  However, using only fresh lime (Alice: “I don’t like anything with Rose’s”) keeps the drink from getting cloying.  A solid combination.

Periodista Tales: Green Street—The Steward

The Red Sox were at home. Kenmore Square was a river of red caps and jerseys flowing toward Fenway. Inside the Hotel Commonwealth, the bar at Eastern Standard was packed. B-school types wrinkled their noses at dirty martinis while cocktail nerds ducked Sox fans who were in for a quick one en route to the game.

I sipped my Periodista.

Eastern Standard makes them differently than Chez Henri. The character is softer, drier. But all the right flavors are there and the tart slap on the tongue is unmistakably Periodista. The mythology is the same, too—their menu reads:

rum for the intrepid reporter
one of the many cocktails
Hemingway adored

I took another sip. I was watching the landing at the top of the stairs that leads into the hotel. I’d been there an hour already and he hadn’t surfaced—Jackson Cannon; ES bar manager, Jack Rose Society founding member, Boston cocktail luminary. He runs one of the busiest craft cocktail bars in town, but he doesn’t take up the shaker too often these days. Not that day.

I paid my bill in cash and biked across the river to Green Street.

Dylan Black greeted me with a handshake. I knew he’d worked at the B-Side Lounge and Chez Henri, dueling ground zeros for Boston’s Periodista. These days he owns and operates Green Street, a neighborhood bar tucked away on a Central Square backstreet of the same name.

I sat at the bar and asked for the A to Z. It was medium busy. Some guys from the neighborhood were drinking bottles of Budweiser and craning their necks up to the TV. Manny Ramirez was back in Boston wearing Dodger blue and opinions were being expressed.

The A to Z is Green Street’s cocktail menu. It’s six pages and a hundred and two drinks long, but the Periodista isn’t on it. When Black came behind the bar to pull some beers, I asked him why. Dylan Black talks about cocktails the way he talks about the Celtics. He’s a stats guy. He knows a player’s history and what he brought to a team. Same with a drink.

“Because it’s a Chez Henri drink,” he said, “And coming from Chez Henri I didn’t want to take it. A certain Joe McGuirk will claim he invented it, but it’s an old cocktail that’s been around since like the thirties.”

Black delivered the beers and I flipped pages. Brambles, flips, snifters, fizzes—all fresh juices, house-made syrups—classic cocktails, local nods, originals. It may be hard to find, but Green Street’s no modern speakeasy. It’s the closest you’ll find to a beloved dive on the craft cocktail scene in Boston, with the best menu.

When Black passed by again I asked about the A to Z’s origins.

“I knew that when I opened I wanted to have a big, giant cocktail list with everything that I like,” he said. “So I went over to Gertsen’s house one night, got him drunk and stole all his cocktail books. I spent about a year going through them, pulling out drinks I thought would be appropriate for the tone of this place. Then one night before I opened I invited Jackson, Misty, Scott, and John over to my house and made them drinks. We talked about the list, how to pull it off right, that kind of thing.”

John Gertsen, Jackson Cannon, Scott Holliday, and Misty Kalkofen. All the key players. I asked Black his connection.

“Well, I worked with Misty at the B-Side,” he said, “and everyone came in there. I mean everyone. Like, growing up around here, everyone I knew came in there. My friends, their families. My folks. Just everybody.”

The B-Side Lounge was before my time. Its doors closed in 2008, but it casts a long shadow over the Boston cocktail scene. People go teary-eyed when you mention it. It was where Joe McGuirk brought the Periodista when he left Chez Henri. I asked Black what it had been like.

“Some people said it was like lightning in a bottle,” he said. “You know, it just shouldn’t have happened. I’d say the B-Side is definitely responsible for the idea of really doing cocktailing in Boston. Okay, probably eighty percent of our cocktail business was Cosmopolitans, but still, it was a place that created trust with cocktails. Cocktailing without pretension. You could drink an Aviation while the Misfits were playing on vinyl and it was totally packed. I worked there six nights a week for four years. The energy of the place was really, really, really great.”

I wondered if the Periodista might have reached more people there than at Chez Henri. When Black came around the bar again, I said as much.

“Well,” said Black, “I made more Periodistas when I was at Chez Henri than the B-Side. Absolutely. It’s a small place, but they have a crankin’ little service bar.”

No doubt, but could Chez Henri, a ten-seat bar on a Cambridge side street, hope to match the exposure of a hotel bar next door to Fenway Park? I thought about the Periodistas cranked out nightly at Eastern Standard. I needed Jackson Cannon’s angle, but the guy was harder to nail down than an eight-penny in a grease storm.

The B-Side talk had put a little half smile on Black’s face. I flattened my palm against the wood of the bar and felt the rumble of the dishwasher beneath as he spoke.

“It was seeing the success of the B-Side that made me realize I really wanted to do this,” he said.  He gestured at the bar around him.  “I’d always had my eye on this place.  You know, I’m from the neighborhood. I’d come in here when I was a kid, play the juke box. The old man threw me out once for getting too close to the bar. So there’s memories. There’s also history. I have the oldest operating liquor license awarded in Cambridge—1933—and the 69th common victualer’s license. I’m only the fourth person to own this place. My landlord is Charlene Wax, and her father was Charlie Wax, who opened up Charlie’s Tap. He was the first owner here, and he sold it to two guys, O’Driscoll and Feeney, and then Feeney dropped out and O’Driscoll sold it to John Clifford, who opened Green Street Grill in the ’80s. Then Clifford sold it to me back in ’06. Doing research for the place I came upon all these old ads that really give you a sense of its history. There used to be a piano upstairs in the back, shoe shines, blue plate specials.”

As he spoke, Black gestured at the large, black-and-white prints that adorn the walls of the bar. Archival images of the pre-war streets of Cambridge. The Charlie’s Tap marquee. The names O’Driscoll and Feeney in lights. I could almost hear the plink of the old upright in the back.

“I don’t really think of Green Street as my bar at all,” Black said. “It’s Cambridge’s. I’m just a steward, shepherding it on to its next phase of life.”

I’ll drink to that.

Green Street’s Periodista

1 ½ oz Gosling’s dark rum
½ oz Rothman & Winter Orchard apricot liqueur
½ oz Bols triple sec
½ oz Rose’s lime juice

Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a small wedge of lime.

Tasting notes:  Dylan’s recipe makes a slightly smaller—and more affordable!—cocktail than the Chez Henri version. However, if you were to multiply every quantity by 1.5, it would give you the same dimensions as Chez Henri’s Periodista (and Beth concedes that when she makes it at Chez, she often puts in closer to 2 ¼ ounces of Gosling’s). This may be the closest currently available Periodista to the Chez Henri original.

“I always felt the Periodista was a soulful cocktail, meaning imperfect,” says Dylan. “You either love it or hate it, it’s a very personal thing. Like if I was drinking one it would be the hottest, most humid night, but some people consider it a winter drink. Because dark rum is sluggish, it’s slow, but it’s cold and with a little tartness it can be refreshing. And obviously the alcohol behind it is very refreshing as well. It turns from, this is fucking hot, to this is fucking hot, you know what I mean?”

I’m not sure what he means, but I agree one hundred percent.

Periodista Tales: Rendezvous—When Jung Met Freud

Five minutes on Brookline Street got me from the BU Bridge into Central  Square. I pulled my bike up in front of the bright yellow awning that crowns the entrance to Rendezvous.  Through the floor-to-ceiling windows I could see Scott Holliday slicing limes behind the bar. Of the three names Paul O’Connell had given me, Scott was the only one who had still been at Chez Henri during my time in Boston.

I took a seat at the bar and the hostess put a stack of menus in front of me. The eight-drink cocktail menu has turned over a number of times since Scott took the reins as Rendezvous’s bar manager in 2008. The Periodista’s never been on it.

I ordered one.

“You got it,” said Scott. He went immediately into action. Scott has an economy of movement and speech that suggests a quiet delicacy, but he’s a gunslinger behind the bar. I’d never seen him without a vest and tie, and his cuffs are always buttoned.

Scott set an empty martini glass in front of me and poured my drink from the shaker. The amber liquid hugged the lip of the glass.

I took a drink, then explained why I was there.

“Chez Henri was the first place I ever saw it,” he said. “I remember Joe McGuirk would tell me that back when they opened, the Periodista was more popular than the Mojito. It was the big thing.”

Scott disappeared for a moment to fill some orders from the dining room. Ray Walston looked down at me from the flatscreen mounted high on the back wall and said something I couldn’t hear. Scott set two shakers down and continued talking as he fixed the drinks.

“In a lot of ways Chez Henri was my ideal job,” he said. “Every night had kind of two separate shifts. There was dinner service, which was busy and sometimes frustrating—you know, everything that working at a restaurant bar should be—but then late at night the bar became its own thing. All of a sudden it would be like I was hosting a party. Most nights I knew over half the people in the room by name. I could play the music I wanted to play, people would ask me what they should drink. It really made me fall in love with the idea of a good, simple neighborhood bar.”

I asked if that was when he started to get serious about cocktails.

“I’d say I started approaching cocktails a lot more seriously in ’02,  ‘03 maybe,” he said. “I think a lot of it had to do with my friendship with John Gertsen and other people in the industry. John was pushing hard to do good things at No. 9, and I’d apply a lot of what we would talk about in a version that would work at Chez Henri. Jackson Cannon worked in the neighborhood, and he would come into Chez Henri for a drink after work. Jackson was super fanatic about it—he got the cocktail religion hard—and I would say to him, ‘You have to meet John. You have to meet John.’ I wanted to be there when it happened, you know? It was going to be like when Jung and Freud met. That’s how the Jack Rose Society came together.”

Scott delivered his drinks and went to pour wine for some customers at the other end of the bar. You could tell the regulars from the newcomers by the way Scott’s demeanor shifted—switching from casual to formal and back again like clockwork. When he came back I asked him about the Jack Rose Society.

He smiled. “Me, John, and Jackson. I think there may have been three actual meetings in total—back in ’04, ’05—and I only went to the middle one. But we’d often end up at the same house together, late-night. Jackson would bring a mini-suitcase with a portable bar kit and some bottles in it. And we’d make drinks and talk about, you know, ‘Cocktails are becoming important in Boston. We want to help make Boston a great cocktail town.’”

Not long after that John and Jackson would be running two of the most important bars in Boston, Drink and Eastern Standard. I knew there was a Periodista on Eastern Standard’s menu. Drink, of course, doesn’t have a menu.

Scott disappeared again. It was beginning to rain. I watched drops of water trickle down the slanted glass overhang at the front of the restaurant. Scott returned with a set of fresh shakers.

“So, if you’re talking about whether Boston is a great cocktail town,” he said. “John and I actually went to a cocktail show in Paris last week. And there were these amazing bartenders from all around the world doing all this  phenomenal stuff. Molecular mixology, using really hard to source liquors, vintage glassware. It was all very impressive.”

He paused. It’s not something Scott often does.

“But,” he said, finally. “What impresses me is that at Highland Kitchen in Somerville you can get a properly-made Sazerac, at the Independent you can get a properly-made Sazerac—without anyone blinking an eye. It’s not just cocktail bars. And that to me is really is exciting, because it means that there’s a critical mass of customers, of the public, that know what these things are, that know when they’re good and when they’re not. It means it’s really gotten out in the culture of Boston.”

That was nice, but it didn’t get me any closer to the Periodista. I said as much.

“Well, it makes sense that Joe McGuirk would have brought it to the B-Side,” Holliday said, “and a lot of people passed through there—Dylan, Misty—but that’s not me. Joe’s worked everywhere. Basically, you open a new bar in Boston and Joe comes and works for you for a while.”

I nodded. All signs seemed to point to McGuirk, but I was intrigued by the Cannon-Gertsen connection.

“Did you ask Robby about it, at Chez Henri?”

Rob Kraemer. He’d made my drink but I hadn’t asked for his take. I’d been too focused on O’Connell.

“It seems unlikely,” said Scott, “But I’d be curious if Rob ever had a Periodista while he was in Cuba.”

So would I.

Scott Holliday’s Periodista

1 ¼ oz Gosling’s dark rum
¾ oz Barbancourt 5-Star rum
¾ oz Rothman & Winter Orchard apricot liqueur
¾ oz Cointreau
¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a thin disc of lime.

Tasting Notes:  Scott calls this the anti-Chez Henri Periodista.  “I wanted to achieve a balance that was more on the boozy and tart end of the spectrum,” he says, “rather than the rich and sweet end.  That would be the Chez Henri version.”  Scott’s is a cleaner, lighter version of the drink.  He loves Barbancourt, but you could substitute any white rum to cut the Gosling’s.  The Orchard apricot is a little less sweet, and arguably more apricot-tasting, than Bols.  On the other hand, both it and Cointreau are substantially more expensive than Bols brands.  If this version is too tart for your tastes, you could always consider the split shot of Rose’s and fresh lime, à la Rob Kramer’s recipe.

Periodista Tales: Chez Henri—Point of Origin?

“Chef Paul takes over the bar tonight at Chez Henri!” Twitter told me first, Facebook close behind. Gmail shot me the inbox wink a few seconds later, that same message on the subject line.

Chez Henri was where it had all started for me—the first Periodista I ever tasted—so five minutes to six found me standing in a light rain holding my bike helmet and waiting for them to unlock the door.

Chez Henri sits about fifty feet from Massachusetts Avenue on Shepherd Street, a mostly residential block that shoots off Mass Ave at the Starbucks and cuts along the southern edge of the Radcliffe quadrangle. Chez Henri’s bold red facade and gold-lettered sign have weathered the years well enough to become a Cambridge icon.

When they opened I grabbed a seat at the end of the bar closest to the kitchen. Raw concrete shapes decorate the red walls of the interior, bulwarking light fixtures and gilding the edges of the bar. At six on a Wednesday it was dead in there—just the way I like it.

I frowned as Rob Kraemer, the bar manager, swept in and slid a glass of water in front of me.

“Something to drink?”

I told him I was waiting for someone.

“Someone” appeared moments later, standing behind me with his hands on his hips, staring up at the chalkboard that displays the daily specials. Paul O’Connell, Chez Henri’s owner and chef de cuisine. O’Connell is a sturdy man in his middle-forties with a concentration-lined face and thick-rimmed glasses. He wore a blue-checked shirt with the sleeves rolled past his elbows, and his hands looked like they belonged to a lumberjack.

Apparently satisfied by what he saw on the chalkboard—Tonight! Chef Paul takes over the bar!—he walked over to me and held out one of those massive hands.

“You here to check out the new bar menu?” His eyes twinkled cannily as we shook.

I told him why I was there.

“Oh, sure.”  And suddenly he launched into it. O’Connell speaks with a sense of urgency, like a man who’s spent years trying to tackle too many things at once. “Yeah, we’ve had the Periodista on the menu from the beginning. I think we found it in some Esquire book—da, da, da—I forget, but it was like Hemingway’s favorite drink. And you know, we were doing Mojitos from the beginning, too. Probably the only other place doing them was Division 16 way back.”

Chez Henri opened “way back” in the mid-90s. O’Connell bought the restaurant from its previous owner on the sole condition that he retain its character as a French bistro. So Chez Jean (est. 1958) became Chez Henri (est. 1995).

“And—not like I was a visionary or anything—you know, people ask me, like, ‘How did you do the Cuban sandwich thing?’ I just liked it, and I did it, you know? And Mojitos—when we first started doing these drinks people were like, ‘What is it?’ Now you’ve got raspberry Mojitos, everything.” He chuckled. “But yeah, the Periodista was one of our first.”

I asked how it came to be that you could get one at any bar in Boston.

O’Connell furrowed his brow and sat down at the bar next to me. “Well, you know, Joe started here, then went to the B-Side, so then they had it there. And Dylan worked there and then came here, and now he’s got Green Street. And Scott was here on and off for years, and he’s at Rendezvous now. So there’s been a lot of cross-pollination.”

He was talking about Joe McGuirk, Dylan Black, and Scott Holliday—all prominent names on the Boston bar scene.

“So, it really is a Boston thing, and—I don’t know, maybe we should get—”

O’Connell paused, thoughtful. Latin guitar chords floated down from the bar speakers. I took a drink of water.

“You know,” he said, “We’re not at the forefront of—like Eastern Standard, all these places with the super-duper, startender thing. There are people in town who are incredible, people like Tommy Schlesinger who can make you a drink that’s just unbelievable. But here we keep it simple. Like, I’ve been tweeting ‘Chef Paul takes over the bar’—but I’ve been in the kitchen all day, you know? And yesterday I was tweeting, like, ‘I’m working on my gin and tonic recipe, my rum and coke recipe,’ right?”

I asked about all the tweeting.

“Well, I went to a seminar for it,” he said, “you know, the social media thing. I wanted to try to see if we could push an event just using Twitter and Facebook and all that.  Just reaching for something, I guess.”

I wondered what social media could do for a place like Chez Henri, fifteen years old and full of regulars every weeknight, walls bulging with drinkers on weekends. Then I thought about the look on O’Connell’s face when he mentioned the buzz around Eastern Standard, ten years Chez Henri’s junior.

I told O’Connell about looking for Periodistas outside of Boston and coming up empty.  That I hadn’t been able to find references to it even in cocktail books, including Esquire’s Drink Book from ’54.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” he said. “You don’t really see it in other cities.  And try to find it on a menu before fifteen years ago. It wasn’t in that Esquire book, huh?”

I shook my head.

“Joe McGuirk will know,” O’Connell said. “He’s got a mind like a steel trap. But he’s always busy, and he’s grumpy. He’s also—Joe’s sort of anti that stuff, you know? He doesn’t have a lot of patience for people who are that enamored of what he does.” He laughed. “Unless you’re a twenty-four-year-old girl.”

I smiled and suggested that wherever it came from, Boston had claimed the Periodista as its own.

“Well,” O’Connell said quietly. He shrugged. “Maybe we should get some credit for that.”

In the end, Rob Kraemer made me my Periodista, but Chef Paul did end up behind the bar, apron around his waist. Beth, Chez Henri’s general manager, was there to get pics with her iPhone and post them on Facebook. I don’t know if O’Connell deemed his social media experiment a success, but I counted two small triumphs for myself that night. One, it seemed likely that Chez Henri was the Periodista’s point of origin in Boston. And two, I finally managed to get a recipe.

Chez Henri’s Periodista (2010)

2 oz Gosling’s dark rum
¾ oz Bols triple sec
¾ oz Bols apricot brandy
¾ oz lime, half fresh-squeezed, half Rose’s

Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a small wedge of lime.

Tasting notes: The main things to notice here are the Gosling’s rum and the split pony of Rose’s and freshly squeezed lime. You’ll find a lot of people using Myers’s dark, but the Gosling’s adds a hint of spice, almost like subbing rye for bourbon in your whiskey sour. Beth asserts that Periodista purists, many of whom have been drinking at Chez Henri from the beginning, will insist on 100% Rose’s lime, no fresh, and that the split pony is a small concession to the hoards of cocktail revolutionaries who want everything to be fresh-squeezed. These are Rob Kramer’s proportions, and he claims to like his Periodistas a little more tart. Rob has been with Chez on and off since ’95, and he notes that this may not be the original Chez Henri recipe.

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