Interview with Phil Ward of Mayahuel

Photography by: Rahav Segev

Photography by: Rahav Segev

Mayahuel is completely dedicated to Tequila and Mezcal. While I never had the bad memories associated with it like most, I just never developed a taste for it. It was a spirit that did nothing for me. Mayahuel single-handedly changed my entire perception of Tequila. So today we chat with Phil Ward, Co-Owner and Beverage Director, of Mayahuel.

How did you become so interested in cocktails?
I stumbled into a busier barback position at Flatiron Lounge 6 weeks after they opened. Got curious, got obsessed, haven’t looked back.

What is your approach when it comes to formulating cocktails and what inspires you?
Its all about balance and templates. Every good cocktail is a blueprint for other good cocktails. What inspires me is a pretty cheesy question no offense. I like inventive and delicious things.

You mentioned that asking about your inspiration was a cheesy question. I find it fascinating though to find out what inspires bartenders to create drinks that reflect them as an individual. So to that affect how would you describe your style as a bartender? How do your drinks reflect you as an individual?
Your assuming drinks reflect an individual. Sorry to be a pain in the a– but I don’t know that is always true. Though if I had to say how my drinks reflected me as an individual (if they do) I’d say that they are simple yet complex.

One of my favorite drinks on Mayahuel’s older menu is the “On the Bum”. What was the inspiration behind that drink?
It was based off the Mai Tai.

No wonder I enjoy it as much as I do, seeing how the Mai Tai is one of my all time favorite drinks. Now how did you come up with the name “On the Bum”?
It was a tribute to Beach Bum Berry

Jamaican rum has a characteristically funky flavor and mezcal tends to have a smoky quality. What led you to combining these two strong flavored spirits in the same drink?
Well I always say when you put two tyrants in a room they will either kill each other or figure out a way to make peace and work together. I also maintain that any two things can go together if you find the right bridge to bring them together.

You mentioned that if you find the right bridge you can bring what could be opposing forces together. In the On the Bum what was the bridge and how did you go about finding it? Was there a particular direction or flavor profile you were seeking?
The orgeat was probably the main bridge in the drink. I just knew that orgeat played nice with both separately which is generally the best clue as to what can bridge the gap between two things.

I noticed that one of the ingredients of the On the Bum is Medley #2. It reminds me of how Don the Beachcomber created things like Dons Spices #2 and Dons Mix. Was this intentional? Did you want to leave something to drinker’s imagination?
Yes and yes

So what is the secret mix that makes up Medley #2?
Its a blend of Cane Sugar and Regan’s Orange Bitters

Simple yet effective.

Do you have any projects or drinks you are currently working on?
Yes I am helping with all the Fatty Crab/Cue Venues including the one we just opened in Hong Kong. I also will be helping open Ebanos Crossing in Los Angelos in two weeks.

Sounds like you are quite busy with all these projects. How was it different creating drinks for the Hong Kong market? Did you find it a challenge? If so How?
Every place is different. Hong Kong is a “younger” market as in cocktails haven’t quite created a market for themselves there to a large degree. There are some places but its not quite taken off completely yet. (won’t be long in my opinion) Biggest thing in such markets is to make drinks accessible for newbies.

Thanks again Phil for taking the time out of your packed schedule to chat with us.

On the Bum
1 oz Del Maguey Vida infused with Pineapple
1 oz Smith and Cross
3/4 oz Fresh lime juice
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Medley # 2
Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a low ball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Mayahuel
304 East 6th St
NY, NY, 10003
(212) 253-5888

Interview with Troy Sidle of Pouring Ribbons and Alchemy Consulting

Photograph by Jakob Layman

In today’s interview we sit down with Troy Sidle of Pouring Ribbons which recently opened in NYC. In just a short time it has become one of my favorite bars in NYC due to its welcoming atmosphere coupled with exceptional … Continue reading

7 Daiquiri’s in 7 Days: Royal Daiquiri


The Royal Daiquiri is a tasty twist on the original daiquiri. The proportions and preparation of my drink are different from the ones originally offered by Don the Beachcomber.

Crème Yvette is a violet, citrus, and vanilla liqueur that was first produced in the 1890′s. It went out of production but was revived by the Cooper Spirits Company, the makers of St.Germain. It is a combination of 4 berry fruits (blackberry, raspberry, cassis, strawberries) that is blended with dried violet petals. At the end of the maceration process honey and orange peel is added. It has rich sweet berry notes balanced out by a delicate violet flavor. Lingering in the background are touches of orange and hints of silky vanilla.

The Royal Daiquiri
2.5 oz Gold Rum (Ron Abuelo 7 Year)
1 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Crème Yvette
1 dash of Orange Bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass filled with crushed ice.
Notes:
Despite the hefty amount of Crème Yvette the drink is not sickly sweet. The floral notes from the Crème Yvette add a nice delicate touch and the vanilla complements the flavors of the rum. There is a delicious berry aroma and flavor that makes you yern for the long warm days of summers.

7 Daiquiri’s in 7 Days continues with the: Look Normal and a bonus drink, the Freshman Daiquiri
If you missed yesterdays Daiquiri Post: La Florida Cocktail

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44 North Huckleberry Vodka Review and The Royal Bloodline

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44° North Huckleberry Vodka is produced by the 44° North Distillery in Idaho. According to their website, it is the first vodka approved to wear the Idaho Potato Commission’s official seal. It is distilled from 100% Idaho potatoes, blended with sweet Rocky Mountain water, and infused with mountain huckleberries.

It is sweet and fruity on the nose with a rich berry smell. It doesn’t smell artificial, in fact it has a fresh and natural smell that entices you to take a sip. The natural smell carries through on the taste filling your mouth with a burst of berry flavor. It is silky smooth and well balanced, finishing with a warming sensation rather than a harsh burn.

It is on par if not better than some of the other flavored vodkas available from many of the major and more well known distillers.
I used the Royal Toast as my inspiration for the drink below.
Royal Bloodline
1.5 oz 44° North Huckleberry Vodka
1 oz Lillet Blanc
.5 oz Cherry Brandy (Cherry Brandy)
1 dash of Orange Bitters
stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Notes:
The rich cherry brandy and light berry flavor of the vodka are balanced out by the complexity of the Lillet Blanc. The vodka also adds an alcoholic punch that helps to open up the other flavors and bring out the nuances of the Lillet.

The 2nd drink is called:
Black Magic
2 oz 44° North Huckleberry Vodka
.5 oz – .75 oz Coffee Liqueur (depends on the strength of your liqueur. the stronger the coffee flavor the less you need.)
1 tsp of lemon juice
shake and strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Notes:
This one tastes just as you would imagine. It has a strong coffee flavor with a fruity background provided by the vodka. The lemon juice helps to brighten and lighten both of the stronger flavors and bridge the gap between them. Try this in place of your next black or white russian and let me know what you think.

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Comb 9 Gin Review and The Love Turned Bitter

Comb 9 gin is unlike any other gin on the market. While most gins are made with a grain based alcohol, Comb 9 is made from distilled honey.

Orange blossom honey is made into a light and dry honey wine, then distilled into vodka. This vodka comes out flavorful with notes of orange blossom, combating the common belief that vodka must be odorless and tasteless. The vodka base is then redistilled with 9 botanicals including: juniper, licorice, coriander, rose petals, galangal, and lavender. The honey floral base plays a supportive role that helps to unite the botanicals together producing a smooth finish.

This is a well made spirit that is well worth the money considering the time and effort that went into it’s production. Added to this, its the only gin on the market that uses honey as its base.

The first cocktail is a simple refreshing libation created by me just in time for the summer season.
Love Turned Bitter
2 oz Gin (Comb 9)
1 oz Aperol
.75 oz Grapefruit Juice
2 dashes of Orange Bitters
1 dash of Grapefruit Bitters
5 oz Ting
Shake the first 5 ingredients with ice and strain into a ice filled highball glass. Top with Ting and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Notes:
The botanicals and orange blossom flavors of the gin combine well with the bittersweetness of the Aperol. The drink has a subtle candy like sweetness (reminds me of the original bubblegum flavor) that is kept in check by the Aperol and bitters. A great drink to sip on a warm summer day.

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The next cocktail was created by Kyle Davidson of the Violet Hour in Chicago.
Easy Out
1.5 oz Gin (Comb 9)
1 oz Grapefruit juice
.5 oz Raspberry syrup
.5 oz Aperol
.25 oz Campari
Combine all ingredients in mixing glass and stir. Strain over large ice chunk in rocks glass.
Notes:
Usually when you see a drink that contains citrus juice the instructions often call for shaking the drink. However, according to the creator he feels that stirring this drink creates a richer body. As always try it both ways to see which you prefer.
Campari and Aperol go great with grapefruit and combining this with fresh juice which helps to accentuate that flavor profile. The sweet and tart flavor of the raspberry syrup help to keep the bitter flavors from overpowering the drink. I tried subbing out the raspberry syrup for homemade hibiscus grenadine which adds sweet floral notes. Another refreshing cocktail.

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The Communist
1 oz Gin (Comb 9)
1 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Cherry Brandy (Cherry Heering)
.75 oz Lemon Juice
Shake in an iced cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Notes:
I came across this cocktail in the book: Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh.
Depending on the sweetness of your orange I would experiment with adding a touch of simply syrup (.25oz) or cutting down on the lemon by about the same amount. The drink has an interesting tart cherry flavor with botanicals of the gin in the background.

Solera

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I came across the Solera Cocktail on the Imbibe website. It was created by Dominic Venegas.
This cocktail makes an excellent use of sherry.

Solera
2 oz Santa Teresa 1796 Rum (Ron Zacapa)
1 oz Lustau Palo Cortado Peninsula
.75 oz Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
2 dashes of Regans’ orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the oils of an orange twist over the drink and drop in.

Notes:
The original drink calls for Santa Teresa 1796 rum. Unfortunately, I did not have any in my liquor cabinet, so I substituted it with Ron Zacapa 23. If you don’t have these particular rums, try and substitute another aged rum. If you don’t have the sherry, substitute with another sherry. The final taste profile of the drink will be different but you should get a glimpse at this drinks greatness.
There is orange on the nose due to the expressed oils floating on the surface of the drink. The richness of the rum and sherry are balanced out by the spiciness of the falernum and the bite of the bitters. The drink is a symphony of flavors that delights the palate and soothes the soul. A wonderful after dinner sipper.

Mixology Monday – Tiki

Ever since I started blogging I have waited for Mixology Monday to arrive. February is Tiki Month and it is only fitting that this Mixology Monday be Tiki themed. This time it is hosted by the Pegu Blog.

My first drink for MxMo is a riff on Rum Dood’s Improved Rum Fizz which is a variation of Trader Vics Rum Fizz. After reading up on both drinks I decided to take Rum Dood’s advice and offer my own variation on the drink. Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was mix orange soda with International Delight French Vanilla Coffee Creamer which produced an awesome orange cream soda. I used this as inspiration for my Improved Rum Fizz #2

Improved Rum Fizz #2
2oz Banks 5 Island Rum
.5oz Curacao
.5oz Lemon juice
.5oz Lime juice
2tsps Vanilla Syrup
.75oz Heavy Whipping Cream
.5oz egg white
2dashes of orange bitters
1oz Virgil’s Orange Cream Soda
Pour all ingredients except for the soda into a cocktail shaker and dry shake for approximately 20 seconds. Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake for close to 1 minute. Pour the orange cream soda in the bottom of a glass then strain the contents of the shaker into the glass. Express a orange twist over the top of the drink and discard.

Notes:
The rum comes through and makes itself known without overpowering the drink. The bitters, curacao, and soda dance along your taste buds providing them with an array of orange notes that awaken the senses. This combines wonderfully with orange aroma from the essential oils that are sitting on the egg white cloud. The dryness of the curacao and bitters help to cut down on the sweetness. The drink has a silky smooth texture with all the flavors playing in harmony.

My second drink was originally created for a friend of mine who really loves coffee. So I gave her the honor of naming of it and out came the Starbuck (named after the character from Battlestar Galactica, not the famed coffee spot).

Starbuck
2oz Gold Jamaican Rum
.5oz White Rum (10 Cane)
.5oz Coco Lopez (coconut cream)
.5oz Fresh Brewed Coffee (Yemen Mocha)
.25 Allspice Dram
1oz Banana Liqueur
1oz Lemon juice
2dashes of Angostura Bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime shell filled with coconut. Torch the coconut with a light flame to toast.

Notes:
The frutiness of the coconut cream and banana liquer combine well with flavor provile of the Blackwell Rum that I used. The coffee keeps it from being too sweet and adds a hint of chocolate in the background. The Angostura and the Allspice dram add a hint of spiceness throughout.


Marmalade Sour

I saw this drink on Jamie Boudreau’s website. While he used 3 oz of cachaça in his drink i decided to reduce it to 2.5 oz. I felt that 3 oz was a little too much for my taste.  I also  added 2 drops of Fee’s Grapefruit bitters to bring out some of the grapefruit flavor hidden in the marmalade

Marmalade Sour (My Version)
2.5 oz Cachaça
.75 oz Lemon Juice
2 dashes Fee’s Orange Bitters
2 dashes Fee’s Grapefruit Bitters
1 egg white
2 barspoons of low-sugar Orange/Citrus/Grapefruit Marmalade
 
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake well, without ice, until the egg white is fluffed and frothy about 10-15secs. Then add ice and shake for an additional 10 secs. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Notes:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The egg white creates a nice light texture for the drink. The flavors of the Cachaça really come through and are nicely rounded out by the sweetness of marmalade. The bitters and the lemon juice create a nice bite to the cocktail. Overall I think its a great cocktail.

Let me know what you think about them.