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March 2015 Openings and Closings

Hearing rumors that Loyal Nine in East Cambridge (a brick and mortar home of Brass Tacks & Hand Taste pop ups) could be opening towards the end of the month.

Lone Star II (the other side of the river continuation of the Deep Ellum legacy) across the street shouldn't be that much further away either (haven't heard rumors about the dates though).

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1 day ago
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Eastern Standard, Bob McCoy

He joined Eastern Standard alum Kevin Martin in Ipswich, MA, working for Privateer Rum. He will indeed be missed, but this great opportunity will allow him more time with his family.

Like Kevin, I'm sure he'll be around town at various nights making drinks and promoting the rum.

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The Long Island? Cocktail or Not?

It is not a cocktail by definition of what a cocktail is (needs spirits, sweetener, bitters, and water).

It is a Fizz or a Daisy and related to the Tom Collins. If done with quality ingredients including fresh lemon juice (not artificial "sour mix), it can be rather decent. And just because it can have 4 or 5 alcoholic ingredients (*) does not mean that it has more alcohol. Our Tom Collins has just as much alcohol and our Manhattan has even more than that. I am sure that there are places that give you more than we do, but most places give you the impression that they are stronger than the average drink.

(*) We make ours at work with a half ounce each of the 4 white spirts (vodka, gin, rum, tequila) and a half ounce each of triple sec (boozy) and lemon juice, ice, and perhaps 2-3 oz cola. That's 2.5 oz of booze (some triple secs aren't 80 proof either) total.

http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com

Feb 22, 2015
yarm in Spirits
1

About passion fruit syrup and juice...

If you can find an ethnic market (Brazilian, Caribbean, or other) that carries frozen passion fruit puree, you can infuse simple syrup with it (like you make pineapple syrup). Passion fruits are very hard to juice even if you could find them.

A lot of passion fruit juice is mostly sugar water with a few other juices mixed in with very little passion fruit. The order of the ingredients on the label will tell you. In a pinch, this will give you a passion fruit syrup if you add sugar as you describe. I've done it. It is not as good due to % p.f. content in the juice.

In order, the passion fruit puree-infused simple is the most flavorful. BG Reynolds is the next best (you can get it mail order through The Boston Shaker store). With the sugared up p.f. juice coming third (just less passion fruit in the mix).

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Feb 15, 2015
yarm in Spirits

Gracie's Somerville

I enjoyed the ice cream I had there, but their prices are higher than Toscanini's. When I asked how big each size was, they were vague and described that they add more or less to the same sized cup. Less than I expected for the price, but the product seemed rather good.

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Jan 18, 2015
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Are there any highly recommended vegetarian entrees in the Greater Boston area?

VeeVee in Jamaica Plain has great vegetarian dishes and on Wednesdays, they do a vegan fixed price tasting menu.

Myers & Chang's noodle dishes off of their vegetarian menu (ask for it) are rather good, too.

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Jan 14, 2015
yarm in Greater Boston Area
1

The hawthorne in Kenmore, how's the food?

They are hindered by the size of the kitchen there (tiny!), but they do excellent work with that adversity. Seems more like food that can be prepped in advance and served cold/room temperature or quickly reheated. The pretzels are indeed noteworthy.

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Jan 07, 2015
yarm in Greater Boston Area

"Tickets" for Restaurants

Systems like the non-full cost have already existed here. For example, giving your credit card at the time of making a reservation (I found that system incredibly distasteful especially since it was generally never written or mentioned (less legally binding) what they could charge you or if they would charge you if you didn't show).

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Jan 07, 2015
yarm in Greater Boston Area

"Real" Eggnog

The store bought stuff is highly processed. Why not make it yourself. For a nonboozy version, this is what I make at work:

2 oz Heavy Cream
2 oz Milk
1 Egg Yolk
1/2 oz Vanilla Syrup (*)
1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup (*)

Shake once without ice to emulsify, shake again with ice, and dump into a rocks glass (restrain some ice if too many cubes were added). Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg (sometimes I also add freshly grated coffee bean and clove). Add a straw.
(*) These syrups are easily bought (such as BG Reynolds brand at the Boston Shaker store) or made yourself via recipes online. Subbing in simple syrup and a dash of vanilla extract and a pinch of powdered cinnamon will also work in a pinch.

For a boozy version, I reduce the milk to 1 oz and add 1 1/2 oz of spirit (often dark rum) and sometimes 1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters. Looks like this when done: http://instagram.com/p/w9oGcfmBdS/

Don't know if anyone is doing aged eggnog here. A lot bigger of a tradition in West Coast bars (sometimes prepped a year in advanced).

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Dec 28, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Batavia Arrack in Boston area?

I've gotten it there and Ball Square Fine Wines in Somerville.

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Dec 21, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Is it just me, or is this really utterly ridiculous?

So scrap the one that you paid a lot of money to have built so you can run your own (that you now have to build from scratch) that looks a fraction as good? I see.

Dec 10, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Is it just me, or is this really utterly ridiculous?

At what size of restaurant should you be hiring an IT staff to put up said website? Once you hit 50 employees or 200? And should this be before or after you get an HR department?

The only restaurants that seem to update themselves are ones that do menus by dreaded PDFs for download (or in one case an unsightly tumblr). Most web companies don't let their customers tinker with the code themselves (which is why many go the upload a new PDF route) and charge for every time they are asked to change a detail. A few places, notably beer bars, seem to do it themselves though most likely through an interface to keep the draft list up to date.

Dec 10, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Is it just me, or is this really utterly ridiculous?

Most restaurants don't have people in house that can access their website. In-house staff where I work use Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For the rest, they have to get their web company to do it. Not a perfect excuse, but it's not 2 seconds or free, and while my restaurant's page is currently up to date (I just checked), parts of it have been off for a long while. Often it takes a patron to comment to get things fixed.

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ISO Quiet place for a winter drink, Harvard-Porter-Davis Squares

I believe that Grendel's Den in Harvard Square has mulled cider and/or wine in the colder months. Decent beer selection including a beer brewed for them by Sam Adams. Mellow and not overly loud from what I recall.

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December 2014 Openings and Closings

The Rapscallion guys are often by the bar I work for we are one of their larger accounts. They brought along their chef who looked over our menus. Most of the talk was about the food program, and less about the beer.

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Nov 26, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Make your own bitters

I used to make bitters a lot before they were widely available (cerca 2008). The only kit you need are a few jars (like Ball canning ones), a tea strainer (or other mesh sieve) for coarse, and a funnel and coffee filter for fine. A scale (good for 0.1 gram) and a lab notebook, too. Recycling old bitters bottles works for the dispense or going to SpecialtyBottle online for eye dropper or dasher bottles/caps. For quicker filtration, I recommend the vacuum filtration kits (side arm flask such as a 1 liter, a B├╝chner funnel and filter paper disks, and a hand vacuum pump). Takes an hour+ process into under 10 minutes. Great for regular infusions too.

I got my herbs online from Frendzco on eBay (no clue if they're still around) and a few other places as well.

For some of my old recipes:
http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/se...

I can go into how I develop bitters flavor combinations if you'd like.

Nov 23, 2014
yarm in Spirits

Copper Moscow Mule mug?

I highly recommend the ones at Cocktail Kingdom. They have plain and engraved for $15/each and are the ones that I sport at home:
http://www.cocktailkingdom.com/catalo...

The Boston Shaker store has the unengraved Cocktail Kingdom ones and two Japanese copper varieties:
http://www.thebostonshaker.com/shop/s...

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Nov 23, 2014
yarm in Spirits
1

Are there any good veggie burgers to be found in chain burger joints? [in the Boston area]

Best food available at 3am though (although I wake up knowing that I ate there but I usually attribute that to the fries). Can't wait for 24 hour Clover in Central for when I work late at night.

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Nov 23, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Viale in the old Rendezvous space in Central Square?

My midweek trip (I believe on a Wednesday) was much more sedate and there were plenty of other people around my age (43). Music wasn't blaring for I could have a great conversation with my neighbor at the bar.

I would recommend re-trying it on a non-Friday/Saturday night if you did enjoy the food and drink. Many places change on the weekend nights (which is why I generally go out Sunday-Wednesday or Thursday).

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Nov 16, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Aperol Spritz

Also the St. Germain Cocktail (equal parts elderflower liqueur, sparkling wine, and soda water) follows the same formula.

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Nov 13, 2014
yarm in Spirits

Looking for Branca Menta?

Ball Square Fine Wines in Somerville has it.

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Nov 13, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

November 2014 Openings and Closings

Gracie's Ice Cream in Union Square, Somerville, is opening on Friday (11/7) in the old Sherman Market space (22 Union Square). Aaron Cohen, one of the co-owners, has done a lot of events around town with Eat-Boston. 3-9pm weekdays, noon-9pm weekends.

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Nov 05, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Is it appropriate to request specific glassware when ordering a cocktail?

"Manhattan on the rocks" is all I need to hear that the guest wants it in a Double Old Fashioned. "Manhattan up" is enough to know that they want it strained and put in a cocktail glass. Otherwise I'll ask "up or on the rocks?"

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Oct 22, 2014
yarm in Spirits
1

October 2014 Openings and Closings

Not sure of an exact date. Maybe 2010 or 2011? I based it off of one of the items that I frequently got (quality and price). It went from something I craved and enjoyed to something that made me unsure of why I ordered it.

Oct 19, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

October 2014 Openings and Closings

Indeed. We were regulars due to the food... and then stopped going because of the food (the quality was dropping as the price went up, although it was the quality that changed the most). Still stop in for a beer though.

Oct 19, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

October 2014 Openings and Closings

I do like some of their beers especially their IPAs. I just hope that they run their brewpub/beer garden with more hospitality than they have shown to bartenders, liquor store owners, and writers. Lashing out at the people who sling or promote their products hasn't been all that great of a strategy in my book.

http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com

Oct 19, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area
1

October 2014 Openings and Closings

With Bukowski's across the street and Lord Hobo, CBC, and Mead Hall just down the street, it would supplement the beer bar crawl I often recommend (well, when Buk's re-opens in December).

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Oct 19, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Beer Bribery in Boston

Wilcox denies asking brewers for a damned thing. The BeerAdvocate thread supports the concept that he asks the distributors for things, not the brewers themselves, though. And Pretty Things distributor (who does other brands) took a stand not to give out $$, free kegs, or product in exchange for business.

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Oct 16, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Speakeasy - Boston

True, but it is quiet when I usually go at the violet hour between 5-8pm. After 9 or 10pm, it can indeed be rocking.

Oct 12, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area

Speakeasy - Boston

Brick & Mortar on Mass Ave in Central Square, Cambridge. No sign, just go in the unlabeled door next to Central Kitchen and walk up the stairs. Solid cocktails. Program started by Drink and B-Side Alumni, and continued on by a No. 9 alumni bartender.

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Oct 10, 2014
yarm in Greater Boston Area