Drink of the Week: Rock The Boat (Don’t Rock The Boat, Baby)

July 29, 2011

My goodness, New York. You really know how to get us all hot and bothered, now don’t you? I hope folks out there are taking advantage of our previous DOTW entries to keep cool. The Blue Bubbly and the Lemon Basil Julep are certainly a breath of fresh air, a summer breeze with a bit of sauciness – or a lot of sauciness, depending, naturally, on your taste for sauce.

Summer continues; tempered slightly, but unabated. And so our drink this week again offers a refreshing, simple escape, taking advantage of an unusual combination of easily obtained ingredients. Because, you know, summer is hot, and it makes sense to swing a cocktail party that requires fewer shopping stops. Less sweating, more drinking! drinking responsibly!

Bess McGill’s “Rock the Boat” is also excellent reminder of beer’s value as a quality mixer. A great beer can harbor such a complex, intriguing palate – and a great beer cocktail can work with the flavor profile of a finely craft brew to create a unique drinking experience.

Ms. McGill explains that the drink was “inspired by the Brown Betty (via Liqurious) but utilizing ingredients available from a nearby convenience store while staying at the Boggsville Boatel in Far Rockaway (think: camping (no electricity or running water), but on private yachts).”

When you’re slumming it up on a private yacht, your drinks have got to be classy, right? Rock away in the Rockaways with the Rock the Boat!

Rock The Boat
-Put a lemon wheel at the bottom of a wide snifter
-Add 1 sugar packet, 2 pinches of allspice/ground ginger
-Pour a splash of cognac on top and swirl until dissolved
-Add an additional 1 oz of VS Cognac
-Pour in 6 oz Newcastle Brown Ale

Enjoy in snifter or pour over ice – the result is like a cold cider. Snifter is optional, though highly recommended.

Our guest mixologist adds the following helpful advice:

When your Sodastream runs out of CO2, or you showed up late to the party and all the seltzer is kicked, consider this – beer is a great mixer for cocktails. If the thought of combining hard alcohol and beer in the same drink rocks your boat [ha! – Ed.] too much, try thinking about flavors of beer like “fermented soda.” Most beers range in 4%-6% ABV (alcohol by volume) – pick beers that are on the lower end of the ABV spectrum. Consider the flavors of the beers too – for example: Newcastle Brown Ale, nutty; Magic Hat #9, peachy; Ballantine XXX, slightly apple.

Once again, we encourage you to experiment and play with the recipe. No ingredient or quantity is set in stone – if you find a delicious combination, let us know!

Many thanks to Bess for sharing her delicious drink with us! Got a cocktail you’d like us to feature? Let us know.

About our mixologist: Bess McGill is a cocktail designer. Presently, she is staffing a newly formed Brooklyn-Based Liquor Manufacturing Plant & Distillery. For more information, contact

From the Web


Drink of the Week: Ms. Abigail’s Lemon Basil Julep

July 21, 2011

Dear readers: you didn’t think I was going to invent a new cocktail every single week, did you? Indeed, part of the impetus behind this feature is to highlight the barfolk that keep this fine borough in its cups. You may have noticed that many of our spirit-ual friends have absconded this week to the Big Easy for Tales of the Cocktail, making it a perfect time to gather your ingredients and whip up a batch of something delicious in the comfort of your own home. Be sure to tip yourself.

This Drink of the Week is brought to us by Abigail Gullo, whom one finds behind the bar at Fort Defiance [365 Van Brunt St] and at lauded newcomer The Beagle [162 Ave A, Manhattan]. When I asked Abigail for a seasonally appropriate cocktail, she introduced me to her Lemon Basil Julep. It’s divine! Thanks Abigail!

Abigail writes:

In this hot summer heat wave, it’s good to look to the drinks that our Cocktail forefathers turned to before the days of air-conditioning.  You may be filled with visions of fine southern gentlemen and their dainty ladies sipping Juleps on the porch of their plantation, but this drink is rooted in pre-antebellum times and was far more global.  First of all, as a classification, the Julep does not have to have Bourbon in it, nor mint for that matter.  A Julep is all about the construction and perfect melding of sugar, spirit and ice. The Julep is one of the oldest cocktails and in the 1700’s was used for medicinal purposes with all sorts of herbal relief, not just Mint.

So let’s put a modern twist to this summer chiller and head to the Farmer’s Market for some seasonal herbs.  Lemon Basil, which is now in season, has a crisp, clean, antiseptic quality to it.  It is heartier than regular basil and not as sweet with a verbena-like tang.  With a touch of sweetness from the honey syrup and a peppery bite from the Rye Whiskey, this frosty sipper certainly seems like just what the doctor would order on a sweltering day.  The metal Julep cup is a must here to create that nice frost on the cup.  If you don’t have a silver Julep cup, the small part of a metal cocktail shaker will do in a pinch.

The Lemon Basil Julep

2 oz Rye Whiskey (I like Rittenhouse 100 proof)
1/2 oz Honey Syrup*
Large sprigs of Lemon Basil
Crushed or shaved ice


Gently muddle about 7-8 leaves of lemon basil in the bottom of your julep cup with the honey syrup.  Add the Rye and a scoop of crushed ice. Stir until a frost forms on the outside of the julep cup.  Top with a big mound of snowy crushed ice and a big sprig of Lemon Basil.  Insert a straw cut short so your face is in the basil every time you take a sip.  Sit back on the porch and sip the summer away.

*To make honey syrup, mix equal parts honey and hot water until the honey pours freely.

Flickr Photo by Cunning Stunt

About the Contributor

Abigail Deirdre Gullo first fell in bartending when she learned to make a Manhattan (sweet) for her beloved Grandfather.  Abigail started her blog, RyeGirl, in 2005 with the intention of having a forum for her experiments in mixing and to honor her favorite spirit.  After leaving her teaching job (a profession that will drive any single gal to drink) she devoted herself full time to the industry of fine spirits and cocktails. Abigail is a proud member of LUPEC NY (Ladies United for the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktail). Her Margarita won People’s Choice at the 2010 Tales of the Cocktail, and her cocktails have been featured in The New York Times and In The Mix magazine.  You can currently visit her behind the stick at Fort Defiance in Brooklyn, The Beagle in the East Village, behind the mic at Live Band Karaoke, or behind her computer screen blogging at

Got a hot cocktail that deserves to be our Drink of the Week? Let us know!

From the Web


Inaugural Drink of the Week: The Blue Bubbly

July 12, 2011

Is there a better way to celebrate summer than with a delicious, refreshing cocktail? Answer: no. No, there is not. So let’s celebrate! Welcome to The Bugle’s new weekly featurette: The Drink of the Week! Our DOTW selections will feature fresh, seasonal ingredients melded into intriguing concoctions developed by some of the brightest boozy Brooklynites. Got a beverage worth sharing? Let us know!

I was planning on surveying all my talented bartender friends to see what they’re drinking this summer and then sharing their best with you. But at a pig roast upstate this weekend, I was faced with a mish-mash party bar and managed to put together something wonderful. So this week, the drink is provided free of charge by your friendly author!

your friendly author.

For us service professionals, it’s easy to get used to our spot behind a fully-stocked bar – gobs of fresh fruit, ample liqueurs, an array of mixers. The party bar is rarely so generously appointed – but the subsequent improvisational creative process can produce inspired results. Evidence: The Blue Bubbly. It’s a champagne float variation, with an emphasis on tart and sour. Seriously, folks: this drink is face-meltingly delicious. Don’t be scared by the blueberry vodka – it’s much more subtle and not nearly as cloyingly sweet and obnoxious as many flavored vodkas. For extra smoothness and class, add a more luxurious triple sec like Cointreau or Grand Marnier, and instead of Rose’s, make your own fresh sour mix. The lemon-lime soda is a product of the partial bar – it can be replaced with any number of sodas, ades, or juices. Got some other interesting ingredients on hand? Experiment and enjoy!

The Blue Bubbly

2 oz Smirnoff Blueberry Flavored Vodka
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/4 oz Rose’s Lime Juice
Lemon-Lime Soda (Sprite, 7UP, etc.)
Champagne (Any sparkling white wine is just fine)
Fresh Blueberries
Fresh Lime

Serve in tall glass (Collins)

Muddle a medium size handful of blueberries and two lime wedges at the bottom of a shaker. Add vodka, triple sec and Rose’s. Fill with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into serving glass. Add soda, leaving an inch at the top of the glass. Fill to top with champagne. Garnish with lime, and/or blueberries on a toothpick if you’re feeling especially saucy. Drink. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy your summer.

Flickr Photo by ReeseCLloyd

From the Web

Arts and Entertainment, Food

Toasting The Rapture: Brooklyn’s Best Bars for Drinking Away The End-Times

May 18, 2011

Floyd (world'sbestbars photo)

Yes, it’s true, friends: the world may or may not come to an end this weekend. Apocalyptic prophets have foreseen the Judgement Day, and it is Saturday, May 21st. But I have a dinner date on Sunday! Oh, the horror.

As we while away our last precious hours on Earth, it is, of course, appropriate that we turn to the drink. I surveyed local bartenders and their customers to see where, given our limited time, they would head for a bourbon-soaked view of the end-times.

Local tiki parlor Zombie Hut (273 Smith Street) was a popular choice, and as local barmaid Liz says, “if the rapture involves actual zombies there will be plenty of 151 to light them on fire.” Ms. Lord also pointed out that Floyd (131 Atlantic Avenue) would make sense, because “we should be able to throw big heavy balls at windows and cars when the end happens.”

Beyond the need for implements of riotous destruction, most of those polled chose a cozy neighborhood spot for a final evening with loved ones: an ice-cold martini at Minibar (428 Court Street), a night of Kensington karaoke at Shenanigan’s (802 Caton Ave), or finger food and fine cocktails at Sample (152 Smith Street).

Steve Reynolds

Local DJ Steve Reynolds chose Great Lakes (248 Fifth Avenue), where he “spent a large chunk of the night of 9/11 getting my drink on because, well, it felt like the end of the world. And they don’t have a TV, so you’ll never see it coming.” Mr. Reynolds also hosts the “Party Like It’s 1999” monthly dance party this coming Friday 5/20 at The Bell House (149 Seventh Street) – dancing your booty off seems like a nice way to go out (and speaking of booty, we hear the party is a rockin’ singles scene!).

And for Saturday, that (potentially) final day, where we will (possibly) be judged for our transgressions and/or be whisked away with angels (unlikely), we might as well add to our sins checklist with a night out at The Loft at Public Assembly (70 North Sixth Street). Saturday night the space is host to The Subway Soul Club – nothing like some down and dirty soul music to prepare your soul for The Rapture!

Here in downtown Brooklyn, the streets are filled with seers and soul-seekers shouting warnings and pamphleting the passing masses. I noticed this sign yesterday which had a personal touch to it (being that I’m named after the book in the Bible):

Now, I know my Old Testament, so I checked out Chapter Three of The Book of Jonah. This is the passage in which Jonah delivers God’s message that the people of Nineveh must change their ways or be destroyed. The chapter noted on the sign ends with the following (from The New International Version):

When God saw what they [the Ninevites] did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

So… I guess what you’re saying is, we’re in the clear if we turn from our evil ways?

Maybe this list isn’t the best idea – but of course you should all feel free to enjoy the apocalypse as you see fit.

Hopefully I’ll see you on Sunday.

From the Web


Swimming with the Coney Island Polar Bears

January 13, 2011

Your intrepid correspondent has, in the past, talked a big game about his winter swimming capabilities – but it’s only this year that I managed to make it to the Coney Island Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting – a few brave souls, a cadre of hirsute Russians warmed with vodka, a risque bather or two perhaps. What with the impending eviction of the soul of the Coney Island boardwalk (Ruby’s, Shoot the Freak etc.), it seemed that was the year to head down to the beach. And I was not alone in that sentiment.

Continue Reading…

From the Web