Throwing your Drink
I wrote at the beginning of the week that I was back in Boston a couple of weekends ago and–though my latest obsession in the Boston cocktail scene is Baldwin & Sons Trading Company–I made it a point to return to an old standard, Drink in Fort Point. I failed to mention that I also went to Baldwin & Sons the day before. Their drinks continue to be spectacular, but since their menu is rather tight and my friends and I have been there several times by now, we’ve run through the menu by now. Through the first 2/3 of our time there, while we were certainly enjoying our drinks (and our Sichuan food), it seemed like we’d have no surprises.
Then, out of the corner of our eyes we noticed a couple of the bartenders doing a strange balletic move involving very long pours from one shaker to another. We asked them what was going on, and thus were introduced to both a new icing technique and a new cocktail.
To be clear, neither the technique nor the cocktail are new, but they were both new to us; and the combination of them was an innovation of Ran Duan, the head bartender of Baldwin & Sons. The drink is the 1919, which is coincidentally a creation of Drink bartender Ben Sandrof. The technique is throwing.
You’re probably familiar with stirring and shaking as two modes of using ice to chill and water down a cocktail. Stirring chills and waters a cocktail to an adequate degree, while keeping it as strong as possible. Shaking mixes harder to mix ingredients better, and it aerates a cocktail, giving it a lighter body, but at the cost of more watering down. Throwing is a third, much less common technique which aerates a drink like shaking, but keeps it less watered as if it were stirred. It works particularly well with drinks involving fortified wines, in which the aeration has a similar effect to using one of those wine aerating contraptions on your glass of red.
We asked for 1919s prepared two ways, both stirred and thrown. The difference was startling. The stirred version was quite a good drink in and of itself, bitter and sweet and vaguely chocolately and complex. The thrown version was lighter and slightly foamy, with the vermouth a tad less syrupy and dominant, and with the rum coming out more.
Later, we tried throwing on a Manhattan and found the same thing. The Manhattan was lighter in body (but not more watery), the vermouth a tad more ephemeral, and the whiskey more prominent.
Want to Throw Your Cocktail?
- For maximum effect, use a drink involving a good amount of fortified wine.
- Pour your liquid ingredients into the bottom of a shaker.
- Add a lot of ice, to about 1 1/2 times the height of the liquid.
- Cover your shaker with a strainer.
- Hold it high above your head.
- Pour from that shaker into another shaker bottom, gradually lowering the second as far as you can until one arm is as far above your head as possible and one is around your knees. You want to get your second shaker as low as possible as quickly as possible without spilling.
- Bring the two shakers back together and pour the liquid back from shaker #2 to shaker #1.
- Repeat many times, more times than you might think, until the liquid is quite frothy.
- Pour into a cocktail glass.
The 1919 Cocktail Recipe
This one is really good stirred, and even better thrown. We got the recipe from Frederick Yarm’s Drink and Tell, a great catalog of Boston original cocktail. As we mentioned, it was created by Drink bartender Ben Sandrof.
- 1 oz Punt e Mes (a more bitter variant of sweet vermouth)
- 3/4 oz aged rum
- 3/4 oz rye
- 1/2 oz Benedictine
- dash of mole bitters–we like Wigle’s
- Throw all liquid drinks as long as is plausible and pour into a cocktail glass
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
- Fill with ice to the top of the liquid.
- Stir well until well-chilled. The ice will be about half-melted.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.