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Drinking through the Apocalypse

Posted by Josh Childs  September 10, 2013 09:42 AM

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Justin Stone is currently a manager at the DiBicarri brother's Tavern Road in Fort Point, Boston. He has worked in the hospitality industry as a doorman, busboy, maître d', server and bartender. In the fall, he will be part of the front of the house team at
Alden and Harlow
, Harvard Square, Cambridge.

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“Drinking through the Apocalypse” by Justin Stone

The lockdown imposed upon greater Boston and its environs during the post-marathon manhunt spawned a host of unusual scenarios across the city, many tragic and frightening, some, downright awkward. Esquire's Dan McCarthy detailed his own personal lockdown with a one-night stand in hilarious fashion following his release into the wild after the “shelter in place” order was lifted. For many of the city's thirsty citizens, the travel restrictions introduced us to an unusual situation – What do you drink during a siege?

This may surprise some of my bartender friends, but I don't keep a liquor cabinet at home. I never have. A half-case of wine, a six of High Life is the most I have ever stored in the fridge or pantry. A bottle of wine has always been just enough and not too much. Keeping liquor bottles around seems like overkill, for I get my suitable fix from my talented friends around the city and prefer to keep it that way. I cannot imagine what glorious damage I could do with a proper mixing arsenal, five bottles of spirits and some really nice ice in the freezer. It could be that my college years, vodka in the freezer, handle of Jack gathering dust above the cupboards, turned me away from the practice of maintaining an inventory at home. It seemed trite and superfluous. I like my drinks to be taken in bars, amongst the throng. Also possible is the fact that I am insatiable, spontaneous and prone to flights of late night boozy fancy.

I arrived home late on the night of the chaos in Cambridge and Watertown. My brother, an officer in the city, called me around 11:30 and told me to get home and stay home. I woke the next morning to my roommates gathered around the television, one of them said, “Well, I guess you're not going to work today.” The feeling of confinement sunk in over the next hour, coupled with tension of the night's events. I didn't know exactly what had happened to my brother and his friends on duty. Restless, hungry and in need of a stiff afternoon drink, I began to take inventory of what I had on hand to survive the unfolding anxiety and ultimate drudgery of television reporting. In the pantry, ramen noodles, beef liver pate, shallots, gochu-jang, bitter greens and a single, lonely bottle of Bully Boy White Rum.

Needless to say, I had been a poor steward of my pantry. The Bully Boy came to me as a present from my friend Brendan Draper of Island Creek Oyster Bar after I helped him move into his apartment. Fact: If you help a bartender carry his home liquor inventory up three flights of stairs, a bottle is fine compensation. Bully Boy White Rum was a member of our bar inventory last year at Pain D'Avignon in Hyannis along with their lovely American Straight Whiskey. It throws wonderful hints of vanilla when served over ice, but should really be used as a base. I had no choice but to take it, as Thelonious Monk would say, straight, no chaser. We hadn't a mixer suitable for the rum in the apartment, so I took to managing a long day in and out of the Internet and television with the rum served on the rocks, nipping while I clicked my way through news stories. It was a welcomed lubricant for the day's bizarre unfolding, but I sure as hell wished I had a better supply of spirits on hand.

Once I am through this summer's move, I will make it a point to stock up on some essential bottles. I am not going to get carried away. Five solid options are all I need. I am a classicist when it comes to spirits. Brands will be important, as there are an ever-expanding list of options out there for the home mixologist. Gone are the days when I'd rummage through the cabinets for an aged bottle of warm Martini and Rossi sweet vermouth. Let's talk curating a personal cocktail party at the end of the world.

Note: The only guidelines are as follows: Ice is available, one bonus item [Bitters, Lime Juice, Simple Syrup] is allowed, the presence of tins and tools is assumed.

Stephen Shellenberger, Pomodoro: His private collection.

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Palmer Matthews, Drink: Linie Aquavit, Old Overholt, Beefeater, Campari, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Angostura Bitters [bonus]

John O'Toole, Universal Exports, Hong Kong: Buffalo Trace, Junipero, Goslings Old Rum, Hibiki 12, Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia

Brendan Draper, ICOB: Macallan 18, Bully Boy Boston Rum, Whistlepig 10, Chartreuse 111, Delamain Vesper

Ryan Noreiks, formerly of Yucca & The Alchemist, Shanghai: Highland Park 30, Murray McDavid Jamaican Rum, Chinaco Blanco, Henri Bardouin Pastis, Lillet Blanc

Ran Duan, Sichuan Garden II: Chairman's Spiced Rum, Del Maguey Espaden Mescal, Weller 12, Ransom Old Tom Gin, Campari

Ryan McGrale, Tavern Road: Rum Pompero Anniversario, Pappy Van Winkle 13 Rye, Campari, Cinzano Sweet Vermouth, Lemonhart 151

John Henderson, Tavern Road: Amaro Averna, Beefeater, Old Monk Gold Reserve, Lillet Rose, Don Julio Reposado

Junior Ryan, Clyde Common, Portland, Oregon: Chamucos Blanco, Rhum JM 12, William Larue Weller Bourbon, Lillet Blanc, Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength, lime juice [bonus]

Sam Gabrielli, Russell House Tavern: Smith and Cross, Fernet Branca, Black Maple Hill, Bombay Sapphire, Midleton Irish Whiskey

Ms. Emma Hollander, Trina's Starlite Lounge: Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23, Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia, Pimms #1, Old Monk XXX, Canada Dry Ginger Ale [bonus]

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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