Brian enjoys making cocktails, almost as much as making brownies. Cocktails afford you an infinite variety of combinations and tremendous tolerance for how you mix and match. If you are making brownies and double the flour, you have a problem. If you are making a margarita and double the tequila, you simply have a need for more guacamole.

His collection of cocktail books keeps increasing. I believe many people like Brian enjoy both the experimenting and the tasting. Some of the books are sound ones that simply offer new variations of the standards. And some of these books are exciting compilations of very new beverages.

The Mr. Boston series of books has been a resource since the nemesis of prohibition was overthrown. Now there is a new book in the series, Mr. Boston Summer Cocktails, that is a necessity for every cocktail enthusiast. The hundred odd cocktails here span an incredible range:

  • Fresh fruit concoctions: a Brazilian Lime Rickey
  • Herb infused creations: a Rude Sage Cosmos
  • Tropical wonders: the mango-based El Manguita with chile powder and rum
  • Or a tropical fruit sangria with lychees

This is one of those books you need to read and work through, for there is one common thread here: the recipes are all new and use combinations of flavors that we’ve never seen before. You can look at a beverage idea, be enchanted, but also be clueless about what the devil it’s going to taste like.

Well, there are exceptions. To get my feet wet with this book, Brian made me a mimosa based on my herb garden. Go out our front door in the Catskills, and there are two hundred square feet of herbs, garlic, chives, and onions. And basil. I have been accused of mainlining those basil leaves, so what better beverage could he make for me than this one. Complex, fresh, herby and refreshing with every drop.

I deny mainlining. I remember nothing.

Imperial Basil Mimosa

Yield: 1 tall drink


6 fresh basil leaves [really fresh is really better]
¼ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 dash of angostura bitters
1 ounce vodka
1 basil sprig for garnish


In a mixing glass, muddle the basil leaves with the simple syrup. Add the orange juice, bitters, and vodka.. Top with ice cubes, cover and shake thoroughly. Strain into a chilled champagne flute and top with champagne.

Source: Mr. Boston Summer Cocktails by Anthony Giglio and Jim Meehan