Episode 117 - Fancy Rum & Cokes

What’s shakin, cocktail fans? Welcome to episode 117 of The Modern Bar Cart Podcast!

This time around, we catch up with Dan Marlowe (@fractionsofzero), who’s a really talented bartender currently heading up the brand new tavern program at BlueDyer Distilling Co. Dan is an extremely passionate student of cocktail history and a really precise libationary practitioner behind the stick, so we’re really excited to share this interview.

In this spirited conversation, some of the topics we discuss include:

  • How Dan worked his way through the bartending ranks to take the helm at the brand new tavern program at the BlueDyer Distillery.

  • Why a “barkeep” is a bit different than a “bartender”

  • The merits of a fancy handcrafted rum & coke and when it’s appropriate to call it a Cuba Libre.

  • How Dan thinks about things like hospitality, and how he has developed his personal brand of cocktails and bartending

  • What to bring when you’re grabbing drinks with Theodore Roosevelt

  • And much, much more.

As we chat, Dan also takes me through a tasting of some of BlueDyer’s awesome spirits, including several rums, a barrel-aged gin, and a port cask finished whiskey. So if you’re in the Mid-Atlantic and have the chance to visit the distillery yourself, please do so - it’s a great space run by great people.

Featured Cocktail: The Martinez

This week’s featured cocktail is the legendary Martinez cocktail. To say the history of the Martinez cocktail is a bit hazy would be generous. It crops up in a number of likely apocryphal texts during the mid-late 1800s, but none of the sources we have are close to reliable. So suffice it to say, after the Manhattan came along, people were pretty keen to start combining spirits and vermouth in various ways and using little bar tricks to kind of spruce things up and differentiate the drink from its contemporaries. Eventually, this would lead to the dry Martini - but along the way, the Martinez was born.

To make this drink, you’ll need:

  • 2 oz sweet vermouth

  • 1 oz Old Tom gin (here a nice barrel aged gin works just great)

  • 1 bar spoon of Maraschino Liqueur

  • Several Dashes of Aromatic Bitters (we, of course, use our Embitterment Aromatic Bitters)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir for 15-20 seconds until it’s well chilled and diluted, and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. The old recipe in Imbibe! calls for “a quarter of a slice of lemon” as a garnish. Which means you take a lemon wheel, cut it into four quarters, and drop one of those quarters into the glass.

Lightning Round

Barkeep Dan Marlowe

Barkeep Dan Marlowe

Favorite Cocktail

A Maple Gin Flip. It’s my guilty pleasure drink.

If You Were a Cocktail Ingredient, What Would You Be?

Maple Syrup. There’s different types of sugars - fruit, cane, date, beet, honey - and while they’re all sweet, they have different flavor profiles. I like earthy, malty flavors, and maple syrup fits that bill.

Drinks with Anyone, Past or Present

Whiskey with Teddy Roosevelt.

Influential Books

Advice for People Who Want to Break into Bartending

Learn the history and then riff. It’s all well and good to make something that is your own, but if you can’t then explain the history, you have not business riffing on it. It’s like when somebody tries writing a song before learning basic chords. But if you learn the history and then you riff, you’re respecting the story.

Eric Kozlik