Booze and Vinyl is the latest book from the brother-and-sister writing team of André and Tenaya Darlington. It’s a fantastic book that should be in heavy rotation for cocktail geeks and vinyl nerds alike.
As with any great book or party – especially a party with a bunch of vinyl junkies – there are numerous conversations that will be inspired by Booze and Vinyl. With that in mind, I reached out to fellow crate diggers from the bar industry to share their own album and cocktail pairings.
One of the Godfathers of modern cocktail culture, Brother Cleve is the living embodiment of “Booze and Vinyl.” The Boston-based DJ and record producer was previously the keyboard player for The Del Fuegos and then Combustible Edison. During his tenure as a bartender at the famed B-Side Lounge, Cleve became the progenitor of the next generation of Boston influencers, which includes Jackson Cannon, John Gertsen and Misty Kalkofen.
Sun Ra – The Cymbals/Symbols Sessions: New York City 1973 [Sundazed, 2018]
Brother Cleve wrote the liner notes for The Cymbals/Symbols Sessions, a 2018 Record Store Day release.
“I’m psyched about the new Sun Ra albums. Two rejected ABC/Impulse albums from 1975 – first time on vinyl for Cymbals, first time anywhere for Symbols (both recorded the same day, March ’73).”
For Cymbals/Symbols, Brother Cleve chose the classic Saturn cocktail, a gin-based Tiki drink created in 1967 by J. “Popo” Galsini at the Kona Kai in Huntington Beach.
- 1.25 oz Gin
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz passion fruit syrup
- .25 oz each Falernum & Orgeat
- Blend with crushed ice
- Garnish with a few assorted jelly beans on top (“Ra was pretty addicted to jelly beans”)
Frank Zappa – Lumpy Gravy Primordial [Zappa Records, 2018]
Another RSD release, Lumpy Gravy Primordial is a self-described “ballet” that debuts on translucent burgundy colored vinyl, with Zappa’s original gatefold album design “lovingly restored.”
“Capitol Records version of Lumpy Gravy, first time on vinyl. Mono, though the stereo mix (available as an illicit download, taken from one of the two 4-track cartridge versions that exist) is better but it seems the master is lost.”
The Brown Thrasher is a new cocktail that Brother Cleve created “last weekend!”
- 2 oz Rye Whiskey
- .5 oz China China (or other Amer Picon sub)
- .25 oz Avéze
- Dash Elixir Vegetal de la Grande Chartreuse (sub dash Green Chartreuse)
- Stir with ice and strain into a chilled coupe
- Garnish with orange twist
BRYAN CHENAULT – CONSPIRITOR CONSULTING
Morphine – Cure for Pain [Rykodisc, 1993]
“I can’t think of a more criminally under-appreciated and lesser known ’90s band than Morphine, so this was both an easy choice as a superfan of the band, and because listening to their music makes me want to drink. While their self-anointed “low rock” hardly fit into any indie rock sub-genre of that decade – definitely unlike anything coming out of Seattle or from across the pond – it immediately appealed to me as a former jazz band nerd, and quickly become one of the staples of my sparsely-listened-to 12-3 a.m. college rock radio show at Lawrence, Kansas’s own KJHK 90.7 FM, The Sound Alternative.
Building on the signature sound of wobbly two-string bass, baritone sax wails, deep vocals and taut percussion that they established with their 1992 debut Good, Cure for Pain still stands as the masterpiece of their exceptional five-album output before lead singer / bass player Marc Sandman died of a heart attack on stage in 1999. Songs from the blistering pace of adulterous play-by-play “Thursday” to the back-and-forth lurch of “All Wrong” to love sick “I’m Free Now,” Morphine showed a range that was rare amongst their peers and cemented their status as an instantly classic power trio.
When it really comes down to it, Morphine was just the epitome of cool. Like, cooler than Tom Waits cool. Maybe even cooler than the coolest sax rock to date, The Stooges’ Fun House. While other bands were busy chasing the trend of the moment (I’m looking at you, second wave ska), these three unassuming guys from Cambridge, MA were content – and confident enough in their musical chops – to step on stage at small, dark clubs like The Middle East and blow people’s minds with a sultry mix of blues, jazz, and rock-n-roll that was at the same time familiar yet completely unique.”
Side A: Boulevardier (of Broken Dreams)
“I chose this riff on a Boulevardier for a number of reasons. For starters, with Morphine being my favorite three-piece (sorry, Rush; nice try, The Police), I thought I’d pick a classic three-ingredient cocktail. And as smoky and sexy a band that they are, it had to be of the (brown) spirit-forward variety. Why these particular ingredients? Maybe I’ve over-thought it, but for me, each has its place. As I popped the record on for the umpteenth time, the second track “Buena” – the standout of the album – got me thinking en Espanol, so I thought to make the base Western Grace, a new Spanish Brandy that’s aged in ex-bourbon casks and finished in sherry. To keep the cocktail somewhat traditional, and with a nod to Sandman’s untimely passing in Italy, I stuck with Carpano Antica as the sweet vermouth. For the third ingredient, I chose Amaro Angeleno instead of Campari because they’re a very American band, and like this Southern California-inspired aperitivo, completely unique/not what you’d expect. With the chocolate notes of the brandy combined with the orange of the Angeleno, it’s a lot like a liquid Tootsie Roll, which we’ll call an homage to track 5, “Candy.”“
- 1.5 oz Western Grace Brandy
- .75 oz Carpano Antica
- .75 oz Amaro Angeleno
- Stir with ice and strain into a chilled coupe
- Garnish with orange peel
Side B: a really good, pretty damn old single malt
“There’s really no explanation needed. After a sweet treat like the above, I always like to end the night with a slow, steady sipper, perfect for the thick groove of the title track and the saunter of “Let’s Take a Trip Together.” The last pulls from this triple Scotch alongside the sparse instrumental of the album’s closer “Miles Davis’ Funeral” will cure any insomnia and numb any pain. Night, night.”
- 3 oz Balvenie 21 Port Wood
- 3 drops of water
COLIN MILLER (CAMPARI GROUP)
You can catch Colin spinning at El Dorado in Downtown L.A. once or twice a month.
Cerrone – Supernature (aka Cerrone III) [Malligator 1977]
“I remember when I decided I was going to start collecting vinyl and DJing for real sometime in 2004. I was in college in Baltimore and took a ride up to Philly to visit my buddy. Jeff was a seasoned pro at the vinyl game and was part of a DJ crew that later gave us Hollertronix and Diplo, so he knew his shit. We went to a flea market with some vendors in South Philly I saw a copy of Supernature in a $1 bin in a random stall. and immediately I knew it was cool. The album art, the typeface, Cerrone’s sleazy late 70s Eurodisco vibes gave it all away. Jeff told me that it was a great score for a $1 bin record and I copped it.
Once I got back to his place I put it on and was blown away. At the time I was heavy into backpacky rap like Talib and golden era hip hop with a healthy dose of Baltimore Club, Dancehall and Booty Bass (AKA lots of nights hanging at Taxlo at Sonar in Baltimore). All I knew about disco was Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees, but the Cerrone album was dark and sexy and full of weird synths and crazy drums. Aside from the title track, the album had a few other bangers like the upbeat sounds of “Give Me Love” and the weird, ethereal synths of “In The Smoke.” But nothing beats the feeling of when those opening bars of “Supernature” kick in – it’s like you’re transported back to a dark room in a Disco in ’70s Europe, all sex and sleaze and drugs and dancing.
Later when I moved to Brooklyn, I fell in love with the Disco/House sound even more by going to parties like Danny Krivit’s 718 Sessions and Tiki Disco (shout out to Lloyd, Andy, Eli, James and all the other people who rocked out those early days at Roberta’s). Fourteen years later and I’m still spinning tunes here and there, still love Disco and House and it all goes back to that one special record…”
Side A: Negroni Sbagliato
“Negronis are my favorite cocktail (that was true before I worked for Campari) but if you were dancing to Supernature at a disco till all hours you’d probably want a little bit lighter drink. Swap the gin out for sparkling wine and you’ve got a refreshing Negroni variation perfect for a night out!”
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz Cinzano 1757 Sweet Vermouth
- 1 oz Sparkling Wine
- Build Campari and Vermouth, top with sparkling, add ice. Little orange twist and enjoy!
Side B: Naked and Famous
Created in 2011 by Joaquin Simo, the Naked and Famous is described in the Death & Co book as “the bastard child born out of an illicit Oaxacan love affair between the classic Last Word and the Paper Plane.”
- .75 oz Del Maguey Chichicapa
- .75 oz yellow Chartreuse
- .75 oz Aperol
- .75 oz lime juice
- Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a coupe. No garnish.
DAN LONG (BACARDI NORTH AMERICA)
Otis Redding – Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (aka Otis Blue) [Stax Records, 1965]
“Music history is filled with artists who, despite passing well before their time, managed to create a definitive sound that is labeled “genius.” Otis Redding is one of these blessed souls who deserves the all-too-hastily applied term of genius.
Standing at the crossroads of gospel, pop, rock, and blues, this album defines 1960s soul. In 1965, only 2 months from his 24th birthday, Redding laid down 10 of the 11 tracks on Otis Blue in a single day. On it he masterfully delivers a version of raw soul that focuses on energy, intensity, and passion.
Like most other albums of the time, Otis Blue has its share of covers. Short, punchy numbers, several of which were penned by the incredible Sam Cooke who died only months earlier, this album shows genius can born out of collaboration.
There is an energy on this album that is usually only experienced with a live performance. The rawness of the playing, each perfectly placed grunt and moan, the album gets more and more fantastic as it goes on. Otis Blue was, and still remains a definitive statement.”
Side A: Anita Baker
“The Anita Baker cocktail was created by one of my favorite bartenders, John Coltharp. A true cocktail artist in his own right, John imagined the Anita Baker as a “cover” of the Chet Baker cocktail. By splitting the base between rum and cognac, adding a splash of dry sparkling wine to further balance the honey, Mr. Coltharp has honored the Sam Ross original with his interpretation.”
- 1 oz Bacardi 10-year
- 1 oz D’usse VSOP Cognac
- .5 oz Martini Prosecco
- .5 oz Honey Syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Stirred and served in a rocks glass over ice
- Garnish with an orange peel
Side B: Whisky Highball
“Side B is paired with a simple yet classic Whisky Highball. Otis Redding was prized for many things, but his signature was his incredible singing voice. Listed at #8 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, Redding was known for bringing emotion and an intent to the songs he sang. The Whisky Highball is not known for being a power hitter in the world of cocktails, but is surely a cocktail that is more than the sum of its parts. Here it is made with Aberfeldy 12, a single malt Highland whisky with honey, oak and citrus notes and a touch of sweetness. Mixed with a standard proportion of one part whisky to three parts soda water, topped with a simple garnish of a lemon twist or mint, and served ice cold, the refreshing deliciousness is the definition of “Satisfaction.”“
- 1.5 oz Aberfeldy 12-year
- 4.5 oz Chilled Soda Water
- Build in a highball glass over ice
- Garnish with a lemon peel or two mint sprigs
Fun fact: I’ve DJed with Dino Soccio a couple of times, including the 75th anniversary celebration for Bruce Lee a few years ago. The L.A. bar community may know Dino best as one half of Mojito Boyz. Dino’s latest release, “Pleasure of Edits” is available at Juno Records.
Steely Dan – Gaucho [MCA, 1980]
“In making Gaucho, Fagen and Becker’s obsessive search for the perfect drum sounds (and playing in general) while living out a reckless rock n roll lifestyle proved to be an impossible task. They disbanded for 20 years after the record and the golden era was over. Even for Steely Dan, it feels labored over at times – it sounds expensive to this day! But on songs like “Hey Nineteen” they really nail something refined and classic, full of winked excess and charm.”
Perfect Distrito Federal (Repo Perfect Manhattan)
“I imagine sipping a brown and stirred Manhattan variation with a repo tequila (in place of the Cuervo Gold!) would be a good pairing – but make it “perfect,” obviously.”
Kid Creole and the Coconuts – Tropical Gangsters [Ariola Records, 1982]
“August Darnell has a few great records with his Kid Creole and the Coconuts band, but Tropical Gangsters is the one for me. Featuring key songs like “I’m Corrupt” and “I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby,” it’s Caribbean infused disco funk and Latin soul from the golden year of North American dance music, 1982. It’s a fun record about being shipwrecked on an imaginary island in the Caribbean with the gangsters of the land forcing the band to play native funk music.”
Jungle Bird / Pina Colada
“Pair an equally funky Jungle Bird or the all-time vacation cocktail, Pina Colada and you’ll be ready to really hear this album the way it’s intended.”
Jungle Bird from “Beachbum Berry Remixed”
- .75 oz Campari
- .5 oz fresh lime juice
- .5 oz sugar syrup
- 4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1.5 oz dark Jamaican rum
- Shake well with plenty of ice cubes
- Pour unstrained into a double Old Fashioned glass
- Garnish with an orchid and a cocktail cherry speared to lemon and orange wheels
San Francisco based DJ/producer Gavin Hardkiss has played sets around the world and is best known as a member of the Hardkiss collective. In the 1990s, Gavin, Scott and Robbie Hardkiss were pioneers in the underground EDM/rave scene with their groundbreaking record label Hardkiss Music. Their string of influential vinyl releases culminated in the seminal compilation Delusions of Grandeur. Gavin enjoys exploring the healthier side of cocktails and is a big fan of 100% sugar cane juice in island-grown rhum like Batiste Ecoiste.
Hawke – Love in Stars [Hardkiss Music, 2017]
“The New Fashioned would go well with an album that takes you to unexpected places like Hawke’s Love In Stars.”
- 1 large brown sugar cube
- 3 large blackberries
- 1 thick lemon slice
- 1 thyme sprig
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Build in a rocks glass
- Muddle well
- Add 2 oz Batiste Gold
- Fill with ice and top with club soda
- Garnish with lemon, blackberry & thyme
Manuel Galbán & Ry Cooder – Mambo Sinuendo [Nonesuch Records, 2013] | Sidestepper – 3AM (In Beats We Trust) [Palm Beats, 2003]
“The Pineapple Sangria would be great in a punch bowl with a whole bottle of Batiste Gold and a bunch of friends to share it. We can start with Mambo Sinuendo by Manuel Galbán and Ry Cooder and move on to Sidestepper’s 3AM (In Beats We Trust).”
Add ice to your shaker, then:
- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
Stir until dissolved, then add:
- 1/2 cup diced pineapple
- 1/2 cup Batiste Gold
- 1/2 lemon squeezed
- Stir then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Pour sangria ice halfway, then fill with champagne.
MICHAEL SMITH (LEJAY CASSIS)
Paul Simon – Graceland [Warner Bros., 1986]
“Paul Simon’s Graceland is by far the most-often spun record in my collection, salvaged from my girlfriend’s parents’ attic a few Thanksgivings ago. This album is such a trip (literally), with elements of South African, American Country, Folk, Funk and Soul or “World Beat,” which gives me the sense that I’m traveling along with the music.”
Side A: El Diablo
The rolling beats of the tracks on side A make for great walking/driving tunes, perfectly suited for a road trip soundtrack. For that reason, I like to accompany my listen sessions with a vacation drink. And since Graceland so effortlessly blends many musical layers and textures, let’s go Tiki with an El Diablo! A little spice, brightness, sweet and tart combined harmoniously.
- 1.5oz Blanco Tequila
- .75oz Lejay Cassis
- .5oz Lime Juice
- Fill Ginger Beer
Side B: Amalyzer
Side B opens with “You Can Call Me Al” – immediately bringing to mind images from the classic music video featuring Chevy Chase lip-syncing (and trumpeting) in a small room alongside Paul Simon. The later tracks on side B are mostly soulful in nature – contrasting the more upbeat feel of side A. I feel it’s best here to choose a South African beverage, Amarula, a truly complex and delicious liquor produced by combining cream and distillate derived from the fruit of the Marula plant or Elephant Tree. I prefer it served neat or on the rocks but I’ve recently come across other applications, including the Amalyzer, for a dessert-ish treat of cocktail.
- 1 oz Amarula Cream Liqueur
- .5 oz Coffee Liqueur (Kahlua)
- .5 oz Vodka
- Fill Cola
NAOMI SCHIMEK (COGNAC PARK)
The Runaways – The Runaways [Mercury, 1976]
I chose this album because I love its snarling guitars, dark themes and pure defiance. It was so revolutionary for its time, so necessary for its time and hugely influential on musicians that followed. They were fantastically unabashed trailblazers – and made The Shangri-Las look like a prom committee. There will never be another band like The Runaways.
Side A: Cherry Bomb
The drink representing side A is a “Cherry Bomb,” of course. The Japanese syrup in the recipe is an homage to all the love the band received in that country. Serve this cocktail properly garnished with five cherries on a skewer – one for each of The Runaways.
- Lemon wedge
- .75 oz Japanese cherry green tea syrup*
- .5 oz cherry eau de vie
- 3 oz dry sparkling cherry wine
- Peychaud’s Bitters to taste
- Fill a wine goblet with crushed ice and set aside.
- In your cocktail tin: muddle the lemon wedge then add the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the crushed ice from the goblet then “roll” the mixture from one tin to the other 3-4 times.
- Empty all back into the glass, garnish and serve.
*This syrup is equal parts properly brewed Japanese cherry green tea and granulated sugar.
“Long hot summers make you wanna fight, the roar of the city lasts all night…”
Songs about lovers and secrets, blackmail and jail, living a double life on the Sunset Strip and hot, sweaty American nights – what’s not to love? This tall, cool drink is for the band’s escapades in their hometown of Los Angeles – and for juvenile delinquents everywhere.
- .75 oz lemon cordial*
- .75 oz fresh lime juice
- 1.5 oz Cognac Park Carte Blanche VS
- Shake ingredients briefly and strain into a Collins glass over ice; top up with club soda.
- Garnish with cigarettes and a fake ID.
*To make this cordial: rest the zest of 2 whole lemons in 10 oz of simple syrup overnight.
ROBIN NANCE (BEAM SUNTORY)
TLC – CrazySexyCool [LaFace Records, 1994]
“The mid-90s were a major turning point in my life and this album was the soundtrack. It’s remained a constant and the songs are just as relevant today as they were then. If this record isn’t part of your collection… it should be.”
Side A: Don’t Go Chasing Other Highballs
- 1.5 oz Toki Japanese Whisky
- 5 oz Topo Chico
- Build in Collins glass with ice
- Garnish with a grapefruit swath
Side B: Red Light Special
- 1 oz Sipsmith Gin
- 1 oz dry vermouth
- Splash of cranberry juice
- Stir with ice, strain and serve up
- Garnish with expressed lemon peel. Discard.
RYAN WAINWRIGHT (BOMBET HOSPITALITY GROUP)
The friendly neighborhood Beverage Director for The Ponte and Faith & Flower used to own a record store. Ryan recently started a second Instagram to share his ever-expanding collection. Follow @ryanhearsyou for the vinyl knowledge.
Sonic Jesus – Neither Virtue Nor Anger [Fuzz Club Records, 2015]
“My record of choice is Neither Virtue nor Anger, the one and only album by Sonic Jesus. Sorry to everyone that I didn’t pick Songs of Love and Hate by Leonard Cohen – that album is liquid gold and pure unbridled emotion, but I have to go with something that I find to be sonically overwhelming and a true representation of – as they put it – the darkness. I do find it interesting that both albums speak to the dichotomy of life: Virtue and Anger, Love and Hate. This is the reality I love to live in; both soothing and pain, good and evil, honor and deception. For me this is both of these albums.
Now here is the thing. Most people won’t like this album. That is fair. It is not for everyone, but in my lifetime of record collecting and music appreciating this is one I cannot forget. Yes Haxan Cloak is doing a similar thing (among many others), yes fuzz rock is a very prolific genre but this fucking album. This fucking album breaks your face open and builds a new home in there. This fucking album releases a piece of your brain and you will never get it back. This fucking album is all the haters, all the dreamers, and all the conspirators wrapped up in one explosive blast to every part of what makes you tick.
This album is also a vinyl record. Period. What this means is you can’t piece it out and put certain tracks on your Spotify “hot yoga / get pumped for walking your dog” playlist. This is a solid sit your ass down, shut up and get involved™ in unraveling the ideas you had about sound and progression. Each song leads to the next. Each idea is consumed by the next. You need one to enjoy the other, and if you want to get this on your iTunes you best think again. I would buy a record player just for this one album. I am not going to say “and this track is the best” or “this track makes you feel this.” This is 16 different voices coming together to build you up and break you down at the same time. For me this is music.”
“What do you drink with this. Wow… it’s hard to say. If I could be so bold I would offer two drinks. First for side A. It’s a simple drink. You will need two things: First. You need Amaro Sibilla made by Varnelli. Pour that into a shot glass. Then take your favorite tequila. For this I would use a lowlands or a still strength blanco for extra spice and pour that on one big rock (yeah…on ice damn you!). The second the needle drops take the amaro shot. Then sit down and sip your tequila neither fast nor slow (get it) and close your eyes. The first person to speak is no longer your friend…if it’s your partner they didn’t love you.”
For side B you are going to need to get a little more complicated. You will need some dark rum and some more amore for this one. Grab a mixing glass or pint. Add 1.5 oz Bacardi 8-year, .5 oz Santa Teresa Rum, .5 oz Alessio Chinato, .5 oz Lucano and 1 dash of Angostura Bitters. Stir that up, put it on ice with an orange twist, and get ready for side B ’cause the visions have just begun.