101 Best New Cocktails: Chutes & Ladders by Frederic Yarm, Russell House Tavern, Cambridge, MA, USA.

by Gaz Regan · Saturday, March 29th, 2014 · 101 Best New Cocktails, 101 Best New Cocktails 2014

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Chutes & Ladders

Adapted from a recipe by Frederic Yarm, Russell House Tavern, Cambridge, MA, USA.

“One of the first drinks I created while working at Russell House Tavern was inspired by the untouched bottles of Kronan Swedish Punsch we had on hand that needed some love. I decided to riff on the Metexa from the Café Royal Cocktail Book. Taking that 1937 classic and making it less aperitif-like and more citrus-driven like a Margarita, the recipe began to take shape. I originally wanted to call the drink “(In the) Basement of the Alamo” but that seemed to long; not wanting to drop the pop culture aspect (but sadly dropping the Peewee Herman angle), I dubbed it Chutes & Ladders. Between the playful name and the accessible yet flavorful balance, the drink has sold well and has remained on the menu since it first appeared in August of 2013,” Frederic Yarm.

45 ml (1.5 oz) Zapopan Tequila BlancoChutes & Ladders - Copy

30 ml (1 oz) Kronan Swedish Punsch

30 ml (1 oz) Cocchi Americano

15 ml (.5 oz) fresh lime juice

1 orange twist, as an aromatic garnish

Shake over ice and double strain into an old-fashioned glass. Twist the orange twist over the drink and discard.

gaz sez:  I’m a fan of Pee Wee Herman but I had to admit that I didn’t understand the reference here so I asked Fred about it.  Here’s what he said: The Peewee Herman aspect came from the spirit being tequila and it made me think of Mexico and Texas (especially since the inspiration was the Metexa from the Café Royal Cocktail Book). In Peewee’s Big Adventure (his first movie), his bike is stolen and someone tells him that it’s in the basement of the Alamo; Peewee makes the adventure down to Texas and into a tour of the Alamo where he sadly learns that the Alamo has no basement. It seemed like a cute name but one that wouldn’t work so well. Chutes & Ladders ended up being an easier name to say and a more accessible pop culture reference.

Okay, that said, I must say that what drew me to this drink was the Swedish Punsch, an ingredient that’s not often called for, and one that can add many layers of complexity to the right drink.  Fred pulled this one off handsomely.  Well done, sir.

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