HEY BARTENDER!: Misty Kalkofen

     My first post will hopefully be that of a series that I will lovingly name “HEY BARTENDER!”  This series will document knowledge and techniques that I have acquired while watching or working with the very best in our industry.

On April 12th I had the amazing honor of working next to the extremely talented and lovely Misty Kalkofen at my home bar of Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge.  Here is a little information about Misty ripped directly from the Tales of the Cocktail website:

     Misty Kalkofen is one of Boston’s most highly regarded mixologists. She bartends at Boston’s premier cocktail bar, Drink, is President and founder of the city’s first and only women’s classic cocktail society, LUPEC Boston (a local chapter of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktail), and a founding member of The Jack Rose Society.

Misty’s cocktail recipes have been excerpted in publications across the country, including Bon Appetit, the Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine Cocktails ’09, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, Salon.com, and Imbibe Magazine, among others. Kalkofen is frequently featured in local media outlets including Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe, Stuff Boston, Drinkboston.com, The Improper Bostonian, and more. Her writing on cocktails and women’s history can be found on the LUPEC Boston blog: lupecboston.com.

Misty is a graduated of the Beverage Alcohol Resource 5-day course, the spirits and mixology equivalent of a Masters or Wine or Master Sommelier program, and is currently enrolled in the inaugural class of the BAR Masters Class, a course of academic study on spirits and mixology.


     Misty, the person:  Aside from the copious accolades and impressive personal achievements, Misty Kalkofen is one of the warmest and brightest human beings I have had the pleasure of meeting.  Misty has the ability to make you feel as you have been friends for years and a smile as inviting as a Tom & Jerry on a cold winters night….my attempt at poetic metaphors, please bear with me through the dramatics.  She carries with her an immeasurable amount of positive energy as-well as a down-to-earth, go-with-the-flow attitude, not expected from someone with a degree from Harvard University.

     Misty, the bartender:  Misty is fast, fast, fast!  Both hands working independently at all times and constantly in motion.  This speed is not coupled with imprecision or the lack of customer service either.  Misty will keep you enthralled with a captivating story while working feverishly.  And before you can learn how to pronounce KALKOFEN, you and your friends will have a well balanced, well thought out cocktail infront of you.  She has a no flair approach to bartending.  Every movement is ergonomically purposeful and she has the time management skills of a master short-order-cook.  She has the knowledge of a hundred cocktail books and the muscle memory of a pro golfer to execute them.  Very impressive person to watch behind the bar.

     Favorite lesson I had learned:  Misty and myself were having a conversation about the comparisons of cocktails to food.  In the midst of this conversation, the topic of sugars and salts were brought up.  It has always been my interpretation that sugar to cocktails is like salt to food.  Sugar in cocktails help heighten flavors as-well as meld them together…just like salt in food.  Misty, in her infinite wisdom, argued that salt to cocktails is also like salt to food.  I have for some time used a pinch of kosher salt when muddling fresh produce like:  strawberries, cucumbers, anise bulbs, etc.  I have never thought about adding it to my cocktails, sans produce, to help with balance.  This approach works so well with bitter cocktails.  I personally and often times find myself reaching for an amaro when giving a cocktail body.  I love the peak of my cocktail to have a bitter element, but not finish that way.  Salt is a great way to make that cocktail dream a reality.  Here is a great little cocktail with a great little story that Misty shared with me:

Little Giuseppe

2 oz. Cynar

2 oz. Punt e Mes

1 barspoon of fresh lemon juice

1 pinch of kosher salt

6 dashes Angostura Orange

This drink can be built in your highball glass.  Be sure to use a large ice cube, due to the low amount of alcohol in the cocktail…you want to avoid as much dilution as possible.  Stir, stir, stir and serve.  Turns out that this cocktail was produced through a game of “telephone”  with some of the best minds in cocktails today participating.  

     The night we worked together:  Misty and myself put together a ten drink menu comprised of original cocktails for our patrons that night…5 cocktails from Misty and 5 cocktails from myself.  I am going to share with you  one recipe from Misty and one from myself from that menu.  I did get permission from Misty…just incase you were wondering.

The Drink of Donaji

by:  Misty Kalkofen

1.75 oz. Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal

.75 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

Absinthe Rinse

Combine all ingredients, except absinthe into cocktail shaker.  Add ice, shake vigorously and double strain into an absinthe wash coupe glass.

Ghost of Saturday Night

by:  Chad Doll

2 oz. **Jasmine infused Rehorst Gin

.75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

.5 oz. Simple Syrup

.25 oz. Luxardo Maraschino

Absinthe Rinse

Combine all ingredients, besides absinthe into cocktail shaker.  Add ice, shake vigorously and double strain into absinthe rinsed coupe glass.

**Let 1 oz. of Rishi Jasmine loose tea steep in a non-reactive container with a full bottle of Rehorst Gin for 20 minutes.  Strain out tea through cheese cloth or coffee filter.


Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 7:48 pm  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow, so I get to leave the first comment ever. I guess that I had better make this a good one.

    You served me a Ghost of Saturday Night at the last Sporting Fraternity and it was amazing. Normally gin disagrees with me, but it’s like it was there… yet wasn’t. Just like a good ghost should be!

    Best of luck with your blogging, and I’ll see you this evening.

  2. Like the blog so far! Mixered up a few Maximiliens last night to put a twist in the Cinco festivities. The cocktail was well received. This is a Misty creation which I’ve adored since it’s inception in ’09 I believe. Mezcal, Punt e Mes, St. Germain, and fresh lemon juice.

    • Thank you so much Brant…I have been making a ton of Maximilians lately too, such a great cocktail. I usually slip it in for someone who says they normally dont like tequila or agave based spirits…gets them away from thinking agave isnt just for margaritas.

  3. great post. keep em coming!

  4. […]  Yesterday I posted the Sagebrush, a newly created recipe.  All day long today I just had this nagging feeling that I had rushed my post for it.  So when I got home after my Saturday Otto’s run for a few odds and ends for the Twilight Lounge I got to tinkering.  The result is the new and improved Sagebrush!  I replaced the ginger ale with a favorite of mine, Domain de Canton.  I also  added a pinch of kosher salt and a dash of Agnosturo bitters.  The addition of these two ingredients really helped to tie this cocktail together.  I do have to give a nod to Chad Doll for the inspiration to try the salt – see his post at https://thirdcoastcocktails.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/hey-bartender-misty-kalkofen/.    […]

  5. Chad,

    This is really great stuff. I am learning. Thank you for sharing these secrets.


    • Thank you so much Steve! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

  6. Aw shucks! Thanks so much for your kind words. I had such a great time at Bryant’s! Everyone was completely gracious and hospitable so I felt right at home. I’m already looking forward to my next Wisconsin furlough! Cheers friends!

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