One great bar in Boston that has been a cocktail inspiration for me is Island Creek Oyster Bar. As at its neighboring bars also run by Jackson Cannon, Eastern Standard and The Hawthorne, the cocktails at ICOB are never anything short of fantastic. It was the first place I ever tried an Air Mail, and it has since become one of my favorite cocktails. Last time I was there, I ordered the Charles Lindbergh, particularly because of the inclusion of Tempus Fugit's Kina L'Aero D'Or, one of my new obsessions. It was really good, and I knew I'd like to make it at home.
Luckily, it turns out the Charles Lindbergh is an old cocktail, dating back to the classic Savoy Cocktail Book, and the original recipe wasn't hard to find: gin, Kina Lillet, apricot brandy, and a dash of orange juice. Lacking the last two ingredients, I came up with my own variation using a dash of Cointreau and about 1/4 tsp. apricot preserves. I also used the Kina L'Aero, which is sweeter and more bitter than the Lillet Blanc on the shelves today, but probably more similar to the original recipe. The result is surprisingly similar to what I remember from the bar, and thoroughly enjoyable. You could just as easily make it with Lillet Blanc or even dry or blanc vermouth; you'd be in for a different experience, but I think it would still be a very quaffable cocktail. It's nicely balanced, sweet with a bitter finish, with flavors of citrus, apricot, and botanicals.
History: Charles Lindbergh was, of course, the famous pilot who flew the Spirit of St. Louis from New York to Paris on the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic. He was only 25 years old. Harry Craddock of the Savoy Hotel in London invented this cocktail to celebrate the occasion. It would later appear in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book.
Charles Lindbergh1 1/2 oz. gin
1 oz. Kina L'Aero D'Or, Lillet, or Cocchi Americano
1 dash Cointreau
1/4 tsp. apricot preserves
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir to mix in the preserves. Add ice and stir until chilled. Fine-strain into a coupe glass. Twist a lemon peel over the cocktail and discard.
Recipe adapted from Cocktail 101.