Jack Maxwell has perhaps the world’s most fun job. He travels the globe enjoying all of its best beverages as the host of Travel Channel’s Booze Traveler. He’s currently in the midst of filming the fourth season of the show, which will add destinations including Costa Rica, Colorado, Norway, Taiwan and Tahiti to an already impressive roster of stops.
A long career in acting that’s included roles on everything from 24 to Beverly Hills, 90210 helped get Maxwell the Booze Traveler gig, but his connection to drinks actually runs even deeper: Starting at the tender age of nine, he shined shoes in the barrooms of his native South Boston. “I know; kids aren’t supposed to be in bars,” he laughs. “But I fell in love with the stories of booze and adventure and travel the guys in there would tell.”
Today, Maxwell can tell you where to find a good drink anywhere from Siberia to South Africa, and we asked him what he enjoys when he’s back in Beantown. Here are his three favorite cocktails in Boston.
1760 Punch at RumBa
“Boston is such a great city but you really don’t think ‘tropical’ when you’re cruising around,” Maxwell says. “I'm always looking for a good Rum Punch because it reminds me of the islands.” He gets his local fix at RumBa, a waterfront lounge that “leans a little to the swanky side compared to the bar huts of the Caribbean,” but serves excellent drinks like this one, featuring dark rum from St. Croix, passion fruit, pineapple and house-made grenadine. “Throw in tropical breezes and swaying palm trees, and you got life beat,” Maxwell says.
The Expat at Eastern Standard
The Pisco Sour is one of Maxwell’s very favorite cocktails on Earth. “For the rest of my life, the ones I had in Lima, Peru, probably won’t be matched,” he admits. “Putting that ridiculous standard aside, Eastern Standard does it really well.” The spot’s been run by legendary bartender Jackson Cannon since 2005 and is known as one of the best cocktail bars not just in Boston but in the whole country. Eastern Standard’s twist on the Pisco Sour, The Expat, adds a bit of nutty sherry and some orange liqueur to the classic recipe but keeps the traditional egg white, which contributes a frothy texture and rich mouthfeel that Maxwell says is key.
Irish Coffee at Mr. Dooley’s
The venerable Irish Coffee, according to lore, was invented by an Irish airport bartender looking to warm up a group of just-arrived passengers on a cold night, and that story is part of why Maxwell enjoys the drink. “I just love that this was founded on making a set of people feel a little bit better,” he says. And in Boston, the beloved Irish pub Mr. Dooley’s is an excellent spot to enjoy one. “A little strange that it’s smack dab right in the middle of all of the downtown skyscrapers, but the way they make their Irish Coffee makes up for it,” Maxwell says. “Just feels like Ireland. Next best thing to having one on the Emerald Isle.” And no matter when you visit, there’ll be some entertainment on offer: Mr. Dooley’s has live music every night, with an audience full of local musicians who often join the bands on stage.