Monthly Archives: December 2009

Hello bourbon, meet pecan

Looking for something to do with that extra pecan oil and xanthan gum you have kicking around the house?  Dave Arnold can help.

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Poker live on camera

I’ve talked about the red hot poker here and here, but haven’t posted a video until now.  Click below to see how you can “poke” your beverages at home.  Please note the use of orange bitters.

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The perfect gin and tonic

I bet Santa likes clarified lime juice.

Here’s Dave Arnold doing his thing.  This is part of a really cool series called 12 Second Cocktails, courtesy of HungryNation.

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Buy these bitters

How can you resist "the finest orange bitters for man or beast"?

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that for take 2 of the Jalapeño Old Fashioned, I subbed Regan’s orange bitters. 

45% abv, these bitters were designed by cocktail guru Gary Regan and are produced through the Sazerac/Buffalo Trace company.  The bitter orange comes through first and leads to a spicy mid-palate (think cinnamon and clove).  These bitters are complex with a lingering, herbaceous finish.  It only takes a few drops to make your cocktails more exciting.  I love these in Manhattans.

You can purchase them through Amazon or the Buffalo Trace online gift shop.  If you’re in NYC, you can pick them up at Union Square Wines.  If you’re a last minute shopper like me, you can use them as an inexpensive, yet thoughtful stocking stuffer.

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The first cocktail?

The Old Fashioned might have been the first drink to be called a cocktail.  I just purchased David Wondrich’s book Imbibe!…, so when it arrives I’ll fill you in.  People can be oddly particular about cocktails, especially when the cocktail in question dates back to the 1880s.  Most recipes look something like this:

*1 1/2 to 2 oz. whisky (some prefer bourbon or rye over scotch and in the Midwest, they dig it with brandy)
*1 sugar cube with enough water to dissolve it (you can skip this step with simple syrup)
*2-3 dashes of bitters (most call for Angostura)
*an old-fashioned glass (also known as a lowball or rocks glass; essentially a short tumbler – gazing into the future, I can picture myself sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, demanding that someone fill up “grandma’s tumbler”)
*oranges, lemon twists and cherries are common garnishes and some modern recipes call for the drink to be topped off with club soda (why dilute it?)

For the procedure, dissolve the sugar (or add simple syrup) in an old-fashioned glass, add bitters, add ice, add whisky and garnish.

I was recently experimenting with a twist on this drink.  When I have people taste Glen Thunder, I often hear “cornbread”.  I happen to like jalapeños in my cornbread and that’s what got this whole thing rolling.  You see jalapeños in tequila drinks all the time – why not corn whiskey?  I mentioned the idea to Seider at the Summit Bar and he made me an Old Fashioned with McKenzie Rye and Glen Thunder, spiked with jalapeños.

I didn’t see exactly what he did, nor did I ask him proportions, but I attempted to recreate it a few days later.

In a pint glass, I muddled 2 slices of jalapeños in simple syrup, added ice, 3 dashes Angostura bitters, 1 oz. McKenzie Rye, 1 oz. Glen Thunder, dash of salt and I stirred it and strained it into a rocks glass.

I was happy with the result, though I was jealous of Seider’s perfectly square and gynormous ice cube.  I gave it another try, thinking a little citrus might be nice.

Same as above, with the addition of 1/4 oz. oj. Would be great to make this a completely clear drink. Nils? Dave?

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Blogger drink-up

Tonight I’m hosting a tasting for Laren Spirer, Selena Ricks and Hal Wolin.  I’ll be presenting the line up from Finger Lakes Distilling

Laren pens Sweet Blog o’Mine (gotta love a Guns n’Roses fan) and also contributes to Serious Eats, Gothamist and Savory Cities.  Selena writes The Dizzy Fizz, a blog on the NYC cocktail scene that also features a great glossary.  Hal is behind A Muddled Thought and is currently featuring a pretty stellar gift giving guide.

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Susie homemaker

Like any good woman who had a day off from work, I handed my man a martini the moment he walked through the door.  When I asked how it was, he responded, “boozy”. 

a chilly grapefruit vesper

There’s good reason for that – I had made him a Vesper.  I’ve mentioned this cocktail before in a post focused on Vermouth and Manhattans, but the inspiration this time was grapefruit bitters from Fee Brothers.   I purchased the bitters a few weeks ago and hadn’t had a chance to make anything with them yet.  I knew gin would be a good match and after that, I based it on what was in the house. 

Grapefruit Vesper
3 parts gin, 1 part vodka, 1/2 part Lillet, shaken over ice.  I chilled the martini glass and put 3 dashes of the bitters in and then strained my boozy mixture into the glass.

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Octopus and Zinfandel

Frank Bruni, the former restaurant critic for The New York Times, is still terrorizing restaurant employees. 

For the January 2010 issue of Food & Wine, Bruni pays a visit to Le Bernardin to see if he can make sommelier Aldo Sohm crack under the pressure of a cantankerous diner making ridiculous beverage pairing requests. 

The article notes that chef Ripert and a few other employees were in on the game, but that they hadn’t informed Aldo.  Sounds like a great plan, though I’d be really surprised if  Aldo didn’t know who Bruni was.  Recognizing critics (especially those from the NYT) and working at top NYC restaurants go hand in hand.  Nevertheless, World’s Best Sommelier vs. World’s Worst Customer is worth checking out.

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Filed under Noteworthy articles

Great with bacon and eggs?

We already covered sparkling rosé for the holidays, but don’t forget about sparkling red.

To be honest, I usually can’t stand the stuff.  Sure, I’ve had a quaffable Lambrusco before, but most of the sparkling Malbec and Shiraz I’ve sampled have been too cloying or too heavy or simply out of balance.  That all changed tonight.

Majella's 2005 Sparkling Shiraz

We had a great lineup for our sparkling wine class – Cava, Prosecco, Deutscher Sekt, Rosé Champagne and more, but this sparkling Shiraz was the surprise hit.  100% Shiraz from the Coonawarra region of South Australia and while clocking in at 14% alcohol, this wine was surprisingly elegant.  The aromas were classic Syrah – black fruits, violets, spice and sausage.  It’s aged on the lees for 48 months and they use vintage port as the dosage.  If you have no idea what this sentence means, click here.

The tasting notes from the producer’s website suggested that it would “great with bacon and eggs”.  While it would be a versatile wine and a fun addition to a holiday party, it might be a little much to start your day with.  Someone from that part of the world responded to my concern in class by saying that bacon and eggs are a common thing to have for Sunday supper.  I’ll drink to that.

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This milkshake brings all the drunks to the yard

...damn right, it's better than yours

For all of you sticklers out there, this is actually a float and not a milkshake, but I couldn’t resist the title.  This adult “milkshake” is delicious and ridiculously simple – 2 scoops vanilla ice cream, 2 ounces bourbon and root beer to taste.  Typically I don’t care for root beer, but maybe I never had it served the right way.

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