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Archive for 2008

Merry New Year!

Posted by Reese On December - 31 - 2008

I believe Eddie sums it up best.

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year.  I look forward to another year filled with tasty cocktails.

Review – Juniper Green Gin

Posted by Reese On December - 30 - 2008

Juniper Green Gin

The penultimate gin in our tasting was Juniper Green, the world’s first Organic London Dry Gin.  Although CapRock is the US’ first organic gin Junpier Green gets the nod for the first worldwide.  Juniper Green is produced in London’s Thames Distillery and is the last gin fully produced and bottled in the city.  The distiller’s website lists the botanicals in use as juniper berries, coriander, angelica root and savory, all organic of course.  These ingredients come through in both the smell and flavor.  The primary element you pick out in both is the juniper, its smell and flavor are very forward and powerful.  There is little burn with this gin and it hits late in the taste leaving a pleasant warming sensation.  Since this gin’s primary note is that of juniper I would recommend it in an application that will play off the flavor.  Tonic I think would compliment this gin nicely as the juniper flavor will be strong enough to cut through the sweet and sour flavors of the tonic.

The Corpse Reviver

Posted by Reese On December - 28 - 2008

As you well know New Year’s Eve is this week.  For a lot of people this means (heavy) drinking.  There is a strong liklihood that somewhere, someone, possibly even a CH reader, will have a run in with a hangover this week.  I’m not claiming to know the future here, or anything crazy like that, just saying that the probabilities are leaning that way.  So, in that vein, it seems only appropriate to feature a cocktail this week that is the namesake of a category of drinks (Corpse Revivers) that are intended to be morning eye-openers or a bit of the hair of the dog.

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I’m going to focus on two classic Corpse Reviver recipes both from Harry Cradock’s “Savoy Cocktail Book” and listed here in the form shown in “The Joy of Mixology” by Gary Regan.

Corpse Reviver #1
[Ingredients]
2 oz Applejack
3/4 oz Brandy
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
[Directions]
1) Combine over ice.
2) Stir until chilled.
3) Strain into a cocktail glass.

Corpse Reviver #2
[Ingredients]
3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Triple Sec
3/4 oz Lillet Blonde
3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Absinthe (substitute) to taste (Go Easy)
[Directions]
1) Combine over ice.
2) Shake until chilled.
3) Strain into a cocktail glass.

Hot Drunken Cider

Posted by Reese On December - 28 - 2008

This has been a wonderful holiday week and I certainly hope you all had a great time as well.  I did spend a little time on a hot cider based cocktail, with much emphasis on the “little”.  Basically I made some mulled cider using a great organic pressed apple cider made locally and some standard mulling spices (orange peel, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, star anise).  Once I had that I proceeded to drink most of it cold on its own.  However, keeping in mind that I wanted to do a bit of a tasting I saved about two cups with which to experiment.

Drunken Cider Tasting

I filled each of my tasting glasses with four ounces of hot cider and one ounce each of the following spirits: Eagle Rare Bourbon, Courvoisier VSOP Cognac, and Flor de Cana 7yo Dark Rum.  This is nearly identical to the egg nog showdown but I felt that these spirits would play best with the mulled apple cider, although I did contemplate trying some apple jack.  However, I was dissuaded when I read online that someone had tried that combo and found it much too apply.

Then I set out to taste each of them.  The first thing you notice before you even bring your nose near the glasses is the amazing aroma of hot cider and dark spirits.  It filled the air of my kitchen and was really incredibly pleasant and warming.  The tasting results are very similar to those of the nog tasting.  The bourbon is my hands down winner because it retains the most flavor when combined with the cider.  You still pick up the smokiness from the barrel aging and the additional spiciness of the bourbon is perfect.  The brandy adds a nice alcohol warmth, but you lose most of the flavor to the spices in the cider.  Finally the sweetness of the rum helps to maintain a sweeter final product than the brandy or bourbon but loses the most flavor.  I found the rum to be nearly undetectable.  It was quite obvious that there was liquor in the cider, but I don’t think I would have been able to nail down exactly what in a blind taste test.

Having tried these three I noticed I had exactly 1/2 cup of cider left, so to change things up I poured in an ounce of Plymouth gin.  Let’s be clear, this was not a good experiment.  Were I in a cartoon lab this creation surely would have exploded and left me with a face blackened by soot.  This being the real world I was instead left with an odd, at best, aroma and a flavor to match.  Don’t waste either good cider or gin in trying this one, you won’t be pleased.

Overall I’m fairly pleased with the results, but I do have a small confession to make.  I don’t really like hot drinks.  I hate coffee, except in things (cake, ice cream, etc), don’t much like hot tea, and rarely drink hot chocolate.  Although I have been known to have a Coco Loco (Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Schnapps) while snowmobiling.  Speaking of which, they’re really quite good, give it a go next time you’re wanting something warm and boozy.  That said a hot cider drink just seemed appropriate for the holidays.  It’s cold outside (at least it is here), there is some snow on the ground, people are going nuts shopping, just seemed right.  But sadly due to my dislike of hot beverages I didn’t do much with this potential canvas.  There is hope however!  You, the Cocktail Hacker readers, can save me.  Post up suggestions or tried and true recipes for hot cocktails.  I’d like to hear what you all like.

The Great Nog Off of 2008

Posted by Reese On December - 24 - 2008

As promised we had an Egg Nog taste off last night to determine what the best spirit is for mixing in this delicious beverage.  From what I’ve read it seems the three main choices are whiskey (bourbon specifically), rum, and brandy.  I enlisted the help of my friends Mike and Crystal to get to the bottom of this difficult case.

Egg Nog Taste Off

For the spirits I chose Eagle Rare 10 yr Bourbon, Flor de Cana 7yr Dark Rum, and Germain-Robin Fine Alembic Brandy (lot 23 if you care).  All of these are aged spirits and therefore have a nice dark color and a complexity of flavor that can only be obtained from aging.  We mixed one ounce of spirit with about 4 ounces of egg nog for the initial round of tasting.

Mike and Crystal liked the rum best because it nearly completely blended in to the nog adding nice additional flavor without adding any extra alcoholiness.  I’d agree, although the rum is certainly present and you can taste it the flavor doesn’t overpower the egg nog at all.  Their second favorite was the brandy.  It added a nice flavor but had more of an alcohol aftertaste than the rum which although not unpleasant it wasn’t what they were looking for.  The bourbon came in dead last for Mike and Crystal.  Neither of them liked the additional flavors that the bourbon brought and both disliked the aftertaste.  This is where I differed though.  I really enjoyed the addition of bourbon.  I like the extra flavor components and complexity that bourbon brings to the party.

Overall my recommendation would be to go with bourbon (or the whiskey of your choice) if you like whiskey to begin with.  And this is a perfect case of really needing to use bourbon that you like to drink by itself.  A crappy tasting bourbon won’t be improved with egg nog.  You’ll simply end up with a crappy tasting glass of egg nog.  On the other hand if you’re not a huge whiskey fan or you’d prefer a smoother, more integrated flavor then I think a good dark rum is the spirit of choice.  A light rum could also be used, but since it’s not aged it won’t add that much in the way of additional flavor.

Hope you are all having a great holiday!