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Archive for January, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII

Posted by Reese On January - 25 - 2009

I’ve never really been a football fan, but word on the street is that there is some kind of large game coming.  Okay, I’m not totally daft.  Super Bowl XLIII is next Sunday and I plan to spend this week preparing you to enjoy some cocktails while leaving you time to enjoy the game.  This week isn’t just going to be a cobbled together mess of drinks though.  I have a plan.

football

Seems to me that when you’re getting ready for a Super Bowl (or any other major event) party that one thing you should consider is the prep time required for the drinks (and food) you’re planning.  It doesn’t make sense to be spending three minutes per drink when there is a game on you’re trying watch.  So, in that spirit, I’ll be focusing my efforts on drinks that can be prepared ahead of time or drinks that require nearly no time to prepare.

The fun doesn’t stop there though.  I’m a huge fan of food, but more than that I’m a huge fan of cooking.  So I’m going to throw a couple food recipes into the mix that also fit the prep ahead or quick assemble theme.  Check in tomorrow for the first installment.  Until then, happy drinking.

The Aviation – Minus the Violette

Posted by Reese On January - 24 - 2009

I entered this week with a bit of trepidation.  You see about a year and a half ago Aaron and I were both just getting in to mixing cocktails.  We decided that with the 4th of July fast approaching we should throw a party and feature gin drinks.  Being new to the game we both looked around on the net and found some drinks that sounded good.  The Aviation was one of the ones we chose and we stocked up on Maraschino and lemons, being gin lovers we had plenty of that on hand.  We used Regan’s recipe from the Joy of Mixology and whipped up our first batch.  The results were, well, unexpected.  Since neither of us had ever had Maraschino before we had no preconceived notion of what this drink might taste like.  Those of you familiar with the flavor of Maraschino likely know where I’m going with this.  This liqueur has a certain funk to it.  The taste is most certainly an aquired one and not what you’re expecting when you hear the words cherry liqueur.

Aviation Cocktail

So, to wrap up that little tale I haven’t mixed one since.  But I knew, deep down, that there must be some merit to this cocktail for it to have survived as long as it has.  So on the tasting schedule it went.  The first recipe I tried was Regan’s, again.  This time I think my pallate has matured because I quite enjoyed the flavor of the Marachino.  That said I don’t feel that this recipe is particularly balanced.  The Luxardo (my Maraschino of choice) completely eclipses the flavor of the lemon juice and the gin (Plymouth) barely shines through as well.  A good start, but I think we can do better.

Next I sampled the recipe from David Wondrich’s Killer Cocktails.

Aviation (Killer Cocktails)
2 oz Gin
2 tsp Maraschino
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

This recipe makes a drink that is much more sour and the gin really shines through in this one.  However, still not the balance that I’m looking for.  I felt the drink could use a touch more sweetness (provided by the increased Maraschino in Regan’s recipe) so I mixed up another, this time adding 1 tsp of simple syrup.  This additional sweetness however, masked the lemon’s sourness almost completely.  D’Oh! Still not what I’m looking for.  As a side note, the recipe from Killer Cocktails is nearly identical to the one in Vintage Cocktails and Spirits, so I chose not to make both.

Next I decided to try a recipe posted by Dan in the comments on my initial Aviation post.

Aviation (a la Dan)
2 oz Gin
1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Maraschino
Tiny Dash of Simple Syrup (~1/2 tsp)

This, my friends, is the Aviation I’d been looking for.  The drink is much more balanced with enough sweetness coming from the Maraschino and tiny dash of simple syrup.  The sourness is present and bold, but not over powering and you still get enough of the pleasing Maraschino funkiness.  My only remaining problem was that the Plymouth was masked for the most part.  Thankfully I have lots of other gins to choose from and quickly remedied the situation with some Juniper Green.  This recipe is the one that will go down in the Cocktail Hacker tome of knowledge as my preferred recipe.  Thanks for the excellent tip Dan.

But wait!  You must be wondering what happened with the search for Creme de Violette.  In short, I struck out.  I checked the four largest liquor stores in the Boulder area and none had it in stock.  Even DaveCo, the largest liquor store in the world which claims to have everything, had none.  In fact, they hadn’t ever heard of it.  Liquor Mart offered to special order a bottle but said it would take a least a week to arrive.  I’m not that patient folks.  So, I turned to the interwebs and found that Sam’s Wine had it in stock.  However, due to a typing error on my part the bottle didn’t ship until Thursday.  So…I’ll be putting up another post next week discussing the recipes that lean more toward the classic.

Review – Roundhouse Gin

Posted by Reese On January - 20 - 2009

As those who know me well are already fully aware and I would guess the rest of you are starting to realize, I’m a gin fanatic.  Imagine, if you will, how excited I was to find out that there was a local distillery producing my favorite spirit!   A coworker brought in a copy of an article that ran in our local paper about Roundhouse Spirits a small operation in Longmont, CO run by Alex Nelson.  The article presents quite an interesting story about how Alex uses neutral grain (corn) spirits brought in from KY as the base of his gin.   He then infuses the proto-gin with botanicals including juniper, coriander, citrus peel, star anise, angelica and orris root.   Those are all the classics though, nothing particularly earth shattering there.   Alex then steps it up a notch with his own blend of sencha green tea, lavender, hibiscus and chamomile.  Now we’re talking interesting.  Top it off with the fact that the gin is made in supremely small batches and all bottled by hand.  This was a gin I just had to try.

Roundhouse Gin

The first thing you notice about the nose of this gin is the juniper, which is a big plus for me.  A lot of gins these days seem to be downplaying the juniper in favor of other scents/flavors, namely citrus.  While I enjoy a citrus forward gin a great deal I have a greater appreciation for a juniper forward gin that remains balanced, which Roundhouse certainly does.  The next note you’ll get in subsequent sniffs are the herbal notes of the green tea and chamomile.  Once you take your first sip you’ll note a pleasantly intense flavor. This gin is certainly not one to foist upon a gin novice.  Moving past the initial flavor burst you’ll get hints of the star anise and coriander coming out. Finally the green tea and chamomile remain on the finish and linger for quite some time.

This gin is big and bold and I’ve found it works well all by itself in a Dry Martini (wouldn’t want the vermouth’s flavors stomping all over the gin) and also plays very well in a Corpse Reviver #2.  I think it would also work very well in a Tom Collins but I have yet to give that a try.  If you’re a gin fan and can find a bottle of Roundhouse give it try.  You will most certainly not be disappointed.

Twitter Changeover

Posted by Reese On January - 20 - 2009

I’ve decided to discontinue the use of the CocktailHacker twitter ID in favor of simply using my own ReeseLloyd.  In theory all future posts will get autotweeted to my account.

Changed Comment Requirements

Posted by Reese On January - 19 - 2009

I decided to change the comment settings to no longer require commenters to be registered.  I felt forcing people to register may stifle people’s willingness to comment.  So, from here on out you’ll only need to put in a name and email.  Comment away!