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Archive for February, 2009

Scofflaw – Feels Good to be This Bad

Posted by Reese On February - 22 - 2009

Sure, it’s no longer against the law to mix and drink these cocktails, but we can always pretend right?  The Scofflaw is the perfect drink for that kind of pretending too.  The ingredients are classic, especially if you go with Rye, and you should.  The flavor can range from dry to sweet depending on your taste.  Finally, the color is simply stunning.

Scofflaw Cocktail

I started my experiments this week with The Joy of Mixology recipe (2 oz Rye, 1 oz Dry Vermouth, 1/2 oz Lemon Juice, 1/4 oz Grenadine) and found it to be a little too dry for my liking.  The next recipe I mixed up (1 1/2 oz, 1 oz, 3/4 oz, 3/4 oz), from Forgotten Spirits and Cocktails, was on the opposite end of the spectrum, much too sweet.  After a couple recipe tweaks I settled on one that I really like which ups the sour and sweet notes while keeping the whiskey and vermouth flavors present.

Scofflaw Cocktail with Hibiscus Grenadine

Scofflaw (Cocktail Hacker)
1 1/2 oz Rye
1 oz Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine

Some parting comments.  I tried both rye and bourbon in this cocktail and found both worked very well.  But, as in the Manhattan, I felt the spiciness of the rye worked better in this application.  I also used my homemade hibiscus grenadine that I discussed earlier in the week which is a little less sweet than some.  Depending on the sweetness of your grenadine you may want to play with the amount you add to get the sweetness you’re looking for.

Homemade Grenadine #2: Hibiscus Grenadine

Posted by Reese On February - 20 - 2009

So, early on in CH history I tackled making homemade grenadine which was a real revelation for me.  For both of the recipes I whipped up I used Pom juice, which turned out good.  Certainly a damn sight better than the store bought stuff.  but, I felt there was still something missing.  I hadn’t used fresh pomegranantes.  Fresh fruits always seem to add a brightness that can’t be obtained with bottled juices.

Pomegranate Seeds for Hibiscus Grenadine

I can’t claim my own lack of fresh ingredients as my only source of inspiration though.  I got some inspiration from Rookie Libations via Tiare at a Mountain of Crushed Ice.  Chris has the genius idea of adding some hibiscus to grenadine to deepen the redness of the grenadine and add some floral notes.  Since my original grenadine recipe called for a tiny addition of orange flower water the additional floral notes in this recipe sounded like just what I was looking for.  So, in search of hibiscus I did go.

Living in a city centered around fitness and health it was no trouble to find hibiscus last Sunday evening.  Next up was pomegranates.  Both Chris and Tiare used fresh fruits, I on the other hand was leaning towards to the lazy side.  When I arrived at Whole Foods and they had pint tubs of pomegranates pips I knew it was made to be.

I changed up both Chris and Tiare’s recipes a tiny bit to get the flavor profile I was looking for.

Making Hibiscus Grenadine

Hibiscus Grenadine
2 c Sugar
2 c Water
2 c Pomegranate Pips (~2 Fruits)
1 oz Dried Hibiscus Flowers
1) Combine ingredients in a non-reactive sauce pan.
2) Bring mixture to a boil.
3) Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes.
4) Turn off heat and allow to cool for about an hour.
5) Strain and bottle.
6) Add 2 oz Grain Alcohol to increase shelf life.

How is the flavor?  To sum it up in a word, amazing.  The resulting grenadine is less sweet that my previous preferred recipe, but slightly less sour.  I think this is likely a result of the fresh fruit in place of bottled juice.  The hibiscus flowers really do add a floral note to this end product and the color is also enriched.  However, I must admit, the color is really not that much deeper than that of the previous recipe I whipped up.

If you’re going to be making a batch of homemade grenadine on your own I’d say go for the hibiscus grenadine.  The flavor is less sweet which allows you to add a little more to cocktails without overwhelming the other ingredients and the floral notes are great.

Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

Posted by Reese On February - 17 - 2009

Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth (New-Old Formula)Noilly Prat has just released a brand new recipe for their popular dry vermouth.  Wait.  No.  That’s not right at all.  Scratch that.

Noilly Prat has discontinued the US version of the dry vermouth that you’ve been drinking for years.  In its place, the US will now be partaking of the original 1813 recipe that has always been distributed in Europe.  The 1813 recipe is sweeter than the Noilly you’ve gotten used to but I think it’s better too.  The color is a bit darker, likely from the barrel aging.  Noilly ages their dry vermouth for 8 months in large oak casks indoors and then moves them to smaller barrels which further age another year outside.  In addition to the oakiness and slightly sweeter flavor I think the herbal notes are more forward in the 1813 formula, which is also most welcome.  Overall I really like this new/old version.

One gripe though.  As you can see from the picture at the left the bottle came with a tiny booklet explaining the new (old) product and suggesting some serving options.  The first is to simply serve it over ice as an aperitif, which I can certainly understand and could go for.  The second recipe is for the Ultimate Dry Martini Cocktail which calls for 1 part Noilly Prat dry vermouth to 4 parts Grey Goose vodka.  Now, I realize that this is marketing material and they’re trying to appeal to the masses, but seriously?  You’re going to call a vodka Martini the ulimate Martini in which your vermouth could be used?  I think they could have done better, but alas, that’s why I’m not in marketing.

MxMo XXXVI: Recession Gin and Tonic

Posted by Reese On February - 16 - 2009

This month’s Mixology Monday is being hosted by Matt Rowley of Rowley’s Whiskey Forge.  The topic, Hard Drinks for Hard Times, I’m sure hits home for a lot of us.  My 401K is down 8.9% for 2009 (don’t even ask about 2008), I have friends and relatives who have been laid off, overall times truly are hard.  Thankfully I’m in a lucky position working at a stable job that I enjoy.  That doesn’t mean I can’t do a little cutting back on spending though.  On that note I’d like to offer up my Recession Gin and Tonic.

Recession Gin and Tonic
Recession Gin and Tonic
2 oz Burnett's Gin
6 oz Canada Dry Tonic Water
1 tsp Realime or Other Bottled Lime Juice
1) Combine in a double old fashioned glass with ice
2) Enjoy
3) Repeat

If you’ve been reading CH for a while now you already know about my love of the squeeze lime, which I waxed poetic about for MxMo XXXII.  However, not everyone agrees with my use of bottled juice as is evidenced by the haiku battle that raged in my blog comments.  I’ll certainly grant you that squeeze lime, or really any bottled juice, doesn’t offer the freshness of flavor that fresh juices bring.  On the other hand, they do offer convenience and affordability, which is key to surviving tough times.

For this G&T recipe I’ve used Burnett’s gin.  I picked up my first handle of Burnett’s after reading this review by Jonathan Forester.  Jonathan nailed it in his review.  This is a gin that is very inexpensive but packs a good deal of flavor.  It has a nice amount of juniper and the citrus notes are strong enough to make it a great gin for a G&T.

Finally, I went with Canada Dry tonic water, my now favorite super market tonic water.  Clearly I could have chosen to go with store brand tonic water, but even though I’m going for an inexpensive cocktail here, I still want it to taste good.  I am actually drinking these afterall.

So how hard is this cocktail going to hit your wallet?  It’s not going to hit it hard at all.  It’s going to be like a kitten falling on a pile of pillows.

  • Burnett’s Gin (1.75 L) $15.99 -> 2 oz $0.54
  • Realime (15 oz) $3.09 -> 1 tsp $0.04
  • C-Dry Tonic (6×12 oz) $2.99 -> 6 oz $0.25
  • Total Cost Per Drink $0.83

Eighty three cents.  Try to wrap your head around that number.  That’s cheaper than a soft drink nearly anywhere.  It’s cheaper than a crappy cup of coffee from the vending machine in my office.  And to make things even more impressive keep in mind that none of the ingredients that I used were on sale.  If you were able to score these on sale I think you could drop your total cost per drink down to around $0.65 easily.  Bam! Recession solved…Oh, wait.  No, not really.  At least you’ve got a tasty beverage to keep you going though.

The Scofflaw

Posted by Reese On February - 15 - 2009

1. One who habitually violates minor laws or fails to answer trivial court summonses (such as parking tickets.)
2. An iconoclast


Per wikitionary the word scofflaw was coined as a  response to a content during prohibition times.  The contest was in search of, Jeopardy style, a word meaning “a lawless drinker of illegally made or illegally obtained liquor”.  The contest offered $200 as the prize and received nearly 25,000 entries.  Not particularly surprising considering that would buy you about 100 pints of alcohol if you could find a bootlegger to sell you some.

The cocktail is clearly named after this newly coined word and, per Gary Regan, the cocktail was created in 1924 by Jock, a bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.

Scofflaw (Joy of Mixology)
2 oz Bourbon or Straight Rye
1 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Grenadine
Orange Bitters to Taste
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice.
2) Shake until chilled and strain in to a cocktail glass.

I’m excited about this cocktail for a number of reasons.  First, it gives me the opportunity to make some more homemade grenadine.  Sure, I still have some left in my fridge and freezer, but since pomegranates are in season right now I can do it right this go round.  Second, I’m going to pick up a bottle of Noilly Prat dry vermouth.  This may not seem particularly exiciting, but Noilly Prat has recently re-released their original dry vermouth formula for the US market and I’ve been looking forward to giving it a try.  Finally, it’s a bourbon cocktail and it seems like it has been much too long since I featured one.