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Archive for March, 2010

Calvados Cocktail

Posted by Reese On March - 28 - 2010

This week I’m going to pull that seemingly forgotten 3/4 full bottle of calvados off my shelf and mix up the inventively named Calvados Cocktail.  Per Dr. Cocktail this drink first appears in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book.  Though, for an easier to read recipe I’m going to use the one from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.  It’s the same recipe proportion wise, just adjusted for a single cocktail.

Calvados Cocktail (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
1 1/2 oz Calvados
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Orange Bitters
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice
2) Shake until combined and well chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Okay.  Read that recipe again.  Did you catch it?  That’s right, this drink calls for a full three quarters of an ounce of bitters!  Holy crapola!  I’m used to measurements of bitters like 3 dashes.  This, my friends, is going to be very entertaining.

The Boulevardier – Bittersweet Deliciousness

Posted by Reese On March - 27 - 2010

I expected this drink to basically be a Manhattan with an additional bitter bite from the Campari.  There is certainly truth in that view, but it’s also lacking.  The Boulevardier is delightfully bitter like a Negroni.  And, while the vermouth and bourbon flavors hint toward a Manhattan this is something deeper and, in a strange way, brighter.  The orange flavor of the Campari really shines through.  The result is a drink that is deep in its complexity but fruity and bright at the same time.  In case it’s not clear by now, I really enjoyed this cocktail.  If you’re a Manhattan lover you absolutely need to give it a try.


Despite my love, I do have some tweaks to suggest.  First, let’s look at the whiskey.  Captain McBoozy dropped a comment on my intro post for the week pointing back to a drink he had come up with.  Turns out his recipe is a Boulevardier with a bit more bourbon.  In addition to his fortuitous discovery he also had some great comments on the whiskey to use.  His suggestion, in summary, is to go big or go home.  Specifically try a bourbon, or other whiskey for that matter, that’s high proof.  Naturally, I had to try it for myself.  I started the week with Bulleit and was definitely not disappointed.  Bulleit is 90 proof, so high, but not super high.  Next I pulled down a higher proof whiskey, specifically Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey (94 proof).  The Captain’s head was definitely in the right place with this one.  The additional proof helps cut some of the sweetness of the Campari and vermouth.  If I had some on hand I would have loved to go even higher, maybe some of the 105+ proof bourbons out there.  Next time perhaps.

Now to the other tweakable ingredient, vermouth.  I started with Cinzano.  And, in all honesty, I’m not trying to piss you off McBoozy, it’s just what I had in the fridge at the time.  Like with the Bulleit I wasn’t disappointed, but from the adamant, shall I say, ravings of the Captain, I picked up a bottle of Carpano Antica.  Holy crap.  The man is absolutely right again.  Carpano makes you realize what really amazing sweet vermouth is all about.  Problem is, it’s pricey, like $35+ a bottle pricey.  So, I’m going to leave it with this.  Use whatever sweet vermouth you like.  This drink is going to be good.  However, if you feel like splurging, pick up a bottle of Carpano.  It will elevate this drink from good to wonderful.

Last note.  As I mentioned above the Captain bumps the bourbon up to 2 oz in his recipe.  I really like this change.  It cuts down on the sweetness of the drink a bit.  You could even bump it up a bit more to 2 1/2 oz to go even drier.  Though, if you’re increasing the whiskey and going with a high proof spirit, be careful.  You’ll become intimately involved with the floor quicker than you’d like.

The Boulevardier (Captain McBoozy)
2 oz Bourbon (High Proof)
1 oz Campari
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica)
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice
2) Stir until combined and well chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

The Boulevardier

Posted by Reese On March - 21 - 2010

Named after The Paris Boulevardier, a magazine printed in Paris for expats and modeled after The New Yorker, this cocktail is another from the pages of the fantastic Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.  The Boulevardier is clearly related to the Negroni, but what’s really interesting is that this recipe was printed 20 years before the first printing of the Negroni.  That’s not to say it didn’t exist, but it can be assumed that the Negroni hadn’t gained the same popularity as this week’s drink.  It’ll be interesting to see how the bitterness of the Campari works with the bourbon in this mix.  Seeing as I’m a huge fan of the Negroni, and Campari in general, I’m sure it will be tasty.

Boulevardier (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
1 1/2 oz Bourbon
1 oz Campari
1 oz Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica)
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice
2) Stir until combined and well chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

Twelve Mile Limit – The Bartenders Got it Right

Posted by Reese On March - 20 - 2010

There’s no doubt that the lawmakers got a lot of things wrong during Prohibition.  The bartenders, on the other hand, were right.  The Twelve Mile Limit definitely exemplifies that statement.  The drink is well balanced, extremely flavorful and, overall, tremendously pleasing.

Twelve Mile Limit

In this week’s picture I decided to share a bit of my insanity in the form of my cocktail notebook with you.  So, on that note (pun fully intended), I’m going to let my notes do some talking about this drink.  “First off, the color is incredible, a deep burgundy red.  Really looks very regal.”  And that it absolutely does.  This drink uses a lot of grenadine, at least in comparison to the amount you typically see in cocktails.  I, of course, reached for my homemade hibiscus grenadine.  The result is a deep red that is truly striking.

“The aroma bears the rye and brandy very nicely.  The rum is a bit lost however.”  Again, very true.  Though I think there are a couple reasons for the rum getting a bit lost.  First, the rum I picked at first (Flor de Caña) is very smooth, but also quite light.  This drink definitely needs a bit more boldness.  So, to change it up I tried Wray and Nephew Overproof for the next mix.  Wrong answer.  The alcohol flavor was much too bold.  For try number three I reached for a rum recommended by Rum Dood for this drink, Montanya Platino.  The fact that Montanya is a Colorado rum is just icing on the cake.  The Dood was definitely right, this is a great rum for this drink.  Though it was still a light for my tastes.  So, let’s talk about that second point.  I think the rum can be bumped up a bit.  For my preferred recipe (below) I increase the rum to 1 1/2 oz which brings its flavor more to the forefront.

Twelve Mile Limit (Cocktail Hacker)
1 1/2 oz White Rum (Go Bold)
1/2 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Rye
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice
2) Shake until combined and well chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass

A couple quick notes on this recipe.  First, by adding more rum I’ve pumped the alcohol content up to 2 1/2 oz.  That puts this drink solidly into the formidable foe category.  So, like most formidable foes, be cautious in your consumption.  Second, that extra 1/2 oz also lessens the depth of the red color a bit.  I’m okay with that.  Adding more grenadine is an option, but I’d rather not have that additional sweetness, so I go without.

A final bit of discussion, the Three Mil(l)er.  I tried it and I’d like to call shenanigans on myself.  This drink is certainly related to the Twelve Mile Limit and it may have come before, but the relationship is more that of an older cousin than a parent.  I mixed up the Three Miller recipe from the Savoy.  It’s much drier than the Twelve Mile Limit, but that’s to be expected since the only sweetener is 1 tsp of grenadine compared to 3.  The lemon juice flavor is really only an accent; at 1 dash you don’t even pick up the sourness.  Lastly, with 1 1/2 oz of brandy and 3/4 oz of rum this drink is all about the brandy.  It’s the center of the aroma and the flavor.  So, while related to the Twelve Mile Limit, this drink is a completely different beast.  Still worth trying though.

Prohibition Weirdness – The Chemist’s War

Posted by Reese On March - 15 - 2010

In my meanderings about the internet looking for information about Prohibition, territorial waters and the like I was directed to The Chemist’s War, a recent article on  “The Chemist’s War” discusses some Prohibition history that was not only completely new to me, but also more than a little distressing.  Not to give away the article (you really should read it, it’s quite good), I think we are all aware on some level that industrial alcohol is denatured.  Denaturing alcohol, usually by adding methanol, makes it undrinkable.  Nothing particularly new there.  Though I bet you didn’t know that during Prohibition the US government forced producers to increase the additives thus making these products even more poisonous.  Still not hugely scary.  How about the fact that it caused over 1,000 deaths in New York alone?  Got your attention?  Read the article for the twisted but fascinating details.