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Archive for January, 2011

Things that are Awesome – Meehan Utility Bag

Posted by Reese On January - 26 - 2011

Given an infinite amount of money, or even a very large finite amount, I would own this bag in an instant.  A collaboration between mixologist Jim Meehan of PDT in New York and Moore & Giles, this bag is the bartender’s equivalent of the old timey doctor’s bag.  Made of quality materials with serious attention to detail, it’s sufficient to say that I want it.  Lust might be a better word though.

[Moore & Giles via CoolThings via The Awesomer via Gizmodo]

The Delicious Sour

Posted by Reese On January - 17 - 2011

It should come as absolutely no surprise that I enjoy sours of all types.  Some of the cocktails I come back to time after time are sours.  Margaritas, Daiquiris, Whiskey Sours, Amaretto Sours, you get the picture.  So, when I came across the Delicious Sour I knew things were going to be good.  I mean, come on, the cocktail’s name even describes it as delicious!  Granted, that may be akin to your mom saying you’re the smartest kid out there, but I’m willing to give it some faith.  Let’s get sampling!

The Delicious Sour (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
2 oz Applejack
2 oz Peach-Flavored Brandy
Juice of 1 Lime (1 - 1 1/2 oz)
1 Egg White
1 tsp Sugar
Soda Water

1) Shake all but the soda in an iced cocktail shaker
2) Strain into a goblet
3) Top with a splash of soda water

The Communist – Nearly Forgotten by Time

Posted by Reese On January - 15 - 2011

During my time in school, I wrote a ton of papers about all manner of topics.  Some of the hardest to write were those where the topic was interesting, but there was very little source material to go from.  However, in some cases, those were the most rewarding as well, where as other times I just winged it and hoped for the best.  The Communist reminds me of the former.

The Communist

In looking through my books the recipe I started with from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails is the only recipe I ended up finding in my entire cocktail bookshelf.  That gave me free rein to experiment as I saw fit.  But first, let’s quickly discuss the original recipe so we’re on the same page.

Communist (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
1 oz Gin
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Cherry Brandy
3/4 oz Lemon Juice

This recipe produced a drink that was a bit overly sour for me.  After some additional experimentation I decided this was a result of particularly sour lemons, but it’s something interesting to note none the less.  As with any natural ingredient you’re going to get some variation in your citrus acidity.  That said, I encourage all of you to see every cocktail recipe as a guide rather than set in stone; change as you see fit.  The other main thing that was off in this cocktail for me was its size.  While it’s true that classic cocktails tend to be much smaller than today’s drinks, this one is particularly tiny.  So, on to my preferred recipe.

Communist (Cocktail Hacker)
1 1/2 oz Gin
1 1/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Cherry Brandy
1 oz Lemon Juice
2 Dashes Orange Bitters

First, and easiest to see, I bumped the overall size of the drink up to ~5 oz.  Second, I didn’t bump the lemon juice as much as other ingredients.  If your lemons are super sour you might even want to drop back to 3/4 oz.  Finally, I added some orange bitters to the mix.  These serve to really increase the depth and complexity of the cocktail while adding a slight bitter component.

When mixing this drink I’d definitely suggest going with a bold, juniper forward gin.  With the strong citrus notes you need a bold gin; I used Tanqueray to good success.  The flavor of the drink is, not surprising, rooted in citrus.  Next you get the gin and finally the flavor of the cherry brandy rounds  everything out.  Per Dr. Cocktail’s suggestion, I used Cherry Heering for this drink and found it to be perfect.  Anything drier wouldn’t add enough sweetness to the drink.  So, if you’d like to try a cherry eau de vie in this make sure you also add about 1/4-1/2 oz of simple syrup to balance things out.

I will definitely be making this drink again and have added it to my mental list of drinks to suggest to people who swear they hate gin.  The strong citrus flavors subdue even strong juniper gins and allow the flavors to be introduced gently.  Very tasty and I’m quite glad it wasn’t completely lost to the sands of time.

The Communist

Posted by Reese On January - 5 - 2011

My schedule has gotten a bit wonky lately and, for that, I’m sorry.  But, on time or not, we will soldier on and do our share of drinking.  This time I’m coming to you with the Communist cocktail.  Named, I have no doubt, in a time when communists were a much scarier possibility and were likely being searched out and punished.  Those times have, for the most part, gone by the way side, but luckily we’re left with what looks like a tasty cocktail.  Stay tuned for my thoughts as well as more reviews and other tips.

The Communist (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
1 oz Gin
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Cherry Brandy
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1) Combine in a shaker with ice
2) Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass

The Coffee Cocktail – Hmmmm…Purple?

Posted by Reese On January - 3 - 2011

So, call me crazy, but very few cups of coffee that I’ve seen are purple.  Okay, none.  But, don’t think that’s a harsh criticism of the Coffee Cocktail.  Simply an observation.  I certainly see what the originator of this drink was thinking and, given a more brownish port I think mine would have come out looking more like the coffee I’m used to.  That’s enough of the drivel, let’s discuss the recipes and my thoughts.

Coffee Cocktail

As I mentioned in the intro for this cocktail I started with another recipe from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.  As a quick aside, if you don’t have VS+FC yet, you should really get it; it’s a fantastic tome.  The recipe listed called for 2-3 oz of port.  For my first mix I opted for 3 oz and was a bit overwhelmed.  The drink is certainly good at this ratio, but the flavors of the brandy are completely smashed by the port.  The consistency and mouth feel of the drink are fantastic though, very much like a really good eggnog.  Thick and mouth coating with a flavor that lasts.

Returning to the proverbial drawing board, in my case my cocktail bookcase, I found a recipe listed from Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide which I found via Imbibe.  This recipe is nearly exactly the same as the one from VS+FC with two exceptions.  First, note that only two oz of port are called for.  Second, the recipe calls for powdered sugar.  The port looks good, but I need to make some comments on the sugar.  Whenever you see a cocktail recipe that calls for powdered sugar or bar sugar, you should reach for superfine regular sugar.  Powdered sugar, as sold in the US, has cornstarch added to it to prevent clumping.  This will not do good things for your cocktail, trust me.  If, like me, you don’t have superfine sugar on hand, do what I did.  Drop a half cup of regular white sugar (or raw sugar if you like) in your food processor and chop it for a bit until it’s fine and powdery; problem solved.

Coffee Cocktail (Jerry Thomas' Bartenders Guide)
1 oz Brandy
2 oz Ruby Port
1 tsp Powdered Sugar
1 Egg
Grated Nutmeg

This recipe is definitely my favorite of those that I found.  The port doesn’t overwhelm the brandy, improving the overall balance tremendously.  That wasn’t the end of the sampling, though.  As Pavel (Scomorokh) pointed out in his blog post about the cocktail, there is also a version that uses only an egg yolk rather than the whole egg.   My recipe for this version came from the Savoy Cocktail Book and also added an interesting addition in the way of a bit of curacao.

Coffee Cocktail (Savoy Cocktail Book)
1 oz Brandy
2 oz Ruby Port
1 tsp Powdered Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
Dash of Curacao
Grated Nutmeg

I found that the yolk-only version lacked some of the silkiness of the whole egg version.  The flavor was nearly the same though, the curacao being lost completely to my palate.

Coffee Cocktail (Cocktail Hacker)
1 oz Brandy
2 oz Ruby Port
1 tsp Superfine Sugar
1 Egg
Grated Nutmeg
1) Pour brandy into an ice filled shaker
2) Add egg, port and sugar
3) Shake and strain into a goblet
4) Top with grated nutmeg

There you have it, the Coffee Cocktail.  It doesn’t taste like coffee at all, but it certainly is tasty.  The wine and brandy flavors play really nicely with the touch of nutmeg and, as I mentioned above, the egg adds an incredible texture.  As you can see in my photo I paired the cocktail with a shortbread cookie and some dark chocolate.  Like red wine this drink pairs really well with those flavors.  Give it a mix some evening and enjoy a truly unique flavor.