Cocktail Hacker

    Hack What You Drink

Archive for 2014

Review – Proof: The Science of Booze

Posted by Reese On September - 17 - 2014

Guest post by Elisabeth, Cocktail Hacktress in training.

Proof CoverReese recently passed me a book to read entitled Proof: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers.  Being a little bit of a bookworm, I picked it up and started reading almost immediately.  Proof follows the story of alcoholic beverages from a scientific perspective. The book can be fairly technical, including discussions of yeast strains, chemical compounds and the details of your body’s reaction to a rough morning after drinking. But, as a chemist, I found it to be very entertaining.  I liked that it went far enough beyond the surface details that I felt scientifically satisfied (azeotropes!), but not so much that it wasn’t a relaxing read.

This book would definitely appeal to you if you are inclined to delve into the world of science in your everyday reading.  There are entertaining stories for all, even if you don’t tend towards science.  My favorite chapter was the distillation chapter which had a great humorous tone in places and I believe everyone should know the result of the scientific study from the 1920’s on the “Effect of Dilute Alcohol Given by Rectal Injection During Sleep”. Seriously, Harvard?

Consider putting this on your Christmas list for yourself or giving it your buddy from the lab who brews on the side.


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.

NPR: Distillery Cats

Posted by Reese On September - 13 - 2014

This story made me smile and think about my two “mousers”*.  I love the idea of a distillery cat…but the thought of a constant flow of dead mice is a little off-putting.

*We have to use the quotes since they haven’t caught a mouse, but I’m certain that’d they’d very much like to try.  Although, I have to admit, the mouse might scare Pepper away.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/09/09/347093135/behind-every-good-whisky-is-a-trusty-distillery-cat

Pepper and Saffron Stalking a Baby Bunny

Pepper and Saffron Stalking a Baby Bunny

Review – Landy VSOP Cognac

Posted by Reese On September - 10 - 2014

Landy VSOP Cognac

Cognac is a classic cocktail staple and Landy is a strong contender for the only Cognac I need in my bar at all.  Landy has a light amber hue but the nose is where it really starts to get interesting.  Stone fruits and specifically black cherry are the stars with vanilla, maple and spice notes playing the chorus.  The aroma is tremendously smooth with no notable alcohol zing.

The flavor follows hand in hand with the stone fruit flavors.  Black cherry continues to shine the brightest with sweet notes of vanilla and spice bringing up the rear.  The finish is medium-long with a great fruitcake flavor of dried fruit, subtle spice and lingering sweetness.

Stiletto

We wanted to pair this Cognac with a classic cocktail.  Having some extra sparkling wine around we settled on the Stiletto from The Bubbly Bar by Maria Hunt.  The Stiletto is a riff (to use the word liberally) on the classic Champagne Cocktail and it was great.  The Landy really shone through and played extremely well with the orange flavor of the Grand Marnier.  I think the sweetness of the Proseco we used was a good choice as it gave the cocktail a light sweetness without being cloying.

Stiletto
1/2 - 1 oz Cognac
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
4 oz Sparkling Wine
1 Drop of Bitters
1) Combine the Cognac, Grand Marnier and Sparkling Wine in a flute
2) Add one drop of bitters

Having sampled Landy VSOP both straight and in a cocktail, it plays both roles tremendously well.  It’s flavors are distinct and smooth enough to call for you to have a snifter and it’s strong enough to stand up to other ingredients in a cocktail.  Definitely one to keep an eye out for.


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.

Review – The New Old Bar

Posted by Reese On July - 31 - 2014

Guest post by Elisabeth, Cocktail Hacktress in training.

The New Old Bar is a cocktail book authored by The Hearty Boys (Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith). The Hearty Boys have gathered a great collection of cocktail and snack recipes for your enjoyment. The book is very attractive, with great pictures and easy to read text. The Hearty Boys first cover some of the cocktailing basics in Chapters 1 & 2. Chapter 3 has a great selection of over 150 cocktail recipes for you to peruse. These cocktail recipes cover everything from classic cocktails such as the Manhattan to original recipes. Recipes for garnishes and bar snacks are also provided.

We tested out a few of the recipes in this book. The first of these was the “Mayfair” cocktail – a blend of gin, apricot brandy and orange juice. This one was definitely tasty and easy to drink. The Eastern Sin, a scotch-based drink wasn’t my favorite, but it could really appeal to someone that appreciates a unique cocktail.

Sloe Gin Froze

Finally, we tried the Sloe Gin Froze. This drink was a blended drink, which was absolutely perfect for July. As published, this recipe was way too sweet for Reese. I tend to prefer the sweeter cocktails, but I would probably even eliminate the simple syrup. If you are looking for a good summer cocktail, I highly suggest giving sloe gin a try. If you are looking for a well-rounded cocktail recipe book, pick up “The New Old Bar” at a bookseller near you!

Sloe Gin Froze
1.5 oz sloe gin
1 oz ginger liqueur
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
1 cup cracked ice
Lemon wheel for garnish

Combine the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a well-chilled glass and serve garnished with a lemon wheel. Yield – 1 cocktail.


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.

Review – Chinaco Tequilas

Posted by Reese On July - 16 - 2014

The first tequila distiller allowed outside of the Mexican state of Jalisco and named after weathly land owners turned freedom fighters, Chinaco tequila certainly has made waves over the years.  But, really, the waves you should be most concerned with are the waves of tequila flowing into your mouth.  Which are all quite tasty.

Chinaco

Blanco (40% ABV) – Crystal clear with a distinct vegetal aroma of agave.  The flavor of this tequila follows right along with the aroma.  Strong hits of crisp agave, this blanco is for someone who truly appreciates the flavor of the agave itself.  I like  this expression a lot, but it’s not for everyone.

Reposado (40% ABV) – Light honey colored with fruity sweetness, slight smoke and vegetal agave notes in the aroma.  The flavor brings along the light smokiness, hints of sweet fruit and agave and touches of caramel, vanilla and light spices.  I really enjoy the fruitiness of this tequila.  I think it would be great it cocktails, but I’d be tempted to just drink it as soon as I poured it in the glass.

Anejo (40% ABV) – Amber in color from the extra aging with a deep agave aroma with subtle sweetness and smoke mixed in.  The agave flavor is much more subdued in this but the smoke notes are a bit stronger.  Finally you get spice notes with vanilla and caramel.  The smoke is certainly the key player here though.  Almost like a light agave scotch.  Definitely a sipping tequila.

Extra Anejo (43% ABV) – Amber/honey colored and interestingly the agave aroma is back.  This tequila was really a fun and interesting sampling for me.  I felt like the flavor continued to change as I sipped.  First I had a sharp, fruity almost tangy flavor.  Following that my sips took on a more earthy, sagey flavor with hints of dry agave.  Finally the sips turned to vanilla, Christmas spices and caramel.  Truly a complex tequila and great for slow sipping.  Note: I’m not sure which extra anejo I had to sample.  From what I’ve read there are a few Lots.

I would say that all of the Chinaco tequilas are great simpy on their own.  They truly are premium tequilas worthy of sipping and savoring.


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.