11th of July 2011
Red Hook, Line & Sinker
Recently I have begun to explore the mysterious world of ameros, the Italian bitter aperitifs and digestifs. Starting off trying out the classic negroni and various other Campari based libations, my palette was craving more. Ameros include a wide class of liqueurs that would take a gargantuan amount of effort to find and try them all. I am lucky if the local watering hole would have even one of them. But no matter. I have been able procure some Cynar (an artichoke based aperitif) and some punt y mes. The inaugural drink for my new aquisitions will be the Red Hook Cocktail.
The Red Hook is a modern drink that takes its name from a neighborhood in Brooklyn. Invented by bartender Vincenzo Errico at Milk and Honey (a Manhattan cocktail bar known for craft cocktails) in 2004, the Red Hook is a take on the Manhattan with a bitter twist.
The Red Hook
- 2 oz of rye whiskey (as always, I prefer Rittenhouse Bonded Rye)
- 1/2 oz of maraschino liqueur
- 1/2 oz of punt y mes
Shake and serve either straight up or over ice. Notice that the recipe calls for a very large portion of maraschino, more than any sane individual would want in a cocktail. I found that the maraschino actually held up well to the rye whiskey and amero, although I may dial it back in the future. The Red Hook is interesting, bitter and very flavorful. Not an every day drink for me, but definately one worth remembering.
Red Hook circa 1875
This sounds about right
7th of July 2011
It’s My Creation, is it real?
Something different today. So far, the large majority of drinks I have discussed have been classic recipies, modern updates, or just general cocktail knowledge. Today dear readers, I am going to provide an originial recipe. Named after the famed New York neighborhood, this drink is a riff on a couple of classic cocktails with a bit of a modern sensibility.
The Little Italy
- 2 oz overproof rye whiskey
- 1 oz campari
- lemon peel
- demerara sugar (2 tsp)
- 2-3 dashes of rhubarb bitters
- 1 dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
Place 2-3 pieces of lemon peel (no pith!) into a tumbler along with the sugar. Proceed to muddle the lemon peel and sugar until the sugar is wet with the lemon oil. Add in 2-3 dashes of rhubarb bitters (Fee Brothers) and Peychauds bitters and continue to muddle. Add in the rye and the the campari and give a quick stir. Serve over ice. This is a nicely balanced drink with layers of flavor. Kind of a mix of an old fashioned and a manhattan, with a bit of Italy thrown in. It is complex, but very well balanced with an eye catching color.
3rd of July 2011
Holiday weekends are made for one thing and one thing only— relaxing (though, points if you answered “mattress sales”). But part of the beautiful, somewhat indulgent luxury of a long weekend in the summer is the act of spoiling one’s self a little… with a little extra sun, a little too much in your stomach, and a little nip of something nicer than your summer-round beer. Indulge in a great American classic of another type with a Whiskey Smash. Lucky for you, the folks at American Drink have taken the guesswork out of it… so all you have to do is mix it up and take a load off. Smashing.
- 2 to 4 lemon pieces (cut the lemon into eighths)
- 5 to 10 mint leaves
- 3 dashes bitters (feel free to experiment with different types)
- 1/4 oz. to 3/4 oz. simple syrup (to taste)
- 2 to 3 oz. rye, bourbon, or whiskey
To make it, muddle all ingredients but the bourbon (slash-rye-slash-whiskey) in the bottom of a shaker glass. Add bourbon and shake well with ice. Strain into a small glass with a bit more ice and garnish with additional mint and lemon.
Wishing everyone a good weekend— and a few good drinks.
Wonderful stuff. I think I will have one today
28th of June 2011
By Maxwell Mann
Last night I had an amazing dinner, but a really bad cocktail. Specifically it was a really bad Old Fashioned.
I’m not sure how this happened (okay I have a theory but it would take 2,000 words and I’m not sure anybody wants to read my thesis on drinking habits, American…
Life is too short to drink poorly made cocktails. This is why I am always nervous when I I order an old fashioned
27th of June 2011
Step Away from the Mix
I tend not to like margaritas. Those day-glo concoctions that appear on many a drink menu. There are a myriad of margarita variations at the neighborhood mexican restaurant or, God help you, Applebee’s. Occasionally you can find a good one, but more often than not, it is a disappointment. Sugary sweet, neon colored, made with pre-mixed ingredients (usually cheap sweet & sour mix), this classic cocktail has been tarnished over years of apathy, abuse and abandonment. Even worse are the “top shelf” margaritas which are actually quite good, but I resent paying someone extra to not screw up my drink.
A margarita is simply a variation of the brandy sidecar. Switch out the lemon for lime, the cognac for tequila, and the sugar for salt. The proportions are the same, as is its preparation. A margarita is one of the simplest of drinks, and quite possibly one of the tastiest when done correctly.
- 2 oz of blanco tequila (100% agave please)
- 1 oz of orange liquore (triple-sec if you want, but Cointreau is better)
- 1 oz of freshly squeezed lime juice (and I do mean freshly squeezed, the drink is marred by the use of “margarita mix” or stale lime juice
Shake and serve straight up or over ice. Salting the rim is traditional, but optional. Leave the aged tequila in your cabinet for this one. A good 100% agave blanco tequila is best here, although I have had good luck with mezcal. I prefer Cointreau, but Grande Marnier or curacao are also good. Be careful with triple-sec, many cheaper brands tend to leave a chemical after-taste. This drink is so simple, and yet so good, it is a wonder that anyone bothers buying margarita mix. If squeezing some lime juice is too much of a hassle, I’d recommend a Corona.
26th of April 2011
Adventures in Aviation
As commercial aviation was a symbol of a new era in travel, the Aviation cocktail has become a symbol of the rebirth of the classic cocktail. A somewhat obscure libation that involves a few rare (for the time) ingredients.
When you drink this, think of post-World War I America. Howard Hughes (before he went crazy). When I have one of these, I feel like I should be wearing a fine suit and jet setting around the world. This is an art deco classic that harkens back to an era when air travel was pleasant and classy
- 2 oz of gin (london dry or plymouth gin work equally as well)
- 1/2 oz of fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 oz of maraschino liquor
This is a drink worth flying for! While some recipies call for creme de violette, it is difficult to find, rarely used in other drinks, and tastes a bit like hand soap. However, it does give the drink an appropriate sky-blue hue. Shake with a good amount of ice, and serve straight. No garnish is necessary, but if you must, a twist of lemon peel would be a nice choice. This is one of the few classic drinks to get the “Wife’s Approval”, so try one if you get the chance.
4th of April 2011
Orange you glad I made punch?
Orange-punch by barrels full was inside, but as the waiters opened the door to bring it out, a rush would be made, the glasses broken, the pails of liquor upset, and the most painful confusion prevailed. To such a degree was this carried, that tubs of punch were taken from the lower story into the garden to lead off the crowds from the rooms.
Observer at the 1829 Inauguration of Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was a man of the people. And upon his election to the Presidency, he invited “the people” to the White House for one grand party. Unfortunately, “the people” took advantage of both the President’s home and punch. Back then people took both parties and drinking quite seriously, as well they should. Unfortunately for President Jackson, his constituents became quite rowdy and refused to leave the White House. In order to save the White House and preserve some decorum, the punch had to be taken outside. The crowd followed and the inaugural ball was saved.
Recently, I was asked to make a bowl of punch for a friend’s father’s 50th birthday party. As the guest of honor enjoyed both cognac and a bit of good history, I thought the following recipe would fit the bill.
American Orange Punch
- 8 Oranges ( I went with Cara-Cara, as they had a nice taste and good color. Bitter seville oranges would be more authentic, and blood oranges would be interesting. Just go with something juicy and flavorful)
- 3 cups of raw sugar
- 1 bottle of dark rum (I used Gosslings, but anything sufficiently funky will work)
- 1 bottle of cognac (go with something with age and flavor)
- 1 cup of Grande Marnier
- The juice of two lemons
- 1 large 2 liter bottle of club soda
- Three pints of water
Traditionally, this recipe would call for a pint of porter beer, but I did not care for the flavor and found it distracting. Furthermore, the use of the lemon and club soda diverged from the original recipe. The lemon juice was necessary to add some depth and sourness to the punch, lest it be too sweet. The club soda was in the hopes that it would be bubbly. If you don’t have club soda, just increase the amount of water to be used.
- Remove the rind from 4 oranges with a standard vegetable peeler, being careful to get as little of the pith as possible.
- Prepare an oleo-saccharum (oil sugar) by muddling the orange peel with the raw sugar. Let this set for at least an hour. The sugar will leach the volatile orange oils from the rind. When this is ready, the sugar should look wet.
- Boil 3 pints of water
- Juice both the oranges and lemons, and strain the juice through a fine mesh strainer. Add the juice to the oleo-saccharum. Be sure to save the pulp in the strainer.
- Pour the boiling water over the pulp and into the oleo-saccharum, allowing the sugar to dissolve.
- Cool the “mixture”
- When ready, combine the rum, cognac, grande marnier, club soda, and “mixture” into a large punch bowl. If you do not have a punch bowl, a large glass vase will work as well.
- Add a little ice to cool the punch, but place either an extra large sphere of ice in the bowl, or serve the ice on the side. This is so that the punch is not watered down as the night goes on. This should make 32 servings, but that depends on your definition of “serving”
I rather enjoyed the making of and drinking of this punch. It was strong, but not overpowering. Worthy of both Presidents and fellow countrymen.
24th of March 2011
Stirred, not Shaken
“Three Sandwhiches came and I ate three and drank a couple more martinis. I have never tasted anything so cool and clean. They made me feel civilized.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms
Hemingway knew his martinis. Well, he knew quite a bit about drinking in general, but he was right about a the martini. It is a truly civilized drink.
A good Martini is a very difficult thing to find. One of the most popular drinks on the planet has been basterdized by cute names, sugary syrups, and unusual alterations. Everyone repeat after me: A martini is gin and vermouth. Vodka is acceptable. Orange bitters is a nice classic touch that the Professor would approve of. An olive or a slice of lemon peel are acceptable garnishes.
Cary Grant does not approve of Appletinis
There is no chocolate, caramel, fruit juice or any other alterations. Not to say all modern drinks with the “martini” description are unacceptable or even undrinkable. However, they are not proper Martinis.
Maybe I am being a purist or just a traditionalist, but the Martini earned the title “King of Cocktails” for a reason. It is classic. It is clean. Above all, it is quite tasty.
- 4 oz of gin (Plymouth is my brand of choice)
- 1 oz of dry vermouth
- THATS IT!
Serve over ice and stir. James Bond may have been a master spy, but he did not know how to order a Martini (although the Vesper is a fine drink, if a bit stout). Shaking a martini waters it down, while stirring it allows the flavors to blend and stay in the forefront. I like to garnish my martini with a dash of orange bitters and some lemon peel, but an olive also works well. Furthermore, use a decent vermouth, and I do mean to actually use it. Without it, it is just chilled gin (or vodka if that is they way you swing). A “grey goose martini, extra dry” has to be the most ridiculous thing you can order. If you want some chilled liquor, have the balls to actually order that, but don’t pretend you are drinking a martini. A proper martini is true perfection in a glass. Enjoy it for what it is.
27th of January 2011
Heh, this is pretty good. Most bourbon ad campaigns are pretty weak, but this is interesting and gets my talented graphic designer wife’s approval