Wednesday, July 30, 2008

leeuwenhoek

1 1/2 oz Hendrick's Gin
1/2 Lillet Blanc
1/2 oz Kümmel
1/4 oz Amer Picon
Lemon Twist

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Twist the lemon peel over the drink to release the oils and then add to glass.

This was my submission for the Hendrick's Beantown Bartender Battle. The description was, "Finally, a contest for those yearning to combine their mixology and rhyming skills. The Hendrick’s Beantown Bartender Battle is putting out the call to all Boston-area mixologists — from those who pour booze for a living to those who have never mixed a drink outside their kitchen — for original recipes using Hendrick’s gin. Recipes can use up to six ingredients, but Hendrick’s must serve as the base. The cocktail also must highlight one of the 13 botanicals used in the gin: cucumber, rose petal, elderflower, chamomile, juniper berry, caraway seed, coriander, cubeb berry, orris root, lemon peel, orange peel, meadowsweat, and angelica. (Anyone who highlights cubeb berry should get extra credit.)".

The botanical I was highlighting was caraway seed via the liqueur Kümmel. I wrote, "Given that Kümmel originated in the Netherlands, I named the cocktail after a famous Dutch scientist who invented the microscope -- after a few hours straight of using one of those, my mind definitely needs a drink...". I exaggerated slightly on the inventing the microscope part and the Kümmel I used wasn't Dutch (we got ours through Andrea's boss via Germany), but it did unite my interests in booze and science.

Alas, I never heard back so I believe that my recipe was not chosen (which does save me from having to write a lymerick about my drink), so I posted it here for others to try.

Friday, July 25, 2008

slojack

sloe gin
applejack
lemon juice
grenadine

Last night I went to No. 9 Park and picked their new cocktail menu offering which featured the new Plymouth Sloe Gin for Matt to make for me. I did not catch the proportions but the end product was rather well balanced with the lemon juice neutralizing the sweetness in the sloe gin and grenadine. Not sure what the applejack was there for since it lacked any noticeable apple flavor (perhaps Calvados which has 3 times the apple product in it would have altered this). It seemed to be a fusion of a sloe gin fizz with a Savoy Tango cocktail (equal parts sloe gin and applejack).

Overall, I like the sloe gin although it is a bit too sweet for me. It was worth the wait and I am glad the Plymouth started exporting it to the states (and I hope my email to Plymouth a year ago added to the pressure for them to do so).

Friday, July 18, 2008

blinker cocktail

2 oz rye
1 oz grapefruit juice
1-2 tsp raspberry syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Recipe from the Cocktail Chronicles blog by way of Ted Haigh. See postnote below for Green Street's recipe.

Andrea and I went to the Lantern Festival last night at Forest Hills. Andrea had brought a bunch of food for a picnic dinner including mixed berries. After the festival, we ended up at Green Street, and to continue with the berry theme, I chose the Blinker which was finely crafted by Dylan Black. The raspberry syrup counterbalanced the grapefruit's bite and bitterness rather well, although perhaps marginally too sweet for my tastes. I wonder if freshly muddled raspberries with (or even without) a dash of simple syrup would be a good substitute to make a less sweet version of this drink at home.

My only notes for the ingredients of the drink are that Dylan used Old Overholdt rye for the drink, which is what some people recommend for this drink over a spicier rye (see comment section of the blog link above). And that the grapefruit juice appeared to have been pink instead of the more bitter yellow.

Postnote: Greem Street's recipe is 2 oz Old Overholt Rye, 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice, 1/2 oz Fresh Raspberry Syrup.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

hesitation cocktail

1 part Swedish Punsch
1 part rye

Swedish Punsch
3 parts 1:1 simple syrup
2 parts Batavia Arrack
1 part lemon juice
nutmeg (1/4 tsp grated to 500mL)
cardamom (8 pods to 500mL)

My last drink at Deep Ellum came by way of Max Toste's suggestion for a Hesitation Cocktail. Previously, he had made me a Waldorf Cocktail that had gin and Swedish Punsch (and possibly other ingredients) which was rather good, so a rye version sounded appealing. I had heard of the cocktail from the Savoy cocktail book, but had never made it since we have not yet gotten around to making our own Punsch (despite buying a bottle to use for that specific purpose). Again, Max's version strays from the Savoy which has less whiskey in it.

I provided Max's alteration of the Swedish Punsch recipe from the one on the Batavia Arrack bottle. Despite the drink being 1/4 volume of 1:1 simple syrup, the drink was not overly sweet and was rather well balanced. The extra rye in the drink probably assisted in this balance given my tastes.

cocktail à la louisiane (variation)

4 parts rye
1 part Benedictine
1 part sweet vermouth
Peychaud's bitters
absinthe rinse

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass rinsed with absinthe.

We went to Deep Ellum (Allston, MA) last night after eating at Grasshopper around the corner. Max Toste greeted us as soon as we sat down at the bar (which luckily for us is less filled now that the outdoor seating area has opened for the season) and proceeded to act as our personal cocktail tour guide. While Andrea went on a rum cocktail tour, I went with a New Orleans theme probably after reading and hearing about Tales of the Cocktail so much as of late.

I started my drinks with his variation on the brandy Sazerac (off his cocktail menu) which later launched into a discussion of the merits of sugar cubes to add texture to a drink (thickness and mouth-feel) while simple syrup adds more plain sweetness. It is definitely a theory I need to experiment in a side-by-side mixology session akin to how John Gertsen from No.9 demonstrated the taste differences between a shaken and a stirred martini.

The next two drinks were off his menu; despite Deep Ellum being know for the beer selection, they do have a rather decent cocktail menu and when Max is at the stick, a wealth of cocktail history and recipe wisdom as well. My second drink was a Cocktail à la Louisiane variation. The one I am used to and make at home, I first had at Green Street and that follows the recipe in the Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'Em book. That recipe can be found in Chuck Taggart's blog here. This variation was somewhere between the traditional and either a Sazerac or a Manhattan although Max compared it more to a Manhattan variation.

A very tasty drink and a lot lighter than the original recipe. Did not catch what ingredients he used other than Old Overholdt and I have no clue whether he spiked in some of his own house-made bitters to the mix.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

el presidente

1 1/2 oz light rum
3/4 oz Creole Shrub (orange curacao)
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1 dash grenadine

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon oil, coat rim, and drop in peel. The recipe above is from The Cocktail Chronicles website (with the Creole Shrub swapped in) and not necessarily how Eastern Standard makes the drink.

Last night, Andrea wanted to go to Eastern Standard after I DJ'd up the street at Ceremony. I started the night with a Flying Dutchman (a Batavia Arrack-based cocktail) and ended with an Ameri-beer (Amer Picon-Czech beer combination). For my middle drink, I requested something to be made with Creole Shrub. Tommy recommended El Presidente which will be Eastern Standard's drink of the month for August. Their menu states that it will be made with "orange curacao" but he used the requested Creole Shrub instead.

The drink itself is rather smooth, and it had the right degree of dryness for me. Moreover, it was interesting to have a rum drink at a bar that did not have fruit juice in it (save for the pomegranate juice in the dash of grenadine). There are plenty of rum drinks that I have made at home sans fruit juice (I do appreciate fresh juice in my cocktails, but not all the time), but a common trend is to treat rum very differently from the other liquors.

Friday, July 11, 2008

pisco punch

Here is the recipe of the Pisco Punch I made for Tim & Jess's Fourth of July cookout last week. They requested a punch and I chose the Pisco despite the Patriot Punch being the most appropriate namewise. The recipe is a hybrid of a few classic recipes and one by Audrey Saunders. I went with pitcher format since I did not want to lug our punch bowl up and the thought of an open bowl outdoors did not seem too appealing to me. I brought enough to make two batches, and both were gone around the time Q showed up to make his drink concoction... Tim and Jess found ~5 oz plastic glasses which were perfect for the punch since it was 20% alcohol (it would otherwise be served in 3-4 oz punch cups).

• 25.6 oz Pisco (1 x 750 mL bottle)
• 8 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
• 8 oz Pineapple Juice
• 4 oz Simple Syrup (1:1 Sugar:Water)
• 4 oz Water
• 2 oz Homemade Citrus Bitters(*)

Pre-chill the ingredients(**). Mix in a pitcher or bowl. Serve.

(*) Homemade Citrus Bitters:
• 1 1/2 tsp Grated Lime Peel
• 1 1/2 tsp Grated Grapefruit Peel
• 1 1/2 tsp Grated Lemon Peel
• 2 1/4 oz Pisco/Vodka/Gin

Prepare in advance and strain. I used Bombay Gin and let it extract for a week at room temperature. The recipe I acquired the rind aspect from only used white grapefruit and lime rind, but I figured that the lemon rind which was otherwise going into the compost heap and would probably do well in the mix. Also, my grapefruit was pink (if that even matters rind-wise, I'm not sure).

(**) The Pisco was chilled in the freezer overnight and the rest of the ingredients in the fridge. An insulated bag kept everything cool on the hour ride and walk to their place. I was trying to avoid the use of ice which would dilute the punch and change the flavor over time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

summer of sureau

1 1/2oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2oz Batavia Arrack
1/2oz lemon juice
1/4oz pineapple syrup
3 dashes Bittermans Boston Summer Bittahs

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. *Pineapple syrup: pass fresh pineapple juice through a fine strainer lined with a cone filter (a coffee filter would work, too). Then take the pineapple water and make a syrup that's two parts pineapple water, one part sugar. Recipe: Misty Kalkofen via drinkboston.com.

A. wanted to visit Green Street to try this drink, as Misty had received very high marks with it at a recent St. Germain mixology competition in NYC (and Ben from no9 took the top prize, Boston represent!). I stole a sip and wow, I had to have my very own. This drink is incredibly delicious and well-balanced and light: I know it doesn't resemble my usual rye penchant in the slightest but it is just plain delicious and any serious cocktail-type (or hell, anyone really) would take away some pleasure from the experience of imbibing this drink. I won't even bother trying to describe my impression of the flavor; just go try one!

sloe gin fizz

1 1/2oz Plymouth sloe gin
1oz lemon juice
1 tsp simple syrup

Shake with ice, serve on rocks and top off with soda.

The scene: sitting at Green Street with A. Suddenly in mid-conversation her eyes widened and she exclaimed "oh my god!". A bottle of Plymouth's sloe gin was sitting behind the bar. I hadn't decided upon a drink yet but faced with this discovery, I had to order a Sloe Gin Fizz. I'd never had "sloe gin" as available in the US -- nor ever the real stuff -- before last night. And my, it is yummy: plummy, mouth-watering, and a gorgeous color. You wouldn't think of this as a drink I'd like what with the citrus, but it didn't bother me and was yummy and refreshing overall... great drink for such a humid evening.

You know what would be awesome? Sloe gin sorbet. Damn, now I need an ice-cream maker...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

how it all began

When F and I had a neighbor over for drinks recently, we were asked what initially piqued our interest in craft cocktails. I gave the answer that we needed something to do in the evening on our flowerbox-filled balcony. The more I thought about it, the more I regretted my flip response. Fred certainly deserves a bit more credit. The initial plan (back in 2006) was to have a single (! ha ha!) cocktail on Sunday nights. We began the first few Sundays with vodka-based drinks, since we still had a giant bottle of Ketel One left over from our NYE 2004 party.

Then, at week nine, our lives were transformed. It was a very warm evening in mid-August. I believe I requested a gin drink. Fred had up until that point avoided gin, whereas it was my base alcohol of choice. Fred reluctantly searched the web for gin cocktails, and stumbled upon a site called vintagecocktails.com. The featured cocktail was the Pegu, and after the first sip, Fred was hooked. It tasted faintly like grapefruit to me, and was perfectly refreshing. Since then, Fred hasn't wavered in his devotion to gin, though I've discovered a few gin-based drinks that I simply can't stomach (including anything made with Citadelle).

We've added substantially to the NYE leftovers, even going to far as to scour dusty shelves in liquor stores in Indiana for unusual spirits (and a precious bottle of Peychaud's). I scored a 1980's-vintage bottle of Cordial Campari - it's a shame I detest anything raspberry-flavored. I even begged my boss to bring me back a bottle of kummel from Germany. Searching out ever-more-obscure alcohols has become just a little bit of an obsession for me (my current object of lust being: RinQuinQuin).

I guess I could have healthier hobbies. My teetotaling mother would hardly have approved. But this one has encouraged me to meet a good number of fascinating people (and given how pathologically shy I am, that's pretty amazing). I'll drink to that.