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    Los Angeles, CA / New Orleans, LA
  1. The latter, I'm sure. ← The latter, no doubt -- it's not a question of being "avant garde" but of just having or having developed a palate for larger doses of bitter. Ten years ago I wouldn't have touched any of this stuff -- Campari, any amaro ... hell, I didn't even like dry vermouth. I've come a long way since then and I love bitter cocktails, but I still enjoy having my palate slapped (in the best possible way) and being served something that opens my eyes. The Gunshop Fizz was one of those drinks. So was The Art of Choke, The Fall of Man (an Unicum -- not Zwack -- based cocktail) and pretty much all of the drinks I was served during my 7 or so hours at Cure two Sundays ago. After I mentioned that I had not yet tried Amaro Nardini and really wanted to, Kirk poured me a taste of it, then made something for me that I wasn't sure he had ever made before -- a Nardini Flip: 2.5 oz of Nardini, a bit of simple, and a whole egg, shaken like hell and served in an Old Fashioned glass with a single ice cube. Holy crap. I've been thoroughly enjoying the book and everything I've made from it so far, and I'm really looking forward to the second edition. I also wish there was a wardrobe in my bedroom which, Narnia-like, would transport me to Cure every Sunday evening at 5 right when they open and before the crowds come in, so I can spend more time with these folks, talking and drinking. Maks, Kirk and Rhiannon took great care of us, and I can't wait to see them again. Of course, I shouldn't complain ... I'm 10-15 minutes away from The Varnish, Seven Grand and Tiki Ti.
  2. I suppose I might as well also mention, unfortunate as it is, that most people who care and can tell the difference tell me that 99.9% of the Sazeracs they've had in New Orleans bars weren't very good -- and these are people who were out looking for a good one. I haven't been out on a New Orleans Sazerac quest, but this does in general align with my experiences of NO mixology. Perhaps when this great city gets its feet under itself again, we may see the Museum of the American Cocktail and other influences spark a resurgance of classic mixology there. This doesn't have any particular bearing on the question of base spirit, but does have something to say about where one should look for authority in matters such as this. ← Sad but true, in most bars but especially in the namesake bar, the Sazerac Bar at the Fairmont (formerly Roosevelt) Hotel. The bartenders there, apparently tired of having to (go figure) make Sazeracs all day long, prepare a premixed simple syrup and add bitters to it, mendaciously claiming that a shot of that syrup contains the requisite amount of bitters. Not only is that untrue, but it also makes for a teeth-shatteringly oversweet Sazerac. Dr. Cocktail has been able to order a decent Sazerac there, but only after sending back two nasty premixed attempts by the regular bartender, insisting on having one made from scratch, then having the bar manager make one from scratch himself. Seems an awfully annoying amount of trouble to go through to get a drink. In my experience (and I have done Sazeracs quests), I find that by far the finest ones to be had are in restaurants. My favorites -- Bayona, Clancy's and Galatoire's if you tell them to leave out the ice, the only aberration of any kind I find at Galatoire's ... I just have to remember to ask for my Sazeracs straight up just like I always ask for our regular waiter John to take care of us. That said, all those great restaurant Sazeracs (save perhaps one, which is odd) are made with rye.
  3. I have had many a fine Sazerac made with bourbon no aversion here. ← I just had to comment on the gumbopages bold!!!! exhortation to never use bourbon... Glad I'm not alone. ← Well, I'm glad you enjoy them that way. You just might want to call them something else, because a Sazerac is made with either rye or cognac. I'm quite the traditionalist when it comes to this drink, I'm afraid ... but it's not just knee-jerk traditionalism. The spiciness of the rye balances the sweetness of the anise and the tidbit of sugar, helping to create the stunning multi-layered symphony of flavor that is a Sazerac. To me, the sweeter, honeyed notes of many Bourbons throws that off. Plus, what the world needs now is more rye cocktails, and not classic rye cocktails that have been converted to Bourbon cocktails! (We've certainly got more than enough of those.) Truth is, 99.9% of the Sazeracs served in New Orleans are made with rye whiskey (with perhaps one exception, a prominent restaurant that is Practicall Perfect In Every Other Way, with this one aberration seeming, to me, completely bizarre), and that too is good enough for me. On preview, "Sazerac-like" is a fair enough description. I've heard of some people making them with rum, too. (Zoinks.) As always, "drink what you like" ... but at my house you get 'em with a big, spicy rye! Cheers, Chuck
  4. I'm afraid I can't help come up with what this is called (I really like "Moitié", though!), but wanted to recommend something similar that we frequently enjoy. It's from The Speakeasies of 1932 and was originally served at Jack's, a speakeasy in the basement of a brownstone in Greenwich Village. This version was adapted by Gary and Mardee Regan from the recipe in the book: Vermouth Cocktail 1 ounce sweet vermouth. 1 ounce dry vermouth. 2 dashes of Angostura bitters. 2 dashes orange bitters. 2 dashes grenadine. 1 lemon twist, for garnish. Shake all the ingredients over ice, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Add the garnish. I'm sure this would also work well on the rocks. We like to make this with Carpano Antica Formula or Punt E Mes as the sweet vermouth. It's a knockout! Chuck
  5. This one really hit the spot Saturday night, from Larousse des Cocktails: Tipperary Cocktail 2 ounces rye whiskey. (We used Pappy Van Winkle 13) 1 ounce sweet vermouth. 1/2 ounce green Chartreuse. Stir with ice; strain into a cocktail glass. Chuck
  6. Miniature cocktails are a fantastic idea. In fact, there was a time when a two-ounce cocktail wasn't considered a "miniature", but a full-sized cocktail. When watching "Mildred Pierce" at a revival screening recently, those people were quaffing drinks in nearly every scene, but they were small, as they should be. I'm tired of ordering a cocktail and getting a 10-12 ounce glass big enough for a goldfish to swim comfortably. We recently bought a dozen perfect little cocktail glasses, classic "Martini" shape, but with a two-ounce capacity. This is perfect. We can make one cocktail recipe and split it between us, and we enjoy having friends over for "cocktail flights", where I'll make six different drinks, each with a different base spirit, and everyone gets a two-ounce taste over the course of the evening. Thumbs up to small cocktails! -- Chuck
  7. Other than the Aviation our favorite maraschino cocktail is probably this one: Fancy-Free Cocktail 2 ounces Bourbon. 1/2 ounce maraschino. 1 dash Angostura bitters. 1 dash orange bitters. Stir and strain, stemless cherry garnish. Chuck
  8. I just found this post about someone who freezes his wines deliberately. I have no experience with this, but from what he says you should be okay. Thaw it out and give it a try! Chuck
  9. Not terribly. It's balanced between the bitter and sweet flavors, and doesn't really lean far in either direction. I wish Torani Amer were more readily available (it's wonderful stuff), but you can order it online from Beverages and More, and it's really cheap, too -- about $11 a bottle. You need to have it on hand for your Picon Punches, anyway!
  10. (Still catching up on old posts ...) 25 minutes later, and we're still laughing hysterically over "Tuna Colada" ... Chuck
  11. Well ... has anyone tried one, or what?! Gary, thanks a million for running that article. The thing that cracked us up the most about it was his inclusion of our friends John and Fiona Hoskins (the namesakes of the drink) as characters in the story -- he's never met them, but managed to nail their personalities and what they might say so perfectly that you'd think he'd known them for years! Must be an English thing. Chuck
  12. Nifty! It's actually Campari? I usually stock the nonalcoholic version thereof, called Sanbittèr. It makes a pretty good cocktail ingredient too, such as in this tasty long drink I learned from one of the bartenders at Petrossian Bar at Bellagio, Las Vegas. This one won them a prize, and has been a popular choice of guests when we put it on our home cocktail menu (and it's the only reason we ever kept any Alizé around): BELLISSIMO 1-1/4 ounces Alizé Red Passion 1-1/4 ounces Bacardi Limón rum 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/2 ounce simple syrup 2 large dashes Angostura bitters 1-3/4 ounces Sanbittèr (about 1/2 of a 100ml bottle) Combine with ice in a large shaker, shake gently and strain into 10-oz. glass with new ice. Garnish with flag (orange slice and cherry on pick). (Created by Delos Benedict, Petrossian Bar, Bellagio, Las Vegas. First prize, National Angostura Drink Contest, 1999)
  13. On Dr. Cocktail's recommendation I ordered from a place in New York City called Vino Italian Wine and Spirits. He'd whipped up a new concoction (still nameless last I'd heard) that called for Amaro Cora, or Cora bitters as they were referred to that evening. I'd never even heard of the stuff, but one quaff and I ended up ordering two bottles of it. They have an excellent selection of amari on this page at their site. They're very nice folks, will take your order via phone and ship almost immediately thereafter. Chuck
  14. I've become a fan of a version of the Negroni as served at my neighborhood restaurant and watering hole, Cinnabar in Glendale, CA. They describe it as having a "generous" portion of Campari, with the addition of orange bitters. Gary and Mardee Regan wrote it up as the "Cinnabar Negroni" in New Classic Cocktails thusly: 2 ounces Campari 1 ounce dry gin 1 ounce sweet vermouth 2 dashes orange bitters Orange wheel garnish. It's delightfully piquant and serves as a bracing aperitivo for the fantastic food at Cinnabar (don't miss the not-on-the-menu No-ri Rolls, and the unbelievable Lemongrass Bouillabaisse). Chuck
  15. Sazerac


    (*POOF!*) Mention my name three times and I, not unlike Beetlejuice, will appear (although, I hope, without snakes in my hair.) Doc is indeed the world's most gracious host, and always turns me on to something wonderful. I've got to get a bottle of that marc! Getting back on topic ... I'm mulling a few ideas for another Lillet-based cocktail, and shall report back after some experimentation. Cheers!
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