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Everything posted by Sazerac

  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!
  16. Away and horribly busy! (And thanks a million for the kind words.) I didn't get much Mardi Gras'ing done this year, as we were away in Ireland in February. (The good thing about going there during their second coldest month is that you can get a round trip flight for $300. The bad thing is that it's their second coldest month. Fortunately, the pubs are warm, and the whiskey is always warming!) I know this is too late for your Carnival celebration, but it's a good one to have in your repertoire of New Orleans drinks. It's one you don't see too much anymore, and it can even be tricky ordering it in the bar at the hotel where it was invented. Courtesy of Walter Bergeron, bar manager at the Monteleone Hotel on Royal Street, who whipped this delectable concoction together in the 1930s. The Vieux Carré Cocktail 1 ounce rye whiskey. 1 ounce Cognac. 1 ounce sweet vermouth. 1 teaspoon Bénédictine D.O.M. 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters 2 dashes Angostura Bitters Build over ice in a double Old Fashioned glass, stir and garnish with a cherry. (Doc's gonna put this one in his book!)
  17. I can go one better -- when I was in college at Loyola New Orleans the teacher for whom I worked would send me to the student pub to fetch him a 32 oz. fountain Tab. When I brought it back he'd pour 1/3 of it out the window, then refill the cup with K&B Scotch from a 1.75 liter bottle he'd keep in his desk. K&B was the local drugstore chain whose motif was purple (in signage, employee clothing, even ink color) -- this stuff was basically plain-wrap Scotch. There'd be one or two of these every day. Blurgh.
  18. The Hoskins Cocktail The only ingredient that might be a bit hard to find is the Torani Amer, a San Jose-made American substitute for the now-almost-impossible-to-find bitter orange aperitif Amer Picon (even though it's not quite the same). It's a great product, though, available for a good price via mail order from Beverages and More or Vintage Wines and Spirits. Once you've got it in your bar you can also make Picon Punch, Picon-Limón and more. 2 oz English gin (I like Plymouth). 3/4 oz Torani Amer. 1/2 oz Maraschino liqueur. 1/4 oz Cointreau. 1 dash orange bitters. Orange peel Stir with cracked ice for no less than 30 seconds, and strain into a cocktail glass. Flame the orange peel over the drink, making sure you get a nice slick of caramelized orange oil over the surface. Garnish with the peel, rind side up. Keywords: Cocktail ( RG855 )
  19. The Hoskins Cocktail The only ingredient that might be a bit hard to find is the Torani Amer, a San Jose-made American substitute for the now-almost-impossible-to-find bitter orange aperitif Amer Picon (even though it's not quite the same). It's a great product, though, available for a good price via mail order from Beverages and More or Vintage Wines and Spirits. Once you've got it in your bar you can also make Picon Punch, Picon-Limón and more. 2 oz English gin (I like Plymouth). 3/4 oz Torani Amer. 1/2 oz Maraschino liqueur. 1/4 oz Cointreau. 1 dash orange bitters. Orange peel Stir with cracked ice for no less than 30 seconds, and strain into a cocktail glass. Flame the orange peel over the drink, making sure you get a nice slick of caramelized orange oil over the surface. Garnish with the peel, rind side up. Keywords: Cocktail ( RG855 )
  20. Our most recent bad bartender story ... we stopped in the Atlas Bar and Grill in Los Angeles recently, and I ordered a Maker's Mark Manhattan, WITH bitters, a healthy dash if you please, sir. The guy scratched his head and was looking all over the bar for the bitters, and then finally fond the small, paper-wrapped dasher bottle. I had to stop him before he ended up putting Worcestershire sauce in my Manhattan. Chuck
  21. I've know a few people who swear by Martinis made this way, but for me it's missing something essential -- the bit of water you get via dilution from shaking or stirring. The water in a cocktail takes the harsh edge off the alcohol, helps to open up the flavor a bit and gives it a silky, smooth texture that makes it very pleasant to drink ... at least for me. The next step I'm told I have to take (via my other half) is to start shaking my Martinis instead of stirring them. Apparently I'm missing out on the delightful little flotilla of ice chips on the surface of a shaken one, which leaves the drink so cold you could practically skate across it. As for wondering if there's anyone who drinks gin in shots ... well, there's always Winston Smith. But only Victory Gin.
  22. Sazerac


    I've been on a Lillet kick myself, and I'm always on the lookout for Lillet-based cocktails I haven't tried. Plus, they're particularly good for cocktail party guests who might want to get a little less pickled than the rest of us. The other night I was actually wanting to try something out-of-the-ordinary that featured apricot brandy, as I've been enjoying the bottle of Apry I just picked up (so much nicer than the cheap apricot-flavored brandies that proliferate). I headed to CocktailDB for insight and rescue, entered "apricot brandy" in the ingredient box, pressed SEARCH ... and was rewarded with this little gem: The Culross Cocktail 1 ounce Lillet blanc. 1 ounce white rum. 1 ounce Apry or other good apricot brandy. 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice (recipe called for "juice of 1/4 lemon") Shake and strain; garnish with a stemless cherry. I was worried that that was way too much apricot brandy and hoped that there'd be enough tartness from the lemon to balance it. I was actually surprised at how well-balanced it was, although I found a variation on the recipe that I'd like to try soon: 2 ounces rum, 1/2 ounce each of Lillet and Apry and 1/4 ounce lemon juice. Perhaps tonight! Chuck
  23. I know this is a far cry from free drinks, but if you want to drink the best cocktails in Vegas and don't care about the juggling show, make a beeline to the Petrossian Bar in the Bellagio; it's between the reception area and the casino. I've had some of the finest drinks of my life in that bar, made by a bartending staff that's incredibly knowledgeable and who go to more continuing education classes than most physicians I know. Michael, our favorite bartender there, told us when we first went there that he had been a bartender in Vegas for 25 years, the last 4 at Bellagio. He said that he had learned more about cocktails, spirits and wines in the last 4 years than in the previous 21 combined. Tony Abou-Ganim and the rest of the beverage staff there are serious about libations. They're all artists, as far as I'm concerned. They're not cheap by any means, though; last time I was there I specified 13-Year-Old Pappy Van Winkle rye whiskey in my Manhattan, and it arrived with a price tag of $15.25. I gaped for a minute, and then realized all I could do was laugh. I tipped the cocktail waitress $3, said "What the heck, I'm on vacation" and proceeded to have was was perhaps the best Manhattan I had ever been served in any bar. Chuck
  24. Feh. The first time I was served one of those so-called "apple martinis" I took one sip, waited a few seconds until I was sure my host wasn't looking, then spat it back into the glass. I quietly meandered over to the nearest potted plant and made its day by dumping the contents of my glass into its pot. Fortunately, there are some non-straight men who have better taste in cocktails. Take a 1.5- or 2-liter jar with a hinged lid and rubber seal (we get ours at Cost Plus). Core and slice three Granny Smith apples and one Golden Delicious apple. Place in jar and pour in 750ml of your favorite vodka (SKYY seems to work well for infusions), seal and let steep for 3 weeks. Strain through cheesecloth, then through a coffee filter, rebottle and allow to age for at least 3 more weeks. (Good things come to those who wait.) Then: 2-1/2 ounces of your homemade apple-infused vodka, one splash Lillet blanc, one dash of DrinkBoy's House Bitters No. 2 (or one drop of Fee's Aromatic Bitters). Shake and strain, serve up in a cocktail glass, garnished with a slice of Granny Smith apple (brush with lemon juice to keep it from turning brown). There's ya Apple Cocktail! (I won't call it an Apple Martini, though.) Regarding Oprah's drink ... while I tend to agree with whoever it was (Gary Regan?) that said "Garbage in, garbage out", a $5000 Cognac does seem to be a bit of overkill for a cocktail. I'll use my 20-year-old Pierre Ferrand if I feel like getting exquisite ... try that in a Sazerac sometime! Chuck
  25. Have y'all tried the legendary "Pink Gin"? A couple of ounces of gin, anywhere from 2 to 8 dashes of Angostura bitters to taste, stir and strain; serve up or on the rocks. Very British Empire, and certain to make lots of bartenders wrinkle their noses if you talk them through it. Me, I love it! Has anyone tried the new Magellan Gin? It's blue, due to the infusion of iris roots and flowers amongst the rest of the botanicals. It's more in the Plymouth/Tanq No. 10 category, being not as "in your face" as regular Tanq or Boodles. Since I like my gins to be a little more nuanced and don't particularly enjoy being whooped upside the head with a berry-laden juniper branch, this one's right up my alley. Makes a fine (and nifty-looking) Martini, too. It's also really nice to be able to drink a sophisticated cocktail -- without having to add cheap, sickly-sweet blue curaçao -- and still have it be blue. Chuck
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