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Splificator

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Everything posted by Splificator

  1. A simple one I threw together last night; mighty tasty, though, I thought. Murmansk Convoy (Christened after the convoys that brought American and British armaments over the top of Norway, Sweden and Finland to the Soviet Union during World War II; one of the most dangerous sea duties there was.) Shake well with ice: 1 1/2 oz Tanqueray gin 3/4 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice 1/2 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch Scant 1/4 oz rich simple syrup 1 drop orange flower water Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Let 2 or 3 drops of Angostura bitters fall on top.
  2. Rittenhouse Bonded Rye

    I just purchased a bottle of this elixir from the lovely folks at Smith & Vine, at 246 Smith St. here in Brooklyn (718-243-2864); the've got 3 cases in stock. For those of you who don't know this stuff, it's 100 proof, 6 years old, and absolutely perfect for Sazeracs and Old-Fashioneds and suchlike, but it's also smooth and rich enough for sipping. And cheap, cheap, cheap. In other words, run, don't walk.
  3. Amer Picon & Torani Amer

    My proportions are 15 ml Everclear and 1 ml Angostura orange bitters for every 100 ml Amaro Ciociaro. Very, very close, and easy.
  4. Painkiller can also point out that their logo is in no way derived from DKNY's and in fact is meant not to echo that or trade on it but rather the common NYC hardcore punk graffiti/logo/rallying symbol from the 1980s and 1990s, HCNY, with the letters grouped around an X in the same way.
  5. The Punch Topic

    There's no hangover like a Regent's Punch hangover. It's like a turbocharged version of an ordinary champagne hangover, universally acknowledged to be one of the very worst of the species. It's the sweaty, desperate sleeplessness that contains its particular cruelty. You have my profoundest sympathies.
  6. Barrel-aged cocktails

    Barrel aging was standard operating procedure for bottled cocktails, of which there were many brands back in the day, including the market leader, Heublein's Club, and Sazerac (they sold several kinds, not including an actual "Sazerac"). Cocktails had to be barrel aged, at least for a bit, as stainless steel wasn't introduced until 1917 or so and you had to mix and store them in something. But there was also a culinary claim. As a Club cocktails ad from 1912 said, "a new cocktail can never have the same flavor as an aged one." That said, this should not detract from the creativity of those who have revived this technique: it's a case of great minds thinking alike, not monkey see monkey do.
  7. Crafty or Crappy?

    Acquiring a taste doesn't mean abandoning discernment. It just means no longer writing off whole classes of things because they share a certain flavor element. Bundaberg--well, let's just say that it's educational. I've always found the best thing to motivate me to acquire the taste for something, be it epic poetry, marching band music or hogo-driven rum, is the belief that our ancestors were no dumber than we are. We know things they don't, but the corny or weird things they liked, they probably liked for a reason, and if we can't see that reason, then we haven't understood the thing. That belief (which applies as much to other cultures as it does to the past, obviously) can lead one to try things to which one has no connection, so it's not always evolution, although it certainly helps to have a foot on the path already.
  8. Crafty or Crappy?

    Yeah, not the most useful or sophisticated definition of art there. In my understanding, art is whatever human creation that transports you out of yourself and into another person's way of seeing, whether it's Michelangelo showing you how he sees Mary cradling her dead son or the Ramones helping you imagine what it's like to be a juvenile delinquent out of a 1950s pulp comic. There are some chefs and drinks-mixers who can do that, others who are equally fine, or better, craftsmen and craftswomen but who are uninterested in doing that kind of heavy lifting. Given that, for me the culinary "arts" straddle the border of "high" art, if you want to call it that, int he same way that architecture and, say, dance music does. That doesn't mean it can't be art, just that it doesn't always have to be. But this is pretty much what bostonapothecary has been saying all along, in this thread and others. A lot of people are looking for this kind of transcendence through a deep immersion in craft and technique, but that's not the only way to get there, or even the most interesting. And yes, Stephen, sign me up for Wally's. I bet there are a few Funkateers who would join us.
  9. Crafty or Crappy?

    Actually, I think it was the other way around. I used to be a musician and always liked stuff that broke boundaries--e.g., Funkadelic, where funk met acid rock. Then I studied literature and specialized in things that were difficult to categorize and took some getting to know. It just took me a while to apply the strategies and aesthetics I had learned in those fields to this one. 'Cause you know, 'I drink that and not this' is pretty ingrained. (And no, I still don't regularly drink Irish Car Bombs, Chocotinis or any of 'those' drinks; but I don't have a rule against it.) All art is universal; all crafts are specific. I don't know if that's true, but it's worth thinking about.
  10. Crafty or Crappy?

    Do you mean to say you've never had a real Irish Coffee? The kind where you dissolve a half teaspoon or so of raw sugar in 3 or 4 oz hot black coffee, add a shot of Powers and top it off with half an inch of unsweetened heavy cream that you have lightly whipped by hand? I envy you. And, Zachary, for my phoney-baloney for-the-sake-of-philosophical-example crafty carbomb, I did go so far as to suggest that the replacement Irish cream be encased in a test tube before being dropped into the stout so that theoretically it won't curdle and it will release itself depth-bomb style as you approach the bottom of the glass, giving you a layered drinking experience just like the molecular guys do. I did not, however, go so far as to test it, which I now must do. As for whether it's a cocktail, where do you draw the line? If we're talking strictly about cocktails, then anything with citrus is out. If we're willing to expand to include sours, then do we draw the line at the Singapore Sling? The Moscow Mule? In general, the world of mixed drinks has grown up and thrived in the absence of disciplining authority; its speech is pidgin, not classical. If you want to convince people to give up that freedom, you have to offer them something equally worthwhile.
  11. Crafty or Crappy?

    Dan--just wanted to add that I reread some of your comments above and that your approach doesn't seem so rigid as I thought. Discretion is everything, and you realize that. As long as I'm correcting myself, I also want to add that in no way am I against homemade ingredients, hand-carved ice, Chartreuse, Pimiento Dram or vests. Some of the best drinks I've ever had have been in bars that deploy copious amounts of all of those, and some of the best times, too. I just don't think their use exempts one from normal judgments of quality.
  12. Crafty or Crappy?

    Actually, I did say the whiskey/cream/Demerara mix was "inserted" into the stout, as in not kept apart at all. But again, I'm puzzled. You say that this "might be delicious," but that's not enough to make it "craft" because a) the flavors don't work together and it will be curdled. But take the ingredients of this "Buama Gluaisteán" (that's 'car bomb' in Gaelic, since we're being fancy here). Irish whiskey and Demerara sugar work together, right? Irish whiskey and cream do, too, as proven by the Irish Coffee (and if you say that's not a craft drink I throw my hands up in despair). There are any number of classic recipes for Posset that involve sugar, ale and cream. Irish whiskey and stout are certainly considered a good pairing by people who like to drink one of each side by side, and that group includes pretty much everybody I know. That leaves the curdling question, which is avoided by keeping the supplement in a little test tube inside the pint. (I think--I made this drink up for the purpose of example and have not actually mixed one up.) So if you're going to exclude this from craft drinking, it can only be because it's an echo of an Irish Car Bomb, which is vulgar. In other words, you're relying on the same on-the-fly, case-by-case aesthetic judgment as the rest of us do when evaluating drinks, and those boxes--"craft" and "not craft"--are merely personal. There's nothing wrong with that. Totally agree, both about problem solving and in particular about acquired tastes. But you have to start with yourself. Case in point. A number of years ago, when I was quite new to the professional booze-taster gig, I got sent a bottle of this new rum called Sea Wynde. I tasted it and almost spat it out. It was harsh, burnt tasting, sulfurous. If that was rum, everything else I knew as rum wasn't. Clearly defective. But it did intrigue me. It had Jim Murray's name attached to it, and it claimed to be a Navy rum, two things not to be ignored. So I did a little research and also started keeping an eye out for other things in that class, just to see if I was missing something. I tried Pusser's. A little of that stank in there. I got my hands on some Lemon Hart. More. El Dorado. Also more. Woods's Navy Rum, even more. I went to Jamaica and drank a lot of Wray & Nephew, which had a lot of it in a different way. Then we got Inner Circle, also different but a lot. By now, of course, I had learned to appreciate this stuff and was actively seeking it out. Then Eric Seed asked me what spirits I'd like to see available, and I told him a real, old-school Jamaica rum. I'd never had one, but I was sure it was big in that stank, which by this point I had learned to call "hogo." Next time I saw him, he had samples, and by this point I was able to tell what I was looking for in such a rum. With that input and input from some other people who had come to appreciate this style (Audrey Saunders, for one), Eric put together Smith & Cross. Things like that don't happen if you compartmentalize your input. In other words--Dan, I think you're screwed. Whether you know it or not, I think you're going to end up evaluating your submissions subjectively, and if that's the case I think it's best to keep your criteria as loose as possible. That way, you might get something truly interesting.
  13. Crafty or Crappy?

    I'm a bit confused here. . . . if gin in a glass can be considered a Martini, is vodka and Godiva liqueur a choco-tini, or Jager and Red Bull a Jager-tini? Where does it end? I think that intent and execution are inextricably linked in the definition of a craft cocktail. Without intent, you could execute an Irish Car Bomb perfectly and it doesn't make it Craft. Without execution, you get shaken Manhattans, which to me isn't Craft either. Neither are what I want to drink -- there are too many other interesting things to do with excess liver space! Here we run into some basic philosophical issues, ones that we probably won't solve on a cocktail board. Is every cocktail that is actually mixed to be judged on its fidelity to some ideal, perfect version of that cocktail? Or is it to be judged on its here-and-now effectiveness? Are we Platonists or Aristoteleans? I'm primarily a historian in these matters, although one who spends an inordinate amount of time mixing drinks (I like drinks). But as a historian, my job is to observe, catalog and contextualize. So I would have to say yes, vodka and Godiva is indeed a choco-tini, if people are calling it such and drinking them. Does that mean I like the drink or approve of what people are doing? Not in that case, no. But When I was in my early twenties, back in the punk years, and I couldn't afford to drink in fancy bars, the old-man bars where I tippled made their dry gin martinis as I detailed above, and I was grateful for them. Were they the best martinis I've ever had? Probably if I had one now, magically brought forward through time, and put next to the best Fitty-Fitty I (or even better the folks at Pegu Club) could make, it would seem wanting in comparison. But you didn't have that choice at the Frolic Room or O'Donnell's, and in that context, what they made was a great martini (it's as Andy says above: those guys were craft bartenders, even if not making modern "craft" cocktails). But let's switch perspective for a second. What if I were to offer you 25 ml of Bushmills 10 year old malt whiskey, dry-shaken with 10 ml Ronnybrook Farms heavy cream and 5 ml rich Demerara syrup, poured into a 50-ml test-tube and inserted into 500 ml of Victory Sorm King Stout. And I were wearing a vest. Would you consider that a craft cocktail? Again, I don't think there is such a thing as a "craft" cocktail recipe, at least not in a definable way that doesn't exclude much of what the best craftsmen and craftswomen among modern mixologists are doing. (Good luck with Tiki--any principles that can encompass both those formulae and ones from, say, George Kappeler would have to be so broad as to be useless.) But then again, I'm an Aristotelean. Final thought: try making these arguments not with drinks, but with music.
  14. Crafty or Crappy?

    Precisely.
  15. Crafty or Crappy?

    I don't get the first part of this--are you saying the dry gin martini is a Ford Escort? There's no more elegant drink, and none with higher performance. Or perhaps that's not what you meant. The second part is a point well taken. Somebody had to set up the system, even if that somebody is long gone. And to address Zachary's point, I have had many shockingly palatable dry martinis in which no vermouth was used at all, in places that never heard of orange bitters. I've had many bad ones, too, to be sure. But I've also had many a bad drink in a "craft" cocktail bar. I don't think the craft lies in the intent as much as it does in the execution. "Craft" has always been understood as a mastery of tools, materials and process, separate from, although not necessarily antithetical to, any artistic intent. I think the discussion of classicism is one of aesthetic judgment and hence an artistic one, not a craft one.
  16. Crafty or Crappy?

    Not convinced about this intent business. There are many, many bartenders who make cocktails without any thought whatsoever about the ingredients they're using. They use that gin and that vermouth because that's what they've been told to use; it's what's in the well. They put it in a shaker, stir it, strain it into a chilled glass (that's the way they learned the job--every Martini glass gets chilled) and stick an olive in it. Done. No intent there other than to finish their shift and get paid. And yet there's a dry Martini at the end of the process, cold, crisp and delicious. There are also quite a number of bartenders who obsess about every ingredient; who hand-pick some and make others from scratch; who combine them in precisely-measured quantities, stir them in Yarai mixing glasses with antique spoons, strain them into Schotts-Zweisel coupes, garnish the results with hand-spanked sprigs of tarragon and slide them across the bar with a slight bow, as if to say "please accept this gift I have crafted for you." And you taste it, and all you get is the Chartreuse and Pimiento Dram that they have dashed in from little crystal bottles, with a thin, bitter aftertaste from their gentian-laden, brackish homemade bitters. I'll take the Martini.
  17. Crafty or Crappy?

    I'd say crap and crap, if forced to evaluate these that reductively, due to the complete lack of balance in both. 2 oz brandy and 2 oz sugars in the one and 4 essentially sweet ingredients in the other seem to locate them in the typing monkey school of mixology. But then again, similar recipes to #2, although with real navy rum instead of the blackstrap, appear often enough in books such as the Savoy. This is an old problem, dating back to the renaissance and their arguments about the worth of classical literature. They couldn't really solve it then and we won't be able to solve it now. Either classic is anything from the classic period, good or bad, which excludes the most careful modern practitioners, even though their work is more classical than many of the real classics, or it's anything from any period that upholds the highest standards of the past, which leaves us with a very reductive view of the culture we're drawing inspiration from and lays us open to massive fights about the canon and aesthetics in general. For what its worth, the people in the Renaissance who best succeeded artistically--Shakespeare, Ariosto, Rabelais, etc.--forged ahead with a wide knowledge of the classics and an equally wide capacity to disregard those models if they wanted to do something different.
  18. Cocktail Sugars

    Paulo-- Most drink recipes that you come across that call for raw sugar will mean something like a Demerara or even a turbinado sugar--something that has been crystallized but still has some of the evaporated/concentrated cane juice coating the crystals. Rancho Gordo-- I'll have to try your sugar. The stuff I get labeled as "panela" or "piloncillo" here in Brooklyn, where it is easy to find, comes in either cones or discs and is so raw that there are often bits of ash or shredded cane embedded in it. I can't imagine it undergoes a lot of processing. Kent-- That Mauritius Demerara is a particularly raw version Brooklyn Brewery brings in in bulk for brewing; occasionally some of it escapes into the wild. Most Demerara sugar is from Mauritius these days, although if you have access to a good Caribbean market you can sometimes get the stuff from Demerara/Guyana, which is excellent. Stephen-- I think that fudgelike texture/character is due to it being even LESS refined--so unrefined that it's not even dry; there's still molasses in there. I completely agree about these things being a two-edged sword. They can bum rush a drink (or, as you point out, a liqueur). Sometimes, that's cool (I mentioned a Vodka Cocktail not to stir things up--well, ok, maybe a little--but because vodka-sugar-bitters is a great way to taste the sugar itself; a way of making a sort of negative cocktail, where the background elements are foreground). Other times, it's not. For Daiquiris, I've switched back to superfine white sugar, because they come out mich brighter, and to me that brightness is the soul of that drink. Interesting take on the liqueurs. In the case of the Grand Marnier, I wonder if they're using blending sugar as they used to do in Cognac, where a raw sugar was made into a thin syrup and then barrel aged before being blended in (some Cognac houses still do this).
  19. Cocktail Sugars

    The stuff I get that's labeled "Gula Jawa" is a mix of raw, molasses-rich cane sugar and jaggery, and it comes in disturbingly fudgelike logs. It's definitely weird stuff, but it really does bring the umami like nothing else does. Like a cross between sugar and soy sauce. Mixed with Batavia arrack and lime juice, it makes for a uniquely rich sort of punch. I've never tried it with anything else, though. Probably make a killer Vodka Cocktail, though. Also, many of the most interesting sugars, I find, must be incorporated as syrups, since they're only available in cakes or loaves. I've used many a loaf of piloncillo, but never before seen it in granulated form. I'll be sure to pick some up. ETA that last bit.
  20. Old Tom Gin

    As far as I know the Ransom has no added sugar at all. When I was advising Tad Seestedt on its creation, I advised him that some sugar was needed for authenticity, but he just couldn't bring himself to put it in there. That said, it does have some sugars absorbed from the barrel, so there's that.
  21. Your Last Drink

    I'll take a full-size bowl of Admiral Russell's Christmas Punch, all 1200 gallons of it.
  22. The Punch Topic

    That's awesome, Sam! And Dave--I've found that hot Punches taste thin and a little biting without enough sugar. That's certainly what the old recipes suggest--they're always pretty sweet. I think it's as you say, the sugar blunts the edge of the alcohol. And yes, shrub + liquor is ideal for laying down in the fridge or cellar and letting it sit until needed. As long as I'm chiming in on things. The proportions I use of Kuchan peach brandy are as follows: 2 parts rum (mixture of 1/3 Plantation vintage 2000 Jamaican rum to 2/3 Plantation 5 year old Barbados) 1 part cognac (Martell VSOP) 1 part Kuchan 1 part lemon juice 1 part sugar (oleo-saccharum with lemon peels) 4 parts water Ice Nutmeg OMG. The Kuchan rocks.
  23. All About Rye Whiskey (Part 1)

    Funny--that bottling now appears to be the regular age for Rittenhouse, although as it says assembled from a small batch of two barrels. The first time I had Rittenhouse was when I requested that they send me some for an Esquire piece and two bottles arrived in the mail. Two 700 ml bottles, each with a neck band that said "10 years old." It turned out, they sent me their Maison du Whisky bottling by mistake. But that was some seven years ago. I don't think there's any 10-year-old rye left. Pity. It was the best rye I've ever had.
  24. The Punch Topic

    Just saw this. Shockingly, I'm NOT serving Punch at Thanksgiving. I've had a good deal of the stuff lately, and am not feeling deprived. But I've got a big bowl of Century Club Punch looming, and soon after that it'll be time for Feuerzangenbowle again. Arrack + sugar + tongs + fire = fun.
  25. The Punch Topic

    I say use what you've got. The Genevieve's a little less refined than the genuine Dutch article, but I'm sure plenty of gin was like that back in the day.
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