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  1. John, I now have all of these things (CioCiaro, Angostura Orange and Everclear) -- any thoughts on ratios to bring it as close as possible to Picon? I'd love to give this a go and see how it comes out. An ABV calculator (there are several on the web) should tell me how much Everclear to add to bring the 60-proof CioCiaro up to Picon's original 78-proof, but how much Angostura Orange? Anybody ever work out a recipe for turning these three ingredients into an Amer Picon substitute? Any thoughts on using a standard issue vodka or overproof rum in place of the Everclear? Thanks.
  2. Well, thanks to your help and the help of the very knowledgeable beer guy at Sam's I ended up with single bottles of the following: Fraoch Heather Ale Belhaven Wee Heav Belhaven St. Andrew's Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA Mac Queen's Nessie (an Austrian-made Scottish-style ale) Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (aged in whisky casks) Fuller's 1845 and one or two others I'm forgetting My original intention was just to get a six-pack of some Scottish ale and see how well it went with Scotch whisky but apparently I got a little carried away. Almost all of these cost more per 12-16 oz bottle than a six-pack of my beloved Hamm's. I passed on a few suggested brews that weren't available singly and a couple that cost well over what I was willing to spend. It might be a little silly to blanch at paying $3-5 per bottle for a fancy-schmancy import at the liquor store when I've paid that much for Corona at a terrible bar or two but $9 for a 9.2 oz bottle of beer? Not this time anyway... I hope to take some notes on these brews and how they pair with whisky but a family holiday gathering may not be conducive to that (as might not the alcohol-fueled nature of the experiment itself). At the very least I'll post a general impression of the pairings next week. Wish me luck! Kurt
  3. Here's a pairing question I don't believe has been discussed: is there a style of beer that goes well with Scotch whisky in the way that Irish whiskey goes well with Irish ales? I'm sure I'll annoy a few Scotch purists with this post but as the whisky in question isn't particularly expensive or rare I'll accept your scorn and I'll point out that there will be plenty of fizzwater handy as well. I was just thinking that a congenial beer might be a nice change of pace. Of course, Scotch is substantially more distinctive than Irish so I'm not sure if a similarly distinctive ale is the answer or if one would be better off with something milder (or simply abandoning the idea as untenable). I assume a Scotch or Scottish ale might well work but it's been quite a while since I've had one so I don't recall enough about them to be useful. The scotch in question is The Singleton of Glendullan. My first taste of it won't come until my brother opens his Christmas present so I don't know much beyond what I've read about it. It's a Speyside so it's likely to be a better companion to beer than, say, an Islay whisky but beyond that I'd just be guessing. Here's part of one review I found: A quick spin through the Binny's website turns up a few possibilities. The Belhaven Scottish and St. Andrews ales sound promising. The Tennent's lager would be, perhaps, the less distinctive option. Anybody out there make a habit of pairing beer and Scotch or did my limited googling and eG searching turn up zip because the answer is self-evident? Thanks. Kurt
  4. Well, apparently, living in Chicago isn't sufficient to get one's self invited to Alinea's Christmas party at the Violet Hour. Sure, I don't work at Alinea or even know anyone who works at Alinea but, geez, I'm in the book. They could've called... Kurt
  5. Toby, unless I'm asking for a professional secret, how are you making Aviations at the Violet Hour now that you have the R & W Creme de Violette? I had my first true blue Aviation at your place a couple weeks ago and was amazed at how the Violette made one of my favorite cocktails even better. Unfortunately, we weren't seated at the bar so I didn't get a witness its construction or hit up the barkeep for the details. Thanks! Kurt
  6. I think it's fairly safe to say that one should only make something as simple as a Pink Gin with a gin one would willingly drink straight. If straight or straight-ish Plymouth gin isn't your cup o'tea then your disappointing Pink Gin isn't due to any errors in its construction. You can certainly try it stirred or at room temp or on the rocks, different gins, different bitters, etc. but, frankly, if well-shaken Plymouth and a half-dozen dashes of Angostura strike you as harsh I don't see the point in your spending a lot of time on this one. I'd suggest that you simply move on to the next recipe that catches your eye. If, at some point, you come across a gin you absolutely love you can always give the Pink Gin another shot. FWIW, I've had a Pink Gin made to Vintage Spirits specs with Plymouth and I liked it fine. In fact, I liked it more as I sipped my way through it. Regardless, I haven't made Pink Gins a habit because it strikes me as a drink in need of a little something else. You know, something like, say, vermouth. And because getting the bottle of vermouth from the fridge isn't much of an imposition I do just that and mix up a perfect and perfectly complete Martini instead of a nice enough drink that, for me, comes up a somewhere short of perfect. And, yes, you are absolutely 100% correct that the Pink Gin is not a drink likely to change the mind of someone who is not already a fan of gin. Kurt
  7. Here's Doc's original text: If you figure the drink is being cut into half, that would mean an 8 ounce glass, 2 ounces of cognac and a half-ounce of Chartreuse. If you further reduce the drink to, say, a 6 ounce glass, you'd have 1.5 ounces of cognac and 1/3 ounce of Chartreuse. In practice, if I am recalling correctly, the bartenders I know simply drizzled over a few passes of the Chartreuse bottle. ← A small correction: Baker's jigger is 1.5 ounces so that's the amount of cognac needed for Sam's half-size J. Roosevelt. As the cocktail geek that I am I just happen to have started re-reading Baker a few days ago and, coincidentally, just yesterday I happened to read the Jimmie Roosevelt recipe and was compelled to search the book for Baker's definition of "jigger". I don't have the book handy but somewhere towards the back of the book there's a short chart that defines "jigger", "pony", etc. Kurt
  8. I happened to be in Sam's last night and much to my surprise and delight it appears they are now able to get the bonded Laird's. Instead of the Captain Applejack I found three bottles of the Laird's Straight Apple Brandy on the shelf next to the blended Laird's. Nice. The other big deal for me was finding Carpano Antica in the vermouth section. I'm not sure I'll ever splurge on a $30+ vermouth but at least now I have the option. FYI, neither is listed at the Sam's website yet. Kurt
  9. Erik, I like the Daron Fine and the Coeur de Lion "Selection". I use them for Calvados Sidecars mostly but my palate isn't so sophisticated that I'm offended by either as a straight tipple. YMMV. Kurt
  10. The Violet Hour is mentioned in a food section article in today's Sun-Times. The article isn't anything special but Toby's quoted and there's a nice big photo of one of the VH bartenders on the section's front page. I found this quote from a bartender at Moto to be rather odd: "Because American bourbon is [often] aged in oak, it has a vanilla-like character," Chizeck added. "So, peaches and strawberries also work well." I assume the "[often]" was added by the writer or a misguided editor but I don't understand why. It certainly wouldn't have taken much googling to find out that bourbon isn't bourbon if it's not aged in a charred oak barrel. As for "American bourbon", well, I don't always speak so good neither so I shouldn't criticize but I guess I'd expect a bartender at such a fancy-schmancy restaurant to know that he was being redundant. On a lighter note, the Fall drinks menu at the VH is fantastic. I may have over-indulged somewhat during my last visit a couple weeks ago so I can't offer a lot of detail but the Chi-Town Flip was a stand-out. Kurt
  11. Not in Chicago. Well, not at the biggest store in town anyway. Sam's is happy to special order but they couldn't get the bonded Laird's for me. They do carry the bonded Captain Applejack, fortunately, but despite what I was told by someone in the sales dept. at Laird's I don't believe these are the same product in different packages. The Captain Applejack is a noticeably inferior product, though not significantly so. The Captain Applejack is a little hotter and a little less "apple-y". The color's a little different too. I wouldn't think twice about drinking the bonded Laird's neat. The Captain Applejack gets an ice cube or two. Admittedly, my sample is limited to a single bottle of each. I suppose the difference could be a matter of the bottles being the result of different batches. Kurt
  12. Hey, David, any chance you've compared the two head-to-head and can give us a little idea as to how they differ? I have the one in the round bottle--the Pescetes, I think--but I've never come across the other. Thanks. Kurt
  13. Amaro Ciociaro can be found at Vas Foremost on Milwaukee Ave in Chicago (as can the rare-in-Chi Hamm's beer!). 2300 N Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 278-9420 Foremost has stores all over Chicago but I dunno how many of them carry the Amaro Ciociaro. I live near this one and I'm happy to recommend it but I like the one on Ashland Ave. a little more. Both have some surprising things on the shelves and their prices are hard to beat. No affiliation, etc..... Kurt
  14. Ack. I might have guessed that a couple-three months wasn't sufficient time for "platform integration" and "expanded functionality". Thanks for the update.
  15. kvltrede


    I believe that's the case but if not I will continue to include it anyway. I will not, however, include sugar. To my mind adding sugar to a Gin Rickey turns it into a short, limey Tom Collins. Balance and quality ingredients are always important when making a cocktail or mixed drink but I find that this is particularly true for a Gin Rickey. Every Gin Rickey I've made in a particular glass with Beefeater and a nice fresh lime has been exceptionally tasty and refreshing whether I've used club soda, homemade fizzwater or lime seltzer. I think the glass I use holds either 8 or 10 ounces. When I'm lazy and try to make a taller drink I usually end up with something a little too bland or too tart. Using the right glass but a different gin generally works out well but I don't experiment much anymore. Beefeater Rickeys just strike me as a bit more refreshing than others I've made with Gordons, Bombay, Booths and Brokers. I'd guess that my newish bottle of Junipero might make for fine if somewhat decadent Gin Rickey but I can't quite see myself using it to make one. I'm too cheap. Kurt
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