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Posts posted by kvltrede

  1. CiaCiaro + Angostura Orange + a Neutral Grain Spirit (to thin it down and increase the proof) give a pretty amazing Picon recplica.

    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?


  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!


  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:

    "...Leaves your nose with the impression of heather filled spring meadows ... Fantastically light, creamy honey coating your mouth... ...Dry, lightly smokey and a smooth warm aftertaste long in the mouth... ...Smooth and Complimentary ... I was surprised by the smokey tones and fruityness...."

    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?



  4. I hate not living in Chicago.  Looks like a spectacular event.

    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...


  5. My Aviation is 2 oz beefeater or Tanq, 3/4 oz lemon, 1/2 oz luxardo, 1/4 oz simple (1 to 1).  I like to thow a few dashes of orange bitters to make a Casino.

    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.



  6. ...I like bitters, and I've had a pretty favorable time with my one gin brand (Plymouth) . . . but ended up not enjoying the result.  Just too harsh for me....

    ...Given the simplicity, I don't think I'm doing anything wrong in the mixing...perhaps this is just more of an acquired taste? If I had someone who claimed to not like gin, I'd give them an Aviation long before a Pink Gin.

    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.


  7. I took note of the Jimmie Roosevelt some time back and wanted to try it but was somewhat wary of it's enormous size and profligate use of expensive (and high-proof!) ingredients. This adaptation looks far more manageable. Would you say the Chartreuse is more or less than 1/4 oz? Seems like that much would be enough, but one can never tell, at least not before trying it.

    Here's Doc's original text:

    CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL No. II, which with Modestly Downcast Lash We Admit Is an Origination of Our Own, & Which We Christened the "Jimmie Roosevelt"

    Last spring we had the pleasure of turning our house into an oasis, between planes, for Colonel Jimmie Roosevelt and Grant Mason of the Civil Aeronautics Commission. . . [etc.]

    Fill a big 16 ounce thin crystal goblet with finely cracked ice.  In the diametrical center of this frosty mass went a lump of sugar well saturated with Angostura, then 2 jiggers of good French cognac, then fill the glass with chilled champagne, finally floating on very carefully 2 tbsp of genuine green Chartreuse.

    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.


  8. ...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 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.


  9. 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.


  10. My experience is that any store that carries the blended stuff can get the bonded, it's just a matter of whether they care enough.


    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.


  11. I have yet to find the Amaro Ciociaro in Northern California....

    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.....


  12. It will be back up a little later this year, with greatly expanded "functionality" (that's the word the web folks used; I nodded my head and smiled as if I understood it). Should be cool, though.

    Ack. I might have guessed that a couple-three months wasn't sufficient time for "platform integration" and "expanded functionality".

    Thanks for the update.

  13. Though, I think the truly "classic" recipe includes the lime hull, no?

    Build over ice, 2 oz Gin, juice of 1/2 lime, drop the hull in, top with soda.

    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.


  14. Did not know about pronunciation aspect... is that how the Cubans/Spanish pronounce it? I am fighting a losing battle already to get people to pronounce BAC-ar-DI rather than ba-CAR-di...

    Heh. I know what you mean. My understanding is that the Spanish pronunciation would be as I wrote it. That said, the de facto English pronunciation does seem to be "dack-uh-ree," so I imagine that fight's already lost (not that this would keep me from fighting it anyway!).

    There's an amusing column in the Chicago Sun-Times that occasionally points out the correct pronunciation of words, e.g., "Err rhymes with fur (fir) not air". That's all well and good but sometimes these notices serve only to raise a question in my mind. What I'd like to know is how long does the general populace have to mispronounce a word before the original, correct pronounciation is abandoned or considered archaic by the word police?

    I learned only a few years ago that "die-kee-ree" was the correct pronounciation of "daiquiri" yet I never once in my 40+ years heard it pronounced correctly until a few months ago when I saw the Alec Guinness film Our Man in Havana. So, out of the many, many (many) times I've heard the word "daiquiri" I've heard it pronounced correctly only as many times as it is said in a movie made in 1959. Now, I'm normally the kinda guy (and the kinda cocktail geek) who's willing to fight the good fight but I find it a bit ridiculous to correct someone--or even mention in passing--as to the "correct" pronounciation of "daiquiri". If I ever make it to Cuba I'll be happy to say "die-kee-ree" but here in the good ol'U.S. of A. I'm afraid it's not only a lost cause but even a bit pretentious to make this distinction. In "my" dictionary "die-kee-ree" is listed as the second pronounciation--preferred, maybe, but archaic for sure.

    Of course in "my" dictionary I've thrown in the towel on "err" too. I've erred many times when pronouncing it. I was probably in college before I learned it wasn't pronounced "air" but I doubt I've heard "err" pronounced correctly more than a couple dozen times in my life. Granted, I grew up hearing it pronounced wrong but, more often than not, it sounds to me like the person pronouncing it correctly is saying "ur" (as in "um" and "ah"). Whether that's worse or better than hearing the extremely common mispronounciation is in the ear of the beholder.


  15. Sorry, should have clarified this in my post. The Zazarac drink in the list is just a Sazerac.

    The author writes "The original name "Sazerac" has been copywrited by the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans; consequently, any reference to a similar cocktail, living or dead, must be called Zazerac."....

    Dunno where Doctor Cocktail found his Zazerac recipe for CocktailDB but it's a very close match to this recipe from the 1955 edition of The Standard Bartender's Guide by Patrick Gavin Duffy (Revised and enlarged by James A. Beard):


    1/3 Rye Whiskey

    1/6 Sugar Syrup

    1/6 Anisette

    1/6 Light Rum

    1/6 Pernod

    1 Dash Orange Bitters

    1 Dash Angostura Bitters

    Shake well with ice and strain into glass. Squeeze Lemon Peel on top.

    The Duffy/Beard book lists the Sazerac too. The instructions don't include the coating of the drinking glass with absinthe or an absinthe sub. (Pernod in this case) but it's otherwise a standard recipe.


  16. Booksellers' (Special) Pride

    1/4 Orange Juice (3/4 oz Blood Orange Juice)

    1/4 Calvados (3/4 oz Germain-Robin Apple Brandy)

    1/2 Gin--Booth's Dry (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)

    A green cherry that has been macerated in Orange Curacao.

    Shake well and strain into cocktail glass, afterwards adding the green cherry

    From the "New and Additional Cocktails section" of the second edition of the Savoy cocktail book.

    Skipped the puzzling green cherry procedure.  I'm not sure that the cherry or use of the suggested Booth's Gin would significantly change the cocktail.  As is, it's a perfectly fine cocktail, which could probably be improved with a drop or two of bitters...

    Erik, which bitters you recommend I try first? The blood oranges I've had so far this year have been a huge disappointment-kinda bitter--but I have one left and thought I might give this recipe a go this weekend.

    I've used Peychaud's and aromatic bitters with blood orange juice before. Were you thinking of one of these?



  17. As far as I know, Captain Applejack is the same as Laird's Bonded....

    I never did get around to trying the Captain Applejack but I did pick up a bottle of the Laird's Straight Apple Brandy last month in California. It's pretty terrific stuff and, as I won't be visiting California regularly, I contacted Laird's to see if I could learn anything about the Capt. Applejack. Here's the answer I received from the sales office:

    I am told there is no difference between the Captain Apple 100 and Laird's 100.  The Captain Apple label is used mostly in the Carolinas and Virginia but they are the same product.

    So Sam had it right all along. Needless to say, I'm very happy to learn that I don't need to travel out of state when my bottle of Laird's is empty.

    The woman who replied also sent a recipe:

    Applejack Rabbit              Jim Meehan, Grammercy Tavern, NYC

    2¼ oz Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy

    ¾ oz Grade B maple syrup (or Grade A Dark Amber)

    1 oz lemon juice

    1 oz orange juice

    Shake & strain.  “Garnish with a dried crabapple for maximum street cred.”


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