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Everything posted by kvltrede

  1. Somebody made a good point above but as long as the discussions seems to have moved away from it I thought I'd mention again that the benefits of organic vodka and shampoo, if any exist, are pre-production benefits. I'm no scientist and I'd certainly agree that vodka is vodka and that organic grains aren't necessarily going to produce a better vodka. I'd also agree that that the use of the word "organic" as part of Square One's marketing campaign is somewhat misleading. However, assuming that the grain used by Square One is, in fact, grown under the guidelines that allow the term "organic" to be used, I think one could safely say that the growers of the grain used by Square One have done less damage to the environment than the growers of "non-organic" (inorganic?) grain. Of course this also assumes the term "organic" continues to mean something. If what I've read about the gutting of the guidelines regarding what constitutes organic food is true then the term "organic" means far less than it suggests.... Kurt
  2. And some people get annoyed if they didn't get the proper change to leave a tip and have to ask for more change right after getting their change. It's a no win situation for the bartender, but I fall on the side of making it easier to tip me. Maybe I've spent too much time in bars (and in various service jobs) but I think taking offence at receiving change suitable to tipping says a lot more about the customer than it does the bartender. I've never once thought that a server was hinting for a tip by providing change suitable for tipping. If I'm in a tipping situation I damn well expect to receive change suitable for tipping. That's not a hint. That's a valuable service. Why would any server create work for himself and the guest by forcing the guest to ask for smaller change? As for tips I'd pass along to a new bartender here are a couple: 1. A twist is almost always an ingredient, not just a pretty little piece of yellow added for looks. Make sure the twists are fresh enough and cut to a size that when twisted actual lemon oil is expressed onto the drink. Same goes for twists cut from any other citrus fruit. Also, if you rub the rim of the drink with the twist, do so with the peel side not the pith side. 2. Cold drinks should be poured only into glasses that have been chilled. Failing this, glasses should never be warmer than room temp. I once received a formerly cold Martini in a warm glass. I'm sure the glass was hot and fresh from the dishwasher when the drink was poured into it. Believe it or not this was a fairly swanky joint. Okay, one more: 3. If a drink recipe calls for bitters (Manhattan, Old Fashioned, etc.) use them unless specifically asked not to. Just because the average person--or, worse, the average bartender--has forgotten or never learned the importance of bitters doesn't mean that you should continue this ignorance. Fortunately, bitters are making a modest comeback in both availablity and the understanding of their use so perhaps this ignorance will fade away. Regardless, trust me, most drinks would benefit from a dash of orange and/or angostura bitters but they absolutely must be used in the drinks that include them in the recipe. Good luck with bartending. I don't have an opinion pro or con on bartending school but you're certainly off to a good start by checking out this forum. Kurt
  3. These sound terrific, Janet. It strikes me that the version topped with champagne should be differentiated as the Royal Ballet. Ya think? As for the Strawberry Blonde, well, I don't love the name but it's probably better than calling the drink the Strawberry Ballet. Then again Prince had a sizable hit with "Raspberry Beret" which is no less silly so who's to say. Of course, I'm a firm believer in "you create it, you name it" so Strawberry Blonde, it is. Just thinking out loud, Kurt
  4. I assume you've seen this thread but if not be sure to check it out. I'm sure one of these versions of the most excellent Aviation will work for you. The Aviation is too good a cocktail to give up on. Once you find a balance that works for you I'm sure you'll have another decent seller on your hands. I'm partial to Dave Wondrich's version at the Esquire Drinks Database (which he revised slightly after Esquire Drinks was published). I'm also partial to Broker's Gin for the Aviation but I think any good gin will do. Kurt
  5. Word. Didn't end up with much time for cocktails but we did hit the Top of the Hyatt and had a similar experience. Despite the room being modest in size (and the crowd being equally modest) neither of the two cocktail servers came anywhere near our table for the 45 or so minutes we were there. When I ordered at the bar I didn't hear much enthusiasm from the bartender on topic of cocktails so I didn't bother pursuing it and instead ordered a Glenmorangie neat and the galfriend's Stoli Raspberry and 7-Up. There wasn't enough scotch left in the bottle for my drink and there wasn't a back-up bottle so I switched my order to GlenKinchie instead. I can't complain about the pour as it made up for what I otherwise would have thought to be at least a couple bucks overpriced and I can't complain about the views but the Top of the Hyatt is certainly underwhelming. Considering all the swank this Hyatt has in spades I would have expected an equally classy and service-oriented cocktail lounge. Kurt
  6. Here's what Dave wrote on the subject in the Hop Toad recipe at the Esquire Drinks Database: I can't help with the Kecscemeti Barack Palinka but the Pecsetes Barack Palinka (also by Zwack) can be had at both Sam's and Binny's in Chicago. The info at the US distributor's website leads me to believe the Pecsetes is a reasonable substitute. I have no complaints. Kurt
  7. If you're staying at the Hyatt I think you'll be at, they have a top-floor bar (in the right tower in the picture at the above link) with a fantastic view. The service can be very iffy at times especially if there's a crowd (like there is normally on weekends) but the view is spectacular.... ...The last time I was at Blue Point in the Gaslamp, there was a nice floor-to-ceiling aquarium separating the bar area from the restaurant (don't know if they still have it).... That's the Hyatt all right. As a life-long midwesterner I'm a sucker for a nice view of the ocean so I'm sure we'll hit their Top of the Hyatt lounge. I'm also a fan of big fish tanks so I'd like to stop in for a look at the Blue Point. The menu there looked good too but the galfriend isn't particularly food-centric so I doubt we'll eat there. Not to mention that we'll have to budget somewhere so skipping big $$$ meals is one way to do it. Nothing like flying halfway across the country to attend the wedding of someone I've never met... Oh, well, the bride's a lifelong friend of the galfriend and I suppose it's true enough that you can't take it with you. Thanks for the suggestions. Kurt
  8. Anyone have a favorite place to get a cocktail in San Diego? The galfriend and I will be there over the upcoming weekend. Doesn't have to be a place with a lot of fancy house-invented drinks. Well-made classics are more than fine. We're staying at the Hyatt on Market Place. Nearby would be a bonus but it isn't necessary. Thanks. Kurt
  9. I would just like to point out that using any kind of alcohol "that way" is probably not a good idea, sugary mixers or no. ← I had the same thought, Sam. And then I thought that considering the lack of flavor and imagination in a Vodka Tonic one might as well order a vodka colonic.... Ba dum bum. Kurt
  10. Word. Guess I got mine about a month ago and finished it, oh, about a month ago. I meant to post a rave but apparently forgot to do so. In a nutshell, you may be a cocktail geek if you find that a book with an article about ice is a real page-turner and you feel a little disappointed when you reach the last page. Kurt
  11. Erik, thanks for the tip. I don't have any plans to be in Madcity anytime soon but I will be sure to keep The Old Fashioned in mind. Wonder if they have any rye on hand?... Kurt
  12. Thanks, Sam. Guess that explains why my search came up empty. I thought this cocktail had been discussed here previously. Kurt
  13. What's your recipe? Have you tried different brands of gin and/or pom. molasses? Any preferences? Thanks. Kurt
  14. I'd agree with Mbanu that the Whiskey Sour recipe from CocktailDB seems likely to be a bit tart but I'd have to shake one up to be sure. It's worth mentioning, though, that the drink is called the Whiskey Sour . Also CocktailDB's source material is anything but contemporary as regards older potations so if this Whiskey Sour is too tart it isn't because of some modern cocktalian prejudice against sugar but instead is the work of Jerry Thomas or some other titan from whom Doc cribbed this recipe. Regardless, I think I'd start with the "Whiskey, Sour" recipe at CocktailDB instead. The daiquiri recipe sounds just right to me. I may be misinterpreting the author's intent but to me "just enough sugar to take the sour edge off" means "just enough sugar to make a balanced cocktail". Since the author doesn't provide an exact amount we need not argue whether "just enough" means a bar-spoon, a teaspoon or a tablespoon of the sweet stuff but, for me, a scant teaspoon is just right so long as the lime juice is fresh and the rum is good. Kurt
  15. Dan, could be that you prefer that you prefer a slightly sweeter Pegu. Several posters above would agree that's the way to go. I'd recommend that you first try another 4:1:1 Pegu but with the Grand Marnier instead of the Cointreau. If that still strikes you as too dry and tart bump up the GM and bump down the lime juice until it works for you. I don't imagine it would take too much tweaking until you found a Pegu Club that's the equal to an Aviation. They're both stupendous cocktails when made properly (which is to say, "to taste"). What's in a Mainbrace? As for grapefruit juice and maraschino, well, heck yeah. I suppose you've used them in a Hemingway Daiquiri but, if not, here's my favorite version: Hemingway's Daiquiri ("borrowed" from D.Wondrich?) • 2 oz silver or light rum (3oz if you want it Papa-style) • ¾ oz fresh lime juice • ½ oz fresh grapefruit juice • ½ oz maraschino liqueur Shake w/ice and strain over rocks or into cocktail glass. Optional: float the maraschino on top. I usually go with about 2½ oz of rum, don't bother to float the maraschino and drink it on the rocks. Your mileage may vary. Kurt
  16. Kurt, Oh, I'm sorry, did I give the impression I didn't like this version? No, no, I liked this one quite a lot. What I didn't like was my previous sloppily measured version with a cheap Curacao. It is unfortunate that Plymouth's price has gone up in most stores, but I've still got a couple secret places that sell it for around $10, so until they run out, I'm golden. Yeah, I'll admit they probably aren't ideal for a Pegu. That's why I dialed the amount down. They're just what I had in the house. They are tasty in a daiquiri or caipirinha, though. ← Well, you did mention that your previous Pegu was "tasty" but I guess I took that as merely modest praise for a cocktail I consider one of the greats. Modest praise just ain't gonna cut it, my friend. As for $10 Plymouth, I vaguely recall somebody mentioning that price in CA a long while back. So, it's still that cheap in some places? Wow. Are your $10 Plymouth suppliers anywhere near Palo Alto? I may be there for a day in August. If the opportunity presents itself I'd love to get a bottle or two or perhaps even ship a case to myself. IIRC I couldn't get it shipped from CA directly from (was it BevMo?) when that price came up. I think Plymouth is still $22 here in Chicago. I haven't tried Bols Curacao so I can't say what impact it had on your unimpressive Pegu. I've stuck with Gran Gala for the most part when a recipe calls for curacao. I've heard good things about Gran Torres but haven't tried it. I'm very curious about Curacao of Curacao but haven't heard much about it. I've been meaning to mix up a Marie Brizzard Triple Sec Pegu Club to get an idea as to why Harrington recommends Cointreau instead of curacao but I haven't done so as yet. Fact is, I always go with Wondrich whenever there's a dispute over ratios or ingredients. Sure, I'll almost always give the recipes by Haigh, Hess, Regan, DeGroff, eGulleteers et al a try and their versions are almost always comparable but my palate seems to be pretty much in tune with Mr. W so his versions are usually my standard. My favorite non-Cointreau triple sec is the MB if that means anything. It's close enough to Cointreau for my needs so I just haven't splurged on the real thing. I like Citronge too but use it mostly for Margaritas and other tequila coctails. I special ordered the Van Gogh Superior Triple Sec a while back based on a Gary Regan recommendation. It's pretty decent, nicely dry and likely the best $10 triple sec available but there's something slightly odd about it in the finish so I doubt I'll make the effort again. I'm thinking my next bottle of triple sec will be the Luxardo. Was it Katie who had nice things to say about it a month or so ago? Oh, yeah, when you do find yourself with Beefeater and plain ol'limes in house I can also recommend that you use 'em to mix up a Gin Rickey once you've given the Pegu a go. For me Beefeater just seems to go particularly well with lime juice and seltzer or fizz water. Gordon's, Bombay, Booth's, Broker's and Tanqueray are fine too but the Beefeater Rickeys always strike me as just a bit more refreshing. I suppose it may just be that I prefer Beefeater to the others. I'm fond of a Beefeater Martini too. Kurt
  17. Taking Sam's cue I've moved the following digression from this thread to this more appropriate Pegu Club-specific thread: ...I use Plymouth gin, unless a recipe specifies otherwise. I know I should get a proper London Dry gin like Beefeater. I just really like Plymouth. Clement's Liqueur Creole Shrubb is a rum based orange liqueur from Martinique with some spice elements.... ...I'm also using mexican key limes. I guess I should have mentioned that. They are a bit tarter than the usual persian limes. I get a big bag of for a couple bucks at hispanic stores. You get about 1/4 ounce of juice per lime. I find more than that, in a typical 4-5oz "up" drink, gets a bit sharp. ~Erik ← Count me in as a big fan of Plymouth gin, Erik. In fact, it’s my default Martini gin (5:1 w/a large twist). But, that said, since the price of Plymouth went up a while back I don't think I've used for anything else except Martinis so I can’t say whether it’s your ingredients or if the Pegu just ain’t your cuppa hooch. What I can say, though, is that Beefeater and regular Bombay certainly make the kinda Pegu that’s in my list of Top Five Cocktails. As for those Mex. key limes if they’re anything like the key limes I get at Trader Joe’s occasionally I think I’d recommend that you pick up a couple regular limes for your next Pegu. The Trader Joe’s key limes certainly improve a Caiprinha but I don’t know that they’re the best choice for a Pegu Club. They are kinda sharp in a way that regular limes aren't. Kurt
  18. Erik, What gin are you using? If you haven't already done so you may want to check out this Pegu Club thread from early last year. There's some interesting discussion as to ratios and the triple sec vs. curacao question. I can't say for sure what products I was using in Feb 2005 but the gin was likely Beefeater and the curacao was probably Gran Gala. The Pegu is one of my very favorite cocktails. Also, I'm not familiar with Creole Shrubb but I would recommend matching the amount of lime juice with your liqueur of choice regardless. I think a proper Pegu Club (or Pegu variation) is strong and leans towards the tart end of the scale. I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on a 4:1:1 (or 4:1.5:1.5) Pegu. Kurt
  19. What a coincidence. I just overpaid for a copy of On Drink by Kingsley Amis (c1972) and he includes an original cocktail he calls The Lucky Jim. On Drink is pretty hard to find so I'm sure it's OOP and can be excerpted freely here: If anyone is aware of this modest little book still being in print please post so we can remove this excerpt posthaste. However, this book, while charmingly written and solid enough cocktail-wise, is so modest that I would be hugely surprised to learn that it remains in print. It's for Amis fans and/or cocktail book collectors only. Amis' Everyday Drinking is a far superior book (though also, I believe, OOP). Kurt
  20. freshherbs, What was your recipe? I'd try Eric's but rosemary flowers aren't likely to be in my future unless I grow them myself so if you happen to check in before Katie has a chance to check with her kitchen staff I'd be grateful for any pointers you'd care to provide. Thanks. Kurt
  21. Sounds delish, Katie. Is there specific (or specific-ish) amount of rosemary used to flavor your rosemary simple syrup or do you wing it? Kurt
  22. Wow, Sam, where are you finding such good prices on the Irish? Red Breast hasn't been under $42 in Chi since I can remember and the Erin Go Bragh is $26 at Binny's. If NYC is the home of cheap Irish whiskey I may need to ask a friend or two to hook me up when they visit. Thanks for posting the link. Meanwhile, it appears that I can get the Kilbeggan, the NYT's "Best Buy", at a good price in Chi. It gets a nice write-up in the still-available article Beans linked to up-thread. Anybody here tried it? Kurt
  23. Say wha? Where is this crazy part of the world is it that thinks an Old Fashioned is made with Southern Comfort? That's just silly. Of course I shouldn't talk. In my home state of Wisconsin the default hooch in a Manhattan is brandy and, in some parts of the state brandy's the default for the OF too (which is then, bleaahh, topped with 7-Up). You'll just have to forgive me, though, for thinking that a Southern Comfort OF makes the Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet look good in comparison. Well, almost... You may want to consider reminding the offending bartenders that the full name for this drink is the Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail. Southern Comfort may be closely related to whiskey but whiskey it ain't. Also, considering how sweet it is I don't see the point. Sure, add a couple dashes of bitters to it--couldn't hurt--but sugar too? Why not a little grenadine for "color"? Sheesh, some people. While ol'JD wouldn't be my first choice in an Old Fashioned I'm on your side here, Pyewacket. You are most definitely in the right on this one. Don't let those nut-jobs get you down, man! Kurt
  24. Rebecca's point as regards the price of store-bought fizzwater is a good one but I find that I rarely finish 2L bottles before they go flat so they're no bargain for me. In fact, I don't think the 1L bottles are such a great deal either but anyone who uses lots more fizzwater than I do may well be better served by store-bought vs. soda siphon. I keep my siphon in the fridge and, as mentioned, the siphon holds its charge for a good long time when kept chilled. I always seem to use it up before it goes flat. That's obviously much cheaper for me than buying 8-10 oz bottles by the six-pack. Also, fwiw, I don't find that my home-charged fizzwater is any less bubbly or tasty than storebought but I'm no connoisseur of bottled water, fizzy or not. YMMV. Kurt
  25. Bump... Found myself wasting some time over at StraightBourbon.com earlier today. SB has a separate forum for "other American whiskeys"--read "rye". I was checking out a thread from last fall discussing Rittenhouse Rye and, to my surprise, I found a favorable mention of Jaquin's Rock & Rye. The poster (and thread-starter) is "Gillman" and it doesn't take a lot of time at SB.com to see that he isn't one of those BB regulars who types out any old nonsense while killing time between episodes of Deep Space Nine. He's seems to know more than a little something about good liquor. [He also manages to use the words "inimical" and "bibulous" without sounding like a pompous know-it-all but I digress...] Scroll just about to the bottom of page one to read the whole post but I don't think he'd mind if I post one sentence: I doubt I'll make Jacquin's R&R my next liquor purchase but I'm glad to have read a positive review written by someone with substantial brown booze experience. I had assumed the Jacquin's R&R was some sort of oversweetened carmel-colored nonsense but, now, who knows, at $10/750ml it may well be an impulse buy at some point. At the very least it's good to know that I don't have to make it from scratch if I get the itch to try it. Kurt
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