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Everything posted by kvltrede

  1. I imagine you are correct, sir. Then again, I'm the kinda guy who hates it when people use the terms "offense" and "defense" when discussing baseball. The correct terms are, of course, "hitting" and "fielding". Unfortunately, this too is a lost cause. Oh, well, I try to keep my ranting on either subject to a minimum. If anything, the futility of both topics is as good a reason as any to have another cocktail instead letting one's blood boil. And that's precisely where an ice-cold Martini blows away ALL competitors and pretenders to the throne. Kurt
  2. From Ted Pincus' column in today's Chicago Sun-Times: "...A great icon is disappearing from the American cocktail scene. The hordes of thirsty, trendy philistines who insist on change, idolizing the next new thing have provided a ready market to be eagerly exploited by those who've been grandly bastardizing this hallowed beverage with forgeries: the nation's greedy, mischievous bartenders, restaurant menu-writers and ad copy chiefs. It's the proliferation of the Fauxtini..." and the kicker: "...Let them freely call it a Ghirardelli Splash or a Peach Panache or Rasputin's Raspberry Razzamatazz. Let them drown it in crushed ice, drench it with pomegranate juice, infuse it with huckleberry essence, shake it with eucalyptus crystals, doll it with a strawberry sipping straw, top it off with sea urchin foam and perfumed peacock plumage, and ignite it with lighter fluid. But please, don't ever, ever try to take a fluid composition that is not four heavenly ounces of genuine Beefeater, Boodles, Bombay or Tanqueray and seven measured drops of imported dry vermouth, all stirred gently with 10 ice cubes in a freezing cold stainless steel shaker, and have the temerity to call it a martini..." I'm not sure why Mr. Pincus, who normally writes about business topics, is all afire over fauxtinis. Well, that's not entirely true. I agree completely that most cocktail inventors of recent years have abandoned even the pretense of effort in naming their concoctions. Yet I find it amusing that Mr. Pincus has devoted an entire column in pointing this out. I disagree completely with his assertion that fauxtinis are kiling off the Martini. In fact, I believe that fauxtinis are sometimes "gateway-tinis" but are always a means of keeping cocktail culture alive. I also think Mr. Pincus spends too much time protesting fauxtinis and not enough in praise of the Martini. But, yeah, how about a little imagination when the time comes to name one's latest concoction? Oh, and while Mr. Pincus has fine taste in gin it sez here that he needs to pick himself up a bottle of Plymouth and to not be so stingy with the vermouth! Kurt
  3. I can't help you with the flavor questions but I can tell you that Bulleit shows up at the Binny's website for $25. A call to any of the Binny's stores is bound to turn up a bottle for your boss. Kurt
  4. Jack Lord! The last thing I need is another cocktail book. Y'all are lucky I have no self-control... One sold. Kurt
  5. Experiment. Pick a drink you like that uses Angostura (or any other bitters you're familiar with) and sub Peychaud's or Fee Bros. Peach. Or, dial up CocktailDB and peruse the Bitters section of the Ingredients area. Following the Peychaud's link gets you 35 recipes. The peach bitters link gets you 20 recipes. Here are two drinks that don't require an extensive liquor cabinet: The Barney French looks to be a sugar-free Old Fashioned w/Peychaud's and a lemon twist: muddle Peychaud's, an orange wheel and a lemon twist then add ice and bourbon. The recipe, as presented, is a little confusing--I think I'd add the twist at the end--but hardly complicated and easy to make one's own. The Fox River looks darn tasty too: bourbon, creme de cacao and peach bitters stirred w/ice and strained into a cocktail glass with a twist of lemon. Kurt
  6. Peach bitters has hit Chicago. Sam's Wine & Spirits received it's order of one case of peach bitters from it's Fee Bros. distributor and they are on the shelf. Note, however, that this is eleven measly bottles (plus the one already at Will Call for me). Again, I have no affiliation with Sam's except as a customer, yadda yadda yadda. I will say, though, that I have been extremely pleased with the friendly and helpful service I received from David Soto at Sam's. He's been great about looking into all of my special requests. FYI, if he can get Gary Regan's Orange Bitters #6 he's going to pick some up... Kurt Sam's Wine & Spirits 1720 North Marcey Street Chicago, IL Store Hours: Monday - Saturday 8am-9pm Sunday 11am-6pm
  7. A new book! Fantastic! Too bad about the title. Your original title was infinitely better and damned clever to boot. No matter, though, I'm looking forward to it. Congrats on the imminent publication! Kurt
  8. Thanks all. I appreciate all the great suggestions. We picked up some key limes on the way to the South Side so we started off with Caipirinhas. I think there's a cachaca thread somewhere around here that suggests that key lime Caiprinhas taste more like the Caiprinhas one gets in Brazil. I have no idea if that's true but the verdict was unanimous that Caiprinhas made with key limes were tastier than those we had made last summer with standard issue Chicago (via Mexico?) limes. We had a couple each and then switched to key lime Daiquiris. Very tasty. Next time, and I assure you there will be a next time, I'll use the other suggestions. FWIW, we found the Lem's hot link to be tastier than Barbara Ann's but we preferred Barbara Ann's rib tips and sauce. Definitely no losers in this match. Kurt
  9. Interesting. I'm looking at Dave's Esquire Drinks and see 2 oz gin, 1/2 oz lemon juice and 1 tsp maraschino.... Hmmm. I have Daves' book but I guess I'm using the slightly different recipe from the Esquire website. I've also cut-and-pasted Gary Regan's and Dale DeGroff's recipes into a half-assed database of sorts but I haven't gotten past Dave's cyberrecipe since I made it with Brokers. Kurt
  10. I've made Aviations with Beefeater, Gordon's, Gilbey's and Broker's. I think that Broker's Gin is easily my favorite gin for this drink with Beefeater a solid second. I think it's the prominence of the citrus notes in the Broker's that I like. The Gordon's and Gilbey's-based Aviations were quite drinkable but not memorable. I mixed up the Broker's Aviation a few weeks ago after my Broker's Martini was a modest but drinkable failure (2.5 : .5, IIRC). The Aviation was so good that it was the only cocktail shaken the following weekend. With Broker's it's one of my favorites, maybe a notch or two below the Pegu Club but roughly equal to a Calvados Sidecar. I use David Wondrich's measurements: 2 oz London dry gin 1/3 oz (2 tsp) maraschino liqueur 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice (strained, if possible) David prefers his ungarnished but I usually forget that until after I've already dropped in a cherry. A lemon twist would be especially welcome, I think, if one prefers the Aviation recipes that call for less lemon juice. I use Luxardo Maraschino because that's what I've got. I haven't tried Maraska yet. If anyone has made a wholly successful Martini with Broker's I'd be very interested in your ratio. I may just stick with Plymouth as my Martini gin but I'm willing to take another shot or two with Broker's now that the price of Plymouth has gone up in Chicago. Kurt
  11. We're doing a hot link (and maybe rib-tip) taste-off tonight between two South Side Chicago bbq institutions, Lem's and Barbara Ann's. I've had Lem's link and it may be the finest sausage I've ever had--spicy, meaty and covered in a great sauce. Some folks say that Barbara Ann's hot link is even better. That's hard for me to believe but if there's an argument it must be no less than a fine sausage so we're putting 'em head-to-head. Anyhoo, we're doing cocktails too, maybe with, maybe after. Beer's an obvious and fine companion to bbq and my usual choice but I'm thinking that maybe some of you have found certain cocktails match up with bbq just as well. I assume anything with a strong citrus base should be good--maybe something simple like a margarita or daiquiri--but if there's a cocktail or mixed drink you'd like to recommend I'm all ears. Hey, how 'bout Caipirinhas? I like 'em but have never had one alongside bbq. That might be just the ticket. Thoughts? Thanks. Kurt
  12. I'm told the Fee Bros. Peach Bitters is expected at Sam's soon, perhaps as soon as tomorrow but possibly next week. I'll post again when I know for sure. Some of you may be interested to know that I asked about Gary Regan's bitters and suggested that Sam's look into carrying those too. Dunno what will happen on that score but my contact at Sam's said he'd get in touch with his Buffalo Trace rep. Kurt
  13. I've been playing around with it for the last little bit... I -really- wanted to like this stuff, since I've been a fan of Starbucks for a long time... but I don't. By itself, it has a nice and assertive coffee flavor, which should be expected, but I feel that it just overpowers any drink you try making with it. I recently wrote about this on my enimic blog . ← Robert, Did you do a head-to-head tasting with Starbucks and Kahlua or any other coffee liqueurs? I don't drink much coffee liqueur except for the occasional Black Russian or a couple fingers worth on ice so I'm not too concerned with the cocktail possibilities of the new Starbucks liqueur. I'm mostly curious as to the price point vs. quality. Heck, I don't even buy Kahlua. I'm perfectly content with Sabroso at less than half the price of Kahlua. I find it hard to believe the ubiquity of Starbucks is going to prompt sufficient sales that people will spend the extra $5+ for Starbucks over Kahlua. Thanks. Kurt
  14. I hate to be contrary but I think you should reconsider the blue Pegu Club. I think you are doing an exceptionally fine cocktail a disservice by subbing blue curacao for the Cointreau or Marie Brizard Triple Sec it deserves. I feel confident stating that there isn't a blue curacao made that's worthy of replacing either. Besides with the Angostura bitters the drink is pink as is. Some might argue that a brandy or cognac-based curacao should be used in a proper Pegu Club but, as blue curacao is not one of those, I'm assuming you make yours with a triple sec of some sort. Which, I suppose, might well mean that you are perfectly happy with using a lower-proof, sweeter triple sec. Which would then mean that I should just keep my big mouth shut.... If you do happen to reconsider the blue Pegu Club I guess I better help out with a substitute blue drink without gin. Well, a friend makes what he calls a Blue Martini. It's not well-named but it might work pretty well for you. It's essentially a strong Greyhound served up and with a dash of blue Curacao for color and a little sweetness. Two parts vodka, one part grapefruit juice, blue curacao to color and taste. Be sure to get a white grapefruit (or grapefruit juice if you aren't squeezing fresh). There are also dozens of other "blue" cocktails at CocktailDB.com. Most seem only to have "blue" in the name but others use blue curacao or creme yvette as the coloring agent. I don't believe I've ever seen a bottle of creme yvette let alone tasted it so I can't vouch for any of those cocktails. The Blue Hawaii looks tasty. It calls for a rocks glass but I can't imagine that it wouldn't work just as nicely served up Best of luck with the party. Kurt
  15. Just placed a special order with Sam's Wine & Spirits. My intention here is not to post a commercial but I will say that Sam's was very quick to respond and as helpful as the arcane rules of liquor distribution would allow. Initially they were hesitant to order one of the items I was looking for, Fee Bros. Peach Bitters, because they'd have to order a case of 12 bottles from the Fee Bros. distributor. They offered to buy a case if I'd take the whole thing but I can't even imagine how long it might take to go through 12 bottles of any style of bitters let alone peach so I passed. Then I decided to play the internet bulletin board card and they relented. I pointed out how much stuff I'd purchased from them based on discussions, recommendations and recipes I'd read at places like eGullet and DrinkBoy and I said I'd mention that peach bitters could be had at Sam's for any Chicagoans interested in picking up a bottle. When I put it that way they decided to take a chance on 11 bottles of peach bitters getting dusty. So, if you've seen JAZ's adaptation of Harrington's version of the Beachcomber (in a thread called The Aviation) or if you've been wanting to try a Velvet Daquiri with a couple dashes of peach bitters--which, come to think, may also be Janet's idea--or any other cocktail or food recipe you think might benefit from a dash of peach bitters, well, you should be able to pick up a bottle of Fee Bros. Peach Bitters at Sam's on Marcey in Chi sometime next week. If you'd like a hedzup post here or send me a PM. They're going to let me know when my special order and the bitters show up. No affiliation with Sam's except as a customer, yadda yadda yadda. Kurt
  16. kvltrede


    Anybody tried La Bojita Italia Pisco? I've seen it locally and I'm tempted. Here's the Wine Enthusiast review from 2002: CLASSIC: La Bojita Italia Pisco (Peru; CVI Brands, San Carlos, CA); 41.5% abv, $17. The initial nosing passes detect an array of aromas, from vegetable oil to cotton candy, to popcorn to grape pomace, to aniseed; time in the glass brings out biscuity, seed-like aromas like caraway seed and allspice. Palate entry is juicy, fruity and nothing short of luscious; midpalate is even more enjoyable as the creamy, grapy, and beautifully balanced flavor wraps around the tongue. Finish is lush, full-bodied, viscous and remarkably fresh and vibrant. Easily the finest pisco I've ever evaluated. Best Buy. Scroll down the linked page to see reviews of two other La Bojita Piscos, one "superb" and one "acceptable". If I weren't still working my way through a huge backlog of cocktail recipes (and revisiting favorites) I might already have a bottle. At $16 I imagine it won't take much more activity in this thread to get pisco on my next shopping list. Kurt
  17. How funny. I just contacted Sam's Wine & Spirits about Torani Amer and three other items they don't carry. I'd expect that any business would do all it can to have it's products available in a market the size of Chicago but apparently it isn't that simple. No Torani Amer or Stock Triple Sec for me. I'm hoping the news is better as regards Fee Bros. Peach Bitters. I can get the orange and old fashion bitters so I'd expect the peach won't be a problem. Then again, I can find plenty of Stock products in town but not the triple sec. Go figure. Anyhoo, I'm happy to report that I can get the 80 proof Van Gogh Superieur Triple Sec that Gary Regan has recommend as a decent sub for Cointreau. As I couldn't possibly hold Gary in higher regard I imagine it's going to become a staple at my house. I've been very happy with the Marie Brizard Triple Sec as a sub for Cointreau but the Van Gogh is ten bucks less than the MB. If I can get anywhere near Cointreau's quality at $10.99 a bottle I'll be thrilled. [Note: Van Gogh also makes a 30 proof triple sec]. Kurt
  18. Did you give Edward Don a call? Unless the one I saw there on Sunday has been snapped up perhaps your son can swing by and pick it up. Edward Don Outlet Store 2525 North Elston Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 489-7739 Kurt
  19. ...The cherries were very tasty but I'm not sure they'll work in cocktails unless the dried cherries used are in substantially more complete condition than those I used. Some of the cherries plumped up nicely while the more mangled bits of cherry ended up as nicely plumped up mangled bits of cherry. I'm not sure that separating the whole from mangled is worth the effort...I can tell you that they made an exceptionally fine addition to vanilla yogurt as is... Hmm. I pulled the yogurt container out of the fridge last night and found a very pleasant surprise. The cherries I had added the night before were now at least twice the size they were when I added them. They had roughly doubled in size after being cooked the night before but now they're just about original size, about four times the size they were when dry. I don't know whether this is due to the additional time or additional moisture provided by the yogurt but it suggests to me that this recipe can indeed provide a tastier cherry for cocktails. Once the cherries are this big it shouldn't be any trouble at all picking the whole cherries from the mangled. I'll make another batch fairly soon and I'll be sure to report back. If there's anyone here with more experience reconstituting dried fruit I'd be very interested to hear from you. I assume that I'll have the same results leaving the cherries to soak in the syrup and bourbon as I did leaving them overnight in yogurt. I don't see why not. Well, I guess I'll know as soon as I have a few minutes to cook up another batch. Oh, can anyone tell me how long a jar of these cherries might keep in the fridge if they're soaking in hooch? Kurt
  20. I made a 1/3-sized version of this recipe last night. The cherries were very tasty but I'm not sure they'll work in cocktails unless the dried cherries used are in substantially more complete condition than those I used. Some of the cherries plumped up nicely while the more mangled bits of cherry ended up as nicely plumped up mangled bits of cherry. I'm not sure that separating the whole from mangled is worth the effort. I used dried tart cherries I found at Stanley's on Elston in Chicago. If any Chicagoans know where I might find slightly larger cherries that are less susceptible to falling to pieces while drying--and thus more likely to look like whole cherries when "plumped"--I would be grateful I substituted 1/8 tsp of vanilla extract for the vanilla bean. I just guessed at the amount and it turned out well. The vanilla flavor was clear but not overwhelming. I did not substitute liquor for any of the water called for and didn't find the cherries lacking anything. Also, I didn't have any clean jars available so I can't tell you if "curing" the cherries at room temp improves the flavor. I can tell you that they made an exceptionally fine addition to vanilla yogurt as is. I might reduce the amount of sugar next time. For my tastes they were just passed the point of optimal sweetness. I do think, though, that the amount of sugar called for would please a sizable majority of folks. I think the next batch will go into a jar with some brandy or bourbon whether I try to use them for cocktails or not. Kurt
  21. If your son comes up empty at the TJ Maxx downtown I came across another one today Edward Don. Edward Don Outlet is a restaurant supply store on Elston a little Northwest of downtown. ED had a single solitary AMCO mushroom and it was $13. I find it very odd that I've now seen these in two places within a week. I remembered this thread from the holidays and how far some folks had gone in trying to track them down. I hope at least a handful of Chicago EGers have the opportunity to pick one up. Kurt
  22. The TJ Maxx on State Street in downtown Chicago had about a half-dozen of the AMCO steel garlic smashers early last week. They were $9. Kurt
  23. I came across this recipe while surfing today. I'd say it sounds like a fine idea for reconstitiuting any number of dried fruits that could be used as cocktail garnishes. I assume vermouth would be an acceptable (or better) substitute for wine but I've never done anything like this. Anyone? How about hard liquor? Can brandy or bourbon be substituted straight up for wine or is there a standard ratio? Kurt Essential Plumped Dried Fruit c 2005 by Sally Schneider. All rights reserved. http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/recip...riedfruit.shtml
  24. So, am I correct in reading this as 6 ounces of Gin, 2 ounces of vodka, and one ounce of Lillet?....Erik Dunno, Erik, but I doubt it. Then again, I'm not enough of a cocktail historian to know whether "measure" had a specific definition in the early '50's. Nor do I know if there were "deep champagne goblets" back then that could hold the nearly ten ounces of liquor and water your reading would require. My assumption is that a "measure" for Bond was a one ounce shot and that's how I make them. With melted ice that adds up to 5+ oz cocktail--quite large back then, I think, and still a smidge on the big side today. If Bond meant a 1.5 oz jigger, that's a 7+ oz cocktail--not ten ounces but, boy oh boy, still a huge cocktail. I don't imagine it would stay sufficiently cold though so I'll stick with my assumption. I think Bond was enough of a cocktail connoisseur that he'd have divided that much booze into two drinks that would stay ice-cold all the way through. Kurt
  25. Sam's got it right. The Vesper appears only in Casino Royale. I'd describe Vesper Lynd as "beautiful and tragic" rather than "hot" but that's just quibbling. IIRC Bond compares Lynd to Garbo when he first meets her. So anyone looking to attach a visual image to this cocktail need only think of Garbo. It's interesting to note that the Vesper wasn't called the Vesper when Bond ordered it. He ponders naming his cocktail the Vesper later in the book. When she betrays him at the end he apparently "loses" the recipe. There's an interview with Dale DeGroff at NPR some of you may want to dial up. It's mostly about the new Museum of the American Cocktail but "among other tidbits, DeGroff reveals the real recipe behind James Bond's famous martini preference....". Dale simply states the recipe cited in the Casino Royale excerpt Sam posted but notes that Ian Fleming asked the bartender at his (that is, Fleming's) club for assistance with creating the recipe. NPR interview with Dale DeGroff. Find absolutely any and everything you might want to know about James Bond's taste in booze here. Oh, and I think the Vesper is a very fine cocktail. It's a nice change of pace from a Martini. If you're in the mood for something like a Martini but not exactly a Martini a Vesper will hit the spot. Don't forget that Bond's preference is to use a grain-based vodka though... Kurt
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