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jbewley

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  1. jbewley

    All About Gin, Generally

    I'd say that I'd mostly have to agree. For instance, I think the Gordon's bottle is hideously ugly, but it has a strong flavor that I love, and I tend to drink it instead of lots of "better" gins in my cabinet (i.e. Plymouth, Tanqueray, etc). I've probably tried 90% of the mainstream medium-to-premium gins and I'd almost always prefer the taste of Gordons. A notable exception in my case was Hendricks. If Gordon's wasn't so darned cheap ($15/1.75L around here) and Hendricks wasn't so expensive, I'd drink it all the time. I tend to prefer stronger flavored gins that hold the juniper flavor up well after mixing. Besides, I tend to butcher perfectly good premium gins anyway. Don't ask about the time I discovered that mixing Tanqueray Ten and Cherry 7-up makes a passable (slightly white trash-ish) alcoholic version of a cherry limeade. I'd be interested to hear about other lower-priced gins I should take a look at. I've pretty much ignored Barton/Seagrams/Burnetts/etc mainly because..well, I don't know why, actually. - Jeff
  2. That's a great point. The more delicate the flavor, the harder it is to come through a cocktail. Obviously, at either extreme you end up with arguably bad results. The low end gives you crappy well cocktails, the high end costs you $120 for a sidecar. So I think the curve is about dead-on. The important part to me is identifying the right balance of suitability vs cost... much like obscenity, it's hard to define, but everybody knows it when they see it. Personally, the scale for me goes something like: Crappy Mixers -> Good Value Spirits -> Indulgent Spirits -> Big Money Spirits Which might map over to a "Montezuma->Hornitos->Herradura->Casa Noble" in the tequila world. Or "Old Crow->Evan Williams->Russells Reserve->Stagg" in the bourbon world. The list goes on, your mileage may vary. Oddly, I find that I end up with entirely different "sweet spots" for different cocktails. My preferences for a Paloma may be different than a Brave Bull or a Margarita. Obviously, occasion and cold, hard cash tend to dictate the right decision. A drink or two after work? Cocktail from the good value to indulgent area. Going to drink quite a bit with friends? Leans towards the cheaper "good value" categories. And if I get to one of those "just found out I won the lottery" kind of days, then maybe it's time for me to give the Paradis Sidecar a whirl. But I mostly agree with Splificator's choke-it-down rule. If I can't drink it straight, I can't mix it. If you have to sneak up on a beverage, you shouldn't be drinking it in the first place. Besides, there's generally not as huge of a price gap between "awful" and "pretty darned good" as people would have you believe. But I'm the guy that reaches past the Tanqueray to grab the bottle of Gordon's more often than not, so take me with a grain of salt. :)
  3. jbewley

    Bourbon and Milk

    While I definitely believe Bailey's and lemon juice would equal a curdled, disgusting mess, I have my doubts about bourbon and milk. There are actually quite a few "Hey, let's watch Bailey's curdle, then shoot it!" types of recipes. The Brain Hemmorage is another example (bailey's + peach schnapps + grenadine). Milk punches, typically with rum or other spirits mixed with milk and spices, were a fairly regular staple of American drinking through the 18th and 19th centuries. I've made milk punches with dark rums, and nothing curdled.. and I can't see why there's any difference with bourbon (i.e. additional impurities from oak barrel aging shouldn't affect the milk). Bourbon isn't a strange thing to put in eggnog. :) So yes, I believe the Cement Mixer exists (usually it's Bailey's irish cream + lime juice when I've seen it), but I think bourbon and milk would just get you a fairly simple milk punch. The weird part is that milk punches often taste much better than you expect. CocktailDB lists seven recipes containing milk and bourbon. Now using chocolate milk in cocktails. That might get you in trouble. Anyone for a chocolate milk and Scotch?
  4. I know. Whenever I go to Canada, I never quite get used to everyone ordering "coke and rye" or "rye and ginger", then watching the bartender pour CC or Crown into a glass. In my book, Old Grand Dad bourbon is more rye-ish than either of those. What's even stranger to me is the whole Canadian "It's illegal to serve a double in anything other than a double glass" thing that I've never quite understood. What frustrates me is the lack of a decent way to explain the difference to bartenders in under three minutes without just specifying brand ("I'll have an Overholt Manhattan".) If I say, "American Rye", I seem to get Seagrams 7. If I say "Rye", I get Canadian Club. If I say, "I'd like a by-God authentic, more than 51% rye-mashbill American Rye Whiskey", they ask me if I'm from Oklahoma, and I'm forced to admit, "Yes, I am." :) As to the original question, Seagrams VO seems to be a great Canadian for the buck. It really has some rye in it , and it's great as a mixer.. I actually like it better than the VO Gold. And if you're doing the whole rye and ginger / hiball thing, you owe it to yourself to try out some real American rye whiskey with ginger ale. Old Overholt is great as a mixer (avoid the Jim Beam Rye if you can find Overholt), and Wild Turkey Rye is incredible for the money. Overholt typically runs $8-12 a fifth in the US, with Wild Turkey Rye running $16-20ish.
  5. jbewley

    Hot Rum

    I've had good luck with using hot apple cider instead of hot water for hot rum drinks. With the right cider, it really hits the spot. I've done this with a number of off-the-shelf buttered rum / rum toddy recipes and had good luck. If you're *really* lazy, hot cider and a spiced rum tends to give you an instant poor-man's hot rum drink that's pretty darned good. Foursquare with a little Goslings black rum seems to work well for me.. the cider is sweet enough, you don't need anything that's *too* sweet (which lots of spiced rums seem to be). - Jeff
  6. Great! I'll have to find some, but I'm glad to know that it exists... :)
  7. Wow! I'll have to keep an eye out.. I'm glad to see that there's more rums bottled in miniature than just Bacardi and Captain Morgan's :)
  8. Lately I've been travelling quite a bit, and I can't quite reach my home liquor cabinet from across the country. I'm usually flying at least 3-4 days a week, so lugging around a half-full 750ml bottle of decent rum doesn't work that well. I usually toss a few miniatures in my bag before I leave, but here's my dilemma.. I can't find any mid-range to good rums in 50ml miniature form. I've found 50ml Bacardi white, and some spiced rums (Captain Morgans, etc), but I never run across miniatures of brands I like (i.e. Appleton V/X, Mount Gay Extra Old..heck, something like Brugal white would make my year). Does anyone know of higher-end rums that are available in miniature form? And if so, where you saw them (which state, at least)? I've tried a few online sources (such as internetwines.com) but aside from Admiral Nelson's spiced rum, it was a wash. If I can figure out where they're available, I'll stock up and be content for a while. I guess I could start refilling old 50ml George Dickel #12 bottles with Appleton V/X, but man, that seems like work. :)
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