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The Hersch

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  1. Wikipedia, of course, has an article HERE. The half-smoke (which I don't find particularly appealing--I'd rather have a really good natural-casing hot dog) is distinguished from the hot dog by its greater girth and its more coarsely ground meat. It is, in essence, a fat, coarse hot dog, and a dubious recommendation for the city of Washington.
  2. Please don't go to that horrible place. When I say "horrible", I mean "unspeakably horrible".
  3. A bigger difference than the gin, I think, is the brandy-based orange liqueur instead of Cointreau. Peach bitters aside, I think this drink is miles better with Cointreau.
  4. I've just been sipping a modified Pegu Club that I love. It's a 4:2:1 ratio of gin:Cointreau:lime juice, the gin being some private label stuff that's similar to Beefeater. Angostura bitters, Regan's orange bitters. Then on a whim, I threw in a dash of Fee Bros. peach bitters. I have to tell you, that took it into a whole nother dimension. Just lovely.
  5. DC has its own full-blown set of liquor-related (and everything-else-related) statutes. As Article I of the US Constitution gives Congress exclusive legislative authority over the federal district, in a sense all DC laws are federal laws, and we don't get a vote. In practice, most enactments of our City Council are unmolested by Congress, other than the city budget, which has to be passed by Congress as an appropriations bill and gets fiddled with by grandstanding and pandering Congresscritters to score points back home.
  6. As far as what an ABC store in NC stocks is concerned, it's at the county level, so I wouldn't expect another Wake County store to have a better selection of kirsch. As I posted somewhere, I recently fled Wilson County back to DC, but down there I had to go to Wake County to get Campari. Washington DC is liquor-and-wine-store heaven, on the other hand. We actually have some of the most untrammeled commerce in the country when it comes to alcohol. For example, if a retailer wants to sell a particular wine from Spain, say, and no importer/distributor carries it, the retailer can import it directly. There's also a lot of competition in retail sale of spirits, so prices are low.
  7. I fled North Carolina more than a year ago, but when I was still there the Whole Foods Market in Raleigh had Vya sometimes. As to mail order, I had no trouble at all getting spirituous liquors shipped from Raeder's in New York. Was that against the law? If so, I'm glad that I didn't know it at the time. I was actually kind of surprised that I was able to do it, what with the state monopoly on spirits. But I placed the order, and the booze arrived in due course. I chose Raeder's because they carry Luxardo maraschino, which I was particularly looking for. They have a pretty good selection of stuff, and fairly good prices, although with liquor the shipping is always going to be expensive because of the weight. For bitters, Surfas carries the whole range of Fee Brothers products. Buffalo Trace carries Regan's and Peychaud's. But where can one find The Bitter Truth products? (Actually, I'm planning to be in Munich in December, so I can probably find them there, but that's December and this is June.) Finally, on the subject of Punt e Mes, I'm not sure what this means, if anything, but the name "Carpano" no longer appears on the label. Raeder's carries it (although the picture of the bottle on their website still shows the Carpano name).
  8. Pearson's has it in Washington DC. I haven't seen it anywhere else in town, but haven't really been looking.
  9. No idea about Vermont, but back in 1974 in Washington DC there was certainly a similar law. I don't remember exactly when it was changed, but it was illegal to have a drink in your hand in a bar or restaurant if you were standing up. So you had to be seated at a table or on a bar stool, and you couldn't move from one to the other or from one table to another. If you did, the establishment could be shut down. I think this was changed by 1976, but I'm not sure. I imagine it had been in place since Prohibition repeal.
  10. Nope, not really. Michael Landrum has apparently made a gallant effort to put together a good and affordable wine program at his new Ray's the Classics restaurant in Silver Spring (I haven't been). But in general the ambitious restaurants are all in Washington and Virginia. I think it's not only Montgomery County's limited catalog and high prices, but also their business practices that scare restaurateurs away. There's a discussion here. For those who may not know, the contributor with a lot to say named Mark Slater is the renowned sommelier at Michel Richard Citronelle, probably Washington's best restaurant (and best wine program).
  11. Oh, I completely agree. The state (plus one county) monopolies totally suck. I was...er...stuck in North Carolina for a couple of years, and they have the whole ABC store thing, with infuriatingly narrow selections and sky-high prices. If I wanted a bottle of Johnny Walker red, it cost as much as Johnny Walker black does here in Washington DC. As mentioned upthread, you're limited to what's on the meager state list, but it's actually even worse than that. The stores are run by the counties, and different stocking decisions are made by different county bureaucrats. Campari, for example, is on the state list, but not carried in Wilson County, where I was stuck. I had to go to Raleigh, in Wake County, to get it. Luckily, I was able to make it up to my home in Washington fairly often, so I'd stock up on things and smuggle them into North Carolina.
  12. Regarding the Lapin Agile: ultimately just too sweet for my taste. But here's a cocktail made with Aperol that I've been playing with. (It seems like a pretty obvious combination, so maybe this already exists as a canonical cocktail. Surprisingly, a search for ingredient Aperol gets no hits on cocktaildb.) I haven't given it a name.2 oz gin 1 oz lemon juice 1 oz Cointreau 1/2 oz Aperol 2 dashes Regan's orange bitters Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Now, I suppose you could cavil that my cocktail actually has more sweet stuff in it than the Lapin Agile, but the lemon juice balances it.
  13. According to this Wikipedia article, which I think is pretty accurate, there are 18 states plus Montgomery County MD that exercise a monopoly over the wholesaling and/or retailing of some or all categories of alcoholic beverages. Quite a few of the jurisdictions are not involved in retail sales at all. In peculiar Montgomery County MD, the state has a total monopoly over distilled spirits, selling them in its own stores, but limits itself to a wholesale monopoly on wine. One byproduct of the county wholesale wine monopoly is that there are essentially no fine-dining "destination" restaurants in the county, which contains some of the wealthiest suburbs of Washington DC. The Johnstown flood was in 1889. The flood that provoked the tax also affected Johnstown, but that 1936 disaster is known as the Pittsburgh Flood of 1936, according to this Wikipedia article.
  14. That sounds really good, and as it happens I have all of the ingredients in the drinks cupboard, but no oranges. (Well, I have Luxardo maraschino.) Do you suppose this is worth making with a substitution of lemon peel for orange, or should I just wait till I can get an orange?
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