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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Posts posted by TAPrice

  1. So sad to hear about this. Steven was one of those people who, even though we never met, I felt that I knew well. His passion and curiosity were always breathtaking to behold. 

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  2. Any recommendations for a high-quailty raspberry syrup that can be purchased online?

    I've tried to order Small Hand Foods' raspberry syrup, but it seems to be out of stock everywhere. Are there other good options?

    As often as raspberry syrup comes up in old cocktail recipes, I'm surprised that there isn't more of it on the market.

  3. I was sorry to see this sign of the times:

    "Times-Picayune to cut paper to 3 days a week"

    The Times-Picayune, one of the nation's oldest newspapers, will no longer offer print editions seven days a week and instead plans to offer three printed issues a week starting in the fall. The change means New Orleans would become the largest metro area in the nation without a daily newspaper in the digital age.

    They'll still exist daily on Nola.com, but it's not quite the same.

    In case you hadn't heard, Brett Anderson--along with half the paper's newsroom--was fired yesterday. Sad day.

  4. An ingredient index would have been a nice addition. Of course that is the case with most cocktail books, at least to me.

    You can use Amazon's "Search Inside the Book" feature to look for specific ingredients. There appears to be a glitch, where Amazon doesn't always pull up the right pages. But each search provide a list of page numbers on the left-hand column, so you can look up the recipes in the physical book.

    At the moment, I'm working through some of the recipes that require Dubonnet, since I picked up a bottle last week. The PDT Opera cocktail is quite nice. I've never much liked this drink before, since I don't think the standard combo of Dubonnet and maraschino works well together. In PDT, they substitute Mandarin Napoleon for the maraschino, which they say is close to the original "creme de mandarine."

    In general, I've liked (or loved) every drink I've tried from the PDT book. A few have been too hot for me, but otherwise no complaints. I'm particularly impressed with how great some of the PDT takes on the classics are. I've always enjoyed Rusty Nails, for example, as a bit of a guilty pleasure. But the PDT version (2 oz Famous Grouse and .75 Drambuie) is good enough that I wouldn't be embarrassed to serve it to friends.

  5. My impression, backed with no hard data, is that it depends. Today a pint of strawberries was down to $2 a pint. Pretty sure that beats the grocery store. Meat and chicken is way more at the market. Local shrimp is probably a wash at roughly $6/lb.

    I'll keep track the next few weeks and try to get some hard numbers.

    Estabrook says the best deals at the farmers market can be found on organic produce. Do your market have much organic produce? Mine doesn't.

    Perhaps that price difference says more about how corporate chains realize they can charge on organics.

  6. I got a chance to taste two whiskies from the "Holy Grail" project (as they call) at special tasting last summer at Tales. Presumably these were whiskies that are included single oak project, but I'm not certain of that. In this case, the only difference was in the spacing of the wood rings in the oak used to make the barrel. The taste was dramatically different. (Unfortunately, I can't find my notebook from that tasting).

    One funny note from that presentation: they did one experiment with all organic ingredients. They wanted to release it as certified organic in the Experimental series, but initially the government was requiring that they prove the oak used in the barrel had been raised organically. They were appealing that decision, but I'm not sure how it finally came out.

    Here is a brief item I did for our daily paper, the Times Picayune, on the series. If I can find the notes from my interview with Harlen Wheatley, then I'll post more details:

    The Buffalo Trace distillery has set itself a modest goal: to create the perfect bourbon. They want to release a whiskey that gets a perfect 100 score from every top spirit reviewer. And they’re not depending on luck or chance.

    The distillery, owned by New Orleans’ Sazerac Company, launched the “Holy Grail” project in 1994. Since then, they’ve been systematically testing and cataloging every element of whiskey making: the grains, the wood used in barrels and even the atmosphere of the aging warehouses.

    “There is not a lot out there,” said Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace’s master distiller, “to learn why things do what they do. Really there aren’t even a lot of books on making bourbon. The only way you’re going to learn is in-house.”

    The first results were released to the public in 2006 as part of the Buffalo Trace’s first Experimental Collection, half bottles of whiskey with copious notes on the label about why that particularly batch is unique. Currently, the distillery has about 300 experiments in the warehouse, which adds up to 1,400 barrels. Each experiment costs Buffalo Trace on average $10,000, and not all the results are good enough to sell.

    Buffalo Trace compares the project to an auto manufacturer creating Formula One race cars. What they learn can be incorporated into the distillery’s other bourbons.

    “On our main recipes,” said Wheatley, “we haven’t changed them, but we know why we don’t change them.”

    Wheatley thinks no other distillery would undertake such an extensive and expensive project. Unlike most liquor companies, Buffalo Trace doesn’t have to justify its expenditures to stockholders. They only answer to Sazerac Company’s Bill Goldring, and he thinks the experiments are worth the money.

    On Thursday, November 11, from 6:00–7:30 sample one of the experimental whiskeys as well as unaged White Dog Mash #1 and regular Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare bourbons at the Bourbon House (144 Bourbon St.). Appetizers will be served. Tickets to the tasting are $30. For reservations call 504.274.1829 or email nobs@bourbonhouse.com.

  7. Apparently there were issues with the sound in the room as well. They're working on improving the audio and posting an archived version of Gaz's talk.

    In the near future, I was told today, they'll have most of the previous talks posted and gathered in one spot. For the moment, you catch Eben Freeman's April presentation on using ratios in cocktails here. He also goes off a bit at the end on brand ambassadors who aren't serious enough about the craft of cocktails.

  8. The first Monday of the month, the Museum of the American of the American Cocktail in New Orleans hosts a lecture series that brings in bartenders from around the world. Past presenters include Dale DeGroff, Dave Wondrich and Eben Freeman.

    Most months the talks are broadcast live on NOLA.com, the affiliated website of the Times Picayune. At the moment, the video is not archived, but they hope to add that feature in the future.

    Tonight at 7 p.m. you can hear Gary Regan's talk on the "Best Bartenders I've Ever Know."

    I'll try to post reminders about these broadcasts in the future.

  9. Proportions are 1.5 gin (plymouth works well)

    1 lillet

    .75 suze

    Has anyone had much luck making a White Negorni? After hearing about this, I made one like a Negroni with equal parts gin, Lillet (I subbed in Cocchi Americano) and Suze. Not bad, but the Suze is too dominant.

    I tried the recipe above, and it's really out of whack to my taste. The botanicals in the gin (I tried with both Tanquery and Plymouth) are far too dominant. Another element (perhaps the Suze) seems to be making the gin botanticals stronger than they would be on their own.

  10. Planned to make a Jack Rose with these measures:

    1.25 Bonded Apple brandy
    .75 lemon juice
    .5 simple syrup
    .25 grenadine

    I had everything in the mixing glass except grenadine, but when I reached into my frig I found mold floating in my homemade batch. I admit that I consider forging ahead with the drink. After all, I was making it for myself. In the end, I substituted Hum for the grenadine (they're both red--I'm so sophisticated). You know, I probably like this drink better than the Jack Rose. Dry, tart and lots of complexity from the Hum. This mistake might be a keeper.

    [Moderator note: This topic continues in Drinks! (2011–2012)]

  11. The old Lemon Hart 151 is back for a limited time and only in eight states. Mr. "Ministry of Rum" Ed Hamilton is distributing the last of 481 cases of Pernod Ricard stock.

    I've heard reports that bars are snapping this up, so not sure how easy it will be to find at stores. I worked out a deal with the local distributor, who sent a bottle over to my grocery store liquor department.

    As Wayne Curtis details on his blog Slow Cocktails, once the Pernod Ricard stock is sold out Hamilton will be distributing Lemon Hart 151 with a new label and a different rum inside. The distiller claims the recipe is better than the original. Perhaps I'll regret snapping up one of these old bottles, but I least I now have one on my liquor shelf.

  12. The oldest labels (scans) for Herbsaint I have seen boast 120 proof, and when I discovered that the "original" being released was only going to be 100 proof, I became skeptical to a degree that has since been borne out by tasting the stuff. I hate to say this but the "original" Herbsaint is a strong contender for dullest pastis on the market, particularly given the price. I presume the lower proof was done so as to make it more accessable to those intimidated by the high proof of real absinthe, but it failed in a big way to live up to the reputation of the old stuff, of which one Absinthe afficionado said in the old pre-Lucid days, that if he could be guaranteed a steady supply of 1930's Herbsaint, he wouldn't particularly care if real absinthe ever became legal again or not.

    That said I use 90 proof Herbsaint in tiki drinks. And in cooking--mmm.

    Herbsaint was introduced in 1934. As early as 1937, Legendre was producing both a 100 and 120 proof version. I can't remember the exact dates, but I seem to recall that the 120 proof version was phased out quite early in its history.

    As for why Sazerac Company, which bought Herbsaint from Legendre ages ago and also owns Buffalo Trace, produced the 100 proof version, a representative said the lower proof fit the philosophy of the company. I didn't fully understand the explanation, particularly given that Buffalo Trace has put out whiskeys as powerful as 141 proof.

    Jay Hendricks, the Houston-based Herbsaint collector, provided Sazerac with unopened vintage bottles to check against the new version. He and the distillers both thought the recreation was an exact match for the 100 proof version. Maybe the 120 version was something else entirely?

  13. That got me wondering what other drinks are lessened by using "the real thing." Yes, I realize that Herbsaint was, for the tiki gods, the only game in town and are thus as real as it gets. But you get my point: in what drinks do absinthe substitutes, faux triple sec, and other not-quites make the libation?

    Which "Herbsaint" do you mean? The 90 proof version made with extracts that until recently was the only version available? That formula wasn't introduced until the 1970s.

    The tiki gods were using something closer to the 100 proof Herbsaint Original that was introduced by the Sazerac Company recently.

  14. As an iPod Touch user (read: addict), my go-to app is Cocktails+ (based on CocktailDB) - the quality of the recipes, searchability, favorites, and glossary functions are particularly useful to me. I've also downloaded Tiki+, which is by the same author/software team, but focuses instead on tiki drinks from Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. I haven't used it as much as Cocktails+ since I'm just not much of a tiki guy.

    I can't find either of these apps in the iTunes store. Have they been removed from sale?

    Any recently released apps that people have been using?

  15. Had some madeira left over from the prunes stuffed with blue cheese that I made for an Oscar's party. Thought I would try a Manhattan variation.

    Used a basic 2:1 ratio with Rittenhouse, added 3 dashes of Angostura, stirred, strained and added a lemon twist. Sadly, not good. Don't think the madeira is sweet or thick enough. And something isn't playing nice. Too much sharp, bitterness without a sweet base to balance it all. Oh well, at least the stuffed prunes were good.

    Any other ideas for mixing with madeira (not that I'm opposed to just drinking it straight).

  16. Late to the party here, but see below for some quick notes. No time to look up addresses, but I provided the neighborhoods:

    Cure (Uptown)

    Agree with everyone above who says it's the best. The depth of talent is amazing (including Rogue, now Beta, Cocktail author Kirk Estopinal), everyone is trained, the inventory of bottles is larger and better chosen than anywhere else. Food is also good and the building, a converted fire station from the days when the trucks were pulled by horses, is stunning.

    Neil Bodenheimer, the owner and an excellent bartender himself, worked for Danny Meyer and B R Guest in New York, and the management skills he learned there show. Agree with the caveat by syoung68: avoid on Fridays and Saturdays. It's become a fashionable place, and lots of people who don't know any better are drinking there.

    The rest in alphabetical order (I'm surely leaving out some good spots):

    Arnaud's French 75 (French Quarter)

    Chris Hannah is the barman you want here. One of the three or four best mixologists in the city. Very baroque. He's working on a series that honors the Muses (both gods and streets in New Orleans), and for each relatively sweet Muses cocktail he has a bitter variation that plays on the same ingredients.

    Hannah is also a bartender in the old fashioned sense and takes his role as host seriously.

    Bar Tonique (French Quarter)

    Back side of the French Quarter. Haven't been in a while, but the drinks were good last time. The owner, Ed Diaz, is serious about the cocktail program. I see him at all the US Bartender Guild meetings. From the beginning, he has made his own tonic. He's also played around things like aged Manhattans.

    Bar UnCommon

    This is Chris McMillian's bar. He is, as most know, a consummate barman in the old school style. Certainly worth spending time with him, although this place is less appealing for the cocktail crowd when he's not there.

    Bombay Club

    Cheryl Charming (aka Ms. Charming) is in the process of revamping the cocktail menu here. Haven't seen it yet, and I'm not sure if it's fully rolled out, but she told me it will be a full history of cocktails from the 19th c. to the present. She also works behind the bar Wednesdays and Thursdays.

    Bouligny Tavern (Garden District)

    This is a next door offshoot of Lilette, a modern French bistro that's one of my favorite restaurants. The drinks at Lilette, though, have also been weak chef cocktails. You know what I mean? Ingredients thrown together by someone with no grounding in mixing drinks.

    Only been to Bouligny once, but everything on the cocktail list are respectable and not overdone classics (Boulevardier, Aperol Spritzer, Blood and Sand). I had the Dragon Milk Punch, which was arrack, coconut milk, lime and herbs. Well made. Not sure who's the bartender and I'm not sure I would venture beyond the menu. The room is gorgeous. It's also a scene, although perhaps too much of a scene. Food's good too.

    Carousel Bar (French Quarter)

    Classic hotel bar. Marvin Allen is the manager and main bartender. He's solid and a great personality. Don't expect revelations, but a good for stop for the classics.

    Domenica (CBD)

    A John Besh Italian restaurant in same historic hotel as the Sazerac. Michael Glassberg is head bartender here and he's good. They also make a wide selection of homemade liqueurs, including many savory ones. I'm fond of the fennel liqueur, but Wayne Curtis once said the 100 herb liqueur changed his life (or something to that effect--we were drinking).

    Dominique's (Uptown)

    Kim Patton-Bragg is behind the stick at this restaurant. She came out of Blue Smoke in New York and makes very food friendly cocktails. Particularly good at champagne drinks. The restaurant is lovely and food worth trying (French with tropical influence). Sit at the bar for some apps and hang with Kim.

    Loa (CBD)

    Been meaning this month to follow up on some details about this place. Cool spot. Very hip decor. Rhiannon Enlil is a manager and bartender here. She's also one of my favorite bartenders at Cure. Talented mixologist, charming and a serious student of drinks. She can often be found on her off days researching in the historic archives, and Tales just gave her a grant to create an online timeline of the cocktail.

    As far as I know, Alan Walter is also here full time now (need to check on that). Alan first got notice at restaurant Iris. His drinks are brilliant, and I don't say that lightly. He has, I would say, a California approach with lots of infused syrups and odd ingredients. His palate, however, appeals more to the brown bitter and stirred fan. His drinks are precise and have amazing depth.

    Roosevelt Hotel Bar (CBD)

    A cool, divey spot with great, upscale bar food. At a recent media dinner, I sampled way too many of the drinks. Mainly long drinks, but well made and tasty (for example, and Jack and Ginger riff with JD and Canton ginger liqueur). Again, not sure I would stray too far beyond the list here.

    And it has no connection to the Roosevelt Hotel next door (long story).

    Sazerac (CBD)

    Amazingly restored art deco bar inside the Roosevelt Hotel. I'm in a rut here and always order the Sazerac, which is done well. Everyone seems well trained and there are some serious bartenders on staff. I should get back here and try some other drinks.

    Swizzle Stick (CBD)

    This was one of the first bars to take classic cocktails seriously. Other places might have eclipsed it in recent years, but the drinks are always reliable and it's one of my favorite hotel bars for the atmosphere.

    Twelve Mile Limit (Mid-City)

    Great place. Truly a dive, but with excellent cocktails. Cole Newton, the bartender and owner, started at the Garden District bistro Coquette. His drinks have really bright, well balanced flavors. At 12 Mile, they run $6-$7. The kitchen also does more than decent barbecue. Far from the tourist zones.

    Also had an interesting cocktail recently at the restaurant Green Goddess, which I highly recommend for the food. It's tiny, though, and I don't think they would appreciate someone taking a chair and not eating, although I'm sure they'd be nice about it.

  17. "Speakeasy," the new cocktail book from Employee's Only, has an excellent cocktail that includes Galliano.


    • 1.25 oz Fernet Branca
    • 1.75 oz Cinzano Bianco vermouth
    • .75 Galliano
    • mint spring

    Stir, strain and garnish with slapped mint leaf.

    I'm out of bianco vermouth at the moment, so I substituted Cocchi Americano. Great drink. Has all the herbal notes of Fernet but tamed and elegant. It's like someone took a bruiser with a broken nose and dressed him up with a sharp tie and an Armani suit.

    I basically bought the Galliano to make this drink, and I don't regret the purchase.

  18. On the first season of Treme, one of the main characters was chef with a small Uptown restaurant. The real chef Susan Spicer (Bayona, Mondo) served as the consultant.

    Season two won't start until April, but it leaked out a few weeks ago that Alan Richman, who infamously wrote a post-Katrina takedown of the New Orleans dining scene, will play himself in an upcoming episode.

    Today, the TV writer for the New Orleans Times Picayune reported that none other than Tony Bourdain wrote Richman's scenes:

    Today in 'Treme': Anthony Bourdain is writing restaurant scenes for season two

    Bourdain is working as a script consultant this season.

  19. From what I can gather from presentations I've attended and conversations I've had with the folks from Buffalo Trace, they're a bit mystified as well. My sense is they originally released it so a few, curious connoisseurs could taste of white whiskey. And then it sold more than they expected.

    You can hardly blame the distilleries for making this stuff. Must be incredibly cheap to produce, since you forgo the barrel and warehousing costs.

    I've only tasted a few and don't own a bottle, so I haven't tried to mix the stuff. I wonder, though, if you could treat it a bit like a rum agricole? Maybe you could make a 'Ti Punch substituting lemon for lime and Steen's Cane Syrup for regular cane syrup? Just a thought.

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