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Everything posted by jmfangio

  1. At least there's gin: http://www.distillery209.com/gin/our-kosher-cousin/
  2. For the home consumer, I don't know of any other alternative in a high proof neutral spirit other than the Boyd & Blair 151 proof potato vodka, but it's (sit down before reading the rest of this sentence) $52.99 a bottle.
  3. Bentonite fining can work wonders on a cloudy product. It's dirt cheap (pardon the pun), and I've yet to experience any loss of flavor or color.
  4. That sounds very nice indeed. And, I should add, that label is absolutely beautiful!
  5. I'm working on a peach bitters recipe. First batch was pretty damn good, great in a Trident, but I'd like a little more depth and bitterness. Second batch will be ready in a couple of days, and for this one I upped the cinchona, and I'm planning to use caramelized sugar rather than simple syrup as a sweetener.
  6. It does. I believe one of the traditional methods of serving the Dolin Blanc is with a few sliced strawberries and soda water. Dolin makes an aperitif called Chamberyzette that includes a syrup made from Alpen strawberries. That sorbet sounds like just the ticket on a brutally hot day like today. Yum! I've heard of the Chamberyzette, but haven't had the opportunity to try it. However, a friend of mine is in France right now, in a town not far from Chambery, and I'm begging her to pick me up a bottle. The strawberries at the Hollywood Farmer's market are ridiculously good right now, so tomorrow I think I'll put up a batch of Tequila por Mi Amante and make the sorbet again.
  7. As a frequent "typo-grapher" myself, sometimes you just have to laugh.... Ha! I wish this was a candidate for Damn You Autocorrect!, but sadly it was my own lazy typing.
  8. I know this isn't quite what you're looking for, but I thought I'd share it here. Dolin Bland and strawberries are a match made in Heaven, and I've made an absolutely fantastic strawberry sorbet using Dolin Blanc as a base: 2 pints strawberries 1 cup Dolin Blanc 1 cup superfine sugar 2-3 tablespoons lime juice Throw everything into the blender, puree until smooth, chill, then process in your ice cream maker. It's that easy, and the best strawberry sorbet you'll ever have, and a lovely texture. If you don't have superfine sugar on hand, put the sugar into the blender first, and pulse a few times until it's reduced to a fine powder. Then add the rest of the ingredients and proceed as above.
  9. Anyone have any thoughts on Beefeater Wet? I understand that it's been discontinued, and local BevMo is unloading it for $9.99 per bottle.
  10. I'll second the recommendation for Hi-Time Wines. And, if you're in California, I'll also add KL Wines, and Beverage Warehouse. FYI, there was an Op-Ed article in the Los Angeles Times last week about how in many states it's easier to buy a gun online than a bottle of wine.
  11. Thanks KD and Chris for the heads up on the Variations on a Theme recipe. I just made one with the last of my Hayman's, and it's a fantastic drink. I did make one adjustment, though - instead of orange bitters, I used some homemade sour cherry bitters, and they worked beautifully. And now that I'm out of Hayman's, I have every excuse to pick up a bottle of Ransom's for comparison. You know, for science.
  12. Hi folks, The other day I got this email from a friend of mine who is the spirits buyer for a local chain: "I writing for an informal survey regarding unavailable products that you’d like to see in the states. I’ve got a supplier who’s got some money to spend on bring new unique brands from Europe in to the states and was wondering if there are any products that you’ve been coveting, but totally unable to get. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone who might like to add to the conversation. This might be a really good opportunity to get some of the small production spirits, aperitifs, liqueurs, etc. stateside. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated." Any ideas? I, of course, would love to see stuff like Plymouth Navy Strength or Green Dot Irish Whiskey, but that's not what he's looking for. Most of the stuff owned by the big companies is going to be off limits. Plymouth, Green Dot, bianco sorti, Amer Picon are all brands owned by big guys and they're likely not interested in letting anyone else import them. A couple of years ago, before the R&W Violette came on the market I would have suggested looking for a violet liqueur, but other than that I'm drawing a blank. I'd love to hear what the forum has to say.
  13. I can't comment on most of the list, and can't think of any glaring omissions, but as an Angeleno I do have to quibble with their choice of Cole's over Varnish. Yes, they make damn fine cocktails at Cole's, but their repertoire is a bit limited in comparison. Varnish is the first bar in LA that I've walked into where I feel comfortable ordering by saying, "I'd like something with (fill in name of base spirit), bartender's choice", and feel assured that I'm going to get a great drink.
  14. I'll add The Jasmine to the list. It's one of my go-to drinks for people who say they hate gin (along with the Aviation and Corpse Reviver #2), and it hasn't failed yet. 1 1/2 ounces gin 3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice 1/4 ounce Campari 1/4 ounce Cointreau Shake, strain, garnish with a lemon twist. It's also a very forgiving recipe - when you get it exactly right, it tastes surprisingly like pink grapefruit juice. When you don't, it's still pretty darn delicious. And, while you're mixing, you could woo them with poetry: I like to have a Martini, Two at the very most. After three I'm under the table, After four I'm under my host. - Dorothy Parker
  15. I can only add this quote from Bernard DeVoto. In my opinion, the man was wrong about many things (though he wrote beautifully while being so), but I agree with this 100%: "You can no more keep a martini in the refrigerator than you can keep a kiss there. The proper union of gin and vermouth is a great and sudden glory; it is one of the happiest marriages on earth and one of the shortest-lived. The fragile tie of ecstasy is broken in a few minutes, and thereafter there can be no remarriage. The beforehander has not understood that what is left, though it once was a martini, can never be one again. He has sinned as seriously as the man who leaves some in the pitcher to drown."
  16. jmfangio

    Crystal Clear Ice

    Thank you! These are the guys I was talking about seeing on Cooking Showdown. God, I miss that show.
  17. jmfangio

    Crystal Clear Ice

    I've been wondering about the slower freezing for a while, but hadn't thought about insulating the ice mold until I saw Eje's link to Camper English's experiments, and Chris' post. My curiosity about slow freezing came from watching the Japanese cooking show Cooking Showdown, when one week the 'secret ingredient' was ice from a several hundred year's old producer. As winter approached, they would divert water from an underground stream into a shallow pool, and let it slowly freeze in the open air. When cut, the chunks were as clear as glass. Not exactly practical for us, I know, but it was beautiful to see, and was the first thing that made me think that slow freezing was one key. This isn't exactly the most practical idea either, but I suppose that if you have a spare freezer, you could try to replicate this effect by starting with it off, then bring it up (or down, as the case may be) to temperature as slowly as possible? Maybe use a voltage regulator, like some folks use on rice cookers or crock pots for sous vide?
  18. jmfangio

    Crystal Clear Ice

    I decided to try a little experiment based on what I've been reading in this thread, wondering if I could get clear (or, at least, significantly clearer) ice balls from my ice ball mold. I pulled out a bottle shipping box from my closet that's a perfect fit for the mold, filled the mold with water just taken off the boil, carefully slipped it into the styrofoam, then into its cardboard box, and into the freezer overnight. The result: There's still a cluster of bubbles, but the rest of the ball is perfectly clear. For comparison, here's another ball with the same water, but stuck into the freezer without insulation:
  19. 12 1/2" tall, about 11" diameter where the bottle tapers outward at the top.
  20. Barkeeper in Silverlake has them. I don't remember what they're selling them for so I can't say how their price compares to Amazon, but since you're in LA as well, I'd be remiss if I didn't give you the opportunity for instant satisfaction.
  21. Time for the annual Nocino thread bump! This year, I'd already ordered my walnuts from Mt. Lassen Farms, then discovered a walnut tree just a few blocks from me. I left a note (along with my recipe) for the homeowners, and they were more than happy for me to come and take away as many as I like, before the squirrels get to them and make a mess all over their yard. So, now, I have 25 freakin' pounds of green walnuts. I'm making a couple of extra batches of Nocino, planning on Vin de Noix as well, and giving away as many as I can to friends so they can make their own, but does anyone know if I can freeze any leftover green walnuts, to use in a month or so when I'll have the space to put up another batch? And, apparently, my cat found the walnuts very interesting.
  22. Woo hoo! KL Wines in Hollywood has it back in stock.
  23. Gin and blue cheese is a fantastic pairing. Some Roquefort to go with my Martini? Yes, please. I haven't tried this out yet, but I was thinking of pairing the Princeton Cocktail along with a Stilton.
  24. Hi folks, A friend of mine organizes tasting events for an excellent local cheese shop, and asked to pick my brain on ideas for a Cocktails & Cheese tasting, as a break from the usual Wine & Cheese tastings that they have. I'm thinking about this in two parts: light, Aperitif cocktails such as the Bamboo, Chrysanthemum, perhaps an Aperol spritzer, and a Champagne/Prosecco cocktail or two, and some heartier drinks to accompany entrees, or an after dinner cheese course. Alright, maybe that's three parts, but I'm just starting to think this through, and any pairing suggestions would be most welcome.
  25. Yay! Ian Fleming's birthday is May 28th - I'm hoping that it makes it to LA in time for me to celebrate with a Vesper!
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