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Rob Simmon

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  1. Speaking of peaches, I picked up a bottle of S.t Germain's last week and tried an experiment this afternoon: 1.5 oz. Gin (Bluecoat) 0.5 oz. St. Germain 1 dash grapefruit bitters 1/2 Peach blend with ice It was pretty good, but needs some work: possibly a pureed and strained peach rather than a blended one, then shaken with ice & served straight up.
  2. Paradise Cocktail 3/4 oz. Orange Juice 4 dashes (2 tsp.) Apricot Brandy 2 oz. Gin Shake Pleasant, but a bit boring. Pisco Cocktail Juice of Half Lime 4 Dashes (2 tsp.) Anisette 2 oz. Brandy (pisco) Shake Well This is interesting, and could stand to have a bit more anisette, believe it or not.
  3. On the front cover: "by Oscar Haimo President of the International Bar Manager's Association" tonight's drink: South Side Cocktail Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 tsp. sugar 2 sprigs Fresh Mint 1 1/2 oz. Gin Shake and strain well I think lemons must have been smaller back in the day (and muddling as recommended in CocktailDB is advisable), but nice.
  4. My significant other pulled a copy of this book from her father's house a few weekends ago. Many of the recipes seem to be, well, weird. On the other hand, they really do seem to work: Habaneros Cocktail Juice of 1/2 Lime 4 dashes Absinthe 2 oz. Rum shake Whist Cocktail 3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth 1/2 oz. Apple Jack 1 1/2 oz. rum shake (listed as a variation in CocktailDB) Tropical Cocktail 3/4 oz. Creme de Cacao 1 1/4 oz. Dry Vermouth 3/4 oz. Maraschino shake well (listed with significantly different proportions in CocktailDB) All of these were better than I thought they'd be.
  5. I think there's too many variables to make a hard-and-fast rule. For instance I think the quality of the vermouth is more important than the quality of the whiskey in a manhattan (well, as long as you stay away from blended whiskeys). In particular, I like Vya. (Carpano Antiqua Formula is so intense it will easily overcome all but the most flavorful bourbons.) In sours, the intensity of lemon or lime juice will likely obscure subtle characteristics of high-end liquors, while grapefruit juice is more amenable to mixing with the good stuff. Good whiskeys make a noticeable difference in somethi
  6. I spent a very informative hour with Todd Thrasher at Restaurant Eve last Saturday (thanks Todd!), and he gave me a few pointers on foams, airs, and powders (ideas for bacon powder in a cocktail, anyone?). I got the passionfruit foam working, but using essentially the same ingredients in the foam and the base result in a somewhat uninspiring drink. Fresh passionfruit would likely help, but I think the small number of flavors limit the potential. However, I got home ready to experiment. The result: a Pho 75 (named after a Hanoi beef noodle soup restaurant in Langley Park, MD). 2 oz. thai basil
  7. Fascinating. Time to start working my way through.
  8. As it stands, this particular foam recipe doesn't hold its own--the flavors are a bit boring, and the foam and liquid differ only in texture. In the context of a 30-course tasting menu the same drink (made properly, of course) works very well. I think the potential of foams in mixology lies in using different flavors, temperatures, etc. in the foam vs. the base (see my description of a hot and cold gin fizz up-thread). For now, I'm just trying to figure out how to make a foam properly--further experimentation will follow.
  9. I finally got around to mixing a drink out of el Bulli 1998-2002: a passionfruit whiskey sour: Unfortunately, even after 4 packets of gelatin, 4 nitrous oxide cartridges, one frozen hand (screw the top on the cream whipper before inserting the nitrous cartridge. duh.), and a quart of passionfruit juice, I didn't achieve a successful drink. The first problem was the quality of the passionfruit: the Ceres juice I used must be weak compared to whatever is used at el Bulli/minibar: the recipe calls for cutting the juice with water, which results in a very dilute cocktail base, without any sour co
  10. Playing around with some tamarind pulp & the new lime-flavored Tanqueray: 2 oz. Rangpur Tanqueray 1 oz. tamarind pulp 3/4 oz. Monin Jasmine syrup it has promise, but the tamarind pulp I was using isn't sour enough to balance out the very sweet syrup.
  11. I saw this on my way through the Barcelona airport, and had to take this picture considering Jose was the reason I was there: Just thought I should share.
  12. There's a "camping hotel" next door to el Bulli: http://www.campingsonline.com/calamontjoi/?idlengua=3 There are campgrounds in/near Roses too, but I'm not sure if they're nice: http://infocamping.com/en/europe/spain/localidades/384.html This late in the year there should be some fairly inexpensive deals for hotels, as well (I saw 30 Euros per person per night including half board from prestige hotels: http://www.prestigehotels.com/portal/Prestige-Roses (the food is underwhelming, but convenient)). Elsewhere on this thread taxis were cited at 20 Euros each way. The road to and from isn't nea
  13. The parking lot at el Bulli is without a doubt the most exquisite plot of gravel I've ever driven a car on. It certainly gave a great impression as we drove up to the restaurant as twilight descended over Cala Montjoi. Above the lot was a garden of eucalyptus trees and Mediterranean shrubs, as well manicured as (and reminiscent of) the entrance to the bonzai exhibit at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC. We'd scoped the area out during daylight, but I was still nervous walking in through the door, not quite believing I really had reservations, a feeling magnified by the empty entranceway
  14. That was it for cocktails. I'm going to post a full review on the Spain/Portugal message boards in a few days, including scans of the menu. I have el Bulli 1998-2002, which has some very interesting cocktail recipes (I should post a few, or at least summaries), and the book itself is a masterpiece of design. While I was in Barcelona I flipped through the spanish-language 2005 edition, and it looks even better. Adria also includes detailed recipes, sequences of photographs to show techniques, and an ingredient glossary.
  15. A "Hot and Cold Gin Fizz" was the first course at my el Bulli meal last week. Phenomenal drink. (Not to mentiuon a phenomenal location out on the restraunt's terrace, overlooking the Mediterranean.) The waitress brought out two cocktail glasses with an ice cold (possibly on shaved ice) gin-lime (and seltzer?) mixture, foamed the top and said "drink these quickly!" Without being forewarned, the temperature contrast was an amazing surprise. The hot and cold layers differed not only in temperature and texture, but also in flavor, due to the reaction our tastebuds have to temperature (the waitress
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