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  1. Lutefisk, I too am a big fan of orgeat. This may be too late for your event, but nevertheless... The king of orgeat cocktails for me is the Mai Tai. If the Bacardi rum stocked by your bar is, or includes, the gold, or the 8-year, you could do those (rum, orgeat, triple sec, lime, mint is the classic recipe). If the bar included some kind of Cognac/Brandy, you could do Scorpion Bowls (white rum, gin, cognac, white wine, lemon juice, orange juice, orgeat, mint -- is the ingredient list in "Killer Cocktails"). It seems like the simplest drink within the constraints of your bar, so long as you could add a bottle of Maraschino, would be David Wondrich's really pleasant "Pearlescent", also from his Killer Cocktails book: 2.5 oz vodka 2 tsp orgeat 1 tsp maraschino lemon peel However, and on point for your needs, the "bibulo.us" website notes that this drink does well as a batched pre-mixed drink: http://www.metagrrrl...es-pearlescent/ If you went this route, I would just make sure that the servers be sure to shake the individual drinks with the lemon peel, as I consider this an essential element to the drink. Because the total amount of maraschino is so small, one bottle would probably be enough for even a large gathering. Congrats on your big day!
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    Bitters as the base!

    This does not quite qualify for bitters as the base, but Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails lists the Calvados Cocktail (originally from the Savoy Cocktail book) as including a very healthy dose of orange bitters: 1.5 oz Calvados 1.5 oz OJ 0.75 oz Cointreau 0.75 oz orange bitters (Shake, strain, up, orange wheel garnish) I haven't tried it myself, but Haigh describes it as something like an Orange Negroni. Per the above comment, wouldn't use all Fee's in this, although I'm not sure that the spiciness of Regan's would be quite right either. Maybe a 50/50 mix, or Ango or TBT if you have access to those.
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    The Punch Topic

    Lapin, let us know how it turns out. I myself will be away for the holidays starting tomorrow, but am of a mind to try this recipe when I get back. Given the ingredients include Madeira, you might check out Eric Asimov's "Pour" column this week: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/dining/16pour.html?scp=2&sq=madeira&st=cse
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    The Punch Topic

    Lapin d'Argent, The following was part of an e-mail I just received from the "Mixellany" folks, and seems to involve manageable prep and total quantity: "Blame Charles Dickens for helping to revive the celebration of Christmas at a time when tradition festivities had disappeared from the pages of London's Times (between 1790 and 1835, there was no mention of Christmas).In his 1843 A Christmas Carol, Bob Cratchit makes a hot gin punch for the whole family. An authentic recipe from the period goes like this: Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 cinnamon stick 1 whole clove 1 teaspoon muscovado brown sugar 1 teaspoon honey 60 ml Madeira wine 60 ml Beefeater London Dry Gin boiling water Place the cinnamon stick,lemon juice, and clove into a warm tumbler. Add gin and wine. Fill the tumbler with boiling water. Stir with the cinnamon stick. garnish with ground cinnamon and nutmeg."
  5. As an addendum to my post above -- If I'm in the mood for a standard G&T but there's no lime, I'll pass and go for something else. However, Peychaud's seems to make a lime-less G&T not just acceptable but appetizing. Another addition in the "Italian bitters" category would be Campari's less bitter, more orangey, sweeter in a bubble-gum sort of way, cousin Aperol. I haven't tried it in a standard G&T, probably because I don't often have it around, but IIRC it works well with a gin and bitter lemon.
  6. A couple of dashes of Peychauds. Or, and this is a Gary Regan invention I believe, a splash or an ounce or two of pink Grapefruit juice in addition to the Peychaud's. As for the standard G&T, I think you need more lime than just a wedge to balance out the sweetness in the mass market tonics. I also think that the G&T benefits from muddling the lime to get some of the oils expressed -- almost a G&T "a la Mojito", but minus the mint. Another good addition is Campari, I've found. In fact, one of my favorite summer pitcher drinks involves gin, muddled lime, Bitter Lemon (that bluish stuff that's basically tonic with natural/artificial lemon flavor), and Campari (adjusted to taste). What can I say, I love me a G&T as well as variations thereon. Don't tend to drink them in the cooler months though.
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    Champagne cocktails

    OK, I will start with dashes of each and adjust. I assume the Vya is the red and not the white?
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    Champagne cocktails

    This sounds really interesting. Do you or Chris have any idea as to ratios or amounts in the recipe?
  9. I've recently moved to Washington DC from New York. As a rye whiskey lover, I thought I'd be able to find Pikesville Rye in this neck of the woods, but haven't seen it at either my local stores or well-stocked places like Central Liquors and Calvert Woodley. Is Pikesville available in DC or is it really only distributed in Baltimore and environs? Incidentally, Central Liquors had some of the Thomas Handy on the shelves -- something I've never seen anywhere -- priced in the 70's I think. Very tempting but not in my budget at the moment!
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    New Noilly Prat

    jmfangio, I agree with you from a logical point of view, but: in the audio that is appended to the article on the WSJ website, Felten makes explicit what he only hints at in the article, saying that NP has sweetened the Euro version over the years -- so that the contemporary Euro version *wouldn't* be the formula that Maugham deemed essential. (This is about 2/3 or 3/4 through the 6 or 8 minute clip. He doesn't say whether he knows this because NP told him so, or from other sources, or from a taste test between contemporary Euro NP and vintage NP.) He further adds in the audio that he would welcome a more flavorful NP, so long as it remained dry and not sweet. Also in the audio, he recommends Boissiere or Dolin as good subs for the dry NP we've been used to. Hope this is helpful for those of us who don't want to listen to the audio. I'm sure the old NP will be missed, though perhaps the new one can lend itself to new applications, and we can just use Boissiere or Dolin for Martinis and so on. I really haven't tried any white vermouths beyond NP and M&R -- were there any other existing white vermouths with this sweeter flavor profile that NP is now shipping over?
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    Drinks! (2007–2009)

    I'll suggest "Who Else?" for the name of this, as in "Who Else but bostonapothecary would come up with this?" I can't remember whether I've ever actually tried one of his concoctions because I almost never have all the ingredients on hand, but they at least sound good to me. Just need to gets me some Cynar, or sherry, or sloe gin... Except that I'm moving right now and am drinking down stock rather than adding on.
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    Sloe Gin?

    The August 22 entry from the Orwell diaries site (http://orwelldiaries.wordpress.com/) references a newspaper cutting on making sloe gin... August 22, 1938 22 August, 2008 by orwelldiaries Warmish day, with showers. Nights are getting colder & more like autumn. A few oaks beginning to yellow very slightly. [...] [NEWSPAPER CUTTING] Sloe Gin The origin of this recipe is buried deep in the traditional lore of the New Forest gypsies. A friend of Lady Muriel wrote it down in the gipsy’s own words. Her people were friends with Romany folk, and a bottle of the liquer was always brought at Christmas as a gift to her mother. The gypsies expected no payment for it, and in addition used to sing some ancient songs which they called carols, but seemed to have no Christian significance. “Pick your sloes when they be fine and ripe, with dry air, and warm with the sun. Prick each one with a needle three times. Take half a bottle of unsweetened gin and put in a fistful of sugar-candy, firm and strong, the taste of a crushed bitter almond, or the kernels of ripe apricots, crushed. Fill the bottle with the sloes and press them down. “If you be not on the road, lay beneath the floor of your tent where you be sleeping, for they slags (sloes) dunnot like the cold. Let ‘em bide till Christmas come, when take out the fruit and let ‘em bide till you need ‘em.”
  13. "The most exciting manhattan is one compounded with ordinary-quality bar whiskey rather than the rarest overproof article..." -- Lucius Beebe, Stork Club Bar Book. --> which is simply in line with slkinsey's earlier suggestion (and accompanying graphic!) that aged spirits may often lose some of their upfront flavor, or get "woody", and taste of nothing much more than "aged spirit" in a mixed drink.