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David Santucci

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Everything posted by David Santucci

  1. Thanks, Czequershuus, great topic! Lately I've been drinking lots of sherry, but the recipe has mainly been 'pour into a glass and drink; if bottle is empty open a new one.' However I did enjoy a Bamboo the other night, and tonight, having sour oranges on hand, I came up with this: 1 oz sour orange juice 1/2 oz cane syrup (JM) 1 1/2 oz cognac (PF 1840) 1 oz sherry (Ivison Amontillado) I know sour oranges are not that easy to come by, but if you do, I recomend you give this a try. Next time I would dial back the cane syrup slightly and use a more intense sherry, such as the Maestro Sierra Oloroso, which is just phenomenal stuff. Another fortified wine that is great for cocktails is Pineau des Charentes. Enjoy!
  2. I agree with all the comments above ("best" is in the eye of the beholder, proof matters, you can get pretty darn good bourbon for pretty low dollars, and I prefer a high-proof cognac like Force 53). A little while back, while making a big batch of juleps for a Derby Day party, we did an experiment along these lines, looking for the best relatively-low-dollar bourbon for a julep (again, according to our beholders' eyes). The comparison included Old Grand Dad (100 proof), Evan Williams (86 proof), Ezra Brooks (90 proof) and Wild Turkey (101 proof). Our favorite was Ezra Brooks, which, as an added bonus, was one of the lower-dollar bottles in the comparison.
  3. Cafe de Olla (Veracruz coffee, Mexican cinnamon, and piloncillo, made on the stove) with a splash from an old bottle of Chinaco Añejo (Denton import, for the connoisseurs) I found a while back but opened recently.
  4. I too love Frida's Fiestas. I also like A Cook's Tour of Mexico. I don't know how much is repeated in The Art of Mexican Cooking, but I find Diana Kennedy's original The Cuisines of Mexico and Mexican Regional Cooking indispensable.
  5. I, for one, agree with you on Zacapa 23. Nice enough, but too sweet for me to really enjoy. If your website has them, do yourself a favor and try Santa Teresa and Barrilito.
  6. Since, as others have noted, it is really impossible to cover the vast range of rums out there in a few bottles, let me just mention four of my all-time favorites. Each is world-class and unique, both on its own and mixed. Santa Teresa 1796 Antiguo de Solera Ron del Barrilito Three Star Plantation Barbados (Vintage, not Grande Réserve) St. James Ambre
  7. Chris, I was just at the Pegu club last month and asked for the Petit Mort recipe. The bartender wouldn't give me the proportions, but he did give me the ingredients. The big secret is this: Cointreau is the base spirit. I had tried all kinds of combinations, but had never hit upon that. Outside of Cointreau, it's just Suze, lemon juice, simple syrup and Champagne. When we got home I made up some like this 1 oz Cointreau 1/2 oz Suze 1/4 oz simple syrup 1/2 oz lemon juice 3 oz Champagne and they were mighty tasty. Edit: To be honest, I didn't really measure the Champagne. Could have been more like 2 oz.
  8. My favorite Irish whiskey cocktail is the Brainstorm.
  9. Three cocktails that I would mention are the Final Ward, the Trinidad Sour and the French Pearl. I'm sure I'll think of more...
  10. I know this is blasphemy, but do they really need to taste 12 different rums? That seems like it could be a whole class to itself. Edit: Oops, just noticed I was a little late. How did it go?
  11. I think Appleton V/X works really well in a Mai Tai. I usually do 2:1:1/2:1/2:1/4 rum:lime:curacao:orgeat:simple, which I could swear I got from DrinkBoy, but that's not the recipe he has there now.
  12. Based on my (limited) experience with Lebanese Orange Flower Water, it has a very soapy flavor and should be kept far away from any cocktail you plan on drinking.
  13. I'm with Sam. Alcohol is definitely a food!
  14. Thanks for the low-down, Sam. Can you specify what you consider the optimal ratio of 4-6X reduced pomegranate juice:fresh pomegranate juice:sugar? Do you recommend white sugar, or something more unrefined?
  15. Other good choices for non-white rums might be Mt Gay Eclipse or Bacardi 8.
  16. I'd recommed the V/X, as I think it is more versatile. The reserve is very dry, woody and angular; the V/X is more round and soft. It is a go-to rum for me for Mai Tais and the like. It's cheaper, too. But, ask someone else and they might recommend the Reserve...
  17. I'm not sure, but I think it might be in how they process it. Here, agave syrup seems to be marketed as a sugar substitute, and as such the ones I've tried have had a pretty neutral, sweet flavor. In Mexico, miel de agave just has more agave flavor, so I'm guessing it's less refined. Even by Mexican standards, the first one I brought back (Molino Real, comes in a fancy bottle) is exceptionally flavorful. The second (labeled "miel de maguey", by the brand Nutrition) is a different beast altogether. Essentially, it is agave molasses: thick, black, with lots of cooked flavor.
  18. Awesome, thanks Sam. Added to shoping list. I'm not complaining about the products we have, I'm just saying there is plenty of room for cool new stuff in the wine-based category. I guess my take is this: there are going to be new products, that is just a reality of the market. So, if it were up to me, I'd rather they were made by people putting new things into a still, playing with barrel aging, playing with interesting wine varietals -- rather than just putting out a new flavored vodka/liqueur featuring lemongrass or acai or whatever the ingredient du jour happens to be. Or cranking out another "21st century gin" for that matter. I want to see people get creative; I want to taste the fruits of the earth. I'd also like to see more lesser-known, regional (and funky) products from around the globe. I would love to try more Grappas. The cost holds me back a bit, I admit. I'd like to set up a still and try distilling some different kinds of wines one of these days. In any case, it is certainly a good time to be a cocktail geek. I have a huge list of products I still "need to try", and there are more on the way...
  19. Thanks to the "heat wave" (quotes due to spending the last seven years in North Carolina), I have been going Tropical -- which, in my case, has meant chunks of pineapple as garnish. So far this has proved a highly effective strategy: This was interesting, while maintaining the tropical vibe: 3/4 Wray & Nephews Overproof 3/4 Apricot Eau de Vie 3/4 Amaro Cora 3/4 Lime Juice Dash of Grenadine Pineapple Chunk Second drink was more conventional, but delicious: 2 Coruba Rum 3/4 Grand Marnier 1/2 Ginger Liqueur Pineapple Chunk Float of 120 proof Cognac Last night's drink was the best of all, but I made it freehand, cooking-style, so I can't give an exact recipe. It has an embarassingly-long list of ingredients too. But the overall effect was amazing -- kind of a punch in a cup. If we had kings, this is the kind of drink I would make for a coronation. I will simply list the ingredients, in approximately the order of how much went in the mixing glass: Bourbon Lime Juice Tangerine Juice Dry Vermouth Sweet Vermouth Grand Marnier Benedictine Chartreuse Angostura Bitters Orange Bitters Not in the mixing glass: Chunk of Pineapple Luxardo Cherry Splash of soda Float of 120 proof Cognac (Note: we decided that next time we would torch/roast/grill the pineapple) Long Live the king!
  20. If Haus Alpenz's Swedish Punsch is anythng like the Carlshamn's I have hidden in the deep, deep recesses of my liquor cabinet, I will be jumping for joy. Is Swedish Punsch super-versatile, probably not, I have never had it as anything but a "treat". But for me it is closer to Benedictine/Chartreuse usefulness than the Ginger/Allspice/Flower crowd. And I can't imagine ever getting sick of the combo of White Rum/Applejack/Swedish Punsch. Peach Brandy is at the top of my list, like everyone else, but while we're at it -- how `bout more aged eaux de vie? +1 for "more base spirits". One thing I would really like to see is Cask Strength Tequila, at a price I can afford to drink. More high-proof spirits in general. Especially Cognac. I would also be interested in tasting some high proof, unaged grape brandies. I think a cactus fruit liqueur/syrup could be fun to play with, especially given the current popularity of Tequila in cocktails. A decent, popularly-priced Mezcal would be great too. I think aromatic/fortified wines as a category could provide a lot of intrigue too. We have, what, half a dozen popular products in this category, and how many interesting wines in the world? Do the math. Sweeteners category seems to have some room for improvement too. I brought back two very interesting agave nectars from Mexico this trip -- all the ones I have tried here have been insipid. Other Orgeat-like products could be really cool. Lots of cool honeys out there too. Oh, and I want to get one of those bottles of whiskey with a cobra in it, just to freak people out.
  21. I have yet to find anyone (who drinks rum) who didn't like the Santa Teresa when they tried it. I am almost certain you are going to love it. I think I am the odd one out really on Zacapa 23, and sweeter rums in general. It's not that I can't appreciate them; I just prefer others. By all means, broaden your palate. Rum is one of the most diverse spirits there is, and there are lots of good sippers, all across the spectrum.
  22. The Santa Teresa 1796 is among my very favorites and I'm sure you will like it. Quite different than Zacapa 23 and Zaya, which are very sweet; I don't like either one at all, just for that reason (or Diplomatico Exclusiva). One that I really do like is El Dorado 15, which is a Demerara, so you will get some nice brown sugar notes there. Lately I am also quite smitten with the Plantation range. You might try starting with the Barbados (the vintage one, not the "Grande Reserve"). Edited to add Ron del Barrilito, awesome stuff.
  23. I may try this to make my drink a little more of a crowd- (or, at the very least, wife-) pleaser. You guys should try the slice of cucumber, it is really cool.
  24. I thought it made some sense to have some wood in there to deepen everything and tone down the sweetness. That said, I think the Blanco option could be good too, perhaps push it in a little more Summery direction. The Lipspin sounds like it has a very different structure, with all the acidity from the Sloe Gin. I'll have to try it (or, at least try to approximate it). Do they garnish it with anything?
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