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Everything posted by tikibars

  1. Hi all - Just wanted to bump this up, for those of you looking for something fun to do tonight. Hope to see some of you there!
  2. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that Buffalo Trace bourbon and Bar DeVille (701 N Damen Ave.) will be hosting a book signing with James Teitelbaum, the Chicago-based author of "Destination: Cocktails", on Sunday, December 9 from 7:00 to 9:00. Come on out for a relaxing Sunday evening drink, and pick up a perfect holiday gift: "Destination: Cocktails", signed by the author, for only $20. Everyone who purchases a book will also be entitled to enjoy a deeply discounted bourbon cocktail, courtesy of event sponsor Buffalo Trace bourbon! Thanks, and we hope to see you there. Host Note: Click here for the terms under which this is posted in the eGullet forums
  3. Hi everyone. I'm in Istanbul through Monday, and was wondering if anyone knows of a place to get a top-tier cocktail in this town? Like a classic Manhattan, Negroni, etc. Or better yet, someplace that is doing interesting mixology with raki, the local spirit? Most of the hotel bars I checked out were serving the same indifferently mixed swill, and the party neighborhoods are all still selling Jaeger shots. I did contact Istanbul Eats; he was unable to help on this matter, although I was directed towards some great restaurants! [thanks!] cheers
  4. Hi everyone Just wanted to let you all know that my new book, Destination: Cocktails, is being printed as we speak. It will make it's debut at Tales of the Cocktail later this month; I'll be signing copies from 1:00 to 2:00 pm on Sunday the 29th! More info at www.destinationcocktails.com cheers! Host Note: Click here for the terms under which this event is listed in the eGullet forums
  5. For future travelers: I hit Apothecary, Alchemist, Constellation 1, Constellation 2, and El Cocktel in Shanghai, and Apothecary in Beijing (Kent joined me for some of them - thanks, that was fun!). All have their moments, but as Kent said above, the best of them are "70%" as good as the best places in the states, with El Cocktel and Apothecary being the best of the bunch. Constellation 2 has an astounding collection of Scotch, but their cocktails suck. El Cocktel is hyper trendy but good. The Apothecary locations in both towns have an exactly identical menu.
  6. Thanks, Kent. My friend and I will be in Shanghai from May 26 to June 1. Definitely up for drinks at any or all of the places you mentioned.
  7. Hi I definitely searched for and perused all previous Beijing / Shanghai topics, and they all deal more or less exclusively with food only. So I thought I'd start a thread here in the bevvies forum. (Thanks though, for all of the chow suggestions!). Looking for some craft or classic cocktail bars in Beijing and Shanghai. I don't care about atmosphere - the bar can be swanky, divey, trendy, or traditional, cheap or expensive, I just want a really well-poured, carefully mixed cocktail. Either modern craft-style or pre-prohibition classics, as long as they're made with great care and skill. American-style or Eastern spins on the concept both work. Thinking of places of the same caliber as: Velvet Tango Room (Cleveland) Violet Hour or Drawing Room (Chicago), Iris or Cure (New Orleans), Bourbon and Branch (SF), Tender Bar (Tokyo), Le Lion (Hamburg) or any number of places in NYC or London... (for starters). Suggestions? thanks!
  8. Hi Companies like TikiFarm and Monktiki, while both run by friends of mine, typically sell higher-end mugs aimed at retail and collectors. Both will do custom mugs for restaurants or bars as well. But if you want bulk mugs to use for tiki drinks in a bar or restaurant, a company called Dynasty out of New York licensed about a dozen designs from the classic-era tiki mug kings, Orchids of Hawaii. Orchids did dozens and dozens of mug designs during the heyday of tiki. The Dynasty repros of the old Orchids designs will set you back about $2 each, wholesale. they also do the bowls, and other novelty mugs - parrots, buddhas, and the like. You can get bulk swizzles, paper parasols, etc from them too.
  9. ...meanwhile Killepitsch is more in the Jaegermesiter family (for easy reference). The owner of Beckets Kopf (a great bar in Berlin) was telling me that there are some 180 small towns in Bavaria (southern Germany) who each make their own unique herbal liqueur. To use a metaphor: from a manufacturing and distribution perspective, Jaeger is the mass-produced one, equivalent (in, say, beer terms) to PBR. Most of the others are the equivalent of small regional microbrews. Killepitsch falls somewhere in between, perhaps the equivalent of a nationally-distributed regional beer, like, I dunno, Flat Tire or something. I tried some of the smaller local ones when I was in Bavaria, but was only able to procure Killepitsch for the trip home. Some of the local ones were quite interesting. The Killepitsch is a damned bit better than Jaeger, but has a flavor profile in the same ballpark. Smoother, slightly more complex. Sweet on the tip of the tongue, but bitter in the throat. It is worth having brought home as a souvenir of my Bavarian adventures, but ultimately it is too close to Jaeger for my tastes: it reminds me more of 1991 college parties than of Beckets Kopf, Lebensstern, Stagger Lee, and Le Lion (all awesome German cocktail bars), that's for sure. Now, that Kummel I brought back is kind of fun (see pic a few posts above).... And if you can get your hands on it, grab a bottle of Dreiling aqua vitae (made near Hamburg) at *all costs*!
  10. Finally got to opening the Unicum that I brought back from Munich. Whomever said that Unicum makes Fernet taste like coca-cola wasn't kidding. This stuff is *really* bitter. I wouldn't advise getting near this stuff unless you've already graduated through Campari and Cynar to Fernet Branca and are ready for the next step on this long bitter road. Otherwise, you're not going to be able to handle it. And I swear, the next closest thing in my own experience is freakin' Malort! (except the Uni tastes a whole lot better). Unicum: Malort for people not currently drinking on a dare.
  11. Lots of great cocktail bars in Hamburg and Berlin. Munich, not so much. Try Pacific Times, I had some fun there, and also Tabacco is a must-visit. If you're into Tiki, the local Trader Vic's is one of the better ones, globally, and is half a block from Tabacco.
  12. Never tried Killeptisch, so I can't say. Hmmm.... jusdt came back from Germany with a bottle each of Killepitsch, Unicum, and a locally-made Kummel. Just looked up this thread because I could have sworn there were some Unicum recipes in the Savoy book, but I can't find 'em. Anyway, stand by for a fresh Killepitsch vs Unicum posting!
  13. The key is to keep it simple. Obviously, nothing that needs any sort of float, no egg, nothing topped with soda or seltzer. Nothing that will spoil. Something that you can dump into a cup of ice, swirl around, and have it be acceptable. I've done Negroni and Last Word from a flask, and didn't end up hating life or anything....
  14. I've been enjoying a little number made of Domaine de Canton, rye, grapefruit and honey. Will post ratios when I can get at my recipe book.
  15. Yes, please. ← Hi, sorry, I just revisited this thread for the first time in a while. I don't have a ton of insider info, but the Zacapa 15 and the Zacapa 23 as we knew them have both been replaced with a different blend. Diageo bought the brand, and jacked the price up considerably (used to be about $40 in Chicago, now it is $50 to $60). Still a nice rum, but there are slight differences in body and flavor. I have been told (unconfirmed) that the 15-year has been discontinued. The new bottles indicate the 'solera' process on the bottle, so they are easy to spot (although Zacapa, like many better rum distilleries, have always used the solera process - the old bottles just didn't say so quite so prominently). Read about solera in detail here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solera
  16. I am surprised that no one mentioned this alternative, which has worked wll for me in the past: I'll make a batch of my favorite cocktail, maybe 4x or even 8x, depending how many I will need to serve. I'll keep it in a carafe or pitcher in the fridge (not freezer) with neither ice nor water added. Then, when it is time to serve, I'll pour a few ounces of cocktail into the shaker with some ice, shake it up 'fresh', and serve. This way, I can have large quantities of a favorite recipe (perhaps one with many ingredients or delicate quantities of certain ingredients) ready to go, but can still chill it (as well as adding water of course) as needed.
  17. Slight correction, jmfangio... First Campari, and THEN Zacapa 23... and NOW this... ;-)
  18. http://chicagoist.com/2008/11/20/lupec_coc..._the_ladies.php The Chicago chapter of LUPEC is doing a benefit with a rather reasonably priced prixe fixe meal and cocktails. Men are welcome (usually not the case with LUPEC events!). I thought about entertaining at my place, but somehow the repeal of prohibition seems to imply NOT drinking at home ("in secret"), and gleefully celebrating our right to get plastered in public. Therefore: if I don't hit the LUPEC event, Weegee's or Violet Hour will see me darkening their doors next Friday night.
  19. Found some more 'old' stuff, this time REAL old, and right in the middle of downtown Chicago. They had at least seven bottles of the stuff, and the old guy at the store said they'd been there 'forever'. The labels are different. Anyone know when the label change happened? Trying to figure out exactly how old these are... Below is the 'old' Campari that I got in Michigan in August (left), and the 'REAL old' Campari scored yesterday:
  20. That's very odd. ← It IS very odd - completely unique, in fact, in my experience as a global barhopper. But, what is means is that the drinks are precisely consistent every time. It is a fascinating concept, and it is interesting to watch the bartenders at VTR drizzle a tiny amount of a liqueur into the shaker, eyes fixed on the digital readout on the scale, to get the exact right quantity, to the drop. If you favor a jigger over a free-pour (and don't we all), then this scale idea is an even more exacting method of nailing things consistently.
  21. Stopped in for drinks on Wednesday with some pals. We had thirty some drinks between us (I'll leave you hanging as to how many of us were there, haha), and every one of them was a winner. I'd say that we conquered the fall menu and are now awaiting the winter! One little cool detail: I asked to go off menu and get a Poor Liza. The waitress (not the bartender, I am talking about the cocktail waitress here) explained to me that they are having trouble getting the right brand of pear brandy, and that the flavor of the drink might be a little off if I made a substitution - and then she described the sub they might use. How cool is it that the waitress know that they were (1) out of the brandy used to make a drink that is no longer even on the menu, and (2) was knowledgeable enough to caution me about the taste difference, and (3) knew the exact ingredients (she mentioned combining two products to approximate the proper brandy) they'd use as a substitute? Amazing.
  22. I've been looking for passion fruit syrup and can't find any. Are you willing to share your technique for making the homemade variety? ← It is so easy! Go to your local ethnic market and get a packet of Goya brand passion fruit pulp. Ought to cost you under three bucks. Thaw it out and add equal amounts of the pulp and sugar water (simple syrup). (Or: 2 parts pulp, 1 part sugar, 1 part water) Heat it all up just a little to make sure the sugar melts and properly integrates. Let it cool and pour it into a bottle. Shake it all up like a mo'fo', add a shot of clear rum as a preservative, and you're done! I used to use Trader Vic's brand Passion Fruit syrup but never again! It is all HFCS crapola. This simple home made recipe blows away anything on the shelves.
  23. Thanks for the props on the Velo, Chris and Katie. Working on a new one now with Clement rum, Clement creole, SG, and lemon... it is coming along nicely...
  24. Can't resist a little horn tooting here, because I am happy today: Just found out that my Velo (a few posts above) tied for first place in the St. Germain sponsored cocktail competition for August 2008. :-)
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