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Ari Pappas

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  1. After having to smell pickled carrots made with vinegar and sugar that had sat in the fridge for a few days, I wasn't so sure about making my own pickled vegetables for banh mi (or for banh cuon, banh hoi, or com). Realizing that the pickles at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant do NOT stink, I asked them about the carrot & daikon pickle, and how it's made. Apparently it's a one-day pickle that should be used rapidly and fresh, much more like a salad than any fermented pickle. They didn't give me an exact recipe, but I believe it's just vinegar, salt, and sugar to taste, maybe with a few whole peppercorns in the brine, left to marinate for a few hours. Given that the "good" pickles taste more like a Thai salad than anything else, I'm betting that this is typical.
  2. I've been loving the Scoff Law, which I believe is from the Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (at least according to this blog post) by Ted Haigh - I found the recipe on cocktaildb.com, and later googled it. I've been making mine as somewhat of a bastardization, with the following ingredients: 1/2 oz lemon juice 1/2 oz grenadine 1 oz whiskey (it calls for Canadian, any rye would work, it was also tasty with Tenesee whiskey) 1 oz parts dry vermouth (I use Noilly Prat) 1 dash of orange bitters (Regan's for me) Shake and strain. It really highlights the flavor of the grenadine for me, and regardless it's extremely delicious and drinkable, while being moderately complex.
  3. There never has been bonded Old Overholt. It's sold at 80 proof. We're saying that we'd like to see it at 100 proof ("bottled in bond"). And, as Andy points out, it's literally a matter of changing the labeling and reconfiguring the process to add less water (I'm sure there are also some minor legal hoops to jump through with respect to introducing a "new" product). In my opinion, if they brought out Overholt at 100 proof, it would take the place of Rittenhouse as the mixing rye of preference. I've been thinking of ways to make a 100 proof version out of the 80 proof stuff, either by fractional freezing or using a rotavap. ← My mistake, I just confused it for Rittenhouse. Oops!
  4. So wait, is Bonded Old Overholt no longer being produced? My local stores have quite a bit, so I'd consider grabbing a few bottles.
  5. Ginger liqueur (or muddled ginger), dark rum, and your simple syrup might make a nice carrot cake type cocktail. Carrot juice would probably do better, though.
  6. Going by freeze concentration I've done on citrus fruit, I'll say that yes it'll give you the best possible flavor. On the other hand, you lose quite a lot of your pomegranate juice, and it takes forever, but if you really want the perfect taste of raw pomegranate juice, freeze concentration is your best bet. That said, I doubt it would taste anything like most grenadine!
  7. I just made my first batch of grenadine, using eje's recipe with added orange flower water and vanilla as per the thirtyoneknot's recipe. I was on the fence about whether I should heat it or not, until I tasted my pomegranate concentrate (Carlo brand) and my pomegranate juice side by side. I purchased Trader Joe's organic pomegranate juice (from concentrate), because it was the best I could find. Tasting it, it's a fine juice, with minimal cooked flavor - of course, fresh would be better, but pomegranate season is months away. I also tasted the Carlo pomegranate concentrate alone, then watered down side by side with the Trader Joe's organic pomegranate juice. It's really a pretty excellent product, and if I had a refractometer handy to adjust the concentration perfectly, I think it would be as good as any bottled juice made from concentrate. Given that the Carlo concentrate is cooked, and any juice from concentrate, or even pasteurized, will have a cooked flavor, I decided I wouldn't hurt it by cooking it to dissolve the sugar and hopefully invert a small portion of it due to the acid in the juice. The flavor of the grenadine is delicious. Next time I will probably go with pomegranate concentrate and a small amount of water, instead of pomegranate concentrate and pomegranate juice, unless I can make it myself or buy it fresh squeezed. I'm currently waiting for my grenadine to cool down, so I can mix it into a cocktail. The only question is: What to make?
  8. I've been meaning to try it - Pizzaiolo is a fantastic restaurant, and their bar has always been pretty great. Sadly, they seem to be doing less house-made infusions, syrups, and liqueurs lately since their first bartender left. Drinks are still great though. If anyone's interested in setting up a tasting group for anything that we might discuss in the spirits & cocktails forum, right here in Oakland, CA, feel free to private message me on here. I don't post a lot on eGullet, but I've been lurking this forum now for ages and I can see that quite a few of you are in the San Francisco Bay Area. Unfortunately, Piedmont Grocery just ran out of Abbondio Tonica before I got the chance to try some, so I can't add my comments on that tonic that hasn't come up yet in this thread. They do carry all of the other brands, however, including Schweppe's Indian Tonic, Q Tonic, and Fever Tree.
  9. East Bay Restaurant Supply in Oakland had a wide variety of pourers last time I was there, all very cheap. Cash and Carry, right around the corner, also has quite a few.
  10. I personally don't like Schweppe's terribly well. For me, the corn syrup gives a gin and tonic a syrupy texture. For some gins - particularly Tanqueray, a syrupy gin - I think this is fine, but I prefer my gin and tonics to be very crisp. I like a lot of lime, and I prefer the sweetness and texture of sugar sweetened tonic waters. I think Fever Tree is excellent, if perhaps far from the standard set by Schweppe's and Canada Dry. I will also strongly recommend Whole Foods' 360 brand tonic water. It's made with sugar instead of corn syrup, it's cheap, and in my opinion it makes for an excellent gin and tonic. I'm curious about Q brand, but I honestly can't stand the branding, and the price is high. I suppose I should try it, though. Has anyone tried the Italian brand, Abbondio? It's the one where every flavor is a different woman. Tonica comes in a black bottle, with a suitably raven-haired and scantily clad woman. This thread has inspired me to pick some up, I'll report back.
  11. I just returned from a visit to NYC, where I tried both Laboratorio, Grom, and ice creams from WD-50! Hah. Grom is pretty good. Very good, even. Some of the flavors are delicious, and their branding is impeccable. Clean, big windows, lots of white space. The texture, on the other hand, isn't great. There's a lot of crystallization. I believe it's lactose crystallization, given that they re-mix their stuff in the big batch freezer in the back. I couldn't say for sure. Other than that, I perceived some stabilizers or gums in the mouthfeel while eating it, and quite a bit afterwards. To be fair, there's less than in a lot of places. I both admire and take issue with the way they post their nutritional content with the intention of being transparent and honest while never revealing their ingredients, or talking about them beyond saying that some of the ingredients are organic from their farm. It's fantastic marketing, but a little but dishonest. In my opinion, Laboratorio blows them out of the water. Where Grom is sweet and vague, Lab gives pure bright flavors. Sure, there's some ice sometimes, but they don't use any stabilizers whatsoever. The honey crisp apple sorbet is the single best sobet I've ever purchased. I've made comparable (professionally), but I've never seen anyone else sell anything near that good. Their gelatos were intensely rich and dense, and left no trace of gums or stabilizers in my mouth afterwards. Yes, Grom is more traditional and typical, and by the standards of its category it is excellent, but I would take Lab over Grom any day. Oh, and WD-50's ice creams just aren't very good. The brown butter sorbet is an interesting take on olive oil sorbets, with a poor execution, and white beer ice cream is just a poor choice of flavor that doesn't stand up to the milk and cream.
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