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Mike S.

participating member
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    114
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  • Website URL
    http://www.fenwick.com

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  • Location
    Santa Clara, CA
  1. Mike S.

    Amer Picon & Torani Amer

    My proportions are 15 ml Everclear and 1 ml Angostura orange bitters for every 100 ml Amaro Ciociaro. Very, very close, and easy. Thanks for this. I gave it a try last night and very much like the results. One additional question for you Dave or anyone else who can chime in on this: Are you using the 151 Everclear or the 190? 190 is very difficult if not impossible to get in CA. Back to this, because I finally worked up the courage to open one of my bottles of vintage Picon (see pic below) the other night and taste it side-by-side with the CioCiaro/Everclear/Angostura Orange mix. The two were not particularly close in my opinion, and my wife agreed. It's possible that my bottle of Picon was/is compromised in some way (though the seal was perfect and the level was well into the neck of the bottle) and/or our palates are different than others, but the main issue we found is that the vintage Picon was much, MUCH drier than the CioCiaro mix. Dry enough to surprise us both, actually, and to highlight just how sweet many of the "traditional" Italian Amaros really are. I'm really not sure how to fix this discrepancy, since I don't know of any way to make an existing base liquid less sweet other than to dilute it out more with unsweetened additions, but of course that impacts the flavor concentration significantly. I think I might try the mix again, but using half-and-half Torani Amer and CioCiaro rather than all CioCiaro. Any other ideas?
  2. Mike S.

    Amer Picon & Torani Amer

    My proportions are 15 ml Everclear and 1 ml Angostura orange bitters for every 100 ml Amaro Ciociaro. Very, very close, and easy. Thanks for this. I gave it a try last night and very much like the results. One additional question for you Dave or anyone else who can chime in on this: Are you using the 151 Everclear or the 190? 190 is very difficult if not impossible to get in CA.
  3. Mike S.

    Chinchon - Spanish Anis

    Well, they are both outstanding and miles better than MB Anisette, which is sweet enough to taste like anise-flavored simple syrup to me. Even the Dulce is far drier than the MB, and much more complex with layers of flavor. The Seco is even better, nice and dry but still a liqueur (i.e., it's not like absinthe tasted neat). Both make an amazing Ojen (or rather Chinchon) Frappe -- see http://looka.gumbopages.com/2008/12/31/ojen-frappe/ for history and recipe -- and best may be the two combined (about 1.5 oz of the Seco and .5 oz of the Dulce). Very good stuff!
  4. Sounds like Amis to me....
  5. Mike S.

    The Punch Topic

    I could also be wrong, but I think the Kuchan O'Henry Peach Brandy is barrel-aged; at least it looks it, with a nice amber "brandy" color. The Indian Blood Peach Brandy is a clear eau-de-vie. I now have a bottle of each, so when I get a chance I'll crack 'em open and see what's what.
  6. Mike S.

    The Punch Topic

    Has anyone found any genuine peach brandy (i.e., a true distilled Eau-de-Vie as opposed to a liqueur) for use in Fish House Punch? I cannot imagine that the recipe for that punch included something like peach schnapps! Here in Northern California, there's a craft distiller called Kuchan/Old World Spirits that makes two different true peach brandies, one from O'Henry peaches and the other from Indian Blood peaches; both are bottled at 80 proof. Pretty expensive stuff even in the grappa-style 375ml bottles, but it's the only ones I've found so far. Anyone tried them, either alone or in FHP?
  7. Just picked up two interesting-looking bottles of Anis Liqueur from Spain called "Chinchon", one labeled "Dulce" (sweet) and bottled at 70 proof, the other "Seco" (dry) at 86 proof. Anyone ever heard of this stuff and/or tried it? I suppose I'm feeling sorry for myself for missing out on the last bottles of White Label Ojen sold in the last year or so at Martin Wine Cellar in New Orleans, and I'm looking for something a bit closer to Ojen than, say, MB Anisette (not that there's anything wrong with MB Anisette) for use in Ojen Frappes....
  8. Recently picked up a bottle of the Bonal just to try this unnamed 50/50 mix with S&C (one of my all-time favorite rums). Too late tonight, but soon. Any movement on an actual name?
  9. Both the Lunazul blanco and reposado are very, very good at their price points. Highly recommended, along with the 100% agave El Jimadors.
  10. Mike S.

    Aperitivo Americano

    Um...yeah, the Cocchi is absolutely brilliant. I love it any which way. Drinking a Vesper now (3 parts Beefeater, 1 part Stoli Blue Label, 1/2 part Cocchi, shaken, big lemon twist) and it's probably the best "Martini" I've ever had. CR#2 last night was a revelation. Wonderful on the rocks with a splash of soda and a lemon slice. Even my wife likes it. Can't wait to cook with it. Steamed mussels with leeks, tarragon and butter? Buy this stuff by the case! Thank you, thank you to Eric (and apparently Darrell Corti!) for bringing this stuff back to us. I'll never be without it from now on.
  11. Mike S.

    Aperitivo Americano

    I now have an ample supply in-house. Let the experiments begin!
  12. Mike S.

    Aperitivo Americano

    Corti Bros. is the definition of a great store. Literally "worth the drive from anywhere." Love that place!
  13. Mike S.

    Aperitivo Americano

    Mike, as it happens I was at Corti Bros. yesterday (Sunday) and specifically looked for it. Didn't find it, but also didn't ask -- which was probably stupid! Let me know if you find it there, because I would absolutely drive up for a couple of bottles.
  14. Is it something that could be used as (or modified to be turned into) the elusive "peach brandy" that is said to be the key ingredient of a true Fish House Punch, but no longer seems to exist? For that matter, what ARE people using for peach brandy in Fish House Punch?
  15. Built, on-the-rocks Negronis, just as Kohai suggests, are wonderful. At this point, I don't make them any other way (and I prefer the Cinnabar Negroni recipe, with its 2X portion of Campari, heavy dashes of orange bitters and a nice fat orange twist). And now I'll reveal myself as the complete heretic I really am: I (really, really) like built, on-the-rocks Margaritas. Yep, it's true. Don't worry, I do know how to make them "properly" -- shaken, strained, etc. -- and used to do that all the time. So here's how it happened: A nice, cold, sour Margarita made with a good reposado is pretty much the only cocktail my wife enjoys (along with the occasional Diablo and the very occasional Mai Tai). One night about a year ago, I made hers as usual (proper technique, served up in a cocktail glass, etc.) and then decided I wanted one too, but was honestly too lazy to go through the whole process again. So I did what I sometimes do when I'm lazy and want a quick Marg in the middle of Family Taco Night and just filled a rocks glass with ice, poured in 1.5 oz of tequila, 1 oz Cointreau and .75 oz lime juice (we likes 'em sour), quick stir, small pinch of Kosher salt on top (yep, right into the drink itself, although preferably mostly on the ice as in a Paloma; told you I was a heretic) and a lime wedge garnish. She tasted hers, asked me for a taste of mine, and declared in no uncertain terms that she liked the built-rocks version better. Having never done a side-by-side test in this manner, I did the same tasting -- and promptly agreed with her. Don't know why, but in that moment we both realized that we absolutely prefer them this way, and I haven't shaken a Margarita since. Don't hate!
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