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Mike S.

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Everything posted by Mike S.

  1. 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. 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. 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. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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....
  7. 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?
  8. Both the Lunazul blanco and reposado are very, very good at their price points. Highly recommended, along with the 100% agave El Jimadors.
  9. 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.
  10. I now have an ample supply in-house. Let the experiments begin!
  11. Corti Bros. is the definition of a great store. Literally "worth the drive from anywhere." Love that place!
  12. 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.
  13. 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?
  14. 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!
  15. I cannot wait until this stuff comes in stock someplace near me. Any sightings yet in Northern California??
  16. Not that I've heard or seen. I'd sill love to know the answer (if there is a definitive one). I now have two unopened bottles of CiaCiaro and I'm willing to donate one to this project!
  17. Jeff, if you like the Herradura style (I certainly do), you MUST try to find the 100% agave El Jimador bottlings. If we were talking wine (esp. Red Bordeaux), we'd call El Jimador the "second label" of Casa Herradura -- (nearly) just as good for (nearly) half the price. I know they make El Jimador blanco and reposado, both at ~$20/750 around me, but I can't recall seeing an anejo. Outstanding product, great price-point, hard to go wrong. My wife does not drink much, but she do like some Margaritas, so we've been running taste-test comparisons with a variety of reasonably-priced 100% agave blancos over the past months. Bar none, the El Jimador Reposado is her favorite (and she can pick it out blind, without fail). Other bargains that scored very well (for me, anyway) are: Casa San Matias “Pueblo Viejo” Tierra de Agaves “Lunazul” Neither one of us were much impressed with the value-priced “Tenampa Azul” bottling from Gran Centenario. I know others love this stuff, but our bottle will probably become taco meat seasoning (not a bad thing!).
  18. For those in the SF Bay Area, K&L Wines now stocks Marteau and often has several bottles on the shelves at $80/750ml; I bought one about a week ago at the Redwood City location. Can't wait to try it, especially to see if it tastes any different from the original Swiss Marteau Verte Classique bottling (I still have most of a 500ml bottle of the initial 2007 issue of that stuff).
  19. I'm sure it's a matter of personal taste and the answer will vary accordingly. Both Q and F-T are great products, and both are substantially better than any of the mass-produced brands (Canada Dry, Schweppes, Poland Spring, etc.). Anyone serious about tonic-based drinks (and doesn't want to bother with a home-brew) should definitely try both and decide which tastes best to them. I've tried both (in fact, I have both in my cabinet right now), and for me there's absolutely no question: I prefer Fever-Tree by a mile, for a variety of reasons. First, the carbonation of F-T's products (all of them that I've tried) is just fantastic -- tiny, tightly-packed bubbles like a fine champagne -- and creates a great mouth feel. Second, F-T tonic tastes cleaner, drier and more "crisp" to me; I'm just not much of a fan of the agave sweetener Q uses (but others may -- and do -- love it). Third, as someone who loves a nice big wedge of fresh lime in my G&T, to me the flavor profile of F-T works better with citrus garnishes. I also think F-T mixes better with gin; some folks say that Q mixes better with vodka, but honestly I've never been a fan of vodka-tonics. Finally, the size of the F-T bottles makes two perfectly-portioned G&Ts: 2 oz gin and 1/2 a bottle of F-T (~3.3 oz) and you're good to go. If you are a fan of "diet" tonic water, try F-T's "naturally lite" tonic. It's quite good, although I do prefer the regular.
  20. Oh, +1 on the Kelt VSOP. Love that stuff, even if the "tour du monde" bit (what with the shipping around the world in barrels on ships) is perhaps a bit hokey in modern times. A great product in all events, and an absolute staple in my home bar.
  21. White Russian. Large rocks glass, ice, 1.5 oz Stoli Blue Label (100 Proof and keepin' it real), 1 oz Kahlua Especial (so much better than the regular), top with milk (or half-and-half if you have it). Stir, sip, smile -- and remember. Or a real New Orleans Brandy Milk Punch with a grate of fresh nutmeg on top: Or a real New Orleans Ramos Gin Fizz: Or, for something essentially non-alcoholic, a "Chocolate Milk" Old Fashioned: Dash of simple syrup, 2-3 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters, 3 oz milk, stir and serve. As far as dairy-based drinks, those are about all I bother with.
  22. Good ideas, Steve. I'd forgotten about Pernod's cooking applications. I actually have a recipe for escargot based on a dish served at The Sardine Factory restaurant in Monterey, Calif. that's served with a garlicy cream sauce laced with Pernod. Time to pull that one out again!
  23. Chris, you are correct: Pernod is clearly the right pastis for the French Pearl. A very good drink and one that I'll pull out now and again. Of course, I'm now the "proud" owner of a practically-full 750ml bottle of Pernod (I was unable to find a 50ml mini) that's highly unlikely to get any other use! If that's the worst thing that happens to me this week, I'm probably doing ok.
  24. Well, I think the strawberry-infused rum still needs work. Just does not seem to have as much character as you get in the tequila version. Perhaps a 100-proof rhum agricole blanc as a base would work better. That said, however, my batch does make a mighty tasty Strawberry Daiquiri, and I suspect that's how it's likely to get consumed from now on.
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