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Everything posted by brinza

  1. Heh, yeah, I know what you mean. I live in Pennsylvania which has a crap selection of miniatures.
  2. I tried a bottle of M&R Rosato out of curiosity. I admit I'm not that crazy about it, but the other day I was looking at the bottle, and felt to need to use it in something. It's very floral and doesn't work well with whiskey, but I thought it might work with gin, so I used it in the Martinez recipe and it wasn't bad at all. I'm not suggesting anyone go out and by a bottle just for this purpose, but if you've got some and don't know what to do with it, this is a good way to use it up.
  3. One possibility is New Amsterdam which is very low on juniper and very citrusy, but not really floral. It's almost closer to a lemon vodka than a gin, but it might work in your drink. I might also suggest Bombay Sapphire East which adds lemongrass and peppercorns to the ten botanicals of the Bombay Sapphire. Magellan is somewhat floral (being flavored with iris pedals), but I don't know if you'd call it "lightly flavored." Quintessential might work, too.
  4. Too true. For example, the Alaska appears in some cocktail books as calling for orange bitters, but some books omit it. I think the orange bitters make all the difference in the world in that drink.
  5. Tried the Paper Trail from Kindred the other night. My friend and I both liked it. Good use for Salers and, I suspect Suze as well.
  6. The variation on the Greenpoint using the Genepy des Alpes was wonderful. I didn't bother with the "drops of Benedictine" feeling that there would be enough going on without it. The subtle taste of the Genepy came through just enough and the overall taste probably differs enough from the Greenpoint to have its own name. I'll have to think on it. Something less silly than "Manhatterhorn" which is all I can think of at the moment.
  7. I like the sound of this, but I lack Yellow Chartreuse. I might try it with Dolin's Genepy des Alpes, which is more akin to Green Chartreuse, but a touch sweeter. A couple drops of Benedictine might provide the dark spice notes of the Yellow Chartreuse. That No. 65 looks enticing as well, and I do happen to have Bonal and Falernum.
  8. Thanks for the information, FrogPrincesse. I remember tasting the other Suze in New Orleans and was surprised that it was not nearly as bitter as I was led to believe it would be. This American version seems to be a little more bitter. So much for making things sweeter to appeal to the so-called "American palate!" Anyway, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with what's available. I will definitely try a White Negroni using it. Do you have other good recipes using Suze? (I don't want to keep derailing this thread, so I'll look through your mouth-watering posts in the Drinks thread).
  9. I have to admit that PA has gotten more on the ball regarding cocktail-friendly products over the last three or four years. While our stores still have their gargantuan Wall-of-Flavored-Vodkas that could rival a Bourbon St "frozen daiquiri" joint, they also have several Haus Alpenz items, and numerous other odds and ends such as Campari, maraschino, Strega, Cherry Heering, and various amari. Certain select stores carry Cinzano, Nolly Prat, and even Carpano Antica Formula, but sadly, no Dolin or Punt e Mes. We have Lillet, but no Cocchi Americano. Our whiskey and tequila (forget mezcal) selections seem to hold their own but I think our gin and rum selections are poor. We have Smith & Cross, Zacapa, and Barbancourt, but no El Dorado, Lemon Hart, or Flor de Cana. The most exotic gin we have is Old Raj. We have no genever at all and one Aquavit. About a year ago, they finally started to carry Peychaud's Bitters. Expecting them to add orange bitters might be asking too much. One of the more crazy juxtapositions of catering to diverse markets was the Ashebrooke Liquour Outlet in Morgantown WV, which had some interesting and unusual products, once you walked past the (literally) pallet-loads of Jägermeister. They also had Rittenhouse 100 for about $12.50, and I'm still kicking myself for not buying a whole case when I was there about 4 years ago. A good selection doesn't always have to be about cocktails, however. There are so many things out there that, even though cocktailians like to use them, are simply wonderful products on their own, and that many people might enjoy if they knew they existed and had the opportunity to buy them.
  10. The Mai Tai formula I use is basicaly Trader Vic's: 1 oz dark aged or Jamaican rum, 1 oz light or gold rum, 1 oz lime juice, 1/2 oz orange curacao, 1/4 oz orgeat (sometimes I use falernum), 1/4 oz simple. I almost always add a splash of Lemon Hart 151. I never add any other kind of juice. But I do like the looks of this recipe (ie with the extra curacao instead of simple syrup)
  11. It's my third trip there. I go once a year. When I tell them I'm from Pittsburgh, they ask what brought me to KY, as if I'm there for some larger reason and I just happened to stop in the store, and I have to say, "I'm in KY to come here." It's probably a good thing that I don't live closer. Mainly I was surprised because it didn't show up on their website so I wasn't expecting to see it there. That's interesting. I didn't know there were two formulas. Why are there two formulas? How are they different? It's still a wonderful product. I prefer it to Salers.
  12. tanstaafl2, Thanks. I got the Genepy and the Verveine Velay. I'm very pleased with both of them. They are definitely in the same vein as Chartreuse but different in their own ways. The Dolin is certianly sweeter than Chartreuse whereas the Pages is drier (and the same ABV as Chartruese). I have to tell you though that it took the Party Source guys about a half an hour to find it for me (probably because of all the renovations going on). It was not shelved and although knew they had it, they did not know where in the store it was (I had expected it to be in between the Chartruese and the Pages, but it was not there). I kept saying, "this guy on a message board posted that he just bought some here on August 24!"). I had three guys working on it until one finally managed to locate it. Party Source haul from Friday (in photo, from l to r): Cocchi Americano (x2) Old Overholt El Dorado 3yr Damrak Amsterdam Gin Lemon Hart 151 Rothman & Winter Apricot Suze!!! (I can't believe they had this!) Dolin Rouge Martini Rosato Melletti Amaro Punt e Mes (x2) Cinzano Bianco Berentzen Pear John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum Angostura Orange Bitters Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin DeKuyper 03 Orange Liqueur Q Tonic Water Fentiman's Tonic Water El Dorado 15 yr Dolin Genepy des Alpes Pages Verveine Velay Verte Fever-Tree Tonic Water Bitter Truth Orange Bitters Balvenie Portwood 21 (mini)
  13. tanstaafl2, I will be going to the Party Source this coming Friday and I was actually thinking of getting the Genepy even before I saw this post. Do you recommend it? Have you ever had Pages Verveine Velay Verte? I'm looking at that too. I'm intrigued by these alpine herbal liquers. Sure wish I could get Klosterliquere.
  14. For an economical everyday mixing bourbon, I've been very happy with Ezra Brooks which runs about $12 a 750ml and at 90 proof manages to hold its own in multi-ingredient drinks (By "multi-ingredient," I mean that for Manhattans and Old Fashioneds I'll stay with "sipping" ryes or bourbons).
  15. Negroni. As Chris said, that doesn't mean it's my one and only favorite, but when I'm drinking it seems like the best damn thing ever. It has the capacity to deliver everything I need at the moment. And a fresh piece of orange peel puts it over the top. I even find it to be one of the best drinks to order when I'm out since the Negroni is one drink that's difficult to screw up.
  16. For me, wheras the Negroni is crisp and bracing, I find the Boulevarddier to be warm and spicy. I probably drink more of the former than the latter, but I love 'em both.
  17. Bloody Mary. I want a beverage, not soup, thank you. I've actually mixed them for people, but I prefer not to be within three feet of the things.
  18. How can Bulleit call it "Small Batch" on the label then? How exactly are they using the word "batch." Not challenging your statements, but now I'm curious about this.
  19. Customer service should definitely come first, and what happened to talking to patrons and hopefully educating or enlightening them on new possibilities that they may not have considered? So give them the vodka martini or whatever and while they are drinking it, talk to them about other exciting options for Round Two. OTOH, after reading a statement like I have to say that in 99.9% of the bars in the US, order a "Martini" without any other qualifiers and you'll get vodka. And I'm sure if you said, "Oh, I wanted gin" you'd get a response along the lines of "Most people want vodka in their Martinis," completely oblivious to the irony of that statement. Embury in Pittsburgh didn't stock vodka, but the bartenders always explained it politely, almost apologetically. Besides, it was the owner's decision, not theirs. The logic for not carrying vodka was that they billed themselves as a "pre-prohibition style cocktail bar." Occasionally someone would walk in off the street not realizing what they had walked into and order a beer, which Embury also didn't have. (Caveat: there was a more convential lounge just upstairs where the rum and cokes, etc. flowed freely, but Embury was on the ground floor and more visible). One guy sat next to me and when it was explained to him that it was a cocktail bar, ordered a Whiskey Sour, obviously unable to think of anything else. I think he felt a bit out of his element, so I said "Good choice." The bartender without hesitation started performing his craft with the same skill and care that he put into all his drinks, including a one-handed egg crack to drop a bit of egg white into the shaker (sometimes I'm easily impressed). I said to the guy, "This will be the best Whiskey Sour you've ever had. He seemed to enjoy it and no one looked down on him. I just don't get the snobbery. Cocktails went out of fashion partly because bartenders lost the art of making good drinks and subsequently bar patrons forgot how good a well-made cocktail could be. Like Sam said, impress your patrons by how damn well you make the drink, not by making them feel stupid for ordering the wrong drink. Use a quality, fresh vermouth in the vodka Martini or homemade tonic water in their vodka and tonic (and don't drown the spirit with 6 ounces of tonic water either) and see if they notice the difference. Now if they complain that the Martini is not "dry" enough and want less or no vermouth, then them's fightin' words.
  20. So, any opinions on Cocktail Kingdom's Wormwood bitters? I'm kind of curious.
  21. Here are some recipes that I created for a cocktail competition last year. At first glance, they are all going to appear to be overly sweet, being heavy on the Drambuie itself, because the rules indicated that Drambuie had to be the "lead" ingredient, whatever that means. Feel free to dial down the Drambuie if you want, but I tried to mitigate the sweetness as best I could with the other ingredients. I deliberately avoided using Scotch just to be different (even though the Rusty Nail is in fact one of my favorite drinks). Here goes: Drambuie Skye 1 ounce Drambuie 1 ounce straight rye whiskey 1 ounce dry vermouth 1 dash Peychaud's Bitters Stir and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist or peel. This is actually kind of crisp and bracing with a little sweetness. ----------------------------------------------------------- Drambul'orange muddled orange peel 1 ounce Drambuie 1 ounce Lillet 3/4 ounce fresh orange juice 2 dashes orange bitters Muddle a piece of orange peel in a mixing glass or shaker tin. Shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with flamed orange peel. --------------------------------------------------------- Drambuie Island Dream 1 1/2 ounces Drambuie 3/4 ounce Jamaican rum 1 ounce grapefruit juice 1/4 to 1/2 ounce ginger beer (to taste) 1 dash Angostura Bitters Build in a rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish with piece of fresh pineapple. This was an attempt to bring Drambuie and rum together and it ended up kind of tiki and could certainly be served that way. A paper umbrella would do it no harm. ------------------------------------------------------------- Drambuie Lemon Lifter 1 ounce Drambuie 1 ounce London dry gin 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice 1/4 ounce Maraschino liqueur Shake and strain into cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel over the top and discard. Garnish with maraschino cherry. I like honey and lemon. The gin and maraschino add some complexity. Really nice color. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Drambuie di Torino 1 1/2 ounces Drambuie 3/4 ounce Punt e Mes Stir with ice. Strain into cocktail glass or liqueur glass. Sounds goofy but it's surprisingly good. ------------------------------------------------------------------ The Spirit of Drambuie 1 1/2 ounces Drambuie 1 ounce cognac 3/4 ounce Ramazzotti Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel. This one is strong, spicy and sweet. There they are. I think they are all at least worth a try, but I welcome any criticisms. Feel free to tear 'em apart!
  22. And I've doubt the extra capacity is much needed when you're behind the stick! NO doubt! Should read NO DOUBT! (damn)
  23. Ha! You do that too? My wife and I have been to the Party Source twice since we learned about it's existence. Both times we went with a friend of ours and stayed overnight in Newport and made a weekend out of it. When we told locals why we were in KY, they would just stare in disbelief. "Don't you have liquor stores in Pennsylvania?" "Well, yes, but let me explain that to you." Anyway, on the first trip I fell in love with the vermouth aisle. I love just being able to say that--the vermouth aisle. The Party Source is my only practical source for Dolin, Bonal, Cocchi Americano, etc., and allowed me to try Cinzano for the first time (we have it in PA now). It is also the only practical way I can get Lemon Hart 151 and other fun rums. I usually pass on single malts because their prices are surprisingly way higher that PA's on most of them. We're planning to return there in September. As for what I bought recently, last weekend I made a trip my favorite local specialty store and replenished some things I've been out of for a while: Green Chartruese Cherry Heering Smith & Cross Rum Cinzano Carpano Antica Formula Ramazzotti Broker's Gin
  24. This is it right here. One of the problems with some of the so-called craft cocktail bars is that they think the concept means that they are supposed to invent all their own cocktails and that they must be odd and unusual (in order to give the appearance of being innovative), meanwhile they've completely skipped over the part about serving classics and/or well-made cocktails. Actually, I think what got lost is that "craft cocktails" should first mean well-made cocktails, before it means classic cocktails or new "innovative" cocktails. The drinking public doesn't necessarily need to learn about classic cocktails if they go to a place where the drinks are well-made. Once someone tastes a perfectly made classic, they suddenly realize what a good drink really is. If they are served something bizarre and don't like it, they might be soured on the whole concept of craft cocktails and go back to the sea of flavored vodka swill that they are more comfortable with. I agree with a lot what both Derek and Zach had to say--I don't think their ideas are diametrically opposed. I bet it's safe to say that they both want the same thing from a bar or bartender, but have taken different approaches to delineate the reasons that so many of them are failing to grasp the craft cocktail concept. I think most of us just want to be able to walk into a bar and simply ask for a Manhattan or a Sidecar or an Old Fashioned and have it well-made. I would love to be able to order a Martini and not have to specify that I want gin. No, I don't want "your twist" on a classic. Well, maybe I do, but call it something else, don't use the name of a classic to sell me your pet project. When I look at a cocktail menu for the first time, the first thing I do is look at all the base liquors. If there are plenty with whiskey or gin and at least a few with brandy or rum, I know that there is at least some potential here; someone's thought about this. Then I scrutinize the supporting ingredients and go from there.
  25. And I've doubt the extra capacity is much needed when you're behind the stick!
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