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About lesliec

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    Wellington, New Zealand

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  1. I forgot myself and left everything soaking for an extra week, but I can't imagine that having any effect on the final product. Straining the solids out (may disturb young or nervous viewers): Not a pretty sight.The lumpy things are of course walnuts, and the strips are orange or lemon peel; the whole stained black by six weeks or so stewing in their own juice, as it were. I started with some 2.6 litres of 40% spirit and the final yield was 4.3l, which means the alcohol level is around 24%. I'm a little worried about the taste, which starts well but finishes very bitter and astringent, but with luck the empyreumatic (lovely word!) process by which things like absinthe mellow and lose their initial 'dried herb' character over time will also help make this drinkable in a few months. If not, in the immortal words of Winnie-the-Pooh: 'Oh help AND bother.' But for now, we wait and hope:
  2. We haven't had real Cynar for a while - been going through my own version, which I may say in all modesty is nowhere near as good as the proper stuff. The Strega is new to us and has made a very nice La Bateleur tonight. It's a(nother) delicious Death & Co recipe, which in the D&C book is Le Bateleur. Clearly a gender-diverse drink, but I believe the masculine is the correct rendition.
  3. Food funnies

    On that subject, I've occasionally mused that a humanitarian sounds like a very specialised type of carnivore.
  4. Drinks! 2017 (Part 1)

    No quibble about Four Roses from here. That bottle is my favourite; there's another Four Roses in a different bottle (flatter, as I remember). It's cheaper but to my taste not as good.
  5. Drinks! 2017 (Part 1)

    This was one of our favourites when we first got semi-seriously into cocktails! As it happens, I made one just a few weeks ago and it was still enjoyable. The recipe I have (from The Cocktail Book, Chancellor Press, 2002) differs slightly from yours, @ananth. They use 'measures' (1 measure, ½ measure, etc.) rather than the more sensible ounces or ml, but the way I've always made it is: 1oz/30ml orange juice 1oz/30ml dry vermouth ½oz/15ml Cointreau 2oz/60ml gin So quite a bit more Cointreau and no sugar. Don't skip the Grenadine. I'm sure the amount stated in my recipe (1 measure) is an error. I use maybe half a barspoonful, and the trick to a nice 'sunset' effect is to tip it straight in the middle of the poured drink. Lovely!
  6. Drinks! 2017 (Part 1)

    It was a toss up whether I posted this here or in the All About Rye topic, but since it's what we're having tonight, here it is. New Zealand is not an easy place in which to find a decent selection of ryes, but through circumstance and a litte help from a very kind friend I find myself possessed of three rather good specimens. The most recent, added today, is Pikesville, promoted on a blackboard outside a liquor shop I don't often get to as the world's best rye. So some experimentation seemed called for. Remember, this is for Science. From right to left, we have Rittenhouse 100, Whistlepig 10 year (100 proof) and the Pikesville (110 proof). The experiment consisted of making three versions of the Greenpoint, identical but for the base spirit. Fear not for my liver; those are half-size coupes which might hold two ounces at a pinch. As you see, they're not full (and there's two of us). There were some immediate differences apparent between the ryes. The Whistlepig is much lighter in colour than the other two (the Pikesville is juat a shade darker than the Rittenhouse), and the Pikesville had a lovely smell when uncorked - the other two needed a nose right in the neck of the bottle to smell them at all. On tasting the three cocktails, an interesting thing happened. The Pikesville version was a clear winner initially, with the Rittenhouse one relatively harsh (still pretty good, though). However, a few minutes later there was far less difference between the three. Other than the influence of oxygen, I can't think of a reason for this. But having said that, the Pikesville is still the winner. It's just that little bit smoother; maybe a little sweeter. But I'd be hard pressed to say it's twice as good as the Rittenhouse, which is half the price. This may not have been the best cocktail to use as a test and I should probably just try all three straight with a touch of water (I tasted the Pikesville like this when I got it home and it was a delight). Or maybe a Sazerac. But if that's the worst of my problems, 2017 is going to be a good year!
  7. Indeed, you may have to accept that this is the case! The idea is to get them before the shell forms, which is determined by being able to insert a pin or needle with minimal resistance. The ones above certainly qualified. A week or two further on, most of the sugar has now dissolved and the brew, while looking suitably vile, smells great. The saltiness seems to have gone, which I have to say is a relief.
  8. This is very new here (ryes are scarce): And despite its eye-watering price, I really like it on an initial taste with a little water. I think it's the most expensive bottle of spirits I've ever bought (so far). I'll try it in one or two of my favourite rye cocktails - D&C's Manhattan Transfer comes to mind - and report my findings in due course.
  9. $30+, you say? Call that around USD110. But it was the last bottle and I've got it home and tried it with just a touch of water, and it's really good. Thanks for your help, people. I might give the Pendleton a miss for now, but I'm going to enjoy the Pikesville. Slowly. Over many months.
  10. I need some advice from my fellow eGers. I was enticed into a booze shop today (I was just walking past, honest) by a sign saying 'Pikesville, the world's best rye'. As it turned out they'd run out, but is it sufficiently good I should take myself to their other branch with some urgency? Bear in mind ryes are very scarce here. We can get Rittenhouse, Jim Beam, Sazerac (sometimes) and not much else. While I was in there I noticed a couple of different bottles of Pendleton rye from Canada. Can anybody tell me anything about that? From memory they had the 'ordinary' 40% and perhaps the Directors' Reserve.
  11. Never heard of it before, but good mezcals are hens' teeth territory here (it must be a good one because it cost lots ...). I will say it smells great. The taste test is yet to come. Apparently they also make an agave gin. That I'd like to try.
  12. Three or four days in, this batch is moving nicely through the 'evil witches' brew green' phase towards the 'black as your heart' stage: Only another 36-odd days to go ...
  13. 'Tis the season, at least in this hemisphere, to make nocino again. I managed this year to find a source of walnuts that enabled me to pick them straight from the tree at a time closely corresponding to what would be St John's Day above the equator. And they were beauties: It occurred to me that I have never before in my life picked walnuts, so that's something. They were perfect inside. Not a trace of shell and plenty of juice: I was surprised to note how 'salty' they smelled when cut - almost like seaweed. This is not something I've ever read about. But something most of the recipes do mention is that one should wear gloves while cutting these things up. Maybe ... It's not that bad. A few hours later it's a little darker, but unless you hold your walnuts in a very odd way when you cut them up, nobody's going to mistake you for a heavy smoker. I'm trying a different recipe this year. I wasn't entirely happy with last year's batch - it's pleasant, but I thought the cinnamon was a little too dominant. So this year I'm using this one from Epicurious. I liked the addition of the coffee beans. They strike me as a very complementary flavour to the nuts themselves. And I had sufficient walnuts to more than triple the recipe! So it's now all set to spend several weeks in a sunny spot. This is pre-strirring, hence the heap of orange/lemon peels at the top: The only problem I had is noted here. Ahem. I have quite a good feeling about this batch. The next significant step isn't until 6 February, when I bottle it, but I'll report on progress over the next few weeks leading up to that.
  14. Today I made a new batch of nocino. That was not a serious error. Pouring the vodka onto the quartered walnuts in my big Kilner jar without checking the tap was turned off ... was.
  15. eG Cook-Off 74: Holiday Roasts

    Straight from the water bath, after unwrapping: It probably had close to four hours at 62°C by the time I took it out.Then into the oven on 'roast' setting, which gives an initial blast, for another half an hour or so: Looks nice, but I overdid it. It wasn't dry, but wasn't as moist as I'd have liked, and it lacked taste despite the Touluse sausage. I should have slathered it in gravy to help with both problems, but it was getting late. In answer to @gfweb above, this was not the best use I've made of transglutaminase, so your suggestion of salting and a tight wrap would probably have given a better result. I also think I needed some extra fat in there; in previous years I've had offcuts of fat from legs of Spanish ham, which causes much deliciousness, but not this year. Must do better next time! The meal overall wasn't bad, just not to my usual standard. But we had a fun afternoon anyway. Merry Christmas!