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  1. Made a nice rhubarb version using the one day soak (actually two, because I forgot about it) of the fruit in the vinegar. Equal parts chopped rhubarb, white wine vinegar (with a dash of balsamic), and white sugar. Much better results than with the Felton-City Tavern raspberry recipe. I tried it mixed 1 part shrub to 4 parts club soda and was quite happy with the results.
  2. The impression I got from my research was a) vinegar, like lemon juice, was considered healthful; and b) people liked how the vinegar helped them beat the heat. On this latter point, I didn't dive into colonial temperatures, but I found notes that talk about how people liked to drink vinegar -- even over rum -- especially as it helped keep them cool. The reason I question the preservative angle as being the exclusive one (from a very, very layman point of view) is that many other methods for preserving fruit were know at the time. I just flipped through my copy of the Good Housewife's Jewel (1596) and there are a number of preservation recipes in there (for quinces, oranges, etc.). By the 1700s, cream of tartar was around and was being recommended as a preservative. There also seem to have been a good deal of citrus around -- they were even growing trees aboard some ships -- but I agree that vinegar would last longer. Wondrich backs up the "lack of citrus, so they substituted" position, of course, and I reserve the right to be completely wrong. I can certainly see the colonial mindset to create and bottle shrubs when the fruit was most ripe. It's certainly a fascinating subject.
  3. Just did a simple shrub post. I tired a number of old recipes and found most of them too vinegar forward for my liking -- the fruit either got lost or had to compete too much. The "simple" version I came up with may not be historically kosher, but I think it makes for a more balanced drink, both virgin wise and with alcohol. I tried to dig up a lot of history too. If you're interested: http://12bottlebar.com/2011/06/17/simple-shrubs/ Erik, have you started with any gastrique recipes and tried to move them into the shrub camp? How'd the rhubarb come out?
  4. Panosmex, I figured it was high time I reported back on my tepache experiments, and you captured my feelings exactly. I did a double fermentation -- 3 days w/o sugar, then 3 days with piloncillo and beer (Tecate, because it's so neutral). After about 4 days, everything went from a nice pineapple drink to a heady too-much-like-beer brew. I'm glad to see your post here; it confirms that I should give it another chance. If anyone is interested in seeing the wonderful natural fermentation of the tepache monster, I posted a quick video:
  5. Finally started a new batch tonight. Bought a jar for it, weighed the fruit down and everything. We'll see how it goes.
  6. 12BottleBar

    Pickled eggs

    I've just made two batches -- one without shells and one with shells a la Harold McGee. I've noticed that the version with shells has a film that's come off of the shells. Anyone know if this is normal?
  7. On the side of keeping the twist -- they help in photographs. Unbroken liquid can not only be a bit dull, it can be hard to focus on, camera-wise.
  8. I know I missed your deadline, but here's one for future needs. We posted this as a Halloween punch, but it's good throughout the fall. You can substitute ready-made ingredients as necessary, but it's quick and tasty when homemade: Poison Apple Punch 2 parts Spiced Apple Juice 1 part Ginger Beer 0.5 part Raspberry Syrup Add all ingredients to a punch bowl and give a stir Garnish with the discarded cinnamon and cloves from the Spiced Apple Juice, with sliced apples, or as you prefer For the Spice Apple Juice: 1. Bring apple juice to a boil along with some cinnamon and whole cloves. How much cinnamon and cloves? I wing it, but taking the advice of various mulled cider recipes, I’d start with 3 cinnamon sticks and about a teaspoon of whole cloves per half gallon (64 oz) of apple juice. Feel free to adjust depending on how spicy you like things. If it’s too spicy, just dilute with more apple juice. I really like Canela (Mexican Cinnamon) here. 2. Once the juice has reached a boil, cover it and remove from the heat until cooled. For the Raspberry Syrup, cover fresh or thawed raspberries overnight with rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water). Strain the next day, keeping the liquid and find a good use for the solids.
  9. Well, that batch got mold quicker than anything. Too much surface area, me thinks. Next batch soon.
  10. Got the first batch brewing. These mad cocktail science experiments are really fun, aren't they?
  11. Just heat it up and pour it over the top.
  12. Chris, I think your reference guide will prove quite useful. Final question before I make the leap (again, apologies for not scouring all the pages of this topic for a simple answer): from where are those in the US buying ingredients? I only really know of Small Flower and Frontier Coop.
  13. I've not made bitters yet myself, but my assumption is that they are all made by combining the botanicals and letting the "cure" together. In gin making, some manufacturers like Leopold's distill the botanicals separately and then combine/blend them after the fact. Has this approach been applied to bitters making? Would it work?
  14. Adam - I was going to just message you directly, but I do think that this discussion is germane to the topic, so I'll response here. In no way am I or my site claiming the above. All I provide is an entry point for someone who is, maybe, uneducated on the subject of cocktails or a bit intimidated by it. My goal is to get readers excited enough about one or two drinks that they then move on to bigger and more interesting things. So, am I saying "only these"? No. But unless people start their journey somewhere, they'll never wander down the dark alleyways of discovery. Just like the starter Lego sets only make us want the bigger, more complicated ones. This is how my personal experience has been -- I started off with a bottle of Angostura which I never used because no one taught me what it was for or why it was good. I learned the basics, became more excited, and ultimately found my way here -- chatting bitters with you and the group here. I think the process has worked out beautifully.
  15. Adam -- I'm in Los Angeles; we drive to the mailbox.
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