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Everything posted by 12BottleBar

  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.
  16. Thanks, Moto. I may try that colada once I actually make the tepache (soon, I hope).
  17. For my site, accessibility is a consideration but never a roadblock. I've got an Amazon store for whatever I help people find, but yes, I do know that my core audience is the "run down to the liquor store (or even supermarket)" group. If possible, I try to make things easy for them.
  18. On another front, has anyone (Adam maybe?) tried Dr. Harris's Original Pick-me-up in a cocktail? Would it be classified as a bitter? I have an empty bottle and never tried mixing it outside of the recommended water/ginger ale version -- I vaguely remember it having a very violet-ammonia profile. I did a search, which returned no results.
  19. Finally (mostly) caught up with all the previous posts. It's interesting to see the points of view here, where many espouse a plethora of bitters on the shelf, and the forums at Modern Drunkard, where I was called a fancy lad for having two bitters on my list. I'm a fan of both Regan's and Fee's for very different reasons -- the former sharing so much density (for good reason) with Peychaud's, and the latter having an almost soda pop (maybe misplaced in a bitter?) top note. The 50/50 mix is really spot-on for me, and I think an interesting take, as I really like to push readers into getting to know their ingredients. A little home tinkering isn't such a bad thing. Still curious to hear other opinions on the matter.
  20. Thanks for all the quick feedback! Chris, I did do that search a few days ago, 30+ for Peychaud's versus 300+ for orange bitters. It's always gnawed at me, but I think admitting hindsight or greater awakening, as the case may be, makes for a more honest and interesting blog. As I (like all bloggers) have readers scattered around the globe, I do have to keep online availability as an option. Adam, very anxious to try your Dandelion and Burdock -- not sure I've ever experienced the combination. Regan's over Angostura and Fee's, then -- it that the general consensus? Yes, I'm going back to page #1 to catch-up.
  21. If I may appeal to the forum, I can use a little advice on the subject of bitters. My blog is focused on educating and exciting the average Joe on the subject of classic cocktails. In order to strip away any perceived mysteries and moans of "it's too complicated", I decided to build a fixed set of key ingredients and to work exclusively around those, plus mixers. The ingredients are "bottles" people would need to buy, not just spirits -- I know a lot of well-educated, well-off people who appreciate cocktails but who have little more than bottles of Belvedere and Cuervo Gold in their home liquor cabinets. My choice of bitters are Angostura and Peychaud's. For a while now, orange bitters have been gnawing at me -- would they have been a better choice than Peychaud's? For the average Joe, which would provide the simplest, broadest, and most-accessible repertoire? If I switch, what do I lose (like the Sazerac) and what do I gain without disrupting the rest of the bottles? I'd really appreciate the thoughts of the group.
  22. I think that's a problem facing a lot of us non-bartenders. I usually beg to try house-made syrups, etc. whenever I can, but who knows if that person got it right. I have tasted Monin and others, and I can say that the recipe I use certainly has the right profile as well as the appropriate "homemade goodness" I expected. Now, I need to make a fresh batch just to make sure.
  23. This is the one I've been looking at, but I'm going to take a look at the Diana Kennedy version as well. http://firklandcooks.blogspot.com/2009/05/tepache.html
  24. Thanks, I'll give that a try.
  25. I ultimately went with the one on About.com, which seemed about as authentic as it goes. Gary Regan told me that his grandmother used to make it by putting whole raw eggs in brandy until the shells dissolved, then whipping it all up (which I must try), but as it was something I was passing along to my readers, the About recipe was quick, easy and yielded the proper results. Boy, is it boozy, and I think it'll make the best bread pudding topping on the planet. We needed it for one of our Halloween drinks, the Jack Torrance, which is Bourbon (actually, JD) and Advocaat, taken from the movie The Shining. It's very tasty, unless you've been experimenting with Advocaat all week -- then, it's the last thing you want.
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