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  1. I will also echo that Ransom Old Tom is phenomenal is so many classics cocktails: Sazerac, Manhattan, or in place of Genever in an Improved Holland Gin Cocktail. I love Matusalem or other stellar rum in a Red Hook. Never came up with any better name than just 'Rum Hook.' Also Jamaica rum in a Bijou freaking rocks. I did coin a better name for that one: the Aratama (uncut gem) Cocktail. Appleton VX works nicely, but Smith & Cross is balls-kickingly delicious! (Edited for Megabus fatigue...)
  2. Any other cocktails you guys have tried from the book you'd like to point out? I've been slowly pouring over it, picking out some goodies I can make at home or at work, and whipping up some special ingredients for others. Went to Book Club night at the Whistler in Chicago where Mr. McGee was mixing PDT cocktails. All were delicious! White Birch Fizz (subbing Wormwood bitts for Suze) and the Girl From Jerez. Among the many I've tried at home: the Cranberry Cobbler was nice. Picked up some fresh cranberries from my expensive local hippie co-op. Can't say the syrup turned out especially flavorful. I'd like to retry it by actually juicing the berries fresh and adding sugar. Major adjustments for swt/sour to be taken into account, of course. The Lion's Tooth: Dandelion Root-infused Rittenhouse, Palo Cortado Sherry, Yellow Chartreuse, St. Germain. This one was freaking stellar! So delicious, even though I had to sub for the Palo Cortado. Would love to try it without the infusion to see if it makes just as fine a drink, but the Dandelion Root is delicious for sure. I'll keep posting more as I think of them. Your turn...
  3. Alex, I had the same problem with my first batch of Regans' #5. I used Gary's process for orange bitters and root beer bitters, and the same process which is essentially replicated for every recipe in the new "Bitters" book: steep solids in alcohol 2 weeks, simmer and steep same solids in water 1 week, combine the tincture and the infusion, sweeten. There is definitely a difference in how the solids break down in water as opposed to the alcoholic tincture. The orange peels (and the sassafras to a lesser extent)turned into a gelatinous mush which I never should have combined with my lovely tincture. It wasn't a matter of skimming precipitate off the top and bottom; the bitters were a mess throughout. I threw the bottle of orange bitters out, as it was so incredibly goopy and disgusting, no amount of cheese cloth could have salvaged them. It was too thick to go through any strainer (mesh, Brita, coffee filter) but too homogeneous to put through cloth (all the goop and solids went right through.) The root beer bitters were salvageable, if slightly murky.) I've had far more success with bitters since that failed batch of Orange. But I am wary of following this procedure for the recipes in the "Bitters" book until someone can help me figure out what went wrong. I simply plan to monitor the water infusion and strain it obsessively before ever adding it to the tincture. With any luck my Campfire Bitters will not suffer... Best of luck!
  4. About a year ago, Nebraska had an epidemic of bad Peychaud's bitters. Somehow the distributors got ahold of a case of bottles which all smelled like spoiled fish sauce. So yeah, I guess it's possible to accidentally make fish sauce sazeracs, whether you want to or not. It was shocking how nobody seemed to notice, but I went around bar-to-bar, sniffing everybody's bitters and, sure enough, all the best bars were using stanky'chauds... Granted, in Omaha, having a case of Peychaud's at all was a big deal. I'm pretty sure the distributors are still trying to foist those bottles off on bars...
  5. I was awfully curious about Kiuchi no Shizuku, hoping it could be categorized as a unique new style of gin or other aromatized spirit. Well, it wasn't quite that... It certainly smells like witbier, but I'm not entirely sure what to do with it. Tried using it as the base in a martini, then when that proved too overwhelming i tried it in place of the vermouth in a martini. As the bottle is so tiny and expensive, I can't bring myself to use it in many gin cocktails (I saw it suggested here that it makes a good Last Word, but I'm not about to find out.)
  6. Ok, I got around to trying my "Improved" B&B Old Fashioned. It was delish, and goes thus: Bigger & Better 2 oz Pierre Ferrand Cognac .50 oz Benedictine 2 dashes Regans' Orange Bitters 1 dash Angostura Bitters 1 dash Maraschino 1 dash Absinthe Orange peel garnish
  7. Hey, very cool! I made some bergamot bitters a while back and they turned out quite nicely. I was only whipping up a tiny test batch, and not really steeping anything. Happened to have some oil of bergamot on hand, so I put that in some gin, let it sit overnight and ran it through a paper filter to catch the oils. I added some earl grey tea for color and extra bergamot flavor, and rather than spending weeks steeping quassia or gentian, I just dashed in a bunch of pre-made bitter tincture. Then, I wanted to give it a little extra complexity and dual flavors, so I rummaged through my fridge to see what weird stuff I had on hand: strawberry shrub. Reduced that, added it to the earl grey. Voila, Strawberry/Bergamot Bitters.
  8. This one just occurred to me last night. I was sipping B&B, and no I don't mean I made myself some B&B, I was actually drinking the branded version from the bottle (don't ask why I had this on hand.) It occurred to me, hey, B&B is a not a bad thing, especially when you make it yourself, but it's barely a 'cocktail.' I'm sure it's been done before, but why not make this into a decent cocktail like an Old Fashioned or, even better, an Improved. Here's the punchline, and really the only reason I'm so excited about this drink: I'm going to call it the 'Bigger & Better.' *toothy grin* For obvious reasons, but also as a nod to the fact that it's an 'improved' cocktail, in more ways than one. I'm thinking: 2 oz Cognac (Maison Surrenne / Pierre Ferrand) .50 oz Benedictine 2 dashes Bitters (Ango, until I settle on something better) 2 dashes Maraschino (we'll wait and see about a dash of absinthe or curacao or whatever) Garnish Orange peel Really I just liked the cheeky, and slightly cruel name.
  9. Please DO let us know your findings. I'm a bit paranoid about getting my hands on a bottle of the old LH151 (tasted but never owned). So far, reviews seem promising that quality has not suffered, but I'm in no position to say whether or not the overall character is a true recreation. I may like to snag an old bottle (read: some old bottles) while I have access to such resources. Anyone else have word on this issue? (Sorry to get off topic...)
  10. Katie, you're quite right. I may have spoken too soon about the Ransom Improved; a Ransom Sazerac is just genius! I'll often ask a bartender to make me one when I'm out of ideas and just want something damn good. I'm sure it was here that I saw the suggestion (maybe Mr. Amirault's?)
  11. I'm excited about my new bottles of Ransom and Smith & Cross. Here's some of the stuff I've been making with em: An Improved Hollands Gin cocktail with Ransom is one of my favorite things in the word: 2 oz Ransom Old Tom .125 oz Demerara 3 dashes Maraschino 2 dashes Angostura (I threw in 2 of Peychaud's too, just for fun) 1 dash Absinthe (I used St. George, because Ransom deserves it) garnish lemon peel Today I made myself a Cocktail a la Louisianne with Ransom: 1.5 oz Ransom .75 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cocchi Sweet rocks) .50 oz Benedictine 3 dashes Peychaud's rinse of Herbsaint garnish lemon peel One of my other favorite variations these days is a Bijou cocktail made with Smith & Cross in place gin. The Aratama Cocktail: 1.5 oz Smith & Cross Jamaica Rum .75 oz Sweet Vermouth* .50 oz Green Chartreuse 2 dashes orange bitters garnish orange peel *Again, I like Cocchi. Antica is also good but I have friends who have never liked a Bijou in any iteration, and they swear the reason is that the vanilla of Antica combined with Chartreuse makes it taste like candy corn. Anyway, these are all delicious. Hope someone enjoys them.
  12. I finally got around to buying some Everclear so I can make some Campfire bitters I've been planning on for a long time. Lapsang Souchong smoked black tea bitters. I'm taking these slowly and building on the profile as I go along. So far just a strong tincture of lapsang. The bittering agents so far will be quassia, gentian, and calamus. Spices to be added are yet to be decided, likely just a whisper of clove. After that, I highly suspect an oz or two of mezcal will get dashed in just to vamp up the complexity of smokey quality in the mix. I'm curious about actually taking the smoking gun to the batch in the end, but I have no idea how effective that might be in an ingredient used by the dash. To say nothing of whether or not the smoke grows overpowering or even goes bad over time... More details to come, here: http://tsiologist.tumblr.com/post/12507082341/lapsang-souchong-bitters-campfire-bitters-tea
  13. Oh dear, I would love some El D 12 (or 15...) Also curious to try the Creole Shrubb! I'm still just getting settled in Chicago, and have yet to rebuild my bar selection to its former glory. First things first, I had to get me a new bottle of Chartreuse. Now that we are reunited, everything will be ok. But I've been without any gin whatsoever for several months now, and I finally got around to picking up: Beefeater (obligatory) Ransom (this is the first time I've owned a bottle, and I'm soooo excited!) a mini 375 of Benedictine Pimm's (for the heck of it) and a bottle of everclear so I can get back to making some bitters and tinctures I've been planning on for a while. It feels good to be home at last!
  14. Hey, that helps. I'll just bide my time and watch to see which online retailers offer it first. =)
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