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Van Stratten

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About Van Stratten

  1. The cocktail is an American invention. Good luck trying to find French cocktails from the 19th Century. If you want a good cocktail using French ingredients, the Phoebe Snow is decent. It's equal parts cognac and Dubonnet, with a dash of absinthe. Not as good as the gin counterpart, the Apparent Cocktail, but it's good nonetheless. And the Champs Élysées is a fantastic cocktail, your opinion notwithstanding. It's wonderful with yellow Chartreuse, although it may not be a good cocktail for those who have a one-night-stand relationship with cocktails, and make a different drink every night.
  2. Salt in cocktails

    Lots. It's precisely why the modern martini is so wonderful when garnished with a green olive. The olive is soaked in salty brine, and when added to a mixture of spicy gin and a modest amount of spicy dry vermouth, it helps to round out the flavors just as salt does in cooking. Too much salty brine and you'll ruin the drink, but the olive(s) should be wet enough to impart at least some salty flavor to the drink. When making vintage martinis on the other hand, with lots of dry vermouth and orange bitters, in my opinion the salty brine wrecks the drink. I stick with an orange twist on the rare occasions I make them. The salt may be clashing with the wine in the vermouth.
  3. Carpano Antica canisters

    This is good news. I hope they sell the small bottles in Minnesota, although I can't complain too much about the big bottles. Those seem to keep real well in the refrigerator. I can only hope that Boissiere finally does the same. Having to fuss with the liter bottles of their dry vermouth is the prickly bur in the side of my martini-loving existence.
  4. I make the Champs Elysées cocktail with yellow Chartreuse, not the green. I follow the ratio in the Savoy Cocktail Book almost exactly: 1.5 oz cognac .75 oz sweetened lemon juice .5 oz yellow Chartreuse 3 or 4 drops Angostura bitters For the "sweetened lemon juice" I just eyeball about 3/4 of the measurement lemon juice, 1/4 simple syrup. I think it's one of the best cocktails out there. Works fine for me using Remy Martin VSOP.
  5. Aperitivo Americano

    Welcome, Van Stratten. Allow me to take a different approach to your contrarian one. Thanks, Chris. I ended up finishing the bottle of Cocchi Americano I had by drinking it plain (or "neat" to use the popular euphemism), and thought again that it was very good by itself. Something that tastes that good must mix well with something. I'll need to experiment with it again. Maybe that Kina Cocktail or White Negroni should be next. And I have to back track on the harsh criticism I made about it. I recently opened up a new bottle of Lillet Blanc, made a 20th Century Cocktail with it, and it tasted just as "flat" as the ones I made with C.A. I was stunned. I thought I had that drink perfected, but I guess not. I haven't made it again but I suspect the problem is that I made the bad ones with too much creme de cacao. I had settled on Gary Regan's 3:1:1:1 ratio as the best version, but I'll need to tone down the creme de cacao a bit or go back to Dr. Cocktail's 6:3:3:2 ratio. More experimentation is needed (...the horror).
  6. Aperitivo Americano

    I shouldn't sound like a contrarian with my very first post on this forum, but personally I'm going back to Lillet. Two of my top ten cocktails call for Lillet blanc: the popular Corpse Reviver #2 and the not-as-popular 20th Century Cocktail. I think Cocchi Americano is fine, if unremarkable, in a Corpse Reviver #2. But in a 20th Century Cocktail - and I double checked tonight after a two month hiatus - it is absolutely dreadful. Terrible. That drink is (in my opinion) much, much better with a fresh bottle of Lillet. When I first opened the Cocchi Americano and tried it in a 20th Century Coctail, I thought I was drinking the cocktail with an old, stale bottle of Lillet. I let the Cocchi Americano oxidize a couple months in the fridge but that didn't help. Since I believe the CR2 is no better (if that) with Cocchi Americano, I will happily switch back to Lillet blanc. This kind of surprises me because on its own I think Americano is delicious. Unadorned in a glass it's a hands down winner next to Lillet blanc. But in two of my favorite mixed drinks, I believe it is a poor runner up to the original. That said, I look forward to finishing the bottle I have straight and not mixed.
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