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Everything posted by Rafa

  1. Smoke 'n Choke 3/4 oz Cynar 1/2 oz Dolin dry 1/2 oz Dolin blanc 1/4 oz Coal Ila or Lagavulin soda to top Orange twist I enjoyed this. The combination of cherry and bitter is daring (or risky, depending upon your point of view) only because bitter medicinal cough syrup is often cherry, and we have a negative association with that from childhood (and beyond). I need to try these. Give it a shot. I don't find it medicinal, but I think for some people cherry liqueur will always = cough syrup. (That kept me from enjoying Cherry Heering for a while.) For me the flavors blend together, so I get dark red fruit from the cherry and vermouth's wine upfront and bitterness from the Cynar and Punt in the back. But I'm curious to see if other people find it off-putting.
  2. Can't understand this (who doesn't like a Mai Tai???); on the other hand... Seriously. I understand that Morgenthaler has a sweet tooth (I do too, though not as much as Jeff's), but hating a Martini? Once you get a taste for it (however long it takes), little else compares. (There are so few truly dry cocktails.) -Rafa, who's loved bone marrow his entire adult life, and foie gras long before that...
  3. This evening I made Erik Ellestad's Ashtray Heart, minus the Mezcal rinse (I don't currently have any, sadly). Wow. I may have a new favorite way to drink Smith and Cross, one of my favorite spirits. Can't wait to try it with the Mezcal smoke. I'm almost out of S&C so I might try it with Lemon Hart 151 next. (The song of the same name is fun, if you haven't heard it yet.)
  4. Drinks with lots of orange juice, like the Bronx or the Monkey Gland, I tend to find one dimensional and boring. Tiki drinks that only taste like juice are not only boring but wasteful; what's the point of all those rums and fancy syrups if the end product's just going to taste like pineapple juice with a bit of bite? I made a 1934 Donn Beach Zombie last night and wasn't impressed, which surprised me, since it's usually one of my favorite Tiki drinks. I think my mistake was using a full ounce of Smith and Cross for the Jamaican rum; I love S&C, but it's a bully, and even against other burly ingredients like falernum and LH151 it tended to hog the spotlight. All I got was its leathery sour note with a bit of spice and sweet and citrus from the other ingredients. The Lemon Hart and spices became more apparent as it warmed.
  5. Here's a New York Times article from last May featuring Dale DeGroff badmouthing not just the Aviation but the Papa Doble, as well as classic-bashing from Audrey Saunders, David Wondrich, and others.
  6. The Vesper for sure. There are plenty of tasty cocktails, classic and contemporary, that call for a mix of gin and Kina Lillet/Cocchi Americano. But three ounces of gin to one ounce of vodka to a half ounce of Kina is less a cocktail than it is a tub of ethanol.
  7. This is great stuff. I love these old regional liqueurs; their recipes and preparation are often so inventive and the flavors can be phenomenal. You're doing great work collecting this stuff.
  8. Eyetalian Cocktail 2 oz Rittenhouse 100 .5 oz Punt e Mes .5 oz Luxardo Sangue Morlacco .5 oz Cynar barspoon Luxardo Maraschino 1 dash Peychaud's Luxardo cherry Blood orange twist This I like. The gin version too. Peter Buck 1 oz Weller 107 1 oz Laird's 7 1/2 .5 oz peach-ginger shrub .25 clover honey syrup 1 wedge lemon (juiced and shaken) 2 dashes Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged 3 oz ginger beer (Bruce Cost's Extra Ginger Ginger Ale) This on the other hand needs work. Unfortunately it'll have to wait for peach season.
  9. Glad you liked it. With the Bols at least, I find it better if you mix it more like you would a whiskey than a gin. Sometimes I wish the Bols had more intense botanicals/more gin character to go with the malt but I guess there's Ransom Old Tom for that. The Bols is still a good product on its own terms.
  10. 3/4 oz Rittenhouse 100 3/4 oz Cherry Heering 3/4 oz Regan's Orange n. 6 bitters 3/4 oz Punt e Mes Stir, strain, rock, orange twist. Regan's dominates. The Heering and PeM bring in some nice dark fruit notes. Very potable. Not sure whether I'd make it again or what I'd change if I did.
  11. Can't say I'm a big fan of the Bowmore Legend, which is smokey but a bit thin and simple, but I'm sure their more mature expressions are superior. A lot of people consider the Legend an "entry level malt" given its price but for a buck or two more you can get Glenmorangie original, a great all around whisky, and Old Pulteney 12, which is truly world class.
  12. Congrats! I'd want to try it in a Pegu Club to see how its spice and citrus play off the bitters and curacao. A Martinez should be good too.
  13. I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day (I'm too fond of snakes), but for those who do this 19th Century-inspired Manhattan riff fits the theme and has been well-received: Tammany Hall 1 oz Irish Whiskey, Redbreast 12 1 oz Genever, Bols 3/4 oz Sweet vermouth, Carpano Antica Formula 1/4 oz Benedictine 1 dash Angostura bitters Stir, strain, up. Express and discard a lemon twist. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry. I haven't taken a picture, but there's a nice one along with a review at this blog.
  14. Thanks! Have you tried the Distiller's Edition by any chance? I can get it for only $16 more around here.
  15. You're all right about Highland Park 12 of course; don't know what I was thinking associating it with smoke. Still a gorgeous whisky. I really want to try the Caol Ila now; I love the barbecued meat notes I get from mezcals and peated American whiskeys. Thanks for talking that one up.
  16. Try the Laird's Bonded with a bit of Batavia Arrack von Oosten, which has an affinity for fruity flavors, and a touch of Maraschino for a funky spin on a Jack Rose. I call it a George Clinton (Clinton was born in an outhouse in North Carolina but grew up a Jersey boy).
  17. A work in progress. All Work And No Play Make Jack... 1.5 oz Laird's Bonded .5 oz grenadine .75 g malic acid .5 g citric acid 1 ds Scrappy's Lime bitters 1 twist lime peel (expressed and discarded) Stir in acid at room temperature, then shake with ice, strain, and twist. Inspired by Kevin Liu's Martini Sour and my own curiosity about non-citrus or wine sources of acid. The malic acid has a very fruity tartness that reminds me of green apples, hence wanting to try it in a Jack Rose. The bitters are just there to give a rounder lime flavor.
  18. One more idea: you could try a moderately peated Scotch like Highland Park 12, which balances the smoke with gorgeous honey and heather and barrel notes and which is a great value; on the other hand, it may not be smokey enough on its own to work in rinse quantities.
  19. Just about every Scotch mentioned so far has much less hospital bandage/iodine on the palate than the Laphroaig, which is the king of that. I haven't had Peat Monster so I can't comment directly however from what I've read it might suit your needs. I've had good results rinsing cocktails with the regular Lagavulin 16 expression (which shouldn't cost much more than the PM); however, everyone's palate is different, and you may get notes of iodine where I get Scotch and smoke. I'd suggest a peated American whiskey, like Leviathan, which uses a different peat (from Canada) and is aged away from the ocean, but it sounds like you may have trouble acquiring it. Your best bet may be to ask local bartenders for samples and let your palate guide you. Worst case, there's always liquid smoke.
  20. Lagavulin Distiller's Edition is intensely smokey and woody with no iodine going on. It has some subtle sweetness too, possibly from being finished in Pedro Ximenez casks.
  21. Here's a(n extremely) loosely Sazerac-based original: DuBois 2 1/2 oz Delord Armagnac blanche 1/2 oz Laubade Floc de Gascogne 1 dash Salers gentian liqueur 1 dash Vieux Carre absinthe Stir, strain, up. Drop one white grape into coupe. Floc de Gascogne is like Armagnac-based Pineau des Charentes, a barrel-aged blend of unfermented grape must with a young brandy from the same grapes. It's cheap and delicious, both on its own (as a sweetish aperitif or as dessert) and in cocktails.
  22. This is actually a falsehood: the full contents of a bottle of Canadian whisky are aged in small wood for at least 3 years. No grain neutral spirits permitted, though very high-proof whisky is used as the blending whisky. This, of course, is quite true, in much the same way that Cuban rum tastes softer, milder, and more diluted than Jamaican rums.My mistake. I knew that the full contents of a bottle of Canadian whisky had to be aged together but the way I wrote it makes it sound like it's diluted after aging. I was under the impression, though, that Canadian whisky legally can be distilled to a much higher proof than US spirits, i.e., that at least some of the distillate going into the barrel is effectively neutral spirit? And that the law permits additives other than grain spirits to go into the barrel (e.g., wine and brandy). At any rate I don't object to the softer profile of Canadian whisky, which as you say is somewhat analogous to the softness of Cuban-style rum, which I'm a fan of (an especially apt analogy since Cuban rum producers in the early 20th century were known to add fruit, wine, and other flavorings to their spirits). That sounds low to me. We hashed out dashes several years ago in this topic, and I figured out that a typical dash from the usual suspects was somewhere in the 1/14-1/10 of a teaspoon range. That lead to a "20 dashes = 1/4 oz" approximation, useful for batching, but also included much caution given the variety of approaches to dashes, fill levels, openings, and so on. As for calculating exact number of drops (and what is a drop, exactly?), I gladly hand off the task of figuring that out to a younger obsessive. After a little impromptu testing I have to agree with you that Dave Arnold's numbers seem low, especially for Angostura.
  23. Tonight I made a blanc vermouth variant of the Daiquiri (or Floridita) that I thought employed the Dolin Blanc well: Garcini Daiquiri 2 oz El Dorado 3 year white rum 1 oz Dolin Blanc vermouth 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino 1/2 oz lime juice 1/2 oz pineapple juice Shake, serve in old fashioned glass. The ED3 and Dolin Blanc seem made for each other.
  24. Where do you get Barbancourt 15 for under $20, and can you send me some? Usually the 8 year (5 star) is in the low to mid 20s. Also, rum is cheaper than whisky, to my knowledge, because of the shorter aging times required in the hot Caribbean climate, no? For what it's worth Rittenhouse is low 20s in DC, and Bulleit is about that much from the Montgomery County monopoly, but much higher in most other shops - which is why I've bought those two Five star is what I meant, woops! Hope I didn't raise your hopes too much . But I'd rate it about equally with its older expression, because at 8 years old it achieves a nice balance between the grassy cane and the oak. Still a great value. And while American whiskey does take longer to age, good examples of it can still be had at rum prices; Old Ezra 7 yr is tasty and 101 proof for only $18 around here. Jim Beam Black (8 years old) costs about the same.
  25. Or, basically, what FrogPrincesse said. Old Overholt is okay; it's got a good rye flavor but it lacks punch and complexity. That shouldn't confirm your skepticism about aged spirits in that price category, though. Some truly great aged rums can be had for under $20 (Barbancourt 15 springs to mind) as can Rittenhouse bonded rye in some markets. And a lot of good to great bourbons are still available in that price range, for now, including some I mentioned above.
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