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Everything posted by Rafa

  1. Dolin Blanc is not a good substitute for dry vermouth. Don't let the color fool you; it's a different style. It is, however, delicious, and there are several cocktails that call specifically for it. Some are here and here. It can also be subbed for Lillet Blonde or Cocchi Americano in a pinch.
  2. In Kevin Liu's new book he recounts how Dave Arnold (Booker & Dax, International Culinary Institute) found one dash of Angostura to equal a little under three drops from an eyedropper. ("There are about 8 drops of Angostura for every 3 dashes.") NB, Angostura bottles tends to have bigger dashes than other bitters bottles, so it might be better to assume two drops to a dash for other dashers.
  3. Yes at least that is one thing this cocktail has going for it! I know it's not traditional, but maybe a squeeze of lemon or lime would add structure and contrast? Along with the bright notes from a fat orange twist like Toby mentions in the thread you linked. It seems a shame to give up on a drink with a memorable name that looks like that.
  4. To offset the dryness of the vermouth in a dry Manhattan, you might want to go with a bourbon, as they tend to be sweeter with more corn flavor and more caramel and vanilla flavor from oak.
  5. To be called rye or bourbon, whiskey needs to meet certain legal requirements set by the U.S. government. Among them: the spirit must be distilled from a grain mixture (mash) at least 51% of which is made up by the base grain (rye for rye, corn for bourbon). Other requirements affect the kinds of wood can be aged in (new charred oak) and the proofs they can be distilled to and bottled at. For more information including leading styles and brands, see here for rye and here for bourbon. Canadian whisky (no "e" when it's Canadian) has much looser legal standards than American whiskey, so while it can be made in a manner similar to bourbon or rye it's also often diluted with grain neutral spirits (similar to vodka) and can be flavored by non-grain additives including brandy and wine. Generally, Canadian whisky tastes softer, milder, and more diluted than American whiskeys. The Manhattan was originally a rye drink, and rye's dryness and strong backbone make it a perfect fit for the drink. Nowadays it's often made with bourbon though and that can sometimes be a great choice as well. I don't generally recommend Canadian whisky for Manhattans, because its softness often makes it disappear in cocktails. Besides, there are so many great values in bourbon and rye that you can mix yourself a stellar cocktail for very cheap. I second the recommendation for Rittenhouse 100 proof rye if you can find it; on the bourbon side, Old Grand Dad Bonded and 114, Wild Turkey 101, Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam Black, and Old Weller Antique 107 are all great whiskeys for around $20 or even lower.
  6. Yesterday, a Woodside: Thai basil, gin, lime, cane juice, cane syrup, black pepper, ginger beer, Peychaud's.
  7. Made a variation on the Fritz this weekend: Tango 'til They're Sore 3/4 oz Rye 3/4 oz Peychaud's Bitters 3/4 oz Punt e Mes 1/2 oz Maraschino Luxardo Stir, strain, orange twist (I used a blood orange). I tried it with Redemption, Rittenhouse 100, and Buffalo Trace (I was out of rye). Really good. The rye makes its presence felt even among all the other burly ingredients, its accord with the Peychaud's draws cherry notes out of both, and at half an ounce the Maraschino leaves a mark without taking over. Despite the scary proportions, it's neither overwhelmingly anise-y nor too bitter, just huge in flavor. Big New Orleans feel. I'd like to try it with Bénédictine to riff off the View Carré but I can't bring myself to spend that much money on yet another herbal liqueur at the moment.
  8. A question for those more experienced than I. I'm making my first batch of allspice dram this weekend, and the flavor profile I'm going for is heavily inspired by Bittercube's Jamaican #1 bitters: big allspice up front, with a bright bite from ginger and a nice drying finish from black pepper. That is, I want the black pepper to be strong enough to be a distinct component of the overall flavor, but I don't want it to overwhelm the more conventional spices. I notice the recipes in this thread don't call for more than six black peppercorns, but I assume others don't want as heavy of a pepper presence as I do. How much black peppercorn can I use before it starts hogging the spotlight? If I'm using half a cup of ground allspice, can I get away with an eighth cup, or even a quarter, of pepper? I'm going to be using Kevin Liu's method for almost-instant allspice liqueur (everything but the sugar and water in a blender on low for five minutes), and I'll probably use Wray & Nephew White Overproof, maybe with some Gosling's thrown in. Thanks, r.
  9. The In Spades is a good drink, as is everything served at Pouring Ribbons. Next time you're there, try the One Flight Up, which is like an orange flower water-perfumed Pisco Sour floated on top of Campari and soda. I'm working on a Galliano cocktail that intentionally sucks, as a tribute to what's arguably the lowpoint in recent cocktail history: the 70s. The Yacht Rock (roughly): .5 Galliano, 1 oz coconut milk, 1 oz orange juice, drop orange flower water, 2 oz vodka. Double recipe, blend, serve in a hurricane glass with a straw, garnish with a paper umbrella (mandatory) and a garish neon-red cocktail cherry, sip on a beach in the Pacific while listening to Michael McDonald croon "What A Fool Believes." For a burlier, less intentionally sucky cocktail, play up the Painkiller resemblance and replace the vodka with Pusser's. Only then you have to call it a "Tusk." If only I could figure out a way to work in white wine: then I'd have a hybrid Harvey Wallbanger-Piña Colada-Wine Cooler, the trifecta of 70s cocktails. Of course, as this thread's shown, not every use of Galliano has to be a throwback.
  10. Right, especially since Plymouth (apparently) drifted over time from some unique waypoint between Old Tom and London Dry to something that's basically a soft and friendly London-style gin. But in terms of quality, versatility, and (formerly) value it's hard to beat. I use Tanqueray for most of my mixing but lately I've been wanting something that's softer and more botanically complex while still holding onto that stiff juniper-citrus London backbone. But I don't want to spend much more than the $25/mL that strikes me as a reasonable ceiling for day-to-day gin. I like Citadelle and it's an incredible value but it has some odd botanical notes that strike me as off in some drinks.
  11. Given how saturated the market is with "premium" gins and how the other gin standbys (Tanq, Beefeater, etc) are staying firm at about half of that, I think we'll see Plymouth's price go back down fairly soon, if not quite to what it was pre-redesign. It's a shame, since it's a great product and not one with a direct substitute (but, luckily, not one that's exactly unique, either).
  12. Plymouth has been going up for a while, sadly, as the brand tries to reposition itself as a premium spirit (which it's always been in quality, but soon will be in price). Hence the past couple of bottle changes, I'm sure.
  13. Finished Craft Cocktails at Home last night and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's the first book I'd recommend to those with a science/engineering background who want to get into cocktails. That said, a lot of its content is directed at those already invested in cocktail culture. It has a lot to offer cocktail enthusiasts(/nerds) who want to understand the scientific underpinnings of important concepts like dilution, citrus freshness, infusion, acid content, etc. It puts across a huge amount of information in a style that stays light, clear, amusing, and witty. And it's full of great ideas and recipes that I can't wait to try: almost instant allspice liqueur (which I'll be making later this week), an orgeat recipe so simple it feels like cheating, and many more. I'm especially glad for the chapter on good drinks to convert cocktail novices, and for the exploration of alternative forms of acid in cocktails, a concept I've long been interested in. My one complaint, if you can call it that, is that many of the chapters feel more like jumping-off points for further discussion than complete overviews of a given subjects; but, as this is a forum devoted precisely to those kinds of discussions, and as there's an entire blog attached to the book to explore and interact with, I don't see this as a real problem. (One other complaint, this one directed at Amazon: the Kindle app on my iPhone consistently mangled all the lovely charts. You get what you pay for, I guess.) Thank you for the book, Kevin, and I look forward to reading on on the blog.
  14. After serving 400 drinks to a crowd of music industry types as dance music blares, and especially after tasting most of those drinks, nothing hits the spot like a shot of bitters. The Bitter Truth Aromatic in my case. It helps that by that time of the night your palate's so burned out you can hardly taste anything else.
  15. I bought these today, after you and Martin Doudoroff described them in similar terms. I haven't had much of a chance to use them yet but so far they're very promising. Lots of great temperate woodland notes and a similar complexity and presence to Angostura. It's sort of Angostura if Angostura suggested New England instead of the Caribbean; or Angostura with the tonality of Boker's. The herbal aromatics coupled with the strong anise note remind me of Chartreuse, too. And that same anise note makes me think Dutch's would make a good, more complex substitution for Peychaud's. Thanks for the tip.
  16. I made this with fresh pineapple and added one short grind of rock salt. Really good drink.It gets interesting as it warms, too. Glad you liked it. I made it in equal parts again Saturday night for a friend who requested it and we both enjoyed it in that ratio, though I want to play around more. The salt's a good idea; should help with integrating and mellowing all the strong flavors, though tasting them evolve/decay as they warm is also, as you say, interesting. Tonight, I was in the mood for a Little Italy or Red Hook but was out of vermouth so I split the difference and made the Sanny which I found on Kindred Cocktails. Very good. Spicy, dark, strong, a bit sweet (maybe too sweet for some); rye would dry it out nicely, and complement the spice. I don't have celery bitters so I broke out my new bottle of Dutch's Colonial bitters. The woodsy and anise-y notes of the bitters probably make it a different drink, but regardless, the bourbon-Cynar-maraschino bedrock is solid. The drink seems to draw dark cherry notes out of the Cynar and the amaro in combination with the bitters created a cool cola profile. The maraschino's in the background but dominates the aftertaste; I wondered as I sipped whether nocino would work in its place. A very nice sipper. A keeper. A while back I was working on a drink involving rye, Cynar, bold red wine (Barolo), and celery bitters in response to a prompt from a friend who wanted a Chicago-themed cocktail (the celery bitters were meant to recall Chicago-style hot dogs). This is a good execution of a very similar idea.
  17. For my pre-Oscars drink last night, inspired by a salad dressing I'd made earlier with passion fruit, I shook up a Port Light with Buffalo Trace, B. G. Reynolds' passion fruit syrup, and homemade grenadine. (The cocktail is normally blended, but I prefer the texture and dilution I get from shaking in this case.) Still in a tropical mood but wanting something darker and more dessert-y, I whipped up this: 1.5 oz Cruzan Black Strap rum 1 oz lemon .5 oz falernum syrup (homemade) .25 passion fruit syrup 3 drops Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Aphrodite bitters 3 drops Bittercube Jamaican #1 Plenty of ice. A bit sweet for some, but it really hit the spot. The dark molasses flavor contrasted excitingly with the bright glints of spice and fruit from the bitters and syrups. Will make again.
  18. How does its flavor compare to absinthe?
  19. For $13 more, same site, is my choice for (conventional) cooking armagnac: http://www.drinkupny.com/Pellehaut_Reserve_Armagnac_p/s0441.htm I wouldn't cook with anything I wouldn't drink, and this armagnac is very, very good for the price. I know of no comparable deal. Thanks for the tip. I'll have to try that one. What kind of cooking do you do with Armagnac? The Marie Duffau Napoleon and Laubade VSOP are both good aged Armagnacs in that general price range.
  20. Has anyone mixed with this stuff? I first read about blanche Armagnac in an article in the NY Times by Toby Cecchini about the relatively new A.O.C.: Quote My interest piqued (a new category with a history behind it?) by this article and by my own growing interest in Armagnac, I bought myself a bottle of the Delord blanche, both because it is very highly reviewed and because, well, it was the cheapest one available. I've found the Delord to be an exceptionally flavorful white spirit, medium-bodied and smooth enough to belie its age (smoother than many much older Armagnacs, in fact), with floral aromas and a fruity lingering taste that suggests grapes and pears and elderberries and something I can't quite put my finger on. It reminds me in body and aromas of some flavorful/floral white rums like El Dorado 3 or Flor de Cana, but underlain with an undeniable brandy character. It's good sipping, but it really shines in cocktails, whether lightening recipes that call for aged brandies or subbing ably for Pisco. (One unfortunate exception: I'm afraid I can't agree with Mr. Cecchini's wife that it makes an irresistible Pisco Sour, but I've never been particularly taken with that drink, so ymmv.) It mixes well with other spirits, too: it adds bouquet and elegance to a Pieces of Eight when spliced with rum, and an ounce of it mixed with Tanqueray makes the best Ramos Fizz I've yet had. Light, crisp, aromatic, easy-mixing, pedigreed, and fairly priced, easy to substitute into a variety of old recipes and friendly enough to suggest new ones, blanche d'Armagnac seems like it should be really popular with cocktail blogs and bars. Which is why I'm so surprised that it seemingly isn't. I've found very few mentions of it in blogs and only a few recipes built around it, namely the Andorra from the NYT article, PDT's Carte Blanche, and the dessert cocktail Melkor's Ghost from The Vault at Pfaff's, where the spirit's smothered under creme de banane and creme de cacao and plain old creme. New and worthwhile spirits aren't exactly thick on the ground, nor are spirit categories usually just waiting around for enterprising mixologists to think up signature cocktails for them. Has anyone here worked with or had blanche? Currently I'm working on a drink I'm calling the DuBois (after that other Blanche) with Aveze and Chartreuse Elixer Vegetal which is sort of a very loose riff on a Sazerac.
  21. This sounds promising. The equal-parts combination is way too sweet for my tastes, but Chartreuse+pineapple is a great combination and mixing Fernet with it instinctively feels like a good idea. My initial thoughts were : use either a dry vermouth or lime juice (or both?) to counteract the sweetness; or embrace the sweetness, throw in an egg and turn it into a flip somehow? Creme de cacao might be useful then. However none of those seem like they will be certain to work out. No idea what might come out of this but I look forward to finding out. I Tikified it: I cut back considerably on the pineapple and a bit on the Chartreuse, added a heft of lime, dry ginger beer (basically fresh ginger juice), a bit of falernum because the spice plays well with the herbal ingredients, and a bit of Lemon Hart 151. The result sounds like a mess on the page but is really promising, and not too sweet, on the tongue; I'm currently just tinkering with the proportions to make sure every ingredient is properly integrated and shown off. I built a web of flavor combos I know work well (Chartreuse-Fernet, Chartreuse-pineapple-falernum, Fernet-ginger, ginger-fernet...) and I ended up with something too austere and slow-sipping to work as the Zombie-style tall drink I'd originally intended, so I cut the proportions in half and am now serving it up. I've never worked on a recipe with this many ingredients and I can't say I'm in a hurry to do it again. It's gotten good reviews from guests, at least.
  22. A drink of equal parts fresh pineapple juice, green Chartreuse, and Fernet Branca. Sensational. The pineapple mellows the sip such that you're caught off guard by the minty blast of the Chartreuse and Fernet in combination, and then you're plunged into the Black Forest of herbal notes from the Fernet, this time given a tropical tinge. What at first comes across as an easy drinker is a slow sipper for sure. This combination is worth investigating in other ratios; it forms the center of a more complicated drink I'm still tinkering with.
  23. A Kingston Bijou, or Rough Gem if you prefer, with 1/2 oz green Chartreuse, 3/4 oz Punt e Mes, and 1.5 oz Smith and Cross. The Chartreuse dominated the first few sips and then retreated to the background, donating minty herbal notes to the grape of the vermouth and the hogo of the rum. The liqueurs seemed to mitigate the rum's fruit esters, drawing out interesting lingering leather as the drink evolved. Overall it was a curious, enjoyable, but unbalanced drink; I'd like to try it again with different proportions, perhaps with a less attentional vermouth. Maybe even a dry vermouth paired with yellow Chartreuse?
  24. So, out of the many (many, many, many) bitters on the market today, what are ones that people here consider essential, underrated, or particularly suited to certain tasks? My impression from reading the many (many, etc) pages of this thread, as well as from my own use, is as follows: Essential: Angostura Aromatic & Orange Peychaud's Regan's Orange No. 6 Bittermens: the whole line, but especially Mole and Grapefruit Dr. Adam: the whole line, but especially Boker's, Dandelion & Burdock, and Aprhodite Not essential, but best in class/perfect for particular uses/beloved by some: The Bitter Truth Celery, Creole, and Lemon Bitters, Old Men Great in '28 Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Additionally, I'm a fan of Bittercube's Jamaican #1 bitters for imparting allspice aromatics to tiki and egg white drinks, but I wouldn't call them essential, especially if you already have allspice dram (I don't). Am I missing any? Any exceptional products worth highlighting? Any that I or others should stay away from? I'm not a fan of the Fee's products generally for reasons discussed at length upthread. I can see how they have their uses as flavorants, but too many of them strike me as overly artificial. That said, their Old Fashion/Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters are useful when you want to impart a heavy clove/cinnamon note.
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