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Everything posted by Rafa

  1. Rafa


    Del Maguey was created to highlight quality and regional diversity in a category that, at the time, just about everyone in the US dismissed. It was created for the US market by someone with good knowledge of the industry, and it succeeded in increasing category knowledge among both connaisseurs and bartenders (for whom Vida was developed). Basically it's a quality line targeted at the States that got there before anyone else.
  2. Rafa


    Chichicapa and Vida taste nothing alike—Vida is excellent for giving smoke, citrus, and other broad-strokes mezcal notes to cocktails; Chichicapa is much less smokey, with citric, tropical, and mineral flavors. Both are excellent. As far as substitutes for Vida, Sombra works well. Vida can fill in for Chichicapa in a pinch, but the flavors are quite different. (I don't really know how Death & Co can afford to feature so many drinks with Chichicapa.)
  3. I made a quasi-Green Flash inspired by FrogPrincesse's posts in the Death & Co thread... 1 1/2 oz Clément VSOP 1/2 oz lemon juice 1/2 tsp Petite Canne cane syrup 1 dash Vieux Carré absinthe Crémant to top Very nice. Aged agricole and sparkling wine are lovely together.
  4. Much lighter than allspice dram, closer to falernum I think... but Angostura bitters are still the standard in old tiki drinks; after all, they're called for by name.
  5. Not essential at all, but fun if you've got them. They taste lighter/brighter than Angostura to me, with a stale cola flavor I actually find works really well. I like them in soda, in stirred drinks, and as aromatic garnishes in punches and cups (I use them in my house white sangria and wine cooler, for example).
  6. Rafa


    I believe the Vida is made from the same stock as the San Luis del Rio, so that would be a good bet.
  7. Caliche is designed as a sipping spirit with bonus mixability—an entrant in the weird market category of premium white rums. Like all products labeled "Puerto Rican rum," it's aged for at least a year in American oak barrels; the difference is that the average age of Caliche's component rums is 4-5 years. Serrallés, the company behind Caliche (and Don Q and Palo Viejo, among others), distills both light- and heavy-bodied rums which they blend together for their bottlings. I've tasted the heavy rums on their own, which have a wonderful, ester-y molasses character (like a less funky Wray & Nephew); I detect more of their presence in Caliche and in Palo Viejo than in their other brands. So while I'm not sure that Serrallés would be happy with me describing Caliche as a higher end Palo Viejo (¿Palo Aún Más Viejo?), there's a family resemblance.
  8. Like Jo said, the rum is likely Cana Brava. I like CB, but I find Caliche and Palo Viejo, both distilled by the same people that make Don Q, to be closer in flavor to Havana Club than it is--but full disclosure, I'm a paid representative of the Puerto Rican rum industry, so make of that what you will. (Though I believe Hassouni agrees with me.) Regarding that drink, it's rare to see an egg white drink without some citrus (or vermouth) to help with the emulsion--maybe consider some lemon/lime and simple? I just combine premade honey syrup and ginger syrup in equal parts, but that method should work fine as well, as long as the ginger gives enough flavor/bite. I'm considering changing our house ginger syrup recipe to use honey as the sweetener and spare us a step.
  9. This weekend: 1 oz Rye, Angel's Envy 3/4 oz Jamaican rum, Appleton V/X 1/4 oz Jamaican rum, Smith & Cross 3/4 oz Lemon juice 3/4 oz Honey Ginger Syrup Fun. Mysterious but approachable. Enough depth and funk that you don't miss the Penicillin's Islay float. Good for stumping bartenders re: what the base spirit is. Tonight, just some Clement VSOP neat. Delicious, but it does make me miss Rhum St. James, sadly no longer available stateside.
  10. Let us know how you like the K&Ls. I was considering going in on a purchase with Hassouni.
  11. I should mention that I made that drink as a dessert drink, and dessert-y it was. I normally make it with Rittenhouse, which turns it pre-prandial. 3/4 oz Batavia Arrack van Oosten 3/4 oz Pusser's 3/4 oz Passion fruit syrup 3/4 oz Orange juice 3/4 Lime juice 1/2 oz Strega My bar has eight or nine bottles of Strega, untouched since before my time as manager. I'm trying to find a home for it on our menu. Exactly as its color implies, it's reminiscent of both yellow Chartreuse and Galliano, with the latter's strong vanilla and anise notes. I've had success trying it in place of those two in old standbys (Final Ward, Harvey Wallbanger), and I'm tinkering with it in a version of the tiki obscurity the Sundowner (Cognac, Galliano, Cointreau, lemon juice). But I keep coming back to this un-seasonal punch, which tastes like a Cobra's Fang donning the leisure suit of a Painkiller or Wallbanger.
  12. It's more rich than sweet—strongly aromatically sweet on the finish, with Christmas cake-y flavors, but not sugary. Your mileage may vary. Your spirits monger may just be trying to unload a slow seller.
  13. The bourbon is pleasant but undistinguished, imo. The rye is something else. Definitely not for everyone but for those of us who value new experiences over the old balance it's a winner.
  14. I think well-made, readily available drinks for the masses is a good thing. I can't speak to any of these in particular, though I hear great things about Germain-Robin's bottled 1850 cocktail, a barrel-aged half-brandy Sazerac that just requires a few dashes of Peychaud's and a stir.
  15. Made for a friend: 2 oz Angel's Envy Rye 1/4 oz Cynar 1/4 oz PX Sherry Absinthe rinse The Angel's Envy rye is wild stuff. Not exactly balanced--it swings suddenly from pickle brine notes from the MGP-sourced rye into Christmassy lushness from the rum finish--but it is full of surprising flavors and a delight to mix it with. I think it was a limited release. Our distributor gave us a few bottles after, I assume, no one else bit. I'll miss it when it's gone.
  16. 2 oz Blume Marillen apricot eau de vie 3/4 oz Lime juice 3/4 oz Pineapple juice This one always seems to go over well, especially when I cut the brandy with rum. A nice quick burst of tropical refreshment in a terribly unending winter.
  17. 2 oz Denizen Merchant's Reserve 3/4 oz Palo Cortado Sherry 1/4 oz Bénédictine 1/2 oz Kronan Swedish Punsch 3/4 oz Lime juice 1/2 oz Honey syrup 1 dash St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram 2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters Hogo. Worth the ingredient intensity that makes this a sometimes treat.
  18. I guess so, though it'll lose some bass notes. My preference is to split the difference with a palo cortado, but those are harder to find than olorosos. Glad you liked it, Leslie. I haven't tried it with Smith & Cross; I'm surprised it didn't kick the other ingredients in the ass. My one regret with that drink is misremembering the Steve Earle lyric I had in mind when I named it.
  19. If a guest thinks he's too manly for a Pegu Club he's getting nothing but amaretto sours from me all night.
  20. Rafa


    I do rocks as well with a lime wedge and a couple of short straws for service. I think a pinch of salt (or saline solution) in the tin helps meld and mellow the drink, as it does in just about all sours.
  21. Bryan Davis of Lost Spirits Distillery just put up a white paper on "trace carboxylic acid & ester origin in mature spirits." It's a good read for anyone interested in the chemistry of maturation in spirits generally and rum in particular. You can read it here.
  22. Seconding the Glenmorangie and Tomatin recommendations, and adding Speyburn 10 as a choice for those who are both budget- and flavor-conscious. The Compass Box blends are also lovely stuff, as is Clynelish 14, from the distillery whose malts form the heart of most of the CB bottlings. All of these will do well in recipes that call generically for Scotch, though they lack the hint of peat that round out the Highland Park.
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