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  1. Apricot Brandy: Apry, Etc.

    Blume Marillien has such a wonderful aroma...has anyone tried pairing it with different gins? What's your favorite gin to pair it with? It's so floral that I'd be tempted to try pairing it with a woodier gin (e.g. St. George Terroir or something), but maybe I should use a more neutral one and let it shine?
  2. Singapore Sling, Blood and Sand, Hemingway Daiquiri, ...*gasp* even the last Word. Something about cherry liqueurs rub me the wrong way (especially Cherry Heering, I swear it's cough medicine...). I swear they don't taste like cherries. Someday I'll have to go to an Oregon farmer's market, make my own, and see if I actually like these cocktails...
  3. If you live somewhere near good farmland (or in a big city with nice farmer's markets), homemade shrubs are ridiculously easy to make, and give you a fresh-muddled-fruit flavor without the annoyance of needing fresh fruit around (since the vinegar acts as a preservative). I like 2:1:1 fruit:sugar:vinegar. You can play around with vinegars (champagne is nice and neutral, red goes well with dark berries, apple give it a big kick). Give it a stir every day for a few days, strain, bottle. You can replace parts of the acid and sugar in pretty much any shaken drink recipe. Not the best season to get started: citrus shrubs don't really pop, imo, although guava is nice. However, strawberry season is around the corner (or already starting, if you're someplace warm), and strawberry shrubs are heavenly.
  4. Smoke

    My favorite, from Hiding in Plain Sight in Amsterdam. I was never sure of their exact measures, but I'm a fan of: ~1.5oz Ron Zacapa 23yr ~.5oz Kilchoman whiskey ~.5oz Pineau des Charentes (fortified sweet wine) ~barspoon Grand Marnier Stir. Invert a brandy snifter over burning rosemary until it fills with smoke. Use a coaster to trap the smoke while you turn it right side up again. Strain into snifter.
  5. Best Manhattan variations?

    If memory recalls, there was a slice of orange peel floated in the drink (which was served up), but I could be mistaken - it's been a couple years.
  6. Non-citrus cocktails

    Whoa, Kindred Cocktails is awesome, definitely hadn't seen it before!
  7. Non-citrus cocktails

    spirits: - rums (cana 4y, pyrat xo, barbancourt 5*) - whiskies (four roses, rittenhouse, glenfiddich 18, balvenie 12, laphroaig quarter cask) - gins (beefeater, hendricks) - tequilas (espolon reposado, herradura anejo) - mezcal (del maguey) bitters: ango, peychaud, orange (fee, regans), peach, rhubarb, celery, grapefruit, chocolate I'm definitely not averse to zest - I'm just not as much a fan of the sourness/acidity. All of my favorite craft cocktails I've had when I'm out and about have been whiskey-forward and bitter or herbal: Manhattans, Brooklyns, Red Hooks, Greenpoints, Vieux Carres, etc. What are some good cocktails with similar profiles (spirit-foward, bitter/herbal) based around rum, gin, or tequila?
  8. Best Manhattan variations?

    My favorite is a cocktail I tried at Bourbon and Branch a year or so ago, that they call the "Agent Smith". There are a lot of flavors happening, and I haven't been back to SF in a while, so I have a hard time judging the correct proportions. I still mess around with them (and suggested modifications would be awesome!), but right now I lean towards: - 2 oz rye - 1/2 oz punt e mes - 1/2 oz green chartreuse - 1/4 oz maraschino - 3 dashes chocolate bitters
  9. I've been playing around with Hemingway Daiquiris - because it's damn hot right now, and because they're delicious. However, I'm kind of surprised at the ratios most recipes seem to use (2 rum : 3/4 lime : 1/2 grapefruit : 1/2 maraschino) - when I make them this way, the Luxardo dominates the flavor for me, and also makes it a bit too sweet. Does anyone else cut the maraschino to ~ 1/4 oz? Or could this be a consequence of not having access to crushed ice to serve it with?
  10. Drinks Using Cucumber

    Do you put salt in yours Tzatziki? I tried one a while back and it was wretched. Interested to know how to make it work. If you're going off the original, I think that the biggest thing that can mess it up is using Hendrick's - it's tempting because the flavor profile is so similar, but it's really much better with a London Dry style (although I like it with Martin Miller as well). With the salt, I think the point is to coax water out of the cucumber, not to flavor the drink. You can rub salt on the cucumber, let it set for 10-15 minutes, and then brush it off before you mix it. Not sure if that's how it's done at the Violet Hour, but I've had it there and it's definitely not salty. I have changed a few things from the original recipe, though. I use Persian cucumbers and leave the peel on, and balance that bitterness by cutting back on the Angostura. The bigger change I've made is to use substantially more rosewater - maybe a teaspoon worth, or a little less. Maybe TVH uses stronger rosewater or something, but I needed more rosewater for it to match what I remember.
  11. Drinks Using Cucumber

    My go-to cucumber cocktail - especially now that it's hot outside - is the Juliet and Romeo from Violet Hour in Chicago. Gin, Lime, Mint, Cucumber, Rosewater, Angostura.