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Craig E

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  1. Craig E

    Drinks! 2018

    Some recent finds: Monk's Thistle (green Chartreuse, Cynar, Regans, water) and Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing (applejack, Ango, orgeat, lemon). The former was a quality chartreuse feature. Interestingly, the caramel sweetness of Cynar was strong but its expected bitter finish got somewhat overridden by chartreuse's powerfully long finish. The sophistication of the flavors certainly kept this from being flatly syrupy, but it was quite sweet. The latter (as you can tell from the color) is one of those big-dose Angostura drinks, 1/2 ounce in this case. Subbing bonded apple brandy for the applejack in the spec, and using my very flowery homemade orgeat, I really liked this. Strong but accessible, very autumnal.
  2. Craig E

    Drinks Using Cucumber

    In a Pickle by Ted Kilgore 1 1/2 oz Hendrick's (Plymouth navy strength) 1/2 oz St. Germain 1/2 oz Velvet Falernum 3/4 oz lime juice 1 slice cucumber 1 sprig dill Mix all, including cucumber and dill in shaker and shake. Fine strain over fresh ice into highball glass. Garnish with fresh cucumber and dill sprig. My garden dill isn't that green these days, but still wonderfully aromatic. Thought the high-proof gin sub might throw off the balance of this but I quite liked it.
  3. A Reddit challenge inspired me to come up with something new in this category: Where the Bodies are Buried 2 oz Tattersall aquavit 3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Long stir; strain; up.
  4. Craig E

    Drinks! 2018

    Accoutrement by Chris Hannah, Arnaud's French 75, New Orleans 2 oz Calvados (Laird's bonded apple brandy) 3/4 oz Strega 1/2 oz Clément Créole Shrubb (Pierre Ferrand dry curacao) 3/4 oz lemon juice 2 ds Peychaud's Bitters Shake, strain, cocktail glass, garnish with 3 brandied cherries There was a strong cherry aspect to this--maybe even beyond the aroma of the indulgent garnish, some alchemy reinforced the cherry taste. The herby factor of Strega and Peychaud's keeps things interesting. Cherry and ester (from the high-proof brandy) and herbs threaten to turn medicinal but that was a mostly empty threat.
  5. Craig E

    Existing Conditions

    And Robert Simonson's review came out yesterday.
  6. Craig E

    Drinks! 2018

    Recently discovered a huge grapevine growing on a chainlink fence in our backyard. The little wild grapes are tart and intensely red inside, so I thought they'd be good cocktail fodder. I remembered a clever drink from @bostonapothecary I found on Kindred Cocktails: Me and My Grandfather (so called because it paired unaged and aged grape-based spirits--pisco and cognac respectively). I muddled a handful of wild grapes and added equal parts lemon juice, mosto verde pisco, VSOP cognac, and the spruce syrup I'd made. (That last continues the foraging-in-the-yard theme, but mostly I used it because I couldn't be bothered to whip up the spec'ed regular simple syrup.) This turned out pretty grapey (surprise surprise) in an appealing way. These little unexpected grapes have lots of possibilities. I think mother nature is encouraging my cocktail hobby.
  7. Craig E

    Vinegar in your drink?

    Finally got to trying an Inkwell and I really liked it!
  8. Craig E

    No Way! Whey!

    Good but not great, I'd say. I did manage a Coke float/root beer float flavor pretty well, but the final drink wasn't as dynamic as I hoped. The whey is not a concentrated flavor (in cocktail terms) so not easy to feature and retain a vibrant drink. (I'd make an analogy to using orange juice instead of lemon as an acid in a mixed drink.) Guess there's a reason cream rather than milk is often called for in cocktails. So I think better success with my clarified milk might come in experiments that don't try to feature the dairy flavor, but rather move in other directions that might benefit from a more subtle lactic factor. I may just shake some superfine sugar into it and play with a "milk simple syrup." And I think next try will be something with lemon juice. Might work well in something in a Collins or sidecar realm.
  9. Craig E

    No Way! Whey!

    Latest experiment is clarified milk. Following this recipe, I heated whole milk and added lemon juice. After letting it curdle, I strained it through cheesecloth then coffee filters. The result was a translucent yellow-green liquid. Not especially clear (apparently I'd need much more serious filters to achieve that), but different enough in appearance from milk to give it some possibilities for cocktails. (Meanwhile threw a pinch of salt on the strained curds and made a great ricotta pizza out of it!) First drink experiment with the clarified milk was following an internet recipe for a bourbon milk punch. Bourbon, milk, vanilla, simple, nutmeg atop. This was rather meh, and I realized I have a big jar of whey and no good plans for using it. Then I remembered the bottle of Fee Bros. cardamon bitters ("Boker's style") that someone gave me a while back. In taste and especially aroma, these are strongly redolent of root beer flavor. I thought, root beer + sweet dairy flavors = root beer float, so that became my goal for a new concoction. Since Averna amaro has a pretty strong cola flavor, I thought it could play a sizable role. It took a few trials to settle on the best base spirit. I worked with some overproof demerara rum split with Jamaican rum, but these were too assertive in their rumminess. Something column-stilled would work better, and I settled on Flor de Cana 4 after deciding a shot of it wasn't all that different an experience than a nose-burning Coca-Cola burp. Split it with bourbon. So in the end it was 3/4 oz. each Flor de Cana, Elijah Craig bourbon, Averna, and clarified milk, plus 1/4 oz. simple syrup and two dashes Boker's bitters. Garnished with a brandied cherry.
  10. Craig E

    Drinks! 2018

    Also don't forget the orange twist--that little bit of orange oil helps lighten the syrupy-ness.
  11. Craig E

    Existing Conditions

    Punch magazine's facebook feed posted that it's opening today.
  12. Craig E

    Spruce syrup!

    Worked out another winner, that I'm calling Pining for the Fjords. 3/4 oz each gin, aquavit, grapefruit juice, and spruce syrup, plus 1/4 oz lime juice, served in an Amère Sauvage-rinsed coupe with a grapefruit twist.
  13. Craig E

    Spruce syrup!

    Coming across @Rafa's Fir Geddiboutit on Kindred was among my inspirations. edited to add: and your own Snowdrop shows you've had similar ideas before!
  14. Craig E

    Spruce syrup!

    Ooh, first experiment turned out great! Built on the Last Word template, subbing aquavit for gin and spruce syrup for maraschino, and adding a grapefruit twist. I'm calling it the Firred Word.
  15. Craig E

    Spruce syrup!

    Got around to a project I've been thinking about for a while: making a piney syrup with needles from the big spruce tree in my front yard. Prepared with a bunch of Googling, concentrating on reassuring myself that the tree was properly identified. (Apparently some trees like spruce are great, but other similar-looking species like yews are toxic!) step one: collect green branches, shake the dry needles off, bring inside and pluck. step two: combine with sugar and water (I did 1:2:2). step three: while stirring, bring to a boil for a bit, then cut the heat and let sit for a few hours step four: strain through cheesecloth step five: throw in a little vodka as a preservative. Taste test is very appealing; now to figure out what kind of cocktails I can make with this. Open to suggestions!
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