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Craig E

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  1. Maraschino liqueur is one of my least favorite things to drink straight, but one of my most favorite things to mix with. In small doses, or partnered with strong flavored ingredients, it adds sweetness in a wonderfully complex way.
  2. Another new original, the Fannee Doolee. The goofy concept here: only ingredients with doubled letters allowed. I used apple brandy, Cappelletti, Green Chartreuse, Kirschwasser, apple bitters, and a cherry. Stirred of course.
  3. Last week I took it upon myself to invent a new libation, with the starting point being bottles in my bar that are on the fuller side. The germ of this was putting together Plantation pineapple rum and Plymouth sloe gin. I liked the challenge of seeing if I could get these to go together: they're both obviously fruity in a classy way, but the former more New World and islandy while the latter has some Old World propriety to it. Version one: stirred on the rocks 1 oz Stiggins 1 oz sloe gin 1/2 oz Becherovka (bitterness should round it out, cinnamon would be welcome) 1/4 oz Hamilton demerara 151 (brown sugar and heat) 1/4 oz ginger syrup (sweetness, and heat) 1/2 oz dry vermouth (to dry it out a bit) Notes: the ginger and demerara burn at the end, but before that this is unintense. Almost tastes like it has lemon, a twist or even squirt wouldn’t be out of place. Version two: shaken, up. 3/4 Stiggins 3/4 sloe gin 3/4 Becherovka 1/2 lemon juice 1/4 demerara 151 ginger syrup dry vermouth Notes: here I let the Becherovka be the sweetener. Didn't work. This was too bitter and not sweet enough. Maybe drop the Becherovka and find another means of adding bitterness. Version three: shaken, up. 1 1/2 Stiggins 1 sloe gin 1/4 demerara 151 1/4 ginger syrup 1/4 lemon juice dash Angostura bitters lemon twist Becherovka Notes: This is much closer, fruit up top then mild burny finish from the ginger syrup brought back in, and the overproof rum. Wife thought the finish needed more bass note. Maybe less 151 and more bitters. I was getting grapefruit from the previous version, maybe a grapefruit twist would be in order. Version four: shaken, up. 1 1/2 Stiggins 1 sloe gin 1/4 ginger syrup 1/4 lemon juice barspoon demerara 151 2 dashes Angostura 2 dashes Regans grapefruit twist lemon twist Notes: This tasted very cherry-ish, in a quite appealing way (not cough-syrupy, as cherry alcohol often goes). Tingly finish. Grapefruit twist was maybe a wrong turn, lemon or orange would probably be a better fit. The proportions are pretty well set, just the details to work out. All sorts of fruits here (even a little "Screwdrivery"). Version five: shaken, up. 1 1/2 Stiggins 1 sloe gin 1/4 ginger syrup 1/4 lemon juice 2 dashes Ango 2 dashes Regans barspoon Demerara float lemon slice/cherry flag garnish grapefruit twist Notes: Not sure floating the overproof rum was a good idea. Now this is so cherry-ish, that it occurs to me I could run with that and make a chocolate covered cherry thing by subbing in some chocolate bitters. Version six: shaken, up. 1 1/2 Stiggins 1 sloe gin 1/4 ginger syrup 1/4 lemon juice 1/4 demerara 151 1 dash Regans 2 dashes chocolate bitters cherry garnish Angostura bitters lemon slice Notes: Hmm, I think a barspoon is the right amount of 151 rum, but shaken in. The chocolate bitters took over here so bitters need adjustment. Version seven: shaken, up. Trampoline Casualty 1 1/2 oz Plantation Stiggins Fancy pineapple rum 1 oz Plymouth sloe gin barspoon Hamilton demerara 151 rum 1/4 oz ginger syrup 1/4 oz lemon juice 2 dashes Regans orange bitters 1 dash Scrappy's chocolate bitters cherry garnish This was a fun exercise, that got me thinking about the process of revision. Here I didn't start with a very definitive end goal in mind, against which I was measuring each version. Instead I was taking cues from the versions themselves (though quite a few turned out to be dead ends or wrong turns). That approach probably was inefficient, but who needs efficiency these days?
  4. Pandemic restocking. New to me: Cardamaro, Byrrh, Meletti, sotol, this mezcal.
  5. Okay, here's what I came up with after a couple of attempts: Barcelonnette 2 oz blanco tequila (I use El Mayor) 3/4 oz dry vermouth (Dolin) 1/4 oz Amere Sauvage 1/4 oz honey syrup rinse Herbsaint (or absinthe) Serve in a coupe with a grapefruit twist. My first go had an ounce of vermouth which was maybe too much, a barspoon of honey syrup which was definitely too little, and fennel bitters instead of the pastis rinse. This is a better balance. The Amere Sauvage, a "savage" gentian Alpine liqueur, is by far the most aggressive flavor but all of the others counter it well, each in its own way. (I would guess Suze would be a sub more likely to have on hand, but I'm unsure about whether/how the proportion would be adjusted for that.) I was thinking about vegetal herbaceous flavors that could be drawn out of the starter ingredients. Thanks for the fun challenge!
  6. I might try some experiments. In the meantime I've enjoyed the Jalisco Stroll in the past.
  7. My set of 5.5 oz coupes are a great size for most of the drinks I make at home (which average a little over 3oz before dilution). My wife found a couple of really charming coupes with antiquey etched designs in them at a thrift shop, but they are a bit bigger, and as a result the wash line is unappealingly low. Been wanting to pick up some Nick and Noras, which are usually a bit smaller in volume.
  8. The other day I was in a "let's just throw random things together and see if they work" mood, and mixed Scotch, madeira, apricot liqueur, and ginger syrup. It had some promise but needed some friction. The next night, tried the same with a few dashes of Regans'. Still good but not great. Then finally, I thought a richer way of adding bitterness would be to swap out the madeira for Punt e Mes. Thus was born the Stone of Destiny 2 oz Blended Scotch (Monkey Shoulder) 3/4 oz Carpano Punt e Mes 1/4 oz Apricot liqueur (Rothman and Winter) 1/8 oz Ginger syrup (mine is both potent and sweet; increase as desired) Shake; strain; up; garnish with an orange twist. This was dark and rich; I would think fans of the Boulevardier might be on board. The Stone of Destiny (aka the Stone of Scone) is the ancient rock throne of the Scottish kings. I liked how the name connected to the Scotch, but also to stone fruit (the apricot, and the cherry/plum flavors in the vermouth).
  9. Finally got around to trying a New York Sour (or as I learned from a Wondrich tweet, a "New York Stone Sour" with the inclusion of orange juice).
  10. A new original that uses my curry-leaf syrup: Curried Away 1 1/4 oz Rittenhouse 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack 3/4 oz Lime juice 1/4 oz Ginger liqueur 1/2 oz curry-leaf syrup 1 dash Bar Keep Chinese Bitters Shake; strain; up. I get an unexpected mint (or mint-chewing-gum) flavor on the finish, which made me realize in retrospect that a mint leaf (or curry leaf) would be an appropriate garnish. This started with the weird idea that the Asian funkiness of Batavia Arrack and the peanuty flavor of Rittenhouse could be a workable odd couple. From there I was thinking of Asian cuisine flavors, which quickly led me to the other ingredients. Proportions were estimated with a daiquiri model in mind, and I was more than pleased that my first go at measurements nailed it.
  11. So I'll use up my curry leaves but then I'm stuck with extra black cardamom pods! 😄
  12. I recently made a chicken recipe that called for curry leaves, which I'd never tried before. Curry leaves are kind of interesting. They are used in some curries but bear no relation to the spices in curry powder. Before I realized Whole Foods carried them, I'd looked up online what would work as a substitute in my chicken recipe, and sites suggested lime for the citrusy aspect and basil leaves for the herbaceous aspect. But I found beyond citrus and leafiness, the leaves had a toasty quality. Since I had most of a bag left over, I decided they might work in a syrup for cocktails. I followed the procedure that had worked for me for sage syrup: Dissolve sugar in just-simmering water, cut the heat, and steep the leaves for half an hour, then strain. First use was a basic gin sour—gin, lemon, and the syrup. Worked pretty well. But then my wife observed the nuttiness of the syrup, and I had an epiphany that it could work as a funked-up orgeat replacement. So I made a mai tai to Trader Vic's spec, only subbing the curry-leaf syrup for the orgeat/simple, and using Batavia Arrack as a more regional replacement for the Jamaican rum. Added a pinch of salt and replaced the mint garnish with another curry leaf. Tasty stuff!
  13. Finally got to a drink that's been on my to-do list for a long time: Stew Ellington's Adair Hook. Adair Hook 1 1/2 oz Gin (Beefeater) 3/4 oz Sweet vermouth (Dolin) 1/2 oz Cynar 1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo) 1 ds Orange bitters (Regans') This worked great. This is essentially a Martinez, enriched with the caramel and bitter notes of Cynar, a terrific deepener here. The dark sweetness of both liqueur and vermouth play well against the sharp piny-ness of gin. On a whim, made a second, subbing xocolatl mole bitters for the orange bitters. The chocolatey flavor pushed this still further into dessert town (it was already pretty sweet, but not objectionably so to my taste). So maybe a bit less subtle or balanced than the original, but awfully tasty.
  14. Yes, my colleague did so I got to taste it. Pretty delish! For best drinks of the trip: "Le Pain Killer" at Murder Inc., which was described as "Havana Club 7, OJ [though I'm sure they goosed it with lime], walnut croissant marsala." Garnished with a tiny piece of toast (le pain--get it?) which was goofy, but the walnut flavor in this was great. I liked the Beetle Boulevardier at Lyaness: "Patron Reposado, Martini bitter, purple pineapple, white & pink radicchio, cochineal." I do find the vagueness of their menu irritating though. Both of my drinks at Swift: Sicilian Avenue ("Monkey Shoulder scotch, toasted barley, Mr Black coffee amaro, bitters") and the yummy, dessert-y Praline Flip ("Swift spiced rum blend, Guinness, hazelnut orgeat, egg"). Edited to add: Oh, and at Oriole, the Haarlem Ampersand (“Bols oak aged genever Courvoisier VSOP speculoos wine orange pekoe Salerno hopped Peychaud’s”). Guess the nutty and sweet thing was floating my boat this trip.
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