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Kerry Beal

Help for a Couple of Cocktail Novices (Part 1)

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I'm keen for feedback. Have I made a god awful mistake, adding a strong bitter element (which, I think, as strong as it is, still lets the floral orange notes shine and maybe makes them more interesting)? Is Campari the right choice or should I maybe look at, say, an extra couple dashes of Angostura over what I added before? Is it worth grabbing some orange bitters?

This is the first time I've deviated from a recipe and I'm still getting my head around what a cocktail is supposed to be, exactly, so I'm not quite sure what the process for fine tuning is--especially when I can count on an audience of myself and maybe one or two half-drunk friends.

It's always worth grabbing some orange bitters. Citrus bitters are almost right up there next to aromatic bitters as an essential type of bitters.

And like thirtyoneknots said if it feels right, it can't be wrong. The experimentation's the fun part. Campari's a natural match for gin and goes well with orange too. The only thing I'd worry about for myself in your formula is that you've only got 1oz of base spirit, with sugar, liqueur, and orange (which may be more or less sweet, and of course you could tweak with your sugar). With Campari's extra bit of sweetness, you might be pushing the envelope of my personal sweetness tolerance, that is unless your orange is highly acidic. But it depends on what you're going for: bracing or rich, powerful or subtle, bite-y or smooth, etc. What's the mood of the drink you're after is a question I often ask myself.

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After a massive cooking marathon a cocktail seemed a fair reward. Tonight it was a simple Daiquiri but it hit the spot and soothed the rough edges of my mood. :laugh:

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Over on the drinks thread the discussion has been the "Bennett" - decided since I had all the makings that it would be a good drink for this evening.

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Tonight - the "Bitterly Twisted".

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Was supposed to have a grapefruit twist - c'est la vie!

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Would love the proportions for that. It looks like something I want to drink.

Incidentally, any cocktails that showcase creme de cassis or apricot brandy? Or, you know, any particularly interesting (ideally not overly sweet) cocktails that feature these tipples? I purchased a bottle of each without really taking seriously the fact that I had not much of an idea what to do with them.

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Tonight - the "Bitterly Twisted".

6867155141_90b2eafc10_z.jpg

Was supposed to have a grapefruit twist - c'est la vie!

I love drinks like this. One of the main ideas of balancing bitter components (Cynar, Grapefruit, and bitters) is that the fresh ingredients need to be really bright and really sweet. I implore you to remake this with fresh squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit and I think that you will see a huge increase in your enjoyment. Now is the season for them so they will really shine.

The grapefruit here is battling against the sweetness of the Cynar as well so it needs to show off its tartness. Any juice that is not squeezed fresh that day just isn’t going to showcase the spirits involved. If I can’t squeeze juice a la minute, I go boozy and stirred.

Cheers,

Toby

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Have not been making many cocktails of late but my daughter and son-in-law came for dinner last night and I made each of us one of these. Was enjoyed by all three of us. I love the more bitter cocktails, they like them a bit sweeter but this one seemed to suit all our tastes reasonably well.

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Incidentally, any cocktails that showcase creme de cassis or apricot brandy? Or, you know, any particularly interesting (ideally not overly sweet) cocktails that feature these tipples? I purchased a bottle of each without really taking seriously the fact that I had not much of an idea what to do with them.

There are some good suggestions back in the earlier pages, about page 3 I think. I had the same problem with the cassis and apricot brandy, didn't know what to do with them.

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Do you like cachaca? Both make great batidas. 1.5 oz cachaca, 1 oz +/- of liqueur depending upon how sweet it is, 3/4 oz lime.

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I'd been waiting to try that one for a while but was without absinthe. I finally managed to get my hands on a bottle of Lucid (which I realize isn't among the greats but it will have to do) but kinda forgot about the drink. I just happen to have some blood oranges on hand too so thanks for reminding me that I wanted to try it.

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The Slope - rye, apry, punt e mes and a dash of angostura. Very satisfactory!

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Smokeless 'Smoke 'n Choke' - bourbon, maple syrup, cynar, peychauds and burnt orange rind. And containing a single huge ice sphere thanks to Prasantrin. Rona very recently returned from Japan and brought me a variety of goodies including two big ice sphere molds - one round, one multifaceted - two trays of small spheres and these...

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A collection of Japanese single malts, blended whiskeys and bitters. Hubby and my dad were discussing which one they were going to break into first at dinner tonight.

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Nice gift! I'm a little curious about the Japanese bitters, have you had a chance to investigate those yet?

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Nice gift! I'm a little curious about the Japanese bitters, have you had a chance to investigate those yet?

Haven't tried them yet - they smell a lot like angostura.

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Nice gift! I'm a little curious about the Japanese bitters, have you had a chance to investigate those yet?

Haven't tried them yet - they smell a lot like angostura.

Oh well, even if they're exactly like angostura it was a nice gift. A unique bottle on the shelf if nothing else and maybe something interesting will come out in the taste.

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Last night - Ramazzotti Jimjam - damn fine drink. Jammy for sure!

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Last night - Ramazzotti Jimjam - damn fine drink. Jammy for sure!

Following in Kerry's footsteps I made this cocktail last night for my daughter, son-in-law and myself. So far this one has won the cocktail sweepstakes! WOW - it suited all of us.

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A couple of nights ago when it was unseasonably warm - I made us a Pimm's Mix. Why does warm weather make me think of gin? Wait - I know - summers spent on the boat - parents drinking G&T when it got really hot.

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We had a family reunion last month and now I seem to have a collection of booze that I have never had before so I am thinking of doing the cocktail for novices course on egullet!

Do you recommend a web site or book that the real beginner should try out? This might be fun!

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Well - in my usual style - I bought a whole load of books. But online you'll find Kindred Cocktail which is a good start and allows you to search by alcohol species which is helpful. And then if you come up with a question - Dan will be happy to answer it.

Why not do what we did when we started this thread - post a picture of your bottles and ask for suggestions?


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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There seems to be a lot of versions of the Dr. Funk out there and apparently the original is only a "best guess" based on information available but this one appealed to me as a version I wanted to try...

1 1/2 oz Appleton V/X

1/2 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof (the recipe I used called for Smith & Cross but I don't have it)

3/4 oz lime juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

1/4 oz absinthe (Lucid... because that's what I have)

1/4 oz grenadine

Shake with ice, strain into tall glass with ice, top with 1 oz soda water.

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Edit: the lime shell is supposed to be in the drink but I just gave it a couple healthy twists instead.


Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

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