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Drinks! 2014 (Part 1)


Rafa
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Alas, the Hawthorn Lounge had a private function last night and we couldn't get in. We'll try again tonight.

The upside of this was we got to enjoy our PPX on the couch at home, covered in kittens and watching an episode of the new series of Sherlock (recommended).

PPX.jpg

I had to do the photo like this - the array of ingredients is just so impressive. Lacking cognac, I used Esplendido Spanish brandy. It's from Jerez so might be expected to play nicely with the PX. The rest was Ilegal mezcal, Sazerac rye, Triana PX and of course Cynar and molé bitters.

Another winner, Rafa; definitely in our ever-more-crowded Top 20. The mezcal rinse is inspired and gives a nice subtle smokiness when you sip. After that, the drink is a real smoothie. What surprised me was how dominant the molé bitters were. That's not a bad thing; a nice wodge of chocolate on top of caramel/raisin PX can come to visit any time it likes, as far as I'm concerned.

I didn't get quite as carried away with the Cynar as Rafa suggested, but I am able to report that there's not a lot of difference between one and two bar spoonsful. Maybe I'll chuck a decent amount in next time and see how it goes. The overall impression is it's pretty sweet (PX will do that); a bit more bitter won't hurt it at all, I suspect.

A couple of questions for the knowledgeable:

  • How do you define a 'dash' with the Bittermens products, since they come with a dropper?
  • This recipe says to express the orange peel then discard. What's the thinking there? When is it best to drop the peel into the drink; when to squeeze and throw?

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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I believe HC filters most of the color out of its white(ish) añejo after aging, similar to what El Dorado does with its 3 year offering. I don't think it's possible for a spirit to see three years of wood and not take on a lot more color in a climate like Cuba's, unless it's aged in huge Calvados-style barrels with minimum wood contact (which I don't think is the case).

I second everything Hassouni says about Brugal and the other Cuban-style whites, which incidentally is how the government listed my ethnicity on the most recent census.

I made an effort to make it to the store today ahead of the current east coast storm. Must say, the Brugal does not look to me like light rum. I would describe the color as between Mount Gay Black Barrel and Mount Gay Extra Old which were sitting near it.

What I brought home was a bottle of Busted Barrel that I'm having in a daiquiri at the moment. I aimed for my preferred:

2 oz Busted Barrel

3/4 oz lime juice

1/4 oz Small Hand syrup

But I botched the pour of syrup since my hand was shaking, and ended up closer to 1/2 an ounce of syrup, too much in my opinion. I will have to remedy this. Fortunately I have another lime.

Edit: I thought a real daiquiri might taste funny after such a sweet one, so instead I made myself a migh-ty:

1 oz Pusser's

1 oz Wray & Nephew

1 oz Appleton 12 (of which I ordered another bottle this afternoon)

3/4 oz Grand Marnier

1 oz lime juice (juice of half a wretchedly ungiving lime)

1/2 oz Small Hand orgeat

My pours were dead on and this is not half bad at all. Crushed ice, garnished with the spent half lime. No mint in-house, though I could have used cilantro. Would not have been the same though.

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)
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Indeed, normally I would pour one ingredient at a time. In this case I had 3/4 ounce of lime juice in the measure, so adding a quarter ounce of syrup seemed pretty simple (no pun intended). But even when I pour out the ingredients one at a time, I hesitate to pour back in the bottle if the jigger has been used for something else.

There are worse things in life than a slightly too sweet daiquiri.

Edit: spelling.

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)
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A very entertaining evening at the Hawthorn Lounge last night.

Next week we're getting a bunch of people together for the first of (we hope) many entertaining steampunk cocktail evenings at Hawthorn. I've posted before about the Rusty Automaton, but last night we decided we needed some more in the repertoire. It turns out Kindred already has one called the Jules Verne (tequila, açai, elderflower, lime, agave syrup) so we tried Gian's take on that, with Burlesque Bitters in place of the açai spirit - very successful; not something I'd want much of due to my citrus aversion, but certainly pleasant.

Then the real fun started. We wanted one called H.G. Wells and ended up with the Thyme Machine:

ThymeMachine_EG.jpg

A bit of thought went into this one - Lighthouse Hawthorn Edition gin (Hawthorn Gin, hence H. G. We considered Hendricks, but Peter felt it wouldn't handle the rest of the ingredients) along with one of the oldest things the bar had (Bénédictine) and the youngest (Greenbar Grand Poppy liqueur), with, of course, fresh thyme as a garnish. Given the relative amounts I was surprised at how much the poppy came through. Very good, although the amount of ice did make it a little watery before I was really ready.

Then it was Gian's turn again and he came up with the Smoking Cap (it would have been the Smoking Jacket, but Kindred's got one of those already):

SmokingCap_EG.jpg

This was probably the drink of the evening. Port, Hawthorn Edition gin again, Gunpowder Rum and falernum, poured through smoke. Beautifully complex. Somebody else at the bar had one shortly after this was invented and also liked it a lot. It's a definite sipper rather than a 'toss it back' drink, but you want to keep sipping to see what it's going to do next. Smoking caps and jackets were originally intended to keep the smell of pipe/cigarette/cigar smoke out of one's clothes and hair. This drink poses no danger of stinkiness.

Finally, we handed Peter a challenge. Between the 1820s and 1840s, Charles Babbage worked on a Difference Engine - an early computer. He never quite finished, but there have been working models constructed now. There's a beautiful picture of a Difference Engine here; all brass and cogs and things dear to the heart of any steampunk enthusiast. I showed Peter a photo, we talked about brass and oil and such and he, seized by inspiration, went forth and dug out a bottle of walnut oil (nuts = bolts, screws, etc. also). With some barmanly manipulation, he got this to emulsify with blended Scotch (and a touch of Laphroaig, which certainly came through later), egg white and Demerara syrup to produce this masterful column of oily brass:

DifferenceEngine_EG.jpg

Although again there's more lemon in there than I'd normally go for, this was really good - the oil or egg or something tamed the lemon nicely.

So we're now nicely set up for a variety of more or less steampunk-themed cocktails for next Wednesday. I'll report accordingly.

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Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
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After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Sounds like a fun evening. Any chance of getting the recipe for the Difference Engine? It sounds tasty, looks tasty and I like the story behind it... and I just happen to have a bottle of walnut oil on hand at the moment.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Silly me - didn't include a link. I'm on my phone, so this won't be as elegant as I'd like:

http://www.kindredcocktails.com/cocktail/the-difference-engine

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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I'm glad to see Rafa 'liking' things again. He'd gone quiet for a day or two; I was worried his coworkers had succeeded in killing him.

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Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Ha. Nearly, but not near enough. Happily for me Pouring Ribbons offers a variety of delicious and not absurdly boozy options, which is good as they kept buying me drink after drink. I felt like a Chinese party official.

I'm glad you antipodeans liked the P.P.X. I wasn't sure whether I had finished tinkering with it but it got good reviews here so I thought I'd publish it. I imagine the kittens helped, Leslie.

The steampunk drinks seem like good clean (steam-powered) fun. I think I'll try the Difference Engine, both out of respect for Babbage and Lovelace and because I enjoy bostonapothecary's walnut oil-augmented Roasty Toasty.

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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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In celebration of my newly-acquired Holland gin, an as-yet-unnamed Rumless Tiki Drink:

1 oz. Bols genever
1 oz. Bourbon (OGD100)
1/2 oz. Cognac
1/2 oz. Laird's bonded apple brandy
1/4 oz. Cointreau (*1/2 oz. if a sweeter drink is preferred)
3/8 oz. falernum (*increase to 1/2 oz. if increasing Cointreau)

1 oz. lime

2 dashes orange bitters
2 drops orange flower water

Edited by turkoftheplains (log)
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The steampunk drinks seem like good clean (steam-powered) fun. I think I'll try the Difference Engine, both out of respect for Babbage and Lovelace and because I enjoy bostonapothecary's walnut oil-augmented Roasty Toasty.

I enjoyed the Roasty Toasty too. I can't get a Pisco where I live so I went with the light rum substitution mentioned in the notes. I'm wondering how it would taste with calvados... I guess there's an easy way to find out. I made up a tiny batch of 2:1 demerara syrup today so I can give the Difference Engine a try.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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An interesting experiment tonight. I'm not quite sure what to think. Not without it's charms, though.

Splash and dash so measurements are approximate.

1.5 oz Bianco tequila

2 tsp pimento dram

That gave an strong sense of something like maybe gym socks or maybe a dead squirrel dropped down an outhouse as I brought the glass to my lips. But I persevered and the taste wasn't as bad. I added

2 tsp Benedictine.

Much better on the taste and aroma but still with a certain je ne sais quois. I have a feeling it is something that either those who enjoy challenging flavours could grow to love or maybe it will be like hitting your head against the wall.

With an ice cube it evolved into something much mellower by the bottom of the glass. Maybe I'll have another.

ETA: my pimento dram has a fair bit of Inner Circle so it is pretty funky.

Edited by haresfur (log)

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I was in the mood for a nice, bracing, bitter nightcap last night, and my eye landed upon the Grand Street, which appears to hail from from the famous Death & Co.

The Grand Street

2 Oz Gin (Beefeater)

0.5 Oz Punt e Mes

0.25 Oz Cynar

0.25 Oz Maraschino

Stir, strain, up, grapefruit twist.

Hit the spot perfectly. Maybe a touch on the sweet side, but there is enough going on that this is not a problem. A nice bitter gin drink that unusually does not call up the image of a negroni. Very satisfying.

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Went to Polite Provisions in FrogPrincess's San Diego. Great soda fountain atmosphere. Great drink value. Excellent ingredients and ice, and very modest prices. The Pisco, Aperol, honey, lemon cocktail my wife had was particularly memorable. I would really like to try Nobel Experiment but I doubt I can make it happen. Very good craft cocktail town.

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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Went to Polite Provisions in FrogPrincess's San Diego. Great soda fountain atmosphere. Great drink value. Excellent ingredients and ice, and very modest prices. The Pisco, Aperol, honey, lemon cocktail my wife had was particularly memorable. I would really like to try Nobel Experiment but I doubt I can make it happen. Very good craft cocktail town.

Excellent. Also make sure to check out Sycamore Den and the bar at Bankers Hill if you get a chance (and you really need to let me know next time when you are in town!).

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Thanks, Frog. Both look great. We were a bit hampered by our 13yo daugher. No problem at Craft & Commerce, but she was tossed at Polite Provisions.

I agree it's not good, but it has to do with their liquor license and the fact that they don't serve food.
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Thanks for the notes. I'm excited for the Ransom whiskey, especially given your description of its mouthfeel and apparent maturity. I'll try it at a bar before I invest in a full bottle though.

Will be interested to hear your thoughts once you have tried it. I really like it but recognize every palate is different!

I tried a free sample at Astor Wines. Perhaps my palate was just tired that day, but I found it tasted very young, with bright and sharp malt flavors, albeit with the same wonderfully thick mouthfeel as Ransom's Old Tom. It wasn't as complicated, or as Irish-tasting, as I had hoped, and if the oats contributed any novel notes I didn't pick up on them. I'll have to do a more proper tasting soon to see whether it was just me or the poor tasting conditions (out of a plastic cup early on a Saturday afternoon). I'll have to see if Dead Rabbit, the bar nearest my office, carries it, though I think it might be insulting to order an American imitation of Irish whiskey at a bar that prides itself on its selection of authentic Irish.

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”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Tonight I assayed a bit of Gosling's old in the Imbibe! recipe for whiskey punch (p76). I modify the recipe to use more than half a lemon, plus lately I've been adding a teaspoon of raspberry syrup (since I have it) in lieu of fresh "seasonable fruit". The raspberry is quite subtle. Garnished with the two thin lemon slices called for, and a small sprig of mint.

Very nice. Lovely, even. Thing is, this is a rye punch, the 1/2 ounce rum is only there for flavoring. It's hardly obvious to me that there there is any rye in here at all. Though I'm pretty sure I measured out three ounces of McKenzie. When I use Appleton 12 for the rum, the rye flavor stands out more.

Either way, I'm not complaining, I like both rye and rum. This is an eminently efficacious punch. I just wish I had more McKenzie. Since my local store is out, I may be looking for another rye. My dealer tried to interest me in Angel's Envy, but from what I've read Angel's Envy is just overpriced generic Midwest Grain. Knob Creek, Rittenhouse, and Woodford are some of the other local options -- that I don't think are sourced from Midwest Grain. I'm not saying Midwest Grain is bad, I just don't want to pay a lot for it.

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PPX. With added Cynar.

EDIT

I hate to say it, Rafa, but the drink just isnt satisfying. I had to make another some one to fill the hole.

Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)
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Chris Taylor

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I discovered that El Dorado 12 is so god damn sweet on its own that it makes a great OF with just a few dashes of bitters. It's literally as sweet as if I had made it with a super-dry whisky and a half-dollar sized puddle of syrup at the bottom of the glass.

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