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    On The Menu

    Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

    Readymade Cocktails

    Wherein we get profiled in the sadly, currently comatose, Readymade Magazine.

    A few months back Readymade Magazine contacted us and asked if we wanted to contribute to a feature they were doing on hosting parties. They were interested in how we host cocktail parties and particularly in the spirits tasting parties that we do every so often.

    Our spirits tasting parties consist of getting a group of people over where we pick a spirit and run through tasting a good variety of brands and variations. This usually involves a good bit of history about the spirit along the way and ends with a number of cocktails made with the chosen spirit. The best possible outcome for these events is helping someone with that bad experience with gin or tequila in college. When someone has a good product and tastes it in a well mixed cocktail they usually realize they were really just afraid of badly made spirits.

    Erin Kunkel was our photographer for the night and she did a lovely job. She has posted a few of the photos on her blog.

    It just so happened in this case though that Readymade’s deadlines coincided with repeal day, so this particular event ended up being a group of prohibition era cocktails (and some not prohibition cocktails), and some discussion of the effect of prohibition on mixology.

    Perhaps this sounds a little geeky, but people get so excited to finally learn what they have been drinking and realize that they can open up a whole new world of drinks that they were not so into before.

    The Rosemary Five

    A delicious mix of pear lime and rosemary.

    I had a batch of rosemary syrup I made up over the holidays for some champagne cocktails which turned out to be a hit with the family. Last night I was looking around for some other uses for it and came across the recipe for the Rosemary Five over at Married… with Dinner. (a blog you should be reading by the way, as they consistently please me with their recipes)

    The drink is fantastic; the lime balances out the pear which can be quite overwhelming sometimes. The rosemary is fairly understated and mostly at the front of the palate… partly because of the aromatics from the garnish, but also because the drink is light on the syrup. If you crank up the syrup it starts to taste a little too savory.

    The Rosemary Five
    • 1 oz pear eau de vie
    • .5 oz lime juice
    • .5 oz rosemary syrup
    • 3 dashes angostura bitters
    • dry sparkling wine

    Directions
    Shake all ingredients except for champagne with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top off glass with sparkling wine and garnish with a rosemary sprig.

    Rosemary Simple Syrup
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

    Directions
    Bring sugar and water and rosemary to a boil in a medium sauce pan while stirring. remove from heat when sugar is completely dissolved. Let the mixture cool and strain out the rosemary and store in the refrigerator.

    What America Needs Now is a Drink!

    Let us soothe our troubles and hoist a drink in celebration of repeal day!

    a prescription for alcohol during prohibition

    One of the most famous phrases in prohibition lore is certainly the best. On December 5th 1933 at 4:31pm President Franklin D. Roosevelt toasted the end of prohibition – American cocktailiana’s darkest 13 years – with the phrase “What America Needs Now is a Drink”. Bear in mind, that this was in one of the deepest parts of the depression, with millions of people out of jobs and the economy in tatters, Americans needed a drink for so many reasons.

    One of the lesser known details of prohibition is what Roosevelt was drinking while toasting the end of the noble experiment. Supposedly he signed the 21st amendment and made his favorite cocktail, the Dirty Martini. I can’t say I am the biggest fan of the dirty martini but in the interest of history here is the recipe.

    Roosevelt’s Dirty Martini

    • 2 oz Plymouth gin
    • 1/3 oz dry vermouth
    • a splash of olive brine
    • 1 green olive
    • 1 twist of lemon

    Directions
    Shake gin, vermouth and olive brine with ice, rim the glass with twist and strain drink into glass. Garnish with olive.

    The problem is that there is some debate as to weather or not this actually happened. Most accounts (including by his secretary) say so, but like most cocktail history there is always a bit of haze around this. Another story is that his famous quote was accompanied by a toast with Korbel Sec Champagne. Korbel was one of the few American sparkling wine vineyards to survive prohibition and they sent the first post-prohibition case to the White House for the celebration. They claim on the tour at the winery that he did in fact toast the end with a glass of Korbel Sec. Incidentally, I don’t normally recommend Korbel Champagnes, but the Sec is their original recipe from the 19th century and it is only available at the winery or online. I like it quite a bit, in fact it is the champagne we had at our wedding.

    While the Dirty Martini isn’t really my preferred tipple, and I don’t currently have any Korbel Sec available to me without a 2 hour drive, I do have plans to make up a selection of classics as well as some Corpse Reviver #2′s.

    Corpse Reviver #2

    • 3/4 oz Plymouth Gin
    • 3/4 oz Lillet
    • 3/4 oz Cointreau
    • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
    • 1 dash Absinthe

    Directions
    Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

    Corpse Reviver 2

    And so here we are 75 years later, cocktaildom is only now really recovering from the effects of prohibition, bartenders have finally rediscovered the drinks, ingredients, rituals and mythologies of the golden age of cocktails. There surely are parallels now to that December 5th 75 years ago, an immensely fragile economy, with many people concerned about the future, a charismatic new president fueled by hope. I can think of nothing more appropriate than his toast that so many people were anxiously awaiting… “What America Needs Now is a Drink!”. So make sure on Friday to celebrate Repeal Day, and raise a glass for your constitutional right to drink!

    A Lot To Digestif

    A little bit of something to look forward to after dinner.

    With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, there is a lot of eating about to happen. One of the more underrated aspects of drinking is the lost art of the digestif, a slightly sweet drink of herbs steeped in alcohol. Digestifs are considered to help with digestion, something to do with increasing the production of digestive fluids after a large meal. But even if this is just a wives-tale, the ritual of drinking a delicious little something after dinner is a worthwhile process.

    Chow recently had one of their great articles on making digestifs. I have made a couple of these before but i liked the idea of making a bunch at once, so I decided to give a few of their recipes a shot.

    Basil Digestif
    • 15 Large Basil Leaves
    • 2 cups Everclear 151
    • 1 1/2 cup Simple Syrup

    Directions
    Place the basil leaves in a 1 quart jar with the Everclear and let it sit for 6 days at room temperature. After 6 days remove the leaves and add the simple syrup and stir. Store in the freezer and serve cold.

    Meyer Lemon Digestif
    • 8 Meyer Lemons
    • 2 cups Everclear 151
    • 1 1/2 cup Simple Syrup

    Directions
    Peel the lemons in wide strips trying to get as little of the white pith as possible. Place the peels and Everclear in a 1 quart jar for 12 days at room temperature. After 12 days remove the peels and add the simple syrup and stir. Store in the freezer and serve cold.

    Mandarin Orange Digestif
    • 5 Mandarin Oranges
    • 2 cups Everclear 151
    • 1 1/2 cup Simple Syrup

    Directions
    Peel the Oranges in wide strips trying to get as little of the white pith as possible. Place the peels and Everclear in a 1 quart jar for 6 days at room temperature. After 6 days remove the peels and add the simple syrup and stir. Store in the freezer and serve cold.

    Update:I posted on how they turned out here. One thing I found was that the above recipes were very sweet, sweeter than anyone in my party could enjoy. I reduced the amount of simple syrup from 1.5 cups to 1 cup in the meyer lemon and mandarin and in the case of the basil (since it doesn’t have such a citrusy tang to it) i would reduce it to .75 cups of simple syrup.

    The Delicious Pisco Sour

    The national drink of Peru.

    It seems like I have become obsessed with egg whites in cocktails in the last 6 months, and the Pisco Sour is one of my favorites. For those of you not familiar with Pisco, it is a lightly aged brandy from South America which is a bit like a surprisingly smooth cousin to grappa.

    This drink is a sour, which is a type of cocktail that balances sweet and sour (other drinks in this family are the whiskey sour, the margarita and the sidecar). The Pisco Sour is a little more sour than sweet, and the pisco and angostura add a richness to it that is pretty unique if you haven’t had pisco before. My recipe replaces the standard simple syrup with agave nectar to add a little more depth to the drink.

    I love this drink, but for a lot of people the egg white freaks them out. There has been a lot of discussion about how to use egg whites, but the generally accepted wisdom is that the only really dangerous part of an egg in terms of salmonella is on the outside of the shell (and perhaps in the yolk) but not in the white. If you are really paranoid you can buy pasteurized egg whites at the store which have the added advantage of not having to deal with cracking and deyolking a bunch of eggs.

    Pisco Sour
    • 2 1/4 oz ounces pisco
    • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
    • 3/4 ounce agave nectar
    • 1 Dash Angostura bitters
    • 3/4 ounce egg white

    Directions
    Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker without ice and shake for 15 seconds. This helps emulsify the egg whites into a foamier texture. open the shaker and add ice and shake some more for another 30 seconds. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Finally, drip 4 drops of angostura bitters on top of the foam and drag a toothpick through the drops to make a pattern.

    The Gilded Lily at Alembic

    A bit showy but complex and delicious nonetheless.

    A surprisingly good blend of gin, yellow chartreuse, orange flower water, a splash of champagne with a float of gold leaf. a little showy but it just reminds me of how versatile and complex chartreuse can be.

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