Showing posts with label bourbon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bourbon. Show all posts

November 26, 2009

This drink is not kosher, halal or safe for vegetarians.

As I said, as long as I had leftover base ingredients from my Thanksgiving mixology experiments, I would share the fruits of my research and testing. And tonight, I have something that may shock, terrify and amaze you. Those of you with sensitive dispositions, please leave the room now. If you have small children...why the hell are they reading this blog with you?

Tonight's drink requires you to devote several hours over the better part of a week making one of the ingredients, and the guide for that will follow the main recipe. Believe me, though, it's well worth the effort. Behold! I give you...
The Bacon Old-Fashioned

2 ounces bacon-infused bourbon (recipe follows)
1/4-1/2 oz maple syrup (less if you use Grade B, which is stronger in flavor)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
orange zest
Urban Moonshine Maple bitters (optional, but if you have them, great)

Place orange zest in the bottom of an Old-Fashioned glass with Angostura bitters and maple syrup. Gently muddle to express oils. Add ice and bacon-infused bourbon, stirring gently to combine. Add two dashes Maple bitters to top.
Bacon-Infused bourbon (makes about 750 ml)

750 ml bourbon (nothing too pricy...I used Evan Williams)
4 strips of bacon
a 1-liter Mason jar with lid

Slowly cook bacon over low heat, in a cast iron skillet if you have a well-seasoned one, reserving drippings (which should total about 1 ounce). Eat the bacon or set aside to eat later. Allow drippings to cool slightly. Meanwhile pour the bourbon into your scrupulously clean Mason jar (rinse well with boiling water, and swish a little high-proof neutral grain spirits around inside if you have them) and add the bacon drippings. Store at room temperature overnight (or about eight hours) then move to the fridge for three days. Move to the freezer for one day, and then strain out solidified drippings. Run bourbon through a paper coffee filter, rebottle and refrigerate. Bourbon should keep for several weeks in the fridge.
Yes. Bacon-infused bourbon. No, I have not lost my mind. It really is fantastically good...the sweetness of the bourbon is the predominant flavor to begin, but then the smokiness of the bacon makes itself known. It's also wonderful for horrifying your friends when you tell them what you've made. Well, horrify or delight...the reactions usually go to one of those two extremes.

Bacon Old-Fashioned

October 24, 2009

Mixology Monday XLIII: Vermouth

0EE1C1B7-51D9-464A-9FD4-3362608E69F5.jpgYes friends, it's already time for another MxMo, and October's theme is the fortified wine we know and love; vermouth, and is hosted by fellow lush Vidiot over at Cocktailians. Vidiot says:
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to present a delectable vermouth cocktail for us all to drool over. Sweet/Italian or dry/French vermouth are fair game of course, as are quinquina, aperitif wines like Pineau des Charentes, or for that matter any fortified, aromatized wine such as Lillet (red or white), or Dubonnet (ditto.)
So, I figured one of my favorite drinks, with a little rejiggering, would fit that bill quite nicely.

First of all, I've been remiss, in my previous Mixology Monday posts, in thanking the booze bloggers that have hosted them previously, so let me correct that now: Vidiot, Chris, Amelia and RumDood, thanks for taking so much time to nudge and massage my half-drunken posts into a valid submission. You all have made me feel most welcome in the MxMo world. And now, on to the hooch.

You may remember my take on the Manhattan, the Golden Manhattan, which I named for it's reflecting the "Golden Ratio," a+b:a::a:b. That is, 2 parts whiskey to 1 part vermouth, and 2 parts dry vermouth to 1 part sweet. Normally, I like to make it with rye whiskey, but I stumbled across a new bourbon at the store today, and it was marked down by $9, so feeling frugal, I figured I'd grab a bottle and give it a whirl. And then, I also received some new bitters in the mail today, from Urban Moonshine and thought that they might a nice and novel addition to my drink as well; plus they came in nifty little sprayers, so that upped the coolness factor. Believing that the brands matter in this concoction, I'm going to name names (but not in a Elia Kazan sort of way), but feel free to jigger to your liking and taste if you want to. And so I present you with my contribution to Mixology Monday XLIII;
The Golden Manhattan (Redux)

3 parts Jefferson's Very Small Batch Kentucky Bourbon
1 part Noilly Prat dry vermouth
1/2 part Noilly Prat sweet vermouth
3 sprays (or dashes) Urban Moonshine Maple bitters (divided)
1 spray (or dash) Urban Moonshine Citrus bitters

Combine bourbon, vermouth, and two sprays/dashes of Maple bitters in mixing glass with ice, stirring well to combine. Strain into Double Old Fashioned glass, add one spray/dash each of Maple and Citrus bitters.
The distillers of Jefferson's bourbon say that it's got a nose of vanilla and peach, and a taste that's smooth and sweet, with hints of citrus, and that's not far off. It pairs incredibly well with the hint of maple from the bitters, and the always excellent vermouths from Noilly Prat really balance the drink, mellowing the often harsh burn from the bourbon. This is an awesome variation on my traditional way of making a Manhattan, a little sweeter and more nuanced than the rye-based version, and definitely one I'd like to return to.

Golden Manhattan (Redux)


It's worth noting, I feel, that I paid for all these name brand liquors out of pocket. Just in case anyone's worried about me getting kickbacks...I'm far too small a blog to be sent free product. In the off chance that it ever happens, I will indicate that the product was sent as for promotional consideration. I will, however, be honest in my reviewing of it...if it tastes like fetid dingo's kidneys, I will say as much.

September 17, 2009

short, sweet, and to the point.

Or in this case, tall, spicy and to the point.

I finally, after almost 10 months of being unemployed, got a job. It's part time, but it promises to be fun. I go for orientation next week Tuesday. I'm very excited, so much so that I'm not even gonna do a fancy drink tonight. I'm drinking something extremely simple, but so damned good. C'mon...celebrate with me!
Double Bourbon (Rocks)

3 oz Bulleit Bourbon (if you've got some good stuff, use it, fer cryin' out loud!)
2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters (good ol' Angostura will do nicely, as well)

Dash bitters over ice in a DOF glass, pour in the bourbon, swirl gently to combine. Sip.
The blog will, of course, continue, but it may take a breather here and there, depending on scheduling. Still, if I don't post at least once a week, you can comment on here saying how you're gonna kick my butt if I don't hook you all up with a drink soon.

Thanks for coming with me so far, gang...we're actually coming up on my 100th drink (I don't really think I'll count this one, as it's nothing special), and I hope to have a fantastic mystery ingredient obtained for that one. Stay stewed for the nudes! Er...stay tuned for the news. Cheers, all.

Double Bourbon (Rocks)

September 10, 2009

"Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel..."

This drink, which I'm posting quickly upon realizing it's been more than 5 days since my last post, is called the Blinker Cocktail. "Blinker" was another word for "blinders" as a mule or horse might wear to keep them looking forwards. I'm not sure what connection that has to the drink, but hey, if Ted Haigh researched it, it's good enough for me.
The Blinker Cocktail

2 oz rye whiskey or, failing that, a bourbon with a lot of rye, like Bulleit
1 oz grapefruit juice
2 barspoons (about 1 teaspoon) raspberry syrup (it's available commercially, or you can mash 1/2 pint of raspberries and put it in to boil with your next simple syrup batch)

shake all with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass.
It's a nice balancing act this walks; tart from the grapefruit, sweet and tangy from the raspberry syrup, and spicy from the rye (or bourbon). But it works. And it's such a lovely color.

The Blinker Cocktail

August 23, 2009

I'd mentioned this one before, but now there's a photo!

A few weeks back, I gave you all my recipe for what I consider to be the perfect Manhattan, a drink that I've termed the "Golden Manhattan" to distinguish it from the "Perfect Manhattan" (equal measures of whiskey, sweet vermouth and dry vermouth). I've named it that as it reflects the golden ratio, at least in one small step. I make it as follows:
Golden Manhattan

3 parts whiskey (rye or bourbon)
1 part dry vermouth
1/2 part sweet vermouth
2 dashes bitters

stir all with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass with a maraschino cherry in the bottom.
I call it "Golden" in light of the ratio used: a+b:a::a:b, that is, 2 parts whiskey to 1 part vermouth, and 2 parts dry vermouth to 1 part sweet. I like my Manhattans a bit on the drier side, and up until two days ago, I used a dash of Angostura and a dash of orange bitters. Now, however, since I got my Bittermens, I've been putting in two dashes of the Xocolatl Mole, as the cocoa and spice notes really add a nice warmth and depth to the drink. If you have them on hand, I can't sing their praises highly enough, and they're not even paying me. But if you don't have the Bittermens on hand, a dash each of Angostura and orange more than do the job. This is really my go-to drink, if I can't figure out what I feel like having. It's incredibly satisfying and nuanced. I highly recommend you sit down for a quiet evening and figure out how you like your Manhattan...it's a fantastic drink.

Golden Manhattan

August 19, 2009

Lebkuchen? Gesundheit!

I was casting my mind around to see what I could do with some of this ginger liqueur I made, and I though perhaps something with a lot of spice notes could be interesting. I remembered a great cookie my mother and I made years ago called "Lebkuchen," a traditional German cookie that's related to gingerbread. It seemed like we threw the whole spice rack in there, so I set out to invent the alcoholic equivalent of it, and came up with this:
Lebkuchen Cocktail

1 1/2 oz ginger liqueur
1 oz aged rum
1/2 oz bourbon
dash Angostura bitters
dash pimento dram
dash homemade spice extract

Build all over ice, stir to combine.
This is really kind of uncanny. It tastes almost exactly like a spice cookie...the allspice of the pimento dram, the myriad spices in my spice extract, the ginger, the silkiness of the rum, the sweet spiciness of the bourbon; they all combine into a drink that greatly resembles the cookie of my memory. It does not, however, pair as well with milk.

Lebkuchen Cocktail

August 9, 2009

"And now the purple dusk of twilight time steals across the meadows of my heart..."

With that line, Hoagy Carmichael set the scene for his most memorable (and often undeservedly mocked) song, "Stardust." While the prose may seem a little purple by today's standards (pun intended), it's still a beautiful song, especially when it's performed by someone who can sell it. So, start this video playing and listen to the song as you read the rest of this entry about one of my new favorite cocktails.

I stumbled across this drink while reading one of the many mixology blogs I peruse. That blog got it, in turn, from Tales of the Cocktail's 2008 session, and it was the namesake drink of The Violet Hour, a cocktail lounge in Chicago that I really need to visit on my next trip down there. It's based on a Manhattan, but it makes a couple changeups that really take it to a new level.
The Violet Hour

2 oz bourbon (I used Bulleit and did not regret it)
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Noilly Prat for me)
1/4 oz dry vermouth (Noilly Prat again, though I've heard Cinzano is good, as well)
1/8 oz (or more, to taste) Cruzan Black Strap rum
3 dashes bitters (Fee Brothers if you can get it, otherwise Angostura works)

Shake all with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass
It starts off like a Manhattan or a Brooklyn, the bourbon and vermouth really dominating, but then, as you swallow, there's the terrific molasses and spice notes from the rum, even though there's only a tiny bit in there. It really makes for a great drink, and would likely do even better come autumn or winter. In fact, when the weather starts to cool in October, I think I'll remake this, but in lieu of the bitters, I'll add just a scant 1/8 oz of maple syrup, while halving the sweet vermouth. That, I think, will make for a really interesting drink.

And with that, I leave you to sip this cocktail, steeped in the classic tradition, and listen to, as Hoagy said, "the music of the years gone by," even if it was never composed, and exists only in your memory.

The Violet Hour

July 28, 2009

Beware the heavy-handed pour!

I was planning on making something entirely different tonight...a great drink I heard about from Tales of the Cocktail 2009 called The Violet Hour. However, my pouring hand had other plans, it seems. I was attempting to add 3/4 oz of sweet vermouth to my bourbon, already in my mixing glass, and, well...I overdid it. So I'll be featuring The Violet Hour some other time (get it? Hour? Time? Huh? Oh, forget it.) In an attempt to salvage the drink, I turned it into a variant of another bourbon and sweet vermouth concoction, the Fanciulli cocktail. The story behind the name is explained in detail in this article from the Wall Street Journal a few months back, so I'll just show you my variant, which I think holds up pretty well to the original.
Fanciulli Cocktail (variant)

2 oz bourbon
1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine all with ice, stirring well until thoroughly chilled, strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Normally, this drink is just the bourbon, the sweet vermouth and the Fernet Branca, in slightly different (and mostly smaller proportions). Reluctant to let my precious Bulleit Bourbon go to waste (even though it was on sale, no sense wasting good whiskey), and having already mixed it with the bitters when I overpoured the sweet vermouth, I tried to temper it a bit. The dry vermouth countered it somewhat, and the small amount of Fernet augmented the bitters and balanced it out. All in all, this version holds up pretty well to the original, and for a simple variation on the hoary old Manhattan cocktail, it really has a fresh new angle to it. For a mistake, it's, happily, a most palatable one.
Fanciulli (variant)

May 29, 2009

Yellow journalism, red drink.

William Randolph Hearst was a newspaper magnate who never let the facts stand in the way of a good story. He's got a drink named after him already, though, so we'll move along. One of his enduring legacies, however, was "yellow journalism," wherein legitimate news was soft-pedaled, and attention-grabbing, sensational headlines were elevated to above the fold. Perhaps the most egregious example was how the unverified (and as yet unproven) assertion that the USS Maine exploded in Havana harbor due to a bomb or torpedo, an assertion which helped to touch off the Spanish-American War. A popular rallying cry became "Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain!" Not terribly clever, but catchy. So much so, it seems, that "Remember the Maine" became the name of a cocktail. And it tastes pretty good, too.
Remember the Maine

2 oz Bourbon whiskey (or rye, which I prefer)
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
dash of Pernod
2 dashes of Angostura bitters

Stir all with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Between the spiciness of the rye, the sweetness of the vermouth, the back of the throat tartness of the Heering, and the anise notes of the Pernod, you've got a lot going on in this drink. Happily, the elements work pretty harmoniously, as long as you don't overdo the Pernod. I wouldn't make a habit of drinking this every day, but it's one to keep in mind for an occasional tipple, especially when you want something a little different.
Remember the Maine

May 3, 2009

"I wanna be a producer, lunch at Sardi's everyday!"

I picked this cocktail earlier today, and was wracking my brain trying to come up not only with a decent title for tonight's post, but also for something I could use in the photo to decently illustrate the abstract concept of the drink's name. I mean, what kind of props can you use for "Fancy Free?" Then, as I was looking over my bookshelf (which overfloweth, and really needs to be augmented somehow with another one, though where I'd put it I haven't the foggiest notion) I spotted one of the "making of" books I picked up like a good little theatre major as soon as it was released: "The Producers." And a little light over my head went "ding!" and Matthew Broderick started singing in my head. I've asked him repeatedly to stop that, and go and bug Cameron Frye or something, but he never listens.

Anyway, Leo Bloom (in "The Producers," not in James Joyce's "The Dubliners") has an extended dream sequence in which he fantasizes about all sorts of wonderous things that will surely await him when he becomes a Broadway producer. Apparently the fact that his soon-to-be-partner, Max Bialystock, has to schtup little old ladies to raise capital for his shows has not sunk in yet. Anyway, he frolics through a big number, replete with showgirls (fresh from the casting couch, natch) and generally convinces himself that yes, he will be a producer, granny-schtupping be damned, because it's gotta be better than his current accounting gig (no word on if this was in the days running up to April 15th or not). So I figured, yes, that'd be a good evocation of "Fancy Free" and would supply me with enough filled space to be a decent start on a blog post. So here's the "Fancy Free" cocktail:
Fancy Free

2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz Maraschino liqueur
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
1-2 dashes orange bitters

Stir well with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a cherry.
Remember last night now I waxed rhapsodic about that indefinable woodsy flavor that Maraschino brought to the Aviation? There's more of it tonight in this, playing wonderfully off the bourbon, and when the spice and orange join in from the bitters, oh...so good. The only thing that would make it even better would be a flamed orange peel garnish. On that note...
A flamed orange peel garnish sounds scary, but is really quite easy. Just take a vegetable peeler and slice off a half-dollar sized bit of orange peel. Hold it above and behind your drink with one hand, and hold a lighter in the other, positioned between the peel and the drink. Spark the lighter, and squeeze the peel towards your drink. The orange oil will ignite and land on the surface of your drink. Then just rub the orange peel around the rim of your glass, and plunk it into your cocktail.
With that addition, I think this would be utter perfection. If you're a fan of bourbon at all, please go out and try this drink. It's incredibly good.
Fancy Free


In non-Maraschino related news, I started making a batch of Falernum tonight, a crucial ingredient in a good number of Tiki drinks. Falernum's a Caribbean liqueur flavored with lime zest, ginger, cloves, almonds, and a variety of other spices; mine has those ingredients plus some allspice, a nutmeg, and a few peppercorns. Tomorrow all the ingredients get strained out of the overproof rum they're soaking in, and get mixed with some simple syrup. I've been wanting to make this stuff for quite some time, now, and I'm very excited that it's almost ready. So there's more Tiki drinks forthcoming, which will be perfect as the weather warms up. Stay tuned!

May 1, 2009

"Son, I do say, son! Fetch me down my hangin' rope!"

Much umbrage and discord has resulted from the debate over the methodology of the proper mixing of a Mint Julep, but nearly all of it boils down to this question: do you muddle the mint prior to adding the bourbon or leave it unmuddled? Well, I've decided to solve this Gordian Knot in my own way, by offending everyone and deconstructing the whole damn thing into my take on it. My experimental technique (kids, wear your safety goggles!) does away with any mint leaves in the drink at all, and no granulated sugar, either! I made a special mint syrup instead! Now, unless you live in Wisconsin, odds are you won't be able to get the precise ingredient I used to add my unique twist on the drink, but you can order it for your next Derby day (or for this coming summer...it's good anytime!) and, if nothing else, I'll give you a guide to making something similar, though not quite identical.

You'll need a little bit of prep time for this, say a couple hours, just enough to give the syrup time to cool down before adding it to your ice and bourbon. Or you can prep it the night before, and take a batch with you to your Derby Day celebration. You'll need to procure some Sweet Mint Organic Botanical Blend from Rishi Tea, plus some dried peppermint. Infuse two tablespoons of the Rishi blend plus 1 tablespoon of peppermint in 5 ounces of boiling water for about 5-10 minutes; the leaves will soak up about an ounce of water, so if you drop below 4 oz after removing the leaves, just add enough hot water to bring it back up to four. Add 1/2 cup of cane sugar to the still hot liquid, and stir until dissolved, ending up with about 6 ounces by volume. Bottle and cool until time to build your julep. If you can't locate the Rishi tea and don't feel like ordering it, but your favorite grocery carries Yogi brand tea, you can get by with their "Egyptian Licorice Mint" variety...2 teabags of that plus 1 tablespoon of dried peppermint should do it. Infuse as above.

Now, to build your drink, fill your Collins glass with cracked ice, add an ounce of your mint syrup, three ounces of bourbon (or rye if you live above the Mason-Dixon line, or if you just prefer rye), swizzle gently, top again with cracked ice, pour an additional 1/2 oz of your mint syrup on top, and let it sit for about five minutes before sipping. In case you're wondering just how much ice you'll need, the answer is "a lot," as I cracked an entire tray of ice for one Collins glass. On the plus side, the glass frosted itself after I swizzled it, which is always pretty damn cool! If you want to be really contrary, you can garnish with a mint sprig, but that'd be silly, after going through all that work to avoid using real mint leaves in the drink. Best to leave it ungarnished.
Deconstructed Mint Julep

I must admit, prior to sampling this drink, I was worried that it would not have as much of a mint flavor as one might hope. Happily, it does. Plus, the addition of the other herbs in the infusion make for something a little more complex than your typical mint-sugar-water-bourbon Julep. If you really wanted to commit sacrilege and play up the licorice notes in your syrup, you could add a scant 1/8 oz of absinthe or Pernod or an anisette of some sort (or even Green Chartreuse). It would be a scandal if the word got out, but it would certainly bring a dollop of new life to that staid old grey mare of Derby tradition.

April 26, 2009

He has fallen into shadow!

Every now and then I like to take a drink that exists and put my own little spin on it. And when you do that to drinks that were, themselves, just modifications of already extant cocktails, well, you can end up going a little crazy.

Take, for example, the Eastern Sour. It's a variant on the Ward Eight, which is, itself, a variant on the venerable Whiskey Sour. The Eastern Sour diverges from the Ward Eight by using bourbon instead of rye, lime juice in lieu of lemon, swapping in simple syrup for the grenadine, and adding a tiny bit of orgeat syrup. I'm not sure exactly which of those changes make it "eastern," but perhaps the orgeat added enough mystery to it that it seemed exotic by comparison.

Well, I like that well enough, but while I was pondering what made it eastern, I started thinking about the connotations of things in the east, in literature and culture. I can't help it; I'm a dork. And one of the things I came up with was that Mordor, in "The Lord of the Rings" is in the east. So I did some further swapping and modifying, and I made it a Mordor Sour! It's a tiny bit more involved, but it really makes for a neat looking and tasting drink.
Mordor Sour
2 oz bourbon or rye (I think rye would be a little more interesting)
1 1/2 oz orange juice
1 oz lime juice
1/4 oz orgeat syrup
1/8 oz simple syrup
1/8 oz clementine or mandarin infused vodka (optional)
dash of orange bitters
1/4 oz grenadine

Combine all ingredients save for the grenadine with ice in your shaker and shake well to combine. Strain into an Old-Fashioned glass full of ice. Slowly add the 1/4 oz of grenadine, letting it seep to the bottom. Garnish with cherry and serve with a short stirring rod.
I think the only way this cocktail could be more exotic is if I added some crazy extract like, say, black pepper and orange (which I'm making, by the way). It naturally tends towards the sweet, even with all the citrus juice, so I'd go with the rye here, just to let that natural spiciness counteract it. I think the vodka also helps dry it out a little bit. I scaled back the simple syrup, since I was adding the grenadine, but if you're partial to more sour and less sweet, you can do away with it entirely. This has some great potential for tinkering with, and I think you could take it to really unusual places if you were so inclined. When my orange and black pepper extract is complete, I'll totally retry this with a few drops.
Mordor Sour

Oh, and because I don't want to get my broke ass sued, this drink is neither authorized nor endorsed by the Tolkien estate, New Line Cinemas, or any of the nifty people involved with The Lord of the Rings. Though if they like it and want to fly me out to make it for them at premieres or something, I would totally be up for it.

April 25, 2009

Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

Humphrey Bogart: a man's man. Drinker, smoker, fighter, lover, a tough guy with an all-too-human heart. Ok, that's enough waxing rhapsodic, you're here for drinks, not a hagiography. I began with that introduction because tonight's drink is a little number called the Bogey. It's really a combination of all sorts of elements from other cocktails; a chunk of Martini here, a dash of Manhattan there, it's whimsical, but it makes for a good tipple.
Bogey
1 oz gin
1 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz bourbon
1/4 oz Pernod
dash of lemon juice

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass full of ice, introduce it to a bar spoon and stir until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass.
This is one of those drinks that you'd think would just taste like an amalgam of all it's ingredients, but it's really quite subtle. It's pretty much impossible to describe, but it'd be a great one to make at home, or see if your friendly neighborhood bartender can do it justice. It's a fairly uncommon drink, which is a pity, because it's got potential. Give it a whirl.
Bogey

April 22, 2009

This drink travels directly to...The Twilight Zone.

I was reading an old Thursday Drink Night post earlier this evening from late February, dealing with adding rinses to the inside of your glass before adding the cocktail itself...and I got to pondering...last night we played around with Pernod and noted that between that and the gin, there were a ton of extracts and herbal ingredients in it. So how many varieties of multiple extracts could I have in one drink and still have it taste good? I decided that I was just crazy enough to find out, and so I created another drink tonight! There's no photo, because it's really nothing special to look at, but it's worth trying if only to see if it cures your bursitis or something.
The Potential Monteleone Cocktail

For the rinse:
6 drops pimento dram
6 drops spice extract or falernum
6 drops Pernod
2 drops Peychaud's bitters

For the drink:
1 3/4 oz jenever-style gin
1/4 oz bourbon
1/4 oz dry vermouth
dash orange bitters
dash Angostura bitters

Swirl the rinse around in your prettiest cordial glass as far up the sides as possible, then pour out the rest. Shake the remaining ingredients with ice and strain into your glass.
This is really a weird, but good concoction. The nose is so at odds with the flavor that it's got this weird little cognitive dissonance thing going on, which I really like. The scent is very spicy, sweet, all nutmeg and allspice and cinnamon and star anise...and then the flavor is very dry and ascerbic, with a little bit of sweetness from the bourbon and a little fruit from the orange bitters. I'd almost use this as a digestif in its current size, or double it and have it with a splash of club soda as a larger size cocktail.

If you're in an experimental, mind-warp kind of mood, you could do worse than this drink. Not bad for a made up on the spot drink.

UPDATE! Dateline: El Cinco De Mayo 2009 [insert newsroom sound effects here] I'm entering this drink in a contest, and it has thus been renamed. It was "The Voodoo PuPu Platter" but it is now the "Potential Monteleone Cocktail" to reflect the contest in question.

March 30, 2009

Bourbon and spice and everything nice

Quite some time ago, I was experimenting with making some extracts. I started off with a vanilla extract (just a couple of split pods, cut up and soaked for a couple months with the seeds in vodka) and then thought that a spice extract could be useful for both baking AND mixing.

So I took a an empty fifth bottle, added a pair of cinnamon sticks, about 5 cloves, and a nutmeg that I'd split in half and then filled the whole thing with vodka (it was Svedka brand if you're really wondering). And then I let it sit for a long time. It turned an incredible fiery amber color and smelled very powerful. It's definitely a useful and unusual ingredient, and would make a good counterpoint to pimento dram (more on that in a later post!) I bought a couple little cobalt bottles with eyedroppers in the caps and store it in the fridge with the homemade vanilla extract, a quick ginger extract I made with overproof rum, and a eyedropper full of pimento dram. They don't take up a lot of space, but they're great to have on hand.

So tonight (yes, I'm posting in real time) I mixed up a little bourbon cocktail with the spice extract and a couple of extra flavors:

2 oz bourbon
5 drops spice extract
3 drops vanilla extract (if you want to use commercial, by all means do it, but I'd use just one or two drops...that stuff's a LOT more powerful than homemade)
2 dashes Angostura bitters

I just built the drink over ice and gave it a good swirling with a bar spoon. The result is really quite nice. You get that sweet-sour hit from the bourbon, a nose full of the deep floral of the vanilla, a little bit of nuttiness, and a lingering spiciness in the back of the throat from the extract. If you can devote a couple months to making your own spice extract (and a little goes a long way), you'll have a fun little ingredient that will add depth to a lot of different drinks (and foods).

Well, for the first drink post, let's venture back to last night...

I should point out for the benefit of my readers (all three of you right now) that I'm currently out of work. I was laid off last November along with a third of the company I worked for in a bout of downsizing. So I've had to go with cheap hooch and a slim variety. Lately, I've been dealing almost entirely with bourbon, rye and gin. Which is good, because those three spirits are very very versatile.

Thanks to an awesome article by David Wondrich, rapidly becoming one of my heroes in the world of cocktails, I learned some good base spirits for the frugal lush. So, on his advice, I've been using Evan Williams for bourbon, Gordon's London Dry Gin, and Old Overholt for my rye. All are really quite good for the money, although as Wondrich points out, the Gordon's is a little too weak, both flavor-wise and proof-wise, for anything like a martini. Best to leave it to play off of citrus.

So last night, I was perusing one of my cocktail books, the inimitable "Esquire Drinks" by the aforementioned Wondrich, when I spotted an interesting one called the "Metropole," named after a rather, erm..."colorful" hotel in New York City that went bankrupt in July, 1912. Normally, this one contains an ounce and a half each of brandy and dry vermouth, a dash of orange bitters and 2 dashes of Peychaud's bitters (they're big in New Orleans, as they're a staple in a classic Sazerac).

The problem was, I had only an ounce remaining of my dry vermouth, and no brandy. So I subbed bourbon for the brandy, still used equal measures of each (so an ounce) and bunged in a half ounce of lemon juice.

It turned out to not be too bad. It wasn't very well balanced, but it was definitely drinkable. It was pretty understated and dry (not to mention weak, as there wound up being less than a full shot of hard liquor in there) but the lemon juice and Peychaud's made it almost martini-like in its dryness. It seemed, oddly, almost British in its austerity, but there was a little tickle of spice in the back of the mouth from the bourbon. It wound up being an interesting concoction, though perhaps not one I'd try again without being able to make it a closer to full-strength. All that being said, it still was nowt more than a glorified Whiskey Sour. The addition of the Peychaud's and vermouth kept it from being too sweet, and made it a bit more interesting, was all.