Monday, August 30, 2010

MxMo XLX: Brown, Bitter and Stirred

This Mixology Monday is hosted by Lindsey Johnson of Brown, Bitter and Stirred, and the name of her blog is also her theme. Would any of us here at the Fogged In Lounge know anything about brown booze and bitterness? Would we, ladies and gentlemen? Would the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune make us want now and then to climb down the neck of a Wild Turkey and not come out until Thanksgiving? Would some of us feel so buffeted by the Winds of War—or even Whoopie—that we might occasionally want to sip slowly on a glass of Zwack in which had steeped a bunch of rue and a couple of filthy pennies? Well, maybe not that bad. Life can’t be as bad as all that—right, ladies and gentlemen? Here—try this nice drink. It’s not half as bitter as all that.

The Brown Study
  • 1 1/2 oz single malt Scotch
  • 1/4 oz Averna
  • 1/4 oz Campari
  • 1/4 oz maraschino
  • 4 dashes Regans’ No. 6 orange bitters
Stir gently with ice until the mixing glass frosts and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

For the malt, I happened to use the end of my Highland Park, though something with a little more iodine would be good too.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Nutty Rooster

Other cocktailians must get asked this a lot too: What’s your favorite drink? I dunno—the one in my hand? I wouldn’t even be able to decide on a favorite Martini recipe, though this variant of my own is up there. The inspiration seems a bit hazy at the moment though I must’ve been making a lot of Gordon Cocktails at the time cuz there was a bottle of dry sherry open. And I remember that a bottle of Beefeater, an old favorite, made a major contribution too.

Oddly, nobody ever asks me what my favorite gin is, though I wouldn’t be able to answer that either.

The Nutty Rooster
  • 2 oz London dry gin (Beefeater)
  • 1/4 oz Amontillado sherry
  • 1/4 oz Cocchi Americano
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a generous orange twist.

Cocchi Americano has reappeared in San Francisco and not a moment too soon. Besides the giving me the pleasure of the drink in this post, my Twentieth Centuries and Vespers are a little brighter from Cocchi’s subtle but distinct cinchona edge. And I love the two apéritif wines, the Cocchi and the sherry, together. Orange oil makes a major contribution to the Rooster in its own right, so the twist should be nice and big.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini

The Dorini is the creation of Audrey Saunders, the Libation Goddess, and named in honor of a friend who loves whisky. I first heard of it from Gary Regan. It is not actually a Martini, though I’m not going to be too adamant about this because:
  1. It is very, very good.
  2. It is a dry, extremely grown-up cocktail analogous to a Martini.
  3. I’m pretty sure Audrey wouldn’t beat me up, but don’t like to risk it.
In the photo below, the Dorini only fills about half the large cocktail glass I used, but the drink is so big in other ways that it seems right in a large glass. The Laphroaig single malt makes it huge. It’s said that Laphroaig is among the most intensely flavored of the malts. It’s also said that people who are unused to drinking Scotch should start with something mild. On the other hand, people who are unused to drinking Scotch might start with Laphroaig on the theory that if they can learn to handle that, they can drink anything.

Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini
  • 2 oz Grey Goose vodka (any good brand will work)
  • 1/2 oz Laphroaig single malt whisky
  • 2-3 drops Pernod
  • lemon twist
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Pub Crawling: Pegu Club

It’s a cool, foggy night in San Francisco, and time for the last of my New York posts as the feeling of the trip slips away. But I can still remember sitting at the bar at Pegu Club with an old friend, looking at the purple orchid garnishes and wondering casually what I needed to order to get one in my drink. To ask seemed like cheating.

Going with impulse, I started with the famous Earl Grey MarTEAni—sort of an Earl Grey meringue pie in a glass, with all the rich atmosphere of that particular tea amplified by the gin.

Next up was the Honeydew Daiquiri, a little summer-green pool of light rum, honeydew nectar, absinthe, honey, and lemon and lime juices, with two frozen melon balls for flotation.

Last was the Coconut-Kaffir Fizz, which used both gin and light rum, one of my favorite combinations for tropical drinks, plus coconut cream, kaffir essence, pineapple, orange and lemon juices, syrup, Angostura and soda. This was really elegant, and I got my orchid besides.

Warm thanks to Kenta Goto, who was behind the bar that evening and graciously took time to pose while pouring. We had a blast.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Crème Yvette

I have my bottle of the reincarnated Crème Yvette. It is flower and fruit, and every shade of purple. It surpasses all expectations of richness, complexity and beauty. It is royal. The color is elusive and hard to photograph. While the prevailing hue seems to be from its four berry constituents, making a Blue Moon a lilac one, it picks up any hidden flashes of blue light in the room like an amethyst. A touch in a cocktail transforms it, refracting through gin, citrus, vermouth, even cacao. A deep and mysterious spirit.

Of course, after a small glass of awestruck wonder, I whipped up some pretty sweet drinks.

First up was the Blue Moon, so good with Rothman & Winter’s awesome lavender-blue Crème de Violette. As noted, Yvette made for a warmer purple than the Violette. Dr. Cocktail says that an egg white is a nice touch, so I added one white for two drinks, which gave it a lunar translucence. Maybe if I upped the egg, it would have foamed interestingly too. The proportions, minus the egg, came from the version on the official site.

Blue Moon
  • 1 1/2 oz London dry gin
  • 3/4 oz Crème Yvette
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
Dry shake until egg is blended, then add ice, shake and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.

After that, I tried the Dr. Cocktail version of 2 oz gin, 1/2 oz Yvette or Violette, 1/2 oz lemon, but I think I prefer those proportions with Crème de Violette. As my housemate notes, there’s something over-the-top about the first version that suits the Yvette better.

We also tried a vermouth version from the CocktailDB. Really elegant.

Blue Moon Variation

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 3/4 dry vermouth
  • 1/4 Crème Yvette
  • 1 dash orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Last but not least was one adapted from the Crème Yvette site and also found in the CocktailDB, the Perpetual. This is all vermouth and liqueurs and begged for some gin, so I gave it some. It was the standout, don’t-miss, surprise hit drink of the set.

The Perpetual Fog
  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Crème Yvette
  • 1/4 oz light Crème de Cacao
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Very warm thanks to the awesome Robert Cooper for bringing this great liqueur to us, and thanks to all the cocktailians who kept plugging for its return.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Pub Crawling: Clover Club

The New York weather had eased off a little by the time my friends and I were walking down Smith Street to Clover Club, but it was still a night for summer drinks. I read through the whole list before going with my first impulse, Summer Thyme, a subtly rich sour of cognac, Licor 43, lemon juice, fresh thyme and Angostura orange bitters.

More conspicuously rich was the Gold Coast: aged rum, pineapple, lime, allspice, Champagne. As I tried not to slurp it down too greedily, it was hard not to think that it was the best thing I had tasted in my life. (I want one right now.) Sorry to say the photo shows it almost half consumed and not in the full glory of Tom the bartender’s artistry when he set it down in front of me, but it was so delectable that I had to drink first and take pictures later.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Pub Crawling: The JakeWalk

For many reasons, I was not in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail but in New York, and didn’t even have much consolation in the weather, which was oppressive from the moment I stepped off the plane. But at least I was able to drink some really good things. One evening, I met a friend for a couple of rounds at The JakeWalk, a groovy Carroll Gardens restaurant and bar featuring a first-rate cocktail list.

It was difficult to choose from all the tasty-looking drinks so I followed my practice of ordering what seemed most challenging, and went with the Violent Bear, which contained genever, Punt e Mes, stone pine liqueur, honey syrup and Xocolatl Mole bitters, and probably had nothing to do with Jeffrey Morganthaler’s Geek or Bear quiz.

Next up was the Dudebro, a rum, white vermouth and Aperol combo. This went perfectly with the New York summer: heady, aromatic, complex, off-dry. I’m really getting to like rum cocktails that feature amaro-type aromatics and have no sour component.

A friend ordered the Tequila Gumption, which contained reposado tequila, mezcal, maraschino, Angostura and orange bitters, and I mooched a light, smoky sip. The Tequila Gumption was billed as a “Special Guest Cocktail, created by Katie’s Boyfriend, Mayahuel, NYC.” As I never got to Mayahuel this trip, it was cool to taste this, especially as they just won World’s Best New Cocktail Bar at Tales.

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