Thursday, November 29, 2007

Holiday Schedule

Ahoy! You may have noticed a bit of dust gathering around here, and I just wanted to let you in on a terrible secret - The holidays make a mess out of everything! There's like families, and traveling, and friends who actually want to see you all of a sudden, and then somebody has to go off and get married! Anyway, things will probably be a bit sporadic for the next month, but we shall think about you with urgent longing as we are away.

I'm hoping to be able to get some things up on the non-drink making front to try and keep you all entertained, so all is not lost.

Speaking of non-drink making, for the love of God don't forget that December 5th is Repeal Day! Celebrate this most awesome of days with a tasty drink at your favorite watering hole, and meditate on how much more unattractive and less funny we would all be were it not for the 21st Amendment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

19) Sour Cherry Rye

1.5 oz. Jim Beam Rye
.5 oz. Cherry Heering
.5 Lemon juice
2-3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass.

I started cooking when I was around 12, and so often times think of cocktails in culinary terms. Such thinking had me wanting to experiment around with a wine cocktail in which I had hoped to create something reminiscent of the flavors of a baked pear. Unfortunately I steered Ed and I down a path that was ill chosen, and after a couple of attempts we decided to move on to something else lest we risk killing each other in a fit of mutual frustration.

I was still thinking in culinary imagery when I spotted a bottle of Cherry Heering, a fantastic cherry liqueur most famous as an ingredient in the Singapore Sling, and the thought of a drink with sour cherry characteristics popped into my tiny little mind. For the base spirit I wanted to avoid something I thought would be obvious, like Vodka or Gin, and began looking at the Whiskey's. The sad yellow label of Jim Beam Rye got me to wondering if I could make a little something that might make it a little bit more palatable (sorry Beam Rye lovers!). The rest pretty much fell into place.

Initially we didn't add bitters, and the first taste was somewhat odd. It took a couple of sips for me to realize what was odd about it. The flavors of the drink were coming in two distinct (almost separate) waves - The first was the Rye, which quickly faded then the sour cherry element hit. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't great, and the tongue confusion was definitely unsettling. Ed suggested a few dashes of Peychaud's to see if that helped, and it was just what the drink needed.

The result was a new sort of flavor profile for me so it's a bit hard to describe as well as I'd like. The bitters melded the flavor spikes leaving a much more complex combination of the hard edges of the Rye which mingled surprisingly well the Cherry and bite of the lemon juice. I was afraid that the lemon and cherry would be to pronounced making the drink more of a Jolly Rancher type of abomination, yet I found that the sour and cherry were spread out well amongst the Rye threading together well.

I would very much like to try this again using a better Rye as I think that would very much enhance the overall quality. Michter's seems like it would be a perfect fit. If anybody out there gives this a try with a good Rye drop us a comment or an e-mail at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com and let us know how it comes out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

19) The Foo

2 oz. Maker's Mark
.5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
Three dashes Regan's Orange Bitters #6
Green Chartreuse

Rinse a cocktail glass with the Chartruse and set aside. Shake the rest of the ingredients with ice and strain into the cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

I promised a friend of mine that I would make a tasty cocktail to celebrate her birthday. The only requirement was that it should have Maker's as the base spirit as that is her booze of choice. So as I was on my way to Elixir I was thinking Ok, so - Maker's Mark, aaaaaaannnnd? Pretty much all that was swirling in my mind Manhattan and Old Fashioned, two drinks that have, you know, already been done. My next step was think of things I like to use these days. Of course the first thing I thought of was St. Germain. After mentally punching myself in the crotch for even letting that thought creep into my head the radiant glow of Luxardo overtook me.

I realized that I wasn't aware of any cocktails that used Luxardo that had Whiskey as a base (of course that's because I'm just an ignorant hick) so felt somewhat confident that we would have at least a good experiment on our hands. I had recently had an Aviation in which the glass had been rinsed with Green Chartreuse and absolutely loved it, and thought that doing the same would add a nice kick of herbaciousness to the drink. I knew bitters were going to be in there cause I love me some bitters. At first I had thought that peach bitters would be a nice touch, but it turned out that the bar was out of those. Fortunately Ed came to the rescue by suggesting orange bitters which turned out to be a nice, subtle boost to the Maraschino.

When I got to the bar and told Ed what I wanted to use for the drink he promptly asked me in what proportions. "I don't know," I said "that's your job. I'm just drinking this here beer!" Fortunately I've got a great me wrangler who puts up with me just spitting out ingredients and making them actually work. The drink was quite good, with the Maker's well tempered by the Luxardo and given an excellent backbone from the rinse of Chartreuse. Not a bad birthday drink if I do say so myself.

Comments always welcome, or if you prefer the e-mail fire away at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

18) Georgia

1.5 oz. Square One Vodka
.5 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
.75 oz. Peach puree
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

This one was done pretty much on the fly by Ed for a regular who was looking for something refreshing, and wanted to be surprised. The peach puree had just recently come into the bar, and the St. Germain was because that is what we seem to use for everything these days. I know I said we'd stop it, but it's not my fault! Blame Ed. Take that Ed!

As you might have noticed by now, I'm not a big fan of Vodka. While I don't think it's entirely useless I do think it's the least useful of the basic spirits due to it's lack of flavor. One of the things I do think it's good for however, is allowing certain ingredients to shine without having to use them in quantities that would be overwhelming. After giving this cocktail a taste, I thought it was a perfect example of that. I can't believe we hadn't thought of pairing peach and St. Germain before - The floral qualities of the St. Germain and the smooth, voluptuous flavor of peach is a match made in heaven.

Using Vodka allowed for that flavor to come out unencumbered by other flavors that would have come into play had we used something like Gin (though I'm sure Ed and I will be experimenting with a Gin variation on this quite soon). The small amount of lemon juice added just a hint of citrus bite and helped had a bright note that opened up the drink.

Comments always welcome, or if you prefer the e-mail fire away at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.