Friday, December 14, 2007

21) Eagle Pear

1.5 oz. Eagle Rare 10 Bourbon
.5 oz. Absolute Pear Vodka
.5 oz. Lemon Juice
1/4 oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. Simple Syrup

Add all ingredients in a shaker full of cracked ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

Oh Vodka, why must you be so pervasive? Do you enjoy taking up all that precious shelf space on so many back bars? I know you're not going away anytime soon, so we shall use you. Bend you to our will and give you purpose!

Ok - So, normally we if we wanted to impart some pear flavor to a drink we'd just muddle some pears, but where's the challenge in that?

In the first go around Ed and I omitted the Cointreau and simple syrup. Our initial estimate was that the Eagle Rare needed to fairly outweigh the Vodka as it is a fairly sweet concoction and could easily overwhelm the Bourbon. The outcome was ok with the pear flavor working in the background to compliment Eagle Rare's vanilla and caramel notes nicely. The acidity from the lemon juice helped to lift the drink a bit, but there was something just a bit off that neither Ed nor I could pin down.

One of Ed's favorite pieces of advice that Ed got from Gary Regan when he attended his Cocktails in the Country seminar was that if one is feeling that a drink is missing something that one can't put their finger on, give it bit of Cointreau. This advice certainly was well placed in this drink as the Cointreau hit the spot and helped to really elevate and merge the flavors better.

While, as mentioned above, I would be more inclined to muddle pears rather than use an infused Vodka I have to admit that the Vodka did add a positive sort of dilution to the overall drink. I'm certainly going to try this again with a home pear infused Vodka and imagine it will be improved a fair bit for it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Repeal Day - The Wreckoning Pt. 2

As I left The Ambassador I knew in my heart it was time to go to the first church of booze - My good and kindly friend Absinthe. As I sat on the train I was flipping through their extensive cocktail list in my mind (I might have it memorized, you wanna make something of it?). Upon arrival I was horrified to find the place was packed. Nary a seat was to be had for my disheartened ass. There was nothing left for me to do but to shuffle onward. As I trudged up Market St. I figured I would go ahead and hit the next place I had on my list. But wait, what's that shimmering glow in the distance? Good lord, how could I have forgot?

Orbit Room - The Orbit Room is a bar that seems to have the knack of almost continually being off my radar for some reason. It's a shame, as the place in which the infamous Alberta Straub once plied her excellent craft continues to make good, intriguing drinks. Looking over the menu I saw numerous drinks that peaked my interest (must keep orbit room on my radar!), however I was stopped in my tracks when I spotted the Express Jet. Described as a Gimlet with St. Germain and Green Chartreuse it was as though somebody had delved into my soul and extracted exactly the sort of cocktail I wanted. The herbal spice of the Chartreuse blended well with the floral sweetness of the St. Germain making for a very lovely Gimlet variation indeed.

As I left Orbit Room I began to see cracks showing in my master plan. Mainly, I was starting to get drunk. This, it occurred to me, was the perfect time to take a break from the cocktails and get back in touch with my white trash roots.

Thieves Tavern - So, I'll admit I'm totally biased when it comes to this place as it's my regular non-cocktail joint, and I know far too many of the employees for my own good. No celebration of Repeal Day would be complete without a stop here for some shitty beer and a shot of Jameson. As you can see from the picture, I was able to get some other folks in on the Repeal Day celebration via forced shot consumption. As I was sipping my beer, the bartender, who once spent a few years working in New Orleans, decided that I absolutely had to have a Sazerac. Not wanting to appear disagreeable I consented. The bar (sadly and for some strange reason) lacks Absinth and any substitutes so once again Green Chartreuse appears in my evening. It was absolutely perfect, everything a Sazerac should be. The use of the Chartreuse added an interesting change as the more herbal notes merged quite finely with the Rye. Upon finishing the drink there was no doubt in my mind that I had to go. There was so much to do after all!

Elixir - How could I not drop by the scene which gave birth to this very blog? Also, Ed (having not been able to join me) was there, and meeting up to continue the celebration seemed like a fine idea. Right about the time I arrived I realized that the drunk meter was starting to red line. I, however, was undeterred. It seemed like the time was right to go for one of my favorite drinks of all time, the Old Fashioned. Ben was working behind the bar and quickly served me up a perfect example of this damn fine drink. I took a few sips and had a moment of perfect clarity. Shit!, I thought I really need to get the hell out of here. I drank my drink a wee bit faster than advisable given my growing condition and bade my companion a hasty farewell.

As I headed towards the train that would take me home I still had conviction that my night wasn't over. I had it all figured out - Once back in my neighborhood I'd pop into Finnegan's Wake for a Beezer, then down the road to Alembic for some sort of tasty nightcap. It was perfect. It was flawless. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Then I got off the train. As it pulled away I looked down the street at Finnegan's and hesitated. My liver was asking me to please just stop, and my eyes had decided that regardless of what I wanted to do they were going to go ahead and go to sleep. Powerless against the wretched betrayal by own organs I acquiesced and headed home, silently cursing their weakness.

Thus did my Repeal Day end. Not with a whimper, but with a turkey sandwich and a bottle of diet Pepsi.

If you want to share your own Repeal Day celebrations fire up a comment or send us an e-mail at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Repeal Day - The Wreckoning Pt. 1

As many (I hope) of you know, yesterday was Repeal Day (thanks to the most awesome Jeffrey Morganthaler!), the best drinking holiday ever. Repeal Day celebrates the ratifying if the 21st amendment which affirmed our right to drink delicious, delicious booze, and paved the way for America's youth to surreptitiously get wasted on malt liquor behind the local 7-11. Something I never did. Hi mom! So how does a young, hip, and strikingly handsome man in San Francisco celebrate such a grand moment in our history? I don't know what he did, but I went on a cocktail crawl (I'll be here all night folks).

It was a somewhat last second sort of thing as I had previously decided that given my current fiscal situation and the need to get up in the morning to engage in cubical and cubical related activities, I would just stick to a couple of drinks after work. As the end of the day approached I decided, to be blunt, to fuck it, and go out in style. I put together an ambitious (overly so it would turn out) list of places I wanted to go, and when the whistle blew I was off.

House of Shields - House of Shields was my first stop partly because it's the only kick-ass bar within radius of my office, but mostly because it was built in 1908. What better place to begin a celebration of the death of repeal day? Fortunately for us, when the new owners bought the bar several years ago they left the bar unchanged allowing all to tipple in turn of the century splendor (though I have to admit I wish they had kept the trough at the bar for urinating, but that's just me I guess).

When prohibition hit, the owner converted the bar to a restaurant, and the large basement area into a speakeasy - The best part? There were tunnels which ran from the speakeasy under Montgomery St. to the famous Palace Hotel allowing patrons to discreetly move from one place to the other. A rather persistent bit of historical apocrypha about the place I particularly enjoy says that Warren Harding, staying at the Palace Hotel in 1923 during a trip to the West Coast, died not in his suite at the Palace, but in the House of Shields. Not wanting the post-mortem scandal that would arise from a President dying in a speakeasy, his body was smuggled through the tunnels and back to his room.

Oh, but I do go on in my old age don't I? Sitting in those turn of the century digs I decided to start my night off simply with a glass of Glenlivet 12 year. This was the first Scotch I ever had, and while I've had many Scotches since that first glass which I would say are better, the Glen (we're friends like that) will always have a special place in my heart.

After this, things took a bit of a turn for the worse. I headed up to my beloved Cantina only to find it was closed for a private party. Blast and damnation! I was beginning to get thirsty so started trolling about my brain for someplace in the area I could get me some booze. Where did I end up?

Rye - I've been here a few times, and while the space is well done (they kind of go for a hip-dive feel) I have never really felt comfortable while there. To their credit, and the reason I went, is that they make some excellent cocktails. On the menu they had a classic prohibition cocktail that pretty much demanded I order it - The Jack Rose. It was quite tasty, though not something that really knocked my socks off. I was a bit worried that the pomegranate would dominate the flavors, but it actually did an excellent job of mellowing the rougher edges of the Applejack and tied in well to the citrus of the lime. Overall it was just one of those drinks where I felt like something was missing that I couldn't put my finger on. Still, it was an excellent way to really get the Repeal Day ball rolling. As I finished my drink I thought about heading across the street for my next stop, and that's just what I did.

The Ambassador - This place is nothing but mixed feelings for me. It's one of the most gorgeous bar spaces in the city, they have quite tasty food (if a bit overpriced), and they make a damn fine drink. On the downside they have, hands down, the single most insouciant group of bartenders I have ever encountered. In my entire life. When you're the only person in the entire place, and your bartender is just sort of staring at the walls, texting people, and even fluffing the bowl of matches (not that kind of fluffing you perv!) one is easily given the impression that they would just as soon you not be there in the first place - But I digress. Looking at their menu I was drawn to a drink called the Passion Batida made with Cachaça, muddled limes, sugar, and passion fruit juice. It looked gorgeous, but the flavor just didn't live up to the looks. It pretty much came down to the passion fruit. Perhaps it's my taste or the bartender went overboard on proportions, but the flavor just left me felling bleh. The passion fruit really wanted to muscle the Cachaça out of the way, and the citrus seemed to just sit there like in much the same way the bartender was.

Coming tomorrow - Will our hero be able to get a seat at Absinth? If not what shall he do? How much more can he drink before he decides to call it a night? All this and much more in part 2!

As always feel free to leave a comment or send us an e-mail at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

20) Winter's Kiss

2 oz. Sailor Jerry Rum
.5 oz. Velvet Falernum
1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp. Simple Syrup
1/4 of a Granny Smith apple cut up into large chunks

Place the apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, and simple syrup in a pint glass. Using a muddler, smash the hell out of the apple until it loses full consciousness. Add the rest of the ingredients, ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of apple.

As San Francisco's late summer comes to a close I start to get the urge to drink more of the brown boozes. You know, how they're scientifically proven to keep one warm and all? I thought it was about time Ed and I did a little something with Rum again since it's been a while, and it's not really something we use enough of anyway. It seemed like some wintery fruits would be just the thing, and it was Ed who immediately went for the apples.

I kept going on about wanting to give it a bit of spice - I was thinking an herbal sort of spice, but Ed was clearly thinking differently as he bounded up with a grater, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It wasn't what I was thinking, but it immediately struck me as a much better idea. As I had been eyeing a bottle of Velvet Falernum (a sugar cane based liqueur infused with lime and botanicals) for weeks, and knowing the wonderful way it works with Rum I was insistent that we use the damn stuff.

The final result was good, not outstanding, but very tasty and satisfying as the cold kept trying to invade the bar. The apple was very subtle but not wholly overwhelmed by the Falernum which, as I thought it would, really played well with the Rum. The hint of cinnamon and nutmeg really let the drink a very Christmas-like feel. Ed and I felt that there was a little something missing, but just couldn't put our fingers on what it was. This is one we'll definitely be revisiting as the long winter days march on.

As always feel free to leave a comment or send us an e-mail at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.