Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Field Trip - Slanted Door

I've been toying with the idea of doing rundowns on local cocktail joints for a while, and finally got inspired to actually do it by a recent visit to Slanted Door. Hopefully there will be more of these to follow. Unless people think they suck, in which case I'll cry. Then drink. Then move on.

A few Wednesday's ago, I took the afternoon off to hang out with my super awesome friend of awesome Jen before she left town for the wilds of Utah. Why Utah? She can afford to live off her freelance writing work there. Thanks a lot San Francisco. Fucker. Anyway, one of the things she wanted to do before she left was get one last round of oysters at Hog Island in the Ferry Plaza, which was great because one of the things I wanted to do before, whenever, was hit up Slanted Door as I have been hearing very good things about their cocktail program for a while now.

We settled in at the bar, and I greedily lunged for the drink menu. It was exactly the kind of menu I like to see - Everything looked so good I thought I was going to have a hard time deciding on what to get. It turned out to not be hard at all as my eyes landed on The Last Word cocktail. I only recently came across this drink (consisting of Gin, Maraschino liquor, Green Chartreuse, and lime juice) and it hopped on the exclusive zeppelin of my favorites the first time I tried it. Jen, having been exposed to alarming doses of my radioactive drink geekness for some time, saw quite a bit of promise in their Whiskey Cocktail (Bourbon, Angostura and orange bitters, and sugar - With a single, beautiful ice cube. Yes, cocktail nerds nerd about ice).

The drinks appeared in short order - I took a sip of mine and immediately declared it the best Last Word I've had yet. I then began a subtle campaign to get the bartender to allow me to live there. It was unsuccessful. Jen tried her drink and raved similarly. Then we swapped drinks and started raving all over again. In retrospect I imagine it was a bit of an undignified scene, two grown people fighting over who was going to get to lick the bartender first, but goddamn.

A scant few moments later the bar manager (Hi Eric!) ambled over and, what do you know, we got to talking about drinks. His enthusiasm bordered on delightful lunacy. When Jen showed some interest in an Absinth Gimlet Eric mentioned in passing as we were talking about Absinth he quickly went about mixing one up for her to try (it was delicious, of course). When I asked somewhat offhandedly that I had been thinking about picking up a bottle of Anchor Distilleries genever style Gin, he roundly proclaimed his dislike for it - Then promptly pulled out a bottle declaring, "Let's make some drinks!" I, of course, was not intimidated. At all. We were unsuccessful by the way. That shit's a pain in the ass to mix with.

I'm realizing this is going on far too long, so I'll just say the rest of our time involved an exquisite Corpse Reviver #2, Batavia Arrack, and a you-can't-leave-before-trying-one-more-drink drink. Obviously the overall experience was out of the ordinary, but the quality of the drinks, and the skill and passion of the staff was above reproach. This is the kind of shit that makes me happy as a monkey in a peanut machine to be living in San Francisco.

I also hear great things about their food. But, you know, whatever.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

25) The Wanting Cocktail

2 oz. Ed bartending his ass off because of football
1 oz. Me bar-backing my ass off to help him out because of football

Shake vigorously for seven hours in a small bar then stain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with tears of exhaustion.

So yeah, no drink this week because of stupid football. We did come up with a good sounding idea, but after the last time I just up and posted a recipe without us having actually trying it I think I'll just keep it off the horseless paper here until we can make sure it doesn't taste like crap.

While I've got you here - If you're ever at a busy bar and the bar-back tells you that he can't serve you cause, you know, he's just the bar-back, don't go on to beg them to just pour you one beer because you're oh so thirsty. Also, don't ask them if they can go get the bartender for you. Seriously.

To make up for it I should have a field trip report up sometime this week for your reading enjoyment. Or at least reading.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

24) Jamaican Bracer

2 oz. Mount Gay Rum
.5 oz. Grand Marnier
.5 oz. Simple Syrup
1/2 lime - quartered

In an Old Fashioned glass muddle the hell out the lime and simple syrup. Add the rest of the ingredients and fill the glass held way with ice. Roll the drink between the building glass and another Old Fashioned glass 6 times. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

This one came about as Ed was thinking about entering a drink contest calling for a Nevan and three Grand Marnier drinks. I was thinking kind of sort of Caipirinha with the muddling of the half lime as the base (of sorts). The final result was incredibly refreshing. Ed and I almost immediately declared it a fantastic summer drink (I know it's winter, but that's just how we roll). Surprising was that the Rum played somewhat second fiddle to the citrus and the orange of the Grand Marnier, but not in the sense that the Rum was washed out of the drink. I must say, however, that the temptation to try this drink with dozens of other Rum's is kind of working into my brain.

I'm pretty sure this post should be a bit more in depth but I'm currently paying the price for a rather kick-ass trip to Slanted Door yesterday and am feeling lethargic. Which is totally different from hung over. Yup.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

23) The Procrastinator

1.5 oz. Beefeater Gin
.5 oz. Lillet Blanc
.5 oz. Lillet Rouge
.5 oz. Lemon

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Update: Ed and I finally had a chance to actually make this drink. It was pretty bad. We tried to tweak it into tastiness with pretty much zero success. The lesson? Don't put a drink on your drink blog before actually trying it. Ed wanted the recipe to just "disappear", but I don't cotton to that sort of deception. Also, Google cache.

Ed and I have absolutely no idea how this tastes. I made it down to the bar a few hours before the end of his shift, and true to his amazing prediction, the place filled up shortly after we had formulated the initial recipe. I'm a little wary of the mix of Lillet's, wondering if the more subtle flavors might get lost in each other and the lemon. We'll be trying this as soon as possible and will report back.

If any of y'all want to give this a shot by all means let us know what you think in the comments. Don't think of it as you doing out job for us, think of it as Drink A Week going Web 2.0!

Friday, January 4, 2008

22) The Mystery Cocktail

1.5 oz. Tezon Tequila
.5 oz. Green Chartreuse
1 Egg White
1 bar Spoon Powdered Sugar
1/4 oz. Lime Juice
1/4 oz. Cointreau

Place all ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake vigorously (this is known as a "dry shake", and helps the egg white get started on foaming up good), add ice then shake like you've gone mad on American Bandstand for several minutes, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel*.

Welcome to the new year everybody! If any of you are wondering what I did with my considerable time off I'll just say it involved pajamas and movies and leave it at that. Ed had to work, and as I lay wrapped in flannel - My brain slowly turning to grey paste due to lack of use - I felt bad for him. I really did. We did, however, have a chance to crank out another drink to start the year off right. Sort of. See, we're not sure where this drink came from.

I have a little book that I write down all our recipes in, and a few weeks ago I was flipping through it and found this recipe scrawled in it. I initially thought that perhaps either myself or Ed and I had been out drinking one night and came up with this recipe to try the next time we got together. The part where drinking was involved would explain why it was summarily forgotten. On the other hand the recipe was surprisingly detailed. Normally when we're talking about new drinks to try we just (try to) memorize or write down the ingredients we want to use. Neither of us has the presence of mind to write down such paltry things as measurements!

Regardless of its origin it looked good so we decided to give it a shot.

First things first - Do not fear the egg white! If you are one of those who finds the idea of egg whites in your cocktails revolting I am here to tell that I was once like you. I would silently chortle into my Manhattan as some poor fool at the bar placed an order for a Pisco Sour. Didn't they know how foul that is? This was until I was sort of forced into drinking a drink with egg white in it and it was a damn revelation.

There's a fantastic essay over at The Art of Drink that should quash any fears you might have of egg whites in your drink, and the frothy, creamy texture they give a drink is fantastic.

The Green Chartreuse and Tequila matched surprisingly well with the spiciness of the two liquors making fast friends. Likewise the Cointreau and caramelized orange from the flamed zest added nice top and bottom notes of orange. This is definitely a drink I will be drink a lot more of once the sun returns to San Francisco. Seven months from now.

* I'm stealing the description of how to flam an orange peel from Chuck Taggart's excellent blog because he does a far better job than I could ever do. "To flame an orange peel, cut an oval-shaped piece of orange rind, approximately 1 by 1-1/2 inches, leaving a ring of about 1/4" of zest around the circumference of the peel, with the white pith in the middle. Light a match; hold the peel gently by the edges, hold the match between the peel and the drink, slightly closer to the peel. In one motion squeeze the peel so that a spray of orange oil cascades over the lit match and ignites, while moving the peel slightly closer to the flame."

If you happen to know of this cocktail do please let us know either through the comments of via e-mail at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.