Friday, December 9, 2011

Verified Current Where to buy Nick&Nora Cocktail Glasses

I now have a verified current online source for the classic Nick & Nora Cocktail Glass! (Verified by ordering a half dozen which arrived yesterday.)

I apologize for leading you astray in my recent post on where to buy Nick and Nora cocktail glasses, which turned out to lead only to a defunct dead end, but my mistake was not for naught.  Indeed, on that post, the eminently helpful commenter Rick directed me to Tabletop Style, which sells the lovely glasses, which are, as Rick observes, "reasonably priced at $6.25 each...very sturdy and cleanly made." I would concur with that sentiment. I daresay they are even finer than the Nick and Nora Martini glasses I purchased a few years back I was originally trying to lead you to, being both more sturdy and more elegant. (You can see my previous post for more info on my search for the elusive glasses.)

These Nick&Nora cocktail glasses are part of Minners Classic Cocktails line, made by Steelite International. I don't know much about the history, but I gather that it is a fairly new line of glassware which has cropped up due to the recent cocktail revival. This pdf from (created 6/2/2011), indicates the Minners Classic Cocktails line as a new product. It's not just the Nick and Nora glass that is worthwhile, the Paris Coupe Champagne and Martini Saucer are pretty cool as well, I picked up a couple of those with my order.
(These two images are shots from steelite's pdf.)
They call the Nick & Nora glass 6 oz, and you can maybe fit a full 6 oz pouring right up to the rim and counting the meniscus, but I'd say 5 oz pretty much fills her, and 4 oz is a comfortable pour, looking neither generous nor stingy. Note this observation is a good thing, not a knock; who wants a 6 oz martini? If you, either you are drinking it too fast or you like warm booze. In short, it's a good fit for a proper cocktail. To compare it to the other version I have, that appears to be no longer in production, they are pretty much the same size, but the Steelite glass is thicker and has a much more gently sloping neck.
Steelite Minners on left, old one of unknown origin on right.
The Pegu Club in NYC, as I observed in this post, in the past used the same apparently defunct glass I had, but have switched to a new glass. I can't be sure, but if I had to hazard a guess, I'd bet that their current glasses are in fact from Steelite. Here's a quick pic I took in October, what do you think, same glass?
Nick&Nora in recent use at Pegu Club, NYC
One difference between Pegu's Nick and Nora Glass and the ones I received is that mine came branded with markings on the base, one "MCC" stamp and "RONA" opposite:
I assume "MCC" is for Minners Classis Cocktail, and as for Rona, from the Steelite pdf:
Established over 100 years ago, Rona still retains its historical links with the village in which it was founded. A century later Rona is recognized as one of the worlds leading manufacturers of non-lead crystal stemware.
But those don't bother me, and I imagine Pegu just special orders without the markings for their service. Anyway, they are fun glasses, and an interesting glass just adds that little special touch to the cocktail experience. You might think I'm crazy for going on this long about a glass, but let's be honest, if you've read this far your probably just as touched in the same way. I searched long and hard to find them, which makes getting them in my hot little hand all the more satisfying. Hope this helps expedite your search. And if nothing else, they'd make a great gift this holiday season for that cocktail obsessed friend of yours.
From, order me there.

Monday, November 21, 2011

MxMo LXIII: Retro Redemption - Sloe Comfortable Shag Up Against the Wall

This month's Mixology Monday "reminds me of the heady days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin when the world trembled at the sound of our rockets." Ok, well maybe not that far back, as that was well before my time, but at least it does hark back to the days of The Hunt for Red October, ie the 90s, also known as my college years. The theme for this month comes from Jacob Grier, scribe of the Liquidity Preference blog. He this month calls upon us to offer "Retro Redemption!" As Jacob puts it:
Contemporary cocktail enthusiasts take pride in resurrecting forgotten cocktails of the past — unless “the past” refers to the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s. We sometimes refer to these decades as the Dark Ages of Mixology, eras not yet recovered from the violence Prohibition and a World War inflicted on American cocktail culture. The classic Martini, a flavorful blend of gin and vermouth, had morphed into a glass of cold, diluted vodka. Other drinks were just too sweet, too fruity, too big, too silly...the theme of this month’s Mixology Monday is Retro Redemption! Your task is to revive a drink from mixology’s lost decades. Perhaps you feel one of these drinks has a bad rap; tell us why it deserves another shot. Or maybe the original concoction just needs a little help from contemporary ingredients and techniques to make it in the big leagues. If so, tell us how to update it.
At the risk of being a bit liberal with the parameters of the theme I've decided to tackle a drink that for me epitomizes in some way the cocktails drinks I was introduced to in college. At that time I was utterly unaware of what a proper cocktail was. I had heard of the martini of course, but that was about it. And even the venerable odd martini I came across in those days was at best, as Jacob observes, diluted vodka. At worst it was stale vermouth and worse gin. But still I look back with much fondness at the weekly Happy Hours every Friday that our dorm at MIT set up. They were tons of fun, a full bar tended by 2 or 3 volunteer bartenders slinging drinks in a fast and furious fashion, open to one and all, in the dorm lobby in full view through pane glass windows to all passersby. (Granted there was an unfortunate incident at another living group that shut down all the fun towards the end of my tenure, but at our dorm we watched out for each other and made sure everything remained well under control. I remain a staunch believer in the relative safety in college of partying out in the open, as opposed to the dangers of being hidden behind closed doors. Especially when more experienced upperclassmen are around to keep a vigilant eye on things. But that is a rant for another day.) Proper cocktails they were not; it was more Rum&Coke, Whisky|Amaretto|Midori Sours (by way of 2 gallon jugs of sour concentrate), Mudslides, Grasshoppers (or his cousin the Girl Scout Cookie with White Crème de menthe and dark Crème de Cacao, vs Green and White) get the picture. We could even get fancy with an Alabama Slammer or Tequila Sunrise...which brings me to the Sloe Comfortable Screw Up Against the Wall.

Bear in mind I have so far composed this post without actually trying the drink for the first time in well over a decade. So let's see what happens. I figure that at very least the Plymouth Sloe Gin that became available a couple years back has got to be way better than whatever fake stuff we were slinging back then. Before I begin, I will make one small twist and substitute Gin for the requisite vodka, because what drink is not made better with gin instead of vodka? Of course that tweak necessitates a tweak of the name as well, thus "Shag" instead of "Screw".
Sloe Comfortable Shag Up Against the Wall
  • 1½ oz Bulldog London Dry Gin
  • 1½ oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
  • ½ oz Southern Comfort
  • 2 oz Orange Juice (fresh squeezed of course)
  • generous float Galliano
Shake and dump; garnish with orange slice and cherry
Yeah, so I couldn't find a cherry, sorry. The key here is to minimize the SoCo, because, well, because as it turns out SoCo's taste is's call it distinctive. That's not to say it's entirely bad. It tastes of college. In that sense, causing memories of my college years to rush headlong back to the forefront of my mind, it is not so unpleasant. But suffice it to say that I would not choose it as an ingredient in my house signature cocktail. I tried several different formulations of these ingredients, but the recipe is surprisingly robust. They mostly taste the same. I even tried an up version light on the OJ. Frankly, as long as you maintain a light hand with the SoCo, it's not bad, if a bit boring, though the Galliano helps in the interesting department. Had I more time, I might give it a go with a peach infused bourbon, or whisky and a proper peach liqueur, but I think that losing the Southern Comfort would deprive the drink of its soul, such as it is.
In summary, I hardly succeeded in proving the worth of this drink as a proper cocktail, yet value it does retain. It's redemption, for me, lies in its ability to uniquely recall fond memories of yore, which I deem valuable in its own right. So I'll leave you with those thoughts. And I'm going to go make myself a sazerac. 

UPDATE: Jacob's roundup post is up, head over there to check out all the entries for this month.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No leads on Nick&Nora glass from Pegu Club

I previously blogged that I thought I had a source from which to buy Nick and Nora cocktail glasses, but it turned out I was wrong and my info was outdated and no longer useful. I'm still trying to track them down though, but I hit another dead end. I had no luck at Pegu Club; I was there last night and asked the bartender, but he didn't know where the bar got the glasses or who made them, though he speculated that they were made specially for the bar. So I got no leads on where to buy the Nick & Nora glass, but the drinks were still good.
Of possible interest however is that the glasses they have now are different than the ones I have, though they used to be the same. The ones they have now are a bit thicker and heavier, and the transition where the stem meets the bowl is now a gradual slope as opposed to a sharper angle.

Here is a shot of their current Nick&Nora glass:
This video shows the glasses I have being used at Pegu Club in 2008, with Audrey Saunders and David Wondrich talking about Pegu Club's Fitty Fitty cocktail.
I wonder if they switched because the thicker glass on these makes them less fragile, or if mine are no longer made. (Or of course they might just like the new ones more).

Funnily enough, I was drinking a Fitty-Fitty at the bar at Pegu club, and David Wondrich himself was sitting at the bar with Joe Fee of Fee Brothers. In fact, they were the only others sitting at the bar with me for a bit until others filed in and my friends joined me a few minutes later. I thought that was a notable coincidence. In any case, the quest continues...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Morning Drinks:MxMo LXII - Blood Infusion, Corpse Embalmer & On Yer Face

This month's Mixology Monday theme is "Morning Drinks", brought to us by Kevin from Cocktail Enthusiast. Booze for breakfast? You betcha'. As Kevin puts it:
The theme is “morning drinks.” Breakfast cocktails were the norm in the nineteenth century, when cocktails were a common beginning to one’s day. The drink’s purpose was to help the imbiber recover from the past night’s indiscretions and to steel their resolve for the coming day. We’re all familiar with bloody marys, mimosas and bellinis, but what else constitutes a breakfast drink? We’re looking for corpse revivers, eye openers and hair of the dog – drinks that jump start your morning, absolve the prior night’s sins or just taste really good with eggs and bacon. Maybe you like to fortify breakfast smoothies with gin. Or perhaps you’ve concocted an alcoholic sangrita that pairs nicely with migas. Regardless, let’s see some morning cocktails...Be as creative as you want, utilizing common breakfast ingredients like orange juice and coffee, or branching out with bacon-infused spirits, eggs or stomach-settling bitters.
Well, although it seems like a good time for it, I already used bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, cereal-infused milk, and a whole egg in my Breakfast of Champions cocktail back for the Dairy MxMo, so let's see what else I got. I do like the Corpse Reviver. And you know I like stomach-settling bitters, so I think now is the ideal situation to revisit a riff on the Corpse Reviver #2 I have played with before, where I added dashes of Peychaud's bitters in lieu of the absinthe. But what if we step it up a notch and add a full measure of Peychaud's instead of a couple dashes? I'll tell you what happens: we end up in a happy place.
Blood Infusion
  • ¾ oz Peychaud's Bitters
  • ¾ oz Bulldog London Dry Gin
  • ¾ oz Cocchi Americano (sub Lillet)
  • ¾ oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur (sub Cointreau, but won't be quite as bright)
  • ¾ oz lemon
Shake& double strain into chilled coupe glass
So we basically have the equal parts Corpse Reviver #2 recipe, but instead of a dash or rinse of absinthe I've added as much Peychaud's bitters as every other ingredient. I also subbed Cocchi for Lillet, because, well, because I like Cocchi. And I switched out Cointreau for Solerno, because, well, again because I like it, but also because it makes the name even more apt. And as a bonus, I actually think it works a bit better than Cointreau here, as Solerno's flavor is a bit brighter than Cointreau and makes for a marginally lighter drink. Plus it has a pretty bottle, what's not to love? It can be a bit hard to find, so Cointreau works fine if that's what you have. I dubbed the drink Blood Infusion due to the deep red hue from the Peychaud's, the blood orange in the Solerno, as well as to reference the Corpse Reviver upon which it is based. Don't be afraid of the slug of Peychaud's, this drink is nice and refreshing and goes down if anything a bit too easy.

A variation for those who prefer a slightly fruitier and less tart drink, or just for those who need their orange juice fix in the morning, you can try this tweak and sub oj for half of the lemon juice:
Blood Infusion (Type O+)
  • 1 oz Peychaud's Bitters
  • 1 oz Bulldog London Dry Gin
  • 1 oz Cocchi Americano (sub Lillet)
  • 1 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur (sub Cointreau, but won't be quite as bright)
  • ½ oz lemon
  • ½ oz orange juice
Shake& double strain into chilled coupe glass
n.b. this is the same equal portion recipe as before, I just bumped everything up to a full oz because it's easier to pour ½ oz of the juices than 3/8 oz. I'm sure you can figure out what to do with any extra. Note also I used the larger pour for the above photo and put the leftover as a sidecar in the mini carafe (Libbey 718 3 oz. cocktail decanter).

Don't put that bottle of Peychaud's away yet, there's more to come. Is the Blood Infusion too girly for you? Is shaking a drink a bit more than you can handle this morning? Then give this next one a try. Since using a just touch of citrus in bitters heavy cocktails is a technique I've recently become enamored with, let's do another take on a Peychaud's kicked up Corpse Reviver.
Corpse Embalmer
  • 1 oz Peychaud's Bitters
  • 1 oz Bulldog London Dry Gin
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • ½ oz Lillet
  • Lemon twist w/ a bit of flesh
Express oil & squeeze drops of juice (~tsp or less) from Lemon piece; Build in DOF over large rock & use lemon twist as garnish
This drink presents with a lemon aroma from the expressed oils, and upon the sip you are met with the Cointreau's orange flavors, bolstered by the similar notes from the Lillet. The drink finishes with tones of cherry from the Peychaud's with a slightly lingering bitterness. It is not at all harsh, although the bitterness does grow with each sip as the bitter compounds coat your tongue. If the embalmer does not revive you, at the very least it should preserve you.

But I'm not done yet. It is morning, right? Gotta have some egg; after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. 
On Yer Face
Dry shake, shake& double strain into stemmed glass, top foam with a few drops each of orange and wormwood bitters 
This one is just downright refreshing. The wormwood and orange aromas beckon you to sip, whereupon you will experience all the flavors of the above Corpse Embalmer, though the egg both tempers and bridges the different flavors so they meld and can be tasted all at once, rather than separately first on the sip and later on the finish. Despite it's hot pink coloring, just think of this as a man's mimosa alternative for brunch. Although you should not be brunching, you should be watching football.

There you go, three very different Corpse Reviver derivatives, each with a big slug of Peychaud's bitters to settle your stomach on a rough day upon waking. Top o' the morning to you; enjoy. Now I've got to go to the store, as I'm out of Peychaud's.

UPDATE: Kevin's roundup post is up, head over there to check out all of this month's morning drinks.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Parched Rose

On Thursday a few weeks back the Mixoloseum hosted TDN: In With Bacchus in honor of Scott from the In With Bacchus blog.I think he mostly got the honor because he offered prizes, but other than that, it was a wide open theme. I wanted to play around with my bottle of Suze, so I threw this luittle number together.
Parched Rose
  • 1 oz mezcal (Chichicapa)
  • 1 oz Suze
  • 1 oz Fino Sherry
  • ¼ oz Maraschino
  • ¾ oz lemon
  • 1 dash Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters
  • 1 dash Boker's bitters
shake&Strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with rosemary sprig
The garnish was the biggest contributor to the drink's aroma, and I think went well with the vegetal notes from the mezcal. The mezcal also contributed its smoke of course. Between the lemon and the sherry, the drink was actually quite dry, and because of the dryness and the aroma, Parched Rose was the first name that popped into my head, and I needed one on short notice to submit it for TDN.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Touch of citrus in stirred cocktails - Fernet Me Not & Mai 'Ti (+aside re salt)

I have to admit, I've recently become mildly obsessed with cocktails that use just a touch of citrus and are stirred rather than shaken. I think I was first led down this path by Rumdood's post on 'Ti punch, a deceptively simple and delicious cocktail that tilts a daiquiri's proportions to let the rum (or Rhum Agricole to be precise) take and hold center stage. I still can't believe I had not tried that drink until I saw his post, but it has quickly become a staple.

When I say a touch of citrus, I'm referring to drinks which contain at most around ¼ oz total of citrus juices, but could use half that, perhaps only a teaspoon, or even just a few drops. Just enough to offset a bit of sweetness or brighten up a drink's flavor profile. (Not to mention part of the beauty of these drinks is how simple they can be to make, with less equipment to clean up later. Glass, ice, maybe a spoon, done.)

I was led further down this particular rabbit hole after sampling a couple drinks from the excellent book beta cocktails, which I first read about via Robert Simonson's blog Off the Presses. There he describes amari and bitters heavy cocktails, including the book's Campari Martini, composed of just Campari, salt, and an orange twist. It should be obvious how amari, bitters and salt led me to immediately buy the book (info here, or store here.) For a sneak peek, check out the 2 oz of Peychaud's in the Gunshop Fizz or the fantastic Angostura Sour, or a few more from Cocktail Virgin Slut. Then go buy the book.
As an aside, I have been meaning to do a post on salt in cocktails but never got around to it, but do read the post by Maks on the Campari Martini : Salt, for he did a better job than I ever would have. I've been occasionally adding salt to cocktails since at least 2009 after I learned the trick from Dave Arnold at a FCI holiday cocktail class I attended, though my usages were limited to drinks containing more citrus and not as ballsy (or illuminating) as the Campari trick. But suffice it to say a pinch of salt can do wonders for a cocktail. You can also refer to Alton Brown's "Ballad of Salty and Sweet" if you need more convincing.
 Ok, enough commentary, on to some drinks. Last week theme for TDN was "Rick Stutz Dance Party", check out the Mixoloseum wrap up for an explanation and some of the night's drink's. In trying to come up with a drink using Rick's favorite ingredients, Fernet was the obvious choice. With that in mind, and having recently enjoyed beta cocktails' Bitter Giuseppe which uses a slug of Cynar and "11-15 drops of lemon juice", I set to work. While in Buenos Aries, I had liked the pairing of Fernet with tonic and Orange Juice so I went with a touch of orange juice with the expressed oil and orange bitters.
Fernet Me Not
  • 1½ oz Fernet Branca
  • ½ oz Bourbon (Bulleit)
  • ½ oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash Regan's Orange bitters #6
  • Orange twist w/ a bit of flesh
Express oil & squeeze juice (~tsp or less) from Orange piece; Build in DOF over large rock & use orange twist as garnish
I threw in some Bourbon just to smooth out and lengthen the drink and to help tame the Fernet somewhat, but it's still all about the Fernet; the bourbon is hard to pick out but that is by design. Frederic astutely compared it to an "inverse Fanciulli Cocktail with orange notes", which I had to look up, but in this case the drink was based on beta's Bitter Giuseppe.

My second drink would perhaps have been better suited for a Rumdood themed TDN, but I had beta's inspiration and a touch of citrus on my mind, so I made this mash up of a Mai tai, 'Ti punch, and the Art of Choke from beta cocktails. The Art of Choke is cocktail by Kyle Davidson from The Violet Hour in Chicago, another Cynar cocktail; a cocktail which beta's authors call "a brand new cocktail template." Starting from that template, I kept the Chartreuse and mint, but to capture the spirit of the Mai Tai I subbed Amaro Montenegro for Cynar, orgeat for demerara, and two aged rums for white rum, then played with the proportions and added angostura for the hell of it (perhaps because Cynar is far more bitter than Montenegro?) My thinking was that the Montenegro's orange notes would stand in well for the orange from the Mai Tai's Creole Shrubb.
mai 'ti
  • ¾ oz Rhum Clément VSOP
  • ¾ oz Appleton Extra 12
  • 1 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • ¼ oz Green Chartreuse
  • tsp lime
  • tsp B.G. Reynolds orgeat
  • dash Angostura bitters
  • mint
muddle mint with bitters, orgeat, and lime, add rest then stir & strain into DOF with one large rock; mint sprig garnish
The mai 'ti lands sufficiently far from the inspiring drinks to be its own beast. It has the feel of a 'Ti Punch, the background flavor of a Mai Tai, with bitter and herbal flavors layered on top. Give 'em both a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Bayou Harvest

This drink is from back in April for TDN Orchard, but as I've got some catching up to do, let's start with this one since it makes for a nice sipper now that the cooler fall weather is upon us, or will be soon.
The inspiration for this drink came from a cocktail I enjoyed at Beaker&Flask in Portland, which was called the New Vieux, a take on the Vieux Carré. Oh crap, I just goggled around as I'm composing this post to try to link to them and found that in fact the New Vieux contained "Rye, Apricot, Benedictine, Bitters." That's the same ingredient list as the drink I thought I came up with, but apparently just stole. I hadn't really thought about it and just remembered that apricot worked well in the New Orleans drink Vieux Carré and wondered how it might work as a sweetener in a take on the Sazerac. I suppose the proportions are probably different, and their drink was on the rocks and this is up, but credit where credit is due. In any case, I guess this was beaker&flask's concept, but damn if it isn't a tasty drink. I'll keep the name since this is definitely much more spirit forward than what they make, but the idea was theirs first.
Bayou Harvest
  • 2 oz Sazerac Rye
  • ½ oz Orchard Apricot
  • 1d Angostura Bitters
  • 1d Creole Bitters
  • Bénédictine rinse
stir & strain into DOF, garnish with lemon twist

Friday, September 30, 2011

Depiction of NFL (& other pro) team distribution from CBS Sports

Ok, this is neither here nor there, but while doing fantasy football research I came across this fun depiction of the locations of NFL franchises at the CBS Fantasy Football site:
Anyway, I found it interesting enough to share. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. Go Bucs! (And of course go Yankees!)

Actually, I was about to publish, but the "Go Yanks" made it occurred to me they might have the same thing for the other sports, and they do.
and why not, NHL, after all I did (accidently) use a Canadian Whisky last post for MxMo:
Feel free to compare and contrast, you can see where the islands and oases of local pro sports are located.

Monday, September 26, 2011

MxMo LXI: Local Color - Fig 'n Whistle

Our host for September's Mixology Monday is Lindsay from the blog Alcohol Alchemy. Lindsay has chosen to highlight a segment of the industry that has been shooting up sprouts all over the country more and more over the last few years: the local craft spirits producers, at least one of which you are now likely to have near you. Lindsay has dubbed the theme "Local Color", and I'll let her take it from here:
I felt that the “local” craft spirits scene would be the perfect backdrop for September’s MxMo LXI...So…pull out your favorite “local” craft spirit (for those of you not in the US, what hidden gem from your neck of the woods do you want to give some cocktail press?), tell us a little bit about it and why you love it, and let it shine in whichever way (or ways!) you see fit!
I split my time between NYC and CT, and not too long ago I wouldn't have all that many choices for local hooch, but times have been a changin'. There are the dueling gins of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Gin and Breuckelen Gin. (According to the Post, they've since called a truce, and the same article also says Breuckelen Distilling "is only the second distiller to open in the city since Prohibition." So there you go. Proliferation, like I said. I think King's County Distillery is the oldest, fyi.)
Being more of a whiskey man myself, I had initially assumed I'd go with one of the Hudson Valley Whiskeys from Tuthilltown Distillery (who will also sell you a small barrel you can use to age your own cocktails), but my Tuthiltown bottles are in NY and I'm in CT, and browsing the store here in CT I came across a perhaps more intriguing option in WhistlePig Straight Rye, a 100 proof 100% Rye made bottled in nearby Vermont. (EDIT: D'oh, a commenter alerts me that despite "Vermont" appearing no less than three times on the front of the bottle, in fact the liquid is made in Canada and only hand bottled on the farm in VT. What can I say, I got tricked. Or sloppy. But it's still good stuff and I'm rolling with it. Canada is like VT, right? Transitive property?) (VT is close enough to CT to count as local, right? It probably takes less time to drive between the two than the average LA commute, so I'm counting it. Besides, who doesn't love a pig?) As for drinks, I was seriously tempted to use the obviously local Manhattan as the cocktail, but what fun is that? Of course, just to be sure I confirmed the WhistlePig makes a damn fine one. But I've chosen to feature it in an original cocktail, as is my wont.
In addition to the delicious Vermont whiskey, I'm including a couple other ingredients to juice up the local vibe. While hardly local to me, I'm also using an excellent 8 year apple brandy produced by Clear Creek Distillery in Portland. I think Oregon in general and Clear Creek in particular exemplify the platonic ideal of localness, so in a nod to that in it goes. Their product compares well to a fine Calvados.
But I'm not done yet. For a tip of the hat to my other haunt of NY, I've used some Bittermens Mole bitters to season the drink, which as of Jan 2011 are proudly produced in Brooklyn. Putting it all together, here's the drink:
Fig 'n Whistle
Dry stir to dissolve preserves, stir with ice, and strain into chilled DOF (double strain if you prefer to have no trace of fig seeds or remnants of undissolved preserve) Garnish with slice of fresh fig.
The cocktail has a lot of deep round flavors from the wood aged spirits and spices from the bitters, not to mention a certain earthy nuttiness from the fig spread. The pectin from the preserves also contributes to the mouth feel, somewhat reminiscent of what you might find in a cocktail made with a gomme syrup.
Truth be told I actually made the initial version this cocktail using just Rittenhouse Rye for my second drink for TDN:Fall, but it ended up being an early night for everyone so I never got around to submitting it. I thought about using Laird's or Calvados the first time, but had none; my trip to the store for the WhistlePig and Clear Creek Eau de Vie took care of that, and this is a better version in any case. In an odd coincidence, I actually was going to use the same name before I even considered the WhistlePig Rye; it just popped into my head, I think because there is a pub called the Pig 'n Whistle in NY I pass by sometimes.  I hadn't even realized WhistlePig was from Vermont and thus a viable option for MxMo until I saw it at the store the day after concocting the drink, I would have guessed it was from Kentucky or thereabouts. But such is fate. Enjoy.

UPDATE: Lindsay's roundup post is up over at her site, head over there and check out all the drinks for this round of MxMo.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Love of my Life" cocktail, published in Mutineer Magazine

I concocted the Love of my Life cocktail way back in January for the "Thinking of Summer" TDN, but it was one of the many drinks that got lost in the shuffle about which I never got around to posting. But now I've got a good excuse to reach back through the months to finally post this one, since it appeared in the July/August issue of Mutineer Magazine. I know, cool, right? You see, there is a sporadically appearing column put together by SeanMike Whipkey of Scofflaw's Den which highlight some of the drinks created over the last several Thursday Drink Nights, and this time a couple of mine made the cut. A couple? Yup, they saw fit to include my Vieux Szaffa as well, but I already posted that. I know it's hardly a big deal, but I got a kick out of seeing some of my drinks in shiny print, so thanks to the CSOWG and everyone over at the Mixoloseum for making TDN happen and SeanMike for the cat wrangling it takes to put up the column for Mutineer. Do go over and check out the magazine, you can find some fun stuff over there, and look out for the next Drink Night Cocktails column hopefully appearing in an upcoming issue.
Love Of My Life
Shake & strain into cocktail glass
Not being one to do extra work, I'll just leave you with the quote I gave them to put in the magazine:
No fun tale about the origins of this drink. In reality I just stumbled onto it due to my desire to play with my just-arrived bottle of TraderTiki Passionfruit syrup, my new-found love of Coruba rum, and extra grapefruit juice for the "Thinking of Summer" TDN. I'd never made, and rarely even tried, a drink with Passionfruit syrup, but Blair's product has won me over. I added additional citrus, some bitters, and decided the drink could use a touch of simple to dial down the tartness. In my naivety, I hadn't realized it was similar to a classic drink, like a slightly less tart, bittered Hurricane, but served up.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Where to buy Nick&Nora Cocktail Glasses

NEW UPDATE (12/9/2011)
NEW (12/9/2011) UPDATE: Found a source (for different & better new glasses)! Short story: Rick comments below that you can buy Nick&Nora glasses Tabletop Style! Longer story with pics and info in new post: Verified Current Where to buy Nick&Nora Cocktail Glasses!

UPDATE: My sincere apologies, but a commenter has informed me that in fact Pour wines has not carried the glasses for a while, despite them showing up in their online store (although the link is broken, which I did not realize). It was quite a while ago when I got the glasses, but I put up the post now in response to some recent queries after I used the glass in pics in recent posts. Alas, I have no other info about the glasses or where else to get them, sorry. (There are no markings at all on the glass.) If anyone finds out anything else and lets me know, or if I discover more info I'll update the post. I think PDT (see '07 blog post) and Pegu Club ('08 video) still use them, I'll try to remember to ask about them next time I'm at either place. I did tell you they were hard to find, I guess the quest continues...

Want to know where to buy Nick&Nora glasses? You are not alone, as I've recently had several inquiries as to where to procure the Nick and Nora Martini glass I have used in several of my blog photos. (Yeah, yeah, I know the Nick & Nora Cocktail Glass is not a martini glass, but I've often seen it referred to in that manner, and the whole point of this post is to maybe make it easier for someone to find out how to purchase a Nick and Nora Cocktail Glass, and they might ask google about a Nick & Nora Martini glass. In fact, the site I'm about to reveal refers to it as NICK AND NORA MARTINI. Still hurts me to type it. But as you might notice I'm using different phrasing to describe the Nick and Nora glass in case that's how someone chooses to look for it.)

If you have searched far and wide for these glasses and your efforts remain stymied, I feel your pain, as I had been in the same situation. I googled and googled, trying every search term I could think of, but to no avail. I can get quite determined when searching for something, but this time, even I had to eventually give up. My search bore no fruit, other than finding others on a similar Quixotic quest as I. But lo, after regaling my wife with tales of woeful defeat at the hands of the googleplex, she valiantly took up the gauntlet and continued the battle anew. Of course, in no time at all, she found them. To this day I don't know how she found them, but as you can see, she did. Not only did she locate the Nick and Nora glasses online, but they were right there in Manhattan, at Pour Wines, on the Upper West Side. And for the cherry (olive?) on top, they delivered a half dozen to me the very next day. The victory (and the martini contained therein) never tasted so sweet.

Specifically, the Nick and Nora Cocktail Glasses can be found at the Pour website under Wine and Spirits Accessories under Wine Gifts in Pour's online store. I even stole the topmost picture from their website, but I hope they will forgive me since I'm presumably driving people to their site. For the record, I think my search failed because google doesn't know how to index the flash-or-whatever based web pages that pour uses, but the wife was able to do it, so what do I know.

Now I'm not saying these glasses are as awesome as an actual vintage glass would be, but they are still quite elegant, and nice to have several on hand for a cocktail party. Plus you can toss 'em in the dishwasher, which I'm loathe to do with my antique store finds. They hold 5 oz when filled all the way to the brim, which I find allows them to comfortably hold my typical pour with neither fear of spilling nor looking mostly empty.

Oh, if you are wondering from where the Nick and Nora Martini Glasses obtained their name, they are the namesake of the main characters in The Thin Man series of detective movies starting back in 1934. You can get a sense of how they might have deserved the honor from these clips:

Ok, that's all I got, hope it was helpful. Now go forth and imbibe. Me, I'm thirsty, I think I might just go make something to fill the Nick&Nora Cocktail Glass I just teased by filling with water to measure her capacity. Hope you enjoy your Nick & Nora Martini Glasses. Cheers!

Monday, August 15, 2011

MxMo LX: Come To Your Senses - Big Apple Sour

Mixology Mondays have been coming at a fast and furious clip lately, at least compared to my recent tortoise like pace of posting, and sure enough it's time again for August's event. This month is hosted by 12 Bottle Bar, with the theme "Come to your Senses":
We all know that cocktails are supposed to taste good, and for this event, we’re going to take that as a given.  What we’re looking for, instead, are drinks that truly excite one or more of the other senses: touch, smell, sight, or even hearing.  Of course, it you want to get scientific about it – and why wouldn’t you – there are even more sensations which can be played with (echolocation, anyone?)... For inspiration, we suggest the grand garnishes of Kaiser Penguin, the flaming fantasia of the Pegu Blog’s Halikai Hot Tub, the sonic symphony of Aviary’s Old Fashioned in the Rocks, the vivacious visuals of Scott Beattie, ingenious ice, semi-solid shots, jiggling jellies, or even – if you’re willing to go there – Pop Rock rims.  The goal, we hope, is for everyone to embrace the fun, the challenge, and the potential absurdity of the event.  It’s time to think outside the glass..
I was not immediately sure in what direction to head for this one, but shortly my contemplation led me to recall the yet-to-be-opened PolyScience Smoking Gun my wife got me for Christmas. (I've mentioned how awesome my wife is, right?) I figure the smoke could provide both a striking visual and powerful aroma component to enrich the experience of drinking the cocktail. (Yeah, I know it's basically just a bong with a fan attached to it, but it's still pretty cool and does its job of delivering cold smoke.)

I started with something pretty simple, and didn't have time to get more elaborate. Luckily, my first attempt turned out to be pretty darn good. For no other reason other that I felt like trying one, and perhaps because it has slightly heightened visual appeal from the claret float, I went with a New York Sour. I took that drink, smoked the hell out of it with applewood, and I give you the Big Apple Sour:
Big Apple Sour
  • 2 oz Rye (Sazerac Rye)
  • ½ oz Simple syrup (1:1)
  • ¼ oz Cointreau (for dash Curaçao)
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon
  • ½ oz Claret (JAQK Cellars Bone Dance Merlot)
  • Applewood smoke from Smoking gun
Add first 4 ingredients to shaker and fill with applewood smoke and ice, bubbling smoke through liquid at times. Fill an additional vessel with smoke if desired for added effect. Shake and strain into Nick&Nora glass. Using bar spoon float wine to top drink. Garnish with additional smoke.
In motion if you prefer. (Do I get to count the crickets chirping in the background as an audible component to the drink? I'll take it. Add "Serve outdoors at dusk" to the instructions above.)

Here is a somewhat frantic video of me smoking the cocktail. Please excuse the cinematography:

Smoke filled shaker and smoke filled carafes for serving:
One for me, one for my brother the camera man:
I had every intention of making a second drink, angling specifically for smoking some rosemary into a green chartreuse concoction, but I ran afoul of the clock. Stay tuned for further experiments. I also fantasized about incorporating smoke into a drink served in my volcano bowl with an aflame LH151 center, incorporating my new favorite wine Calabretta Etna, grown on the slopes of the active volcano Mount Etna, but definitely didn't yet get to that. Same bat time, same bat channel...

For more inspiration, here's a clip from Manifesto in KC about smoking a whole bottle of Bourbon:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

MxMo LIX: Beer! - Bruges Sling & Beer O'Clock

Fast on the heels of last's month's event (at least if you go by the pace of my recent blog posts), it's time for July's Mixology Monday, and this month Frederic from Cocktail Virgin Slut has chosen a theme near and dear to my heart. The topic? Beer cocktails! I'll let Frederic explain in his own words:
While beer being used as an ingredient in modern cocktails has gotten a lot of press as of late, this is not a new trend. Beer has played a historical role in mixed drinks for centuries...Bartenders are drawn to beer for a variety of reasons including the glorious malt and roast notes from the grain, the bitter and sometimes floral elements from the hops, the interesting sour or fruity notes from the yeast, and the crispness and bubbles from the carbonation. Beer is not just for pint glasses, so let us honor beer of all styles as a drink ingredient.
UPDATE: Frederic has the round up post up over at his site, go check out all the drinks.

Hmm, beer cocktails...this should be fun. Do also note his excellent mod of the MxMo logo above. Nicely done Frederic. Not coincidentally, last Thursday's TDN theme was beer, just to provide us with a little playground to tinker with ideas. Before I continue, I should mention last October's first annual Brewer’s Bash, the finale event of NY Craft Beer Week, held at Eleven Madison Park, where I probably had my favorite (and most numerous) beer cocktails to date. I truly hope there will be a second annual event, as if so I will surely attend.
But for MxMo, I like to concoct original drinks, and first I set my mind to incorporating a Belgian lambic into a cocktail. There were many ways to run with this idea, but my mind fixated on using a Kriek to supply both cherry flavor and carbonation to a drink, in addition to bringing the beer's tart and floral qualities to the party. I thought the Kriek might make an interesting sub for Cherry Heering and Soda.
Without endeavoring to enter the debate about which is the real, original, or proper recipe, I decided that some variation of the Singapore Sling or Straits Sling might fit the bill. (If you are interested in exploring the debate, you might also look here, here, here, or here.) So here's what I came up with:
Bruges Sling
  • 2½ oz Lindemans Kriek Lambic
  • 2 oz Bulldog London Dry Gin
  • ½ oz Bénédictine
  • ¼ oz Grand Marnier
  • 1 oz lemon
  • 2 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake & strain all but beer, strain over ice, & top with Kriek. Garnish with pineapple sage & pineapple mint & lemon wedge.
For what it's worth, I based mine mostly on the Drinkboy Straights Sling, with a nod (Grand Marnier) and a glance (pineapple herb garnishes) toward the Singapore Sling.
I have to say, I found it pretty damn refreshing. Although it would veer further from its resemblance to its namesake, I foresee trying it out with a Pêche or other lambic in the near future.
Although I love the Bruges Sling, using a lambic felt a little too easy, almost like cheating. So I decided to try my hand at a second beer cocktail. To this end, I grabbed the hoppiest beer I had and concentrated it into a syrup, adding a touch of sugar to tame the bitterness. I went with a recent impulse buy, the Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA:
IPA Syrup
  • 10 oz IPA (why only 10? you gotta have a swig for yourself 1st)
  • ¼ cup sugar
reduce over low heat while stirring occasionally until down to 4 oz liquid. reserve in fridge.
I was totally winging it on this one, but it turned out to be quite lovely. In a way, it is kind of like the reverse of fermenting beer from malt extract, boiling off the alcohol and adding back the sugar that the yeast had turned into alcohol during fermentation. However, the key difference between this syrup and a malt extract ingredient to produce beer is that the syrup also contains the concentrated flavors and aromas that the (prodigiously) hopped beer captured during the brewing process.
Now, what to do with my bitter concoction? It's got to be Brown, Bittered, and Stirred; however I don't want the spirit to have too much going on to steal the spotlight. In fact, I'd like it to complement the syrup, so I chose to reach for an Aged Genever, whose malt flavors will echo the malt from the reduced beer. We also have bitterness inherent in the syrup, so we don't need something too bitter to tie things together, but some brightness might help. And what the hell, why not a bit more hops? Let's use Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters. I give you the Beer o'clock:
Beer o'clock
Stir and strain into chilled DOF; garnish with hop tendril nasturtium blossom to its boozy grave
What,you don't have hops growing in your backyard? Fine, just use nasturtium. Nope? Ok, a twist or something then. I would have used an actual hop cone, but they won't appear until later in the season. But it's really about the liquid gold in the glass. The aroma is distinctively that of beer, except perhaps more so, if that is possible given that it is lacking the carbonation to help deliver the smell. (Note to self: carbonating this would be a stroke of genius.) The taste? Also of beer, but concentrated. It is a contemplative drink that takes a while to wrap your head around the juxtaposition, but it provides an enjoyable journey.
 I'll leave you with some pics from my friend's hop harvest last year, which we used to brew some fine beer of our own: