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thought I had a source from which to buy Nick and Nora cocktail glasses, but it turned out I was wrong and my info was outdated and no longer useful.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