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!