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From Liquor.com and DrinkupNY.com (The Negroni as illustrated)

The Negroni.. As Illustrated…

From Cocktail Whisperer on Dec 31, 2013

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Friday, May 17, 2013

The Negroni

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I love the drink named the Negroni. It’s bright, refreshing and quenches the thirst, unlike many cocktails. It never leaves me feeling drab, nor does it take away my appetite like some other cocktails do when sipped before a meal.

In my upcoming book, Apothecary Cocktails, Restoratives from Yesterday and Today, I discuss the correlation of the digestive tract and healing, by using liquors mixed with fresh herbs. If only the pharmacists from years back had known about the Negroni as a healing curative! Well, in a way they did.

The Negroni was invented back in 1919 in Florence, Italy – purposively built to heal what ails you. Orson Wells famously said in 1947 that, “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.” I don’t know about you, but I think gin is good for you. Perhaps Mr. Wells had it altogether incorrect. The entire drink is good for you. Gin, after all, was used during the Middle Ages as a curative for the Black Plague. And Vermouth has long been held as a curative for many internal battles surrounding the digestive glands.

The history of the Negroni involves a base spirit, like gin, plus bitters and vermouth. I enjoy my Negroni Cocktail with the powerfully intoxicating Caorunn Gin from Scotland. Distilled with a healthy smack of the juniper berry and woven into a backdrop of citrus with a hefty punch of alcohol, the Caorunn Gin just tempts me to have another. Combined with the syrupy and complex Carpano Antica Vermouth and the historically correct Campari Bitters from Italy, the Negroni speaks very clearly of getting buzzed with the minimum of effort. I just sipped my Negroni down and absolutely feel no pain. And why would I, with the application of my finger to stir this magnificent cocktail?

My friend Gary Regan stirs his with his finger so why shouldn’t I?

Well the reasons are numerous why you should not stir your cocktail with your finger. Cleanliness has something to do with this. But I suppose if you dipped your finger in your tri-sink filled with disinfectants and cleansers, you’d really have nothing to worry about as long as you were in your own home. I always use a cocktail spoon when working behind the bar so not to upset my customers! The drink shown was mixed with my own finger… far away from any paying customers!

The best Negroni is also the simplest one to make. I do only a couple of things differently:

1. Wash glass out inside and out with cool water.
2. Dry carefully with a soft towel.
3. Pack with ice and water.
4. Carefully measure out your ingredients, pour out the bar ice and water.

I also use a couple large hand-cut cubes of ice from the Williams Sonoma silicone ice cube tray. But most importantly, I filter my water first with ice made from from my Mavea “Inspired Water” filter. With this magical device, my ice nearly freezes crystal clear. A far cry from the ice that comes out of the ice machine in the fridge.

The Negroni Cocktail

Ingredients:
• 1 oz. Campari
• 1 oz. Carpano Antica
• 1 oz. Caorunn Gin
• 2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters

Preparation:

1. Add Campari.
2. Add Sweet Vermouth – I ALWAYS USE Carpano Antica for the second step.

3. Add your choice of Gin. In this case I used Caorunn Gin from Scotland. Caorunn is liberally flecked with citrus fruit woven around the haunting elegance of the moors at night.

4. Add The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters.
5. Add ice.
6. Stir all ingredients together… (And no, you don’t have to use your finger!!!)

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

– See more at: http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/the-negroni-as-illustrated#sthash.na0iK3hA.HuSc6QGl.dpuf

The Urban Meditation Fizz. Thank you DrinkupNY!

THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014

Urban Meditation Fizz Cocktail

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail WhispererWhen the weather starts getting really oppressive outside, getting bombed is the last thing on my mind.  Sure, it’s fun to get a little buzz on to keep the feeling of the humidity at bay.  I know this sense of relaxation is just the thing to keep the hounds of summer at bay.  Simplicity is the key to summer drinks.  There is nothing more revolting to me than an mélange of disparate, garbage pail quality ingredients, thrown together into a blender with stinky ice and much less than high quality spirits.  This kind of drink is just not going to be memorable and please let me assure you that the hangover that ensues will certainly be memorable!

(Calling Fernet Branca please! !)

High quality spirits such as Casa Noble are even more pleasurable when less it done to each sip.  Covering up (expensive) expressive spirits with candy flavored artificially flavored mixers IS NEVER OK!  So don’t do it.   LISTEN UP!

Casa Noble makes some of the most delightfully aromatic and potentTequila expressions that I’ve ever had the chance to enjoy.  Each sip is an countenance of passion for my thoughts.   And with the approach of the hottest weather of the year so far, I love to taste what I spend my money on.

That’s why after a week of shooting pictures in the studio for my third book up in Massachusetts, all that I want is simple, simple, simple!  Why?  It’s going to get really hot in a few days and sharing this refreshing thirst quencher is the way that it is done.

The Casa Noble Blanco is the perfect base for craft cocktails that don’t come off as being too crafty or  too complicated.  What do I mean about that?  Well, there are the ingredients.  As few of them as possible, that is for sure- but also the quality of the ingredients.  That is essential.  Casa Noble makes it easy for me to do great work because of the quality and simplicity of their ingredients.

Fruitations is a marvelous fresh fruit soda and cocktail syrup made with love up in New England.  Well, syrup is a misnomer, what Fruitations represents to me is condensed affection in a bottle.  There are three handcrafted flavors, Tangerine, Ruby Grapefruit and Cranberry.  The New England in me loves the Cranberry for rum cocktails, the Grapefruit is a burst of Florida, perfect for gin and the Tangerine is like a trip to Mexico, screaming out for Tequila…  Fruitations is exotic, bold and highly intriguing.  For this cocktail, I chose the perfectly adept, Tangerine flavor.

Each sip is like biting into a perfectly ripened citrus blast.

To give this drink a bit of lift I used Polar Seltzer.  The miniscule bubble that Polar encapsulates in each sip makes the Casa Noble Tequila and the Fruitations Syrup scream out for more, more…  And to the finish, may I suggest a few drops of the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters?  Why?  They just work to heal your body.

With hot weather you want to heal what ails ye, your head, your heart, whatever is bothering you.  What ails ye is what I printed in my best-selling 1st book, Apothecary Cocktails.   This is the phrase that means- drink something, drink anything with bitters and this becomes an elixir for good health of your belly.

Drinking this little gem is nice.  And drinking anything with the splendid liquid named Fruitations simply as a mocktail will make the steamy summer seem much further away.    And the healing?  Have a few and call me in the morning..

Urban Meditation Fizz

Ingredients:
2 oz. Casa Noble Blanco
1 oz. Fruitations Tangerine Soda and Cocktail Syrup
4 oz. Polar Seltzer (Plain is fine- and preferred!)
2-4 shakes Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters

Prep:
(It’s so easy to mix a simple drink; you really should try it sometime…)

To a tall Collins-type glass:
Fill with 3-4 ice cubes
Add the Casa Noble Tequila
Pour over with the Fruitations Tangerine
Top with the Polar Seltzer
Mix with a funky straw and serve with a few shakes of the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters

Easy!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys. His first book, Apothecary Cocktails has been nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail!

Drink Up NY…

An Ardent Dreamer Cocktail

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail WhispererI’m thrilled when a bartender knows what I’m talking about when I ask for Aperol.  Usually I receive a blank stare or worse- a nod towards Campari or some other red colored aperitif.

Not that Campari is bad, far from- it’s just much different than Aperol.

First of all, Aperol has less alcohol than Campari, making it the perfect summer quaff at about 12% by volume for Aperol, instead of the 25% of Campari.

Campari is more assertively flavored- making Aperol a lighter approach to the term bitter aperitif.  You see, bitter is a good thing.  Aperol is made up of licorice, fennel, aniseed, popular buds, bitter clover, wormwood, valerian, gentian, bitter orange, cinchona bark and rhubarb.

The ingredients in Campari are similar- but secret and this article is not about Campari, but it is about Aperol!   Made by the same company as Campari, Aperol is altogether different.  First of all there is more sugar in Aperol, although the drinker may not recognize the sweetness in the drink, because the bitter herbs balance the sweetness.  I am a huge fan of Aperol and I use it often in my refreshing summer cocktails.

Greenhook Ginsmiths is located in Greenpoint, NY. I love what they have achieved in the gin world by the quality of their ingredients.  Brothers, Stephen and Philip DeAngelo have revolutionized the old fashioned technique of making gin.  They use a low temperature vacuum to remove all the excess air from the distillation process allowing for a more gentle approach to the finished product.

I’m not a scientist, but I will say that the vacuum distillation makes a softer gin- less harsh and definitely not cloying.  I remember meeting the brothers a couple years ago at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and I immediately became an ardent supporter of their craft.

Freshly squeezed juices are a necessity in my cocktails and in my day-to-day drinking pleasure.  There really is no excuse to use concentrated fruit juices or powdered juices in cocktails.  My drinks NEVER call for bottled orange, lemon, grapefruit or lime.  It’s just not done!  You should always make every attempt at using the very best ingredients that you can find for your drinks- after all it’s your money!  Why cover up great liquor with artificial ingredients?  Even the 900-pound gorilla, Tropicana juice is pasteurized, giving your cocktail a flat, listless experience.  You may not notice- and that’s ok… BUT, when you are making something that speaks of quality, why use juices that may have been extracted months in advance of your enjoyment, then?

Beats me.  That’s why the fresh juice movement in craft cocktails is so essential to the overall approach to making fresh drinks with the best ingredients you can get.

I always ask if a cocktail lounge is using fresh juices and if they don’t- I usually don’t stay- or I order something plain.  It’s just that simple, there are no excuses to use less than stellar ingredients.  I’d gladly pay more; just give me the chance to do so!

An Ardent Dreamer
Ingredients:
2 oz. Greenhook Ginsmiths Gin
1 oz. Aperol
½ oz. freshly squeezed orange
½ oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit
¼ oz. freshly squeezed lemon
¼ oz. freshly squeezed lime
Splash of seltzer
Old Fashioned glass
Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

Preparation:
Add the juices and the Greenhook Gin with the Aperol to a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice
Shake hard for 15 seconds or so
Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with a couple cubes of hand cut or hand made ice (silicone tray with double boiled spring water, overnight)
Top with the seltzer and a couple drops of the Bitter Truth Grapefruit bitters for a flourish!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys. His first book, Apothecary Cocktails has been nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail!

Mother’s Day Cocktail: Beekman 1802 and Klaus the Soused Gnome

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Is your mom sweet like honey?  Warm and comforting like a cup of tea?  Or even a little spicey?  Klaus has never met his own mother, but that doesn’t stop him from celebrating all the moms in his life.

So he’s concocted a cocktail for all moms–no matter what shape or form they come in.

Springtime brings flavor into the equation because after the long winter we had, all Klaus wants is simplicity and flavor.

So what does Klaus want?

Fabulous Rio Red Grapefruit syrup, grenadine, Barr Hill Gin, Tenneyson Absinthe and Bitter End Thai Bitters???

Bitter End Bitters out in Santa Fe, New Mexico makes Thai Bitters that are like delving into a bowl of Thai Chilies. There is that heat element that is for certain…But then there are the flavors that open up, drop-by-concentrated-drop in a cocktail. I’ve tasted dozens of bitters and there really is nothing on the market that has the character of the Bitter End. Don’t get me wrong, I love bitters and could wax poetic for hours using them in my drinks. Bitters are just about the best thing for a hangover, according to Klaus. He knows.

Fruitations from Massachusetts are a most gorgeously concentrated, pure fruit syrups that are just exceptional in any kind of cocktail or mocktail. I just go gaga over the grapefruit syrup because it is like tucking into a juicy, ripe grapefruit. Less is more with this high quality syrup. You don’t have to use much, it’s that good!

A hit of Tenneyson Absinthe Royale is necessary. Try it and you’ll know why. It’s a secret otherwise!

Klaus’s Mother’s Day cocktail

(for two)

FIRST,  make a pot of Beekman 1802 Mercantile Blend tea – please serve it steaming hot to warm you deeply before, cooling yourself with this spring cocktail.

Ingredients:

4 oz. Barr Hill Gin, made from Raw Honey and grain with juniper berries

½ oz. Tenneyson Absinthe Royale

2 oz. Grenadine

6 oz. Fruitations Rio Red Grapefruit Cocktail and Soda Syrup

Preparation:

Pour yourself a cup of Beekman 1802 tea and while you enjoy the smoky demeanor of this very elegant tea

In a Boston Shaker, fill ¾ with bar ice

Pour over the Barr Hill Gin

Add the Grenadine

Add the Fruitations Rio Red Grapefruit cocktail and soda syrup

Cap and shake hard for 15 seconds

Pour into a Collins Glass with several hand cut ice cubes

Drip four drops of the Bitter End Thai bitters over the top. If this is too spicy, cut back to two drops

CHEERS TO WHATEVER PERSON IN YOUR LIFE YOU CALL ‘MOM’!

Sæmundur: The Knowledgeable- DrinkupNY

Sæmundur: The Knowledgeable 

TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2014

Sæmundur: The Knowledgeable

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I was poking around in the liquor cabinet the other day finding some nearly forgotten gems like the American Fruits Sour Cherry Cordial that was lurking in the periphery.  I hadn’t worked with this fabulous, flavor packed product in some time and upon discovering the slender bottle hiding behind some Rhum Agricole– it brought an immediate smile to my face.  I smiled because the tart, sumptuous flavors encapsulated in the bottle would be “just what the doctor ordered” for the combination of sweet to the savory in my glass.

Usually I serve the Sour Cherry Cordial over crushed ice with a mint simple syrup and seltzer but today I’ve discovered something altogether unexpected.  Today is different because of the product named Aquavit.

What is Aquavit?  Aside from the literal translation of Aqua Vit or water of life, Aquavit is distilled from either grain or potatoes and the predominant flavor is that of caraway seeds along with lemon peel, fennel cardamom, cumin, anise and other fruit oils depending on the region and style desired.  Some Aquavit is aged in the barrel but most Aquavit is bottled after blending down to 40% ABV.

It is still a very potent slurp.

I chose Brennivin Icelandic Aquavit because it is from Iceland.  Icelandic water is one of the purest sources of water on the planet.  Martin Miller Gin is also made with this soft, lightly mineral water source.

I think that the spirits that use Icelandic water are absolutely smashing and you should taste them just as soon as you are able.
When you mix this grain and potato based Aquavit with Sour Cherry Cordial everything tastes better around you.  Especially if you are eating foods like pickled herring or smoked salmon, Aquavit is just a natural with the sugar, salt and spicy flavors from the northern part of Europe.

You see, foods from the Scandinavian countries are just perfectly pared with Aquavit and strangely enough with American Sour Cherry Cordial.

This combination of flavors reminds me of a visit to Amsterdam about twenty years ago.  I was just mesmerized by Belgian beer; especially the tart varieties of Cherry infused Lambic Ales.  I’ve grown to crave the warm aromatics of aged cherries in my glass and on the plate.  There is nothing more alluring than a roasted pork loin cooked with sour cherries or a medallion of Brook Trout enrobed in brown butter, hazelnuts and finished with Lambic-soaked cherry flavored Ale.

Mixing Sour Cherries and Aquavit is perhaps the most interesting recipe in my current toolkit of cocktail whisperer inspired recipes.  Aquavit was certainly used as a curative in the early apothecary so it becomes an essential ingredient in the struggle to determine the fine line of good health over intoxication!

I say drink what you like and all will be well.

The American Fruits Sour Cherry Cordial makes for a perfect “Day Drink” because you can decide exactly how mind numbing you want this cocktail to be. If you want to numb your entire body, use more Aquavit.  If you want a perfectly lovely day drink, use more Sour Cherry Cordial and some more mint simple syrup.  Whichever way you choose to make it, I offer the stronger of the two ways for your perusal and hopefully your whole-hearted approval.

Sæmundur: The Knowledgeable
You can make this strong like an Icelandic warrior.
This is the way that I think you should have it.

Ingredients:
2 oz.  Brennivin Icelandic Aquavit
½ oz. American Fruits Sour Cherry Cordial
1 oz. Mint Simple Syrup
1 oz. seltzer water
Lemon Bitters from Bitter Truth
Hand cut ice (essential!)

Prep:
To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with bar ice, add the Aquavit, the Sour Cherry Cordial and the mint simple syrup

Shake hard for 15 seconds
Pour over the hand cut ice into a tall Collins glass
Add a splash of seltzer water and 2-3 drops of the lemon bitters
Garnish with a sour cherry pierced by a long straw

Mint Simple Syrup:
(Crush 1-cup spearmint and add to 1 cup Demerara Sugar and 1 cup spring water, bring to a simmer in a non reactive saucepan for at least 20 minutes and reduce to desired thickness, strain out the mint with a cheesecloth. Reduce some more for extra good luck in battle)

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.

I want to take a bath in that Marinara.. Devil Gourmet

By Warren Bobrow
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I didn’t set out today to do an article strictly on cocktails.  After all, a man must eat something if he is day drinking.  Day drinking- a lost cousin to day dreaming and the bastard son of the afternoon siesta or nap is not for everyone.  But should you desire a well crafted cocktail, made with only the best freshly squeezed juices and craft spirits, then make your way over to the Yellow Plum.  True they bought me my lunch and true they knew I was there representing the Devil… But with this said what I found on my trip was unexpected and therefore gorgeous.

Chorizo Meatballs

Chorizo Meatballs

The meatballs, pictured here are things of rare beauty.  They are hand made, one at a time.  There is Chorizo in there, lurking in the background.  A subtle burn at the finish, tempered ever softly by the a marinara worthy of a bath.  The very thought of taking a bath in marinara sauce is beyond my comprehension in polite company, but this marinara is something truly extraordinary.

I felt so honored to taste it.  This sauce became a part of me.  Part of my memory.  Maybe the simple combination of flavors did it.  I’m not sure.  Simple, passionate food doesn’t take wizardry.

This food takes love.  It’s obvious that there are smiles in the kitchen.  You can taste them in every bite. The cocktails are equally passionate.

Cocktails at the Yellow Plum

Cocktails at the Yellow Plum

 I tried two drinks.  The first, a play on words, is the Brookdale Cocktail.  Woven from a salubrious mixture of Plantation Five Year Old Reserve rum, ginger liqueur, muddled cranberries and lemon juice.  This drink has nearly perfect balance.  I see nearly because as a whisperer of cocktails, I like to unlock inner secrets in drinks.  You do this with bitters.  I might have used the Aztec Bitters from Fee Brothers, or perhaps the Mexican Mole Bitters from Bitter End.  It needed something bitter against all that sweet.  But I had no complaints with the strength of the drink.  It was right in line with my expectations and it exceeded them handily with how beautifully this cocktail went with the food…  Then there was the mac and cheese.  ohhhhhhh…. Swoooon…

This was not mac and cheese of my childhood, this was sophistication and charm in every bite.  I can’t tell you what poutin tastes like up in Montreal when it’s 40 degrees below zero, but this dish is so unctuous and bold….

I couldn’t finish all of it even if I wanted to.  There was a slowly cooked shredded short rib meat.  Oh, there I go… opening the to/go box and digging in.  With my fingers!  DAMMIT, this is good stuff!

The second drink was a spin on an icy road with bald tires and rear wheel drive.  It was called the Fig Fashion.  This drink is so darned simple.  Three ingredients.  Muddled Fig.  Knob Creek Bourbon.  Finally bitters.  This drink is so darned dangerous.  If the bar uses hand cut ice it would be the charmer on the menu.  It’s that good.  No, I don’t recommend driving on ice with bald tires.  Too much can go wrong.

Leave the car at home and have a couple of the Fig Fashions.  Ask them to make the drinks as doubles.

those meatballs again… swoon. Photo: Warren Bobrow, Leica M8

those meatballs again… swoon. Photo: Warren Bobrow, Leica M8

Chef Lukic has the chops that I look for in a cook.  He has that calm under fire persona that comes from some dangerous experiences in the Marine Corps.  He has spent much time behind the scenes in restaurants from childhood on.

  He cooks as he speaks, quietly and with great authority.  It’s his place.  He doesn’t look for accolades nor the Montclair “scene,” nor flash in the pan- television stardom.  What this cook does is follow his dreams.  This restaurant is his invention.  His passion and his lab.  He’s not doing this food for flashy publications.  He’s cooking from his heart because this is his metier, his passion!!!

I do want to dine there at dinner.  The lighting will be lower, the room filled with laughing- sated, happy diners.

This is not trendy food although they certainly do modern cooking.  Each taste is grounded in classical cooking technique.  The French Culinary Institute was chef’s education, but I’m positive he was a chef even before he walked into the front door.

Come by the Yellow Plum.  Enjoy a cocktail.   Their wine list if cocktails are not your speed is carefully chosen by flavor.  The list is a nice overview of styles that are priced well and are intriguing to both the neophyte and the expert.

This is not a snob place.  It’s good food, carefully made with love.

Isn’t that why we dine?

 

Yellow Plum

Yellow Plum

Yellow Plum
1099 Broad Street,
Bloomfield 07003

(973) 893-3681

Mon: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tue – Fri: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sat: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

 

Bottoms Up

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Yellow Plum will be participating in Bloomfield Restaurant Week 2014. Restaurant Week is August 3 to August 9 2014. Participating Restaurants will offer special prix Fixe menus for both lunch and dinner giving everyone the chance to experience the diversity of Bloomfield’s culinary scene. For full details visit the Bloomfield Restaurant Week website. Also be sure to like Bloomfield Restaurant Week on Facebook. Devil Gourmet is proud to be a Platinum sponsor of Bloomfield Restaurant Week.

Warren Bobrow is Devil Gourmet’s own Cocktail Whisperer.   When he isn’t postulating about the good, bad and the ugly of cocktail bars in NJ for Devil Gourmet, he is the Food and Drink Editor of the Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey. Like a good bartender who hears everything but shares little, Warren is not one to boast of his accomplishments. But that’s not going to stop us.

He writes for the “Fabulous Beekman 1802 Boys” as their cocktail writer. (Klaus, The Soused Gnome). He was one of 12 journalists world-wide, and the only one from the USA to participate in the Fête de la Gastronomie 2012 in Burgundy. Warren co-judged the Iron Mixology competition at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (2012), was  # 30 in Saveur Magazine’s 100 in 2010, for his writing about the humble Tuna Melt. Warren has published over four hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews to travel articles. His first book, Apothecary Cocktails is now in its second printing and another book is in the works!

The best thing about Warren? He does mixology for groups and private lessons- ask! You may find him on the web at CocktailWhisperer.com

 

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Search, Connect, Indulge!

Make sure to speak of the Devil when you visit my favorite haunts. And, be sure to follow me and my Devil’s helpers on Facebook and Twitter @devilgourmet.

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Beekman 1802 and Klaus the Soused Gnome

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 Gartending to the Heart

 

Klaus just returned from a lovely trip to Vermont.  He’s very fortunate to have been invited to the Northeast Kingdom and make new friends along the way.  One of these friends, Todd Hardie is a bee keeper and maker of a most marvelous group of spirit medicinals.  The raw honey that goes into his marvelous vodka, gin and elderberry cordial speak clearly of his passion for healing.

Vermont is rife with family farms.  It’s not easy to make a living here in this often harsh environment.  Get away from the ski towns that live off the tourists and discover a place that is off the usual path.  I suggest doing this by following food and drink.

Klaus thinks that if you want to win the heart of a beautiful woman you must ply her with his newest loves, Vermont maple syrup and Vermont cheeses.  Of course Klaus tells me that there has to be some liquor in there too.  That’s where Todd Hardie comes in.  Klaus is smitten by the flavors exemplified in each sip of Barr Hill Gin and Barr Hill Vodka.  You see, Klaus discovered that these spirits are actually made from something that comes from bees! In Germany and Caledonia bees were raised for their honey.  This honey, when fermented and distilled is powerful medicine used by apothecaries for hundreds of years.  Now in the modern age, this distillation of honey goes into Barr Hill products.  It’s remarkable and delicious.

Vermont Maple Syrup is richly scented and deeply aromatic.  It’s memorable from the minute it touches your tongue and the finish goes on and on.

I was fortunate to visit Jasper Hill and received a private tour of the cheese caves.  Jasper Hill, if you are not familiar makes highly expressive cheeses that speak clearly of Vermont.

Klaus had to stay inside because of the FDA regulations about cleanliness.  He would have had to receive a total sterilization.  He wasn’t happy about that, so he took a nap instead.

Klaus just told me that with Valentine’s Day coming up, he thought a considerate gift of raw honey would be in order.   Raw honey does many things, Klaus tells me.  But I think what Klaus is really trying to say is that for Valentine’s day to be truly special there must be a drink to make basic conversation a bit easier.  Why is that Klaus?  He’s not talking right now.  He’s napping.  The trip up to Vermont was hard on the little guy.  All those new faces to remember and all those kisses he received.  Klaus if you are just discovering him is quite famous.

In keeping with the theme of Valentine’s Day and Klaus having only a ceramic heart, love doesn’t come easily to him.  Oh sure, all the ladies love Klaus but I’m not sure that he can love them back.  He certainly has enough admirers.  Right Klaus?

As long as he has a drink nearby all is well.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to have more than one, within reason of course.  Why is that?  Because my (Klaus’s) drinks are quite intoxicating!  He’s interested in flavor and aromatics from always-fresh herbs, even in the winter!

Klaus brought some gorgeous fresh sage the other day at the Asian market.  He explained to me that this sage, when carefully lit on fire makes the most beguiling smoke.  He went on to explain that if you have burning sage and you hold your Boston Shaker over the top, you can capture this smoke within the shaker!  Klaus went on to explain that Barr Hill Vodka, (distilled from raw honey, of course) when mixed with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, and smoked sage “smoke” makes for a colorful and potent cocktail.  One nearly guaranteed to make “conversation” easier later in the evening.

The smoked sage and grapefruit juice act as a foil to the more potent, honey-tinged notes of this exceptional vodka.  Those who have be following my writing know that I normally don’t write about vodka, so it has to be pretty darned exceptional for me to even take note.  Barr Hill is that product.  Klaus explains to me that happy bees make passionate spirits.  I agree.

Klaus says that the happy bees make honey that has a memory.  I said to Klaus that his Valentine’s Day cocktail is just brilliant.  Perhaps he should have two or three at the least?

It’s up to him to fall in love somehow!!!

 

Captain Bickford Cocktail (Named for a hopeless romantic in the work of Robert Louis Stevenson)

Ingredients for two strong drinks

3 oz. Barr Hill Vodka

5 oz. Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit juice

2 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Lemon Essence

5 drops Wild Branch Foods Elderberry Syrup

Fresh Sage leafs

Hand cut ice

Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters

 

Preparation:

In a fireproof dish, light the sage on fire so it smolders

Capture the sage smoke in an inverted Boston Shaker

Add ice to the sage smoke

Add the Vodka and the grapefruit juice with the Elderberry syrup to the smoke and ice filled shaker

Cap and shake hard for 20 seconds

Pour into an old fashioned glass with one cube of hand cut ice

Pour Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water over the mixture into two glasses

Garnish with a sage leaf a few drops of the Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters to finish.

 

 

Klaus hopes to get lucky this Valentine’s Day…. With a few of these in his flask, he’s sure to do very well at something…. Klaus?????  Oh, he’s wandered off again.   Trying to find his true love.

Drink up NY

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Martin Miller and his Gin

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Martin Miller recently passed away after a battle with cancer.  He was far too young to be claimed by such a deadly disease.

Martin for all you who don’t know was the founder of the highly individualistic gin company by the same name.  His gin set the stage for many of the micro distilled brands of gin that we see on the market today.

Martin Miller’s gin was: “born of love, obsession and some degree of madness,” according to the website and I tend to agree.  You have to be obsessed to make gin in England.  Most of the London Dry styled gin is flavorless at best, mere whispers against the more assertive “botanical” styles.   I prefer botanical gins like Martin Miller’s because the juniper takes a back seat to the citrus flavors inherent in the final mix.  They also use Icelandic glacial water to do the blending.  According to the website again, “Sparkling bright, pure and unpolluted we draw water from our own spring. This is water like no other, icy cold and alive. It emerges into daylight for the first time in maybe 800 years, rising from the depths of the Basalt Mountains that frame the skyline of this sleepy village.
So, spirit into spirit, for Icelander’s truly believe their water to be a living entity, Martin Miller’s is delicately blended with pure Icelandic spring water creating a marriage of rare softness, clarity of taste and appearance.
It is simply bottled magic.”
The distillate is produced using juniper, coriander, angelica, and Florentine Iris- coupled with the more unusual cassia, cinnamon bark, and anise, are blended with Seville orange peel and lime.  It also uses cucumber as an ingredient, like Hendrick’s and a couple of other brands on the market.   This is a very sophisticated slurp rolling in at just over 90 proof.  I’m a HUGE fan of Martin Miller’s gin in a somewhat twisted Gin and Tonic.  For the tonic component I’m very fond of the tonic syrup from Tom.  Tom Richter is the owner of this company that makes just about the best tonic syrup I’ve ever tasted.  I also add some Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters to the usual tonic syrup and fizzy water.  I’m rather partial to Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink Grapefruit.  I think it works beautifully against the spicy elements of the tonic syrup and the haunting aromatics of Martin Miller’s Gin.

The Martin Miller’s Gin & Twisted Tonic 

Ingredients:
2 oz. martin miller’s gin
1 oz. Tomr Tonic Syrup
Grapefruit peel
4 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (pink grapefruit)
2-3 dashes Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Hand cut ice (freeze Tupperware 1 gallon trays with triple boiled distilled water overnight, cut to size for each drink)

Preparation:
Rub the grapefruit peel on the inside of each Collins glass, first burning it slightly against a match to bring out the natural oils

Add the hand cut ice to the glass
Add the tonic syrup and the gin over the top of the syrup
Add the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
Top with the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters and serve immediately after stirring with a long colorful straw!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys

Beekman 1802 ICE!

L1000105

Ice, Ice Baby

By:

 

 

I believe that ice is the most important ingredient in a well-crafted cocktail.  Just imagine this scenario.  You go to your favorite cocktail lounge; the bartender is making crafted cocktails.  The first thing that you notice is the amount of tiny cubes he is putting in the drinks.  It would appear that the glasses are filled to the brim with this frozen substance possessing neither form nor shape.  The bartender adds liquor to this rapidly melting material.   It appears that the entire glass is filled with liquor.  You say to yourself, they sure pour a nice drink here.  WRONG!  What they are actually doing is filling your glass with water!

The ice melts so quickly giving the impression that the bartender filled you glass up with booze.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  What the bartender has done is fool you, making money for the house and surreptitiously given you the impression that your glass actually has something in it other than cold water and chips of ice.   Maybe what you really have is just a waste of your hard earned money?

May I please suggest changing your ice?  My little friend Klaus is around here somewhere.  He suggests going to the store in Massachusetts named the Boston Shaker.  They will help you with this dilemma.  The Boston Shaker recently held a book signing for my new book, Apothecary Cocktails, Restoratives from Yesterday and Today.  While Klaus and I were there making hot buttered rum, I had the chance to gaze wistfully over their well-stocked shop.  There were many different items there for freezing perfect ice.

You can buy rounds or squares.  They come in many varieties of sizes.  May I suggest the 2×2 inch trays for your ice?  Why should you care?

You see, when you use refrigerator ice, it often comes out chopped into small bits.  Dilution takes place nearly immediately.  This is unacceptable.  I believe when your ice stays solid, hardly any dilution takes place.  Your drink stays cold, yet it doesn’t dilute- at least it doesn’t turn to water quickly!  When your ice stays solid, your money doesn’t turn to water as rapidly in your system.  Thus you get your money’s worth.

Another example of superb design in gourmet hand-crafted ice is Glace Ice, made by my friend Roberto Sequeira.  He has designed and implemented a truly gourmet ice cube that you can purchase already frozen.  His brilliant product gives your cocktails that one-of-a kind, light catching look.  There really is nothing I have seen in ice that is of this high quality, unless you make it yourself.

I continue to state and have gone on record to say that Roberto’s “Glace” ice is the best ice that money can buy.  It’s not inexpensive, but the best things in the world are rarely cheap.

If you put one of the Glace rounds in a glass and poured a mere strand of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey over the top in your hand cut crystal glass, I think you’d be greatly rewarded.  Let me let you into a little secret.  If you like rye whiskey, and who doesn’t, may I suggest Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye?  It’s brilliant over one of Roberto’s Ice Squares.  Just shimmering.   Did I tell you it’s organic?  Yes.  This small batch, handcrafted spirit is one of a very few rye whiskies that are made with all organically grown ingredients.  I like that and try to tell people about my passion for craft spirits when I can.

 

The Soused Gnome Gift Guide

Tuthilltown up in New York State also garners my attention during the Holiday Season.  Their Half Moon Bay Gin distilled from local apples and wheat is so perfectly balanced that using mixers may not be necessary.  Up in Vermont I’ve discovered a salubrious Maple Cream liqueur that has got me actually telling others about it. Vermont Ice Maple Crème Liqueur got my attention and a place in the fridge.  Vermouth is hot this year and I have three, no four recommendations.  I love from Channing Daughter’s in Long Island’s wine country their seasonally made VerVino.  Each bottling exemplifies what is fresh in the woods and fields that surround the winery.   Bianca Miraglia is out in the wild, hand-gathering herbs, spices and woodland secrets for her vermouths.  It’s as if she captures her dreams into each bottle of Uncouth Vermouth.  Perhaps the woodland fairies have offered their enlightenment to her.

Vya Vermouth from Portland, Oregon is making expressive products that are equal or greater than most of the vermouth coming out of Europe.  I love the use of Oregon wine in the richly textured slurps of American passion and ingenuity.

Atsby Vermouth is also from New York.

There are two varieties that Atsby proudly produces.  One is named Armadillo Cake and the other is named Amberthorn. The Armadillo Cake reminds me of the high quality, Italian made sweet vermouth named Carpano Antica.  The Amberthorn is just far out stuff and my tasting notes are all over the road every time I try it.  Drip a bit over a glass filled with Casa Noble Reposado Tequila.  Warn the neighbors if you should shout out loud!   Atsby Vermouth is heady on its own or mixed into a way-out Manhattan-style cocktail made with Busted Barrel Dark Rum from New Jersey.

New Jersey you say?  Yes.  There is rum being made again in New Jersey.  And it tastes smoother and richer than some rum that I tasted from the Caribbean islands.  It’s made one drop at a time in hand made stills located just off the West Essex airport.  The building that the distillery resides was used to build aircraft during WW2.  There is a very historic feel to the place and the handcrafted rum.

Vodka is on most people’s minds this holiday and the raw honey distilled vodka from Barr Hill in Vermont is the best vodka I’ve ever tried.  Not because it tastes like water, far from.  This is vodka that allows me to retrace my roots.  Each sip is a revelation of terroir.  There is nothing else like it on the market.  And their gin is gushing with botanicals, all in perfect balance to the locally gathered raw honey.  If you mix this gin with anything more than air (or a cube of hand cut ice) you’ll have Klaus over to your house in a skinny minute!  Do not use corn syrup tonic water in this one.  Bad things will happen!

Try finding tonic syrup like Jack Rudy from Charleston, SC. Or Tomr’s Tonic syrup from good old New Jersey works.  What I like to do is use tonic syrup and seltzer with a pinch of fleur du sel at the end.  Finally I can make a great G&T.  Barr Hill Gin, handmade tonic syrup, Perrier Sparkling water.  I’m in heaven.

Klaus will never forget.  He never does.  Throw out that corn syrup tonic water now!

I’m not really a Scotch drinker, but if you can find a Japanese Whisky you should try some.  Perhaps you’ve found a smoked American Whiskey?  Did you know that the domestically produced whiskies are overtaking the Scots at their own game?  Add to the new whiskies that are being distilled in India.  These are gorgeous examples of Scottish know-how being produced craft style on the other side of the globe?

Are you looking for cordials?  Pur Likor is making a lush and memorable Blood Orange and Spice liqueur.  Find it.

Fruitations in Massachusetts has both a cranberry and a tangerine syrup that should change the way you look at sweeteners.

My bet is on Royal Rose Three Chili syrup.  Try it with Arrogante Tequila!

Bitters?   Just try something other than the usual and experiment!

I know Klaus would love to see that!

 

 

Happy Xmas and Happy New Year! …and Cheers to All!