From DrinkUpNY where I serve as a cocktail storyteller

Friday, May 10, 2013

Caipirinha Classica

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I love Brazil. The people make up the social thread, the food fills their bellies and the music fills their hearts. Their heads are filled with the particularly potent liquor named cachaça. Now with an AOC for purity, cachaça has become a world player in the rush for flavor and nostalgia alike.

It completes the equation of the soul meeting the heart through the influence of the earth.

Avuá Prata Cachaça is made in Brazil. It cannot be made anywhere else on the planet by the force of law. Cachaça is a complex beverage that takes great passion to make. This passion runs through the veins of the Brazilian people. When Caipirinha cocktails are made, people come together. They dance, they sing – it seems to help solve problems in life and make people come together for a common good. You cannot drive anywhere in Rio and not see offerings to the spirits, both physical and metaphysical. They are everywhere in Brazil.

When I was a boy my parents took me to Brazil to experience the Caipirinha cocktail up close. And yes, I had several while there. One too many perhaps, but as the theory goes – once you’ve enjoyed a Caipirinha cocktail, you will always remember it. The flavor of freshly cut lime, the burst of cane sugar sweetness from the cachaça intermixed with the haunting flavor of the wooden cask, all mingle to create a truly unique product.

Cachaça is the soul of the people of Brazil and Avuá Prata Cachaça is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. It speaks clearly of the cane, that hauntingly sensual liquid that coats the back of your throat and swirls around your mind. Two or three cocktails and you are out on Copacabana Beach, soaking up the Equatorial sun, slathered with coconut oil and iodine for a deeper tan than you ever thought possible. I spent two months in Brazil and came back to winter in NJ as a different person. The food and the music would never leave me. When I wrote restaurant reviews for NJ Monthly Magazine, I made sure that I reviewed a Brazilian restaurant in Newark, NJ named Seabra’s. They make an extremely fine Caipirinha right in front of you. I’m a big fan of in-your-face bartending.

Yesterday I was fortunate to spend some time in the company of Daniel Bull, the mixologist for his families’ restaurant named Brasilina located near Hell’s Kitchen on the West Side of NYC. He is passionate about his ingredients, insisting on fresh and freshly sliced whenever possible. He hasn’t been a bartender for too long, but his hand is steady behind the stick and the passionate Brazilian spirit flows readily through his fingers into his handcrafted cocktails.

Daniel made me the classic Caipirinha cocktail with Avuá Prata Cachaça and what transpired was less a lesson in making the cocktail, but more a view into the sense of taste. Avuá is sold at DrinkUpNY and you can take the easy to follow directions (below) and make your own cocktail. I do have one suggestion. When you make this cocktail, make sure your hands and your heart is warm first. Warming your hands is easy, by holding them under warm water until they are warm. Your heart may be more difficult to warm, but you can start by thinking of a place like Brazil and the affectionate sunshine that bathes this country in her perpetual glow.

Do you think that it is the Avuá Prata Cachaça talking?

Daniel says it is essential to slice your limes fresh, as in right before using. He also stressed not muddling the lime too much. Muddling releases the oils, yes – but it can release the bitter from the skin just as easily. Be gentle and smile while you make this cocktail!

Make your drink like a Brazilian, with passion!

Classica Caipirinha

Ingredients:
• 4 fresh cut lime wedges
• 20ml simple syrup (2 parts of refined sugar to 1 part boiling water – blend it in the blender)
• 2.5 ounces of Avuá Prata Cachaça

Directions:
1. Add lime and simple syrup to your glass.

2. Muddle 5 to 6 times – make sure you don’t extract too much of the oil from the lime skin.

3. Fill your glass with ice & add the cachaça.

4. Stir with a swizzle stick.
5. Complete the glass with more fresh ice.
6. Garnish with lime wedge, freshly cut is essential!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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

Gartending for the Beekman 1802 Boys! Klaus the Soused Gnome @klausgnome on Twitter

Gartending: Freshly Minted

By:

 

 

 

 

 

Gin is in for early spring!  Oh, please don’t get me wrong; it’s early spring- even though it doesn’t feel like it outside.  Klaus is most concerned about the tasty mint out in the garden.  Will the cold damage the mint?  Let’s ask the mint!

Klaus:  “Will you get frost burned?”

Mint:  “Yes”

Klaus: “What would you like to do about this?”

Mint: “Pick me and add me to a cocktail with this marvelous ginger ale I just found.”

So there it is.  Klaus is determined to have a drink with the mint BEFORE it gets frost bitten.  And how will he do that?  By picking the mint just as it comes up out of the ground……

Klaus is getting ready for a lovely season of “gar-tending.”  You know, making drinks from the garden.  Mint is one of the first things to come up out of the ground and one of the last things that remain after the other herbs and vegetables have gone for the season.  Freshly picked mint is aromatic and enticing.  The oils from the mint stick to Klaus’s little ceramic fingers and some of the bits of mint get stuck in his ceramic beard.  There is not nearly enough mint for a batch of mint jelly, but more than enough for a few cocktails.

Klaus is extra thirsty this morning for something more than his usual cup of coffee.  He received a few bottles of the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale in the mail yesterday.  This is not your usual ginger ale made with corn syrup (Ew!)or other artificial ingredients.  Bruce Cost makes his aromatic, ginger ale with real flavor!  What makes the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale so amazing is the unfiltered nature of this product.  There is stuff floating all around the inside of the bottle! With handcrafted flavors such as their aromatic Original Ginger, Jasmine Tea, Pomegranate with Hibiscus (my favorite) and Passion Fruit with Yellow Ginger (Turmeric).

Klaus has found the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale as a worthy recipient to his cocktailian exploits!  And with a small producer, Vermont sourced, handmade gin made with raw honey?  It’s practically otherworldly!

Sitting in front of Klaus (and me) is a bottle of the extremely small producer and exotic, Barr Hill Gin from Vermont. It is distilled with raw honey.

Why is this important?  Because of the healing nature and energy of honey!  The flavor profile is sweet, toasty grains in the background, juniper in the foreground and honey swirling all around, binding the front to the middle to the back of your mouth.  For anyone who says they enjoy honey- they probably have never had real honey.  Raw honey is never boiled and it is never cut with water to dilute the powerful healing elements of this truly artisan product.  Raw honey is rich in antioxidants too!

Barr Hill Gin (or their salubrious Vodka), might as well be made with care by gnomes!   Klaus?  Did you make the Barr Hill?  Klaus?

Oh, he’s wondered off again.  Probably looking for a party or a cocktail.  Or a little bit of both.

 

 

 

 

Klaus’s 60’s Dream Parade Cocktail

 

 

Ingredients:

2 oz. Barr Hill Gin (Distilled from Raw Honey in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont)

.25 Darjeeling Dark Tea (as a wash) in each glass

6 oz. Bruce Cost Unfiltered Fresh Ginger- Ginger Ale – Pomegranate with Hibiscus Soda

4 drops Bitter End Moroccan bitters

Orange Zest

Fresh mint (Klaus uses Kentucky Colonel variety)

 

 

Preparation:

Wash the tea around the inside of your glass

Rub the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with the orange zest

Rub with the fresh mint

Add one large cube of ice- preferably filtered through a Mavea “Inspired Water” filter. (The final resulting ice turns out nearly crystal clear! It makes a great presentation in your glass)

Add the Barr Hill Gin right over the top of the large cube

I use a silicone 2 x 2 tray for my ice cubes

Top with a measure of the Bruce Cost Ginger/Pomegranate-Hibiscus (ginger ale) soda

Garnish with about four drops of the Bitter End Moroccan bitters and a twirl of orange.

Klaus would want you to have a couple and should you want to be really bad, he’ll join you for another before it’s time to break out the Fernet Branca.

  Cheers!

Tequila!!!!

TEQUILA!!!!!

February 20, 2013

Do you want to know what I’m excited about?  Well it’s pretty simple.  Tequila.  It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed the flavor of the earth as exemplified by the Terroir captured by Tequila.  Oh I suppose this is my own fault.  The good stuff is mostly unavailable in the part of New Jersey where I live.  Sure there are all the national brands available.  Plus some pseudo-artisan varieties in fancy hand-blown bottles.  No, what I’m looking for it the real thing.

I want to taste the earth and the agave root.  And I want some now!!!!

Recently I was introduced to a unique and carefully crafted brand of Tequila named Rudo after the dastardly cunning, Lucha Libre wrestler from Mexico.

 

Tasting Notes:

There is almost a balletic quality to the flavor of the Reposado sitting in front of me right now.  I just took a swish into my mouth of the Rudo Reposado.   Pin point drops of Mexican honey swirl around my mouth leaving sweet little explosions of vanilla cream pastilles dipped in fire.  The finish goes on and on, finally ending in a blazing sunset across your throat and down to your stomach.  Rudo is deeply warming and there is magic in every sip.  The specific Terroir of the region is very apparent in each sip.  There is a dreamy, creamy quality of this spirit.  The world becomes soft and the sounds of the day become far away.  Be careful with Rudo.  He may be a bad guy if you drink too much of his name-sake Tequila.  But until you get there- the point of no return so to speak, I recommend this little cocktail that was influenced heavily by my friend Chris Milligan out in Santa Fe, barkeep at Secreto.

He created the Smoked Sage Margarita.  I pay homage to his brilliant drink by adding USDA Certified Organic Sage from Art in the Age.

The Liquor named Sage on the herb by the same name- Sage?  Of course?

But what about the ice?   I’ve long held that Mavea, the German water filtration pitcher is the very best for making the frozen matter that we call ice.  I take this highly filtered and purified water and add it to silicone ice cube trays, THEN I zest with a microplane zester two lemons and limes over the top.  Freeze as normal.

Finally I added the Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters, rife with spices, chocolate and dreams of the coyotes running amok in the desert.

Thank you Bill and Laurel for making sure I was safe behind the walls and not out in the desert when the coyotes came running and screaming throughout the night.  It was an experience I’ll never forget.

I call this drink the Ghost Ranch Shot in honor of the famous Ghost Ranch where Georgia O’Keefe spent much time.  She was a wild woman who would have appreciated this power and fragrance of the desert in every sip.

  Makes two very mysteriously thirst quenching cocktails. 

Ingredients:

3 oz. Rudo Reposado Tequila

6 Drops of the brilliantly potent- Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters

1 oz. Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Lavender and Lemon

2 oz. SAGE (USDA Certified Organic Sage Liquor- 80 Proof!)

1 Sage Leaf (and a match)

.50 Fresh Lemon Juice

.50 Grilled Lime Juice (Char some lime wedges in a cast iron pan until blackened, then juice)

Preparation:

Turn your Boston Shaker upside down resting on two other shakers (Thanks Chris for enlightening me!)

Take the piece of Sage in your fingers and light it on fire under the Boston Shaker

Fill the Shaker with the smoke of the burning Sage leaf

Crumble the charred Sage leaf directly into the Boston Shaker, still filled with smoke

Add the Tequila

Add the Sage Liquor

Add the Lemon juice

Add the Grilled Lime juice

Add the Royal Rose Syrup

Add 6 drops of the Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters

Fill the Boston Shaker 3/4 with ice, cover and shake for 10-15 seconds

Serve in a rocks glass with a salt rim and one HUGE hand cut- infused Mavea Lemon/Lime zest ice cubes

Garnish with a chunk of lime

What’s Klaus doing in the picture?  Trying to capture his moment of fame?  Nah, he’s just thirsty.  

 

Click here for enlightenment.  only in the movies!

 

From the Rudo and Tecnico Website:

Rudo is one of the main heroes of Lucha Libre – combative art form with elements of melodrama, high-flying athletics, comedy, suspense, and intrigue. Appearing in red mask, Rudo is a wrestler who does not respect the rules of Lucha libre or his fellow wrestler. He is considered the “bad” guy or a “heel” and is willing to win by any means necessary even if it means cheating or brown-nosing the referee. Rudo’s wrestling is not as refined as Tecnico’s. Unlike the spectacular aerial maneuvers and complicated techniques, which técnicos are known for, Rudo makes greater use of brute force – hitting, lifting and dropping an opponent. While Rudo’s moves are rougher and less elaborate, he is not to be taken lightly. It is always fun to watch Rudo using his shear strength and trickery to get the better of his opponent.

 

The Inspiration

Rudo can surprise you with his tactics, so never turn you back on Rudo. Rudo will use all means necessary to be victorious, and he will sneak up on you while you are not watching. Rudo is more down to earth than Tecnico and will always give a good show. Boisterous and funny, they engage the crowds of spectators and set up the mood for the game. Rudo will not follow the rules in wrestling, and his adversaries had better not slip up, as they might be surprised.

Although rudos often resort to using underhanded tactics, they are still expected to live up to a Luchador code of honor. For instance, a Luchador who has lost a wager match would prefer to endure the humiliation of being unmasked or having his head shaved rather than live with the shame that would come from not honoring his bet. Rudos have also been known to make the transition into técnicos after a career defining moment, as was the case with Blue Demon, who decided to become a técnico after his wrestling partner, Black Shadow, was unmasked by the legendary Santo.

Tequila Rudo

Rudo is 100% blue agave tequila produced by artisanal methods in Jaliscos Highlands. Carefully elaborated at the family-run distillery, Rudo offers a perfect combination of spectacular presentation and superior taste. To pay homage to Rudo’s character, our tequila boasts bold and unexpected flavors, a real tribute to blue agave spirit. Reposado and Anejo are aged to perfection in bourbon white oak barrels to achieve smooth and luxurious texture and long finish. Selected “Most Likely to Succeed in 2012” by the Tasting Panel Magazine.

 

Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey.

He is under contract and has just completed his first book named Apothecary Cocktails for Quayside/Rockport Books in Massachusetts.

He was one of 12 journalists world-wide, and the only one from the USA to participate in the Fête de la Gastronomie– the weekend of September 22nd. 2012 in Burgundy.

He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2011/2012. Plus the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and the Boston Cocktail Summit.

Warren presented and demo’d freestyle mixology at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon. (2012)

Warren judged the Iron Mixology competition at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (2012)

Warren has published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews to travel articles.

You may also find him on the web at: http://www.cocktailwhisperer.com

Warren is a published food writer and former cook.

He’s written food and cocktail articles and news for Edible Jersey, Chutzpah Magazine, Voda Magazine, Tasting Table, Serious Eats and Total Food Service Magazine.

Warren attended the Kentucky Derby and the Oaks Day Races this year while on assignment for Voda Magazine.

He writes for the “Fabulous Beekman 1802 Boys” as their cocktail writer.  (The Soused Gnome)

He also writes for The Daily Basics, Leaf Magazine and Modenus.

He writes for Williams-Sonoma on their Blender Blog.

He is a Ministry of Rum judge.

Warren began his climb to becoming a cook as a pot scrubber at the York Harbor Inn in York Harbor, Maine in 1985.

He cooked at Alberta’s in Portland, Maine during mid-80’s.

Warren is the former owner and co- founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in Charleston, SC while cooking at the Primerose House and Tavern. (Also in Charleston)

He spent Hurricane Hugo (1989) in his former home in Charleston… Ouch!

Warren was # 30 in Saveur Magazine’s 100 for his writing about the humble Tuna Melt.

 

Headshot photograph taken at the Ministry of Rum in San Francisco- August 2010

Cabotella Ale

Cabotella: A Fabulous Craft-Style Beer from Cabo

March 31, 2013

I’ve fallen for a new craft beer.  Lock, stock and barrel is the term most commonly used.

 

I cannot explain my passion for this beer other than to say it’s a huge surprise.

The first surprise was receiving a case of hand-crafted beer from Mexico.  Handsomely packaged in a brown bottle with a screw-off cap, this beer is simply named Cabotella.

The gold colored label features a donkey with a pole carrying a tassel in front of him.  He appears to be harnessed as if to turn a wheel to grind grain.  The name Cabotella is printed in bold letters vertically.  It’s a well designed package that says very little other then Mexico Ale and the name.

I did notice that the label does tell the abv., which is 5.5% So this beer has real guts.

Intriguing.

I have long held that beer is my favorite culinary ingredient.  After years of traveling in Europe as a boy while tasting the myriad of flavors at my disposal (beer, wine or spirits were never denied to me as a lad) I always like beer the best with food.  Yes, perhaps even more than wine.  It’s probably because of the plethora of flavors and the relaxed nature of the beverage.  Wine is so very serious!  Beer is flirtatious and fun!

Pizza goes well with beer.  Everyone knows this.  While in Naples as a boy I discovered the charms of Italian lager beers with pizza.  As my tastes and my physical being grew older I discovered different styles of beer went with different foods- just like wine!  This might seem like simple stuff, but to a young guy without the benefit of the internet (it was the 70’s) discovery is done one sip at a time.  Not reading about it from your smartphone.

But I digress- Beer is my favorite beverage with pizza.  The rounded pizza in this case was built by my friend Steve Hoeffner in Morristown, NJ.  Steve and his brother Marty own Hoeffner’s Meats.

Steve makes a pizza on a pita bread that is so simple yet texturally quite complex.  He takes pita and covers it with a layer of his sausage and tomato sauce gravy.  Then he slivers hot chili peppers and scatters a tangle of cheeses over the top of the sausage/tomato base.  You would put this “round slice” into a toaster oven until the cheese is toasty and melted about 8-10 minutes.  The pork sausage and tomato mixture becomes crunchy and savory- the cheese toasty and the pita crunchy during each bite.  This is a unique form of pizza.

Cabotella is a unique kind of beer.  Soft against the palate, German styled malts dominate the mouth-feel and a nice lingering sour/sweet finish make each bite of pizza and swig of beer a delight.

I also enjoyed Cabotella with a tuna fish sandwich on rye bread with bacon, tomato and mayo.  Here this beer really became quite assertive in the flavor profile.  I bet it would be fabulous with a fish taco. Whatever the case I think one of the best examples of this beer is in a beer cocktail.

 

Commodore Perry Fizz will charm the palates of you and one friend.

Ingredients:

2 Bottles Cabotella Mexican Ale

6 oz. Avua Cachaça  (Soon to be released, stay tuned!!)

.50 oz. Tenneyson Absinthe

6 oz. freshly squeezed Blood Orange Juice (or regular orange juice- ESSENTIAL, the juice MUST be freshly squeezed)

Mavea “Inspired Water” Ice handcut in large chunks (essential)

Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters

Preparation:

Pour the Cabotella Ale into a large glass bowl

Add a few chunks of hand cut ice

Add the liquors

Add the Blood Orange – or regular orange juice

Add 5 drops of the Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters

Serve in Old Fashioned Glasses with further chunks of Mavea filtered water ice

 

Can Buffalo Trace Put Pappy on the Shelf?|

Can Buffalo Trace Put Pappy on the Shelf?| On Whiskey

WARREN BOBROW (this article was originally published on April 2, 2012)

On Whiskey is a monthly column on whiskey and whiskey drinks by Warren Bobrow.

On Whiskey is a monthly column on whiskey and whiskey drinks by Warren Bobrow.

Johnny Dodds is on the short wave radio, crooning to me from another world.

“After you’ve gone, after you’ve gone away.”

What better series of words are calling out for a restorative sip of Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey…  This venerable bottle has graciously rested over there on the shelf, alongside many other bottles, and it remained under-sipped and under-appreciated until now.

Music from the 1920s makes me want to drink good bourbon whiskey like Buffalo Trace.  Maybe it’s because Johnny Dodds left New Orleans in 1920 – never to return; yet his music is firmly grounded in the essence of New Orleans.  This passion for the whiskey seems to ooze out of my pores even more intensely when I listen to music from this man. Enjoying a bottle of Bourbon in New Jersey is, to me, at least akin to Johnny leaving New Orleans.  Once this bottle left Kentucky, it would never return.

Buffalo Trace is not a mass-produced liquor. Nor is it overpriced for a spirit being produced in such small batches.

Most importantly a bottle of Buffalo Trace shouldn’t set you off by more than $25 a bottle or so.   That makes it a good deal in a market clogged with expensive expressions of Kentucky bourbon.

Whiskey this well made usually costs double or even triple the price.

There are flavors in the Buffalo Trace that harken to Pappy. And that would be correct, because the same distillery makes Pappy.

Which Pappy are you speaking of?  That Pappy is Pappy Van Winkle!

Of course the recipe is different. That’s what makes Buffalo Trace so unique!

Buffalo Trace is made from Corn, Rye and Barley.  In order for them to call it bourbon, the product must be 51% corn.  There is certain spiciness to each sip from the rye and a creamy quality from the cask.

I like it a lot.

So, I’ve been up to my ears in Pappy. I brought a bottle of the 15-year Pappy down to Charleston for the Wine and Food Festival.  It was much less expensive to drink my own rather than someone else’s Pappy at $30 per GLASS!  Why drink anything else?  If you have it, drink it.  That was until I opened this bottle of Buffalo Trace.  I cannot believe that this expression has rested so long without even being sipped.

The aroma of dark maple syrup permeates the room almost immediately upon opening the cork-finished bottle.  I have a wood stove fire going and the wind is howling outside in more of a shriek than a mere whisper- but this shouldn’t make the situation any less conducive to enjoying a few nips of this lovely hand-crafted bourbon whiskey.  Given the fact that it is suddenly frosty as winter outside, what better reason than to breathe in the sweet aroma deeply?  It is woven into the smell of the earth, the fire and the wind all at once. This is good stuff!

Pappy, go back up onto the shelf. I think I’m going to enjoy this glass of Buffalo Trace!

Packaging Notes:

Nice hand-torn-looking label and natural cork finish!  Very nice touch.

 

Photo by Warren Bobrow

 

Tasting Notes:

The memorable aromatics of freshly tapped maple syrup fills the room almost immediately along with notes of sweet toasted corn and charred cinnamon toast slathered in freshly whipped butter.  There is the warm underpinning of scraped nutmeg along with a deeper backbone of sweet molasses.  I love the scent of this elixer and I jam my nose deeply into the glass, breathing the toasty flavors aggressively into my nostrils.

On the tongue, flavors of Asian spices predominate with vanilla and caramelized peaches.

The sharpness of the alcohol is in the background of the almost juicy mouth-feel.  This would be the perfectly marvelous mixing bourbon.  There is so much going on in my mouth, across my tongue and down my throat.  It’s quite remarkable to taste.  There is a certain density to this bourbon.  It is not thin or cloying in any way.  The sugars reveal themselves slowly and the finish just goes on and on.  There is a certain dusty quality to the finish as well as unmistakable flavor of the earth.  The unique terroir of this whiskey differentiates it from all other liquids on earth.  This terroir is unique to the place.

Weighing in at 45 % ABV, Buffalo Trace has all the stuffing to lead in a mixed drink, not play follower.

Think about Sazerac cocktails, Manhattans, and of course my favorite, a Bourbon Hot Toddy.  All are perfectly suited to Buffalo Trace’s full-bodied approach and long finish.

I’m going to err on the side of craftsmanship.  This bourbon needs creativity- but it also needs simplicity.

This afternoon I’m sprinkling a bit of branch water over the top of a little hand-blown Murano glass from Venice to release the secrets held deeply within.

This is truly delicious stuff.  Now go grab yourself a bottle and share it with your friends!  You don’t even have to tell them how much you (didn’t) spend.

Cooler Weather=Four Roses+Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer (for Foodista)

Cooler Weather=Four Roses+Cock n’Bull Ginger Beer

October 8, 2012

Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer is one of those flavors that just won’t leave my mind.  There are many ginger beers on the market today. Some of them good, some great and some truly amazing.  I’ve found that the Cock ‘n Bull is a spicier ginger beer than most and it has a core of real ginger root.

There has been a resurgence for classic cocktails made with ginger beer, a nostalgic experience.  Perhaps this is because drinkers enjoy the more robust flavors of ginger beer in combination with diverse liquors.  I like mine not only with Rum in the classic ‘Dark ‘n Stormy’ but also the smoky and spicy notes of Bourbon Whiskey mixed with ginger beer.

The Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer has a venerable history that dates back long before many of the current day products were even thought of.

Jack Morgan was the owner of the restaurant in Los Angeles in the 1940’s by the name of the Cock ‘n Bull.  He was the inventor of the historic drink named the Moscow Mule- which is no more than vodka and his namesake extra spicy, ginger beer.

Fast forward to current day.  The Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer is now available in multiple markets around the country.  Cocktailians from all over are discovering the extreme ease when mixing Cockt ‘n Bull with liquors as diverse as dark Rum, Scotch, Cognac, Irish Whiskey, and of course Bourbon!

I love Bourbon Whiskey mixed with Ginger Beer.  Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon is one of my favorite go/to’s for Bourbon that is heading for the cocktail shaker.   The first thing I taste when sipping Four Roses straight is the sweet vanilla enrobed in cayenne pepper, tempered by lightly smoked peaches.  There is definitely stone fruit in every sip of the Small Batch version.

Mixed with the Cock n’ Bull Ginger Beer, the Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon adds dimension and character to every cocktail.  I prefer my Roses and Ginger in a tall glass.  And in keeping with my cocktailian persuits, I like to twist it up a bit.  Keep it fresh and different.

Bitter End Bitters makes one such cocktail augmentation that I feel would just rock in this Bourbon/Ginger Beer cocktail.  It is called the Mexican Mole Bitters.  Laced with hot chilies, bittersweet chocolate and Southwestern herbs, each scant drop adds a hidden element that will fully reveal itself when combined with the other ingredients in the cocktail.

And in keeping with my cocktailian intellect, I’ve frozen these Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters into ice cubes made with water from my Mavea “Inspired Water” Pitcher.  The water is inspired because of a proprietary formula to strip out the harmful elements of ordinary tap water and turn it (inspire) into a crisp, luscious glass of water.

The same holds true for ice.  Ice made with water from my Mavea freezes almost crystal clear!

I’ve been adding different cocktail bitters into my ice.  When the ice melts, the cocktail bitters become melded into the cocktail, augmenting the flavor and deepening it during the melting process.

While some cocktail chefs are experimenting with liquid nitrogen, I’m using a much less expensive method of freezing.  Ice is my method, frozen for a couple of hours in the freezer.

Laced with the Bitter End Bitters- the drink becomes something otherworldly.

And that’s why I make cocktails.  To deepen my customer’s sense of taste.  Each taste is a living laboratory in each sip.

Four Roses Small Batch and Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer

(Tall Drink)

Make ice using Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters (4 drops per cube) with water from a Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher.

Freeze overnight or until absolutely firm

Add three “inspired water” ice cubes to a tall glass

Add 2 Oz. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Add Cock ‘n Bull Ginger Beer to top

Add a bit of fresh lime juice and a hunk of lime

Scrape some fresh nutmeg over the top (essential!)

Serve to an appreciative customer!

Danger level 3 out of 5..

If you want a stronger drink, then just add more Bourbon!

 

About me:

Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey.

He is one of 12 journalists world-wide, and the only one from the USA to participate in the Fête de la Gastronomie– the weekend of September 22nd. 2012 in Burgundy.

He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2011/2012.

Warren presented freestyle mixology at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon. (2012)

Warren judged the Iron Mixology competition at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (2012)

Warren has published over four hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews to travel articles- globally.

You may also find him on the web at: http://www.cocktailwhisperer.com

Are you a Carnivore? I am.

October 9, 2012
I’ll admit it.  I’m a carnivore.  There is nothing I like more than tucking into a slab of dry-aged PRIME Beef.  My favorite way of cooking dry aged beef is very simple. Let the steak come to room temperature to relax the muscle.  Rub the steak with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.Grill over hard-wood charcoal, preferably homemade.  Homemade charcoal you say?  Yes.  I make my own from wood that I age and cut by hand.  It’s easy.  If you don’t have access to a few dozen fallen trees you can always buy a bag of “natural” charcoal at your local Whole Foods market.

It’s very important, in fact essential NEVER to buy that charcoal that has lighter fluid cooked into it.  Why?  Because no matter how long you burn the infused charcoal, it will always taste like gasoline.

When I’m paying top dollar from my local German butcher (Hoeffner’s in Morristown, NJ) I want to make sure that my dry-aged beef tastes like beef!

Not like lighter fluid.

Starting a charcoal grill is simple.  I’ve never owned a gas grill and wouldn’t know what to do with one if I did.

A fine choice is the medium sized Weber Kettle Grill.

I can control the heat for cooking by burning the coals on one side of the grill and using the natural convection from the curved lid to “circular” cook whatever I desire.  The heat works wonders and infuses your food is a bath of luscious wood smoke.

You can even add grapevines, cherry or apple wood to the fire to add flavor.

Plus the natural flavor of hard-wood charcoal is far more pleasurable in my opinion than the flavor of gas.  Just my opinion after years of cooking over wood.

Bourbon Distilleries often sell the charcoal that lines the insides of their barrels.  I recently received a bag of Rye Whiskey infused charcoal from a distillery in Pennsylvania named Dad’s Hat.  I placed the Rye Whiskey charcoal just off the heat so that the aromatics of the Whiskey combined with the burning wood, throwing off a Rye laced smoke.  On a rack of beef ribs, the aromatics were most beguiling.  You can duplicate this at home.  There are no secrets here!  Ok, maybe one secret.  When the charred meat comes off the grill, let it rest on a wooden cutting board for about three to five minutes.  Why?  If you cut into it hot off the grill, all the succulent juices will drain out, leaving you with a tough piece of meat.

This is my secret and one that I’m sure Chef Symon will concur with as well.

Imagine my delight when I learned that Michael Symon, the 2009 James Beard Award winning chef was coming to the Short Hills Williams-Sonoma store!

Finally, someone who gets it when teaching the careful preparation of meat!

Yes, he is a carnivore– like myself.  I’m sure we’ll have much in common.  As a former grill-dog in the restaurant business, I can talk charred meat all day long!

Michael Symon, the author of the upcoming book named Carnivore is coming to sign his newest cookbook in our local Williams-Sonoma store.

Anyone who exemplifies the art of cooking meat will be charmed by his eloquent style and abundant passion.

Although Michael will not be doing a cooking demo during this book signing, he will fill the room with his infectious wit.

From what I hear, he disarms even his toughest critics!

I cannot wait to meet him in person and you will too.

 

See you in Short Hills!

Here’s the event information:

Williams-Sonoma Short Hills (Upper Level)

Mall At Short Hills
Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 5:00pm
1200 Morris Turnpike, Short Hills, NJ, 07078
(973) 467-3641

Here’s more information about Michael:
Co-host on The Chew, an Iron Chef and host of Cooking Channel’s Symon Suppers, chef Michael Symon wows even the toughest food critics, while making audiences smile with his contagious laugh.

Carnivore, Symon’s second cookbook, will be out this October and feature recipes crafted for meat-lovers.

http://bit.ly/SO4sdO

I’m hoping if you are in the New York/New Jersey- Metro area, you’ll come out for this introduction to a true Star Chef, Michael Symon.

Here is a simple cocktail that I invented to go with grilled beef.

 

The Brick Pollitt Cocktail  Makes one really tangy/spicy cocktail perfect for aged PRIME Beef

Ingredients:

Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey

Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Three Chilies

Bitter End Memphis Barbecue Bitters

Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

Ice made from your Mavea “Inspired Water” Pitcher infused with the Bitter End Memphis BBQ Bitters

Preparation:

One day prior to making your cocktails, freeze a tray of ice using your Mavea Pitcher “Inspired Water” and drop four drops of the Bitter End Memphis BBQ Bitters into each opening of the ice cube tray, freeze overnight

To a Boston Shaker (cocktail shaker) add some regular ice

Add 2 oz. Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey (or your choice of Rye)

Add 2 Tablespoons Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Three Chilies

Stir well to chill, do not shake this cocktail!

Add a couple of the Bitter End Bitters infused Mavea Water- ice cubes to a short rocks glass

Pour the Rye and Royal Rose Simple Syrup mixture over the top of your infused ice and then add a splash of the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water for a bit of fizz

Sip to a perfectly cooked steak and your hungry demeanor!

 

Best Chef: Great Lakes, presented by James Beard Foundation 2009  Winner: Michael Symon

James Beard Foundation

About me:

Warren Bobrow is the Food and Drink Editor of the 501c3 non profit Wild Table on Wild River Review located in Princeton, New Jersey.

He is one of 12 journalists world-wide, and the only one from the USA to participate in the Fête de la Gastronomie– the weekend of September 22nd. 2012 in Paris and Burgundy.

He attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, the Boston Cocktail Summit and the Manhattan Cocktail Classic.

Warren presented freestyle mixology at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon. (2012)

Warren judged the Iron Mixology competition at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival (2012)

Warren has published over four hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews to travel articles- globally.

You may also find him on the web at: http://www.cocktailwhisperer.com

 

What does Blat Mean in Catalonian By: Warren Bobrow (cocktail whisperer)

 

Blat means wheat in Catalonian.  But to me, Blat means flavor.   It also means damned good wheat Vodka.

But what makes this Vodka better than the others on the market?

I’m not sure- but through a proprietary method of distillation, Blat Vodka reads, right on the label and certified by the US Government that it is pure. Chemically speaking there are zero impurities in this Vodka.  No impurities according to the owners of the company, equals no hangovers.

That seems to be a pretty broad ranging statement, but independent US Government Laboratories have certified on every bottle that.. well, here it is directly from the label:

We Guarantee, as a result of proprietary process, that this bottle was filled from has produced Vodka with Non-Detected Impurities.  The analysis has been carried out by the most accurate USA independent laboratory certified by the TTB.  The results have shown that typical traces of 1-Butanol, Active Amyl Alcohol, Isoamyl Alcohol, Isobutanol, Methanol, N-Propanol, or Acetaldehyde, EB Ethyl Acetate, were all non-detected.

So what are they saying?   “Achieving extraordinary purity without sacrificing the best traditional taste through a completely unique proprietary process.  Reaches where others cannot reach.”

But what does this Vodka taste like?

A dream.

A dream?  Yes.  A dream of aromatics.  I detect rosemary, citrus and white flowers.  This Vodka is pure and clean and it mixes with citrus in a most friendly manner.

This is a most friendly Vodka.

Just like the owners of the company.  They are as approachable as your own family.

There is something about this Vodka that allows it to marry well with citrus fruits. But not your typical Vodka and Orange juice type drinks.  I’m speaking of grilled citrus, like blood oranges, muddled with freshly snipped garden herbs like rosemary and fresh mint.

A whiff of the sea is in every sip.

They use a special type of water for the blending their Vodka.  Let’s just say that the recipe is a closely guarded secret.  I’d like to “spill the secret” but alas, even the wife of one of the owners does not know the formulary.

They say you won’t get a hangover by drinking Blat.  I’m not sure I’d like to test this theory, but it makes sense.

Take out the impurities and take away the chances of one of those behind the eyes is pure pain hangovers.

I’ve traveled to the region of Spain that this Vodka is named for.  Catalonia.  The region is rich with a very specific terroir.  Wheat is grown here and Blat Vodka is (in my opinion) the closest thing Vodka comes to Pappy Van Winkle.  If they create their cache’, it should be for the purity of the flavors in each sip.

This is Vodka that doesn’t stand in the way of getting your work done.  (my quote!)

So, I played around with my bottle of Blat this afternoon.  But as simplicity is my guide, I took the path less followed.  Bitters became my GPS in this experiment.

I call this little cocktail the Black Hat.  Named for a circa 1800’s top hat I own.  The last time I wore this top hat (many years ago) I became particularly wrecked on your basic Vodka on the Rocks.  Now, many years later, I still own this venerable top hat, but alas, it is too small for my head.

I think it makes a great prop though.  And the inspiration for this cocktail is the remembrance of the last time that I drank Vodka on ice. I’m quite sure that Vodka was not as pure as Blat.

The Black Hat Cocktail (Serves one or two, depending on how wrecked you want to be, but remember, no hangover!)

Ingredients for the Black Hat Cocktail:

Blat Vodka from Spain

Bitters, Old Men- Isaan Another Level Bitters (Comprised of Burdock, Lemongrass, Ginger, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Yuzu Peel, Birds eye chili, Fish Sauce and Sweet Soy)

Ice

Preparation:

Into a short cocktail glass add one or two large cubes of ice.  I used a large silicone cube form from Williams-Sonoma

Add 2 Shots of Blat Vodka (Wheated, just like Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon!)

Add exactly five drops of the Bitters, Old Men Bitters

Stir with a long piece of lemongrass, but crush the end first with the flat side of a chef’s knife to release the aromatics

I also created another cocktail based on strong Mexican Coffee with the unmistakable aromatics of Mexican Chocolate and smoke from one of the unmistakable Del Maguay Mezcals.

This salubrious drink- I named the Oaxaca Express.  It uses a couple of hits of the Mexican Mole’ Bitters from The Bitter End

This cocktail is also simplicity in motion.  Use the same proportions as the Black Hat, but substitute the Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters for the Bitters, Old Men Bitters

Instead of five drops of bitters, use only three drops of the Mexican Mole’ Bitters.

Add 1/2 shot of strong coffee to the vodka and then the Bitter End Bitters and a good splash of Agave Syrup for a sweeter finish

Add a large cube of ice

Finally, add 1/2 shot of Petuga from Del Maguey

Add the Mezcal directly over the top

Serve immediately to your friend and then make another for yourself to show your good manners!

Thank you Fabiola for being so kind to me.

 

What is it about Rum and Bitters? By: Warren Bobrow (Cocktail Whisperer)

What is it about Rum and Bitters?

May 1, 2012

I’m quite fond of white rum.  It’s got the stuffing to stand up to mixers and to cocktail bitters.  A couple weeks ago I received a sample bottle from the R. St. Barth’ Rhum company.  I told them I’d like to try their product and if I liked it, I would write something about it.  The same holds true for all the spirits I receive as samples.  If I like it, we can see the results, if not, well, I’ll leave that to you.

Sitting in front of me is a medium glass.  I’ve added a couple of coconut water ice cubes and some drops of a couple of bitters- most divergent in styles.  The Bitters, Old Men, Macadamia Bitters and the Bitter End Thai Bitters to be exact.  And yes, I received them as samples as well.

But as simplicity is my guide, I wanted to taste this Rhum before I did any cocktail augmentation.  That means, taste the Rhum, right into my glass.  Then- experiment a bit.

The St. Barth Rhum is stylistically more akin to the Rhum Agricole of the island of Martinique.  Now there are some that will disagree with me- and that’s fine.

This is a gorgeous Rhum Agricole.  Smacking of fresh sugar cane and white flowers, the slight salty bitterness guides me to adding some augmentation.

Truly nothing is needed but time in the glass and fresh citrus fruit.  Maybe a splash of Cane Sugar Syrup?

No, it doesn’t taste like Martinique, what it tastes like is Guadeloupe Rum.. That is what it is!  Sure it says St. Barths’s on the label, and that’s where the company is from.

I think real estate is too valuable on St. Barth’s for growing cane.  Having spent a few weeks on St. Barth’s, it’s a magnificent place, brimming with French tourists in various stages of undress.

A harbor filled with mega-yachts, moored stern in, the European way.  It’s a veritable Rhum fueled holiday!

The town of Gustavia is filled with the wealthy and the super-wealthy.  You come here to soak up the sun and dream away the afternoons!

St. Barth’s has long been a clearing port for fine Rhum from the surrounding islands.  You can get anything there virtually tax-free as long as it says RUM on the label.

I learned about the truly high end Rhums of Martinique while enjoying a “Cheeseburger” in paradise and washing it down with a Rhum Punch.  Each restaurant on St. Barth’s makes their own version of the Rhum Punch.  Usually it is Rhum Agricole, with infused herbs, fruits, spices and syrups.

The St. Barth’s Rhum Agricole would make the perfect base as a Rhum Punch.  But I digress.

Today’s cocktail is ever so simple and delicious!

The Grilled Rhum Slingback

Ingredients:

Rhum St. Barth

Grilled orange rounds (about 3 per drink)

Fresh Lime cut into 8th’s

Coconut Water Ice

Bitter End Thai Bitters

Bitters, Old Men Macadamia Bitters

Freshly picked Kentucky Colonel Mint

Seltzer

Preparation:

Freeze Coconut water into ice cube trays

Chill short cocktail glasses with regular ice and water- let sit then pour out when glasses are very cold

Muddle the grilled orange rounds with the mint and the limes in a cocktail shaker

Add 2 Shots per person of the Rhum St. Barth to a cocktail shaker with the grilled orange/lime/mint muddle

Add the bitters, three drops of the Bitter End Thai, then 5 drops of the Bitters, Old Men-Macadamia Bitters

Stir to chill and combine well

Pour out water and ice from your short cocktail glasses

Add a couple of coconut water ice cubes

Strain the Rhum Agricole St. Barth’s mixture over the coconut water ice cubes

Garnish with an un-grilled orange slice and splash with seltzer to finish

So what is it about Rhum and Bitters.  Are they a marriage of like-minds?  I think so.  Depending on the variety and scope of your bitters of course.

I want you to experiment with flavor! That’s what brings you deeper into your cocktails.

 

Close your eyes and dream of Eden Rock.

On Whisk(e)y: Tasting Tullibardine Aged Oak Edition + Balblair 1991 from OKRA Magazine

WARREN BOBROW grew up on a biodynamic farm in Morristown, New Jersey. He is a reluctant cocktail/wine writer and a former trained chef/saucier.

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There was a time in recent memory that I would walk into a liquor store and look wistfully at the selections of rum, vodka, gin and bourbon.  I would walk right past the Scotch whisky as if it were something from another lifetime.  My memories of Scotch whisky come at a high price for me.  Unfortunately, when I attended private school, Scotch was just about the only thing that we drank.  I remember a particularly blurry evening when an overly enthusiastic parent of a party-thrower was meting out veritable coffee mugs filled to over-flowing with the fruits of his investments.  This gentleman who is now gone, invested heavily in Scotch whisky casks.  At the end of the 30-year period there was the option to either sell the casks at a huge profit, or drink them.  He preferred the latter and shared them willingly.

In college I didn’t enjoy Scotch.  My college roommate often had in lean times a bottle of Johnny Walker Red, and in flush times, a bottle of the Black.  I suppose that I just didn’t get it about Scotch.  Single malt included.  The flavors were lost on me.  I made no effort to enjoy it again until less than a year ago.

Since my passion is rum and, of course, bourbon writing- I thought why not branch out a bit.  Find some way to learn about Scotch by asking for and receiving gorgeous samples from the distilleries.  And so I did.  And my bar grew and grew with exotic offerings from distilleries around the globe.

Sitting in front of me right now are two such bottles.  They were given as samples, thank you very much.

As I have said previously, if I do not like a spirit, I will not write about it.  These expressions caught my mind’s eye, my sense of taste and in turn opened my palate.

The Tullibardine Aged Oak Edition says right on the label, “Best Procurable”.  That statement of quality did not taint my first impression of this spirit.  I should have imagined a statement about the casks before reading the ad copy.  The small words fine, rare, smooth & mellow are more important to me.  They express exactly what my first taste said.  A sip is creamy and lush all at once.  The mouth-feel is creamed corn baked into a pudding on the finish.  The start is a touch of oak, a bit of cane sugar

(Do they use bourbon casks?)

Midway through swallowing this very small dram I discover the taste of peat, but not too much.   There is a burn, but again, it’s metered and it doesn’t overpower the nose.  The alcohol level is a fine 46% by volume, not too much, yet not 80 proof.  After drinking a few of the raw cask expressions from Blackadder a few months back I’ve looked at anything less than 120 proof as “not too much”.

Turning the back of the bottle, I see that, indeed, they used bourbon casks.  The company uses casks that date back to 2003 and the youngest casks are five years old.  They detect citrus in the mouth, yet I detect caramel corn, grilled peaches, German eiswine and charred hoe-cakes made with charred grain instead of corn.  This is an elegant slurp and I beg that you seek out a bottle.  Tullibardine is not like the Scotch I’ve tried recently- it is much more American in approach. This must be from the bourbon oak.  I think it will appeal to a drinker, like myself who is still learning how to enjoy Scotch whiskey.

Balblair 1991

The Balblair is like a history lesson.  There comes a time when every imbiber seeks out the very best expression of the spirits that they can afford.  The Balblair from 1991 will not disappoint.  I’m gazing, no, peering into a dram of this whisky as if it was a veritable swimming pool of honey.  The aroma fills the room.  Freshly cut citrus, honey, heather, tarragon and bubbling spring water is the first thing I sense.  This is a gorgeous dram of history.  I suspect that each year of this liquid gold is different- as different as the grains taste from fog to fog, year to year.  The earth gives off a fragrance that is immediately recognizable on the first sip.

There is smoke, yes, but it dissipates very quickly upon swallowing.  The alcohol level is a bit less than that of the Tullibardine, but it actually tastes a bit hotter on the finish.  The oak – used bourbon oak – the same.

I’ve gone on record to say that I love rum-aged in Scotch whisky cask so maybe I’m learning to love Scotch whisky aged in bourbon cask?  I think so!

There is freshly made whole grain pancake batter in the nose and a finish of the outdoors, saline, lively and crisp.  I’d say this was a single malt whisky for the spring and summer months.  It’s lightweight and it makes you thirsty for more.  Plus, the relatively low alcohol level will not wreck you completely if you choose to take a glass or two as an aperitif!

I don’t recommend ice in this dram, just sprinkle a bit of branch or spring water over the top.  Sure, you can keep a bottle down in the wine cellar.  I enjoy drinking my Scotch from 45 to 56 degrees.  As it gets warmer, it changes and I like that change.  This is an extremely easy to drink Scotch Whiskey.  The first flavors are of freshly cut citrus fruits, toasty vanilla sugar that’s been muddled with cinnamon sticks- there’s some brown butter in there along with some grade B maple syrup.

My friend Hunter Stagg gave me some simple syrup made from Lemon Thyme the other day.  The mid-notes of the Balblair is pure lemon thyme and simple syrup.  I’m impressed to the range of flavors in each sip.  I must recommend sprinkling some spring water over the top of your dram.  It will release the emotions in every sip.

If you have a sprig of mint, or lemon thyme, slap it against your hand, sniff it deeply and have a sip of your dram.

It’s a lovely way to spend the afternoon.  Sitting and sipping fine whisky.