Beekman 1802- Klaus the Soused Gnome

 

Warren

Gartending: Cranberry Soused

By: IMG_4243

Klaus is a sporting lad.  What I mean by this is that Klaus likes tromping through the cranberry bogs searching for these tart berries to pop into his mouth.  He’s gotten rather adept at skimming along the surface of the cranberry bog, his little flask filled with rye whiskey.  Rye Whiskey you say?  Why rye?  Klaus will explain that of all the whiskies produced in our country, rye dates back to George Washington.  George Washington distilled rye whiskey for his consumption with 60% rye, 35% corn, and 5% malted barley.  This must have been a heady concoction given the predilection for strong intoxicants in the early days of our nation.  Rye is historic, like Thanksgiving!

Rye whiskey reminds Klaus of the Old Country, where he rose out of the soil and joined the legions of drinking gnomes around the world.   His father watered the soil where Klaus popped up with rye whiskey!

Thanksgiving is coming all too soon.  Then the rush to the Christmas holidays begins.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have what Klaus has in his little ceramic flask?  Would you like to know what he concocted using ingredients you have in your kitchen right now????

Do you have cranberry sauce?  What’s that little can doing lurking in your pantry?  Open it up and add 2 tablespoons of it to a cocktail shaker.  How about that bottle of honey over there?  Yes that’s the one.  It’s all crystallized?  Perfect.  Just boil some water and add it to the honey, let it cool and pour it into the shaker.  Did I see some apple cider in the fridge?  Sure I did.  It’s gone a bit fizzy.  That’s exactly what this drink needs.  Don’t have any fizzy cider?  Try a hard cider from the supermarket beer isle.  There are dozens of them available all over the globe. Pour a bit of that into the shaker too.

Of course the most important part, the part that Klaus values over all the other parts is the giggly part.  The part that is intoxicating.  And that is the rye whiskey!  Isn’t it funny that Klaus, a little guy made of terra cotta would know the difference between “just a drink” and a well-balanced cocktail?   I think you will immediately know the very moment this comes together.  As I said, anyone can make it with ingredients that you have right now.   Ok, you may have to buy a bottle of rye whiskey and you certainly have some apple cider in your fridge at this time of the year.  These ingredients alone make a fine drink.  But add some honey syrup and some cranberry sauce and you have a lovely refreshing slurp.

 

Yes, I’ll Come to Cambridge Cocktail serves two handily.  Right Klaus?  Klaus?

 

Ingredients:  (Klaus proven!)

3 oz. Rye Whiskey *sure, you can use bourbon, or even Scotch!

2 oz. Cranberry Sauce (that little can will do)

2 oz. Apple Cider or Hard Apple Cider in a bottle with fizz

1 oz. Honey Simple Syrup- 2:1 ratio honey to boiling hot water, then cool.

Good Ice, meaning double boiled water in a tray, hand cut.. easy to do!

Lime pinwheels

 

Preparation:

Klaus has said over a dozen times, put the ingredients in the shaker, BEFORE adding the ice.  I haven’t paid attention.. Now I should..

Pre-chill with bar ice and water- two Collins Glasses for this drink, then pour out

Add all the ingredients to a Boston Shaker (except the lime garnish)

Add ice to ¾ in the shaker and then cover

Shake hard for 15 seconds

Add a couple cubes of hand cut ice to your pre-chilled Collins glass

Strain the Cambridge Cocktail over the ice

Garnish with the lime pinwheel and a long straw

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.

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.

Canadian Goose in the Window Cocktail

 

 

Royal Rose Syrup sent me a little package under the cover of darkness a couple days ago. This new flavor is strawberry and fennel. Immediately I started to shiver. Strawberries plucked fresh from the field, glistening with the morning dew and fennel grasping at the air and reaching for the sky. They have my attention immediately.

So please from my twisted “Cocktail Whisperer” sensibility, allow me to introduce the Canadian Goose in the Window Cocktail. What kind of name is that? Well, all day the geese have been circling outside in the wind without landing. They swoop by the window momentarily blotting out the light. They are huge and out of control.

Maybe they got into something and it made them crazy? Who knows.

The basis of this drink is a strawberry and the herb driven element- a burst of fennel twisted around a simple syrup made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup.

But what should follow? In this case all I can think about is White Rum from Atlantico. Their Platino Rum or Ron Artesanal is just gorgeous stuff. If you can find a bottle it is a thing of rare beauty. Combined with the sweetness from tiny plump strawberries and tied together by strands of fennel, this is a dream cocktail if you are thirsty. Crushed ice makes it a slushy and bitters from a recent discover called Bitters, Old Men completes the picture. I chose their Smoke Gets in Your Bitters, so named for the ingredients that include Lapsang Souchong tea and the essences of Prickly Pear…

Exotic meets exotic in a firing squad on your palate of sweet to savory to gorgeous.

If you have more than two of them, watch out!

Get a car service. Don’t drive. I warn you.

Canadian Goose in the Window Cocktail
Ingredients:
4 Shots of Platino Ron Artesanal (Rum)
Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Strawberry and Fennel ( Soon to be released… I hope!)
Freshly Squeezed lime and lemon juices
Grilled Strawberries or ones roasted in a cast iron pan until just charred
Fennel for garnish

Preparation:
Muddle a couple of grilled strawberries with the fennel
Add Simple Syrup or Simple Syrup of Strawberry and Fennel plus the muddled strawberries.. it’s up to you how intense you want this drink
Add 4 shots of the white Rum (Platino)
Shake and strain into a tall cocktail glass filled with crushed ice
Garnish with Fennel and a tall colorful straw

Drip a few drops of the Bitters, Old Men Smoke Gets in Your Bitters over the top and sip carefully

This recipe makes one cocktail of blinding strength or several smaller ones with lesser capacity for blindness!

Pre-1960 Bourbon tasting notes

Tasting Notes: Pre-1960 Bourbon

  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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Photo Credit: travelingmcmahans; creative commons

My grandfather, a Yankee like myself, truly enjoyed Bottled in Bond, 100 Proof Bourbon Whiskey.  I didn’t know about his passion for Bourbon because he never drank it around me and he never ordered it in a restaurant. Usually he ordered an extra dry Dewers Rob Roy.  For many years I only thought he drank Scotch whisky. What I didn’t know at the time was that his true passion was Bourbon.

My grandfather owned his own company and one of the things that people would give him at Christmas time were some very special bottles of Bourbon.  These bottles remained hidden from me for many years.  After he died I learned from my grandmother that there were several nice looking (from a design perspective anyway) bottles of pre-1960 Bourbon in a hidden compartment of the bar.

She went on to tell me that she was going to pour out the contents (the historic Bourbon) and turn them into flower vases, because the bottles were so pretty.  I got over to her home as quickly as I could.  She showed me the hidden compartment in the bar.   Inside there were several bottles of Bourbon from the 1940’s to the late 1950s. These bottles of Bourbon had rested, in the dark, away from my youthful fingers since he placed them there and forgot about them.

These remaining bottles are a liquid history of the last of my grandfather’s Bourbon collection.

Photo: Warren Bobrow

Truth be told, as a “damned” Yankee, I know the true value of these ancient spirits.  Not as an investment in dollars, but as a flavor-driven window into my family’s past.  The bottles that I hold in my hand are a history of flavor.  This is a specific type of history that could never be duplicated today, primarily because the people who crafted the contents of these historic Bourbon bottles are now long gone.  The ingredients used today are similar, but the Whisky is different because each sip holds liquid ghosts belonging to the past.

Tasting notes:

Old Forester “Bottled in Bond” Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky.  100 proof. This bottle has been filled and stamped under the provisions of sections 5008 and 5243 of the Internal Revenue code.

Set into wood 1954. Bottled 1959.

A gentle, almost cedar nose gives way to candied orange peel, sweet jasmine flowers and caramelized pecan. The brooding heat burns the tongue.  With a texture almost as thick as maple syrup, the freshness and liveliness of this Bourbon hasn’t changed a bit since entering the bottle over fifty years ago.  Charred notes of Anson Mills stone ground grits stuck to the bottom of an ancient cast iron pan is the next thing tasted as I rolled a few precious drops around my mouth.  The soft, mineral finish goes on and on, revealing itself with another slow burn as if the bottom of the glass was aflame.  This Bourbon, when served with a bit of Kentucky Colonel mint from the garden, awakens ghosts from one’s grand-pappy’s generation.

Ancient Age.  Date uncertain due to the loss of the tax stamp, estimated somewhere between 1945-1950.  Space Age in design, this Mid-Century modern bottle is filled to just over a pint in liquid.  Marked straight Bourbon Whiskey.  The bottle reads: carefully distilled according to the finest old traditions. 86 proof.  Marked Full Six Years old. Distilled and bottled by Ancient Age Distillery Co., Frankfort Kentucky.

Warm aromas of sweetly delineated, hand-hewn oak- remind me immediately that Bourbon Whisky is not Scotch Whiskey or Tennessee sippin’ Whisky.  One reason for certain is the lack of smoke, peat and saline in the nose.  Normally, I find these flavors to be overpowering.  I suppose I just don’t understand Scotch.  The nose of this Bourbon Whisky resembles a liquid caramel candy.  A burst of fire from the nearly 90 proof alcohol makes itself known then a finish of fleur du sel and freshly cut herbs like thyme and tarragon.  This Bourbon, although “only” 86 proof, acts on the palate like one almost double the potency. In fact it resembles in many ways the potency and grip of some un-cut corn whiskies I’ve tasted recently.  Each slurp reveals sharply aromatic Asian spices with a razor sharp finish that exposes itself on the back of the tongue; with a nearly 2 minute long finish!  This Bourbon tastes nothing like the roughness of the neither 1952 Old Forester, nor does is resemble the overly oaked  “modern-style” of the 1955 Old Grand Dad. With a crumbled leaf of Kentucky Colonel spearmint this Bourbon really opens up, revealing its wood-driven flavors as a contender for a (very rare and expensive) mint julep.  This Bourbon has all the stuffing for a drink made with its primary ingredient over a half-century old!

Old Forester 1952. Bottled in Bond in 1957. Freshly baked charred- corn “hoe” cakes are smeared with melted, sweet strawberry butter. The first flavors take a bit to get used to.  Sweet is usually a flavor more akin to Canadian Whisky or Irish Whisky.  Freshly brewed sweet iced tea reveals itself- then flavors of caramel corn and cinnamon laced red-hot candy folded into a mug of boiling hot water, Asian spices and sugar cane lurk in the background.  The backbone of alcohol is a sudden wake up call to the throat.  It BURNS!  A glass of this Bourbon has amazing heat for spirit almost sixty years old!   The 1952 taste as lively a drink in the glass as a 2002 bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon!  It’s just amazing how little the alcoholic power has diminished over the past half century!

Old Grand Dad “Head of the Bourbon Family” 1955. Set into bottle 1959.  Part of a more modern and new style of Bourbon Whiskey, this is a roughly hewn, heavily oaked version of the classic drink.  It’s just amazing to me how much Bourbon has evolved during the late 1950’s.  The soft almost billowy quality of the Bourbon is ever-present, yet the finish is much sharper, but it lingers on the tongue for several minutes.  The 1959 bottling is more akin in many ways to Four Roses or Pappy Van Winkle with an almost lemon oil, citrus tinged mouth-feel.  The oils from the cask rise to the surface creating an illusion of a rainbow.  Each sip is laced with banana, vanilla bean, toasted corn bread, the char from well- seasoned cast iron pan and brook trout cooked in that pan with a handful of toasted hazelnuts thrown in at the finish.   An Amaretto-liqueur nose predominates.  The finish is like the first day of golden sunshine, streaming into the windows after a spring thunderstorm.  This is serious stuff and it deserves a drop or two of branch water to release its secrets.  The next flavors are like authentically seasoned Thai food served Thai spicy.  Flavor before heat is the mantra of this Bourbon.  A few sips signal the essential drink to take the edge off the afternoon or evening like none of your neighbors have ever imagined or enjoyed.

These bottles are a bit less than ½ full … As much as I want to share them with well- meaning friends, I know that once they’re gone, they can never be replaced.

I’ll be drinking small glasses from these bottles without any mixers from now on.  Well, maybe with a few drops of some sweet, local branch water flicked over the surface to connect these liquid history lessons with the flavor driven memories of the past.

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3 Responses to “Tasting Notes: Pre-1960 Bourbon”

  1. prufrock

    October 28, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    What a great find! I love having a window into the past, in any way that I can. And to have that connection to your granddad is a sweet thing indeed. I was able to get a cache of a grandparent’s booze about twenty five years ago, too. Cognac, B&B, some Scotch…. and I was excited to compare them to contemporaries. But they were pretty much the same; I didn’t know at the time that spirits stop aging once they are bottled, so I was all worked up for a big taste explosion! But, alas… that 8 year-old whisky that had been bottled in 1958 was still just an 8 year-old whisky. It did have a bit of funkiness, but not necessarily in a good way.

    Still, the thrill of opening something that had last been opened by someone long dead held a thrill for me, and I enjoyed sharing their liquor. During the Republican Convention in 2008, a very old bar in St Paul reopened for the week. The owners’ family had been keeping the place pretty much as it had been since the 40s forever, though it hadn’t been open since… maybe the 70s? 80s? Anyway, they brought ought some Old Forester and Ancient Age and others and were selling them at low prices. It was cool to see the old labels– nostalgia for a guy who started tending bar back in the 70s. But the whiskey was pretty bad. It wasn’t bonded, just normal proof, and they might had been spouted for God only knows how long. Still– it was really cool.

    I did read somewhere that Tequila and Mezcal actually do change in the bottle, though I guess it is just a mellowing rather than added complexity. Not my cuppa tea, though.

  2. HahlerGirl

    August 1, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    What a swell bourbon rememberance. You certainly saved an important liquor legacy and did your “Old Grandad” proud. Thank you to sharing!

  3. Cocktail Cloister

    July 24, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Liquid ghosts indeed. What a pleasure, Warren. Thanks for sharing!

Martin Miller’s Gin. (you could say that I’m a BIG FAN)

 

Warren Bobrow’s Cocktail Hour – The Gin Twist

3
Feb

 

Martin Miller - hotelier and maker of Martin Miller's London Dry GinMartin Miller – Bon viveur and maker of Martin Miller’s London Dry Gin via www.luxist.com

 

I’m sitting in front of the fireplace right now. Also in front of me are over 15 bottles of Artisanal Gin. My new favorite is the London Dry Gin from Martin Miller’s Gin. This is truly exotic stuff. The London Dry is in a low, squat bottle. Upon opening the handsome bottle I detect immediately the scent of cucumbers. Not just any cucumber but an especially aromatic variety. This Gin doesn’t need to be mixed- it’s got all the stuff right inside. I’m absolutely blown away by the softness of the nose- coupled with that unmistakable aroma of the cucumber. I got to thinking- when was the first time that I smelled this quality of Gin? Hendrick’s does a cucumber scented Gin that I like, very much. This Gin from Martin Miller is a very sophisticated and dare I say sensual slurp of liquid pleasure. The cucumber is right there in the foreground. You cannot miss it. I’m almost shocked by the depth of the vegetable aroma and flavor. White flowers follow up immediately- those little tobacco flowers. Then the attack of herbs and spices come quickly into view. The initial distillation happens in England. The blending occurs in Iceland with pristine glacial water as the adjunct. I’m just blown away by the finish- it goes on and on and… on .

I thought I introduce a new cocktail to Modenus this week. Gin and Citrus come to mind. Charred grapefruit juice, Maraschino Cherry liquor and a chiffonade of Thai Basil. What? Fresh herbs in a drink? Why not?

To make this cocktail you must be ready to take your palate to another place. In this case, the drink is Martini-like but not a Martini. Sure it has Vermouth, but Carpano Antica is the Sweet Vermouth (instead of dry) and there is the slightly charred grapefruit bringing up the rear.

I love working with great ingredients and you should too!

The Gin Twist

Makes two invigorating cocktails for whatever you desire at the end of the day.

Ingredients:

Martin Miller’s London Dry Gin

Carpano Antica

Cucumber chunks

Bitter End Thai Bitters

Lime hunks

Grapefruit chunks

Fresh mint

Seltzer water like Perrier Pink Grapefruit

Chiffonade of Thai Basil

Preparation:

To a cocktail shaker filled ¼ with ice add some charred grapefruit. (sear grapefruit segments in a sauté pan until nice and colored on all sides, then muddle with fresh mint and the cucumber, lime and grapefruit chunks until they release their essence about 3 minutes or so. Add to the shaker the Carpano Antica Vermouth (about a shot) Roll the Thai Basil into a cigar shape, and then slice on the bias to release the aromatic oils. Add to the shaker.

Add the Martin Miller’s Dry London Gin and the Maraschino Liqueur. ( 1 shot)

Shake and strain into a coupe’ glass and garnish with a flamed peel of orange peel. Top with a home cured cherry. Add a splash of seltzer water to finish.

Slurp away to a freezing cold and wet spring in old England.