Devil Gourmet

By Warren Bobrow
End Of Elm, Morristown, NJ

There’s a new place in Morristown named End of Elm and it’s a keeper.  This is precisely what Morristown has needed since Urban Table opened and forever tainted the gene pool with lackluster service and poor food.  True, End of Elm is formulaic and still brand new, but they tried darned hard to make me happy with something that’s missing at most other places in town – good old customer service.

End Of Elm, Morristown, NJ

End Of Elm, Morristown, NJ

First, let’s take a look at the space.  With broad windows overlooking the spot where Elm hits Morris Avenue by the NJ Transit station, the constant flow of traffic outside makes the interior a very cheery place.  The bar is in the rear of the room, and there’s comfortable seating by the windows to the right as you enter.  There are also stand-up tables, and good lighting from mono-filament bulbs.

I asked for a cocktail list and was greeted not with a “we don’t do cocktails,” but with a refreshing “yes sir.”  The bartender introduced himself as Vinnie and shook my hand with confidence.  Cocktails are my forte – and mangled cocktails my desire – but that was not meant to be at End of Elm.  The list is not overwrought, nor overly intellectual; good ingredients are used simply, and there is a careful hand behind the stick.

I ordered a drink named the Montucky.  It was good enough, with fine ingredients, like Buffalo Trace, the ubiquitous Luxardo Liqueur, a sweet vermouth of uncertain provenance (I think it was Martini and Rossi), and a Luxardo cherry.  The drink was stirred not shaken and the ice used was a 1/2 cube for the mixing glass.  Vinnie was confident in his bar tending skills, and he makes a fine cocktail using jiggers for measurement (nice touch).  I think it was on the weak side, but I like my drinks made strong, especially when they are served “up.”  My cocktail was served up in a nice clean glass.  A plus!

cocktail list

cocktail list at End of Elm

Next time I go, I’m attracted to the Sweet Devil with an egg white, which should have a bit more kick than the Montucky.

On back-bar shelf they had BOTH Aperol and Campari.  Again, nice touch.  I didn’t check out their rum selection, or their Scotch selection, but they certainly had a nice variety of bourbon whiskey.  They seem to carry the usual suspects for beer with quite a few craft style beers- all with their correct glassware- nice touch, again!

In a nutshell, the owners may be young, but this room attracts an interesting crowd for Morristown.  The service gets a B+ for remembering my name and shaking my hand.  I’m sure they will always remember my name now that I’ve reviewed it for the Devil Gourmet.

Montucky

Montucky at End of Elm

End of Elm creates flirtatious food that speaks to a commitment to use simple ingredients made with love.   The food is a modern take on tapas with items like chicken and waffles, and a prime beef burger with a Comte cheese fondue that was much better than it had to be.  The Prime burger sported nice grill marks, tasted very freshly ground, and was well seasoned with both salt and pepper.  The fries are shoestring, served with real ketchup, and the roll was very good.

Again, End of Elm goes further than they need to – after all this is Morristown.  It is not Hoboken, nor Montclair.  But times are a changing.  And hopefully I won’t have to travel to far to find a drink that hasn’t been mangled into submission first.  I can only hope that more places in town know how to craft a fine cocktail.  End of Elm, neither an Irish bar, nor a beer and shot joint,  deserves to succeed, and by crafting good food coupled with fine liquor and craft cocktails, I know they will.

That is what this column is about!  The art of the cocktail.  No, not a Scotch and soda, nor a Cosmo.  I don’t drink those, and you should try to break out of your mold at least once!  Over the course of this column we will certainly find the good, the bad and the ugly.  That’s what cocktails are all about, unfortunately.

I don’t have an agenda, nor do I want to hurt anyone’s feelings with this column.  I’d like to see all bars do better!  It’s my topic after all.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to order a Ramos Gin Fizz or a Sazerac and not be served a milkshake or a shaken Sazerac?  In conclusion I offer a lovely cocktail quote:  A Bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory.  And speaking of pharmacists that mix cocktails……

Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today

Cheers!  (Please forgive my photos, I was trying not to be obvious that I was reviewing them.)

End of Elm
140 Morris Street
Morristown, NJ 07960
Type of Cuisine: American (New), American, Tapas
Hours: Mon-Sun 11AM – 2AM
Price Range: $$

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.

I’ve created the cocktails for the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in NYC!!!



Groups

 

Create an Event Start a Group

 

Marys & Mimosas at the AD Home Design Show 2013

When? Thursday, Mar 21 @ 10:30am – 12pm (EST)
Where? AD Home Design Show Pier 94, 55th Street and 12th Ave – New York City

PLEASE JOIN US FOR OUR THIRD ANNUAL #MARYSANDMIMOSAS TWEET UP TO CELEBRATE THE OPENING OF THE #ADSHOW2013 ON THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013

SPONSORED BY SUBZERO:


“Sub-Zero Wolf presents their latest and greatest design and cooking innovations as well as a chance to win your very own cocktail reception and gourmet dinner for 10 guests in the luxurious Sub-Zero Wolf showroom in NYC.  Details to follow at the Show.”

CATERING BY :

 


Please join us for all the buzz and excitement that comes with meeting your digital, social and print media peers to kick off the show. This year’s event is held in the show lounge which is designed by Fendi Casa.


HOW TO REGISTER FOR THE EVENT AND YOUR PRESS CREDENTIALS: 

Please RSVP on Twtvite AND contact Alexandra Zwicky at Alexandra@NovitaPR.com or 212-528-3160 with your name, media outlet and twitter handle so that we can have your press pass ready for you. 

Let’s kick of the 2013 show in style and get the design dialogue started.

We hope to meet and tweet with you there!


Beekman 1802 and KLAUS!

GARTENDING: BLAME IT ON RIO

 

 

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” –Albert Einstein

 

I wanted to lead off this week’s adventure with this quote from the Beekman Boys Facebook page.  If you didn’t know, The Beekman 1802 Boys just won the Amazing Race on television.  I don’t normally watch flashy reality shows but this one was much different.  The characters were everyone types from all over the country except for one couple.  The Beekman Boys.  My friends, Brent and Josh.

I started writing for them after they did a book signing at Williams-Sonoma in Short Hills, NJ.  I introduced myself as a cocktail mixologist/author and they asked me if I’d like to write for them.

The rest is lovely histories for myself and of course my alter-ego/gnome, Klaus, the Soused Gnome.

Perhaps you’ve seen his fan page on Facebook?

He’s a good little guy who brings a smile to most.  And this brings me back to the initial quote, “You have to learn the rules of the game.”  I’ve discovered that if I can make just one person smile and share in the passion that is Klaus, then I’m truly a success.  Certainly within Klaus’s tiny ceramic heart he is living a dream.

I often wonder what his life was like before I acquired him?  I wonder if his former owners brought him around the world?

We’ve been to many places together in the past few months, Oregon, France, Ohio-twice, the Kentucky Derby, Charleston and of course New York. It’s been busy for the little guy.  Even with all this traveling, he still stays very thirsty.

Klaus loves New York City and he loves going to new and exciting cocktail bars.  One of these is named Milk & Honey.  It used to be way downtown.  Now- the coming weeks are ahead of us and with the rush to the New Year, Milk & Honey will soon be open.  The new address is 30 East 23rd Street in NYC.  It’s no longer in a tough neighborhood- you will feel comfortable visiting this new temple to the cocktailian arts because it’s located in a fabulous shopping district of Manhattan!

Avuá Cachaça invited Klaus to the soon-to-be-reopened Milk & Honey for the pre-launch of their expressive liquors. Klaus was very thirsty for some delicious cocktails that spoke clearly of the passion of Brazil.

What Klaus would do for the chance to visit Rio in the winter?  I shudder to imagine.  It’s summer in Brazil and the drink of choice is Cachaça mixed with lime and sugar.

Klaus should be so lucky.

 

Summer in Rio Cocktail (will smash even the most robust drinker)

(Each recipe makes two drinks)

Ingredients:

Avuá Cachaça

Blood Orange rounds

Victoria’s Kitchen Almond/Coconut Water

Hand cut ice

Fresh lime juice

Simple Syrup

 

Instructions:

To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice add:

4 oz. Avuá Cachaça

6 oz. Victoria’s Kitchen Almond/Coconut Water

1 oz. Fresh lime juice

1 oz. or to taste Simple Syrup

1 oz. Blood Orange juice

 

Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake

 

Strain into a short rocks glass with one cube of hand cut ice

Garnish with Blood Orange ½ rounds

Prepare for a plane ticket to Rio!

From Foodista

Rum, Please Forgive Me!

November 13, 2012
Rum: Please forgive me.  I didn’t forget you to bourbon, nor gin.  Certainly you haven’t seen me review or even discuss candy flavored vodka- why is that so popular?  I didn’t forget you to Scotch, nor did I give you up for Cognac or dare I say some Biodynamic wine.  No rum, I didn’t forget you.  You were and are my first love.  The first time that I tasted you down in the British Virgin Islands at  Soggy Dollar Bar stirred in a “Painkiller” (for I was filled with pain down in the islands) or woven into a Bushwacker- oh don’t ask what was in it.  I know it was rum and crushed ice, cream de cacao and more rum.  Well, that’s for another day.I don’t make a habit of drinking to excess.  My friend Ed Hamilton of the Ministry of Rum taught me drink better/drink less.  This is true- yet there is a fine line between mere inebriation and the puncheon.  I know to beware that.  You should too.  It only comes in a Listerine container.  A very small one at that. Poteen comes to mind.  Hell in a bottle is next.

Down in St. Barth they make punch in the traditional French, island style restaurants that line the harbor of Gustavia. That means tropical fruits and rum.

Yachts moor stern in like in St. Tropez.  French is spoken.  Rum is the language as well as Champagne.  Sometimes they collide with horrid results to the inexperienced and jaded alike.   The roads are too steep and not well marked.  I suggest not testing the flimsy guard rails and 1000 foot, nearly sheer drops.

It was on St. Barth that I first tried the Bacardi Ron Solera.  I’d just spent the better part of two weeks on a yacht and was in a state of constant thirst for new flavors, new textures.  If I knew then what I know today (next to nothing) about rum, I’d have brought more of the exotics back home.  There is an incredible diversity of flavor in rum.

The Bacardi is not anything like any rum I had ever tasted from Bacardi.  For a bar in St. Barth to stock Bacardi- it had to be something incredible- with all the rums of the world available to be purchased.  I feel that the Ron Solera is one of the finest little (I say little next to the big brother in Puerto Rico, they don’t even exist on the radar) rum around anywhere.  This is a labor of love for the distiller.  Made in Mexico, not Puerto Rico, the Solera is like a secret still, unknown to most.

I think this would make a most honorable Christmas gift.

Ron Solera is produced in the Solera method. Like making Sherry.  This is, quite simply removing a portion of the rum from a cask and adding a bit younger (or older) samples of rum directly to the barrel.  There is a marriage of sorts in the barrel, an alchemy.  Some old rum, some quite old and some new- all aging harmoniously.  Lovely thought.

How does Bacardi, a company that makes millions of cases of rum per year, switch gears and create a passionate, limited production item like the Solera?  I’m really not sure.  But the proof is in the bottle.  Open the top.  The scent of charred vanilla greets the nose.  It’s creamy and full bodied.  I detect immediately dark, bittersweet chocolate maybe 75% bitter.  It’s suddenly deeply warming on my mouth and the depth becomes profound.  I want to put some in a snifter and sit, quite still in front of the wood burning stove.  It’s truly gorgeous stuff.

Get a bottle and serenade your emotions deeply with the Ron Solera.  If you add anything to your glass of the Ron Solera make it a perfect ice cube from your Williams-Sonoma 2” silicone ice cube tray.  Filter your water first using the Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher first… (essential!)

Tasting Notes:

Sweet oranges give way to creamy chocolate and pain grille notes.  A buzz of alcohol straightens out your mind, you can feel the spark and warmth adding a nice fuzzy feeling to my throat.  I love this rum!

++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Serralles DonQ Gran Anejo

The sturdy box that holds this important rum is padded in gold satin.  I say important because everything about this rum is impressive.  Not just the packaging, but the flavor.  Glistening Wheat in hue and tinged with a shimmer from the oily oak- this rum is meant to be savored.  It’s a very soft slurp in mouth-feel.  It doesn’t have the richness of the Ron Solera from Barcardi, yet it reminds me much more of real Cuban Rum.  Restrained, enrobed in threads of salted caramel, this rum is important to behold.  The bottle is a decanter, handsome and masculine.  It’s reminiscent of Bourbon.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the casks were used Bourbon oak.  I can taste the char and smoke deeply.  If you add anything to this rum, make it a single cube of coconut water ice.

White flowers give way to charred stone fruits and the taste of wet stones.  Lick a stone and see what I mean.  The finish is dry, salty from the sea and jagged from the cask.  I want to drink this in a snifter with a slice of grilled orange on the side for tasting.

The Serralles DonQ Gran Anejo is world class, just as the Bacardi Ron Solera is as well.  They are both historic brands with passion in the driver’s seat.  I tasted them side by side with wheat crackers for balance.  These are powerful reminders that gigantic companies can also produce passionate liquors that truly speak volumes of the craft of making spirits.  Someone need to have their hand shaken for their vision!

This is rum for the boardroom!

From Prevention Magazine

I was asked to provide some “healthy” cocktails for Prevention Magazine… Here they are:

Recipes for the healthy tippler

By Mandy Oaklander

Photo credit: Mandy Oaklander

Surprised We’re Not In Reno

Warren Bobrow’s smoky twist on the vodka cola uses natural ingredients. No high fructose corn syrup in sight! “It’s healing and potent,” Bobrow says. “Root dates back to country medicinal curatives.”

Serves 1-2

2 shots vodka (we used Ketel One)
1 shot Root (an organic elixir with birch bark, black tea, spices—similar to sarsaparilla)
1/2 shot sweet Vermouth
Natural cola (we used all-natural Q Drinks cola)
Orange twist

ADD the liquors to your cocktail shaker
SHAKE and top with a splash of cola. Garnish with orange twist.

Read more: http://www.prevention.com/food/cook/healthy-drink-recipes-cocktails/surprised-were-not-reno#ixzz2GXcddM3J

Photo credit: Mandy Oaklander

Hot Cranberry, Blueberry, and Gin Thoreau

“I prefer the tiny, intensely flavored Maine wild blueberries for this cocktail; they come either frozen or canned during the off-season,” Bobrow says. We skipped the cranberry sauce and maple syrup to save on calories and sugar—and we still wanted a second mug.

Serves 2, strongly

1/4 cup each of crushed cranberries and blueberries
1/3 cup cranberry sauce
4 shots gin (we used Bulldog London Dry Gin)
1/3 cup water
1 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
Grade B dark amber maple syrup, optional
Several orange slices
2 fresh lemon thyme sprigs

MUDDLE the crushed cranberries with the blueberries to make a slurry, then add the cranberry sauce to the mix

ADD the gin and let sit for a few minutes to combine the flavors

BRING the water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the cranberry and lime juices

ADD the heated cranberry juice mixture to the muddled cranberry mixture and stir together. Pour into 2 preheated mugs (we strained it)

SWEETEN with maple syrup if desired, and garnish with orange slices and a sprig of lemon thyme.

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