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

By Warren Bobrow


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

Chorizo Meatballs

Chorizo Meatballs

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

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

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

Cocktails at the Yellow Plum

Cocktails at the Yellow Plum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t that why we dine?


Yellow Plum

Yellow Plum

Yellow Plum
1099 Broad Street,
Bloomfield 07003

(973) 893-3681

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


Bottoms Up


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

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

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

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



Search, Connect, Indulge!

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

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Beekman 1802 and Klaus the Soused Gnome

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 Gartending to the Heart


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Ingredients for two strong drinks

3 oz. Barr Hill Vodka

5 oz. Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit juice

2 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Lemon Essence

5 drops Wild Branch Foods Elderberry Syrup

Fresh Sage leafs

Hand cut ice

Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters



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

Capture the sage smoke in an inverted Boston Shaker

Add ice to the sage smoke

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

Cap and shake hard for 20 seconds

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

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

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



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

Drink up NY

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Martin Miller and his Gin

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

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

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

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

The Martin Miller’s Gin & Twisted Tonic 

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

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

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

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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

Beekman 1802 ICE!


Ice, Ice Baby




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Soused Gnome Gift Guide

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

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

Atsby Vermouth is also from New York.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know Klaus would love to see that!



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

Pisco Porton in DrinkUpNY!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Get to know little more about Pisco & Porton

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer
Pisco, just the very word creates a thirst for knowledge.  As Americans, we don’t usually go to bars and ask for it… Most people don’t even know what it is!
Pisco is a distilled product from up to eight different varieties of grapes depending on the producer.  These grapes happen to be less attractive for wine, yet more polished when distilled as a type of brandy.   Pisco is gorgeous when accompanied by food, especially seafood.  Pisco also works beautifully in creative mixology.
A popular drink for Pisco is the classic Pisco Sour.  Sweet/Sour mix from 2 parts simple syrup to one part fresh lemon or lime juice is combined with an egg white along with a portion of Pisco.   This drink is shaken with ice until the egg white is a foam.. then the drink is strained into a coupe.  Bright green in color, if you use lime or a pale yellow if you use lemon, a Pisco Sour is a thing of rare beauty.
I like to take Pisco and add it to a bit of Absinthe, just a wash really for the glass-
along with crushed ice and a bit of gum Arabic for mouth-feel.  There is a new product, tangerine syrup that I’ve discovered from Fruitations in Massachusetts.  They also do gorgeous cranberry syrup that just smacks of New England fruit.  At any rate, the tangerine syrup from Fruitations when combined with Pisco Porton is most marvelous and thirst quenching.  Of course this drink is not complete without the Absinthe wash, nor the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters.  (for balance)  I complete the drink with Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water; the Pink Grapefruit adds just the right amount of lip-smacking crispness.
The Wunderkammer Cocktail (Cabinet of Curiosities) 
3 oz. Pisco Portón
¼ oz. Absinthe (I used Tenneyson)
1 oz. Fruitations Tangerine Syrup
¼ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink Grapefruit essence
Lemon zest cut with a knife, never a peeler!
Add the Pisco Portón and the Fruitations Syrup
Fill the shaker ¾ with ice
Shake for 10 seconds
Pre-chill your coupe with the Tenneyson Absinthe and ice, pour out when chilled (preferably into your mouth, so not to waste the fine spirits)
Strain into a coupe
Add the Perrier Sparkling Water
Add the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Twist the lemon zest over the top
I asked Vanessa Sobers of Pisco Portón to answer some questions about this gorgeous and highly expressive spirit.  Enjoy!
1.  Why Pisco?  What makes it unique in the market?  
Porton uncompromising quality is what makes us unique.   We use a “techno artisanal” process that integrates century old Peruvian Pisco making technique with modern distillation technology.  Today, one of the grapes is fermented, distilled and processed using the original distillery and our new distillery takes inspiration from the original with its gravity fed process.
There are not many white spirits that can claim that they derive taste/flavor naturally, without additives.  Porton can.   And we have been rewarded for it.   We continue to win spirit competition worldwide and to date we are the most the most awarded white spirit.
Porton adds complexity and character to cocktails and the bartending and mixology community are looking for spirits that helps them take their cocktails to the next level.   With the Peruvian culinary movement taking US by storm, our genuine authenticity and our mixability; Porton is poised to continue to generate excitement and to continue to reign as the #1 pisco brand in the US.
2.  What is Pisco made of?  What is the history of the product?
The three grape varietals that give Portón its flavor are the Quebranta, Albilla, and Torontel grapes.  These grapes are 100% from our vineyards at La Caravedo in Ica, Peru.  Portón is distilled to exactly 86 Proof at Hacienda La Caravedo, the world’s oldest distillery established in 1684, in custom-made copper pot stills using the Mosto Verde method. This means that our distillate is made from 100% must (grape juice) that has not completely fermented. This serves to keep some of the natural grape sugars from converting into alcohol, thus putting more flavor and aroma into every bottle.
Porton is handcrafted in small batches and each bottle requires approximately 15pds of grape.
3.  Does a company like Pisco Porton use Social Media?  What are your links, Facebook?  Twitter?  
Yes, we do.  We have focused most of our efforts are geared towards Facebook and Twitter.   These are platforms for us to engage with our fans and to showcase our cocktails and events.
4.  What is the best way to serve Pisco Porton?  How do YOU like it best?
Pisco Portón is a highly mixable white spirit that can be added to any cocktail to take it to the next level.  It gives off an earthy aroma with floral complexity and a touch of sweetness.  Given its versatility and mixability, there are many ways to serve Porton…In classic Peruvian cocktails like the Pisco Sour or in a Pisco classic like the Pisco Punch.  I personally, love it in the classic Pisco Punch that dates back to the 19th century.  I’m a fan of it in the Porton Mate that features jalapeno peppers and most recently I was pleasantly surprised to have in a tasty warm cider prepared by a mixologist at a pre-holiday event.
5.  Pisco and food.   What is a good paring?  
Due to earthy aroma and floral complexity, Portón pairs extremely well with seafood dishes such as Ceviche
Cheers from DrinkUpNY!
Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.

The Negroni.. As Illustrated…

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Negroni

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Negroni Cocktail

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


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

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

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

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

From Foodista.. Last Minute Xmas Gifts from the Cocktail Whisperer…wb.. yes.. me.

Last Minute Xmas Gifts from the Cocktail Whisperer

December 20, 2013

My bar is overflowing with lovely tastes and slurps for the holidays.  I know it’s a bit late, but you never can do everything all at once, AND I’ve been a bit busy this year!  First of all to bring  you all up to speed, I’ve just released my first book (October) named Apothecary Cocktails, Restoratives from Yesterday and Today.

This book, my first was published by Fair Winds Press.

Another book is coming for October 2014 that I’m very excited about.  Stay tuned.

So where do I start?  What do you want for Xmas?

Starting with rum, may I suggest Busted Barrel Rum from Fairfield, NJ?  This is gorgeous stuff, bursting with the flavors of Louisiana cane sugar molasses. 

It doesn’t need much as a mixer so don’t even think of drowning the delicate flavor in corn syrup cola.  This rum is perfect for a hot toddy, or perhaps for a few ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice.  Don’t forget the nutmeg!

From Tailwinds Distilling in Illinois, may I suggest a rum from a most unlikely place?  The Taildragger Amber Rum and the Taildragger White Rum offer bursts of cane sugar woven with tropical fruits and spices.

As with the Busted Barrel Rum, these are craft spirits, made from the best ingredients available.  I am passionate about craft spirits and these rums exemplify the care taken to ensure that each sip is memorable.  With the Busted Barrel Rum flavor profile firmly in my mind, I find the Taildragger is sumptuous and lush.

Perfect for a Great Lakes inspired Tiki Bar influence punch or with a splash or two of freshly squeezed tropical fruits or even in a hot toddy with butter and simple syrup.  Sophisticated and worldly these rums are.  They make a lesser known coffee rum, brimming with the seriously intoxicating flavors of medium roasted coffee.  I’m completely taken by this coffee flavored rum over coffee ice cream.

They also produce a Blue Agave spirit that is sold either aged or un-aged.  Not Tequila and not marked on the label as such, the Midnight Caye Silver and the Midnight Caye Rested is produced in small batches.  Seek it out, you’ll be happy that you did!

An authentic NOM 1467 CRT Tequila Blanca from Rudo Tecnico is a 100% Agave spirit that is pure, lush and colorful in every sip.  With a playful label showing the Luce Libre fighter/wrestler- Tecnico, you would almost expect this Tequila to be brash and overpowering.  But it’s anything but.  The Tecnico is soft, pure and citrus tinged.  Again, as with the rums, this tequila doesn’t need much to shine.  A squeeze of lemon, a hit of agave syrup and a splash of Arrogante Damiana in place of the usual triple sec.  I never use triple sec.  Awful stuff.  Right up there with maraschino cherries.  Ick.  Don’t do it and throw those red things out.  feh!

Get yourself a bottle of Casa Noble Tequila.  It’s just so gorgeous.   I recommend drinking it with a pinch of sea salt, a splash of Fruitations Tangerine and a finishing spritz of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink GrapefruitThree drops of Bitter End Bitters “Curry” over the top. 

For bourbon, I think you should try to find the Old Forester Birthday Bourbon.  If you cannot, find the Buffalo Trace Wheated.  (It’s like Pappy, really…)  Willett’s is fun too.  Breaking and Entering Bourbon from St. George in California is Kentucky royalty, blended and bottled on the left coast.   Get some!

Four Roses Bourbon Whiskey is my go/to when I’m traveling.  I know what goes into the bottle and it’s always the very best!  I saw it in Italy!

Liqueurs?  I’m a fantatic for pürspirits Their elderflower liqueur is a thing of rare beauty and form.  The spice and blood orange a delight.  GET SOME!!!

Creams?  300 Joules may well be the best “silk” liqueur that I’ve passed through my lips this year.  They do a sumptuously decedent lemon that drips with acidity and structure, cinnamon that offers bursts of freshly scraped spices and the ginger that screams out for Scotch whisky and a bit of seltzer.

300 Joules is the truest form of craft, made with passion and care in New Jersey!  I’m a HUGE FAN.   I’m mixing 300 Joules Lemon with Campari and a bit of Barr Hill gin along with sweet Vermouth in a tip of the hat to the Negroni.  It’s a creamy Negroni that you MUST taste!

I’ve located a Maple Cream that just rocks from Vermont.  The Vermont Ice Maple Cream Liqueur is hauntingly good.  Enrobed in sweet Vermont cream and grade B Maple Syrup, this cream is perfectly geared for sipping or even woven into  adult “martinis” or a milkshake.

Vermouth is on my list for flavor this year with Uncouth Vermouth, Atsby, Channing Daughter’s VerVino and Imbue on my tasting list.

For Gin, I am drinking the experimental Barr Hill Barrel Aged Gin…  Ok, so you can’t get it, but you can buy their raw honey distilled Vodka as well as their grain based (raw honey finished) gin. 

Normally I don’t drink a whole lot of vodka.  Bluewater from the left coast always charms me, as does Karlsson’s Gold Vodka which is ACTUALLY MADE FROM POTATOES!!!

Just so you know that I read the comments on Facebook, spiced rum????  well that’s a no-brainer.  Sailor Jerry.  I love the higher proof and the true Caribbean flavor.  My absolute favorite spiced rum is not available in the United States.  It comes from the island of Saba.  They make spiced rum in a style that is sadly, nearly extinct.  A fine adaptation of the style of “spiced-rum” is available on St. Barth.  Usually it is Rhum Agricole with Caribbean-type spices.  Most restaurants make their own rhum punches… but that’s something else entirely and will require a trip to taste them.  Good idea.


Carpano Antica is my always go/to for a fun way to bring history into your glass!


If you’ve had a bit too much, FERNET BRANCA should be your GO/TO!!!  

UNDERBERG if you can get it is the miracle cure!

Syrups… Fruitations in New England with their BRILLIANT, all natural fruit syrups has become one of my favorites along with Royal Rose (the rose is a favorite) and of course Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont with their Chocolate Mole.  WOW!

Bitters:  Of course Bitter End from Santa Fe.  Bill York has got the lock-down on Curry with his India by the drop bitters.   Tuthilltown’s Bitter Frost “Basement Bitters” is part of my kit along with Joe Fee’s historically delicious bitters.  The Black Walnut is a favorite this year.

Dutch’s in New York State has a bitters kit that includes a Colonial Style, a Boomtown Style and a Prohibition Style Bitters in a handsome package.  “Drink With Conviction!” 

Whisky:  Nikka from the barrel got my attention…  Japanese Whisky that beats the Scots at their own game.  Don’t agree?  Try it.


Ah.. so many flavors… So little time!


If you want to find my book, Apothecary Cocktails, please click here… 

Apothecary Cocktails on Behance !!!



What a nice surprise!!!

Beekman 1802- Klaus the Soused Gnome



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



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