These Are The Drinks You’ve Been Looking For!

bobrow_2016Certainly by the end of the year I’ve become a bit jaded on what I consider to be trends for the following year.  Everyone wants to know what the “next best thing” is… Or what it’s going to be tomorrow, next week or in the coming months.

It is here that I want to start my list of what I think, as a taste-maker- will be hot in the coming months. I’ll give a list with some explanation- just in case.

Last September I was fortunate to attend the Moscow (Russia) Bar Show.  It was enlightening, amazing and educational.  I gave a master class on rum and traveled to the other side of the globe to find a country that for all intents and purposes is just like ours- except they speak Russian.  They love us- we’d never know that from our press though. The Russians are passionate about American Whiskey.

Want to know where all the Bourbon Whiskey is?  Russia.  So, I’ll start my list in Moscow.

• Authenticity, Nostalgia, Simplicity.  I was sent to the Moscow Bar Show by Mezan Rum.  You would think that Russians would be preoccupied with vodka.  Not so, they demand authenticity and that “Jerry Thomas” approach to history.  Fine aged rum plays directly into this chess game.  Rum that hasn’t been colorized, chill-filtered nor any added sugar, or saccharine allowed.  Mezan fulfills this purpose and takes you further into the plethora of flavors that speak clearly to the métier of the rum distiller.  Get some!  I prefer the Jamaican version. There is a certain funk in each sip.  Powerful stuff in a Planter’s Punch or even in a Rum-Manhattan.  Make sure you use a Vermouth like Atsby, or Uncouth- even Carpano… But use the white one.  The red is too sweet for these perfumed rums.

• Whiskey from actual distilleries!  What a concept- is it me, or are there more made-up names than usual on the store shelves?  I actually had a friend ask me about a Bourbon the other day from a distillery that has never existed outside of a Madison Avenue advertising agency desk.  The label appeared to be hand attached and the closure had the look of a cork stuck in the top of a bottle of Moonshine.  There may have been leather involved.  All it said to me was, stay far away.
Authenticity in Bourbon takes guts these days.  But should you find a true craft distillery- then by all means buy their stuff.  They deserve your support.  The big guys are ok, but cut out the fake-craft labeling.  It’s confusing to the consumer!  My favorites going forward, Barrell Bourbon, Few Spirits, Catoctin Creek, Hudson…  They are my favorites for a reason.  They speak the language of history.

• Scotch from Scotland and other places – Ok, so they call them smoked whiskies when they are from other places.  I don’t want to raise the ire of Scotch drinkers.  Pardon me. Amongst my favorites going forward- Virginia Highland Malt Whisky- yes Virginia, they distill absolutely gorgeous whisky in Virginia. I’ve been making Bee’s Knees with Old St. Andrews Scotch Whisky- lightly aromatic of cut grass and toasted peat. Not overpowering with smoke, but to my palate, just enough.  And that bottle!  Looks like a golf ball.  Brenne from France continues to please and going forward I would say that any releases from this marvelous producer will challenge even the most snobbish of the Whisky drinkers.   I had some beautiful Scotch Whisky in Russia that dated back to the mid 1960’s… If you can find any of these, save your pennies… They are worth every cent.

• Rhum Agricole.  Certainly you should be drinking Rhum Agricole…  Don’t just put a bottle on your bar and forget about it.  I continue to wax poetic about the mysterious flavors that appear and disappear in each sip of Rhum Agricole.  One of my favorite ways to drink this perfumed slice of Rhum history (yes they use an extra h in Rhum in the French West Indies) is with a chunk of lime (with the skin on) and a couple splashes of Cane Sugar Syrup… This is so simple!  Anyone can choose their own demise by making this drink as strong or as weak as they desire.  Thank you to Ed Hamilton for teaching me what I needed to know in the first place.

• Flavored Syrups and Shrubs.  What is a shrub?  My third book, Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails defines a Shrub as an acidulated beverage, historically used as a method of aiding digestion and for refreshment- as an energy drink.  In the days prior to soda, a touch of vinegar, sugar and fruit along with cool water would satisfy most thirsts.  Flavored syrups make our jobs as bartenders and mixologists much easier.  Amongst the very best that you can buy are: Royal Rose… Fruitations (I’m just blown away by their Cranberry), Pickett’s from Brooklyn (yes, that’s a place and their hot ginger syrup is world class) Shrub and Company, Shrub Drinks, Liber and Company.  All delicious and lip-smacking.  Powell & Mahoney is my go/to for Pomegranate Mixer- yes- even I use a pre-mix for some events.

• Craft Soda… With too many names to mention, but I’ll mention a couple.  Q-Drinks- they’re magnificent.  The Club Soda has a pinch of sea salt- keeps you thirsty!  I’m thrilled by some of the Root Beers that come down from Bar Harbor in Maine… I love to drink Boylan’s and Bruce Cost sodas when I want something even more authentic.  Dry Soda is just amazing stuff- the cucumber variety is crisp and refreshing.

• Hard Cider.  Possmann’s from Germany is my go/to.  This lightly sparkling cider is all apple and just the right amount of fizz and alcohol rolling in at 5% abv.  I’ve had it on tap in the New York/Metro area and if you see it, get some… immediately!  Farnum Hill from up in New England continues to charm my palate as well.  There are some Spanish Ciders that are just so assertive- Burgundy wine comes to mind.  Barnyard notes and crushed stones come into view, sip by sip, if you dare! They are just different styles from Spain.  I much prefer the German ciders, at least for my palate.

• Tequila.  I don’t know what happened to Tequila, but I’m tired of Tequila that tastes like Bourbon.  Maybe it’s because they age the distillate in used Bourbon casks?  Absolutely, this is why your Tequila tastes sweet.  It’s in the cask!  I much prefer the rare and usually a bit more expensive versions like Casa Noble- aged in French White Oak.  This is a much more expensive method, but worthwhile in my opinion.

• Mezcal… It’s mysterious like a high fever in the middle of Summer.  There’s smoke in there- lots of stuff going on in your imagination.  If you want to really challenge your palate, in a good way… Taste Mezcal.  Of course if it has a worm in the bottle, throw it out immediately.  This is not the real thing.  It was invented, yes again… by one of those ad agencies.  No one eats the darned thing!

• Gin.  Stick to what you like and I love Barr Hill from Vermont.  The Tom Cat, aged in American Oak is my preference in a snifter- for a perfectly marvelous gin and juice – use nothing more than the raw honey and grain distilled Barr Hill Gin with freshly squeezed- broiled grapefruit in a muddle.  A splash of Q-Tonic water and a couple dashes of Angostura to finish…  All good. Happy New Year!


My fourth book, Cannabis Cocktails (the first book on the topic!) is in pre-sell now: www.quartoknows.com/books/9781592337347/Cannabis-Cocktails-Mocktails-and-Tonics.html

 

- See more at: http://totalfood.com/articles/these-are-the-drinks-youve-been-looking-for#sthash.PKUMRV7J.dpuf

The Urban Meditation Fizz. Thank you DrinkupNY!

THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014

Urban Meditation Fizz Cocktail

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

(Calling Fernet Branca please! !)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urban Meditation Fizz

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

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

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

Easy!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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

Four Summer Cocktails from Foodista.com

 

 

Four Summer Cocktails

 

 

June 3, 2013

 

 

Four Cocktails for the Summer….

 

We just had a most disgustingly humid heat wave.  The warm weather has come and gone and come again, yet if there is one thing for certain- I’m getting thirsty.   I’ve been working with flavors that although grounded in the warmer weather, they still offer the cooling abilities of late summer sippers.   I’ve been drinking a bit of bourbon whiskey these days.  Four Roses Bourbon has taken my cocktailian musings to new boundaries and beyond.  It’s so easy to make a fine drink with Four Roses.  The assertive mouth-feel and soft finish allow the mixologist to create simple drinks with robust flavor.  One drink that I’m working on right now uses Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey.  This is augmented by a frozen cube of Mavea “Inspired Water” ice that has sweet vermouth frozen into the cube.  I use a scant amount of Punt e Mes Sweet Vermouth along with the filtered water, and then finish the cocktail with a few ounces of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water.

 

The fizzy nature of Perrier lifts the bourbon to a higher place in the food chain of mixed drinks.  To make the sweet vermouth ice cubes, purchase a two quart Tupperware container.  Filter your water using the Mavea “Inspired Water” Pitcher (the ice comes out nearly crystal clear) and then add a few shots of sweet vermouth to the water.  Let this freeze overnight, then cut with an ice pick and hammer to the desired size.  The sweet vermouth cubes as they melt into the bourbon will change the dimension of the cocktail over time.  And the Perrier?  It will keep your attention because of the fizzy nature of the natural sparkling water!

 

I call this cocktail the Middle Creek Cocktail.. It’s super easy to make.

 

Ingredients for one nice intoxicating beverage

 

2 oz. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey

 

Several Hand Cut Sweet Vermouth Ice Cubes

 

2-3 shakes Angostura Bitters

 

Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

 

Preparation:

 

To a glass cocktail mixer- fill ¾ with plain ice

 

Add the Four Roses Bourbon

 

Stir to cool

 

Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with a couple Sweet Vermouth Ice Cubes

 

Finish with a few splashes Angostura Bitters and 1 oz. Perrier Sparkling Water

 

Finally, pinch an orange zest over the top and rub the rim of the glass with the zest

 

Serve

 

The second cocktail is equally as refreshing, but it works best on a weekday morning when you have a cocktail party to attend to.  If you said weekday morning (?) you’d be correct.  This cocktail was the signature cocktail for the Architectural Digest Home Design Show held in NYC.  I created it to sate the thirsts of about two hundred design bloggers before the show opened.  The cocktail is quite simple indeed.  The only true prerequisites are the bloody mary mix (I used Hoosier Momma) and of course the tequila.  I used the magical Casa Noble Blanco Tequila.  There were bitters in there- you can purchase Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters on the web or you may use the easily found- Angostura.  Citrus is important with lemon chunks making their way into the mix. This drink is usually served in a Collins glass that is tall and narrow.  The choice of the glass is important because the shape forces you to drink it slowly.

 

I like the use of hand cut ice in my Bloody Mary.  I think the size of the cube chills the cocktail, not diluting it.  This is important in my opinion.

 

The Jalisco Bloody Mary is savory and perky in a way that helps the imbiber slowly experience the sensuality of tequila for more than lime and salt.  Tomatoes, spices and that “thick as paste” texture of the Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Mix enrobe the Casa Noble Tequila into something truly memorable.  I like to use lemons of the Meyer variety because it is important to balance the spicy and alcoholic with something tangy and sweet.  I like to sprinkle some sea salt into this cocktail instead of on the rim of the glass.  The sensation of the crunchy salt in your mouth is mesmerizing.

 

The Jalisco Bloody Mary

 

Ingredients for two Bespoke cocktails:

 

4 oz. Casa Noble Blanco Tequila

 

8 oz. Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Mix

 

¼ teaspoon Fleur du Sel

 

1 Meyer Lemon, cut into wedges

 

Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters or Angostura

 

http://hoosiermomma.com

 

Preparation:

 

In a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice, add:

 

Casa Noble

 

Hoosier Momma mix

 

Fleur du Sel

 

Shake and strain into a Collins glass with several wedges of Meyer Lemon squeezed inside before adding the ice

 

Finish with a couple drops of the Fee Brothers or Angostura Bitters

 

Garnish with a pinwheel of Meyer Lemon and serve to an appreciative friend who may not know that Casa Noble is only one of three tequila brands that are certified organic by the USDA.

 

 

 

I very rarely review vodka and I even more rarely drink it but imagine my delight when I received a new bottling of vodka from Italy.  The brand is named Punzoné and it is certified organic by the USDA, made with organically grown Italian wheat.  The packaging is gorgeous, tall and frosted in color, in a style reminiscent of Grey Goose or Belvedere or even Chopin.  This is ultra-luxury stuff that calls out for simplicity.  The clear section of the bottle is a visual cut-out in the shape of the Italian country.  Tucked in the back a Tuscan scene of verdant fields and grand homes framed by mountains.  It’s gorgeous looking from a visual perspective.  The neck is tall and narrow in a shape appreciated by bartenders because it’s easy to hold and pour.  I recommend drinking Punzoné with as little as possible.  The aromatics are far too good to cover up with sugary soda or even fruit juices.  This is ultra-sophisticated, ultra-prestigious stuff.  I could never see mixing it with ice cream.  That would just be wrong. Even if you were as wealthy as an oil baron, I’d still drink it simply.

 

My drink exemplifies this desire for simplicity.  I’ve frozen lemon zests into ice cubes made from Mavea filtered water in a Tupperware two quart size.  Then I cut them into cubes and placed them in an Old Fashioned style glass.  As the ice melts, the lemon zest is exposed, gently scenting the vodka with the crisp aromatics of the citrus fruit.  Simple?  Absolutely.  Can you do it at your restaurant or home?  Of course, if you can freeze water, you can make this cocktail.

 

The Punzoné Lemon Cocktail  (will blast the mind of one very thirsty friend)

 

Ingredients for one very intense drink that has all the stuffing…

 

Lemon Zests frozen into a two quart Tupperware container overnight

 

3 oz. Punzoné vodka

 

Several lemon zests

 

Preparation:

 

Rub the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with a lemon zest

 

Add a couple cubes of the lemon zest infused Mavea water filtered ice

 

Add the Italian Vodka

 

Stir lightly

 

Serve immediately!

 

Gin is uniquely geared to the spring season.  I like the idea of gin mixed with the gorgeous Q-Drinks in the Orange flavor.  Made with loving care by my friend Jordan Silbert in New York, this is soda that defies your imagination of soda just as a quick energy drink.  Here is what they use to make this sparkling soda of the highest quality. Q Orange is made from real oranges – Valencia oranges from Florida, Peras from Brazil, and tangerines from Mexico. And only a dash of organic cane sugar.  I’m proud to use in in this cocktail that calls for gin.   I used the Barr Hill Gin from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  Barr Hill is distilled from grain and finished with raw honey.  The health benefits of raw honey are well established.  This is a unique product and it calls out for simplicity and grace when mixed.  In this case I took some oranges and sliced them into thick rounds.  I scored them on a cast iron grill pan to char deep grill marks into them.  Then I placed each orange round at the bottom of a “Rocks” glass.  I added a few hand cut chunks of Mavea filtered “Inspired Water” ice.  Then I added over the ice 2 oz. of the Barr Hill Gin.  Finally I added 3 oz. of the Q-Drinks Orange soda.  That’s it!

 

Orange Inspirational Cocktail

 

Ingredients:

 

2 oz. Barr Hill Gin

 

3 oz. Q-Drinks Orange Soda

 

1 thick slice of orange (grilled deeply)

 

Filtered Water Ice – I recommend the Mavea pitcher to filter my ice…

 

Preparation:

 

Grill the orange round to set deep grill marks, let cool

 

Add several cubes of hand cut ice to a Rocks glass

 

Add the Barr Hill gin

 

Top with Q-Drinks Orange soda

 

Serve with a wedge of lemon or orange (an un-grilled slice, please)

 

Sip and enjoy!