To Charles Baxter (DrinkupNY)

Monday, August 11, 2014

To Charles Baxter

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

When I contemplate a refreshing cocktail for the hot weather there should be a cooling element that is included.  Sweat is one of those cooling elements that come to mind, that veneer of moisture on your skin and a bit a air blowing over it gives the impression of coolness.  Or so it should be when it’s hot without air conditioning.

I suppose I don’t like to be overly hot.  That’s why the summer months are a drag for me- but don’t despair!  This drink has some spiciness to it, leading to that sweat on your skin and the final element is so refreshing that you’ll want another one, right after the first one.

I’ve always been fond of day drinking and this hand held cooling system works because it doesn’t contain that much alcohol.  That makes for a few drinks before lunch and a few more in the afternoon.  Of course you can bring up the rear by having them all in the evening, but then you wouldn’t understand why this drink is so pleasurable during the daytime hours.  It requires the sun over your toes to understand why.

Byejoe is a relatively new product from China made from Sorghum.  Sorghum accounts for most of the ingredients in the Dragon Fire version, along with tropical fruits and hot chili peppers for a sweat inducing finish.  That’s good for cooling your body from the inside out.  In typical fashion, I’ve concocted a sort of Shandy for the Byejoe and Doc’s Hard Pear Cider.  They just mix well together, especially with an ounce or two of Royal Rose Saffron Syrup.  I like the exotic element of Saffron along with sparkling cider and the potent finish of the Byejoe Dragon Fire- made of Dragon Fruit and hot chilies.

Combined together, shaken hard and served over crushed ice, this is your new go/to for day-drinking.   Of course you’ll need some freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice to bring this drink a fever pitch of amusement as it slides down your gullet.   And if it isn’t too many steps, may I suggest freezing some of the Pear Cider into your ice cube tray?

This adds a concentration that water ice alone can never do alone.  It needs awareness.   Another way to increase this sense of potency is to add Grapefruit Bitters from The Bitter Truth directly into the ice cube trays made with 50% hard pear cider and 50% water.  I’d use about 10 drops for a standard ice cube tray- more or less as desired.  As the ice melts the drink expands in cooling and strength.

The first time I tasted Byejoe with the Dragon Fruit and hot chilies the depth of flavor more than took me.  This is not your typical flavored vodka nor ill-tempered Moonshine.  What Byejoe is escapes reason because you have never tasted anything like it?  Lucky you!  DrinkupNY carries both varieties of Byejoe, the plain- yet highly flavor driven and the Dragon Fire, redolent of exotic spices and fruit.

Now there are no more excuses to not taste this extremely cooling beverage.  While it’s true that Byejoe is strongly flavored, there are reasons why you’ll fall in love with Byejoe.  First of all it’s different than vodka or gin.  There is nothing like it on the market.  Secondly, Byejoe is extremely well made.  Sorghum, as the main ingredient produces a smoothly textured liquor that rolls over your tongue and makes for a perfectly potent beginning or invigorating end to your day.

The Doc’s Pear Cider is the essential foil against the fire of Byejoe.  The pear element is crisp and thirst quenching.  It makes you thirsty for more!   Saffron lends a sweet and sultry element to the cocktail and the cane sugar syrup base melts across your tongue.  The fizz of the pear cider weaves its way into your dreams and the Byejoe makes it a memory you won’t soon forget.   Tangerine is the last element in this cocktail and perhaps the most essential.  There is something indescribable about Fruitations and the deft hand shown in the citrus world.  Tangerine and Saffron along with hot peppers and dragon fruit with a fizzy pear laced finish?

Say it isn’t so?

Are you ordering a bottle yet?  Yes?  The bitters and the cider too, absolutely.

To Charles Baxter
Ingredients:
2 oz. Byejoe Dragon Fire
3 oz. Doc’s Pear Cider
½ oz. Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Saffron
½ oz. Fruitations Tangerine Soda and Cocktail Syrup
Pear/Grapefruit Bitter Truth Bitters ice… freeze 50/50 with about 10 shakes of Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters over the top
Freshly picked spearmint
Lime pinwheel

Preparation:
Fill a large Old Fashioned glass with ice made from Pear Cider and filtered water frozen together 50/50 blend

To a Boston Shaker, fill ¾ with regular bar ice
Add the Dragon Fire and the Pear Cider (yes it’s sparkling, so shake softly)
Add the Saffron syrup and the Tangerine syrup
Cap and shake gently to combine and cool

Pour over the infused ice and garnish with fresh mint and a lime pinwheel.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

 

My second book, Whiskey Cocktails is now in pre-sale!  click for more information!  Thank You!

 

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!

Mother’s Day Cocktail: Beekman 1802 and Klaus the Soused Gnome

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Is your mom sweet like honey?  Warm and comforting like a cup of tea?  Or even a little spicey?  Klaus has never met his own mother, but that doesn’t stop him from celebrating all the moms in his life.

So he’s concocted a cocktail for all moms–no matter what shape or form they come in.

Springtime brings flavor into the equation because after the long winter we had, all Klaus wants is simplicity and flavor.

So what does Klaus want?

Fabulous Rio Red Grapefruit syrup, grenadine, Barr Hill Gin, Tenneyson Absinthe and Bitter End Thai Bitters???

Bitter End Bitters out in Santa Fe, New Mexico makes Thai Bitters that are like delving into a bowl of Thai Chilies. There is that heat element that is for certain…But then there are the flavors that open up, drop-by-concentrated-drop in a cocktail. I’ve tasted dozens of bitters and there really is nothing on the market that has the character of the Bitter End. Don’t get me wrong, I love bitters and could wax poetic for hours using them in my drinks. Bitters are just about the best thing for a hangover, according to Klaus. He knows.

Fruitations from Massachusetts are a most gorgeously concentrated, pure fruit syrups that are just exceptional in any kind of cocktail or mocktail. I just go gaga over the grapefruit syrup because it is like tucking into a juicy, ripe grapefruit. Less is more with this high quality syrup. You don’t have to use much, it’s that good!

A hit of Tenneyson Absinthe Royale is necessary. Try it and you’ll know why. It’s a secret otherwise!

Klaus’s Mother’s Day cocktail

(for two)

FIRST,  make a pot of Beekman 1802 Mercantile Blend tea – please serve it steaming hot to warm you deeply before, cooling yourself with this spring cocktail.

Ingredients:

4 oz. Barr Hill Gin, made from Raw Honey and grain with juniper berries

½ oz. Tenneyson Absinthe Royale

2 oz. Grenadine

6 oz. Fruitations Rio Red Grapefruit Cocktail and Soda Syrup

Preparation:

Pour yourself a cup of Beekman 1802 tea and while you enjoy the smoky demeanor of this very elegant tea

In a Boston Shaker, fill ¾ with bar ice

Pour over the Barr Hill Gin

Add the Grenadine

Add the Fruitations Rio Red Grapefruit cocktail and soda syrup

Cap and shake hard for 15 seconds

Pour into a Collins Glass with several hand cut ice cubes

Drip four drops of the Bitter End Thai bitters over the top. If this is too spicy, cut back to two drops

CHEERS TO WHATEVER PERSON IN YOUR LIFE YOU CALL ‘MOM’!

Sæmundur: The Knowledgeable- DrinkupNY

Sæmundur: The Knowledgeable 

TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2014

Sæmundur: The Knowledgeable

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I was poking around in the liquor cabinet the other day finding some nearly forgotten gems like the American Fruits Sour Cherry Cordial that was lurking in the periphery.  I hadn’t worked with this fabulous, flavor packed product in some time and upon discovering the slender bottle hiding behind some Rhum Agricole– it brought an immediate smile to my face.  I smiled because the tart, sumptuous flavors encapsulated in the bottle would be “just what the doctor ordered” for the combination of sweet to the savory in my glass.

Usually I serve the Sour Cherry Cordial over crushed ice with a mint simple syrup and seltzer but today I’ve discovered something altogether unexpected.  Today is different because of the product named Aquavit.

What is Aquavit?  Aside from the literal translation of Aqua Vit or water of life, Aquavit is distilled from either grain or potatoes and the predominant flavor is that of caraway seeds along with lemon peel, fennel cardamom, cumin, anise and other fruit oils depending on the region and style desired.  Some Aquavit is aged in the barrel but most Aquavit is bottled after blending down to 40% ABV.

It is still a very potent slurp.

I chose Brennivin Icelandic Aquavit because it is from Iceland.  Icelandic water is one of the purest sources of water on the planet.  Martin Miller Gin is also made with this soft, lightly mineral water source.

I think that the spirits that use Icelandic water are absolutely smashing and you should taste them just as soon as you are able.
When you mix this grain and potato based Aquavit with Sour Cherry Cordial everything tastes better around you.  Especially if you are eating foods like pickled herring or smoked salmon, Aquavit is just a natural with the sugar, salt and spicy flavors from the northern part of Europe.

You see, foods from the Scandinavian countries are just perfectly pared with Aquavit and strangely enough with American Sour Cherry Cordial.

This combination of flavors reminds me of a visit to Amsterdam about twenty years ago.  I was just mesmerized by Belgian beer; especially the tart varieties of Cherry infused Lambic Ales.  I’ve grown to crave the warm aromatics of aged cherries in my glass and on the plate.  There is nothing more alluring than a roasted pork loin cooked with sour cherries or a medallion of Brook Trout enrobed in brown butter, hazelnuts and finished with Lambic-soaked cherry flavored Ale.

Mixing Sour Cherries and Aquavit is perhaps the most interesting recipe in my current toolkit of cocktail whisperer inspired recipes.  Aquavit was certainly used as a curative in the early apothecary so it becomes an essential ingredient in the struggle to determine the fine line of good health over intoxication!

I say drink what you like and all will be well.

The American Fruits Sour Cherry Cordial makes for a perfect “Day Drink” because you can decide exactly how mind numbing you want this cocktail to be. If you want to numb your entire body, use more Aquavit.  If you want a perfectly lovely day drink, use more Sour Cherry Cordial and some more mint simple syrup.  Whichever way you choose to make it, I offer the stronger of the two ways for your perusal and hopefully your whole-hearted approval.

Sæmundur: The Knowledgeable
You can make this strong like an Icelandic warrior.
This is the way that I think you should have it.

Ingredients:
2 oz.  Brennivin Icelandic Aquavit
½ oz. American Fruits Sour Cherry Cordial
1 oz. Mint Simple Syrup
1 oz. seltzer water
Lemon Bitters from Bitter Truth
Hand cut ice (essential!)

Prep:
To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with bar ice, add the Aquavit, the Sour Cherry Cordial and the mint simple syrup

Shake hard for 15 seconds
Pour over the hand cut ice into a tall Collins glass
Add a splash of seltzer water and 2-3 drops of the lemon bitters
Garnish with a sour cherry pierced by a long straw

Mint Simple Syrup:
(Crush 1-cup spearmint and add to 1 cup Demerara Sugar and 1 cup spring water, bring to a simmer in a non reactive saucepan for at least 20 minutes and reduce to desired thickness, strain out the mint with a cheesecloth. Reduce some more for extra good luck in battle)

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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

Heart of Darkness Swizzle

TUESDAY, MAY 20, 2014

The Heart of Darkness Swizzle

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail WhispererI remember vividly the first time that I tasted the unmistakable flavor of Thai food.  It just was electrifying.  The flavors were intensely spicy and they crackled over my tongue in a way that Americanized Chinese food was incapable of doing.

I was living out in California in Venice Beach and seemingly overnight a new wave of brightly flavored and textured cooking erupted on the scene.  The usually gloppy, overly sweetened and excessively oily pan-Asian style foods were suddenly replaced by crisp, aromatic and intensely spicy flavors that I’d never experienced prior.  This occurred around 1980 so the phrase “California Cuisine” had not been invented yet.  But Thai food had just arrived on the West Coast and it blew open my palate like nothing ever had prior.

What I enjoy most about Thai food is the depth of the spice, the clarity of the heat and the intense simplicity of the spices and herbs used in the cooking.

One strikingly potent ingredient is called the Kaffir Lime leaf.  This leaf, used in Thai and Laotian curry pastes gives foods an sour, astringent and bitter flavor that works perfectly against the sweeter elements of palm sugar and the heat of the spices.

I love Kaffir Lime leaf in my food and my drink.  Sometimes I cut a Kaffir Lime leaf in half and drop it into a glass of seltzer water.  It’s drinking a trip to Thailand without the expensive plane ticket.

This would stand to reason from my passion for spicy Thai food, that I would enjoy Kaffir Lime leaf in my vodka as well.   Not an insipidly sweet chemical plant, processed liqueur, but a richly flavored, lush and intensely elegant vodka that is remarkably restrained and aromatic.  Hanger 1 is producing something so unusual that I would say safely that I’ve tasted nothing so mesmeric in my life- other than Thai curry.  And I’ve just learned that the Kaffir Lime leaf when sprayed on a bug makes an excellent insecticide.  But I don’t recommend rooting out bugs infestations with such rare and lovely vodka.

What I recommend doing with it is mixing with it!

Recently I received a gorgeous bottle of vermouth from Italy by way of a friend in NYC.  Carpano Bianco is
the name of the vermouth.  If you love the traditionally red Carpano Antica Formula and couldn’t imagine using anything else in a Negroni, please indulge my sense of balance in a cocktail.  You should try the new Bianco (white) version.  Carpano Bianco is opulent across the tongue, velvety and packed full of aromatic herbs, secret spices and roots.  In a tip of the hat to the Negroni cocktail, I would suggest using the Bianco, instead of the deeply red colored Antica for a lighter, change of pace.  To describe the opulence of Carpano you must first throw out those bottle of vermouth that are over a few years old.  You haven’t been refrigerating them?  Shame! Do you store them in a cool cellar? No???

If you have been stashing your vermouth on top of the fridge or in a hot closet- throw your bottles out immediately!  Vermouth needs care- not too much care, but it should be treated like Port or Sherry.  (Both fortified wines)  Eventually vermouth will turn vinegary and will fail to please you- and that’s the rub because most people are still drinking the less expensive brands that start off sour or vinegary, like Martini and Rossi or Cinzano.  These are industrial brands with venerable, historic names- that’s about it.  So if vermouth has injected a bad taste in your cocktail- it is not necessarily the quality that is bringing your drink down, it’s because your vermouth has soured!

As with all great things in life, the quality of a product is not necessarily dictated by the price, but I do think an artisanal product such as Carpano is not going to come inexpensively.  That is a fact of life in a consumer driven society.  Where there is high demand and limited supply comes price and Carpano Bianco is not inexpensive.  But what you have of it is truly gorgeous and you need to buy a bottle from DrinkupNY and try it with the Hanger 1 Kaffir Lime leaf vodka.

To make this cocktail really sing, I stumbled across a bottle of Bitter Truth Grapefruit bitters.  To me, the addition of the unrestrainedly bitter oils of the grapefruit zest encapsulated in the bitters, added to this craft cocktail with both Carpano Bianco and Hanger 1 Kaffir Lime leaf just says the heart of darkness.

Mysterious, beguiling and very sensual is just the beginning of this drink that I call, the Heart of Darkness Swizzle.

(You do have a Swizzle Stick, right?)

The Heart of Darkness Swizzle

Ingredients:
2 oz. Hanger 1 Kaffir Lime leaf Vodka
½ oz. Carpano Bianco Vermouth
2-3 shakes Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
1 oz. Seltzer Water
Fresh mint

Prep:
Add all ingredients except for your seltzer- to a tall Collins glass with crushed ice
Insert the Swizzle Stick and move it between your palms and with an up and down motion- like a Mixmaster Blender!

Add the seltzer and the bitters with a bit more ice and garnish with the mint…

YUM and simple!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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

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 

Ingredients:
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)

Preparation:
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!

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Ice, Ice Baby

By:

 

 

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!

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 !!!

http://www.behance.net/gallery/Apothecary-Cocktails/11972133

 

What a nice surprise!!!

The Vincent Price Affair (originally published on DrinkUPNY)

The Vincent Price Affair

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Rum, rum everywhere and there are many, many drops to drink. This describes my liquor cabinet to a T. After the recent heat wave and now a pending flood from above, it made sense to me to create a cocktail that speaks to the season between spring and summer.

The basic premise of rum punches – a drink that harkens back to the very basis of cocktailian history in a glass (or a punch bowl) – creates real thirst in my mind. Of course if you are reading this piece in the morning, you may want to know how I’m so full of spark and pepper at 10:00AM. The reason is simple. A well-made punch offers enlightenment and boggles the mind with simplicity. Each small sip, be it at breakfast or lunch or even in the heat of the afternoon grounds your punch with all others that came to the table prior.

So I’ve been working with punch, not as a mere metaphor for drunkenness, (because anyone who knows me realizes that I don’t like to get drunk) but I enjoy the visceral pleasure of making my drinks for others rather strong. It’s up to you my friends to drink fewer of them. I’ve long held the belief that you should drink stronger and better, but drink in moderation. I think that responsible drinking is that razors edge between losing one’s mind and having a good time.

As with all of my cocktails – they are specifically designed with flavor in mind. This drink is frothy and juicy. It has haunting elements that remind me of being down in the British Virgin Islands on my family yacht. Creating impossibly delicious concoctions using the best rum that money could buy. If you doubt this, take a trip down to Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke. You can easily get lost in the rows upon rows of rum. Or if you are part of the social set, find yourself in St. Barth and discover Rhum Agricole again for the first time. My favorite memory was on the island of Saba, long known to make very special spiced rums. Or was it the bottle of J. Bally offered to me poured into a frozen coconut and the additional scraping of nutmeg? Ah the memories flow from my brain along with the dreams of being in the islands.

The Vincent Price Affair Cocktail is a recreation of a sailing trip from Anegada to Virgin Gorda. You can spend hours of your day in paradise sailing across the water just like the pirates did centuries prior. All you need is the right cocktail clasped in your hand to cool your sweaty brow. This one starts off on your lips in a very perplexing manner. After a moment you realize that the cocktail is most delicious and beguiling. Immediately to follow, you come to the realization that this drink is just gorgeous as it slips down your throat, the Mavea “Inspired Water” ice that has been infused with The Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole Bitters adding depth, with a healthy portion of Plantation Grand Reserve Barbados Rum. Then you add to this mixture a mere splash of Luxardo Marachino Liqueur enlivening the mix. Into your mixing glass you would now add a small dose of freshly squeezed (essential) lime, lemon and orange juices, along with sweet coconut milk. The drink is shaken briskly with regular bar ice (save the infused ice for the cocktail) and then finished with a couple splashes of the marvelously elegant (and very French) Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink Grapefruit essence for a smack-across-your-lips punch of citrusy goodness. A scraping of fresh nutmeg makes this drink historic in nature. Will this heal the pain of being in paradise, sailing an impossibly fast yacht across the broad, rolling sea?

I must warn you. This is a veritable mind eraser. Be very careful if you are drinking this in the hot sun or your backyard pool.

The Vincent Price Affair

Pre-exercise… Freeze about 10-15 shakes of the The Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole Bitters into a plastic tray filled with “Mavea- Inspired Water” (freezes nearly crystal clear). Freeze this overnight to ensure a firm cube. You can hand cut the cubes to your desired shapes.

Ingredients for 2 cocktails:

• 3 oz. Plantation Barbados Rum
• ½ oz. Luxardo Marachino Liqueur
• ¼ each, freshly squeezed orange, lime and lemon juices
• ½ Coconut Cream (sweetened)
• 1 oz. (in each drink) Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (Pink Grapefruit)
• Mavea “Inspired Water” The Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole Bitters-infused ice
• Freshly scraped nutmeg

Preparation:
1. Add all liquid ingredients EXCEPT for the Mavea ice and the Perrier to a Boston Shaker with regular bar ice to chill.
2. Shake for 15 seconds.
3. Add one hand cut Xocolatl Mole-infused ice cube to each Collins glass.
4. Pour the punch over the bitters-infused ice.
5. Add about an ounce of the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water over the top.
6. Scrape some fresh nutmeg to finish.

MIND ERASER!!!!!!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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