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Gartending: Lil’ Cowboy
Photo: Warren Bobrow, Leica M8
For the Spring and Summer growing season, we bring you a new feature at Beekman 1802, the Soused Gnome. He’ll teach you how to “gartend”–create perfect seasonal cocktails using fresh ingredients from the garden.
Klaus has been visiting farmers markets all over the country for the past month or so. His first adventure was to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, next was to the bread-basket of our nation in Columbus, Ohio. Last weekend he journeyed all the way out to Portland, Oregon to watch me do a presentation on freestyle mixology for the International Food Bloggers Conference held by Foodista.
It certainly stimulated my taste and olfactory senses!
Portland, Oregon is a city of farmers markets. There is a plethora of cocktail friendly ingredients that defy the imagination.
Cherries are in season again out on the left coast. This time the bounty of the garden is in the form of rare white cherries.
White cherries exemplify the gartender’s dream cocktail. When crushed into a cocktail, white cherries are otherworldly on the flavor profile.
Be sure to pit out your cherries before they go into your mixing cup.
We almost never see white cherries on the east coast. Klaus (the Soused Gnome) explains that the cherries flesh is sometimes too tender to travel. He told me that in his home country (Germany) his kinfolk put up sumptuous white cherries in fiery brandy! He goes on to tell me that brandied white cherries are marvelous in a cocktail that includes Denizen Rum, cucumber ice (really!) House Spirits White Dog and freshly squeezed grilled grapefruit juice. The lift for this cocktail is provided by Klaus’s favorite pinpoint seltzer water, the Perrier Sparkling Natural Spring Water. He says that this water reminds him of his youth on the German/French border. I’ve told him that he needs to concentrate on locally sourced ingredients, but he disagrees.
Funny how a drinking gnome can have such an opinion on mixers!
Klaus grew cucumbers this year in the garden. These cucumbers are the European variety (no surprise here) they are seedless. Frozen into the Williams-Sonoma KING ice cube tray (2 inch x 2 inch) the European variety makes for a flavorful augmentation of Klaus’s soon to be infamous cocktail.
I reproduced this drink back in New Jersey with my own home cured cherries. Unfortunately these cherries are red instead of white, but they are delicious all the same. You can reproduce the cherries yourself by pitting out a few pounds of WEST COAST cherries, then covering in the spirit of your choice. Klaus suggests using a light spiced rum or even Apple Jack.
They take a couple of weeks to cure, but Klaus and I both say that the wait is worth it!
I know that after the trip to Oregon, cowboy music plays very well into the re-birth of the West Coast sensibilities that Klaus possesses. His GIANT thirst is only superseded by his ability to drink dozens of (tiny) drinks while roaming the myriad of mixology bars that dot this most interesting of cities.
I created this cocktail “on the fly, free-style” at the IFBC/Freestyle Mixology presentation ‘Lil Cowboy Swing Cocktail (named for Portland, Oregon’s lost cowboy culture)
‘Lil Cowboy Swing Cocktail
(A couple weeks before you make this cocktail “put-up” some home-cured cherries)
Denizen Rum White Rum
House Spirits White Dog (Moonshine) (Oregon Distilled)
Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
Bitter End Thai Bitters
Freshly Squeezed Grilled Grapefruit juice (Slice grapefruit into rounds and sear or grill until charred over charcoal or in a sauté pan) then juice as normal
Home cured Cherries (white if you can find them, red if you cannot)
European cucumber (peeled and sliced into coins for both the ice cubes and the cocktail)
Perrier Sparkling Natural Spring Water
Cucumber water ice- freeze rounds of a European seedless cucumber into an ice cube tray. I recommend the Williams-Sonoma silicone KING CUBE tray- I do a 50/50 blend of freshly juiced cucumber water with filtered water from my Mavea water filtration pitcher (The Mavea pitcher is from Germany- are you surprised?)
for two strikingly powerful cocktails
Muddle several rounds of cucumber with some (pitted) home cured cherries in a mixing cup
Add some regular ice (about a handful)
Add 2 oz White Dog from House Spirits
Add 1 oz Denizen Rum (White Rum)
Add 4 tablespoons of Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
Add 4 oz of your grilled grapefruit juice (essential)
Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake
Add a couple cubes of the homemade cucumber ice to your hand-blown cocktail glass
Double Strain into a tall hand-blown glass filled with cucumber ice
Don’t have a hand-blown glass?? Time is now to connect with your cocktail glass!
What does it mean to double-strain? Pour through 2 strainers to remove all bits of cherry and cucumber and grilled grapefruit juice
Add four drops per cocktail glass of the Bitter End Thai Bitters
Top with the Perrier Natural Sparkling Mineral Water (Essential)
Garnish with either a red or white cherry (your choice)
I’m a real fan of Four Roses Bourbon Whiskey. Directly in front of me is a thick, round shouldered bottle of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey. I especially like the cork finish! Nice touch.
Sure, it’s only 10:00 AM and the heat is rising, the humidity rising and my thirst also rising. If you’ve been following my writing for any length of time, you’ll know that I have a powerful passion for Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth. The label clearly reads “BEST ON THE ROCKS WELL CHILLED.” That my friends calls out to me with a huge smile.
I love my Vermouth mixed into cocktails that include Bourbon Whiskey, served on the rocks with a twist of orange. There is a citrus laced element in this cocktail. Similar to an Old Fashioned where fruit is muddled into the drink, I took the fruit flavors and added a bit of char to them. Char you say? Yes. Oranges are a favored flavor in my Hankshaw Hawkins cocktail. I also like using peaches, primarily because peaches are local and plentiful going forward into the summer months. To char your fruits you must have some kind of fire, or in a pinch a cast iron pan. I like to grill my oranges and peaches over hard wood charcoal. If you don’t have a charcoal grill I suppose you can use that gas thing that you use to cook your dinners outside.
I prefer the flavor of wood smoke in my grilled fruit when using them in a cocktail.
Hankshaw Hawkins Cocktail
A perfectly delicious Fourth of July Cocktail that will tickle your fancy…
Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
Carpano Antica Formula
Grilled Oranges and Peaches – figure a couple rounds of orange and about 3 chunks of grilled peach per person
Ice from the MAVEA Water Pitcher, frozen in an ice cube tray from Williams-Sonoma. I LOVE the KING Tray. The cubes are two inch square and they melt oh so deliciously and slowly.
Fee Brothers Mint Bitters for the ice
Filter some spring water (locally gathered of course) through the MAVEA Water Pitcher System
Pour into the Williams-Sonoma King Ice Cube trays
Add about 5 drops of the Fee Brothers Mint Bitters directly into each water filled tray
Very finely chop some fresh mint (Spearmint, please) to each ice cube and then freeze as normal
Grill several rounds of oranges and chunks of peaches over hard wood charcoal
Let cool then muddle in a Boston Shaker
Add a couple cubes of regular ice to chill the Bourbon and Vermouth down
Add 2 Shots of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
Add 1 Shot of Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
Shake Shake Shake Shake Shake
Strain into a short cocktail glass with the mint infused ice, then garnish with a chunk of grilled peach or grilled orange and a big sprig of fresh mint
Danger Level 3 out of 5. Not too dangerous, yet please drink with caution, a couple of these cocktails in the hot sun can be quite beguiling and then quite dangerous!!
I couldn’t wait for this heatwave to start. Really. All year long I’ve wanted to sweat. That deep down burn that flows through my body. Sweat flowing from my brow into my eyes, my back soaked on the leather seats of my car. Yeah, you know what I’m “talking” about. A real summer heat wave. You cannot escape. It’s everywhere. An egg could be fried on the sidewalk- that kind of heat.
Fortunately I’m here to cool off your frazzled demeanor. What is that look on your face? You don’t believe me?
My good friends you are in luck. I’ve created at this hour of 9:56 am on Thursday a most beguiling of cocktails. One that will, as I like to put it, mystify and challenge even the most robust of imbibers. This one my friends garners a 5 out of 5. Danger Level 5. I’m getting numb just smelling it.
The ice is as important as the rest of the cocktail. I recommend spending about 12 bucks on a silicone ice cube tray from Williams-Sonoma. True there are dozens of other items for sale in the store that I lust over, but for this cocktail, I need a large ice cube that melts- very, very slowly. Ice is one of my favorite topics.
I’m a fan of liquors from the Near East. I mean Greece and Turkey. Raki in Turkey, Ouzo in Greece…
The Moors enjoyed liqueurs and preparations that used anise seeds. In their attempted conquest of the world, the liquors that they enjoyed in turn influenced others cultures and peoples in the world. Hence you find Raki in Turkey, Ouzo in Greece, Pastis in France and… Aquavit from the Scandinavian countries. But what does Aquavit have to do with anise? Is it because anise is a seed and caraway is a seed as well? Sure, it’s a stretch, but in flavor transmittal, a stretch is fantastic.. Anise and Caraway just work together.
Another hidden ingredient, at least in the Near East is Rose Water. The essence of roses can be quite sensual. They stimulate the feelings of eroticism. I love rose in a cocktail, especially the rose simple syrup from Royal Rose. I’ve fallen hard for their syrups, but for the summer- in my opinion, nothing goes better with Tenneyson Absinthe than rose syrup.
Blueberries from Driscoll’s. Organically grown are the base for my cocktail. I’ve taken these absolutely ravishing blueberries and muddled them with some of the Royal Rose simple syrup of roses until they stain the side of the mixing glass with their juices. The aroma of blue along with rose is intoxicating to say the least.
Tenneyson Absinthe, made in France with care is clear as a glass window in the perfume grade, cut glass bottle. But add some seltzer water and the formerly pristine color takes on a shade of cream and blue fruits. The Aquavit from House Spirits in Portland, Oregon is a hidden Umami flavor. You sense it. It’s there.. but soon, very soon you will feel no pain at all.
It’s now 10:32 am. The air is brisk but steadily heating up. Soon the leaves outside will begin to wilt. It’s a true heat wave. I cannot wait to sip this cocktail in the blaze of the summer heat.
You will crave one too. Crave is not even the word I seek. Yearn is better. Hunger. Thirst.
Bitters should finish this cocktail. A punch of depth to center that little third eye in the middle of your forehead. Why the third eye? So you can see. Because with your eyes closed (and they will be soon) you’ll need some way to guide you on your spiritual path to enlightenment. My friend Bill York at Bitter End Bitters makes a perfectly respectable Moroccan Bitters. Woven with the flavors of the Middle East, this salubrious squirt of bitters it more than able to stand up to the task of binding the Absinthe to the Aquavit.
A splash of seltzer water will finish. And keep you from walking into doors.
One cocktail at a time. By my patient hand. Cheers and stay cool if you are able.
Meaning beautiful in Turkish
(with a generous nod of my hat to Joy E. Stocke from the Wild River Review)
Driscoll’s Blueberries- they’re really the best we can get outside of Maine…
Bitter End Bitters
Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Roses
In a cocktail shaker, muddle about 1/4 cup of the Driscoll Blueberries with 2 Tablespoons of Royal Rose simple syrup of Rose until the aroma rises up in the cup, about 10 seconds
Add 1 Shot of Tenneyson Absinthe
Add 1/2 Shot of Krogstad Aquavit
Add four drops of the Bitter End Moroccan Bitters
Shake for exactly 15 seconds and pour into a lovely hand blown rocks glass where 2 LARGE ice cubes are resting, patiently… Add a splash of cooling seltzer and dream.
Posted by Warren Bobrow in Interior Design
It’s been a rather difficult week this week. First of all I have withdrawl. Last week I was in my element. I was correcting the coffee for the thirsty folks at the VIP/ The Daily Basics Mixology tent.
What is corrected coffee? Corrected coffee is coffee with a kick. And I was the man to provide it.
There wasn’t anyone during the entire event at Brimfield who wasn’t offered a corrected coffee. There is something to be said for this kind of mind eraser/mind opener. After all, at 7 or 8 in the morning, when the coffee is hot, there is ample time to correct the cup in your hand, to augment it, make it better, make it stronger, make it dangerous. Make each mug with PASSION!
I know how to do this. After all, I’m the Cocktail Whisperer!
Each recipe will completely twist your mind, your friend’s and perhaps their friend’s as well. But for this exercise, each recipe serves two persons. Danger Level 5 out of 5! (so be careful)
2 mugs of freshly brewed coffee (try to make it yourself. Starbucks doesn’t count)
4 shots of Snap (USDA Certified Organic Ginger Snap Liqueur)
2 shots of Tenneyson Absinthe
1 shot of Fernet Branca
Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters
Freshly whipped cream
Whip your cream, whip it good, I say whip it… (apologies to DEVO)
Add two shots of the Snap into each mug
Add the coffee to each mug
Add four drops of the Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters to each mug
Top with fresh whipped cream. If you have those imitation cans, shame on you!
Sip and try not to drink too quickly, there’s plenty of time to sleep later in the day…
Is the world’s oldest distillery in Scotland? If you said yes, then you are incorrect. The oldest operating distillery is in Ireland.
I’m quite fond of Irish Whiskey. You may note that Irish Whiskey is not spelled Whisky like in Scotland. Irish Whiskey has the addition of the E at the end in a fashion similar to the way Whiskey is spelled in the United States.
Why? I believe through my research that the extra E is meant to discuss a higher quality spirit that those without the E. This was a historic reasoning that had something to do with quality of a specific spirit. I don’t care to discuss the personal history, you can do that yourself. This history pit country against country. It was certainly not inclusive.
Oh, they spell Whisky without the E in Scotland. Whatever. I think that the exclusion or inclusion of the letter E is confusing to the consumer. But like any interesting puzzle the historical reasoning is out there on the web.
Back in the late 80’s I had chance to travel to Ireland for the first time. This lush country, with gorgeous,1000 shades of deep green vistas set against limitless skies. This is where passionate crafts-people, embrace the ancient methods of distillation. The distillation arts in Ireland harkens back to a time when living off the land actually meant something.
I was fortunate to stay in Dublin- a young, raucous city filled with vivid splashes of color and light set against dark skies and brooding classical architecture. It’s a magical place- well geared to intellectuals and also thirsty entrepreneurs. There are authors and artists from all over the world that make their way to Dublin to study, to drink and to make history. You can go into dozens of bars, listen to traditional music and meet poets, dreamers and best of all, drinkers.
The pubs are filled with lads and lassies who come to seek solace in a fine pint of dark and a glass of uisce beatha or water of life. The pubs of Dublin and her denizens make this city go round and round.
I tasted Irish Whiskey for the first time at the historic horseshoe bar at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. I was immediately hooked on the friendly, yet potent sweet water.
Ireland has amazing farmland well suited for growing grain. The soil in Ireland is rich in many of the nutrients necessary to grow grains. Grain just happens to make excellent many alcoholic finished products.
You have a thirsty country, much rain- generally miserable weather in the winter… Made even more lovely with a finished product made from fermented grain.
With grain comes distillation- and with distillation comes Whiskey. Irish Whiskey, is a unique product. It tastes like no other Whiskey in my opinion and it helps me dream. Dream you say? Drinking Irish Whiskey for me- unlocks a liquid history of searching for round-towers and seeking lovely wool sweaters woven in specific ways to identify the wearer. Irish Whiskey is part of the deeper social thread but is easily enjoyable in a lovely Irish Coffee.
I have the ingredients, but it’s just 8:53 in the morning. Not a good time to start drinking when a man has writing to do!
Ireland is no stranger to the craft of distillation as witnessed by Kilbeggan. Their handsome bottle reads 1757. No, this is not a misprint. 1757 is when the distillery was established. And 1757 means that this spirit is from the world’s oldest operating distillery. Not surprising to me. Kilbeggan is a new brand to the United States although by the bottle not so new to the world! Kilbeggan uses a 180 year old pot still. I believe a pot still gives great character to a spirit. There has to be something said to the distillation vessel. It must contain memories of some sort. It’s not just cold metal. It has a soul.
But does this make the spirit within the handsome bottle good? I think so. Please let me tell you about my thoughts.
Open the tall narrow bottle, classically finished in dark lettering over a pale yellow label. There is a hint of maroon and gold highlighting some important facts about the distillery. Several places on the bottle the numbers 1757 appear. The distillery is quite proud of their lineage and heritage.
Open the top and pour a healthy portion into a glass that resonates with you. From very moment that the magical liquid hits the glass I can smell the aroma of honey and hand-scythed grains. There is a bit of smoke way off in the finish, but nothing like drinking Scotch.
The beginning of the mouth-feel is peppery fire from the 80 proof spirit. The aroma of Kilbeggan is haunting and centering in the room. I want to have a taste. It’s soft, creamy in the mouth and quite beguiling on the top of my palate. Flavors of toasted nuts, fleur de sel, caramel and Irish Soda Bread (with extra raisins) predominate.
Add to this a healthy slathering of creamy yellow Irish butter, still warm over the toasted Soda Bread. This tiny slurp of Ireland just goes on and on with a multi-minute finish.
This is very sophisticated stuff. I’m especially enjoying the aroma in the room. Bacon fat, maple syrup and hot tea. Yum!
As a food writer I love to give the literary connections to flavors I’ve tasted in my childhood. This directional ability seems to translate well to the world of spirits writing.
As a cook, I find it interesting, to identify many of the flavor profiles that are available in spirits. Sure they all have brooding alcohol, that’s the point! People drink for pleasure. It tastes good and some even have a kick!
Flavor has everything to do with it.
Irish Whiskey is Irish history in every sip. For me to taste creamy butter melting over a thick slice of freshly toasted Soda Bread is to encourage you to find a bottle of Kilbeggan.
Two Cocktails For Kilbeggan
1. The Sheep in the Road cocktail- meaning that group of sheep don’t appear to be getting out of the road!
Makes two rather lovely cocktails
6 Oz. Irish Breakfast Tea- chilled
4 Shots Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey
Local Honey Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio of Honey to water, heat, then cool. refrigerate)
To a cocktail shaker add the Kilbeggan and the Irish Breakfast Tea
Add 4 Tablespoons of the Honey Simple Syrup
Garnish with a lemon round and a sprig of mint
2. The Cow in the Road Cocktail- meaning, there is a cow in the road up there, watch out!
Makes two cocktails of bewildering strength from the use of warming liquids, you won’t taste the alcohol, so please be careful.
Freshly Whipped Cream flavored with Kilbeggan
Hot Chocolate (your choice)
4 Shots of Kilbeggan
Sugar to taste
Make your hot chocolate and add to pre-heated mugs
Add the Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey
Sip and when the cow jumps over that wall, know that there is a pub just up the way. Someone will come to the pub and tell you to move your car!
2 Shots of Kilbeggan
Glass (preferably clean)
a bit of cool water
Preparation… Moisten your brow with the water, drink the Whiskey and have another
I created this original recipe for Art in the Age out of Philadelphia. My friend Steven Grasse is the lead protagonist of this Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising and Brand Re-invigoration firm. It’s hard to put a finger on what they do best. I just like what they do!
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Philadelphia – August 30, 2011
Bid Farewell to Summer with The Last Pirate Ship
Make a Cocktail with Art in the Age’s Rhuby
Art in the Age’s Root and Snap liqueurs created quite the buzz. Now, the collective is causing another stir with its much-anticipated spirit Rhuby, made of rhubarb, pink peppercorn, petitgrain, and other organic ingredients, based on a Revolutionary era recipe.
According to legend, Benjamin Franklin and botanist John Bartram tinkered with brewing rhubarb tea back in 1771. The boozy variation is now on shelves, just in time for a late-summer libation created by modern-day mixologist Warren Bobrow.
The Last Pirate Ship
2 oz. Rhuby
1 oz. fresh lime juice
Fleur de sel
1 sprig of thyme
1. Combine ice, Rhuby, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker.
2. Toast strawberries in a cast iron pan.
3. Muddle strawberries and add to cocktail shaker.
4. Shake and strain into a rocks glass, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and garnish with a thyme sprig.
Photo: Courtesy of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
There is an easy going congeniality in Charleston, South Carolina.
I lived in Charleston during the 1980’s, started a fresh pasta business, attended Johnson/Wales- cooked and bartended at the Primrose House and Tavern- then left after Hurricane Hugo crashed the party.
I never returned. There were many ghosts that I had to deal with intermixed with feelings about the this town, like no other that I’ve ever lived. My dreams of Charleston from the past have haunted me for years.
It’s that kind of place.
From the dripping Spanish Moss to the whisper soft voices of the way people speak down in Charleston, I’ve felt like it was a part of me for longer than I can imagine.
I drove non-stop from Morristown to Charleston. Food and fuel the only real stops.
This gracious lady of the New South, is as elegant as ever. She has been recreated with pleasure as her first name.
All ravages of Hurricane Hugo have been erased like the rapid progression of the Kudzu vine across the Low Country landscape. Erasing the past in a swath of green.
I discovered a city that had grown up, yet still retains her “village by the sea” appeal and candor.
There is serious food here now and serious drink.
The chefs are filled with a passion for local, fresh, terroir and the brilliant flavor of the ocean. There is something about the nature of the pluff mud, tidal flats that makes the water alive with possibilities.
In a former life I lived in Portland, Maine. Portland was similar in my imagination to Charleston from a perspective of friendly to really great seafood. It’s just freezing there! Too cold for me!
Oysters in South Carolina taste like no where else in the world. They are just about ravishing with a crisp glass of Rum! While in Charleston I was fortunate to snag a mini-bottle of Striped Pig Rum. This is the real thing. I would drink it with a splash of Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water and a slice of Meyer Lemon. Maybe a splash of Sweet Iced Tea- but that would cover up the sublime freshness of Striped Pig. This rum is redolent with the flavor of the place. It’s creamy-has a lovely finish of cane juice to heat to spice. I’m tasting it straight from the mini-bottle. No mixer but air.
This is fabulous Rum. I simply cannot wait to enjoy another cocktail with Todd Weiss, the owner of the Striped Pig distillery. The Gin Joint was, as you said… World class. There’s just something about cocktails down here. Maybe it’s the air, soft and laced with salt.
Here is Todd’s Twitter address: @Dstilld
Oyster Skiff Cocktail
Striped Pig Rum
Perrier Sparkling Water
2 Shots of Striped Pig to a shaker filled 1/2 with ice
1/2 Shot Tenneyson Absinthe
4 Tablespoons of Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Autumn Plum
1 Medicine Dropper full of the Figgy Pudding
Shake and strain into a tall glass with some ice made from Coconut water
Charleston is a place of all kinds of possibilities. They embrace their history and catapult into the future. It’s like a living museum.
The Belmont Lounge is located on a part of King Street that one would not venture to in the 1980’s. Visually I remember a mostly bombed out area, nearly void of soul and life.
You would not want to walk there during the day and at night, well, I never did.
I lived on Charlotte Street and spent Hurricane Hugo in a kitchen house at #29. It was the most frightening thing I’ve ever experienced.
Now upper King Street is buzzing with activity. I must admit that the first time I ventured above Calhoun Street, I was a bit concerned for safety. No more. The Charleston PD don’t just drive the streets, they walk them, bike them and make sure the area is very well observed. I’m impressed.
I wandered in off the street to find a cocktail lounge worthy of New York or even Barcelona. The groove was apparent in the lighting and the screening of “The Big Sleep” in glorious Black and White on the wall. The lighting, low and sensuous- the music not overwhelming. People spend more time talking than using their smart phones. They interact with the extremely congenial bar staff who genuinely have the knack and gift of gab. There is an Italian machine meant for slicing Salumi and a very high quality espresso machine for turning out perfect Irish coffee, topped by a thick mantle of cream. The bartenders are shorn in crisp white shirts with skinny ties. A bright red B for Belmont graces the bottom the tie.
Even the cocktail napkins are emblazoned with the B. Nice touch. I wanted one, but thought it better to ask first. (I didn’t take one)
The salumi is brilliant, the cured pork redolent of fat and smoke, a perfect panini of melted tomato and mozzerella cheese delights! Too much food! Pickled vegetables abound, was that pickled okra? I really must be showing my Yankee inclinations now!
Yes, judging by the bar, I felt right at home.
I met Joey Ryan at the bar. He has an easy-going style and friendly demeanor that is instructional and kind.
He invented a cocktail known as the Off-Duty Bartender. My friend Federico Cuco down in Argentina would be proud of this drink because of the use of Cynar.
I’m reproduced it here with my complements:
Absinthe Rinse (add Absinthe to a glass with ice and water, then pour out.. preferably into my mouth)
2 oz 100 proof Rye I prefer Rittenhouse
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Fernet Branca
3/4 Punt e Mes
Stir ingredients in mixing glass while rocks glass is chilling with Absinthe rinse.
Strain ingredients in chilled glass after discarding ice. add large rock, and top with orange bitters.
The Belmont Lounge
511 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Joey, Hat’s off to you and the Belmont. I could spend much time in your care.
Yesterday I was contemplating Pimms Cup. The addition of lemonade is particularly inviting. I added to the mix by the inclusion of Absinthe. Somehow the very mention of Absinthe makes me think of two places. New Orleans and Charleston. Two very European cities firmly grounded in the United States.
Woolworth’s Lunch Counter Surprise
Sweet Ice Tea
Freshly made seltzer
Add 2 Shots of Pimms to the fresh Lemonade and Sweet Iced Tea
Add 1 Shot of Lucid Absinthe
Top with freshly drawn seltzer
Garnish with a home cured cherry (essential!)
Swing on the porch swing to make the pain go away
Pluff Mud Cocktail
Snap (USDA Certified Ginger Snap Liquor)
Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon
Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters
Make a nice cup of Hot Chocolate
Add 2 Shots of Snap
Add 1 Shot of Knob Creek
Add 3 drops of the Bitter End Bitters
Makes two rather lovely cocktails perfect for a cool night or dessert
Sullivan’s Island Smash
2 Shots of Striped Pig White Rum
1 Shot Cane Syrup
1 Shot Freshly squeezed orange juice
4 ozs. Coconut water (sweetened)
Coconut Water Ice
To a cocktail shaker, fill 1/3 with regular ice
Add Coconut Water
Shake and strain into small rocks glasses with Coconut Water ice cubes
Smash the Coconut Water cubes in a towel for maximum extraction of flavor!
Garnish with fresh mint and freshly scraped nutmeg- ESSENTIAL!!!
All Photography by Warren Bobrow with Leica M8, 50mm Summicron F2
My grandfather, a Yankee like myself, truly enjoyed Bottled in Bond, 100 Proof Bourbon Whiskey. I didn’t know about his passion for Bourbon because he never drank it around me and he never ordered it in a restaurant. Usually he ordered an extra dry Dewers Rob Roy. For many years I only thought he drank Scotch whisky. What I didn’t know at the time was that his true passion was Bourbon.
My grandfather owned his own company and one of the things that people would give him at Christmas time were some very special bottles of Bourbon. These bottles remained hidden from me for many years. After he died I learned from my grandmother that there were several nice looking (from a design perspective anyway) bottles of pre-1960 Bourbon in a hidden compartment of the bar.
She went on to tell me that she was going to pour out the contents (the historic Bourbon) and turn them into flower vases, because the bottles were so pretty. I got over to her home as quickly as I could. She showed me the hidden compartment in the bar. Inside there were several bottles of Bourbon from the 1940’s to the late 1950s. These bottles of Bourbon had rested, in the dark, away from my youthful fingers since he placed them there and forgot about them.
These remaining bottles are a liquid history of the last of my grandfather’s Bourbon collection.
Truth be told, as a “damned” Yankee, I know the true value of these ancient spirits. Not as an investment in dollars, but as a flavor-driven window into my family’s past. The bottles that I hold in my hand are a history of flavor. This is a specific type of history that could never be duplicated today, primarily because the people who crafted the contents of these historic Bourbon bottles are now long gone. The ingredients used today are similar, but the Whisky is different because each sip holds liquid ghosts belonging to the past.
Old Forester “Bottled in Bond” Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. 100 proof. This bottle has been filled and stamped under the provisions of sections 5008 and 5243 of the Internal Revenue code.
Set into wood 1954. Bottled 1959.
A gentle, almost cedar nose gives way to candied orange peel, sweet jasmine flowers and caramelized pecan. The brooding heat burns the tongue. With a texture almost as thick as maple syrup, the freshness and liveliness of this Bourbon hasn’t changed a bit since entering the bottle over fifty years ago. Charred notes of Anson Mills stone ground grits stuck to the bottom of an ancient cast iron pan is the next thing tasted as I rolled a few precious drops around my mouth. The soft, mineral finish goes on and on, revealing itself with another slow burn as if the bottom of the glass was aflame. This Bourbon, when served with a bit of Kentucky Colonel mint from the garden, awakens ghosts from one’s grand-pappy’s generation.
Ancient Age. Date uncertain due to the loss of the tax stamp, estimated somewhere between 1945-1950. Space Age in design, this Mid-Century modern bottle is filled to just over a pint in liquid. Marked straight Bourbon Whiskey. The bottle reads: carefully distilled according to the finest old traditions. 86 proof. Marked Full Six Years old. Distilled and bottled by Ancient Age Distillery Co., Frankfort Kentucky.
Warm aromas of sweetly delineated, hand-hewn oak- remind me immediately that Bourbon Whisky is not Scotch Whiskey or Tennessee sippin’ Whisky. One reason for certain is the lack of smoke, peat and saline in the nose. Normally, I find these flavors to be overpowering. I suppose I just don’t understand Scotch. The nose of this Bourbon Whisky resembles a liquid caramel candy. A burst of fire from the nearly 90 proof alcohol makes itself known then a finish of fleur du sel and freshly cut herbs like thyme and tarragon. This Bourbon, although “only” 86 proof, acts on the palate like one almost double the potency. In fact it resembles in many ways the potency and grip of some un-cut corn whiskies I’ve tasted recently. Each slurp reveals sharply aromatic Asian spices with a razor sharp finish that exposes itself on the back of the tongue; with a nearly 2 minute long finish! This Bourbon tastes nothing like the roughness of the neither 1952 Old Forester, nor does is resemble the overly oaked “modern-style” of the 1955 Old Grand Dad. With a crumbled leaf of Kentucky Colonel spearmint this Bourbon really opens up, revealing its wood-driven flavors as a contender for a (very rare and expensive) mint julep. This Bourbon has all the stuffing for a drink made with its primary ingredient over a half-century old!
Old Forester 1952. Bottled in Bond in 1957. Freshly baked charred- corn “hoe” cakes are smeared with melted, sweet strawberry butter. The first flavors take a bit to get used to. Sweet is usually a flavor more akin to Canadian Whisky or Irish Whisky. Freshly brewed sweet iced tea reveals itself- then flavors of caramel corn and cinnamon laced red-hot candy folded into a mug of boiling hot water, Asian spices and sugar cane lurk in the background. The backbone of alcohol is a sudden wake up call to the throat. It BURNS! A glass of this Bourbon has amazing heat for spirit almost sixty years old! The 1952 taste as lively a drink in the glass as a 2002 bottle of Knob Creek Bourbon! It’s just amazing how little the alcoholic power has diminished over the past half century!
Old Grand Dad “Head of the Bourbon Family” 1955. Set into bottle 1959. Part of a more modern and new style of Bourbon Whiskey, this is a roughly hewn, heavily oaked version of the classic drink. It’s just amazing to me how much Bourbon has evolved during the late 1950’s. The soft almost billowy quality of the Bourbon is ever-present, yet the finish is much sharper, but it lingers on the tongue for several minutes. The 1959 bottling is more akin in many ways to Four Roses or Pappy Van Winkle with an almost lemon oil, citrus tinged mouth-feel. The oils from the cask rise to the surface creating an illusion of a rainbow. Each sip is laced with banana, vanilla bean, toasted corn bread, the char from well- seasoned cast iron pan and brook trout cooked in that pan with a handful of toasted hazelnuts thrown in at the finish. An Amaretto-liqueur nose predominates. The finish is like the first day of golden sunshine, streaming into the windows after a spring thunderstorm. This is serious stuff and it deserves a drop or two of branch water to release its secrets. The next flavors are like authentically seasoned Thai food served Thai spicy. Flavor before heat is the mantra of this Bourbon. A few sips signal the essential drink to take the edge off the afternoon or evening like none of your neighbors have ever imagined or enjoyed.
These bottles are a bit less than ½ full … As much as I want to share them with well- meaning friends, I know that once they’re gone, they can never be replaced.
I’ll be drinking small glasses from these bottles without any mixers from now on. Well, maybe with a few drops of some sweet, local branch water flicked over the surface to connect these liquid history lessons with the flavor driven memories of the past.
3 Responses to “Tasting Notes: Pre-1960 Bourbon”
prufrockOctober 28, 2011 at 9:07 am #
Tuaca- Dark Rum from Atlantico- Angostura Bitters, Grade B Maple Syrup and charred citrus fruits make up this week’s cocktail experience.
The inspiration for this drink came during dinner a few weeks ago at the highly regarded modern American restaurant named Serenade; located in Chatham, NJ.
They prepare a cocktail that’s similar in scope, using sweet vermouth and chopped apples named the Chatham cocktail.
I love it.
In keeping with my twisted cocktail logic, I deepened the version served at Serenade by adding Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth, Tuaca- the savory Mexican Vanilla / Citrus Liqueur, Atlantico Dark Rum, a muddle of chopped, grilled citrus fruits (tangerine, orange, grapefruit) with Grade B (Dark Amber) Maple Syrup and finally a few dashes of Angostura Bitters with a splash of Perrier.
I call this drink the Dripping Spanish Moss Cocktail in reverence to the coming week’s activities.
I’ll be traveling to Charleston, South Carolina to judge the Iron Cocktail Competition at the renowned Charleston Wine and Food Festival.
With regards to the Iron Mixologist competition I will be judging, William Grant & Sons is sponsoring this competition and the back bar will feature their entire portfolio (or most of it). Their master mixologist Charlotte Voisey will be the master of ceremonies. The competition is 3 rounds. The 4 mixologists involved are Charleston locals and were the finalists in the Official Festival Mixologist Competition in January for the Festival featuring Milagro Tequila + Hendrick’s Gin. They are:
Jon Calo of The Cocktail Club
Mick Matricciano of The Belmont (Mick won the competition in January + his cocktail will be featured at the opening night party)
Evan Powell of Fish Restaurant
The first round will have all 4 competing against one another to create a specific themed drink (decided by Charlotte). You and the other judges – Junior Merino, The Liquid Chef and Nicholas Polacchi, The Balvenie – will then narrow the finalists down to 3 who will then go to the next round to create a specific themed cocktail (decided by Charlotte). The second round will continue like the first and the 3rd will be the final two.
The competition is from 4:00 – 5:00 PM on Friday, March 2, 2012 in the culinary village in Marion Square in the Palmetto Cheese Culinary Hub Tent.
If you are anywhere near Charleston, South Carolina on Friday, stop by and introduce yourself.
The Dripping Spanish Moss Cocktail– is named for the surfeit of Spanish Moss that hangs gracefully from the “live oak” trees.
Atlantico Dark Rum
Tuaca Italian Liqueur
Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
Charred Citrus Fruits – combinations are up to you. Sear in a sizzling hot pan until crunchy, then muddled with the Angostura Bitters and Maple Syrup
Grade B (Dark Amber) Maple Syrup
In a sauté pan that is heated to smoking hot, sizzle the citrus fruits until nicely charred and crunchy
Add a couple of chunks of the seared fruits to a cocktail mixing glass
Muddle with a few splashes of Angostura Bitters to release their aroma and juice
Add 2 Tablespoons of Dark Amber Maple Syrup and muddle a bit more
Add 2 shots of the Atlantico Rum
Add ½ Shot of the Tuaca
Add a couple cubes of ice to the cocktail shaker
Shake and strain into a pre-chilled Martini glass
Garnish with a chunk of grilled citrus fruit and finish with a splash of Perrier for spark