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’!

Beekman 1802 ICE!

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Ice, Ice Baby

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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!

Gartending for the Beekman 1802 Boys! Klaus the Soused Gnome @klausgnome on Twitter

Gartending: Freshly Minted

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Gin is in for early spring!  Oh, please don’t get me wrong; it’s early spring- even though it doesn’t feel like it outside.  Klaus is most concerned about the tasty mint out in the garden.  Will the cold damage the mint?  Let’s ask the mint!

Klaus:  “Will you get frost burned?”

Mint:  “Yes”

Klaus: “What would you like to do about this?”

Mint: “Pick me and add me to a cocktail with this marvelous ginger ale I just found.”

So there it is.  Klaus is determined to have a drink with the mint BEFORE it gets frost bitten.  And how will he do that?  By picking the mint just as it comes up out of the ground……

Klaus is getting ready for a lovely season of “gar-tending.”  You know, making drinks from the garden.  Mint is one of the first things to come up out of the ground and one of the last things that remain after the other herbs and vegetables have gone for the season.  Freshly picked mint is aromatic and enticing.  The oils from the mint stick to Klaus’s little ceramic fingers and some of the bits of mint get stuck in his ceramic beard.  There is not nearly enough mint for a batch of mint jelly, but more than enough for a few cocktails.

Klaus is extra thirsty this morning for something more than his usual cup of coffee.  He received a few bottles of the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale in the mail yesterday.  This is not your usual ginger ale made with corn syrup (Ew!)or other artificial ingredients.  Bruce Cost makes his aromatic, ginger ale with real flavor!  What makes the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale so amazing is the unfiltered nature of this product.  There is stuff floating all around the inside of the bottle! With handcrafted flavors such as their aromatic Original Ginger, Jasmine Tea, Pomegranate with Hibiscus (my favorite) and Passion Fruit with Yellow Ginger (Turmeric).

Klaus has found the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale as a worthy recipient to his cocktailian exploits!  And with a small producer, Vermont sourced, handmade gin made with raw honey?  It’s practically otherworldly!

Sitting in front of Klaus (and me) is a bottle of the extremely small producer and exotic, Barr Hill Gin from Vermont. It is distilled with raw honey.

Why is this important?  Because of the healing nature and energy of honey!  The flavor profile is sweet, toasty grains in the background, juniper in the foreground and honey swirling all around, binding the front to the middle to the back of your mouth.  For anyone who says they enjoy honey- they probably have never had real honey.  Raw honey is never boiled and it is never cut with water to dilute the powerful healing elements of this truly artisan product.  Raw honey is rich in antioxidants too!

Barr Hill Gin (or their salubrious Vodka), might as well be made with care by gnomes!   Klaus?  Did you make the Barr Hill?  Klaus?

Oh, he’s wondered off again.  Probably looking for a party or a cocktail.  Or a little bit of both.

 

 

 

 

Klaus’s 60’s Dream Parade Cocktail

 

 

Ingredients:

2 oz. Barr Hill Gin (Distilled from Raw Honey in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont)

.25 Darjeeling Dark Tea (as a wash) in each glass

6 oz. Bruce Cost Unfiltered Fresh Ginger- Ginger Ale – Pomegranate with Hibiscus Soda

4 drops Bitter End Moroccan bitters

Orange Zest

Fresh mint (Klaus uses Kentucky Colonel variety)

 

 

Preparation:

Wash the tea around the inside of your glass

Rub the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with the orange zest

Rub with the fresh mint

Add one large cube of ice- preferably filtered through a Mavea “Inspired Water” filter. (The final resulting ice turns out nearly crystal clear! It makes a great presentation in your glass)

Add the Barr Hill Gin right over the top of the large cube

I use a silicone 2 x 2 tray for my ice cubes

Top with a measure of the Bruce Cost Ginger/Pomegranate-Hibiscus (ginger ale) soda

Garnish with about four drops of the Bitter End Moroccan bitters and a twirl of orange.

Klaus would want you to have a couple and should you want to be really bad, he’ll join you for another before it’s time to break out the Fernet Branca.

  Cheers!