From Liquor.com and DrinkupNY.com (The Negroni as illustrated)

The Negroni.. As Illustrated…

From Cocktail Whisperer on Dec 31, 2013

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Friday, May 17, 2013

The Negroni

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Negroni Cocktail

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

Preparation:

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

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

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

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

– See more at: http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/the-negroni-as-illustrated#sthash.na0iK3hA.HuSc6QGl.dpuf

Booze and Books at Tuthilltown, August 28, 2014

Booze & Books- Warren Bobrow August 28th, 2014

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Join us at Tuthillhouse at the Mill Restaurant for our inaugural Booze & Books Event with Guest of Honor, Warren Bobrow. We will eat and sip our way through his book, Apothecary Cocktails, with four unique drinks paired with appetizers prepared by our new Chef, Jared Krom of the Culinary institute of America. As Author, Mixologist, and Orator, Warren with read from the book, discuss his drinks and their history, and lead a fun and delicious pairing with Chef Krom. Book signing to follow.

 

What’s Your Call To Action?

THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2014  From DrinkUpNY 

What’s Your Call to Action?

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

As we move headlong into the late summer months the reflection of dark liquors across our palates make a stunning resurgence.  But we call out for new flavors with the waning days of the month and these flavors signify change.  Cooler nights signify the shortening of daylight, a traditional trigger point for my palate to move over to darker liquors.  One such liquor that I really have been enjoying as of late is Templeton Rye.  Said to have been the favorite of a renowned gangster during Prohibition, this recreation of “the good stuff” is perfectly delicious when mixed.  Templeton is a high rye whiskey.  It’s well over the required 51% rye grain so the flavor is quite peppery from the rye.  It is said that you can plant a field of rye with what fits in your pocket.  (Unless your pocket has a hole in it!)That is why rye was so popular in the early days of our nation.  It is easy to transport and even easier to distill with very basic resources available.  The heartier flavor of rye, especially Templeton Rye makes for a robust drink with the zippy and spicy cinnamon notes along with pain grille and wet stones.This may not appeal to everyone, just like not everyone enjoys rye bread.  The same holds true for rye whiskey.

Templeton Rye works so well with assertive ingredients like freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice.  There really is no excuse not to use the best ingredients possible at all times.  For anyone who has ever suffered and barely tolerated themselves through a screwdriver made with orange juice from concentrate would attest, fresh makes much more interest.  Using fresh juices will keep your friends coming back for more.

Not a bad thing to have happen!

I recently used the Templeton Rye in a twist on the Whiskey Punch with both freshly squeezed orange and lemon juices.

Through research for another article, I was able to source out some handmade shrub syrups from different producers around the country.  One of these, a vividly flavored strawberry, black pepper and balsamic shrub handmade by “Shrub Drinks” in Texas, added some unexpected nerve to my traditional punch recipe.  Something marvelous happens when you mix sumptuously textured fruits and sugar with balsamic vinegar and a healthy dose of freshly cracked black pepper.   Shrub Drinks also makes other concoctions like the tomatillo and lime and serrano shrub that just screams out for Mezcal.  I haven’t tasted my way through their line, but the strawberry, balsamic and black pepper is just otherworldly in the presence of fresh juices and the Templeton Rye whiskey.

I suppose that a sizzling hot sandwich is in order as well.  Make mine a Rueben.  Make it on rye with plenty of freshly sliced pastrami and spicy mustard along with the Russian dressing and crunchy sauerkraut.  This is the kind of food that screams out for Templeton Rye whiskey!

Punch is a most misunderstood beast.  You have to make drinks that go into a punch bowl with balance.  No single ingredient can overtake another.  They need to work together in harmony.  That’s why shrubs are so important in the punch bowl.  The discovery of the product, Shrub Drinks makes my life really easy!

You really don’t have to try to hard to make professional quality drinks at home with the best ingredients possible.

First of all squeeze your citrus juices just before you use them.  Then keep them cool, but not cold- don’t
add ice to them, but you can sit them on ice.  I find it a best practice to add the spirits in last, and then only ½ as much as you think you are going to use, tasting the punch and adding more as needed.  You cannot subtract from the beginning forward or add more fruit juices if you have none left.  That is why it’s essential to add the spirits slowly and taste often for balance.  I always start with the juices and the syrups first, get their flavors right- and then add the spirits.  It’s just how I do it.  Ice is also a going concern for a well-crafted punch.  You may find it helpful to go to a restaurant supply house and buy a stainless steel insert.  Ask, they’ll know what you’re talking about.  An insert fits in a cold-line table.  They are roughly 6 inches by 9 inches and at least 10 inches deep.  This is the best way that I know to make blocks of ice in your freezer.  The stainless steel will not taste like everything in the freezer, nor will it give off any bad flavors like plastic does.  So use stainless steel!

A twist on the term plain ice would be to add some Bitter Truth Creole Bitters to the ice, for flavor and for color as the ice melts.  Adding flavor and color is a fun idea to add a bit of spark to the final equation.

Since this is a rye whiskey based punch-style drink, just multiply the final number of ingredients by the number of people you are serving.  This recipe is for two persons.  You don’t have to make so much ice, but it’s nice to know how to if needed so you won’t have to go out and buy supermarket ice.

What’s Your Call to Action?
Ingredients: 
4 oz. Templeton Rye Whiskey
3 oz. Shrub Drinks: Strawberry, Balsamic and Black Pepper Shrub
2 oz. Freshly squeezed Orange Juice
1 oz. Freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
2 oz. (in each glass) Seltzer Water
2 Shakes (in each glass) Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Long Orange Twist
Mint Sprig for spark!

Preparation:
To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice
Add the Templeton Rye
Add the citrus juices

Add the Shrub Drinks: Strawberry, Balsamic and Black Pepper Shrub
Cap and Shake hard for 10 secondsStrain into a Collins Glass with a few cubes of nice clean ice
Add some Seltzer over the top
Dot with the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Garnish with a long orange twist and mint sprig

 

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!  Warren’s forthcoming second book, Whiskey Cocktails is now in pre-sell from Fair Winds Press. His third book, named Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails will be released in Spring 2015.

 

 

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!

Drink Up NY…

An Ardent Dreamer Cocktail

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail WhispererI’m thrilled when a bartender knows what I’m talking about when I ask for Aperol.  Usually I receive a blank stare or worse- a nod towards Campari or some other red colored aperitif.

Not that Campari is bad, far from- it’s just much different than Aperol.

First of all, Aperol has less alcohol than Campari, making it the perfect summer quaff at about 12% by volume for Aperol, instead of the 25% of Campari.

Campari is more assertively flavored- making Aperol a lighter approach to the term bitter aperitif.  You see, bitter is a good thing.  Aperol is made up of licorice, fennel, aniseed, popular buds, bitter clover, wormwood, valerian, gentian, bitter orange, cinchona bark and rhubarb.

The ingredients in Campari are similar- but secret and this article is not about Campari, but it is about Aperol!   Made by the same company as Campari, Aperol is altogether different.  First of all there is more sugar in Aperol, although the drinker may not recognize the sweetness in the drink, because the bitter herbs balance the sweetness.  I am a huge fan of Aperol and I use it often in my refreshing summer cocktails.

Greenhook Ginsmiths is located in Greenpoint, NY. I love what they have achieved in the gin world by the quality of their ingredients.  Brothers, Stephen and Philip DeAngelo have revolutionized the old fashioned technique of making gin.  They use a low temperature vacuum to remove all the excess air from the distillation process allowing for a more gentle approach to the finished product.

I’m not a scientist, but I will say that the vacuum distillation makes a softer gin- less harsh and definitely not cloying.  I remember meeting the brothers a couple years ago at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and I immediately became an ardent supporter of their craft.

Freshly squeezed juices are a necessity in my cocktails and in my day-to-day drinking pleasure.  There really is no excuse to use concentrated fruit juices or powdered juices in cocktails.  My drinks NEVER call for bottled orange, lemon, grapefruit or lime.  It’s just not done!  You should always make every attempt at using the very best ingredients that you can find for your drinks- after all it’s your money!  Why cover up great liquor with artificial ingredients?  Even the 900-pound gorilla, Tropicana juice is pasteurized, giving your cocktail a flat, listless experience.  You may not notice- and that’s ok… BUT, when you are making something that speaks of quality, why use juices that may have been extracted months in advance of your enjoyment, then?

Beats me.  That’s why the fresh juice movement in craft cocktails is so essential to the overall approach to making fresh drinks with the best ingredients you can get.

I always ask if a cocktail lounge is using fresh juices and if they don’t- I usually don’t stay- or I order something plain.  It’s just that simple, there are no excuses to use less than stellar ingredients.  I’d gladly pay more; just give me the chance to do so!

An Ardent Dreamer
Ingredients:
2 oz. Greenhook Ginsmiths Gin
1 oz. Aperol
½ oz. freshly squeezed orange
½ oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit
¼ oz. freshly squeezed lemon
¼ oz. freshly squeezed lime
Splash of seltzer
Old Fashioned glass
Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

Preparation:
Add the juices and the Greenhook Gin with the Aperol to a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice
Shake hard for 15 seconds or so
Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with a couple cubes of hand cut or hand made ice (silicone tray with double boiled spring water, overnight)
Top with the seltzer and a couple drops of the Bitter Truth Grapefruit bitters for a flourish!

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!

Hubbery Devrey Cardigan Cocktail

 My first book, Apothecary Cocktails has been nominated for a Spirited Award for the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail!

 

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail WhispererAtxa Vermouth Tinto, Eden Orleans and Gabriel Boudier Saffron Infused Gin make for a Negroni of otherworldly flavors and textures.But first of all, what is a Negroni?  Well, the historic reference for drinking them dates back to the mid-1970’s.  I was on yet another trip to Italy, along with my parents.  It was an upbringing that you cannot read in a book, nor watch on television.  Movies only offer snippets of recreated European travel, so the only way to really understand Europe is to go there and whatever you do, don’t take a tour-bus.  You might as well eat all your meals at Americanized fast food restaurants because to experience Europe you must eat and drink like a European.  Just my opinion.My parents never begrudged me the occasional beer or glass of wine either with our meals.  I think they thought that I’d be less likely to abuse alcohol if it was around all the time.  Of all the things I disagree with, in regard to their style of child rearing, this was the only one that made perfect sense.To this day I look at Day Drinking as the only time I really enjoy a cocktail.  I suppose it dates back to being in Europe as a boy and drinking every day!The Negroni was not necessarily something that I would order in a restaurant, but I do remember vividly the first time I saw one.  We were in Rome, staying at the Hotel Hassler at the top of the Spanish Steps.  Lining the steps were cafés, really no more than a couple of stand up tables with stand up guys and their girls sipping vivid red short cocktails.  After a couple of these potent drinks everyone becomes like actors in a Black and White Fellini movie.  That is what Rome represents to me, even to this day.  If you close your eyes when visiting Rome and open them on the Spanish Steps – well, you’ll see what I mean.  The light hasn’t changed although seeing the world in color is much different than in Black and White in the Fellini films.

Back to the Negroni. Count Negroni as legend has it was rather fond of the cocktail known as the Americano (Campari and Vermouth with soda water). Being a nobleman with either a stomach ache or a drinking problem – or both…, he asked his bartender to change the cocktail and remove the fizzy water in favor of a large dose of gin.

As it turns out to fans of the classics, and with history being my guide, this drink of Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Gin- to present day is still named the Negroni.

I’m certainly not calling my drink a Negroni, but what I will call it is the Hubbery Devrey Cardigan, named after a character in Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  It’s a silly name for a very grown-up sense of humor, dispensed sip-by-sip.

In this case on ordering a Negroni, while walking up (or down) the Spanish Steps, your typical combination of Campari, Sweet Vermouth (often of a dubious origin) and gin (is that gin or rockgut?) is poured down the throats of thirsty tourists in bars that line the broad Spanish Steps in Rome.

May I propose something completely different in this case.  Being someone who is not a Nobleman, well this does create certain difficulties when working with venerable cocktails such as the Negroni.  Please hear me out on this; I think the finish is brilliant and very, very fresh.  And modern.  And fascicle.  Because life is meant to be all things, bitter, sweet and strange.

I’ve been drinking Spanish Vermouth as of late.  These are brilliant efforts are made with some of the most expressive base wines available from Spain- and only in miniscule quantities.  Spanish Vermouth is certainly a gourmet’s pleasure.

Atxa Vermouth Tinto is from the Basque Region of Spain.  It is a lovely sipping Vermouth, bursting with flavors of citrus and tobacco.  I love it in a Negroni, especially one of a different stripe like the Hubbery Devrey Cardigan Negroni.

Next in this philosophically incorrect version of the classic Negroni I’ve included Orleans Bitter Aperitif Cider infused with red currant and bitters, I know already that your ears have perked up and the word bitter may connote something else entirely.  Whatever your idea is about Campari, may I please suggest substituting the Orleans Bitter with red currant and bitter herbs instead? Thank you.

And now in a tip of the hat to the alchemists who discovered that saffron really is worth muchGabriel Boudier Saffron Infused Gin as the gin component to this cocktail.  Who can resist something as elegant as gin in a cocktail that is woven it seems from the finest grains and the best saffron that money can pluck from impossibly tiny flowers. Did you say add saffron to a Negroni?  I think so, rabbit.
more than gold I’m including

The gin element is unmistakable.  You cannot imagine what this drink was like without the deeply mysterious aromatics of exotic saffron coursing through each sip.  The combination of the Orleans Bitter and the Spanish Vermouth along with the saffron infused gin is otherworldly.

I finish this drink with a splash of Bitter Truth Grapefruit bitters.  My thoughts are simple.  Where there is gin, somewhere there should be juice.  Or bitters, or something.  I forget.  I’ll have another please.

Just make a few and let me know how you enjoy it.
Cheers!

Hubbery Devrey Cardigan
Ingredients:
2 oz. Gabriel Boudier Saffron Infused Gin
1.5 oz. Orleans Aperitif Cider infused with red currant and bitters
1.0 oz. Atxa Vermouth Tinto
2-3 dashes Bitter Truth Grapefruit bitters
Lemon twist

Preparation:
To a cocktail mixing glass, fill ¾ with bar ice
Add the gin, then the cider, followed by the vermouth
Stir 30 times with a long cocktail spoon
Strain with a Hawthorne Strainer into two coupe glasses
Garnish with lemon twists and dot the top with the grapefruit bitters to finish

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

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

 

 

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

photo

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.