Please watch the Mystery Talk I was fortunate to participate in at SXSW – “Learning how to make the most of Leisure Time”
A quiet pursuit of excellence is taking place by the careful and studied guidance of Eric Tschudi, the affable and youthful beverage director of Shuko. His hand-chosen selection of esoteric, Japanese Whiskies will certainly intellectualize even the most altruistic guest in your dinner party. And then there is a private dining room that intrigues the carefully interested. This space is the most private room, set deeply down in the subterranean part of the former bakery- a quite hidden, inner sanctum, located in the depths of 47 East 12th Street in New York City. This is certainly not a tourist restaurant, nor does it have any signs announcing the constantly changing approach to an educated curiosity that takes place within the walls daily. There are no lines of paparazzi craning their necks towards the stars, nor very much in the way of foot traffic on this part of the street, set just off the teeming hustle and bustle of soon to be, lower Broadway. Find some parking just across the street, just up the way a bit and stretch your legs, but only so much. The scent you detect in the air may well tinge of sea salt water on this tiny spit of land only a few short blocks from the churning East River. The Japanese inspired liquids are driven by the culinary treats that emulate from within the tabla rasa walls. And all of these surprises are completely undetected from the street. A hidden gem surrounded by so much darkness.
Lovely evening at the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club!
Single Malt Scotch Tasting
Saturday October 21, 2017 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
A Virtual Cruise to the Isle and Highlands of Scotland- A Single Malt, Scotch Whisky Tasting
Back by popular demand, Warren Bobrow, noted international judge, journalist and food writer, the “Cocktail Whisperer” will share his knowledge of Single Malt, Scotch Whisky. From the Isle to the Highlands, you will taste 12 different Scotch whiskies, from the bland to the beautiful. From the bottles that you can buy anywhere to something special from his own stock. Warren will have us tasting the difference between the stuff your father drank and the fine bottles we should be drinking!
The cost per person will be $35.00 for tasters. Accompanying tea-totalers and designated drivers will be admitted free. This tasting is limited to the first 30 members and their guests to register.
This is sure to be an educational and memorable event.
The tasting will be followed by a Scotch themed dinner at the club. Have your kilts pressed and dust off your bag- pipes for a wonderful evening.
CHECK OUT THE DINNER MENU!!
My influence for writing Whiskey Cocktails is one of a most circuitous nature. Whiskey has rough and tumble roots for me. Initially I looked at whiskey as something that was rough and harsh across my palate. I wasn’t a whiskey fan until a couple of years ago. Rum was more my forte, I was a rum judge for the Ministry of Rum in 2010. I also wrote about food, and, of course wine. It’s very tough to make a living being just one more voice in the room of food writing or even wine writing.
Feed a cold and starve a fever, the old saying goes. It’s true: If you’re feeling under the weather, it’s even more important to eat regularly and healthfully. Nutritious meals can play a huge part in boosting the immune system. That’s where this steaming bowl of classic, steel-cut oatmeal comes in. Spiked with a generous serving of whisky-soaked dried fruit, A Scotsman’s Flourish comes at the final stage of this breakfast of champions—you’ll top your bowl with an extra ounce or two of Scotch for good measure. It just goes to show that you can eat your breakfast and drink it too! And there’s no need to waste any Scotch: Pour the whiskey left over from steeping the dried fruit over another cup of dried cherries in a sterilized container. Refrigerate these gorgeous home-cured cherries for garnishing your Manhattans, or serve them over vanilla gelato for dessert.
Bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, served piping hot
¼ cup (38 g) dried cherries
¼ cup (32 g) dried apricots
2 ounces (60 ml) blended Scotch whisky
½ cup (15 ml) spring water
To taste: Raw Honey Simple Syrup
Cook your steel-cut oatmeal for about 45 minutes according to package directions. While it’s cooking, add the dried cherries and dried apricots to a glass bowl. Cover with the blended whisky and the water. Let the fruits reconstitute for as long as it takes to cook your oatmeal. Toward the end of cooking, spoon the whisky-softened fruits into the oatmeal, and stir well. Serve in preheated ceramic bowls. Pour the remaining whisky over the top of the oatmeal. Sweeten to taste with Raw Honey Simple Syrup. Then, dig in and enjoy your healing breakfast! For an added kick, serve with a David Balfour Cocktail: It’ll prove a cool, refreshing contrast to your steaming hot, whisky-laden oatmeal.
Grab your bow tie and a rocks glass, because we’re talking all about one of the most classic—and classy—spirits. Whether you like bourbon, scotch or rye, whiskey’s diverse and complex taste will be your new go-to drink for parties, gatherings, or evenings in your study with a roaring fire. Whiskey can be an intimidating drink to the uninitiated. Most folks may not be able to drink it straight. We’ve got you covered. The Cocktail Whisperer, Warren Bobrow, author of Apothecary Cocktails (Fair Winds Press), incorporates some of the best whiskeys into hand-crafted cocktails that bring out the subtle notes and flavors of any good bourbon or scotch. Whiskey Cocktails features 75 traditional, newly-created, and original recipes for whiskey-based cocktails. This wonderfully crafted book also features drink recipes from noted whiskey experts and bartenders.
Like the word “gay,” the term “edible” has adopted a radically different accepted use than was originally intended. Thanks to mainstream media coverage of medicinal marijuana and the drug’s recreational legalization in seven states, plus Washington, D.C., “edibles” now generally refer to the psychoactive chemical compounds in marijuana … ingestible in the form of food as simple as a jelly bean or as gourmet as fois gras.
While basement chemists and chefs continue to elaborate on edibles, the market is looking toward “drinkables” as the next frontier in catching a high. Some weed-legal states like Washington are already licensing the sale of non-alcoholic beverages that contain THC, the chemical in cannabis that produces the buzz, and DIY mixologists are putting out cannabis cocktail recipes as fast as their minds can fire them up.
Still, the federal government, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance, prohibits the addition of THC to commercial alcohol products. However, analysts expect the category to eventually ignite, and producers are positioning themselves for an inevitable rule reversal by seeking and receiving permission to infuse their products with non-psychoactive marijuana compounds like hemp and a type of cannabinoid called CBD. Some medical professionals believe CBD can actually help counter the adverse effects of THC like anxiety and has its own therapeutic properties, though controversy exists at the highest levels over whether CBD is technically legal or not.
Not much product has hit the scene yet but it is slowly becoming, as they say, “a thing.” The category first came to my attention a few years ago with the release of Humboldt Brewing’s Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale. I don’t remember much about it other than it was pretty forgettable.
He also tells me he knows of just two North American distilleries – one in British Columbia and another in Alaska — that started selling hemp vodka before he launched his last spring but since then he’s received numerous phone calls from entrepreneurs looking for advice. In October, the TTB approved a Colorado beer brewed with CBD, which also doesn’t spark a buzz, for national sale.
“It has a relationship to the growing interest in cannabis. That’s our sales angle, as it certainly helps the story,” he says of his own spirit, which retails for $29.99 MSRP. “But the market needs this product because it’s something new and the herbal quality makes nice cocktails.”
The hemp primarily comes through in the vodka’s aroma though it can be hard to discern among the other botanicals. Plus, the smell of the hemp oils can dissipate quickly.
So if it doesn’t get you high, doesn’t taste like dank herb and doesn’t even smell like a freshly lit Rastafarian, is there really a point? Stevens, who sells Humboldt’s Finest in about a dozen states patchworked across the U.S., says he gets that question all the time, especially from the west coast.
“Sometimes with people who’re really into the cannabis culture … we specifically try and even avoid that aspect and focus on the craft cocktail aspect. In Mississippi and Georgia they don’t have a legal marijuana outlet so to them there’s possibly a lot more novelty,” he says.
Until such a time when the feds do license THC-infused spirits, Humboldt’s Finest and its competitors can find sanctuary behind the bar next to an endless range of DIY possibilities that are building the backbone of today’s craft cannabis cocktail scene. Since around 2014, magazines and websites have been teaching readers how to make (mostly illegal) THC infusions of spirits, syrups, bitters, and the like. Last year, renowned cocktail author Warren Bobrow published the first book on marijuana cocktails, called Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics – The Art of Spirits Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations and containing 75 self-tested recipes.
But its publication hasn’t brought the New Jersey-based writer much wellness himself. He’s lost consulting clients on the east coast and his father literally disowned him before he died. While his dad had his own reasons for shunning his son, Bobrow’s big-liquor friends presumably stopped associating with him because conventional wisdom says that pot cuts into sales of beer and spirits. Bobrow’s actually made this argument himself, as has Cowan and Company, which made news by entering the marijuana investment space and analyzing a Nielsen report that showed beer sales dropping in three states where the drug has become legal.
Regardless of whether legal consumption will harm or help alcoholic beverages in the long term, one aspect does need to be addressed: the effects of mixing alcohol and pot.
“This is a legitimate concern,” says Swartz. “People must be careful to pace themselves when consuming alcohol and cannabis simultaneously. But after more people learn how, I believe mixing cannabis and alcohol will become even more socially acceptable.”
Right now, it’s not necessarily publicly acceptable, even in states where it’s legal. Californians need a card to purchase weed, and a sales guy at an extraordinarily professional dispensary in Bend, Oregon, told me to furtively smoke my legally purchased $9 joint on a dark residential sidewalk instead of lighting up at the bar where my friends were enjoying craft beers, cocktails and cigars. Did I order any fewer drinks than I might have? Yes. But not because I was stoned. Rather, it’s because I had to leave the bar for 20 minutes at a time to light up in secret. Had I been able to ingest my intoxicant as an alcoholic digestible I could have sat there far longer … and I probably would have ordered even more.
Come fall, my palate is already calling out for the heat and aroma from the fireplace. There is something about wood heat that fills me with warmth for the coming cold months. I love the snap of the fire and the brooding heat that fills the room.
The same holds true for my cocktails. I seek out brown liquors that speak of warmth like whiskey spun into a very seasonal cocktail.
Smoked American whiskey is a wonderful match for a citrus-oil–tinged tea like Earl Grey. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you start spiking your morning pick-me-up; this delicate cocktail proves that Earl Grey isn’t just for breakfast anymore. Bound together by homemade ginger simple syrup, the Ulysses delivers spicy, sweet, smoky, and even salty—all at once. This cocktail is named for the Greek hero of the epic poem The Odyssey. Reluctant to leave his homeland of Ithaca, he pretended to be insane by sowing his fields with salt instead of grain. In his honor, the final touch to the Ulysses is a pinch of sea salt, which adds an unexpected, crunchy kick. It’s a delicious finish. The ingredients for this cocktail are simplicity themselves, but the sum of the parts is truly bewitching.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1-cup (340 g) honey with 1/2 cup (120 ml) water and simmer, mixing until the honey has dissolved. Let the mixture cool. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.
Make a batch of Raw Honey Simple Syrup. Add 1/4 cup (25 g) finely chopped fresh (preferably young) ginger. Pour the mixture into an airtight container, and let it steep in the fridge for a couple days. Strain before using. Use within 2 weeks. If it becomes frothy or speaks in pirate tongues, throw it out!
Make a batch of Raw Ginger Honey Simple Syrup, and add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Pour the mixture into an airtight container, and let it steep in the fridge for a couple days. Strain before using. Use within 2 weeks. This can also be added to a glass of seltzer water, making ginger beer that you’ve never tasted before! Can you say Dark and….. STORMY?
Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Distilled and aged in Tennessee and Kentucky
Crafted and bottled in Kentucky
112.10 proof cask strength bottling
Aged for 13 years in Char #4 American white oak barrels
Mash bill: 74% corn, 18% rye, 7% malted barley
Appearance: Broiled apricot orange at the core and resplendent warm gold at the edges. Sunlight reflecting off of burnished copper flashes across the surface leaving iridescent streaks with each swirl.
Nose: Slowly roasted exotic fruits like kiwi, coconut, and Satsuma orange swirled with smoked bergamot tea. Herbed brown butter dripping over toasted brioche and northwest cherry
Palate: Lively and amusing across the palate, the mellow warmth makes this bourbon easy to enjoy. Future sips touch all parts of the palate with broad strokes of thick clotted cream. The glow of the 112.10 proof lurks just out of sight, a welcome but not distracting figure.
Finish: Oven dried stone fruit jam with a hint of citrus oils leads to Caribbean spices. The multi-minute finish is reminiscent of sweet buttered carnival corn.
With a few drops of water
Bright sarsaparilla gives way to gooey apricot bread pudding fresh from the oven topped with rum soaked raisins. Each taste leaves almond oil sticking to the back of your tongue. The cool water spreads nuance and sophistication throughout each pleasurable sip.
Tasting Notes by Warren Bobrow, The Cocktail Whisperer