Tag Archives: gin

A Mood Reviver

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I was in a foul mood upon arriving home. Definitely needed a stiff drink, an best make it a double.

Went to the fridge and grabbed an unsuspecting lemon. Juiced the bastard and came up with 1.5 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice. What to do with the juice? Pulled Regan’s “Joy of Mixilogy” and rifled through looking for a recipe calling for .75 ounces of lemon juice. Remember, needing a double.

My eyes caught the Corpse Reviver #1, well that nasty thing wouldn’t due, but #2 sounded good. Wasn’t looking for 1.5 ounces of Triple Sec, too sweet, so I improvised.

I saw Gary Regan’s recent tweet;

“@gazregan: When you make a Béarnaise sauce, do you go looking for Chef Jules Colette’s nineteenth-century recipe?: http://t.co/sdVxpF9T”

this very AM and can’t say I was inspired, because I held the same views, but I do suggest reading his blog posting. He speaks to playing with ratios when using higher proof spirits or sweeter/stronger modifiers, but my tampering is in the same vein. Ted Kilgore of Taste suggests playing with ingredients in classic recipes when working on your own concoctions.

But back to the matter at hand:

Mood Reviver
1.5 ounces Gin
1.5 ounces Lilet Blanc
1.5 ounces Lemon juice
.75 ounces Mandarine Napoleon
.75 ounces Maraschino Liqueur
3.0 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
2.0 dashes Dr. Adam’s Spanish Bitters

Combine in a cocktail tin, fill with ice, shake till frosty. Double strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a swath of lemon peal.

Enjoy, don’t drive, that’s 4.5 ounces of booze mister, just have a second one and take a nap. Throw your keys under the couch before starting the first cocktail, just in case your mood worsens or improves too much.

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A Revived Corpse Indeed

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On most days a simple cup or eight of coffee will be enough to face the day, some days I need it bit more to brace myself for the coming onslaught, so coffee and a whiskey, then there are those other days…Like the day directly following Cinco de Drinko, I refuse to say Mayo, when the majority of revelers are reveling independence from France, and not an excuse to drink bottled margaritas, I’ll call it Cinco de Mayo. Anyway, today follows that nonsense, as well as Derby Day, something I do celebrate. Not only that, but for my StL brethren, today is Pigs and Pints at Civil Life Brewing Co.

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As much as I’d love to be there, I have a higher calling this day, a baptism, and an opportunity to wear seersucker.

Still, after the numerous Juleps and the 750 ml of Imperial IPA I put down yesterday, I needed something strong and fortifying to get going this very morn.

When reviving a corpse, one has two options, Corpse Reviver No. 1 and Corpse Reviver No. 2, I like No. 2. Number 1 appears to be an after dinner or a boozer up fruity Manhattan.

Corpse Reviver No. 1
2.0 Applejack (Laird’s Bonded please)
.75 Sweet Vermouth
.75 Brandy

Stir in a mixing glass with ice, double strain, prepare to set hair on fire.

I drink, occasionally to excess, and if I started the morning with that blast of booze I’d end the evening with an arrest warrant. Therefore, I prefer the kinder, gentler, but buzz providing No. 2.

Corpse Reviver No. 2
.75 gin
.75 triple sec
.75 Lillet Blonde
.75 lemon juice
.25 Absinthe

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Shake with ice, double strain, classically garnished with a lemon. I deviated here, I garnished with a grapefruit peel and added ten or so drops of Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit bitters.

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Bittermens bitters are available at Boston Shaker where I get most of my shakers, specialty cups, and bitters. The Bittermens line is now available in the St. Louis market, you’ll see them proudly displayed at Taste, Blood & Sand, and Sanctuaria. They’ve got the full line, including shrubs, I’ve got the Tiki, Boston, and aforementioned bitters.

I also used Cointreau over triple sec, I just prefer it. Mandarine Napoleon or Grand Marnier have to heavy a brandy quotient and bog down the drink. As I prepared it, it’s tart, refreshing, and eye opening. Just the way it needs to be.

This drink also works well as an aperitif. It is the last cocktail I had on the last night of Monarch.

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It did the job, getting me ready for a meal of five or so of there best appetizers. One should note, they didn’t double strain. Double straining is the dividing line between good and great. As I twitter tweeted Friday at @AmuseDouche11, if I wanted a snow cone, I’d order one. Of course that drink wasn’t even proportioned correctly and was horribly unbalanced, some that as simple as following the recipe for an Aviation would have corrected. The Monarch drink was perfect, other than the lack of tea strainer involvement. This versatile concoction can start a day, or start a dinner in style.

Harry Craddock noted, in “The Savoy Cocktail Book” that this drink should be “taken before 11 AM, or whenever steam and energy are needed.” I bet there are many of you out there, especially on this morning, needing a bit of both, so dust off the Lillet, pull your favorite local craft gin down, juice a lemon, and make Number 2 work for you.

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In this shot No. 2 looks as angelic as I’m sure baby Kennedy will at her baptism later today. Good luck to proud papa and long time reader, Lance, and let’s hope for no impromptu No. 2s today.

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A once every four years treat.

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This little beauty is the Leap Year Cocktail. Harry Cradock of the Savoy created this drink early in the last century, so there probably haven’t been more than a couple dozen opportunities to enjoy it.

Leap Year Cocktail
2.0 oz Hendrick’s GIn
.50 oz Grand Marnier
.50 oz sweet vermouth
.12 oz lemon juice

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That’ll mix one Hell of an eye opener, Jackie.

Instead of measuring out the lemon juice, try just a dash or small bar spoon of juice. I haven’t tried it yet, but in 2016 I plan to sub in lemon bitters for the juice, maybe try Fee Brothers in one version and Bitter Truth in another. Who knows, with the bitters explosion and the explosion in popularity of this very blog, maybe I’ll use the latest bitters from some craft cocktail company that’s throwing money at me to push their product…maybe. With it just being a dash of juice, and certainly if you go the bitters route, stir the drink. I would fine-mesh strain the juice before incorporating it with the liquors.

Robert Hess shakes the drink on this video, for The Cocktail Spirit series, but if you properly strain the juice before adding it, I think stirring is the way to go. The lemon juice is only there to add a touch of brightness. Aperol and lemon bitters may do the same thing, if you’d like the drink a touch boozier. I guess that’ll depend on what kind of day you’re having at the end of February, 2016.

You may have noticed I used Mandarine Napoleon for this cocktail. It is true, I’m out of Grand Marnier, call the papers. But, at the end of the day, especially the 29th of February, does it matter? Yes, because the flavor will be a touch different, and no, because the two products are made in much the same way, only with different types of the same fruit. Technically, Mandarine Napoleon is closer to Cointreau as much of the base seems to be alcohol and sugar with macerated orange peels of various origin. Mandarine Napoleon does use cognac in their production, which takes them closer to Grand Marnier. I did not have the opportunity to do a side by side comparison, as I had no Grand Marnier, again, maybe in 2016 I’ll have saved up for a bottle.

I also used an American craft distilled gin. I didn’t want to break out the Cap Rock, so I went local, Pinckney Bend. Not bad.

The drink itself was okay. I will tinker with it come 2016, and, hopefully, come up with an orange liqueur, bitters/juice, gin, and less herbal vermouth, combination, that will make 2/29/16 a day that will live up to it’s once every four year status, or at least my morning cocktail will.

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How to stock your bar?

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My notes for this blog, a real head scratcher.

A friend has acquired a beutiful slab of end grain rock maple from my good friend Norbert at John Boos in Effingham, IL and used it to create a basement bar. As it was my advice that brought him to Boos and therefore the focal point of his bar, he naturally asked me my opinion on stocking the beast. Before doing so, I did a quick check on the google and was surprised at the lack of quality advice on the matter, hence, this entry into Amuse-Douche.

The first thing I came across on the interwebs was a blog titled The Art of Manliness, if the other articles are on par with the one on bar stocking, reading this thing will only make you a douche, an unamusing douche. Anyone typing that white rum is better for mixing, excuse me, but what about the Pimento, listing Patron as a preference, or that clear tequila is better for sipping, I’ve got a couple reposados and añejos that would beg to differ, blended single malts, what, Grey Goose, try Tito’s, and suggesting Jim Beam for an Old Fashioned, look, asking for an Old Fashioned and having it made with bourbon is like requesting Radiohead and getting Cold Play, sure, it’s music, and to the unintelligent listener it may sound similar, but Cold Play couldn’t hold Radiohead’s jock, and rye, not bourbon, goes in an Old Fashioned. That being said, the guy makes some okay points. It’s really just his selection of booze that I take umbrage with.

So, what do you need? Let’s start with the mixers and work our way up.

Mixers
Coca-Cola Classic
Ginger Beer (Goslings)
Club Soda
Tonic Water
7-Up
Limes
Oranges
Lemons
Grapefruits
Grenadine

That’s really all I offer. I generally don’t consume any carbonated beverages, but have those listed just in case. My tea toting friends seem to enjoy the Ginger Beer. The juices should always be fresh, I like the reemer in a bowl juicer. Also, always double strained. I like having the fresh fruit around for cooking as well. Limes for pico, guacamole, marinades. Lemons for tea or fish or a pie. Oranges and grapefruits for fresh juice or breakfast eating. Some times you look in the refrigerator bin and see you’ve got a little penicillin farm, but you pay the cost to be the boss, and sometimes the cost is tossing moldy citrus into the compost.

garnish
Various citrus peals
Cocktail olives
Cocktail onions
Cherries
Mint
Nutmeg

I also choose to have cinnamon sticks, cloves, and various other baking spices available. In addition, as a home pickler, I have asparagus, okra, and green beans to garnish my savory drinks. I also keep cherries soaked in kirsch, house maraschino cherries, and brandy soaked cherries on hand.

Ice
1 inch cubes
2 inch cubes

I also offer two inch ice balls. The balls and larger cubes melt slower and thus, don’t dilute your cocktail. Dilution is necessary in drink preparation, as about a quarter of your drink is water after stirring or shaking, but you don’t want further dilution while sipping. Good quality ice made with clean water is key. Funky ice equals bad drink. Fortunately those of us in St. Louis profit from Anheuser Busch’s early decision to filter the water they use, not at their brewery, but at the source, so all the city could enjoy crisp, clean, water, and good ice.

Modifiers
French (dry) Vermouth
Italian (sweet) Vermouth
Lilet
Cynar

I buy half bottles, or splits, of Nolle Prat dry vermouth. I don’t use a lot of it so I’ll have one opened in the fridge and one sealed in the cabinet. This ensures I have some in case the fridge bottle has expired. I keep full bottles of sweet vermouth around in several flavors. I suggest Dolin Rouge for it’s price and approachability. If you want to upgrade, I’d suggest Punt a Mes. Carpano Antica, though exceptional, is not the catch all, do anything, sweet vermouth you need when you’re just beginning. Lilet is a nice apertif and can be served alone or mixed into a cocktail, I enjoy it with four parts gin to one part Lilet. The Cynar is your Italian bitter bottle. It’s not as flashy as Fernet Branca, but it’s, again, a catch all, and that’s what you should be trying to get when starting to build a bar. You don’t want niche bottles sitting around collecting dust when you could have something more useful in that shelf space. Averna would also make a nice addition, but if you get a bottle, as with the Lilet and your vermouths, refrigerate once opening.

Liqueurs
Maraschino Liqueur
Cointreau
Creme de Cassis or Chambord
Canton, The Big O, or Stirrings Ginger
Cherry Herring
Aperol or Campari, I’d get both
Drambuie (375)
Benedictine (375)
St. Germaine (375)
Galliano (375)
Pimms
Green Chartreuse
Kahlua
Swedish Punsch
Ameretto

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All of these aren’t necessary. It really depends on how much cocktail making you do. As you taste cocktails at Sanctuaria, Taste,Franco, or Blood & Sand ask what liqueurs are in the ones you particularly enjoy, then purchase those bottles and experiment at home. As you frequent one of the above mentioned establishments, you’ll find that if you ask, they will let you taste any modifier, liqueur, or base. This is very helpful when building a bar.

The list I gave is by no means complete or completely necessary. I’d start with Cointreau, Maraschino, Creme de Cassis and one of the ginger flavored options. Once summer rolls around I’d score a bottle of Pimms for the Pimms Cups. If you’re a Blood & Sand fan, you’ll have to pick up a bottle of Cherry Herring.

I really only have the Chartreuse on the list because I love Last Words. I bought my Maraschino Liqueur for Aviations, but enjoy it in the occasional Manhattan, as the base for my cocktail cherries, and as a dressing for fruit salad, along with the many cocktails I now know it to be an ingredient in. I suggest purchasing 375 ml bottles for the liqueurs where you can. Many are very flavorful or overly sweet, and you’ll only need a quarter ounce or so.

As you build your bar, I’d suggest purchasing different types of the various flavored liqueurs. To start either Chambord or Creme de Cassis will do, but eventually you’ll want both so you can have the proper ingredient. I’d also suggest in investing in a variety of citrus liqueurs such as Grand Mariner or Mandarin Napoleon. They will allow you to put your own twist on a “house” drink when the standard recipe calls for Cointreau. If you like bitter, I suggest you get more bitter drinks, if you have a sweet tooth, grab more fruity sugar packed liqueurs. If you’d like to spend a little more money, try these,

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but, use them sparingly, as they are full of flavor, but a truely top of the line bar should have oak aged Green Chartreuse, Amaro Nonino, and Carpano Antica.

More than anything, your palet should guide your purchases with modifiers, liqueurs, and most importantly, your bases.

Bases
Whiskey
(American; Buffalo Trace, Rittenhouse)
(Global; Glenmorangie, John Powers)
Tequila (Espalón Reposado)
Rum or Rhum (Flor de Cana white)
Gin (Plymouth)
Vodka (Tito’s)
Eau de Vie (C.C. Pear, Laird’s Bonded)

The bottles listed above would be my suggestion for the basics, for more, read on:

Whiskey, Bourbon, Canadian, Irish, Scotch, Rye, Tennessee, Colorado. What to choose? For the bourbon, go with Elijah Craig 12 year or Buffalo Trace for your mixing bourbon. I’d also stock a nicer bottle, maybe Michter’s. As for Canadian, V.O. Or Seagrum’s Seven will do. I don’t use them much, but stock a bottle for the occasional 7&7 or V.O. press. For the Irish, John Power’s. Scotch, I’d go Glenmorangie for a smooth mixer or sipper and maybe something funky, like Laphroig or Ardbeg 10 year to start. Rye is a must for Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. I love Rittenhouse and at $20 it’s a great bargain, Old Overholt is $11, but not nearly as tasty. Thomas Handy makes a $60 bottling of over-proof rye, and is a nice addition to any bar. As to the Tenn and Colo whiskies, those aren’t really necessary, but Stranahan’s and George Dickel could be added once the other components are present, if American whiskey is your thing.

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A few whiskey upgrades, rye, bourbon, Irish, and a Bordeaux finished Scotch.

I like a white dog as well. White dogs are simply unaged whiskies, and are a nice night cap.

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The above bottle is unaged Rittenhouse, and is great on the rocks with a cherry. Don’t try to do anything but slide into bed after one.

Tequila, Espalón, Espalón, Espalón. Unaged and the Reposado. Luna Zule makes an affordable Añejo and I suggest it be added to your list. Don’t throw good money after bad tequila, these will all be $25 or less, no reason to spend more.

Rum, Flor de Cana white and the four year are your basics. Goslings Black Seal is a must for hot summer days in a Dark & Stormy. Smith & Cross is my ideal Jamaican rum. El Dorado 12 year is my sipper of choice, and won’t break the bank. For a couple of odd additions, Cachaca for Caipirinhas and Batavia-Arrack for a bit of funk. Three suggestions if you’re going rum heavy,

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Pyrat is a Jamiacan with lots of Hugo, Zacapa may be the best rum ever, and the 15 year old Rhum Barbancourt may be the best of the French style rums. If you’re going full tiki, you may also choose to add orgeat and velvet falernum.

Gin, Plymouth and Hayman’s Old Tom are necessary, something a bit more London dry, like Beefeater, can be nice for Gin & Tonics. I’d also add an American craft distiller such as Aviation, Cap Rock, or Pinkney to try with your classic gin cocktails. Nothing beats Aviation in an Aviation.

Vodka, Stolichnaya and Tito’s is all one needs.

Eau de Vie, I stock a pear, a peach, a kirsch, grapa, calvados, cognac, etc. These are nice to close an evening with. I suggest Clear Creek Distillery’s Pear option, it will certainly surprise a dinner guest. Laird’s Bonded is a nice aged apple brandy, and for $22 it deffinately earns a spot. Pass it off as Calvados after dinner, it’s just the New Jersey version. My favorite after dinner Eau de Vies are bellow.

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Really, as mentioned, taste, and theme, should drive your purchases. Do you prefer prohibition era cocktails, you may want to offer a greater gin selection. Are you a scotch man, then go with maybe two of each base and a half dozen or so scotches. Running an at home tikki establishment, probably need some 151 along with a few other rums. Margaritaville? Bump up the tequila, add some Mescal, but stick with 100% agave. I have a large selection of American whiskies, be they bourbon, rye, wheat, Tennessee, or originating from another state. I have some low price, high quality options, as well as high end high quality options.

As to the bitters, read my blog “Everyday I’m Bittering.” Please, don’t forget them. Not bitters, but made by Fee Brothers, orange flower water is a necessity when having a Ramos Gin Fizz or Pisco Sour for breakfast.

I keep the bulk of my booze in the basement,

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the basics in the kitchen,

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and a few nice things to sip on in a barristers book shelf,

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this way, no matter where I am in the house, I’m never more than a few feet from a proper drink.

None of these suggestions are in anyway biased by advertising or sponsorship dollars. At the moment, this is a true, no spin zone. That being said, everyone has a price, and if properly incentivized, I can whore like no other. If you’d like your product pushed, shoot me an email at Amuse.Douche11@gmail.com or direct message me on Twitter @AmuseDouche11.

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Lucien Gaudin in the Mornin’

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Bright flavors are the way to go with any morning eye-opener. When I think bright and boozey, I think gin, more importantly, for our purposes, gin and citrus. The Lucien Gaudin is an excellent example of how these components can work wonderfully together and really open your eyes on a Saturday morning.

Lucien Gaudin himself was a French fencer who took gold in the 1928 Olympics in two events and later killed himself in 1934. I wonder if he and his famous foil could have made a difference on the Maginot Line had he lived to see the 1940s. I’m not sure as to why he had a gin drink named after him, but that hardly matters.

I first saw the drink on the member’s list at Sanctuaria and later ran across it at a Vintage Cocktails class with Jason Main of the The Wine Merchant.

I assume the Sanctuaria version is the same as those listed below. Jason, on the other hand, leaves out the Cointreau on his recipe sheet. I can’t remember if he did so when making the drinks. He also garnished with a lemon. His version would make for a much brighter drink and possibly more appropriate for AM imbibing. Either way this is a drink that can and should be made at home, as any home bar should have the ingredients and no special technique is required.

Two of my cocktail guides listed the drink, Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and Robert Hess’s The Essential Bartender’s Guide . Note when I do links to books I use Amazon, please look for the books on Albris. It’s not as user friendly as Amazon, but its great for used and harder to find copies. As for the two books, both are great reference guides. Ted Kilgore of Taste and Last Word Cocktails gave me a copy of Hess’s book when I took a one-on-one class with him, a must and great birthday present. I picked up Haigh’s, or Dr. Cocktail’s, book when I started seeing it at every bar I drank at. Water Street in Maplewood is working through the book as they build their cocktail list.

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The Lucien Gaudin, as seen in Haigh’s book.

For a video of Hess making the drink click on the small screen network. Small Screen is a great place to get recipes and see how exactly a pro brings the ingredients together, a top notch resource.

Lucien Gaudin
1.0 Gin
0.5 Cointreau
0.5 Dry Vermouth (or Lillet)
0.5 Campari

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Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled mixing glass, I favor the Yarai, stir twenty or so times, strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a swath of orange peel. I did not note the size of measurement on this recipe in case you wanted to make a pitcher of them for brunch. One ounce as the 1.0 component and then half ounces work for a single serving.

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You may notice in the picture of all ingredients above that I used Lillet and not a traditional dry vermouth such as Noilly Prat. I thought Lillet would work well in this recipe as it has some chinchana bark which is loaded with quinine that adds a bitterness. This is why I used that same bark in my bitters recipes. Lillet also has some liqueurs in it which were made by macerating orange peels of various types in neutral spirits. With the Lucien Gaudin, being a citrus forward drink, I thought that the inclusion of Lillet would make those flavors even more prominent and make it more of an eye opener with the citrus and quinine additions.

You may recognize Lillet from the James Bond movies or books. The Vesper as he names it is that incorrectly shaken part gin, part vodka, part Lillet martini like concoction he orders up in Casino Royal. For an excellent piece on the Vesper read David Wonderich’s article here in Esquire.

I further tinkered with the drink by going with an American, locally produced, gin over Hayman’s Old Tom or the traditional English or London style Plymouth.

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I like the idea of switching up gins to suit my recipes. I don’t want to use a full on juniper bomb when making a citrus cocktail. I also don’t want to use a weaker less flavor-forward gin in my martinis. Rounded out luscious Old Tom’s are best used when the recipe appears to be something that would also work with a bourbon or rye as the base spirit. An Old Pal made with Old Tom gin, instead of rye, would showcase this nicely.

My go to gins for drinks like the Last Word and Aviation tend to be American, Aviation Gin is my favorite, and I wanted to try an American here. Old Tom would be to smooth and the mouth feel would be off and Plymouth or even Hendricks would likely over power the subtler flavor notes I was seeking to pull out with my use of Lillet. Many times American gins have more citrus, cardamom, and coriander notes and Pickney Bend made locally in New Haven, MO works well here. I think Colorado’s Cap Rock would be the best gin to use, but good luck finding it locally, outside of my basement.

I keep a ready supply of various gins, probably a dozen or so on hand at the house, if a reader ever wanted to stop by and taste a few. I even have a bottle of Seagram’s bumpy. Ideally a home bar would include Hayman’s Old Tom, Plymouth, Hendricks and an American option. The inclusion of Old Raj and Bols Genever would make said bar on par with Taste or any other high-end cocktail bar.

Remember to keep your Lillet or dry vermouth in the refrigerator after opening. I use Noilly Prat for my traditional dry offering and Vya, a vermouth made in the Napa Valley, when I want to feel especially patriotic or want to show off.

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