Monday, November 22, 2010

[Cocktail Log] The Jack Rose

The Jack Rose is a tasty and easy to mix drink. It is excellent for making once you've had a few, because it doesn't require any careful measuring or a thousand bottles. It's three ingredients:

Lemon Juice

The simplicity of it is also what makes it fun to experiment with. If you look around you'll find a truly astounding variety of proportions given. Start somewhere and then play with it. I've found that in a well-mixed Jack Rose you can't taste alcohol at all. It's very smooth. In general: more grenadine to sweeten it, more lemon to sour it, and more applejack when you can taste either grenadine or lemon juice. I think I found that 4:2:1 was pretty tasty, but I was eyeballing my mixes, so hard to tell exactly!

[Cocktail Log] The Ramos Gin Fizz

While in Seattle this past week I got the chance to have an expertly mixed Ramos Gin Fizz at a speakeasy called Needle and Thread. It was amazing, and I vowed to learn to make it come hell or highwater (or, more likely, come very sore arms or high drunkenness). The RGF is very different from a classic Gin Fizz (that being: gin, lemon, powdered sugar, and club soda). It's an elaborate variation created by a mad genius (who apparently employed upwards of 30 street urchins to be "shaker boys" at the height of the drink's popularity). Apparently it's a popular breakfast drink or something, but to hell with that.

Enough parentheticals! Here's the recipe! Or at least, one version of it, and the one I used as a starting point when I started experimenting on my friends and myself.
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange flower water
  • Cold club soda
Vigorously shake the gin, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, cream, sugar, and orange flower water with ice; then strain into a 10-ounce highball glass without ice. Pour in club soda to fill.

Here's what I learned during my first night of experimentation:
1) This is an exhausting drink to make. It requires a LOT of vigorous shaking
2) When making egg-white drinks, it pays to spend some time "dry shaking" the drink. That is, shake it thoroughly without any ice to work some air into the egg mixture. Then add ice and shake again to foam it up and chill it.
3) I still can't quite get the foam the way I want it. Mine ends up kinda "latte foam", it's thick but very wet. The one I had at N&T managed to get foam that was very light, stable and relatively dry. More like meringue than latte. I'm not sure if I need more shaking, or if I need to investigate other methods (shaking the egg without mixers maybe?)
4) I tried the nearest couple of good liquor stores looking for Orange Flower Water but was predictably disappointed. I subbed in triple sec which worked fine, but I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for OFW to improve this.
5) 1 oz is way too much cream IMO. I dropped this to about a half-ounce and the drink became much less heavy and creamy, and more ginny and fizzy.
6) Some recipes call for 2 drops of vanilla extract. This is, apparently, quite controversial. I don't care about the drama, but I do like the taste with some vanilla. It really makes the foam interesting! However: go VERY easy. The flavors in the drink are very subtly balanced and it's easy to overpower them with vanilla. I'll be dropping this to 1 drop in the future.
7) Gin experiments need to be done too. I made these with Plymouth. They were tasty!

So, still lots of room for improvement. But hey! That's what makes this such a great project drink. :D

Friday, August 13, 2010

[Gin log] On gin

Gin! Turns out I like it. Turns out that once they've had it as real adult drinkers, everyone I know likes it! This is both good and bad. More delicious drinks... but man we go through it quickly. I wanted to provide a quick look at the gins I've had since getting into it, before I totally forget!

1) Hendrick's Gin
Country of Origin: Scotland
Thoughts: It got me drinking gin, it's that damn good. Low on the juniper, and high on cucumbers. Doesn't make very good Aviations because it doesn't taste "ginny" enough. In fact, I wouldn't bother using it in most cocktails... it's not typically what the cocktail wants and it's pricey. Served chilled with a slice of cucumber, or in a martini though? Oh yes.

2) New Amsterdam
Country of Origin: US
Thoughts: I don't remember much about this bottle. I drank it all making various classic cocktails though, and they tasted pretty good. :) They claim it's "smooth" and "crisp", for what that's worth.

3) Citadelle
Country of Origin: France
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this bottle. Very citrusy, not overpoweringly ginny. We drank basically the whole bottle straight, with only a touch of vermouth or olive juice to make it seem like a proper drink. Definitely a tasty sipping gin.

5) Plymouth
Country: England
Thoughts: I haven't gotten a bottle of this, but it makes for amazing Aviations. According to wikipedia, Plymouth counts as a style of gin all by its lonesome and it's been kicking around since the stone ages. As soon as I find a bottle, I'll be getting one.

4) Boodle's
Country: UK
Thoughts: My first real "london dry" bottle. It's... very dry. The flavor is too much for me to really enjoy sipping it, but it makes excellent cocktails. We ran it through the paces with some classic cocktails, and killed the bottle in under 24 hours. Certainly not my favorite style straight, but for most classic cocktails: this is what they want.

Friday, August 6, 2010

[Mixed Log] Homemade Irish Cream

Lisa pointed me to a recipe for homemade Irish cream awhile back, probably in the hopes that I would make some for her. Her gambit paid off, as I've made it for several parties since then, to much acclaim and inebriation.

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe. Instant coffee is anathema to my religion.

Sean's Homemade Irish Cream

  • 1.25 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups Irish whiskey (Bushmills)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • (Optional) 1.5 oz fresh brewed coffee/espresso
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Blend cream, sweetened condensed milk, extracts, cocoa, and salt until mixed.
  2. Add whiskey in small batches, mixing between.
  3. Chill and enjoy! Lasts for a month or so refrigerated.
    • Yields about 1L.
    • You can use light instead of heavy whipping cream.
    • Vanilla/almond can be adjusted to taste.
    • A pinch of salt helps cut down the sweetness.
    • Around 18% alcohol by volume (36 proof).

    Monday, May 31, 2010

    [Wine Log] Marshal's 2006 Barbera

    Wine: Marshal's Winery - Tunnel Vision Red Barbera
    Year: 2006
    Region: Washington State
    Alcohol: 13%

    Recently married RJ and Hoppers drove on a cross-country climbing extravaganza, and were kind enough to return from their trip with piles of west-coast beer and wine. Among their generously-shared spoils was a bottle of 2006 Barbera, a varietal that I have tried once or twice, but rarely been impressed with.

    The Tunnel Vision Red Barbera proved this grape to be quite delightful. The nose is rich and a lot like a (good) Malbec, with warm molasses notes, dark chocolate and spices. The color is extremely, extremely dark and opaque; very deep burgundy not at all leggy, and with a bit of sediment. To taste the wine is sweeter and more citrus than the nose would suggest, but still rich and filling with a long, spicy finish.

    Absolutely excellent - I know I will regret not being able to get this wine in Atlanta.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    [Scotch Log] Tormore 12

    Scotch: Tormore 12
    Region: Speyside
    Malt: Single Malt, 12 years
    Price: uh. $40?
    Proof: 80

    I picked this scotch up because I was having a bad day, and happened to be near a liquor store. Which, as intros go, isn't the possible lead-in. However, the speed at which we went through this bottle is a testament to its numminess. After breaking into it that evening, Pyrona managed to sneak about half of this bottle before I even noticed and caught up.

    Color: Light yellowy-orange.

    Nose: caramel and spun sugar, cinnamon, with oak highlights. This nose is quite robust, and despite the sweet sounding adjectives it's still unmistakably scotchy.

    Taste: Powdered sugar, apples or apple blossoms. This is a low-peat, very wet, almost slurpable easy drinking scotch. Like many of our favorite Speysides, it's unchallenging for daily drinking but complex enough to stay interesting. The bottle tells us "toasted almonds, citrus, and barley sugar". We're calling bullshit on the citrus, but the toasted almond rings true. Pyrona says it's... marzipanny. No lie.

    Overall: I'll happily grab another bottle of this. Although it might not quench my thirst for a strong, throat-burning scotch, it's a great sip for a quick quaff on a weekday.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    [Scotch Log] Aberlour 16

    Scotch: Aberlour 16
    Region: Speyside
    Malt: Single Malt, 16 years
    Price: Gifted
    Proof: 86

    The double cask matured Aberlour 16 is probably the most beautiful, richly colored scotch that has ever graced our cabinet. In some lights it has a rosy mahogany tint, and maintains rich red tones once poured.

    The nose matches the color with hints of wild rose (probably due to its stint in a sherry cask), nuts, and oak - no hint at all of peat or smoke. In the taste the nutty suggestions are fully realized with a strong walnut flavor and a mouth-feel like dry wine. There's an ever-so-slight hint of smoke in the after taste, and just enough peppery kick to make it feel nice.

    Thanks to my wonderful and sweet uncle for such a tasty Christmas present!