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Eventing: Negroni Week 2014

The Negroni; A drink that to be completely honest, I just couldn’t get into for the longest time. In all fairness, you go to 5 different bars and they might serve you that cocktail 5 different ways. My favorite “custom iteration” was always the shaken, no vermouth, cheap gin with muddled orange. Mmmm… if I could be sippin’ on that mutated horror this very second…

While I’m on the matter, can we all agree that Negronis served ‘up’ in a martini glass is kind of weird? Like “people that date their cousins” weird. “Oh, thank you for serving me a cocktail that will no doubt get real warm, real quickly cause I intended to sip this gingerly while I waited to ease my way into a night out with friends, but fuck it, I’m gonna be hammered now!”. Thank you, friend.

So what is Negroni week? It’s an event sponsored by Imbibe & Campari where a portion of every Negroni sold at a participating bar between June 2nd – 8th goes to charity. “Drinking For A Cause” is the name of the game.

As we all know, a “classic” Negroni is made with equal parts gin, Campari & sweet vermouth. Thats it. You just stir that stuff up and pour it in some ice with an orange peel and you got yourself a stew, baby. I never liked the original formula; Found it much too sweet. It wasn’t until I saw Jim Meehan (of PDTNYC fame) doing a 2 parts gin to 1 part sweet vermouth & Campari that I really started enjoying them. So much in fact, that it’s my go-to drink at any bar (with a lemon peel tho). Then I found this spin on the classic:

All photos courtesy of Lyudmila zotova (photographer extraordinaire) for Death to Sour Mix.

So have yourself a few classic Negronis this coming week, be it at home or at a participating bar if you want to feel good about yourself (careful you don’t feel “too good”) but then try this one on for size:

2 oz Junipero gin (Plymouth works wonders)
1 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
3/4 oz Averna amaro
2 dashes Scrappy’s orange bitters

Pour into a mixing glass and stir.
Pour into a rocks glass w/ ice
Garnish with an orange peel.
[ Enjoy ]

Diving Bell

The original name for this was ‘Pavlovian Bell’ but then that started to sound pretty dumb. Not that ‘Diving Bell’ isn’t dumb. Maybe I should have just called it ‘Taco Bell’.

This week I meant to post about a couple events I attended a while ago (No. None of them were “How to tell your wife you wear her heels while she’s at work”) that were a lot of fun. And by fun, I mean they had A LOT of rum. But I was suddenly presented with these gorgeous shots by the lovely Lyudmila Zotova from a collaboration we did a little while ago and I couldn’t resist posting them. This was the first real collaboration for the site and now I dream of the day I get to work with more photographers/ fellow bloggers. Just picture me laying on the couch, being fanned with banana leaves while I lethargically tell someone else how much Malibu-to-Alize ratios to use, and then expect them to shoot it too?? A man can dream. But I digress, working with Lyudmila was fantastic (you’ll see a lot more of her work on the site in the weeks to come) and it was a learning experience for the both of us (I taught her that it is hot as balls in my apartment).

This is a refresher; A cocktail you sip on a sunny day, with Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ still playing on your phone while you shake it (both the drink AND your booty). This is how I enjoy my cocktails but you are your own master. With last week’s julep I started my spring cocktails here on the site, so this will be an ongoing series of bright, flavorful drinks for the weeks to come, ending with 2 months of just Polaroid shots of me drinking Coronas in my underwear with a confused look on my face. Why? When did this site ever make any sense? Hope you try it out and let me know how it is!

Bell_blog_2

I’ve been using Caorunn gin all over the place lately. Full disclosure: I was provided a bottle of it a while back BUT it’s pretty damn good. More than that actually. It has a softness to it that makes it incredibly easy to drink. I wish I was drinking it now…

All photos courtesy of Lyudmila Zotova. To check out her awesome work, head over to her site and/or tumblr and be sure to give her shit for not having a twitter account yet ;]

This is my second cocktail using The Owl’s Brew but because I’m SUCH a rebel, I use 2 parts booze to 1 part tea (#sorrynotsorry) and also the second time I use my ‘Death to Sour Mix’ (I cant even read that without rolling my eyes) which I talk about more in THIS post.

Diving Bell

1 3/4 oz gin

1/2 oz elderflower Liqueur

1/2 oz blanc Vermouth

3/4 oz Owl’s Brew Pink & Black

1/2 oz Death to Sour Mix*

Measure & pour all ingredients in a shaker and fill up with some big ol’ pieces of ice.
Beat it to death for a little bit to teach it who’s boss.
Double strain into a chilled glass.
Garnish with a grapefruit (any citrus really) peel

[ Enjoy ]

In case you cant get your hands on some of the grapefruit shrub and you happen to have a bottle of grapefruit bitters lying around, a couple of dashes of that + a bar spoon of simple syrup can make a tasty sub. As for the gin, a nice citrus-forward gin will work (Plymouth, Beefeater, Greenhook, Junipero…) nicely.

MxMo: Witches’ Garden

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This is probably the best smelling syrup ever.

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I’m cutting it pretty close on this Mixology Monday. Call it poor planning or …poor planning? I sure cant blame it on the theme, since it was wide open to interpretation, benefiting from the broad nature of “gardens“. I guess you could make a drink with the devil’s lettuce flowers if you wanted to and it’d be cool. But maybe I didn’t know the rules to this one, so I used one of everything.

The host for this month is my mate Mark (We’re not friends yet but I’m certain I’d impress him with my respectable bow tie collection and wonderful—ly bad British accent) of Cardiff Cocktails fame. Not only does he post some impressive drinks but he’s got a rad Instagram feed as well.

lets take influence from the bartenders that once ruled the world of mixology, raid your herb garden that too often gets neglected, and start mixing. I don’t want to put too many limits on this theme so get as creative as you please, want to use roots, spices or beans as well? Sure thing. Want to make your own herbal infusions or tinctures? Sounds wonderful.

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  • dry Gin
  • curacao
  • lavender bitters
  • lemon juice
  • guava/sage gomme

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In a way I dedicate this one to my mother. She sure as hell doesn’t drink (though she did kick back a shot of Hibiki the day of my wedding) and I’m sure she wishes I didn’t either, but when I think of gardens (this month’s theme), I think of her.

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I used guava here as the base of it all because lets be honest, that fruit is fucking amazing; Not only does it taste and smell lovely but (the pink type) has this rich color too. The best is to peel and juice and strain them but to be honest, I go to this little Cuban place where they do the heavy lifting for me. Yes. I am lazy. Lavender and sage are basically naturally born BFF’s and gin, with its array of botanicals, is there to tie it all up.

If you want to be super crazy, this works wonders with a dry junmai sake instead of the gin, making it much lower in proof but twice as fun.

1 1/2 oz Hendrick's gin
3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao
2 dashes of Scrappy's lavender bitters
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 1/2 oz guava syrup*

*for the syrup, take 2 cups of fresh guava juice, 10 sage leaves, the zest of a lemon (juiced later for the drink) & a bit of grated allspice. Combine them and bring to a boil. When cooled, double strain into a glass bottle and refrigerate it. Should hold up for a week or 2.

Add all to a shaker with some ice and go to town with your preferred method of shaking. Mine’s the one that doesn’t end up all over my kitchen ’cause I failed (every damn time) to create a proper seal.

Double strain into a chilled glass.
Garnish with a few sage leaves on a single lavender branch. Once it looks like a prom corsage, you’re set.

 

[ Enjoy ]

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Guava gomme infused with sage & lemon zest: Initially I had this as a syrup with lavender in it but after making it a few times, it just works so much better when mixed with some gum Arabic, thickening it a bit and using lavender bitters instead. Serious Drinks has an easy tutorial on gomme syrup which you can quickly adapt this with.

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Red Queen

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I’m a sucker for all things Alice in Wonderland…

So this drink was meant to go in last week’s regularly scheduled programming buuuuut I was trying to prove to myself (and my dad) that I can build shit. Like for REAL build things, not just a 5 piece table from Ikea. Well kids, turns out I cant. I was trying to build a set of soft boxes for lighting and I’m pretty sure that starting off by using an old wet box from Crate & Barrel as the base for it was ill advised (in retrospect). I’ll keep trying (doubtful) but given that I have the attention span of a chipmunk (I don’t even know what that means), I’m all but certain I’ll be day drinking to accommodate my photography for
the time being.

This week’s drink is all booze. Now before you get all excited, it’s not very strong -insert sad trombone here-. Made it a couple weeks back when mixing a drink called ‘Elixir No.1′ from The American Cocktail by the folks from Imbibe magazine. I’m sure that drink would have been great (?) but since I didn’t have all the ingredients for it, I started to throw some random shit in there until I ended up with a mutated (but highly “drinkable”) version that I liked a lot. So who likes “drinks that don’t make you immediately have to calculate how many sips of them you can have before getting sloppy”?! I DO.

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B&B
Campari
Dry Vermouth
Velvet Falernum
Bitters

I bought a bottle of B&B thinking it was the same as regular ‘ol Benedictine and boy was I wrong. So I’ve been trying to find new and exciting ways to use this stuff. This being one of them. If you have the OG Benedictine, I’d advise against the Falernum  [amp it up to 1 oz each] since that stuff is pretty sweet too.

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3/4 oz B&B  [ Benedictine & Brandy ]
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth  [ Dolin Dry ]
3/4 oz Campari  [ er…Campari ]
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum  [ John D. Taylor’s ]
Dash of Peychaud’s
10 drops of Abbot’s  [ Bob’s ]

Stir them in your favorite glass candle holder that you use as a mixing glass when nobody’s watching.
Strain into a chilled martini glass.
Take an orange peel and press the oils over the drink, then discard it [let it go. It’s OK]
Garnish with some cherries.

[ Enjoy ]

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Engine No.3

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Some cocktails are complex. Some are very simple; Both can be great in their own way and anyone will tell you that the better the tools (the spirits, the fruit, even down to how the glass is chilled), the higher the chances of a great tasting drink. That’s what we have on display here. It’s 3 ingredients (paying homage to the gin and where the cocktail gets it’s name), all of which have a very specific purpose.
No.3 Dry Gin is really good. It has very few, ‘no bullshit’ botanicals [One of which is grapefruit] that work oh so well together, both in dry martini’s as well as in more clever cocktails.
I used to think that 1 good gin was good enough but with time I’ve realized that’s not the case at all. Different gins serve different purposes and you’ll find [through trial and error] where they work best. Which is why I recommend to stop buying the same bottle every time and take time to see what’s out there, learn what you like and what works best in the drinks you enjoy making.

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No. 3 London Dry Gin
Dry Vermouth
Grapefruit Bitters

Normally, I would make a martini with Plymouth gin, dry vermouth and orange bitters. Try it next time. But since I ran out of it, I had the opportunity of trying out something new [‘No. 3′ in this case], which allowed me to experiment with different flavors.

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3 parts No.3 Gin
1 part Dry Vermouth
2-3 dashes of grapefruit bitters

Pour them into a mixing glass, fill it with ice and stir.
*how long you stir really depends on how much you’d like to dilute your drink, which you may not want to do too much with a drink like this.
Strain [julep strainer works best here] into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with a fresh grapefruit twist for a wonderfully aromatic experience.
[Enjoy]

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