gin

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.

Pins & Needles

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Here’s to the end of these damn holidays and to the bright beginning of a new year.

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I love the holidays. Especially new year’s. I have a questionable amount of red and green pants to prove it but in all honesty, I’m just happy that its over. I got real fat just grazing on chocolate, cookies & random seasonal beer this past month and no matter how much I heard that fucking Michael Bublé Christmas album, things just felt a bit off. So here’s to this new year and all the awesome things it may bring to you (but really, to me).

You may or may not know this but our petite Christmas tree, like way-too-many things in our life, had a name: Christopher. And I got the idea for this cocktail while picking it (him?) out with my equally petite wife in a sea of pine needles and sap. He (it?) was crooked-as-shit and had a horrible color but damn it if it wasn’t the best friend $23 (AMERICAN!) can buy, and not a day goes by that I dont…hmmm….that I dont…I miss that little rascal so much. Sorry. I got emotional there and it got ugly. Not as ugly as watching Jennifer Lawrence cry but very similar.

The idea here was to make something tiki-ish, for the cold-ass weather with spirits that reminded me of “being left for dead in a prickly pine forrest in the dead of winter”. Warm thoughts indeed. The pineapple gomme made sense to me as those edible grenades are just as prickly but finding the balance took a few tries. In fact it took me so long to get it right that it’s now mid-January -__-  fml.

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  • St. George Terroir Gin
  • Braulio
  • Zirbenz
  • Pineapple gomme
  • Lime juice

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I don’t make tall drinks like these often but anytime I get to whip out some straws and fancy ice cubes (which I am working on getting perfectly clear), it’s always a fun time. I wanted to garnish these with a little branch of a pine tree but I read somewhere that can be toxic? So yeah, garnishing with poison would be a bad call.

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This is one of those cocktails that you REALLY smell while you’re making it.  In the best of ways; Braulio has a great pine smell to it that is reinforced by the Zirbenz without losing any of its inviting aroma and without it smelling like you just wrestled a christmas tree. Though that.would.be.awesome.

2 oz St. George Terroir gin
1 oz Braulio amaro
1/2 oz Zirbenz stone pine liqueur
3/4 oz Small Hand Foods pineapple gomme
1/2 oz fresh lime juice

Add all ingredients in your shaker, but trying to look real cool when you do it.
Add ice and shake hard and fast.
Take a collins glass and top up with cubed ice.
Strain into the glass, garnishing with a lime wheel, rosemary sprig & straw.

[ Enjoy ]

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Braulio [ 'amaro alpino', not the artist ] is the star here but it can be subbed for Fernet Branca if needed, as it has similar qualities to it and should be easier to find (I had to travel to NY to get it). But for those amaro lovers that perhaps don't care much for the minty-ness of Fernet, then Braulio may be a great alternative.

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Fox In The Garden

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This drink will wake you up. Between the St. George Terroir gin which is pretty unique, to the brightness of the beet juice &  the bitter delight that is Cynar, it has a decidedly earthy profile that’s a welcomed departure from a sea of Manhattan-like variations of the season.

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I really have to get my shit together with posting more often. I’ve had this post ready for well over a month and just now decided to show up fashionably late to the party. If you think this is bad, try making dinner plans with me at an Olive Garden. Hope you like sitting alone, feverishly refreshing instagram and facebook while the waiter refills your water for the 9th time…cause I ain’t even half way done with my hair. Promise I’ll get better. #pinkypromise

Lately I’ve been obsessing over glassware and how apparently they haven’t invented the right sand that would produce the exquisite glass vessel I require for my cocktails. I mean, it’s not like I’m using red solo cups and empty PBR cans for my photo shoots but in a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to repeat glassware. In this same perfect world I would be best friends with Justin Timberlake and he’d show me the full dance routine to ‘bye, bye, bye’ and I’d show him how to ruin every shirt he owns with buffalo sauce. But I digress. Sometimes I’m not entirely sure what type of glass works best for a drink. Some are easy but when you’re designing cocktails, the lines become blurred. Especially when factoring in a garnish, the use of ice, the amount of liquid, etc.

This cocktail came together rather quickly. I had the base for it with the beets, lemon & mint back when I wasn’t drinking booze and being all whole30. But then I got a bottle of St. George Terroir gin, which is a super-distinct and flavorful gin, it was pretty easy after that. I’m sure there are other beet cocktails out there but one that I enjoyed a lot was one by Suzanne Miller called the ‘Beet Box’ which used genever and needless to say, has the raddest name for a beet-centric craft cocktail.

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Gin
Cynar
bitters
Beet rock syrup
Beets
Lemon juice
mint

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I got the idea for this cocktail (oddly enough) during a time in which I wasn’t drinking alcohol. I was going through some weird times; Times of sugar deprivation and being oddly into Miley Cyrus’ music. Yeah, odd times indeed. But out of that I discovered how good fresh beet juice tastes (and looks) in drinks.

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The hardest part about making this is would be to press the beet juice. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty rad juicer but it happens to be a pain in the ass to wash, so I guess it balances itself out in the end?

1 1/2 oz St. George Terroir Gin
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dashes (~16 drops) of Brooklyn Hemispherical Rhubarb Bitters
1 1/2 oz beet juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz beet rock syrup*
2 small sprigs of mint

Take the mint leaves and lightly muddle them in the mixing tin / shaker. As always, don’t over-do it.
Add the rest of the ingredients, followed by some nice pieces of ice and shake.
It’s almost a shame that the color of the beet juice is subdued with the Cynar and the syrup but its a necessary evil. The clearer the spirits you add to it, the prettier it’ll look (FYI).
Double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a tiny sprig of mint.

[ Enjoy ]

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Once you’ve peeled, washed and juiced the beets, you’ll have this gorgeous colored goodness in a glass. You may want to sample it first since the taste can vary slightly but it should be sweet, a bit tart and full of  flavor.

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MxMo: Cosmopolis

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“Find a recipe, either new or old, and switch around at least two of the ingredients to sister or cousin ingredients but holding the proportions and some of the ingredients the same. The new recipe should be recognizable as a morph of the old one when viewed side by side”
-Frederic Yarm

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This month’s MxMo pulled me out of retirement (more on that later). I missed the last one and wasn’t gonna let the same thing happen again, especially with Frederic of CocktailVirgin fame (fancy-shmancy writer at large) and big Kahuna to Mixology Monday. I liked this month’s theme a lot. Whenever there’s a chance to take something old and make it new, I’m all over that. I mean. Isn’t that what mixology is all about?

As soon as I read the stipulations of MxMo LXXV I immediately thought of this great video I watched a while back by Nils Boese. So really its a series of videos (ALL IN GERMAN!) where this guy teaches you how to make classic drinks (and how to wear the tightest shirt possible) but every now and then he’ll throw something random (like a Jaeger negroni) and I’ll be feverishly trying to translate it, like an asshole, until I give up. How much are German lessons?

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  • Junipero gin
  • Cointreau
  • Leopold Bros Cranberry liqueur
  • Lime juice

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Not all cranberry juice is created equal. I stay the hell away from any juice from concentrate (aka sour mix) so in this case, I’ve replaced the cranberry juice for liqueur. It works surprisingly well and the one from Leopold Bros is nice and tarty without tasting like syrup.

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Surprising absolutely no one, this drink is pretty damn easy. The idea here is for a pleasant gin cocktail with familiar flavors enhanced by the botanicals in a good gin that vodka just simply doesn’t have, along with the richness of the liqueur. 

1 1/2 oz Junipero gin (or your favorite gin with citrus notes)
-substituted the citron vodka for a dry gin with citrus notes.
1 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Leopold Bros. cranberry liqueur
-substitutes the cranberry juice
1/2 oz lime juice

Add all these little creatures into your mixing apparatus and turn it into something tasty.
Double strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange peel, after pressing its oils on top of the drink.

[ Enjoy ]

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To my left are the proportions used for a common Cosmopolitan. In fact, that drink in the back is a 100% legit cosmo… that I’m actually drinking right now… For this specific iteration with the gin, I would advice crankin’ up the lime to 3/4 oz, as it plays better with the liqueurs’ sweetness.

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Earhart

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I feel like I haven’t posted in ages and for that, I am sorry […commits seppuku]

This is definitely one of my favorite OG cocktails. Hubris? What is that? I like it mostly because it had some actual thought put into it. As you may know, good cocktails have this nice even flow to them; You add a bit of this, you had an idea to add a bit of that or you simply fucked up and added the wrong thing while watching some squirrels run around outside. Well. That’s been my experience at least. But I’m also a guy that sometimes cant recall if I put deodorant on after taking a shower, so I spend the rest of the day paranoid, trying not to sweat.

This drink was for the Aviation American Gin facebook contest that I’ve been participating in for the last 6 weeks. The contest is still going on and there have been some truly fantastic entries. Best of luck to al…..screw that…I hope I (me) win that trip to the House Spirits distillery in Portland, OR [insert maniacal laugh here]. As you perhaps know by the name, this Aviation gin inspired cocktail was an ode to Amelia Earhart. Wiki her or watch that movie, she was a total badass. The American gin signifies her, the Jameson whiskey for where she first landed and the Benedictine and Dolin Blanc for her (missed) targeted LZ. Surprisingly, this works incredibly well and makes for a great drink to sip.

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Aviation gin
Blanc vermouth
Benedictine
Irish whiskey
Bitters

If you dont have Abbott’s bitters (I’m using the stuff made by Bob’s in England), it’ll still be tasty but it’ll be missing something. I’ve made this with cherry, fig, lavender and angostura bitters and it’s been quite nice. Go crazy. Just try and stay away from the more citrus-y bitters as they throw it off quite a bit.

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My wife put it this way when she took a sip:
“it’s like a female version of a negroni”
…I’ll take that. I would have also been happy with:
“it’s like the 90’s era Michael Jackson”.

1 3/4 oz dry gin  [ Aviation American Gin ]
1 oz blanc vermouth  [ Dolin ]
1/2 oz irish whiskey  [ Jameson ]
1/4 oz Benedictine
2 dashes of Abbott’s bitters  [ Bob’s ]

Get that mixing glass out and stir.
Strain into a rocks glass with a nice chunk of ice.

[ Enjoy ]

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Blog Stalker: Stir and Strain

Lets try something a bit different and see how it goes…

So there’s all this great content online, just brimming with new ideas and inspiration; Content that I view and take cues from as to what to do, what NOT to do and more importantly, how to create my own content without simply regurgitating someone else’s hard work and slapping a new coat of paint on it. That shit’s hard to do. But I wouldnt put the effort I do into my own li’l site if I didnt think it could be done. For the most part.

So once a month (for now), I’ll be showcasing a blog or site that I believe is of value, purpose and/or stunning design. I’ll kiss their butt a bit in the form of a poor description and then I’ll mix a few of their drinks exactly as noted or (let’s be honest here) as close to them as possible.

Up first on the chopping block: StirandStrain.com

Full disclosure: I almost didn’t start my own site because of this gorgeous blog. I wanted to make something pretty, with fun banter and great taste in cocktails, then I find this site (how I don’t remember) and I decided only to move forward with mine because she doesn’t drop enough F bombs. Elana (who is a pretty rad human being from what I can tell by following her on instagram/twitter) runs that shrine to mixology and so fucking jealous photography. I think she saved some ferrets from a burning building in Rhode Island once too. I cant recall. If you don’t know this site but for some reason know mine, get on it quick. The drinks pack a punch, the writing is fun and inviting (like what you’d find in 50 Shades of Grey) and the photos will melt your face.

So now that we got the formalities out of the way, lets move onto the stirandstrain.com drinks:

Aviation [ Elana’s variation on the classic ]

This is a cool one to show Elana’s variations on what’s out there and how changing something small can produce a welcomed new addition to the seemingly old and familiar. I mainly wanted to try this one since I too am not a fan of the OG Aviation cocktail. 

Aviation

aviation_ing

Recipe HERE 

Eagle Rock [  go easy on these ]

Look at that list of ingredients. Mmmm. Tho I will admit I liked it a bit more with 10 yr. Bulleit Bourbon. I cant recall how many of these I’ve made since. 

Eagle_Rock

Eagle_rock_ing

Recipe HERE

These are just a couple of cocktails I bastardized from her site, but maybe you can give them a more faithful representation in your bar. I’m certain stirandstrain.com will quickly climb your cocktail reading list (if not already) and promptly make you a fan. Just like me.

[ enjoy ]