Forbidden Island Field Trip

One of the drinks included in “Food & Wine Cocktails 2008″ is Martin Cate’s version of the classic Trader Vic drink the Fog Cutter

Forbidden Island

Taking the opportunity of a friend’s band (The awesome Project Pimento!) playing at Forbidden Island, I stopped by to try the drink in question.

Fog Cutter

Le Fog Cutter. Tasty! I’d not tried one before. It was fruitier than I expected, with a good amount of the drink’s character coming from the Orgeat. I don’t have the book handy, but it has always struck me as an unlikely combination of ingredients, especially for a Tiki Drink. Most recipes include: Brandy, Gin, Rum, Sherry, Orgeat Syrup, and Orange Juice. Sometimes lemon. Somehow it all works!

Martin & I*

I am such a bartender stalker! Anyway, Martin went on to explain how interesting it is to track the sweetness and different character of the Fog Cutter through the seasons. They’re on late season Navel oranges right now, giving the drink a sweeter character. He said pretty soon they’d be switching to Valencias, which would be quite tart in the early part of the season and then mellow as the summer went on.

FGCUTTR*

Martin even brought in his old FGCUTTR license plate for photographic documentation.

*Humuhumu took these pictures.

Castle Dip Cocktail

Castle Dip Cocktail

Castle Dip Cocktail

1/2 Apple Brandy (1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy)
1/2 White Creme de Menthe (1 oz Brizard Creme de Menthe)
3 Dashes Absinthe (1/2 barspoon Verte de Fougerolles Absinthe)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass.

An interesting combination of flavors. Very much a dessert cocktail, however.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Theme Park for Rich Foodies?

It’s kind of bizarre when your opinions seem to cross over into the public sphere.

I’ve been privately airing my fears that San Francisco is turning into some sort of Theme Park for rich foodies and overseas investors for some time now.

Today the paper of record weighed in with similar concerns.

Exodus of S.F.’s middle class

“A kind of derogatory term for the city would be Disneyland for yuppies,” said Hans Johnson, demographer with the Public Policy Institute of California. “There is a legitimate public policy concern when a city that many people have lived in for many years and regard as their homes becomes so expensive they can’t afford to live there anymore.”

Which is all very serious and kind of outside of the subject sphere for this not very serious blog.

But to bring it back to the sphere of drinks and drinking, I do wonder what is the tipping point.

Lately, the trend has been to open very upscale bars.

Charge lots of money for drinks made with premium spirits.

I love a good drink and the service that these bars provide.

But I wonder how many of these bars even a seemingly “recession proof” city like San Francisco can support.

That’s one point.

The other point…

What seems to trickle down from upscale bars, it seems to me, is the wrong lesson.

What the average bars seem to take home from upscale bars is that if they serve drinks with premium spirits, they can charge more for their drinks.

You don’t see average bars controlling portions. You don’t see average bars with professional service. You don’t see well trained staff at average bars. You don’t see average bars realizing that the premium of fresh squeezed juice easily justifies the expense.

Here’s my question, not understanding much about costs for bars and where the price of the spirits fits in.

OK, you go to a place like say Slanted Door or Beretta. Drinks are, on average $10-15. At retail, most of the rail spirits are in the $20-30 range.

If you chopped $10 off the price of your rail brands, choosing carefully, could you run a similarly high quality drink program, with cheaper average prices and still turn a profit?

Or is it the premium spirit names, and not the quality of drinks or service which sells?

Casino Cocktail

Casino Cocktail

Casino Cocktail

2 Dashes Maraschino (2/3 tsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters (generous couple splashes Regan’s Orange Bitters)
2 Dashes Lemon Juice (2/3 tsp Lemon Juice)
1 Glass Old Tom Gin (2 oz Junipero Gin and a dash simple)

Stir well and add cherry.

Skipped Cherry and am quite cheery about it.

An enjoyably odd cocktail. One of the better features of orange bitters I’ve tried.

On modern cocktail menus, you’ll often find this cocktail significantly reformulated. Moving it away from its roots as a true Cock-tail, and moving it towards a lemon and Maraschino heavy Aviation Cocktail variation. I have to admit I prefer the old-fashioned version.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Caruso Cocktail

Caruso Cocktail

Caruso Cocktail

1/3 Dry Gin (1 oz Boodles gin)
1/3 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry)
1/3 Green Creme de Menthe (1/2 oz Brizard Creme de Menthe)

Shake (stir – eje) well and strain into cocktail glass.

I did slightly adjust the proportions here.

Still, I expected to really dislike this drink.

Oddly, I didn’t, and ended up finishing it.

Living in San Francisco, Enrico Caruso and the 1906 earthquake are intertwined.

I found this interesting piece of history:

Enrico Caruso and the 1906 Earthquake

Enrico Caruso (1873 – 1921) is considered by many music lovers to be the greatest operatic tenor of all time. He was on tour in San Francisco during the Great Earthquake, and appeared in Carmen at the Mission Opera House a few hours before the disaster.

And he never returned after the earthquake!

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Kina Quest 3: Compare and Contrast

Previous Kina Lillet rants:

The Quest for Kina Lillet

Kina Quest 2: Necromancing the Stone

Lillet Americano Comparison

Ok, so taste off.

First, Modern Lillet Blanc. Light fresh wine. Strong Orange flavor. Little to no spice or bitter component.

Second, Cocchi Americano. Sweet heavy wine. Strong Orange Flavor. Strong cinnamon spice flavor and lingering quinine finish.

Third, Jean de Lillet 2004. Sweet heavy wine. Little to no orange flavor. Little to no bitter or spice component.

Dammit! I still like Cocchi Americano best!

There’s no denying Jean de Lillet is a nice wine. It’s just not very bitter. It strikes me more as an attempt to produce a relatively reasonable French Dessert Wine (say Sauterne) substitute from blending wines. I like it for that and will happily drink it. It is still cheaper than real Sauterne and nearly as tasty. But it has no real quinine component that I can detect.

Of course that won’t stop me from trying to mix with it.

Barney Barnato

Barney Barnato Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Curacao. (1/3 barspoon Luxardo Triplum Dry Orange Liqueur)
1/2 Caperitif. (1 oz Jean de Lillet 2004)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Osocalis California Alembic Brandy)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. (Orange Peel.)

This is actually quite nice! Another dash of Angostura bitters and we’d be cooking with gas.

Carrol Cocktail

Carrol Cocktail

Carrol Cocktail

2/3 Brandy (2 oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac)
1/2 Italian Vermouth (1 oz Carpano Antica)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Add a pickled walnut or onion.

Enjoyed this more than I thought I would.

It’s not quite as enjoyable as the “Brandy Special” or “Brandy Vermouth” cocktail. Still more enjoyable than you would think, with a two ingredient cocktail.

Oddly, I actually had some pickled walnuts in the refrigerator. I cut it in half, since it was a bit big, and frankly, expensive. Tasty. Kind of blows the cocktail out of the water, though.

Reminds me a bit of The Bottle Gang’s Antipasto Martini.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Capetown Cocktail

Capetown Cocktail

Capetown Cocktail

1 Dash Angostura Bitters
3 Dashes Curacao (Senior Curacao of Curacao)
1/2 Caperitif (1 1/2 oz Dubonnet Blanc)
1/2 Canadian Club Whisky (1 1/2 oz 40 Creek Barrel Select)

Stir well and strain into cocktail glass. Lemon peel on top.

Initially the flavor of the Dubonnet seemed a bit strong. Grew on me though, and as I drank it I started to appreciate the interplay of the Dubonnet, bitters, curacao and lemon. By the time I finished, I was ready for another. Hallmark of a fine cocktail, I believe.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Cape Cocktail

Cape Cocktail

Cape Cocktail

1/3 Dry Gin (1 oz Boodles)
1/3 Caperitif (1 oz Dubonnet Blanc)
1/3 Orange Juice (1 oz Fresh Squeezed)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

Again experimenting with Dubonnet Blanc as a Caperitif replacement.

The cocktail is pleasant enough; but, significantly improved by the addition of a few drops of Regan’s Orange Bitters.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.