I’m always interested in fresh hop ales, so was interested to see Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale on the shelf at our last trip. Not that I am particularly timely. This came out in April or so of this year. It is, however, currently fresh hop season for hops harvested in the US. A bar in Hayward that I haven’t visited yet, The Bistro, had their Fresh Hop festival a couple weeks ago. Sorry to have missed it. Another local bar, Toronado, is having their Fresh Hop Festival on October 15th. Unfortunately, it looks like I might miss this too, as Mrs. Flannestad and I have tickets to see Herman Dune that night at Bimbo’s. In any case, we covered Sierra Nevada’s regular Harvest Ale last October. This is their second version, with most of the hops coming from New Zealand. They have a third, recently available Fresh Hop Beer using hops grown on their property in Chico: Chico Estate Harvest Ale. If I can track that down, it may be next week’s beer of the week.
Southern Hemisphere Harvest is another beer from Sierra Nevada which I find myself enjoying quite a bit. Nice citrus hoppiness and good complexity. Not overly heavy or sweet, it is well balanced.
For dinner we had Alaskan Halibut braised with aromatic vegetables, herbs, and Pineau de Charentes. Quinoa Pilaf. Spicy Braised Red Russian Kale. Baby Greens with Bariani Vinaigrette, dry farmed Two Dogs Sungold Tomatoes, and French Sheep’s Milk Feta.
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Cerbois VSOP Armagnac)
1/4 Kola Tonic. (1/2 oz Rose’s Kola Tonic)
1/4 Sirop-de-citron. (1/2 oz Monin Lemon Syrup)
Shake, (well, stir, I suppose,) and strain into cocktail glass.
I know I promised to make my own Sirop-de-Citron the next time one of the cocktails called for it. And it is even lemon season. Sadly I have failed. And sadly failed this drink. At least with the Monin Lemon Syrup, this is the equivalent of some sort of very sweet hard candy with the Kola Tonic giving it a lovely medicinal edge. Cough Drop in liquid form. It’s hard for me to see this as anything other than a waste of a delicious Brandy.
Earlier in the day, a friend had called. Asking if I happened to have any Armagnac. It isn’t odd for him to ask me for a couple ounces of drink ingredients, as I know he is currently making drinks as part of his personal obsessive-compulsive project to make all the recipes from the “Joy of Cooking”. But, I did think it a bit odd to ask about Armagnac. I mean, there really aren’t that many cocktails that specify Armagnac. Why would they include one with the dozen or so cocktails in the Joy of Cooking? Turns out it is a Sidecar variation which they are inexplicably calling an “Armored Car,” (every google I do for “Armored Car” and “cocktail” turns up tequila and amaretto.)
My friend came over, and I made him an Armagnac Sidecar (2-1-1) with the Cerbois, Cointreau, and fresh lemon juice. Damn, if it wasn’t the best Sidecar I’ve ever made. I’ve actually always thought it a bit of a waste to use a too nice Brandy in Sidecars, as it often gets plowed over by the Cointreau and Lemon. The Armagnac really puts up a fight!
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.