Do You Like Whisk(e)y?

Something tells me, if you are reading this blog, there’s a small chance you may enjoy the results of fermenting and/or distilling grain.

If perchance you are among those who also enjoy their fermented grain products distilled, and might be able to be in the San Francisco area on or near October 16th, please check out the Malt Advocate’s Whisky Fest.

WhiskyFest San Francisco will feature more than 200 of the world’s finest, rarest, and most expensive, single malt and blended Scotch, Irish, bourbon, Tennessee, Japanese, Welsh, Canadian and other whiskies from around the world to sample in one Grand Ballroom. High-end rums, tequilas beer and other spirits will be represented as well.

There will be a bunch of axillary, (or is that ancillary?) events that week as well, including special dinners and parties at bars and restaurants.

In general, the best place to keep up with this sort of drinky information is on Camper English’s blog Alcademics.  However, I will endeavor to post anything I find of note.

PS. As noted on Camper’s blog, Whiskyfest tickets are steeply discounted only until September 25th, so get them while they are hot.

Balthazar Cocktail

I’ve been making this cocktail for a while when cocktail geeky or bartender type people ask me for a Mezcal, Tequila, or Agave “Dealer’s Choice Cocktail”.  It’s just kind of fun to mess with people and not make a shaken citrus or fruit based cocktail.  For obvious reasons, I usually just call it a “Death and Company” or “Phil Ward” style cocktail.  However, checking with one of the bartenders at Death and Co, it turns out it isn’t actually a Death and Company cocktail.  Damn.  That meant I had to think of a name.

A guest the other night quite enjoyed it and suggested calling it the “Balthazar Cocktail”.  Odd.  The Donkey or the Getty?  The Burro or the Ass?  I didn’t ask, so I leave it up to you to make the call.

Balthazar Cocktail
1 1/2 oz El Tesoro platinum tequila
1/4 oz Benesin Mezcal
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse Liqueur
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
dash orange bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Squeeze orange peel over glass and discard.

Port Wine Cocktail No. 2

Port Wine Cocktail No. 2

Port Wine Cocktail (No. 2)

Squeeze orange peel on top.
1 Dash Angostura Bitters.
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (Angostura Orange Bitters)
2 Dashes Curacao. (1/2 tsp. Brizard Curacao)
1 Glass Port Wine. (2 oz Ficklin Tinta Port)

Stir well and strain into Port Wine glass.

OK, now that is a cocktail, at least! Bitters, Curacao, and Port Wine!

And, as such, fairly enjoyable.

I have to admit being a bit fond of Ficklin’s Ports.  In 1941 UC Davis issued a report suggesting that it would be very possible to produce wines in California from Port varietals which were on par with those from their country of origin.  In 1948  Ficklin Vineyards accepted that challenge and began growing Portuguese varietals from UC Davis Cuttings for the production of Port Style wines.

The Ficklin Tinta is a lighter style Wine which doesn’t hit you over the head with sweetness, so I could see this cocktail working before or after dinner. I guess, especially, if you didn’t feel like dragging liquor into your night’s affairs.

Interesting Tidbit from an old “WineDay” Article, “When Ficklin was founded, Americans drank three bottles of Port and Sherry for every one of table wine such as “Pinot Chardonnay” or Zinfandel.”

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.

Port Wine Cocktail No. 1

Port Wine Cocktail No. 1

Port Wine Cocktail (No. 1).

1 Dash Brandy. (Osocalis Brandy)
1 Glass Port Wine. (2 oz Ficklin Tinta Port)

Stir slightly in ice and strain.

I dunno, does this even count as a cocktail? 2 oz of port with a dash of brandy?

I suppose it is perfectly fine, and all. Just don’t much see the point.

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.

Poppy Cocktail

Poppy Cocktail

Poppy Cocktail.
1/3 Crème de Cacao. (3/4 oz Mozart Black Chocolate Liqueur)
2/3 Dry Gin. (1 1/2 oz Death’s Door Gin)

Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

A cream-less Alexander Cocktail?

As much as I don’t really like the Alexander, the Poppy is even less appealing.

Not at all advised.

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.

Poop Deck Cocktail

Poop Deck Cocktail

Poop Deck Cocktail.
1/2 Blackberry Brandy. (1 oz Leopold Brothers Rocky Mountain Blackberry Liqueur)
1/4 Port Wine. (1/2 oz Ficklin Port)
1/4 Brandy. (1/2 oz Osocalis Brandy)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (uh, oops, build in crushed ice, stir, top up with a splash of soda. Squeeze Lemon Peel over glass.)

One of the fun things about Savoy Cocktail Book night at Alembic is that some of the Savoy Cocktails are actually on the “Classics” section of Alembic’s regular menu.

The Poop Deck is one that they describe in the following way, “It’s hard to resist a cocktail with a nautical theme (or scatalogical reference for that matter). This classic cocktail blends Cognac, Port Wine, and Blackberry Brandy, making for smooth sailing on stormy seas. Overindulgence, however, could send a wave up over your stern.”

To me the “up” version of the Poop Deck is a tad rich for my taste, so I decided to give it the old Bradsell Bramble treatment, building it over crushed ice.  Worked quite well, I must say!

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.

Cold Tossed Sichuan Noodles

This is my much “loved” copy of “Classic Chinese Cuisine” by Nina Simonds.

Classic Chinese Cuisine

Hot as it was this week, I decided I would make “Cold Tossed Sichuan Noodles” from this book. No way I was creating any more heat than necessary in the house. Plus it is a quick and easy to make dish.

Cold Tossed Sichuan Noodles.

This is actually a great weeknight meal, if the weather is intolerably hot or not. If you have these ingredients in your pantry it takes minutes to throw together the sauce, chop a few veggies, and boil the noodles. You can also make it with any other nut butter, if you don’t like Peanut Butter. Almond, Cashew, whatever.

Cold Tossed Sichuan Noodles.

Quite possibly the trickiest thing in this recipe is poaching the chicken, without making it dry or tough. Even many restaurants *cough*Pomelo*cough* can’t seem to manage this. If you bring it to a boil too quickly it turns into chewing gum. Ideally, you’d seal it in a cryovac bag with rice wine, ginger, soy sauce, and garlic and sous vide it. Lacking sous vide equipment, place the bone on breast in a pan large enough it can be covered with cold water. Add a splash of soy sauce and rice wine. Crush a garlic clove and a couple ginger slices and drop them in the water. Using medium heat, bring the water up to not quite a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat as low as you can. Continue to cook until the breast reaches 145 at its thickest point and the broth is clear. The dish would also be tasty made with tofu instead of chicken.

Cold Tossed Sichuan Noodles.

“Classic Chinese Cuisine” is one of the first cookbooks that opened my eyes and tastes when I was in college and had my first food service jobs. One of the first time I realized that if I followed a recipe from a cookbook, I could make something much tastier than many of the restaurants I had been going to. Chinese cuisine was my first enthusiasm, thanks to this book. “Cold Tossed Sichuan Noodles” is one the first recipes I remember making from it. Just between you and me, I checked out “Classic Chinese Cuisine” from the public library. It was due for return on April 22, 1989. I’m sorry if you have been trying to check it out. The “Cold Tossed Sichuan Noodles” were just so good, I knew I needed to make far more things from the book. It’s not something I’m proud of.

Pooh-Bah Cocktail

Pooh-Bah Cocktail

Pooh-Bah Cocktail.

1/3 Bacardi Rum. (3/4 oz Ron Mathusalem Platino)
1 Dash Apricot Brandy. (1 dash Rothman and Winter Apricot Liqueur)
1/3 Swedish Punch. (3/4 oz Underhill-Punsch)
1/3 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz North Shore Distiller’s No. 6)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Add a Luxardo Chery.)

We always get a couple orders for these during Savoy Night at Alembic Bar. I guess because of the funny name and the fact that it contains Swedish Punch.  And, frankly you could do worse.

Still, it it is awfully sweet, so you could definitely do better, and you could definitely to a lot to improve it by making it with a more interesting rum than the Mathusalem Platino.

Personally, I’d be awfully tempted to grab the Appleton V/X or a mild Agricole like Barbancourt.

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.

Polo Cocktail No. 2

Polo Cocktail No. 2

Polo Cocktail (No. 2).
1/6 Grape Fruit Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice)
1/6 Orange Juice. (1/2 of 3/4 oz Orange Juice)
2/3 Plymouth Gin. (1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

The Polo No. 2, on the other hand, I think you can keep. A big glass of citrus and Gin, I’m not that much of a fan.

I might go for it, but only if you served it in tall glass over rocks with a spritz of soda. But I think that’s about the only way I can see myself trying this one again.

In any case, this seems a bit dangerously potent to accompany horse croquet. At your own risk!

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.

Polo Cocktail No. 1

Polo Cocktail No. 1

Polo Cocktail (No. 1)
The Juice of 1/4 Lemon or 1/2 Lime. (1/4 Lemon)
1/3 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Martini and Rossi Sweet Vermouth)
1/3 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)
1/3 Dry Gin. (3/4 oz Plymouth Gin)
Shake (I stirred) well and strain into cocktail glass.

Like the Plaza Cocktail, this is a species of Martini relative that is relatively extinct.  These days, no one would think of making a “Perfect Martini” with a dash of lemon 0r lime.

However, it is fairly dry, light, and refreshing.  Kind of punch-like really.  Is it really the sort of thing you might want to drink while playing croquet on horse-back?  Probably not.

It is, I suppose, similar to a tarter version of the Bronx, a cocktail I often unfairly malign.

To be honest, I’ll probably take the Plaza or Polo No. 1 to a Bronx about 90% of the time.

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.