COTW–Wandering Aegnus

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Cider of the Week for a change!

Spatchcocked!

Rancho Gordo Santa Maria Pinquitos!

Small, hearty and pink, Sta. Maria Pinquitos are the perfect accompaniment to your barbecues and cookouts. A regional favorite in sunny Santa Maria (California), these quick-cooking beans hold their shape and can be used in chilis as well.

New plants for the garden in back. Julep Mint!

Greek Oregano.

English Thyme.

Agastache ‘Apricot’.

What San Francisco back yards look like. At least I don’t have to mow.

Monty and I both wish Michele would hurry up and get home from Mountain View.

Roasting veggies for Salsa.

Cider of the week, Wandering Aengus Wanderlust.

Modeled after English ciders, a full bodied cider with a long ginger spice finish. Pairings – barbeque, pork, turkey, sausage, or acidic cheese such as aged cheddar. 6.9% Alc., 1% Res. Sugars, 6 months-apples to bottle.

Cider in a classy jar. I liked this Cider, not so sweet as most American Cider. Tasted very natural.

Laid back Chicken, ready for roasting.

“Conv” Roasting Chicken at 375 F.

First stab at recreating Papalote’s Roast Tomato Salsa. Not entirely successful.

Roasted Chicken.

Dinner! Roast Chicken with Beans, Greens, and salad.

Morning Glory Fizz

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Morning Glory Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon or 1 Lime. (Juice 1/2 Lemon, Juice 1/2 Lime)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 heaping teaspoon caster sugar)
The White of 1 Egg.
2 Dashes Absinthe (2 dash Absinthe Verte)
1 Glass Scotch Whisky (2 oz Highland Park 8, Gordon & MacPhail)
Shake well, strain into long tumbler and fill with syphon soda water.

The Morning Glory Fizz, (unrelated to the Morning Glory Cocktail,) is another Savoy Fizz from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”.
Interestingly, Ensslin gives the recipe as:

Juice of ½ Lime; Juice of ½ Lemon; 1 teasponful Powdered Sugar; White of 1 Egg; 2 dashes Absinthe; 1 drink Scotch Whiskey. Made and served as directed for Plain Gin Fizz.

While Ensslin suggests the juice of half a lemon and half a lime, the Savoy Cocktail Book suggests you choose between them, significantly altering the sweet/sour balance. I chose to follow Hugo Ensslin’s advice and found the results pleasant. Whether you will agree, I guess depends on where you fall on the whole, “not too sweet spectrum”.

As a drink maker, you have complete control over the level of sweetness in the drinks you make and it’s pretty easy to make the drinks you like. It’s more tricky when you have to figure out what someone else means by, “not too sweet”. I mean, almost no one ever asks for a Sweet Cocktail.

I remember one conversation I had that went something like:

Guest: If I asked you to make something with Baileys, what would you make?

Me: Unfortunately, we don’t have Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Guest: So you couldn’t make a White Russian?

Me: (Thinking: What? there’s no Bailey’s in a White Russian.) We do have cream and Coffee Liqueur, I would be happy to make you something similar to a White Russian.

Guest: Never mind, tell me about your cocktails. I don’t like anything too sweet.

Me: (Thinking: Same person who wants a White Russian with Bailey’s doesn’t like her cocktails too sweet? Does Not Compute.) Do you enjoy ginger flavor in a cocktail? I think you will find this cocktail refreshing and enjoyable.

I made her the Biarritz Monk Buck, a Brandy Cocktail with Lemon, Ginger and Yellow Chartreuse. She enjoyed it enough to thank me for my suggestion when her group was leaving the restaurant.

Ninety percent of the time, the challenge isn’t making the drinks, it’s interpreting from the guest what they really want.

I use the word “interpret” because there’s a lot of jargon around mixed drinks and bartending which I am nominally fluent in, such that it’s practically a dialect of its own, but I can’t really expect guests to understand. “Up”, “Rocks”, “Dry”, “Perfect”, “Sweet”, “Dirty”, etc.

But my idea of a “not too sweet” cocktail is often a long distance from what a guest might mean. If anything, all the cocktails I make, that aren’t after dinner stickies, fall into the category of “not too sweet”. Generally a guest isn’t going to want a cocktail any less sweet than the recipes we make at either place I sometimes tend bar.

But sometimes they do, I’ll make them a standard recipe for their first drink and they’ll say, “Could you make something a little less sweet for the next drink?” We even had one person at Alembic Savoy Nights who would always order a Crow Cocktail: 2/3 Bourbon, 1/3 Lemon, but ask for it without even the dash of Grenadine. Now that’s a Whiskey Sour! But more commmonly, I’ll get “That was good but a little too tart for me, could you make something a little sweeter”.

Either way, it’s not hard to tweak recipes a little this way or that, the hard part is making the guest comfortable enough that they feel like they can ask for what they want. While there are undoubtedly bars and establishments in San Francisco which employ a sort of S&M ethic to their customer relations, it’s not my thing. I would prefer that we all make it to the end of the night a little happier than when we started. No whips, no chains, and minimal scarring.

And, well, unless you are a Scotch Whisky Stickler, a Morning Glory Fizz with Highland Park 8, is a fine start. Think of it as a slightly peaty Rattlesnake, don’t worry about the bite. The cocktail doesn’t, and neither do I.

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

May Blossom Fizz

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

May Blossom Fizz
1 Teaspoonful Grenadine. (1 teaspoon Small Hand Foods Grenadine)
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1 Liqueur Glass Swedish Punch. (1 1/2 oz Forgotten Flavors Swedish Punsch)
(2 Dash Miracle Mile Gingerbread Bitters)
Shake well, strain into medium size glass and fill with soda water.

I think I got this small bottle of the Forgotten Flavors Swedish Punsch as a consolation prize for missing out on the CSOWG house at Tales a couple years ago. The Forgotten Flavors Punsch is pretty good, but it’s my understanding Haus Alpenz will shortly be importing my all-time favorite Facile Swedish Punch, so no reason to go spending all that money getting Punsch shipped from Germany. I mean, you can always make your own, a la Underhill-Punsch, it’s way less work than Milk Punch, trust me.

The Gingerbread Bitters were a nice improvisation, upping the spice and bitterness quotient in what might otherwise be a somewhat plain cocktail. Tasty, definitely a recommended use for Swedish Punsch.

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

Imperial Fizz

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails on this blog have captured your fancy, (they also have a great beer selection,) stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Imperial Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon.
1/3 Rum.
2/3 Canadian Club or Scotch Whisky.
1/2 Tablespoonful Sugar.
Shake well, strain into medium size glass and fill with syphon soda water.

Another Fizz from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”, Ensslin gives the recipe as follows:

1/3 St. Croix Rum; 2/3 Whiskey; 4 dashes Lemon Juice; Juice ½ Lime. Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a fizz glass and fill up with carbonated water or any sparkling water desired.

A few Savoy Recipes have called for “St. Croiix Rum.” I’ve never really seen much differential to using Cruzan or any other modern Rum from St. Croix. The Cruzan Single Barrel is a nice Rum, but there isn’t really anything in particular it brings to a drink. Or at least enough to justify calling for “St. Croix Rum” in particular.

However, once when I was talking to Martin Cate, (of Rum paradise Smuggler’s Cove) about this issue, he suggested he’d had good results using Spiced Rum when St. Croix Rum is called for. Well, if Martin Cate suggests it, I’ll give it a try. Besides, as this drink has no sweetener, it might be nice to use a sweetened product like most Spiced Rums.

Hey, some company promoting Kraken Spiced Rum was even kind enough to send me a bottle…

Damn! I was really hoping for a rubber squid.

Imperial Fizz

1 1/2 oz Macallan Cask Strength Scotch Whiskey
3/4 oz Kraken Spiced Rum
Light squeeze, juice 1/2 Lemon
Juice 1/2 Small Lime

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a fizz glass and fill up with carbonated water or any sparkling water desired.

Yeah, that is not very sweet at all. I believe I over estimated the sweetening power of spiced rum!

And, yes, in the video you can see the problem with using a soda syphon shortly after charging it. The CO2 does not have a chance to dissolve properly, so the first squirt is always too charged.

So this is pretty, “Meh”. A definite waste of perfectly good Scotch. Even stirring a little simple syrup into this, it was pretty blah. The Kraken Spiced Rum and Macallan Scotch aren’t a particularly interesting combination.

But I was thinking about this, and thinking I was just playing it too safe. If you’re going to do something, why not do it all the way? Go Big or Go Home!

Islay Imperial Fizz

1 1/2 oz Laphroaig 10
1/2 oz St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
Couple Dashes lemon Juice
Juice 1/2 small lime
dash Rich Simple Syrup

Shake well in a mixing glass with cracked ice, strain into a fizz glass and fill up with carbonated water or any sparkling water desired.

I may be on crack, but there is some real promise here. It’s kind of like a cross between Erik Adkins’ Rhum Agricole Punch and Sam Ross’ Penicillin. This is not bad, not bad at all. It’s lacking a little in middle flavors, but the combination of Smoky, Peaty Islay Scotch and Allspice Dram is kind of awesome. Definitely worthy of further experimentation!

Music in the first video clip from Efrim Manuel Menuck’s new recording, “Plays High Gospel,” maybe my current favorite CD. Music in the second video clip is from Craig Taborn’s new solo piano CD, “Avenging Angel”.

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

BOTW–Trumer Pils

BOTW--Trumer Pils

Beer of the Week: Trumer Pils

A German style Pilsner, Trumer Pils is characterized by a distinct hops flavor, high carbonation and light body. A combination of Saaz and Austrian hops, malt mashing process and proprietary yeast make Trumer Pils unique among beers.

Sometimes you don’t want anything too complicated, especially while doing your end of the shift cleaning.

Holland Fizz

Holland Fizz
The Juice 1/2 Lemon. (Juice of 1/2 Lemon, Juice of 1/2 Lime)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (Generous Teaspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Glass Gin. (2 oz Bols Genever)
(Dash Miracle Mile Forbidden Bitters)
The White of 1 Egg. (Uh, oops!)
Shake well strain into medium size glass and fill with sypon soda water. Add 3 sprigs of fresh Mint.

Wait, what? Egg White! Dammit, I forgot the Egg White!

Well, you will perhaps be thrilled to know that I did make this drink for a guest at Heaven’s Dog a couple weeks ago AND succeeded in including the Egg White. I hope they appreciated the effort that went into their, “Freedom From Choice: Gin, Citrus”. I will also be very happy to make it for you properly, should you happen to stop by Heaven’s Dog Saturday, July 23rd.

Even though I forgot the Egg White, I did decide to include some of the Miracle Mile Forbidden Bitters, which went surprisingly well with the Bols Genever. Note to self, Genever Old-Fashioned in my very near future with Miracle Mile Forbidden Bitters.

Oh yeah, why Genever, instead of any old Dry Gin?

Well, it is called a “Holland Fizz”, what are you going to make the Holland Fizz with OTHER than Genever?

Anyway, with or without Egg White, this is a nice drink and a pleasant change from the “Plain Gin Fizz”. Give it a try some time!

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

Hoffman Fizz

Dinner Prep

Prep for Fusilli with Summer Vegetables.

Hoffman Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Lime, Juice 1/2 Lemon)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 Teaspoon Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Glass Gin. (2 oz Leopold’s Gin)
Shake well strain into medium size glass and fill with sypon soda water. Add teaspoonful of Grenadine (1 Teaspoon Small Hand Foods Grenadine).

Similar to the Albemarle Fizz, but with Grenadine instead of Raspberry Syrup. I have to admit, as much as I like Small Hand Foods Grenadine, there was something just a bit nicer about the Albemarle. Maybe the fragrance of the Raspberries? Grenadine makes a drink that is just a tad leaner than one made with Raspberry Syrup.

The music in the video is from a new CD by The Thing with Jim O’Rourke called, “Shinjuku Growl”.

Fusilli with Kabocha Squash, small tomatoes, Snap Peas, and corn. AKA leftovers pasta. Really tasty, all the same.

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

BBOTW–G’Knight

BONUS BEER of the WEEK!

So I’m puzzled here, one of our favorite beers from Oskar Blues was their Gordon.

This last time we visited our local BevMo, we could find no trace.

Instead, we found another beer with a similar color scheme called G’Knight.

Oh wait.

While it is true that Dan Gordon, a founder of Gordon Biersch, has asked Oskar Blues to change the name of the beer “Gordon” it is a little more involved than the Beer Advocate posting would imply. Oscar Blues came out with a single beer named “Gordon,” in memory of the late brewer Gordon Knight, in 2002. Dan Gordon has been producing German Lagers and Hefeweizen with the name Gordon Biersch on the label since 1988. Dan asked Oskar Blues to change their beer name to “Knight” or some other moniker that consumers would not confuse with his beer for years. They had settled on a verbal agreement that Oskar Blues would not sell the brand “Gordon” in states where Gordon Biersch is distributed, which did not include Oskar Blues’ home state of Colorado. Oskar Blues did not hold up their end of the bargain and that is why legal action was taken.

Well, on the plus side, G’Knight is every bit as good as Gordon was…

Will sausages fall from a great height? That beer smells OK too.

Caught Mrs. Flannestad in the act of taking a picture of relish.

A half pie? How can you sell half a pie? Why not a small pie?

Corn and Avedano’s smoked wild boar sausages ready for the grill.

I like big buns and I can not lie.

Potato Salad.

Dinner.

MxMo LIX: Industrial Pale Fizz (Part 2)

Continuing with the practical exercise from the previous MxMo LIX post.

I’ve experimented with compounded beer flavored beverages before, as in my Modernist Punch, but this is a more a la minute preparation.

From 7/13/11

But when Frederic called for “Beer Cocktails”, I knew I had to step it up a notch. First I infused California Single Grain vodka with roasted barley and Rye for 24 hours.

From 7/13/11

Then I added Cascade Whole Leaf hops and let it sit for another day.

From 7/13/11

I strained out the barley and hops.

From 7/13/11

Combined 1 1/2 oz infused vodka with 1 1/2 tablespoons Malted Barley Syrup. Man that stuff is sticky. Added a tiny squeeze of lemon juice and an egg white. Dry shook it for a few seconds. Added Ice and shook the crap out of it.

Strained it into a pint glass and topped up with soda water.

Hey, it’s kind of neat, the bubbles in the carbonation are forming little waves of froth floating up the liquid, almost like Guinness.

Uh right, what is that?

It is remotely beer-like, but maybe reminds me a bit more of an Egg Cream than a beer.

First you get the roasty taste of the grains, then the sweetness of the barley malt. Finishes with a nice touch of hop bitterness and then the annoying aftertaste of highly distilled alcohol from the vodka.

On the plus side, it is neither the worst cocktail nor the worst beer that I have ever drunk.

BOTW–Almanac Summer 2010

Prep for dinner.

The other day, I was talking to Jesse Friedman about the beer his company, Almanac Beer Company had recently launched and he suggested, “A Beer of the Week Feature on SavoyStomp.com would totally put us over the top.”

Always happy to oblige a friend.

The funny thing is, every time I make a punch and have Jesse taste it, he tells me it is kind of “sweet”. I usually reply, “Well it is Punch.”

To me the bottles of Almanac fall squarely in the region defined by Belgian Trippels, beers that, to me, are just a little too sweet and rich to drink before dinner. They need food to contrast against to be fully appreciated. Or you can drink them for dessert.

Anyway, it the Almanac Summer 2010 is a Belgian Style blended beer, aged in used wine barrels with berries.

This Citra-hopped golden ale is a snapshot of Sonoma County from the second week of July 2010. Hot sun and long days produced sweet and complex blackberries. Our first release melds the flavors of four varieties–Cherokee, Marion, Ollalie and Boysenberries–with hints of vanilla and oak from months aging in red wine barrels. Enjoy paired with triple-cream cheeses, roast pork, and grilled stone fruit.

IMG_20110630_194155

The whole thing is a labor of love, blood, sweat, tears, and cash for Jesse and his partner.

Jesse is a friend of mine, you should buy his beer, even if he looks a little goofy when he poses for pictures. Take my word for it, he’s a good guy.

I’ve had Miso Baked Black Cod, everywhere from Alembic to Heaven’s Dog to The House.

It’s dead simple to make.

1/4 Cup Shaoshing Rice Wine
1/4 Cup White Miso Paste
1/4 Cup Sake
1/8 Cup Sugar
dash Sesame Oil

Heat to dissolve sugar, cool and pour over fish. Cook in a 325F oven until done. Plate fish on warm dinner plates, pour off cooking liquid and reduce. Pour over fish and serve.

Not sure where this dish originated, but I found some indication it might have been originally made at Nobu.

Cauliflower and Broccoli roasted with soy and chile bean paste.

Quinoa pilaf with green onions.

Drink more beer, preferably Almanac.

Speaking of, if you’re thirsty and have some free time this evening:

7×7 Week in Food

Thursday, July 14 2011

Starting at 6 p.m., Almanac Beer is celebrating their brewery launch at Shotwell’s Bar with pastrami dogs from Wise Son’s Deli, Nosh This’ beer caramels covered in chocolate, and Kitchen Sidecar’s beer-braised carnitas taco. Oh, yeah, and there will be beer: Almanac’s 2010 Vintage Blackberry Ale and Sour Summer 2010. 3349 20th St. (at Shotwell)

…and that Sour Summer 2010 is off the charts…