Flannestad Root Beer v1.5

Unfortunately, I liked Bitter Root Beer v1.3a less than I liked the original Moxie Root Beer v1.3. Damn, reminds me of my old “Hercules” experimentation days.

Thought I would return to the original proposition, but confront what happens when you leave Sassafras Root Bark out of the mix, since that’s what the FDA thinks I should do anyway. I’ve pumped up the Sarsaparilla and Wintergreen and also slightly widened the “kitchen spice” mix with Clove and Ceylon Cinnamon.

Flannestad Root Beer v1.5 (Sassafras Free)

Roots:

3 tsp Sarsaparilla Root, Jamaican
3 tsp Wintergreen
1/2 tsp Ginger Root, Dry
1/2 tsp Ginger Root, sliced fresh
1/2 tsp Juniper Berries, crushed
1/2 tsp American Spikenard
1/2 tsp Roasted Dandelion Root
1 tsp Licorice Root
1/2 Vanilla Bean, Split
1 Star Anise
4 Cloves, crushed
1/4 piece Ceylon Cinnamon, Crushed

Herbs:

1/2 tsp Cascade Hops
1/2 tsp Yerba Mate
1/2 tsp Horehound

Sweetener:
1/4 Cup CA Wildflower Honey
1 Cup Washed Raw Sugar
1 TBSP Blackstrap Molasses

METHOD: Bring 2 Cups of Water to a boil. Add Roots and simmer for 20 mins. Turn off heat and add herbs. Steep for another 20 mins. Strain out solids. Stir in Molasses, Honey, and Washed Raw Sugar. Cool, bottle in clean containers, and keep refrigerated. Makes a 3 cups of Syrup. To serve, mix syrup to taste with soda water.

Flannestad Root Beer 1.5.

Flannestad Root Beer 1.5.

It does end up more of a “spice” beer than a Root Beer, just doesn’t quite have the “bite” of a Sassafras based Root Beer. Heck, it would probably make a tasty Toddy…

Smoky Root Beer

I really liked the Bitter Root Beer, but I have been interested in trying a Root Beer with some smoky elements, so am swapping out some of the herbal flavors for darker and smoked flavors. No rest for the wicked.

As Jim Meehan calls it, the “Mr Potato Head” school of Mixology, swapping out certain elements for other elements.

Lapsang Souchong is a tea smoked over Cedar fires.

Black Cardamom is a ginger relative whose pods are too large to sun dry, so are smoked over fires.

Flannestad Root Beer v1.4 (Slightly Smoky)

Roots:

2 tsp Sarsaparilla Root, Jamaican
2 tsp Sassafras Root Bark*
2 tsp Wintergreen
1/2 tsp Ginger Root, Dry
1/2 tsp Ginger Root, sliced fresh
1/2 tsp Juniper Berries, crushed
1/2 tsp American Spikenard
1/2 tsp Burdock Root
1/2 tsp Licorice Root
1/2 tsp Licorice Root, Honey Roasted
1/2 tsp Wild Cherry Bark
1/2 tsp White Birch Bark
1 small Black Cardamom Pod, Crushed
1 Star Anise
1/4 piece Ceylon Cinnamon, Crushed

Herbs:

1/2 tsp Cascade Hops
1/2 tsp Yerba Mate
1/2 tsp Lapsang Souchong Tea

Sweetener:
1/4 Cup CA Wildflower Honey
1 Cup Washed Raw Sugar
1 TBSP Blackstrap Molasses

METHOD: Bring 2 Cups of Water to a boil. Add Roots and simmer for 20 mins. Turn off heat and add herbs. Steep for another 20 mins. Strain out solids. Stir in Molasses, Honey, and Washed Raw Sugar. Cool, bottle in clean containers, and keep refrigerated. Makes a 3 cups of Syrup. To serve, mix syrup to taste with soda water.

Smoky Root Beer.

(Not Very) Smoky Root Beer.

I didn’t exactly accomplish my “Smoked Root Beer” with this, but I have gotten closest to what might be considered the flavor profile for a modern commercial Root Beer.

Might have to get the smoker out, after all.

*Blah, blah, Sassafras is not FDA GRAS, as it causes liver cancer in rats after they’ve been given high doses of pure sassafras oil intravenously for about a year. I’m amazed the rats lived that long, with that high a dose of anything, but use at your own risk. Thus, while no one has ever correlated Sassafras, Gumbo File, or Root Beer with Liver cancer in humans, I’d try to avoid shooting up with it. I also wouldn’t give it to kids, but they probably wouldn’t like this complex concoction in any case.

Picon Biere #7

One of the classic combinations in certain regions of France is Picon Biere, that is a Pilsener or Wheat beer with a splash of Amer Picon poured in.

Unfortunately, we don’t get Amer Picon here in these United States.

However, even if Diageo refuses to send us Amer Picon, we do get a lot of other Amaros…

With this series of posts we shall explore the possibilities we do have available.

Well, sometimes you do have Amer Picon available.

So let’s say you’re scanning the shelves behind the bar for interesting things, as I often do.

Perhaps you see a bottle that looks a little like this:

Amer Picon

What do you do?

Amer Picon

Trumer Pilsener & Amer Picon

METHOD: Pour beer into the mason jar or glass of your choosing. Pour in 3/4 ounce (or to taste) of Amer Picon.

Well, the polite thing is to observe the bottle with some degree of apparent awe. Someone probably had to carry the damn thing back in their suitcase from Europe, for gosh sakes. Ask your bartender politely, if that might be a bottle of Amer Picon. If he acknowledges your query positively, ask if he wouldn’t mind making you a Picon Biere.

Now it is possible that your bartender type will take some offense at this notion, that you might waste his precious Amer Picon in Beer. In which case, perhaps, if it seems the situation is salvageable, ask for a Brooklyn or Creole Cocktail. Whew.

Picon Biere

However, if your bartender is as nice as Kevin Diedrich at Jasper’s Corner Tap, he might be impressed that you have ordered a Picon Biere and gladly make one for you. Though do note, the label says this is, “Kevin’s Bottle,” so don’t be offended if he doesn’t oblige.

Amer Biere #6

One of the classic combinations in certain regions of France is Picon Biere, that is a Pilsener or Wheat beer with a splash of Amer Picon poured in.

Unfortunately, we don’t get Amer Picon here in these United States.

However, even if Diageo refuses to send us Amer Picon, we do get a lot of other Amaros…

With this series of posts we shall explore the possibilities we do have available.

Amer Biere #6

Ommegang Witte & Torani Amer

If we don’t get Amer Picon in the US, what do we get? Well, a fine Bay Area Company took it upon themselves to create a replacement, so the Basque community in Northern California could have their Picon Punch.

Torani Amer

San Francisco’s favorite for 65 yrs. Mix ice, grenandine & amer for a pleasant drink.

Yeah, fine, pleasant, even, San Francisco’s favorite, yadda, yadda, yadda. So is rice-a-roni, apparently, and Irish Coffee.

Torani Amer is really pretty dreadful. Every time I try it, my first thought is, “Who spilled the orange aftershave in my drink?” My second thought is, “Oh, that’s what chemical Caramel Color tastes like.” My third thought is, “I really should pour this down this sink.”

Witte is our version of the classic Belgian wit or “white” ale. Witte, which is actually Flemish for white, is brewed with malted and unmalted wheat, orange peel, and coriander – offering a refreshing style that showcases the Belgian talent for brewing full-flavored ales that are also light and balanced. It is pale straw in color, slightly hazy from the yeast, and topped with a huge white, fluffy head.

Witte is pleasantly light on the tongue, balanced between malt and wheat sweetness. Hops and spice with a subtle clove note baked by flavors of lemon and sweet orange give way to a dry, crisp, refreshing finish.

I like most Ommegang beers. They were one of the first beer brewers in the US to embrace Belgian style beer. I always feel like their beers are not quite as nuanced as their Belgian inspirations, but they are always good. Interestingly, in 2003, the founders of Ommegang sold their shares of the brewery to the Belgian brewery Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat.

METHOD: Pour a beer into the mason jar or glass of your choosing. (Really, take my word for it, don’t do it, just don’t! Use Amaro Ciociaro, or some other Orange flavored Amaro instead!) Pour in a half shot (2cl) of Torani Amer.

Yeah, I did make this, and I did pour it down the sink. Waste of a perfectly good beer. I added Amaro Ciociaro to the next one and I felt a lot better.

Total Gentian Domination #5

One of the classic combinations in certain regions of France is Picon Biere, that is a Pilsener or Wheat beer with a splash of Amer Picon poured in.

Unfortunately, we don’t get Amer Picon here in these United States.

However, even if Diageo refuses to send us Amer Picon, we do get a lot of other Amaros…

With this series of posts we shall explore the possibilities we do have available.

Ninkasi Total Domination IPA & Salers Aperitif

Total Gentian Domination

Usually, when creating drinks, you strive for balance. Something not too sweet, not too sour, not too bitter. Sometimes, however, it is interesting to layer flavors. I think of Cajun or Chinese Food, where the cooks sometimes layer different types of spice or heat, some from black pepper or Szechuan peppercorns, some from chiles, some from Ginger, and some from freshly cut onions, to create layered flavor sensations in a single dish.

I like many West Coast hoppy beers, as long as they aren’t too extreme, (Moylan’s Hopsickle, I am looking at you,) and was mulling over how to feature one in this series of drinks. Thinking about them, Gentian came to mind. Both hops and Gentian have a sharp bitterness, but the Hops are sharp higher flavors, where Gentian comes in with lower notes and earthiness. Not only that, but it ties in with an ancient style of beer, Purl, which was a sort of morning-after tonic beer, brewed with Gentian or wormwood, spices, and bitter oranges.

I like most things that Ninkasi brews, even their comically named, heavy metal themed Holiday beer, Sleigher.

Total Domination IPA

Statistics
First Brewed: 2006
Starting Gravity: 1067
Bitterness: 65 IBUs
Alcohol %: 6.7
Malt: 2 Row Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Carahell Malt
Hops: Summit, Amarillo, Crystal

On the bottle:
Multiple hops collide in balanced perfection, dominating the senses, achieving total satisfaction. From the Pacific Northwest, birthplace of the modern IPA, comes a beer whose name says it all.

Tasting Notes:
Total Domination has a citrusy, floral hop aroma, and big hop flavor balanced with a richness imparted by Carahell and Munich malts. This beer is a big flavorful Northwest IPA that maintains its drinkability, and as such has garnered great admiration from the novice craft drinker and the seasoned hop head alike.

I had a beer, what about a Gentian Aperitif? My favorite of the two or three that are currently avaiable is Salers. It doesn’t use adjunct flavorings or colorings to the extent that Suze does and it strikes me as slightly more interesting than Aveze.

One of the most classic of French aperitifs is a pour of gentiane liqueur on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon. Salers is today the oldest of the producers and also from the Massif Central, birthplace to this style of product. Unlike the large corporate producers that today add artificial colorant, Salers is all natural, with a drier and rustic character that has historically defined this drink. True to its roots, Salers sources its gentiane solely from the Auvergne. Enjoy in a traditional manner with ice and lemon, or in a variety of mixed drinks.

METHOD: Pour a beer into the mason jar or glass of your choosing. Pour in a half shot (2cl) of Salers Aperitif.

The combination of Pacific Northwest IPA and Gentian Aperitif may not be for everyone, but it certainly perked up my taste buds enough to have two glasses. Definitely a tonic of sorts.

Baladin “Ginger”

Baladin – GINGER SODA This ginger soda contains no colorings or preservatives. It’s ingredients are simply water, natural brown sugar, lemon juice, carbon dioxide and the unmistakable infusion of herbs, zests of bitter and sweet oranges from Garagno PGI, spices and vanilla which gives it its distinctive aroma and flavor.

We were just lamenting the loss of Sanbitter, one of the more similar beverages might be Baladin “Ginger”. I have no idea why it is called “Ginger”, it tastes more like Aperol and Soda. Maybe a bit more grapefruit, than Aperol’s Orange, but pretty darn similar.

I think “Garagno PGI” might be a mis-spelling/abbreviation of Gargano, Puglia.

Baladin Ginger

Cobblers.

From the Savoy Cocktail Book:

Cobblers.

The cobbler is, like the Julep, a drink of American origin, although it is now an established favourite, particularly in warm climes. It is very easy to make, but it is usual to make it acceptable to the eye, as well as the palate, by decorating the glass after the ingredients are mixed. The usual recipe for preparing Cobblers is given below. To make a Whisky Cobbler substitute Whisky for Gin, For a Brandy Cobbler, substitute Brandy, and so on.

Cobbler
Fill glass half full with cracked ice.
Add 1 Teaspoonful of Powdered Sugar.
Add 1 Small Glass of Gin (or Whisky, or Brandy, as above).
Stir well, and decorate with slices of orange or pineapple.

The above comes mostly verbatim from Jerry Thomas’ “Bartender’s Guide”.

The Cobbler was probably an old fashioned drink by the time Jerry Thomas got around to writing about it in 1862. He includes 7 variations in his 1862 book, basically all identical: Sherry Cobbler, Champagne Cobbler, Catawba Cobbler, Hock Cobbler, Claret Cobbler, Sauterne Cobbler, and Whiskey Cobbler.

98. Sherry Cobbler

(Use large bar glass.)

2 wine-glasses of sherry.
1 table-spoonful of sugar.
2 or 3 slices of orange.
Fill a tumbler with shaved ice, shake well, and ornament with berries in season. Place a straw as represented in the wood-cut.

I wasn’t really feeling the Sherry Cobbler and am unclear about if I could even find Hock or Catawba. Champagne seemed a little hackneyed and the Whiskey Cobbler like Thomas was throwing a bone to modern taste by including a Cobbler based on spirits instead of wine.

I thought about a Port Cobbler, which sounded nice, but my favorite old fashioned wine is Madeira. So, over my lunch hour, I dropped by to pay the lovely women of Cask Store a visit and scored a new bottle of Madeira.

Madeira Cobbler.
4 oz Blandy’s 10 Year Malmsey Madeira
1/4 oz Rich Simple Syrup

Half fill a mixing glass with cracked ice. Add Madeira and simple Syrup. Pour back and forth between mixing glass and serving glass a couple times, finishing in serving glass. Ornament with slices of orange and berries, in season. Serve with a straw.

In “Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash…” David Wondrich makes a couple notes regarding Cobblers in Imbibe, and I’ve been re-reading another couple things online. First off, it was one of the couple first American drinks to really make an impact on European and especially English drinkers. There are several references to Cobbler drinking in the works of authors as notable as Charles Dickens. Second, it was THE drink that introduced the straw to the world.

If there is a mistake that modern mixers make with the cobbler, it is that they make it too strong, either by using spirits in the drink, or by making it too concentrated with additional citrus juice or liqueurs and syrups. The Cobbler, like punch, is a sort of “session drink”. The Cobbler, especially, should be a light, refreshing, cold drink that you can enjoy at lunch on a hot day and still go about your business for the rest of the afternoon.

Americans, with our obsession with intense, strong flavors, often have a hard time wrapping our minds around the aesthetics of subtlety or mild flavors in drinks and food. One of the hardest lessons for us to learn is when to stop adding ingredients, flavors, and additional complexity to our beverages or dishes. We tend to say, “If it’s good, it’s better with bacon. If it’s better with bacon, it’s would be really awesome with cheese. If it’s good with bacon and cheese, it really could use some avocado to make it pop… Oh hell, just put some Foie Gras on it.”

If you are a bartender, or a drink mixer, the Cobbler is a pretty good place to start to teach yourself to appreciate austerity and simplicity, as long as you resist the temptation to add any additional ingredients. Save your creativity for the garnish.

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.

Royal Fizz

Royal Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Meyer Lemon, Juice 1/2 Lime)
1/2 Tablespoonful Powdered Sugar. (1 TBSP Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Glass Gin. (2 oz Junipero Gin)
1 Egg. (1 Egg)
Shake well, strain into medium size glass and fill with syphon soda water.

Yet another Fizz from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”, about this Fizz he says, “Made same as plain Gin Fizz, adding the whole of one Egg.”

I do think a whole egg is a little much, with modern eggs as large as they are. Suggest hunting down “Medium” eggs or even just using half a Large or Extra-Large Egg.

Like cream drinks, whole egg drinks sometimes draw the askance look from those perusing the book.

Personally, I like Flips and their Citrus laden brethern, the Egg Sour and Royal Fizz. Heck, even the ones with just Egg Yolks, like the Bosom Caresser are kind of nice.

Well, as they say, your mileage may vary.

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.