Piggerac

Bonus Sazerac!

I challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February, but I’m not quite done. We’ve got a few bonus Sazeracs coming up that didn’t fit into the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me.

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Piggerac

1 1/2 oz Calvados Reserve, Roger Groult
1/2 oz Pork Belly Fat Washed Wild Boar, er Turkey, Rye
1/4 oz “Orchard Syrup”*
Dash Peychaud’s

Stir and strain into a chilled absinthe rinsed glass. Twist a fat swath of freshly cut lemon peel over the drink and drop in or discard as you prefer.

Tsunami Advisory.

One of the sort of ridiculous things about having a ridiculously cute dog, is that you often meet people at the dog park. Really, they just want to pat your dog, but for better or for worse, they also have to talk to you. For a while I’ve occasionally been getting sandwiches at Pal’s Takeaway in San Francisco. One morning I noticed that one of the men who worked there walked his dog in a park near my home.  We had chatted about our dogs, but not really made the connection between non-dog walk life and dog-walk life.   On one of my off days, when Monty and I were on the way to the beach, I stopped at Pal’s to get a Sandwich for lunch and said, “Hey, didn’t we meet the other day walking our dogs?”  Struck up an acquaintance of sorts.  Some time later, walking our dogs, we got to talking again and it turned out he was enormously fond of Rye Whiskey.  A man after my own heart!  Anyway, as we were jawing about booze, he mentioned he was curious about these meat infused whiskies he’d been hearing about.  I said, “Yeah, cool, fat washing is fun, but I think you need a really smoky bacon.  I tried it once with the Niman bacon and was pretty underwhelmed.”  “You want bacon?  I can get you bacon!  I cure and smoke my own!”

A bit later, one night when I got home, there was a canning jar full of Fat Rendered from Cured Pork Belly and a Meyer Lemon sitting on our steps.

Obviously, I needed to revisit fat washing!

Keeping mind that he had said he really liked Rye Whiskey, I decided to forgo the usual Bourbon/Bacon axis and go with Wild Turkey Rye instead.  I followed the P.D.T. instructions, adding a generous ounce of hot pork fat to the rye, infusing for a few hours, then freezing to separate.  I also embellished, in my usual free association manner, adding a teaspoon of toasted caraway seeds to the Rye.  As I was tasting the final product, I was pretty sure that all I was tasting was pork, no smoke.  Interesting and very, very porky.

I brought the pork fat washed rye in to the most recent Savoy Cocktail Book night, where opinions varied.  Generally, the opinions were split between, “I can’t even think of drinking that,” and, “This is wrong, but I can’t stop drinking it.”

Amusingly, Daniel Hyatt had been making drinks for a Cochon 555 Event in Napa that day, so for him, it was a little beyond the pale.  “I’ve just had 10 plates of pork, and man, is this whiskey porky.” He did finish the glass, I believe, despite it probably not being in his best interest.  Anyway, as we were chatting about what to do with the pork fat washed rye and he mentioned cutting it with Calvados to temper some of the pork-i-ness.

Letting that percolate for a couple days, I decided to give it a try in a Sazerac mixed with Calvados.  But Calvados reminded me of Jennifer Colliau’s experiments with “Orchard Syrup“.  I’d always meant to give an Orchard Syrup a try, so figured: Pork. Caraway. Apples. Why the Hell Not?

*Tiny Orchard Syrup

1 cup Apple Cider
1/8 Cup Natural Sugar
1 Clove
1/2 teaspoon Caraway Seed

Reduce to 1/4 Cup and strain out spices.

Huh, that orchard syrup IS really tasty, I’d pour it over ice cream, no problem. Nice viscosity, too. Pectins?

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Anyway, should you dare drink a Piggerac, I hope you are imagining a perfectly browned whole suckling pig, apple in its mouth, crisp skin crackling as you cut, unctuous fat oozing through your fingers. Lift the haunch to your mouth. Go on, take a bite. You know you want to.

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.

Sazerac Cocktail (Presidio Social Club)

Bonus Sazerac!

I challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February, but I’m not quite done. We’ve got a few bonus Sazeracs coming up that didn’t fit into the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar.
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters.
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (Pikesville Rye)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with 1 dash Absinthe (Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

I’ve known Mr. Tim Stookey for a few years now and he has always impressed me as a gracious host and stylish dresser. A couple months ago we both worked a cocktail catering event and shared a bar. Tim worked the early shift, and I closed down the night. When he was leaving, he left his nice cast aluminum ice scoop, not wanting me to be left with a pressed stainless number. I thanked him, and promised I would get it back to him as soon as I could.

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Unfortunately, the bar he works at, Presidio Social Club, is a bit out of the way for us unless we are attending a concert at the Palace of Fine Arts, so “as soon as possible” stretched into a couple months.  Fortunately, in recent months we’ve been to the Palace of Fine Arts to see a couple concerts, Tinariwen and Dodos, enabling us to stop by, enjoy some dinner, drinks, chat with Mr. Stookey and finally return his ice scoop.

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Clearly a Sazerac or two was in order at the Presidio Social Club’s gorgeous long marble bar!

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And a fine, delicious Sazerac it was, classic proportions with an unusual Rye Choice, Pikesville, and a great absinthe!

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Mrs. Flannestad enjoying a non-Sazerac favorite of hers, The Last Word Cocktail.  Tim actually introduced her to the Last Word several years ago, and it has become her go to choice for just about any occasion.

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.

Sazerac Cocktail (Jim Beam Rye)

Bonus Sazerac!

I challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February, but I’m not quite done. We’ve got a few bonus Sazeracs coming up that didn’t fit into the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (10ml Puerh Tea Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters.
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (Jim Beam Rye Whiskey)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with 1 dash Absinthe (Lucid) Squeeze lemon peel on top and discard or drop in as you prefer.

The nice thing about most Rye Whiskey is that there is a fairly direct relationship between cost and character. While the last couple years have seen the launch of some premium and super-premium brands, it remains a not particularly trendy spirit among whiskey connoisseurs.

Even though the Jim Beam Rye is pretty much the cheapest Rye Whiskey on the market, it isn’t at all a bad spirit at all. I definitely wanted to include it in the month of Sazeracs. However, in February when I went to the local BevMo, they were sold out of Beam Rye! Crap! Towards the end of the month, when I was shopping for Rye for the Rye Whiskey Milk Punch, they finally had it back in stock. Whew!

The night I was making the Rye Whiskey Milk Punch, I had a little too much Tea Syrup to fit into the container. If there is anything wrong with Beam Rye, it is that it lacks a bit of character. I thought, hey, Tea Syrup! Let’s make the Beam Sazerac with that!

Adding 10ml of the Tea Syrup is pretty subtle rectification, I don’t know that I would be able to identify it unless I were comparing the same drinks side by side, with and without. Still, I’d say it adds an element of interest to what otherwise would be a somewhat pedestrian Sazerac.

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.

Sazerac Cocktail (Smuggler’s Cove)

Bonus Sazerac!

I challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February, but I’m not quite done. We’ve got a few bonus Sazeracs coming up that didn’t fit into the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters.
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (Pampero Anniversario Rum)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with 1 dash Absinthe (Herbsaint) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

After the initial failure of Sazerac 16 with one of my favorite r(h)ums, I thought I should leave that sort of experimentation to the professionals. And what better source of r(h)um advice than the professionals at Smuggler’s Cove?

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I’d gone to one of the pre-launch events, had a great time, but had heard that the bar was REALLY busy most nights since it’s launch. I do like to work in a busy bar, but visiting friends in the middle of what might be a nightmare service shift always makes me feel a bit weird.

But, when I heard that long time acquaintance, and true professional bartender, Marco Dionysos was joining the ranks at Smuggler’s Cove, I thought I should stop by and wish him Bon Voyage.

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Uh, right, so again, bars are difficult to take photos in, and I am not all that fond of flash photography. Marco is not a self-illuminating puffer fish.

We mulled a couple rums, and decided Pampero Anniversario might be interesting. Indeed, it turned out to be a much better choice than Barbancourt 15. Still not sure if it is the perfect rum for a Sazerac. I’d be curious if anyone has tried a rum or rhum that they really prefer in a Sazerac Cocktail to Rye or Brandy.

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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.

Sazerac Cocktail (Old Potrero Ryes)

Sazerac Cocktail 27 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (5ml Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Old Potrero Rye)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte). Squeeze lemon peel over glass and drop in (or discard).

I live in San Francisco and Anchor Distilling makes three Rye Whiskies. How could I not track them down and make Sazeracs with them?

‘If, as they say, God spanked the town
For being over frisky,
Why did He burn the churches down
And save Hotaling’s whiskey?’

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Actually, I already had the Hotaling’s  in the bar, so it wasn’t quite so awful on my pocket book as it might have been.

What can we glean about these different Whiskies from their labels?

Old Potrero 18th Century Century Style Spirit: Barrel Strength, 62.3% Alc/vol.  A pot-distilled spirit produced from 100% rye malt mash & aged 2 years 1 month in new uncharred oak barrels.

Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey: 45% Alc/vol.  Pot distilled and aged in new charred oak barrels.

Old Potrero Single Malt Hotaling’s Whiskey:  50% Alc/vol.  Pot distilled and aged eleven years in American Oak barrels.

In case you didn’t know, the Anchor Brewery and distilling facility is located in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.  That’s where the name, “Old Potrero” comes from.

All three whiskies are “Single Malt” whiskies.  This means they are produced from a single type of grain, in this case Rye Malt Mash, and all the spirits in the bottle are manufactured at the same facility.

You will note that even though all three Anchor Whiskies are made from 100% Rye Malt Mash, only one of them is called, “Straight Rye Whiskey”.

The basic requirements for American Straight Rye Whiskey are:

1) they be made from at least 51% Rye Mash.

2) That they are not distilled to more than 160 Proof.

3) That they be aged in new charred American oak barrels.

4) The Whiskey must not be put into the barrels at more than 125 Proof.

5) That they be aged for at least 2 years.

Anchor falls astray of the “Straight Rye Whiskey” label due mostly to their barrel choices.

The 18th Century Style Spirit cannot be called “Straight Rye Whiskey” because it is aged in “new uncharred” oak barrels.  I also kind of wonder how they can have a 2 year old barrel proof spirit at 124.6 Proof, if it went into the barrels at 125.  I think the angel’s share loss of alcohol might be more than that.  But then, cough, Buffalo Trace’s George T. Stagg “Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey” is bottled at 142 Proof, so there is absolutely no way it could have been barreled at 125 proof!

The Hotaling’s Whiskey cannot be called “Straight Rye Whiskey” because it is aged in a mixture of used, charred, and uncharred barrels.

Anchor Sazerac #1: Old Potrero 18th Century Style Spirit (10-RW-ARM-3-1)

Damn, if there isn’t a familial resemblance here to the Genevieve Sazerac!  To be honest this was my favorite of the bunch.  There is tons of malt and grain character and a lot, lot of flavor.  If this is the sort of Rye Whiskey people were drinking the 18th and 19th Century, I guess I was born out of time.

Anchor Sazerac #2: Old Potrero Straight Rye Whiskey (10-SRW-ARM-G)

Lots more oak barrel flavor here, cherries and caramel, this tastes like you would expect a real straight rye Sazerac to taste.  OK, maybe a little burlier.  A similar Sazerac to the Hudson Rye Whiskey Sazerac.

Anchor Sazerac #3: Old Potrero Hotaling’s Whiskey (MCMVI-MMVI)

This was the 2006 bottling of the Hotaling’s Whiskey, released in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Great San Francisco Quake and fire.  It was also the first batch of whiskey distilled at Anchor, and aged for 11 years before its release.  Anchor releases another barrel of this whiskey every year.  I am unclear if it is truly limited, or if they are supplementing by aging other later distilled Rye.  I remain ambivalent about the 2006 Hotaling’s.  I keep hoping it will grow on me, but it doesn’t.  It’s good, but for some reason almost reminds me more of Cognac than whiskey.  It is quite light in character, yet at the same time exhibits little malt flavor or body.  Not my favorite Sazerac.  For what it is worth, I have tried other year’s releases of the Hotaling’s and enjoyed them quite a bit more.  2008, I’m remembering, was a particularly tasty year.  Must have been a sweet barrel.

So yeah, if I were to pick a winner, a Sazerac that stood out here, it would have to be the 18th Century Style Spirit.  If you’ve been staring at that bottle, wondering why you bought it when it is definitely not a sipping Whiskey, give it a try in a Sazerac.  Think of it as stretching your money!

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.

Sazerac Cocktail (Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup)

Sazerac Cocktail 24 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup vs. 1-1 Organic Cane Sugar Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters.
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with 1 dash Absinthe (Duplais Blanche) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

One of my goals was to blind taste a Sazerac made with Gum Syrup vs. one made with regular Simple Syrup.  I woulda also like to have had a rich simple syrup and a muddled sugar cube in the mix, but what are you gonna do?

So what better to do, than to stop by when my coworker Jennifer Colliau, the proprietress of Small Hand Foods, was working at Heaven’s Dog for a little Gomme Geekery. It is true, I have featured Jennifer before, but that was so long ago, does it really count?

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Gum Syrup, aka gomme, is made by including Gum Arabic along with the sugar in the solution used to sweeten drinks. Gum Arabic is produced on certain types of Acacia trees, mostly in Africa. It is essentially air dried tree sap and contains a lot of weird complex organic compounds like Polysaccharides and Glycoproteins. It is used in industrial food manufacture as a stabilizer and source of viscosity.

I’ve always floated the idea that Gum Syrup was originally used to imitate the viscosity of highly concentrated sugar syrups.  That at some point including X amount of Gum Arabic was cheaper than using X amount of Sugar. Sort of makes sense, especially when you consider that before granulated, refined sugar was available, how much work you had to go through to get sugar.  It had to be cut from a loaf or augered out of a barrel.  Then ground or dissolved and clarified.  A lot of work to get a clear-ish simple syrup.

Or Gum Syrup was solely used to increase the viscosity of sugar solutions and the drinks they were used to sweeten.

Gum Arabic is a pain in the ass to dissolve, and currently is far, far more expensive than sugar, so it seems like a lot of work to go through, just for a fairly subtle aesthetic change to the cocktails it is used in.

One interesting characteristic of Gum Arabic is that it blooms in high proof alcohol solutions, and turns the solution cloudy.  It can be a bit unattractive if you are making an old fashioned with Gum Syrup and Barrel Proof Whiskey. Sorta looks like Coffee or Tea with Milk.

An even cooler thing about it if you continue adding water to the solution, once it is below a certain point, the “bloom” disappears again.

Jennifer also mentioned that she had read that Gum Syrup was sometimes used to check the proof of spirits, though I am not exactly sure at what dilution level the bloom disappears.

That’s a Dash of Absinthe, 1/4 ounce of Gum, 1 oz of Thomas Handy Barrel Proof Rye, Chilled Water, and a couple dashes of Peychaud’s. Kind of a lazy person’s Sazerac, really, and quite tasty.  Ha! Now that I think about it, the above is the closest I’ve come to what Antoine Peychaud may have been serving at his Pharmacy: Bitters, Water, Sugar, and Spirits.  The original “Cocktail”.

Jennifer and I have talked often about what drinks we think are best when using Gum Syrup. To me, the delicate viscosity is often lost when using it in a shaken drink, so I prefer to use it in drinks like Old-Fashioneds and Sazeracs.

Other people really like it in shaken citrus drinks. Jennifer mentioned that Ryan at Beretta really loves to use it in traditional Daiquiris. We use her Pineapple Gum in our very popular Gin Fizz Tropical and Pisco Apricot Tropical drinks at Heaven’s Dog.

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She made the two drinks, had me turn around, and scrambled them up.

Could I tell the difference?

Well, I could tell they were different, and I made an educated guess which was which. Fortunately, I was right! Whew. The viscosity was a difficult thing to quantify.  As I tasted the Sazeracs, it seemed like the bigger difference was in the taste impact. The flavors in the Sazerac sweetened with Gum Syrup seemed to be married more happily together than those in the one sweetened simply with simple syrup.

If you’re curious about Small Hand Foods’ Syrups, they can be purchased in the San Francisco area at Plump Jack Wine Stores, K&L Wines, and Cask.  Outside of the Bay Area, I have it on good authority that Cocktail Kingdom will soon be carrying them.

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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.

Sazerac Cocktail (Bulleit Bourbon)

Sazerac Cocktail 23 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (5ml Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

Everyone always sez that it’s a mistake to make a Sazerac with Bourbon.  However, depending on your location, sometimes it can be hard to find Rye Whiskey.

The differentiation between Straight Bourbon and Straight Rye sometimes is a matter of a few percentages in the mash.  Straight Bourbon must be made with 51% Corn and Straight Rye must be made with 51% Rye.  Thus, a Bourbon made with a heavy percentage of Rye Mash and the minimum amount of Corn, can be pretty similar to most Ryes, which are typically made with close to the minimum amount of Rye.

A couple Bourbons which are typically bandied about as having a heavy percentage of Rye are Bulleit and Basil Hayden’s.  As I seem to have acquired a couple bottles of Bulleit via my participation in various online blogging groups, and, well Basil Hayden’s is kind of expensive, Bulleit it is.

Heresy, though it may be, this isn’t a bad Sazerac at all.  It’s a little richer than it would be with most Rye, but all the same, it is well within the Sazerac margin of error.  Enough Rye spice to do the job, and fortunately none of the richness of a Wheated Bourbons.  In fact, if I were to make a recommendation, that would be it. Stay away from wheated Bourbons in Sazeracs.  Some of my best friends are Wheated Bourbons, but stick with Old-Fashioneds if that is all you have on hand, they just don’t make good Sazeracs.

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.

Sazerac Cocktail (range)

Sazerac Cocktail 22 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar.
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters.
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (Sazerac 18 Rye Whiskey)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled, add l dash Absinthe and squeeze lemon peel on top.

It used to make me really nervous when I would have to serve other bartenders. Feeling like, you know, they were judging me, or I would fail horribly and let them down.

Then one Savoy Night at Alembic, Brooke Arthur hijacked the bar for her birthday party. Wall to wall bartenders. Strangely, no one made fun of me.

At that point, I kind of realized that bartenders are good to serve because they know what you are going through. They are usually sympathetic and supportive.

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Anyway, Brooke is an awesome bartender, who has been super supportive of my little adventures in bartending.  You can usually find her at the Mission District restaurant range. After Absinthe Bar and Brasserie opened, there was a bit of a delay before other restaurants began to realize the value of spending some effort on a cocktail program. Range was among the second wave of restaurants to learn from Absinthe’s example and put some “ooomph” into their cocktail program. Also, the food is very tasty.

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Stopping by range for a Sazerac, Brooke chose to make it with the Sazerac 18 Rye Whiskey (2006, I believe). Like Brian at Jardiniere, she went through the whole old fashioned sugar muddling procedure. It’s interesting, I guess what I find with the muddled sugar Sazeracs, is that really very little of the sugar dissolves, making them very lightly sweetened versions of the drink. This actually works quite well when you want to feature a high end Whiskey, like the Sazerac 18.

Anyway, here’s a good Black and White Photo of Brooke. Wish I’d taken it, but sadly, I did not.  When I asked what classic or original cocktail she is currently obsessing over, she said The Brooklyn, which is usually made as follows:

Brooklyn Cocktail

1 Dash Amer Picon (1/2 barspoon Torani Amer)
1 Dash Maraschino (1/2 barspoon Luxardo Maraschino)
2/3 Canadian Club Whisky (1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey)
1/3 French Vermouth (3/4 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)

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

I have to admit, I find the Brooklyn a bit odd. I can’t think of many other Dry, Aromatic Cocktails made with Brown Spirits. It seems profoundly out of sync with the usual tendency towards sweet, rich, aromatic brown drinks, but in a good way.

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.

Sazerac Cocktail (Alberta Premium 25 Year)

Sazerac Cocktail 20 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (5ml Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Alberta Premium 25 Year Canadian Rye Whisky)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

As Canadian Club is given as an option, I suppose I have to make at least one Sazerac with Canadian Whisky.

While due to some bizarre relic of prohibition slang Canadian Whisky is sometimes referred to as “Rye”, very little Canadian Whisky actually contains enough Rye to be considered a “Rye Whiskey” by American legal standards. Most of what I’ve read suggests that the blend of grains is closer to American Bourbon. Mostly corn, with some Barley and a little Rye. But the method of manufacture is closer to that of Blended Scotch Whiskey than it is to American Bourbon. Portions of strongly flavored whiskies are blended together with other more highly distilled whiskies, resulting in a milder, less rough, easy drinking spirit. The resulting Whisky Blend can also be colored with caramel coloring and/or flavored with certain allowed agents.

Some of these Canadian Whiskies are good, and some just are not. The worst taste immediately and apparently of highly distilled alcohol and the flavor chemist’s laboratory.

My favorites so far are the 40 Creek Whiskies and this Alberta Premium 25 Year. Interestingly, the Alberta Whiskies (Alberta Premium, Alberta Springs, and Alberta Premium 25 Year) are some of the few Whiskies in the world made from 100% Rye distillate. However, they are all still blended whiskies.

Is this any good?

Damn straight, it is! While not as rough and tumble as most American Rye, this Canadian Whiskey is a fine, fine product, if a bit delicately flavored. I’d advise you, should you be lucky enough to have a bottle, to go easy on the sweeteners, bitters, and Absinthe, allowing what character the Whiskey brings to the party to come to the fore.

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.

Sazerac Cocktail (Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye)

Sazerac Cocktail 20 out of 28.

I have challenged myself to post 28 Sazeracs in 28 days for the month of February.

I’ll try some different spirits, try some out at bars, and have some friends make them for me. Hopefully, if I can get my act together we’ll have some video.

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Sazerac Cocktail.
1 Lump of Sugar. (10ml Rich Simple Syrup)
1 Dash Angostura or Peychana Bitters. (a couple dashes Peychaud’s Bitters)
1 Glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky. (2 oz Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, H1889)

Stir well and strain into another glass that has been cooled and rinsed with Absinthe (Sirene Absinthe Verte) and squeeze lemon peel on top.

Found this rye whiskey at Star Liquor in Madison, Wisconsin a few years ago.  About 15 years ago, when Mrs. Flannestad and I lived in Madison, Star Liquor was our neighborhood store.  I lived near it for a good 8 years and probably was in at least once a week from 1985 through 1993.  They were always helpful, especially during my periods of enthusiasm for this or that wine or beer.

Funnily, the last time we were in, we were vacationing in Wisconsin.  We hadn’t probably been in to the store for a good 10 years.  When they saw us, they recognized us immediately and asked us how things were going, as if we’d never left.  We had to kind of explain slowly that we’d moved to California about 10 years before, believe it or not.  We went on to buy a bunch of beer and spirits.

Since then, the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye has been sitting in the basement waiting for an occasion special enough to open it.

This is a big, sweet burly Rye, with a long, dry finish.  My guess is, if you were given it in a blind tasting with a mixed bunch of Bourbons and Ryes, you would put it in the group with the Bourbons.  Thus it doesn’t make a super fantastic Sazerac, at least in my mind.  In fact, mixing it with anything other than a touch of water is a bit of a waste of this great American Whiskey.  While I like mixing with them, there are very few Ryes I really consider sipping whiskeys, but this is definitely one of them.  If you see a bottle, do not hesitate to purchase.

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.