Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

The Sunset Gun

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

The notion of single-serving micro-infusions is pleasing, though the requisite hour’s wait makes the Sunset Gun no spur-of-the-moment tipple. Its name implies a certain ritualized consumption, wherein the daily infusing of a few drams of whiskey coincides with changing from tennis whites to dinner dress … the sort of comfortably civilized prelude to evening that Noël Coward and Graham Payn might have indulged in on the terrace of Firefly, gazing down at Blue Harbor as the sun sank below the horizon.

I came upon this one in H. Paul Jeffers’ 1997 High Spirits. He doesn’t lay claim to its origination, but a cursory leafing through the bookshelf finds no precedent. Google Book Search identifies a single subsequent appearance in the unfortunately-named Complete Idiot’s Guide to Mixing Drinks, however, and it’s quite similar to the CocktailDB’s Duppy Cocktail, in which the cloves are merely a garnish.

2 oz. whiskey
1/2 oz. curaçao
3 cloves
2 dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters #6

Steep cloves in the whiskey for 1 hour and remove. Stir whiskey and curaçao with cracked ice and strain. Return cloves to glass and top with bitters.

Jeffers is agnostic regarding the whiskey to employ — it needn’t even be whiskey with an “e” as far as he’s concerned, calling for “blended, rye or bourbon.” I’ve tried it with rye, but find this to be one of those drinks that does very well with Scotch. The blended whisky of choice chez Slakethirst is Teacher’s, which contributes lush, smoky notes to our Sunset Guns. Should foresight fail and sunset’s advent find you with uninfused whiskey, a dash of Fee’s Aromatic Bitters might serve in lieu of the hour-long marination of cloves, though not nearly as subtly, and at the cost of introducing extra bittering agents.

The Release Candidate

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

1 very healthy slug rye
1 careless splash creme de cassis
3 liberal dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters

rocks.

Or something like that. When you stagger home at 2am, after another 16-hour day at the code mine, getting-on towards the end of a 92-hour week, it’s conceivable that anything tastes good. This just did.

I should determine if such a thing has a name already, but I’m about to face-plant. If it doesn’t, I dub it (the eventually-to-be-refined version) the Release Candidate, in honor of the labyrinthian nightmare of XML and actionscript that’s being shipped — hell, high-water, or heart attacks notwithstanding — tomorrow night. Oh. Make that tonight. Shite. Goodnight.

The Teresa

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

2 oz. Campari
1 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. crème de cassis

Shake and serve up

Found this one in an eGullet post, attributed to Gary Regan’s Joy of Mixology. If you like Campari, as I do, I think you’ll like it. I suspect that the cassis’ influence is so salutary that even if you don’t care for Campari, you’ll quite possibly like the Teresa as well. It’s a deliciously bitter-sour-sweet-fruity affair that has immediately found its way into regular rotation. Ms. Thirsty’s requesting another as I type this.

12/30/2005 : I’ve since acquired Regan’s Joy of Mixology, and should add that he attributes it to one “Rafael Ballesteros of Spain.” Of the Teresa, Regan writes: “I’m at a loss to fathom how this dedicated cocktailian put together these flavors in his head, but the resultant drink is a complex marvel.” I couldn’t agree more.

Making Schnapps

Sunday, November 13th, 2005

Here’s a handy resource. Vivi Labo of Copenhagen brings us Danish Schnapps Recipes, an on-going compilation of time-tested vodka infusions, thoughtfully annotated with botanical references and practical advice. Vivi would have us consume the resulting schnapps as Danes do, neat and at room temperature, but there’s no reason that the same infusions couldn’t find use in the occasional cocktail. I’ve not undertaken any of his recipes yet — my current infusion project is Pimento Dram — but with over 60 schnapps recipes provided, from apple to willow, I expect to be trying one soon.

Laird’s Applejack

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Laird's ApplejackFor their 225th anniversary, Laird and Company have re-branded their flagship product, and not a moment too soon. According to press releases, the packaging was introduced in February of 2005, but it’s only now that the new bottles are appearing on Portland-area shelves. That it took nine months for the old stock to turn over suggests that either the OLCC buys its applejack in considerable bulk, or — more likely — that applejack’s popularity is at a very low ebb.

Lairds’ packaging was terribly overdue for a refresh … for as long as I can remember, their trade dress has been stuck in a sort of mid-’70’s American Bicentennial mode of faux woodblock type on a greenish-brown coated paper label, adhered to dark brown glass. To my eye it was the product of a company whose marketing department had fallen into a thirty-year slumber. This didn’t prevent me from buying it — a man must have his Jack Roses — but it certainly wasn’t enticing new consumers to the only commercially-produced applejack left in America. As can be seen, the new packaging is clear glass, to better display the liquor, and takes advantage of pressure-sensitive adhesive films for the “label-less look,” front and back. It’s clean and updated, but historically informed — really a remarkably executed redesign, considering the torpor the brand had fallen into. I hope it bodes well for the spirit.

Is it frivolous to offer a disquisition on a package design? Not, I think, in this case … a wretched looking bottle can only hurt sales, and since as goes the Laird’s brand, so goes the spirit, it’s important that the brand thrive. I very much want the Lairds, now in their 9th generation of distilling, to continue producing applejack for generations to come. If someday I can walk into a random barroom and order a Jack Rose without fear of failure, the world will have become a marginally better place.

Related: The Jack Rose