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.
The Internet is a richer place for cocktailian interests as of today. Darcy O’Neil, who holds forth on matters mixological at The Art of Drink, has performed a mighty mitzvah: the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ The Bar-Tender’s Guide is, at long last, online! While the 1862 edition can be purchased as a reprint, no version of Thomas has been freely available online, and this expanded and revised version — published two years after Thomas’ death — has been the province of very fortunate auction hunters.
In the short-term, Darcy has imposed something of his own structure on the content, but promises to eventually provide a full index and searchability. Better yet, he intends to submit the work to Project Gutenberg, where it can take its place next to Tom Bullock’s The Ideal Bartender in the digital public domain.
I stumbled across an interesting collection of photomicrography when browsing through del.icio.us today. Intrepid scientists and students at Florida State University use liquid nitrogen to freeze cocktails into a crystalline state, then take extremely close-up images. The results of the project are assembled in their gallery’s Cocktail Collection.
Converted to the most delicious of snowflakes, microscopic Martinis prove strangely similar to sea fans, while straight Rye borders on the geographic, Whiskey Sours resemble sheaves of wheat, and a Piña Colada is like nothing so much as a collection of moths’ wings.
Barry’s mad for seltzer in a way that I think only New Yorkers can be, and is in the process of penning its definitive history. The podcasts don’t reveal much about the forthcoming book’s contents, but he’s managed to produce nine entertaining seltzer-centric episodes to date — largely man-on-the-street interviews — in a This American Life mode. So far there’s been no real mention of seltzer in cocktails, sadly — Barry’s favorite seltzer-based beverage is an Egg Cream from Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop — but I’m sure he’ll get around to it some day. After all, the seltzer bottle is one of the most iconic and evocative pieces of bar equipment there is, on par with the martini glass and cobbler shaker. Better yet, it has shiny moving parts and valves and O-rings and CO2 cylinders and whatnot. I myself have
ten eleven of the things (looks like I just won another in an eBay auction), for the sheer love of their form.
If you check out the Give Me Seltzer podcasts, do yourself a favor and start with episode #1 … they build on each other, and the most recent won’t be nearly as interesting if you’ve not heard what’s gone before.
We are pleased to note, albeit somewhat tardily, the advent of The Daily Lush, a new blogzine about matters drink-related which appears to have emerged fully-formed from the collective skull of its creators last month. True to its name, DL is updated with a fresh, meaty article daily… impressive, and not a pace to which we would dare aspire. There’s not much background on the feverishly productive duo responsible, but Max Sparber and Courtney Mault, denizens of New Orleans, claim authorship on alternate days..
Update: [04/01/08] We note, belatedly, the passing of The Daily Lush. Katrina seemed to take the wind from her sails, and Sparber… well, the grass doesn’t grow under his feet. The man is an industry unto himself.