Wanna Win…

•May 7, 2009 • 3 Comments

….four free nights at the beautiful Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans?

Read below:

The Hotel Monteleone is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Carousel Bar on May 21, 2009. From 1949 until about the late 60’s or 70’s there was a drink on the specialty drink menu called the Monteleone Cocktail. Unfortunately, we have no idea what the exact recipe or ingredients were. The Hotel Monteleone is hosting an online contest to accept drink recipe nominations for a new official Monteleone Cocktail. The recipes will be judged by VIPs who will be at the Carousel anniversary celebration on May 21. There are no requirements on types of liquor or style of drink, but all drink entries must be received by May 18, so that the ingredients may be acquired and drinks prepared at the May 21 event. Participating bloggers should post their entries online, and all participants should e-mail their drink recipes, along with their name, address and phone number, to athornton@hotelmonteleone.com. The winning entry will become the new official Monteleone Cocktail, and the winner will receive four free nights at the Hotel Monteleone during Tales of the Cocktail 2009.

So mix ‘em up and send ‘em out for a great time in a fantastic city.

Hotel Monteleone

Hotel Monteleone

Morning Glory Cocktail & Combier

•February 16, 2009 • 14 Comments

It’s funny how the memory works (or in my case, doesn’t).

I’ve been making the Morning Glory for at least five years now, and it wasn’t until quite recently that I discovered that I’d been making it incorrectly this entire time. I’ve been telling every patron who would listen that this fantastic drink had a history dating all the way back to 1862 (when further examination occurred, I discovered it was actually 1887) and constructing it with Champagne instead of seltzer. And I call myself a professional (even if some of you don’t)!  So, as I actually use my own site as a reference from time to time, I’d thought that I’d write a post about this lovely libation, in hopes that I’ll stop doling out incorrect information and cocktails (although I have a feeling that it’ll take a lot more than one post to correct my failing memory).

The obvious way to get on with this, would be to cover the Morning Glory as first laid out by Jerry Thomas in 1887 and as copied from my Bon Vivant’s Companion, 1928 First Edition, #22 of 160.

MORNING GLORY COCKTAIL

Use medium bar glass

Three dashes of gomme syrup
Two dashes curaçao
One dash of absinthe
One pony of brandy
One pony of whiskey

One piece of lemon peel, twisted to express the lemon oil
Two small pieces of ice

Stir thoroughly and remove the ice. Fill the glass with
Seltzer water or plain soda, and stir with a teaspoon having
a little sugar on it.

Somehow, years ago, from this recipe I retained the following, which I have now renamed the:

MORNING GLORY ROYALE

1 oz cognac
1 oz rye
¼ oz Combier Liqueur D’Orange
dash simple syrup (for texture)
dash Boker’s bitters (use Angostura if necessary)
absinthe rinse
stir and strain into rinsed cocktail glass
top with splash of Champagne
lemon twist or cherry garnish

As you can see, I’ve twisted the recipe around a bit, most notably upping the orange liqueur, reducing the syrup, adding bitters (they truly do make everything better) and, of course subbing the bubbly for the soda water. This is a really complex drink with a lot of brown spirit that still manages to pass trippingly over the tongue. While it is the perfect cocktail for this time of year, I don’t find it unimaginable to be quaffing this libation in the hotter months as well.

With further modification (however slight) we come to a new cocktail, substantially different enough from our good friend Jerry’s original creation to be honored with a new moniker. I give you the:

AURORA COCKTAIL

1 oz cognac
1 oz rye
¼ oz St. Germain liqueur
dash simple syrup (for texture)
dash Boker’s bitters (use Angostura if necessary)
absinthe rinse
stir and strain into rinsed cocktail glass
top with splash of Champagne
lemon twist or cherry garnish

The perceptive ones out there will quickly realize that the only difference between the Royale and the Aurora is the swap of St. Germain for the orange liqueur.  While perhaps a subtle change, this little substitution makes a big difference in the cocktail and is a perfect example of how versatile St. Germain really is: I’ve yet to find a cocktail where the sub of St. Germain for orange liqueur or maraschino hasn’t worked. (Full disclosure: I am now Seattle’s St. Germain Ambassador, but if you look at the dates of earlier posts, you can see that I’ve been a big fan of this spirit since its initial release). That said, I find this variation to be my favorite of the three (and not just because it’s my creation).

You may have noticed that I specified a specific orange liqueur with the Morning Glory Royale. Long time readers of this blog will realize that I always use Cointreau as my orange liqueur in my cocktails, but today I’ve changed it up with Combier. Why the shift? Well, quite frankly, they sent me a sample and I found it enjoyable enough to mention. Here is some info from their website:

Combier Liqueur d’Orange is prepared in the distillery’s inner room surrounded by the age and warmth of century old copper stills and the intoxicating scent of fruits and berries from the surrounding Loire Valley. It is here where the magic begins.
In line with Combier family tradition, the Master Distiller carefully marries the fragrant orange peels with sugar beets delivered straight from the fields of Normandy along with pure alcohol from outside of Paris.
From there the Master Distiller uses a triple-distillation process- hence the term ‘triple-sec’- whereby the ingredients are three times distilled in the very same century-old copper stills first used by the Combier family. The copper and age of the stills add depth, while the triple-distillation process ensures that only the most pure and aromatic liqueur makes it into each bottle. Hence its crystal clear color.
Each bottle of Combier is produced, packaged, and shipped from the same location since the 19th century.

But what does it taste like? Like Cointreau, this spirit is bottled at 40 % ABV, but I find that it has a bit more of the bitter orange component than Cointreau has, which helps belie the inherent sweetness of the liqueur. As compared to Cointreau, Combier is definitely more assertive both in flavour profile as well as perceived heat. While I would prefer sipping Cointreau neat, Combier’s assertiveness lends itself very well to cocktail construction, and I would have no issue swapping one spirit out for the other, which I think is high praise, given my high regard for Cointreau.

I’ve run out of things to say (or rather, time to say them), so I’ll wrap this up until next time: if I can only remember what the hell the theme of this post was…. Liqueurs? Jerry Thomas? Oh yeah, the Morning Glory a drink invented in 1862 containing cognac, whiskey, absinthe, curaçao, and Champagne.

Thank God for the web.

Santé.

Morning Glory & Aurora

Morning Glory & Aurora Cocktails

Cocktails and pictures by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

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Singapore Slingshot

•January 25, 2009 • 15 Comments

Recently I wrote the following for a great Slovak bar magazine, entitled appropriately enough, Bar Magazine. Occasionally Stanislav will contact me and ask me to create a recipe for him in the “molecular mixology style” that will fit in with the magazine’s theme of the month. This month the theme was Singapore Slings.

The Singapore Sling’s original recipe has always been one of speculation, but I’ve always been a fan of the one found in Robert Vermiere’s, Cocktails and How to Mix Them (1922), which holds true to the definition of a Sling with gin, Benedictine, cherry brandy, lemon juice, soda water, Angostura bitters and orange bitters as its ingredients. It should be noted that there were no Sling recipes with a juice other than lemon or lime in it before 1921, and therefore I eschew any recipe that calls for pineapple, orange or any other flavour of juice as a component in this venerable libation.

Today we are going to play around with the concept of the Singapore Sling, as many before me have, by offering up a “shooter”-sized recipe that has a twist: we are going to use some basic molecular mixology techniques to add visual and textural interest.

SINGAPORE SLINGSHOT

2 oz gin
2 dashes aromatic bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
6 cherry caviar
6 Benedictine caviar
place caviar into shot glass
carbonate gin and bitters with Perlini
strain into shot glass
garnish with candied lemon wedge

CHERRY HEERING CAVIAR
3 oz Cherry Heering
1 oz water
1 oz lemon juice
¼ oz sodium alginate
mix all ingredients together with an immersion blender
let sit for 5 minutes
place in plastic bag and vacuum seal
release seal and place mixture into a plastic squeeze bottle
drop small balls of mixture one by one into a calcium chloride bath
rinse with Cherry Heering when set
store in a 1:1 Cherry Heering/water bath

BENEDICTINE CAVIAR
4 oz Benedictine
1 oz water
¼ oz sodium alginate
mix all ingredients together with an immersion blender
let sit for 5 minutes
place in plastic bag and vacuum seal
release seal and place mixture into a plastic squeeze bottle
drop small balls of mixture one by one into a calcium chloride bath
rinse with Benedictine when set
store in a 1:1 Benedictine /water bath

You may notice that the Slingshot possesses all of the flavours of the original Sling: Benedictine and cherry in the form of bursting caviar, lemon juice in the form of the candied lemon wedge, and we’ve carbonated the gin and bitters with the Perlini cocktail system to give one the illusion of soda water, but with the alcoholic punch of a shot.

The Perlini is a fantastic system that acts as a cocktail shaker, but also allows one to carbonate the ingredients within. This allows me to not only carbonate the gin mixture, but also allows me to chill and properly dilute it, ensuring that the shot is indeed a pleasant one.

The proper way to imbibe the Slingshot would be to take a bite of the candied lemon, followed by a large sip of the shooter, thus ensuring that you have the sensation of lemon on your palate when you consume the liquid portion of the drink.

Santé.

Singapore Slingshot

Singapore Slingshot

Drink and picture by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

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Jinga and Leblon

•January 19, 2009 • 5 Comments
Leblon

Today we are going to discuss cachaça, and specifically Leblon. So to get us started, straight from the Leblon website (because you all know that I’m a lazy bastard), we have some basics about Leblon and cachaça:

So what is cachaça anyways? And is it a rum or not?

Cachaça is a Brazilian spirit distilled from sugar cane juice. It is the third most consumed spirit in the world behind only vodka and soju/shochu, the asian distillates made predominantly from rice. Historians date the initial creation of cachaça between 1532 and 1550 in Brazil, predating the date of creation of rum (1651 in Barbados) by more than one hundred years. Unlike rum, which is usually made from molasses, cachaça can only be made from fresh cane juice, and can only be made in Brazil. 99% of cachaça is consumed in Brazil – over 1.3 billion liters per year. Brazilian law requires that cachaça be distilled no higher than 54% alcohol by volume, and bottled between 38% and 48% alcohol by volume. That being said, most export cachaça is about 40% alcohol by volume.

So why then the rum question? According to U.S. law, any spirit derived from sugar cane must be labeled as rum and in cachaça’s case: Brazilian Rum. This nomenclature has been in dispute for some time, with discussion and consideration of separating cachaça into its own ‘class,’ like tequila, or an ‘appellation’ within a broader class, like cognac and champagne. With the increasing popularity of cachaça, more and more people are asking for the distinction, especially since the cultural and sensorial differences between rum and cachaça are so significant.

So what are those sensorial differences? Since cachaça is made from fresh cane juice, and not molasses (a derivative of sugar cane), it has a fruitier, fresher nose than rum. Its taste is subtly sweet and fresh, and since it comes directly from the crop, cachaça has distinctive vegetal notes reminiscent of tequila (in fact, many mixologists and sommeliers liken cachaça more to a tequila than a rum because of the unique vegetal notes in the nose).

Leblon cachaça is distilled at their state-of-the-art distillery, Maison Leblon, in the fertile Minas Gerais region. Their approach to cachaça is unique: Gilles Merlet, the master distiller, approaches the fermentation, distillation, and finishing of cachaça like a fine wine. Using techniques from his native land of France, Gilles manages every detail of the creation – from the hand-selection of the cane and his proprietary fermentation approach, to the Alambique batch-distillation and light-casking, triple-filtering, and master-blending. Gilles rests the final distillate in XO Cognac casks from France, giving Leblon an extra-special touch. As a result, Leblon cachaça has a delicate, fruity nose, combined with an ultra smooth finish.

Now that we have a handle on this fine spirit, let’s start mixing with it. Those few regular readers of SpiritsandCocktails.com probably have noticed my fixation with using bitters as a major ingredient within the cocktail recipes created as of late. That infatuation isn’t going to stop today, but my fascination with naming those bitered cocktails after magic phrases has stopped (mainly because all of the good, short incantations have run out).

My latest concoction has even more bitters than the previous recipes, with a full half ounce of the bitter solution bathing amongst the other ingredients. Like the other recipes I’ve supplied, these drinks may have bitter notes (and this one a bit more than the others) but it still shows as being less bitter than a Negroni, so don’t be afraid to bust off the protective dropper lids of your dasher bottles and pour more bitters than you have ever deigned to put in a single cocktail before!

So grab your bartending tools, grow a pair, and whip up a:

JINGA COCKTAIL

2 oz Leblon cachaca
¼ oz Angostura orange bitters
¼ oz Fee’s peach bitters
¼ oz Giffard’s Abricot du Roussillon (or use Rothman & Winter’s Orchard Apricot)
½ oz grapefruit juice
1 ½ oz Champagne
stir all but champagne over ice
strain into a chilled cocktail glass
top with Champagne
give a light stir with a sugar coated spoon

UPDATE: After finishing off the rest of the grapefruit this morning, I became aware of how sweet it was, so if you happen to use a grapefruit (or juice) that is a bit on the bitter side, please add a dash of simple syrup.

This is a wonderfully dry, fruity libation that would probably be best consumed in the French Riviera in June (or perhaps since we’re using cachaça, the Leblon district of Rio would be more fitting). Unfortunately, it’s not June, and I’m about as far away as the French Riviera (or Rio, for that matter) as one can get right now, so I’m going to have to close my eyes as I take a sip of the Jinga to be mentally transported. Ahhhhhhhh, there it is!

The tropical, floral aspects of the Leblon play wonderfully with the orange, peach and apricot flavours of the bitters and liqueur. The grapefruit juice helps mellow and lengthen the bitter edge of the considerable volume of Fee’s and Angostura, while the addition of sparkling champagne adds an elegance that just wasn’t present until introduced.

For the final step of the creation of this drink, dip your (now wet after stirring) bar spoon in some sugar and knock off any of the excess. If you do this before giving your cocktail a final light stir, you’ll get a pleasant effervescence that wouldn’t have occurred without this finishing touch.

Santé.

Jinga

Jinga

Cocktail and pictures by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

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It’s Coming…….

•January 17, 2009 • 14 Comments

You may have heard rumours, but allow me to confirm them: Crème Yvette is coming back. Described as a liqueur made with parma violet petals with vanilla and other spices, the good folks at St. Germain have taken it upon themselves to resurrect this once defunct spirit.  Keep your eyes peeled and your wallets opened and I’ll let you know as soon as it is available for sale!

Creme Yvette

Creme Yvette

Pax Sax Sarax

•January 12, 2009 • 14 Comments

Burns Night is rapidly approaching (January 25th) and since we don’t really go into the food aspect of bars here on SpiritsandCocktails.com, there won’t be any recipes for haggis. What we will discuss however, are scotch based libations, focusing on a recent creation of mine.

Continuing with our heavily-bittered, magic-worded cocktails of late, I present for you our first concoction, the Pax Sax Sarax. Like the Zim Zala Bim and the Alabazam before it, this is yet another fantastically complex cocktail that uses a boat-load of bitters to good effect.

According to The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies and Magic, the magic phrase Pax Sax Sarax was found in an Elizabethan manuscript in the British Museum, and was purportedly used to prolong orgasm. It was also used to “prevent a person from firing a gun while you are looking into the barrel” according to Albertus Magnus, Being the Approved, Verified, Sympathetic and Natural Egyptian Secrets or White and Black Art for Man and Beast, so as you can see, this is a potent concoction indeed!

Call up Penn and Teller so you can dazzle them with the magic behind the:

PAX SAX SARAX

2 oz Glenmorangie single malt
1/4 oz Peychaud’s bitters
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
stir all ingredients with ice
rinse cocktail glass with absinthe
strain into a cocktail glass
garnish with 3 brandied cherries

UPDATE: It became apparent today, as I served this libation to guests at my bar, that it is imperative that one not only garnishes this cocktail with the cherries, but that the guest knows that this is part of the experience. The cherries make this cocktail. Ensure that you don’t eat them all at the beginning or at the end, but rather space them out throughout the drinking experience.

While these latest concoctions may have a ton of bitters in them, I want to point out that these aren’t extremely bitter drinks. The bitters that I have used aren’t overly bitter by themselves, especially in the case of Peychaud’s which has a pleasant, sweet anise-y finish. One should also keep in mind that I am balancing the bitters with an equal portion of liqueur in both the Zim Zala Bim and the Pax Sax Sarax. The reason why this drink was pretty much a no-brainer for me (the proportions were bang on in its very first incarnation) is as simple as this: licorice and cherry are natural flavour pairings for scotch. The key for this drink was to pick a scotch that was neither too peaty or barrel influenced. Glenmorangie seemed like the obvious, readily available option for this drink, and sure enough it didn’t disappoint.

This is a drink for scotch drinkers, and despite the outrageous quantity of Peychaud’s bitters present, the scotch still makes its authority known. The bitters, cherry and absinthe flavours all work with the scotch, instead of against, and while I wouldn’t suggest this drink to a scotch neophyte, I would probably put it in my top three drinks to give an experienced scotch palate, along with the:

BOBBY BURNS

1 ½ oz Famous Grouse
¾ oz sweet vermouth
1/8 oz Benedictine
dash of Peychaud’s bitters
stir all with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
your choice of lemon twist or cherry garnish (both work well)

and the

JARNAC COCKTAIL

2 oz Famous Grouse
½ oz ginger liqueur
½ oz amaro Nonino
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
garnish with lemon twist.

Santé.

Pax Sax Sarax

Pax Sax Sarax

Picture and drinks by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

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Partida and the Zim Zala Bim

•January 2, 2009 • 11 Comments

One may notice, as one peruses the plethora of pages on this paltry pile of posts (sweet alliteration: 100 bonus points awarded!), that there is little said about tequila, but when the temperature outside makes me pine for warmer climes, I’ll transport myself there in the cheapest and quickest way at my disposal: through my glass.

While I wouldn’t call myself a tequila expert, I have been lucky enough to do a tasting or two, and through my experiences I have become quite fond of one line in particular: Partida. Beautifully packaged, well crafted, and not insanely expensive, this has definitely become my go-to-tequila, and as such I’d thought that I’d share my experiences with you along with one of my proudest creations as of late, the Zim Zala Bim.

But first, let’s talk tequila.

Partida Tequila was rated higher than any other leading tequila brand based on aggregate scores in a recent taste test conducted by The Academy of Tequila, the official tequila tasting board of Mexico, so you see; it’s not just me who likes the stuff! Partida maintains exceptional standards of quality and consistency to produce 100% blue agave tequila that has been aged for seven to ten years and which is meant to be luxuriated over as one would with a fine scotch.

TASTING NOTES

Partida Blanco (Unaged)

Smooth, clean and crisp flavours of fresh herbaceous agave with notes of brine, olive and citrus. Good acid is present along with an elegant, off-dry finish that’s not too assertive.

Partida Reposado (Aged Six Months)

You are greeted by subdued and graceful aromas of vegetal agave. This is a delicate, peppery reposado that underscores a honeyed, almost almond and milk chocolate palate. The finish is elegant and enduring with the agave in perfect harmony with the wood. The reposado is easily my favorite of the three offerings that we are trying today, especially from a mixing standpoint

Partida Añejo (Aged 18 Months)

A beautiful golden/copper hue, the añejo demands to be sipped slowly to enjoy all of its complexities. The añejo’s honeyed nose allows the agave to take a back seat to the barrel, without having it be overpowered. The palate is elegant (there’s that word again) with spicy marzipan, honey, vanilla, Xmas fruitcake and a finish that just won’t quit. This is definitely a beautiful way to end an evening.

And as it wouldn’t be a proper Spirits and Cocktails post without a cocktail, without further ado, I present for your consuming pleasure, the amazing, the splendorific, the marvelous, the incredible, the shocking…..

ZIM ZALA BIM

2 oz Partida Reposado
2 bar spoons Regans’ orange bitters
2 bar spoons St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
1 bar spoon fine sugar
stir all ingredients to dissolve sugar
add ice and stir
strain into a chilled cocktail glass
squeeze the oil from a lemon peel into glass and toss the peel

This cocktail was inspired by a recipe that I had found and posted about earlier: the Alabazam. The Alabazam has been getting a lot of play here in Seattle lately, even making the list of my favorite local bar, and I thought that it was high time that I created my own take on this lovely libation, based upon what drew me to the recipe in the first place: a boat-load of bitters.

Just as it is the bar spoon of Angostura that makes the Alabazam, it is the two bar spoons of Regans’ orange bitters that makes the Zim Zala Bim. It should be noted that while this drink will work with Angostura orange bitters (it’ll just be a completely different beast) it will not work with Fee’s orange bitters, so you may as well go out and get yourself a bottle of Regans’. Gary Regan’s getting on in years now and any little bit of support we can offer will bring him one step closer to a retirement that is (trust me) loooooong over due (that’s right Gary, that was a dig at your age). The spiciness of Regans’ orange bitters pairs beautifully with the spicy sweetness of Partida’s reposado, and unfortunately Fee’s orange bitters are just too simple to do the tequila justice in this case.

St. Germain offers a touch of sweetness to counteract the bitters as well as a beautiful floral note that just makes this drink sing. The sugar is merely there to add a bit of viscosity and to take off any edge that the alcohol may offer.

The Zim Zala Bim is one of those easy concoctions to create that will absolutely wow your guests with its zippy complexity, and as such I have decided that this new creation is an instant Jamie Boudreau classic that I will prepare for years to come, using it to blow away that jaded tequila drinker who is tired of having nothing but margaritas and the million variations that bartenders have created under different nomenclature as their only option for a tequila cocktail.

Zim Zala Bim

Zim Zala Bim

Drink and pictures by:
Jamie Boudreau
Cocktail Whisperer

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