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Archive for the ‘Gin’ Category

mxmologoLUPEC Boston is honored to be hosting today’s Mixology Monday at our humble abode.  Inspired by a chance encounter that Pink Lady had with a cocktail novice, we’ve decided to consider those cocktails that would be suitably delicious for the first timer.

Obviously there are a couple things to consider when offering up advice to the amateur cocktailian.  First off your suggestions need to be balanced.  Something too bitter, too sweet or too boozey results in our possible convert spending an eternity in vodka/soda purgatory.

And secondly we should consider accessibility.  Folks are afraid of words they don’t know or understand.  And rather than ask for guidance and clarification they will often just turn and run.  Cocktails for the first timer should be relatively simple and incorporate common ingredients.  Not only do we want the cocktail newcomer to enjoy and understand what they’ve just imbibed, we want to be able to write down the recipe and make it clear that it is something they can easily create for themselves at home!

Let’s hear from some of lovely ladies of LUPEC Boston.  How would they pave thelupec_logo72 way to cocktail glory for an amateur?

Pink Lady is a firm believer in the power of the Jack Rose.  “I think in sweeter incarnations and made with a little Peychaud’s, it could easily trick booze-fearing drinkers into swilling back something made with a brown liquor.”

Bourbon Belle chimed in with the Sidecar.  She describes “the combination of the bold and interesting flavor of brandy that is juxtaposed with the sour kick of fresh lemon juice and balanced with the sweet orange flavor of Cointreau” as a great well-balanced cocktail that goes down easy for the novice drinker.

Pink Gin agrees that the brown spirits tend to be an easier sell to the cocktail beginner.  She suggests a Mint Julep (hopefully served in the proper vessel) or perhaps her father’s favorite, a Bourbon Manhattan.  If Pink Gin gets her charm from her father I’m sure he could successfully put a Manhattan in the hands of any teetotaler!

Pinky Gonzalez pipes in with some options to help a newbie recover from any previous gincidents.  She’s used the Left Bank (Gin, St Germain and Sauvignon Blanc) to make “gin-drinkers out of many an unwitting soul.”  She also recommends the Vesper, saying “it’s good for vodka drinkers/gin fearers; the idea that there is vodka in there is enough for some to ‘go there.’  The Lillet offers the vermouth-fearer an alternative and the James Bond reference is a good hook for some folks.”

As someone who spends a big chunk of my life behind the stick making drinks for the general public I’m constantly considering gateway cocktails.  There is nothing more gratifying than introducing someone whose “usual” is a vodka and soda to the wonderful world of flavorful, balanced cocktails.  For this reason I’ve taken to calling them my greatway cocktails.  For our purposes today we will be focusing on gin and whiskey, the two base spirits that seem to be most misunderstood by the masses.

Let’s start with gin.  There is an erroneous fear of gin running rampant through our society that LUPEC is attempting to quell.  Gin is delicious and according to our good friend Patrick Sullivan it makes you smarter.  Armed with this fact and a few cocktails conversion is imminent.

Fine and Dandy Cocktail (from the Savoy Cocktail Book)

1/2 Plymouth Gin

1/4 Cointreau

1/4 Lemon Juice

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

The Fine and Dandy is a greatway cocktail for many reasons.  Like Bourbon Belle’s suggestion of the Sidecar, the sweet and sour aspects of this cocktail are wonderfully balanced but do not overwhelm the nuances of the gin.  In addition this cocktail gently introduces bitters, a cocktail ingredient that unnecessarily frightens the cocktail neophyte.

imagesThe Stork Club Cocktail

1.5 oz Gin

.5 Cointreau

1 oz Orange Juice

.25 oz Lime Juice

1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Orange juice equals breakfast, the start to one’s day.  Why not start one’s cocktail journey with the juicy house cocktail of one of Manhattan’s most historic hot spots.

As a lover of all brown spirits I can’t imagine not enjoying a perfectly made Manhattan.  But as I know this is not the case for all let’s consider a couple of whiskey based greatway cocktails.

The Scofflaw Cocktail

1 oz Rye Whiskey

1 oz French Vermouth

.5 oz Grenadine

.5 oz Lemon Juice

1 dash Orange Bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This delicious cocktail is perfect for introducing someone to the joys of whiskey and vermouth.   It’s sure to make a newbie ooo and ah.

The Algonquinothers_46780_8

1.5 oz Rye Whiskey

.75 oz Dry Vermouth

.75 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Another juicy option for introducing folks to the joys of marrying whiskey and vermouth.  Encourage the newbie to raise her or his glass to Ms Dorothy Parker, one of our favorite forebroads and member of the Algonquin’s famed round table.

Thank you to all who have participated in our Mixology Monday saluting First Timers.  Check back in the next couple of days for our round up!

Cin Cin!

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grand-finale-invite

by Pink Lady

We’re thrilled to announce that our very own Bourbon Belle is a finalist in the Marvelous Hendricks’s Limerick & Cocktail Competition taking place tonight at the Edison in Downtown Los Angeles!

Some of you may recall Bourbon Belle’s glorious victory at the Hendrick’s Gin Beantown Bartender Battle last August with her delicious drink, Nobody’s Darling. First prize was a complimentary trip anywhere in the US and an opportunity to compete in the Grand Finale this February 17th in Downtown Los Angeles.

Guests will be treated to a champagne punch and given a playbill for the evening. The playbill will outline the evening’s performances, that is to say, the competitors, their cocktails and their lovely limericks!

Bourbon Belle’s winning recipe is below, as well as the limerick that helped her take first place, and a brand new limerick that she’ll debut at the event. We’ll be mixing these up at home and toasting in Bourbon Belle’s honor as we await the results back home in Boston!

NOBODY’S DARLING
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add:

2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 oz Angelica Root infused Honey*
.75 oz fresh celery juice
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake and strain into a chilled coup glass.

*ANGELICA ROOT INFUSED HONEY
Pour 6 oz boiling water over 2 oz dried angelica root (in a tea strainer) and let sit for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Remove angelica.  Add 4 oz Wildflower Honey to the Angelica “Tea” and pour into a saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Bourbon Belle mixes up the winning cocktail, Nobody's Darling

Bourbon Belle mixes up the winning cocktail, Nobody's Darling

LIMERICK No. 1

An elixir of cucumber and rose
With a scent that amuses the nose
Angelica-honey we’ll pair
Then some celery sounds fair
Yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice and there goes!

LIMERICK No 2
Ladies and Gentleman, I must confess
I’m quite nervous and in some distress
I’ve heard it helps to propose
Your observers unclothed
Please indulge me and just get undressed

Photo courtesy of C. Fernsebner.

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180px-elsiejanisAs you well know, LUPEC will celebrate lady veterans of all stripes at the LUPEC Boston “USO Show” on November 21, a 1940s themed cocktail party and retro-variety show. Before the USO even existed, there was trailblazing entertainer Elsie Janis “the sweetheart of the A.E.F.”, for whom we raise a in this week’s Dig column. Elsie Janis was a lifetime performer: she debuted on the stage at age 2, and made a name for herself in the vaudeville circuit as child star “Little Elsie”. As an adult, Janis became a headline act on Broadway and in London, and spent her later years working as a screenwriter, songwriter, and actor in Hollywood.

Elsie Janis’s self-proclaimed “high point” came when she took her song and dance comedy show on the road to entertain American troops during World War I. Janis’ involvement with the war effort began in 1914, when she began incorporating patriotic songs into her vaudeville act, and using her shows as a stateside recruiting tool. After the US entered into the war, Janis traveled to France to entertain troops on the front lines.

A New York Times article published on June 17, 1918 describes the effect she had on the troops:

And at last…a locomotive trundled in out of the night, in its cab a pair of proud and grinning engineers, on its cowcatcher, Elsie Janis.

A moment later and the engine was near enough to the stage for her to clear the space at a single jump and there she was, with her black velvet tam pushed back on her tossing hair, with her eyes alight and her hands uplifted, her whole voice thrown into the question which is the beginning and end of morale, which is the most important question in the army:

‘Are we downhearted?’

You can only faintly imagine the thunderous ‘No’ with which the train shed echoed till the peaceful French households in the neighborhood wondered what those epatants Americans would be up to next. And it is the whole point of Elsie Janis…that whatever the spirit of the boys before her coming they really meant that “No” with all there was in them, that any who might have been just a little downhearted before felt better about it after seeing and hearing her.

show3sm

Performing as the “Sweetheart of the American Expeditionary Forces ” was indeed the role of a lifetime. Janis remained committed to the fighting men she entertained after the war, and even created a revue featuring some of the out of work soldiers she’d entertained, called

Elsie Janis and Her Gang which hit the stage in the fall of 1919. Critics predicted that no one would want to hear about the war after it ended, but Janis considered the show a success. Janis also wrote a memoir of her experiences entertaining the troops which was published in 1919, titled The Big Show: My Six Months with the American Expeditionary Forces.

The period after the war was tough on Janis, as fewer and fewer people wanted to hear about the war and her work entertaining troops in Europe, a period that she considered “her high point.” As she later wrote in her autobiography, “[T]he war was my high spot and I think there is only one real peak in each life!”

But, as the New York Times argued, the positive impact Janis and performers like her had on the troops could not be overlooked:

When she leads a leather-lunged regiment in the strains of “God Save Kaiser Bill” the future of that uneasy monarch really seems more insecure than it did, and it is not fanciful to say that more than one company has marched off to its first night in the trenches with brighter eyes, squarer shoulders, and a more gallant swing because, at the very threshold of safety, this lanky and lovely lady from Columbus, Ohio, waved and sang and cheered them on their way.”

We’ll drink to that!

THE ATTA BOY COCKTAILapreslaguerresm
2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes grenadine
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

* Images borrowed from the Ohio State University Libaries Exhibitions website & wikipedia***

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by Pink Gin

This week in the Dig I offered up a road-trip version of the classic martini and I have a few little baubles to add…

More on ingredients for the “HoJotini”
We’re using Beefeater gin, Noilly Prat vermouth, and Angustora orange bitters that we got through bartering on the black market. Fees Orange bitters are somewhat more available in local shops. Or look on-line.

What’s a HoJo?
For those of you too young to remember or from another country, HoJo’s is a quintessential 20th century American story of one man’s vision. It starts with New England ice cream, leads to the development of the “franchise” system, capitalizes on the needs of automotive travelers wanting reliable food and lodging, becomes a huge national success, is passed on to the founder’s son, suffers from competition, is sold off in pieces to conglomerates, and limps along today. Anyone who can comment on this blog post with ways to link HoJo’s with cocktails or women’s history gets bonus points. Here are a few links on nostalgia for the old “orange roof”:

http://www.hojoland.com/history.html
http://www.roadsidefans.com/hojo.html
http://www.slamtrak.com/hojo2003/

Modding up the liquor travel case

Also known as a “travel bar,” these can be found in a wide range of sizes and styles. The featured photo was not staged; I snapped this at a hotel on the Jersey shore. My travel companion and I had been road tripping all day and were getting ready for dinner while sipping the martini featured in the Dig. The case is an older one made of plastic and metal and includes space for two small bottles, a flask, small glasses, a stirring spoon, and an opener. We carry what you see here. The gin goes into a smaller bottle to save space, and the two plastic cups have been replaced with four unstemmed vintage cocktail glasses protected with sheets of papertowel. These are put into service when no other glassware is handy. We also add in a paring knife and a kitchen towel. With ice provided by the hotel, we are good to go.

Recipes for other cocktails mentioned in the Dig this week

FRENCH 75
1 oz gin
½ oz fresh lemon juice
Simple syrup
4 oz sparking white wine

Shake the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup (a splash or to taste) with ice, pour in stemmed glass and top with sparkling wine. Other variations include cognac rather than gin as well as different glassware.

NEGRONI
1/3 gin
1/3 sweet vermouth
1/3 Campari

Stir the ingredients with ice and serve up or on the rocks. A twist of orange is the least offensive garnish I’ve seen served with this drink.

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We also tried the Salty Dog straight up.  Drinks, photos, and original editions courtesy of k. montuori.

We also tried the Salty Dog straight up. Drinks, photos, and original editions courtesy of k. montuori.

by Pink Gin

The thing that we at LUPEC Boston have to love about Kingsley Amis is that he wrote a regular drinks column just like we do. His compilation of his articles are included in Everyday Drinking, published anew this year. We saw it on the shelves at Porter Square Books.

Older books are fun because they give you an insight into the culture of the time. In this case, the books were written rather in the “dead zone” of cocktail culture of the 70s and 80s. So, some of the drinks in the book are good and others are truly ghastly. (It will make cocktail enthusiasts appreciate how far we’ve come, especially with availability of ingredients.)

We featured the Salty Dog {LINK} in our Weekly Dig column this week, and you can find versions of the Pink Gin and the Normandy in our Little Black Book of Cocktails. So here I’d like to feature a punch that is really much better than it sounds:

JO BARTLEY’S CHRISTMAS PUNCH
3 bottles dry or medium-dry white wine
2 bottles gin
1 bottle brandy
1 bottle sherry
1 bottle dry vermouth
5 quarts medium-sweet hard cider
Ice cubes

Mix everything together and serve on ice. Go for the cheapest reliable ingredients – don’t waste the good stuff. And as Kingsley points out, if you toss in leftover drinks from last night, no one will notice.

Also, for those of you who haven’t read Lucky Jim you can try this version of a Vodka Gibson:

The LUCKY JIM
12 to 15 parts vodka
1 part dry vermouth (Martina e Rossi)
2 parts cucumber juice
cucumber slices (with peel)

Make as a martini; stir with ice and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes before serving straight up in chilled stemmed glasses.

I’d say try this with a home infusion of vermouth and hot peppers and you’ll have a vodka drink worth drinking. Cheers!

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by Pink Lady

Hanky Panky’s column in this week’s Dig advocates building your home bar on a cocktail by cocktail basis: each week, choose a favorite cocktail and purchase the items necessary to mix it at home. With this method, you will never be left wondering what you can mix with the items you have on hand while adding to your encyclopedic knowledge of cocktail recipes. Below are some recipes to help get you started, economically of course — who knows what will happen to the market next.

For gin, we recommended the Hearst. You’ll need all of these ingredients for many other cocktails, so its a great way to invest your money from the start.

HEARST
2 ounces London dry gin
1 ounce Italian vermouth
dash of orange bitters
dash of Angostura bitters

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon oil.

This Boston original gets a bottle of rye in your liquor cabinet, and fresh grenadine in your fridge. Where they both belong.

WARD EIGHT
2 ounces rye whisky
.75 ounce lemon juice
.75 ounce orange juice
1 teaspoon grenadine

Shake ingredients with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker; strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy, or strain it over cracked ice in a highball & top off with seltzer. Refreshing! (This is David Wondrich’s Esquire version of the drink. There is much debate over whether the proper recipe for this drink: I invite you to try on your own and leave feedback!)

The Hibiscus cocktail is a great way to deal with some light rum and make sure you’ve got French vermouth in the cabinet, too.

HIBISCUS
From Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide, Revised.
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 teaspoon French vermouth
1 teaspoon grenadine
1.5 oz light Puerto Rican Rum
Shake with ice cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This LUPEC Boston namesake will trick out your liquor cabinet with a few fun extra ingredients, and make tequila feel quite at home among the other bottles.

PINKY GONZALES
(As adapted from Trader Vic’s recipe by LUPEC Boston member, Pinky Gonzales in the Little Black Book of Cocktails.)
2.5 oz tequila blanco
.5 oz fresh lime juice
.5 os orange Curacao
.25 oz agave nectar
.25 oz orgeat syrup
2 cups crushed ice
1 sprig mint & .5 squeezed lime for garnish

Shake all ingredients and pour into a tiki mug or tall glass filled with crushed ice and the reserved 1/2 lime. Garnish with mint sprig & straw.

Oh, how your liquor cabinet grows!


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by Pink Lady

When I studied abroad in Ireland my junior year, I was shocked to learn that my Irish roommates preferred Budweiser to Guinness. The American import was pissier and more expensive than their native stout, yet none of the lads would be caught in the pub with a Guinness in hand. I chalked this up to the tendency to always want what you haven’t got, and related to their impulse to eschew the familiar for the exotic.

This is not necessarily so, however, in Holland, where every fourth bottle of spirits sold is a bottle of genever. I learned this fun little fact from Bols brand ambassador Simon Duff at the Juniperlooza seminar at Tales of the Cocktail, and decided to put this theory to the test by contacting up my good friend Alexander, who hails from Amsterdam.

“Do you drink genever at all? Is it popular at home in Holland?” I texted him quite out of the blue last week while working on this week’s Weekly Dig column about different types of gin.

“Yes I do! I have a bottle in my freezer! It’s running low. Reminds me of my dad. I only drink it on special occasions…” he responded immediately.

So, there you have it folks, straight from the tall Dutchman’s mouth. The stuff is indeed popular in Holland, if impossible to come by in the US.

We had a chance to try a small sip of both jonge and oude genever while in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail, and sampled it again at a recent meeting chez Bourbon Belle. President Hanky Panky managed to smuggle several bottles back to the states with her on a trip to Amsterdam last spring.

The strong juniper flavor inherent in genever makes no bones about being a great-great-great grandparent to the modern dry styles of gin we know and love today. That said, its fuller and gads maltier than the stuff you put in a modern gin and tonic, a totally different gin-drinking experience. It is indeed special stuff, and though the real Dutch spirit is hard to come by in the United States, Genevieve by the San Francisco-based Anchor Distilllery stands in as a delicious take on the product.

So here’s the ultimate challenge: get your friends who live in London to smuggle you back some Old Tom Gin and your very own tall Dutchman to return from Holland with a suitcase full of Hollands. Then mix them up in alternating batches of the following cocktail, as Seamus Harris of Bunnyhugs did and reported on here this past June.

MARTINEZ
Recipe adapted from Imbibe! by David Wondrich
1 dash of aromatic bitters
2 dashes of maraschino
1 oz Old Tom Gin or Genever
2 oz Italian vermouth
Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

This drink is believed to be a predecessor to the modern martini, and was originally concocted with Old Tom Gin. The genever version is delicious as well. I wonder — what would happen if I served this to the next person who requested “a martini” at the restaurant where I work…hmmm

Cin-cin, or as the Dutch say, Proost!

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