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Archive for the ‘Gin’ Category

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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by Bourbon Belle

Wishing for a drink that you just haven’t been able to find at your beloved watering hole? Or dreaming about making the perfect cocktail to suit a specific taste? It’s surprisingly easy to concoct a well-balanced cocktail in the classic style, so long as you keep a few basic rules of thumb in mind.

One of the earliest known definitions of the term “cocktail” comes from the May 1806 issue of The Balance, and Columbian Repository, a Hudson, N.Y.-based weekly newspaper of yore: “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters …”

So let’s start with the spirit of your choice—Bourbon’s as good as any. Next, you’ll want to sweeten it up for balance. Let’s go traditional and throw in some sweet vermouth. Following the cocktail “definition,” we’re going to add some bitters; Angostura bitters make for a traditional Manhattan. Now, let’s make an original by including a flavor you’d like to impart into your drink. What goes well with Bourbon? How about … peaches! Let’s add a touch of peach liqueur—Mathilde Peches is my personal choice. And now you have your own twist on a traditional cocktail, made to suit your own flavor preferences.

Just remember: a spirit, a sweetener, a bitter (fresh citrus juice is also great for balancing out the sweetness) and water (in most cases, just consider the melting ice sufficient).

Cin-cin!

BOURBON BELLE
3 ounces Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
1/2 ounce Mathilde Peches Liqueur
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi or Cinzano preferred)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Fill a shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

More fun and easy ways to create your own cocktail follows this same concept. Take a drink you like, and just put a little spin on it! Maybe you LOVE a classic Negroni, but sometimes prefer something a touch more smooth. Try another original created by one of our LUPEC ladies called the Contessa. Change up the Campari for Aperol, Campari’s less bitter cousin-as quoted from Hanky Panky the Weekly Dig 7.2.08-7.9.08) and even out the portions of all three ingredients.

The CONTESSA
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add:
1.5 oz Beefeater Gin
1.5 oz Aperol
1.5 oz Cinzano sweet vermouth
Stir and strain in a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with an orange twist

How about a classic Sidecar variation? Swap out the traditional brandy for Belle Brillet, a pear flavored Cognac, for a smooth and delicious Pear flavored Sidecar.

BELLE de BRILLET SIDECAR
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add:
2 oz Belle Brillet
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake gently and strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rimmed with raw sugar.
Garnish with an orange wheel

The sky’s the limit. After all, as Imbibe! author David Wondrich writes, “the small, idiomatic differences…are the mixographer’s delight!”

Cin cin!

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I never thought I would become attached to a kitchen tool. That is, until I met the Oxo angled measuring cup. The 2 oz measuring cup, shown on the right, allows one to accurately measure amounts as small as one quarter ounce. In addition to ounces, their are interior markings for tablespoons and the more traditional exterior markings for milliliters and cups. Mr. Jigger you have served me well, but from now on this detail oriented cocktail lover will be angling for Oxo. Let’s put that quarter ounce line to use.

The HOSKINS COCKTAIL
2 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Torani Amer (or Amer Picon)
.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
.25 oz Cointreau
1 dash orange bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Cheers!

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After 95 years of being a big no no, absinthe is once again legal in the United States. Here in Boston we are fortunate to have wonderful liquor retailers such as Brix and Downtown Wine and Spirits so finding the two available absinthes, Lucid and Kubler, is a simple enough task. But what do you do once you’ve made that purchase?

Traditionally the consumption of absinthe was highly ritualized. At the end of a long, arduous day folks would meet for the green hour. With a glass of absinthe in hand, people would gather around an absinthe fountain. From multiple spigots ice water would slowly drip over sugar cube laden slotted absinthe spoons. As the glasses of absinthe slowly clouded over from the bottom up those waiting to imbibe would catch up on the day’s news and local gossip. Once the liquid was a uniform, pearly color the absinthe was ready to drink. Obviously not many of us today have an absinthe fountain hanging around, but you can easily replicate this process at home with a small pitcher of ice water, spoons and your good friends.
Of course as lovers of all things cocktail, the ladies of LUPEC love to use our absinthe to mix up something tasty during our green hour! Here are a few recipes to get you started.

CHRYSANTHEMUM COCKTAIL
2 oz French Vermouth
1 oz Benedictine
3 dashes Absinthe
Stir ingredients with ice. Strain into your favorite chilled vintage cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

CORPSE REVIVER NO. 2*
.75 oz Dry Gin
.75 oz Lillet
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Lemon Juice
1 dash Absinthe
Shake ingredients well with ice. Strain into your favorite chilled vintage cocktail glass.

* In The Savoy Cocktail Book author Harry Craddock noted “Four of these taken in quick succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

FASCINATOR COCKTAIL
2 oz Dry Gin
1 oz French Vermouth
2 dashes Absinthe
1 mint sprig
Shake ingredients well with ice. Strain cocktail through a tea strainer into your favorite chilled vintage cocktail glass.

Are you still thirsty and feeling a bit adventurous? Pull out your favorite recipes that call for pastis and substitute absinthe. Remember that absinthe can be kind of a bully, so start by using small quantities and then adjust to taste.

Cheers!

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by Pink Lady

The LUPEC Boston column in this week’s issue of the Weekly Dig stars two spirits that have become less and less vogue in the age of the extra extra dry, extra extra dirty vodka martini: gin and vermouth. I will save discussion of the “original” martini recipe (and modern bastardizations thereof) for a later date. For now, let’s get to know these two glorious spirits a little better. They are key ingredients in a good many endangered cocktails, as LUPEC Boston member and Drinkboston founder Barbara West explains beautifully here. To coax these classics back from beyond the grave you will need to cozy up to both.

So, vermouth: qu’est-ce que c’est?

It’s simply fortified wine aromatized with herbs and spices. As the story goes, vermouth was invented in Italy in the 1780s by Anthony Carpano — allegedly it was grandma’s recipe — and the name is derived from the German term for key ingredient wormwood (“Wermuth“). Vermouth herb & spice blends are as protected and proprietary as recipes for gin botanicals, and can contain something on the order of 40 – 50 ingredients. Carpano’s original vermouth was sweet and red; about a generation later, French herbalist Joseph Noilly invented a dry vermouth based on the delicate, dry white wines and local plants of his region, and also made with wormwood (which is also a key ingredient in Absinthe; more info on that in next week’s column.)

Vermouth was originally referred to according to its country of origin, especially in old cocktail books. Italian vermouth references the sweet stuff and French vermouth references dry. Grazie, Antonio! Merci, Joseph!

Many Americans fear vermouth in this modern age of drinking, as The Spirit World‘s post on the topic articulates. Perhaps your first encounter was with vermouth that had gone stale for lack of use in your parent’s liquor cabinet? Lesson learned, you shouldn’t have been dipping into their stash while they were out of town, anyway. In any event, I implore you to give vermouth another try as a grown up. It’s cheap enough to buy a few bottles, taste and compare, and discover on your own what you like best — and what works best in different cocktail recipes. Married…with Dinner conducted a vermouth-by-vermouth in home taste test, the results of which are very enlightening.

My most recent vermouth “a-ha!” moment came with the purchase of a bottle each of Extra Dry and Sweet Vya at Brix in the South End. It’s expensive for sure, retailing for $25 whereas other bottles in the category hover around $7 – $10, but Vya is a truly worth it investment, especially if you can find a way to write off alcohol purchases. Vya Extra Dry is light, herbaceous, and melon-y; Vya Sweet is warm, complex, citrus-y and spicy — it reminds me of sipping my Swedish Pop-pop’s glug by the fire on a snowy New Year’s Eve in Vermont.

And for you gin-shy folks…

I actually did have a gin-cident circa my freshman year of college. I do not speak of what ensued that night and I didn’t touch the juniper scented stuff for nearly a decade thereafter. Then I fell in love with classic cocktails and it was only a matter of time before my vodka days were numbered. If I can do it, you can too.

What really brought me back was the gin tasting we did at our very first LUPEC meeting in February 2007. It was an aggressive re-entry but it got me over the initial hump, and also taught me a very important lesson: not all gins are created equal. I found Hendrick’s, with its crisp, clean flavors and fresh cucumber notes t be a great gateway gin. I also like the then locally unavailable Blue Coat Gin that a friend had smuggled across state lines for our hostess from the “City of Brotherly Love.” I also learned as we tasted each gin side-by-side that it is the botanical blend of Tanqueray that my mind and palate equate with my gincident, not gin or it’s juniper flavors. Et voila, I am now officially a gin girl.

I’m sure you’ve tried Absolut Citron or Grey Goose Orange; gin is just a few steps away from those flavored neutral grain spirits. Here are a few starter cocktails to get you going:

THE PEGU CUB
So refreshing & delicious, this is the one that REALLY brought me back to gin, at Taste of the South End last year. I had about seventeen of these.
1.5 oz Plymouth Gin
.5 oz Orange Curacao
.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

BLUE SKIES
Tried this again recently at our April ’08 meeting at Barbara West’s house — so delicious!
1 oz Applejack
1 oz Gin
.5 oz Lemon Juice
.25 oz Simple Syrup
1 or dashes grenadine
Shake with cracked ice and strain into your favorite vintage cocktail glass!

THE FRENCH 75
What better way to sneak gin into the glass of an unsuspecting gin-phobe? By adding lemon, sugar, and champagne…
2 oz Gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar or 1 tsp simple syrup
Champagne

Cin cin!

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by Pink Lady

Hopefully you all caught the debut of the LUPEC Boston column in this week’s issue of The Weekly Dig. As promised, here’s a little more info on our favorite recipe for the Pink Lady, and a few notes on why I thought it an appropriate choice as the very first cocktail for our very first Dig column.

At first glance The Pink Lady appears to bear all the trappings of a “girly” drink – a feminine name, an approachable frothiness, a pastel hue. But the Pink Lady is no drink for the faint of heart: its tart-dry flavor is a far cry from the cloyingly sweet “girly” cocktails we’re wary of in this modern era of drinking. And its boozy gin & apple brandy base packs a whallop. As Eric Felten wrote in his Wall Street Journal column on the topic, “though a tasty drink worthy of inclusion in the cocktail canon, the Pink Lady has found its reputation dogged by association with a dubious aesthetic.” It is a cocktail that is easily underestimated. After enjoying one or two of these, though, I’m sure you’ll agree: ladylike as she is, the Pink Lady kicks ass and takes names. She’s a LUPEC kind of gal. Our favorite recipe is below:

PINK LADY COCKTAIL
1.5 oz gin
.5 oz applejack
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz grenadine (preferably homemade)
1 egg white
Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously without ice.

Add ice; shake continue vigorous shaking. Strain into your favorite vintage cocktail glass. There are two classic cocktail lessons inherent in the making of a Pink Lady:

Lesson #1: Quality of ingredients: your drinks will only taste as good as the stuff you use to make them. Most of the cocktails the ladies of LUPEC Boston are intent on reviving were invented in the days before preservatives kept juices intact for weeks on end. When trying them out at home, you too should use the freshest ingredients you can find. For the Pink Lady you’ll need fresh lemons and we highly recommend using homemade grenadine: the flavor is leaps and bounds beyond the stuff you can buy in a bottle, and it’s really simple to make. Hanky Panky’s recipe is below.

Grenadine

Combine equal parts pomegranate juice (Pom, par example) and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp orange flower water for every 1/2 cup pomegranate juice used. Cool.

Lesson #2: Eggs in cocktails: We know, we know. The whole “egg thing” is a really weird concept for many classic cocktail novices, but I promise you, your trip down classic cocktail lane won’t be nearly as fulfilling if you can’t get over it. As you cozy up to the raw-egg-in-a-drink idea, ask yourself: when is the last time you ever heard of someone in America actually getting salmonella? And if I offered you a taste of delicious raw batter from the cookies I’ve just whipped up, would you decline? I thought not. If you’re still having doubts, check out this recent article in the New York Times: see, eggs are HUGE in New York.

Once you’re ready to take the egg plunge, get your biceps ready. For egg cocktails to reach the delicious, frothy state that is their hallmark, you’ve got to shake the bejesus out of them. First, however, the egg white must be emulsified, hence the instruction to combine all ingredients in your shaker and give ‘em a good shake BEFORE adding ice. A very insightful post on the topic can be found on the Robert Huegel’s Explore the Pour blog: the author advocates shaking ingredients ten times, then add just slightly more ice than the amount of standing liquid in your shaker.

After adding ice, shake…and shake…and shake…and shake your Pink Lady, remembering all the while that egg cocktails take time — a LONG time — but once they are perfect and complete in your cocktail glass, just seconds from slipping down your throat, they are oh so worth the labor and the wait.

Like anything worth doing, really.

Cin-cin!

Pink Lady photo borrowed from the Thinking of Drinking blog.

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In two and a half weeks, 1,250 runners of the Boston Marathon will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. Let’s support these athletic, ambitious ladies!

Casey is one woman who will be running, in honor of her grandmother, to improve the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s and promote research and effective treatments. If you’d like to donate to this cause, click here.

If you know of any other fabulous broads running the marathon in support of their causes, please post a comment with the link to their donation page so LUPEC readers can share their support!

May your feet fly, ladies. I’ll be toasting you with an Aviation at Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square.

AVIATION
1.5 ounces gin
.75 ounce maraschino liqueur
.75 ounce fresh lemon juice
Maraschino cherry (optional)
Shake the gin, maraschino liqueur, and lemon juice well with ice; then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, if desired.

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