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Archive for the ‘Vermouth’ 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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by Pink Lady

“The proper union of gin and vermouth is a great and sudden glory; it is one of the happiest marriages on earth, and one of the shortest lived.”

- Bernard De Voto

Yes, we are talking about vermouth again, both here and in our column in The Weekly Dig. I’ll admit, the story idea came to me after taking my sixth or seventh order for a “Grey Goose Martini, extra extra dry, extra extra dirty, with extra olives,” during a busy Thursday evening shift at Toro. “What if all of those drinkers put a spirit and a mixer with actual flavor into their glasses, rather than covering up chilled vodka with a tablespoonful of olive brine?” I wondered. I suspected these drinkers might enjoy a “wet” martini.

After my shift ended, I hopped back behind the bar with MiMi, who works at Toro too, and we put our theory to the test. We mixed up a massive glass of Grey Goose shaken with a generous dollop of olive brine, and a gin martini with 2 parts Bombay Sapphire and 1 part Martini & Rossi dry vermouth stirred over ice and tasted them against one another. The Grey Goose dirty thing tasted saltier than I remembered, presenting a flavor profile that no drink made sans olive brine could hope to match. But the gin martini tasted to both of us as we suspected: balanced and slightly savory.

All of this activity attracted the attention of the peanut gallery, and we ended up sharing our sips with a group of four friends/regulars who had been drinking at the end of the bar for a little over an hour. I also made them taste a splash of vermouth on its own. I’ll summarize their reactions below:

GUY #1: (A friend of GUY #4, who I suspect was more interested in talking to the pretty ladies.) So, wait…this one is the vodka thing? It’s good. And this one is the gin thing? This is the one you like better? Yeah…it’s delicious. So anyway, what’s your name?

GUY #2: (A chef who is well-acquainted with the local cocktail scene.) Yeah, it’s more balanced than the dirty vodka thing. And the vermouth is really light and refreshing. Can I have another PBR now?

GUY #3: (Clearly a bit more intoxicated than the rest.) So wait, this is Grey Goose? Yeah, that’s the best kind. This dirty martini is way, way better than the other one. Not even a question. The other one doesn’t even taste like vodka. I remember this one time when I was drinking vodka at a concert and [INSERT MEANDERING STORY WITH COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT POINT HERE].

GUY #4: (A beloved regular, also rather intoxicated.) What are we doing again? You want me to taste something?

To supplement our rather unhelpful experiment with the peanut gallery, I embarked on a little home experiment to compare and contrast how the various types of gin on my home bar (Plymouth, Hendricks, Genvieve) play with the two types of vermouth I have on hand in the fridge (Noilly Prat and Vya, which we mentioned in in our first post on vermouth and was also recently covered by The Leather District Gourmet here). I mixed martinis in a 2:1 ratio and tested them on my unsuspecting, non-cocktailian friend with the following results. I also made her drink Grey Goose + olive brine, for which was very forgiving:

Plymouth + Noilly Prat = “Delicious, refreshing. What’s in this again? So simple.”img_2941

Grey Goose + olive brine = “That’s really, really salty. Blech.”

Hendricks + Noilly Prat = “Very floral and much more crisp than the first.”

Genvieve + Noilly Prat = “Is this grappa?”

Plymouth + Vya = “Good. Richer. I like the first one better.”

Hendricks + Vya = “Crazy floral and herbaceous. Almost too much.”

Genevieve + Vya = “Super strong. I don’t think I could drink a whole glass of this, but again, I’m one of few Americans who actually likes grappa so I don’t hate it. Can we please stop drinking gin now?”

I relented.

And the moral of the story is, when a LUPEC gal invites you over the taste-test martinis, it’s not a joke.


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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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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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texas1

by Pinky Gonzales

…This was the standard greeting you’d likely receive from the jovial, peroxide blonde manning the house at one of several Manhattan speakeasies during Prohibition. Of course, this would foreshadow the spending of all your dough, on illegal hooch and tips for the showgirls. You’d happily fork over $25 (back then no chump change) for a fifth of Scotch, or $2 for a pitcher of water if you brought your own “booster”, and whatever else followed. texasclubsignThe place would probably be packed, open a few hours later than all the rest, and the wisecracking, witty pal of Mae West named Texas Guinan would be seeing to it you were having a darned good time.

Before being seduced into the world of club ownership through bartending and guest emceeing, Texas started out in Vaudville, then in Westerns as an actress and producer. 1917′s The Wildcat introduced America’s first movie cowgirl.
1926_burlesque_drena_beach
Her nite club career included “the grandaddy of speakeasies,” the El Fey Club, opened in 1924 with gangster Larry Fey. Later came Club Intime, a Dorothy Parker hangout and subterranean spot near Times Square where entry would involve a steep staircase, two bouncers and a peephole. There was also the Rendezvous, the 300 Club, the Argonaut, the Century, the Salon Royal, and Tex Guinan’s. Infamous for being hauled off to the pokey on a regular basis and having her joints shut down by Feds, Texas enjoyed having the band strikeup “The Prisoner’s Song” on her way out the door. And always would she deny selling anything but “mixers” to at her clubs, noting “a man could get hurt falling off a bar stool!” Re-opening after raids, she would sometimes wear a necklace of gold padlocks just to show the cops there were no hard feelings. guntex1_1She worked tirelessly until age 49, when she was stricken by illness and passed away. 12,000 attended her 1933 funeral procession in Manhattan, and a month later to the day of her death, Prohibition was repealed. Looks like a Women’s History Month toast is in store for this gal!

SCOFF LAW COCKTAIL (what else?)
1 oz rye whiskey
1 oz dry vermouth
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.75 oz green Chartreuse (or pomegranate grenadine according to some recipes – also excellent)
2 dashes orange bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cheers!

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Today was a big day for the ladies of LUPEC Boston. No, it’s not because we’re so excited about Women’s History Month starting tomorrow we can’t even stand it! It’s because one of LUPEC Boston’s very own tied the knot today!

That’s right, today Miss Contessa became a Mrs. She and her beloved just couldn’t let Leap Day go by without doing something special…so they got hitched this morning at city hall! Then it was off to Harvard Square to get matching nuptial tattoos.

A very special wedding reception was held in their honor this afternoon at Silvertone. LUPEC Boston was very well represented. We were positively overjoyed when the bride & groom made their grand entrance , looking as picture perfect as the figurines atop a wedding cake.

Let’s raise a glass of one of these to the nuptial couple this weekend!

Tin Wedding Cocktail

1 oz brandy

3/4 oz gin

Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain. Serve in a cocktail glass.

Wedding Belles

3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz Red Dubonnet
1/2 oz orange juice
Shake in iced cocktail shaker & strain. Serve in a cocktail glass.




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by Pinky Gonzales






Ada Coleman, American Bar, London

Hanky-Panky (n. slang)

Various definitions from the Oxford English to the American Heritage Dictionaries include “questionable or underhanded activity”, “sexual dalliance”, “trickery, double-dealings”, shenanigans”, “hocus-pocus”.

I like the Hanky-Panky. It’s got a great backstory, mysterious etymology, association with our president (LUPEC Boston’s that is, not the doofball in D.C.), and is simply a fine cocktail, back from the brink of extinction.

First of all, our own “Hanky Panky” (her LUPEC alias) has turned another year older this week, so from all of us, HP: Happy Birthday! And while she may be down in NYC engaging in first-class shenanigans, here at the blog we’re spinning old records, nibbling groovy party snacks, and meditating on the origins of the following drink (whip one up & join us):

Hanky-Panky (the original, from the Savoy Cocktail Book)

2 Dashes Fernet Branca
1/2 Italian Vermouth
1/2 Dry Gin
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze orange peel on top.

or, two:

Hanky-Panky (recipe courtesy of John Gertsen)

1/4 oz. Fernet Branca
1 oz. Cinzano Rosso
2 oz. Beefeater Gin

Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Squeeze the oil from an orange peel on top.

The drink, created in the 1920′s, is a variation on the original (sweet) Martini. It nicely utilizes the herbalicious Italian liqueur Fernet Branca. In spirit, it reminds me of another punchy drink with a potentially-overwhelming-but-not herbal liqueur element, the Alaska, made with Chartreuse.

According to it’s word origins at mindlesscrap.com , “About 150 years ago, British master magicians used to swing handkerchiefs with one hand to keep viewers from noticing what they were doing with the other. This practice was so common that the use of a hanky came to be associated with any clandestine or sneaky activity. It’s thought that since magicians used the words hocus-pocus, a rhyming word was added to give it pizzazz.

Who created the Hanky Panky? The first head barman at the famed American Bar in London, who happened to be a broad named Ada Coleman. As the story goes, “Coley”, a mixologist of reputable character who could trash-talk with the best of them, invented the drink for a colorful bar regular. Coleman spoke of it herself, to a London newspaper in 1925:

The late Charles Hawtrey … was one of the best judges of cocktails that I knew. Some years ago, when he was overworking, he used to come into the bar and say, ‘Coley, I am tired. Give me something with a bit of punch in it.’ It was for him that I spent hours experimenting until I had invented a new cocktail. The next time he came in, I told him I had a new drink for him. He sipped it, and, draining the glass, he said, ‘By Jove! That is the real hanky-panky!’ And Hanky-Panky it has been called ever since.


Coleman worked at the American Bar at the swank Savoy Hotel from 1903-1926, during the cocktail’s coming-out era in Europe. Owners renamed their establishments “American Bars” as a selling point – a way of distinguishing them from mere pubs or gin-&-tonic joints. The American craft of mixing up Sazeracs, Martinis, Ramos Gin Fizzes and the like became all the rage. Coleman’s barstools saw the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, WC Fields, Prince of Wales, and Mark Twain. I wonder if Twain was sitting at Ada’s bar when he wrote: “The cheapest and easiest way to become an influential man and be looked up to by the community at large was to stand behind a bar, wear a cluster diamond pin, and sell whiskey. I am not sure but that the saloon-keeper held a shade higher rank than any other member of society.”

Bartender Harry Craddock filled Ada’s role managing the bar in 1924, after he had left dry America for work abroad. In 1930, he published “The Savoy Cocktail Book”, an Art Deco gem & many a bartender’s Bible. In it, for the first time is the printed recipe for the Hanky-Panky.

And speaking of Bibles, check out this theory on the origin of the term hanky-panky:

“It’s been plausibly suggested that hocus-pocus is a corruption of the genuine Latin words hoc est enim corpus meum, “for this is my body,” spoken during the consecration of the Roman Catholic Mass when the wine and wafer are said to be transformed into the body and blood of Christ. Some experts, presumably non-Catholic, think hocus-pocus itself was then corrupted into the word hoax.” (Cecil Adams, from The Straight Dope)

The Catholic Church, hocus-pocus. Ada Coleman, Hanky Panky. Shenanigans. I’ll drink to that.







Hanky Panky, a.k.a. Misty Kalkofen, Head Barman at Green Street, Cambridge MA
(Photo courteousy of Matt Demers)

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