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Posts Tagged ‘Absinthe’

*Recent ruminations from the ladies of LUPEC Boston, as originally published in the Weekly Dig.

by Pink Lady

They say Irish whiskey is the fastest growing spirits category in the U.S. these days, which is great news. The spirit sure has seen its share of dark days.

No one knows the full story, but Celtic monks are the likely fathers of Irish whiskey.

Whiskey-making was popular enough among innkeepers and laypersons to require a license by 1556. By the mid-17th century, the King was also charging duties based on quantity.

The vibrant aqua vitae business took a major blow when the Act of 1779 taxed Irish whiskey-makers by the still. One quarter of legal distilleries closed or went underground owing to this tax. Their remaining distilleries’ solution? Build bigger stills.

Then there was a famine, a major blow to the amount of Irish grain available for distilling. Then a World War, then a war with England and trade embargoes on all Irish goods, closing off the British export market. Then American Prohibition came, cutting off another important market across the Great Pond. During World War II, the Irish government closed distillation down completely.

But these days, Irish luck seems to be working for whiskey makers once again. The spirit is popular with younger drinkers and because of its smooth flavor and mixability, is allegedly a big hit with ladies.

Of course, we LUPEC ladies have always been fans, especially when sampled in one of these, a classic from the Waldorf-Astoria circa 1910 introduced to us by David Wondrich.

THE BLACKTHORN
1 oz Irish whiskey
1 oz dry vermouth
3 dashes Absinthe
3 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir ingredients with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass.

CIN-CIN!


 

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*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, originally published in the Dig.

by Pink Lady

LUPEC is fresh off the plane from Tales of the Cocktail, an annual convention for drink geeks in New Orleans, and after five straight days of imbibing, we sure are hungover. Back in the days before Prohibition, this situation called for one thing: a sour, a fizz, or really any style of morning brace up made with an egg.

Eggs are a contentious topic in many bars, which is why we were thrilled to attend the seminar entitled “The Egg-pire Strikes Back” last week. Work (or drink) in a craft cocktail bar long enough and you will inevitably hear a guest say: “Eggs in cocktails? Isn’t that dangerous? What about salmonella?”

Eggs have a long history as a cocktail ingredient. They were originally used as a substitute for milk in drinks and began to appear in recipes like the Morning Glory Fizz and the original recipe for the Sour in the 1880s.

Egg effectively works to bind the ingredients in the drink together, giving it a smooth, velvety texture. We’ve all been raised to fear salmonella, of course, but the bacteria takes about three to five weeks to develop, so using fresh eggs should keep you in a safety zone. It also targets the sick, the elderly and infants, most of whom shouldn’t be drinking anyway. And, in general, eggs have lower danger levels than lettuce.

Now, let’s get back to that morning brace up. People drank frequently in the days before Prohibition, which could of course lead to a bit of morning malaise. Before the Bloody Mary was even a twinkle in Pete Petiot’s eye, there was the Morning Glory Fizz. There are two ways to avoid a hangover: one is to never start drinking, the other is never stop. After stirring our souls and exhausting our livers at Tales of the Cocktail, I’m sure you know which one we’d choose.

Below, you’ll find Harry Johnson’s fizz recipe, about which he wrote: “The author respectfully recommends the above drink as an excellent one for a morning beverage, which will give a good appetite and quiet the nerves.” You heard the man. Bottoms up!

MORNING GLORY FIZZ

Harry Johnson’s recipe, adapted from Imbibe! by David Wondrich

0.75 tbsp sugar

0.5 oz lemon juice

0.25 oz lime juice

0.5 tsp absinthe dissolved well with a little water

egg white

2 oz Scotch whisky

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake for a few seconds. Add ice and shake, then strain into a highball. Top with soda water.

CIN-CIN! LUPECBOSTON.COM

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*LUPEC Boston’s latest ruminations, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

Our big fall fundraiser, the LUPEC Boston Tiki Bash, is just a few weeks away, and LUPEC’s thinking Tiki! Last week we discussed the Mai Tai, that simple and delicious blend of dark rum, orgeat, lime, and curacao that was a cornerstone of the Tiki craze. Did Donn Beach invent this drink, or Trader Vic? Who knows. This week, we turn our attention to a considerably more complex concoction, the Zombie. We’re certain Donn Beach invented this one – and took the original recipe with him to the grave.

As the story goes, Donn Beach (née Ernest Beaumont-Gantt) invented the Zombie in the 1930s for an aviophobic friend taking a tipple at Don the Beachcomber’s before a flight to San Francisco…or was it a friend trying to overcome a hangover before an important business meeting? In any case, the guest had three of these high-test concoctions before (presumably) stumbling off for his flight/meeting/what have you. He returned a few days later to report: the drinks made him feel like the living dead for days thereafter. And the Zombie was born.

The Zombie became a signature cocktail at the Hurricane Bar at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City and enjoyed great popularity there. The drink went on to become a staple of Tiki joints that sprang up across the US, such as Trader Vic’s and, of course, Don the Beachcomber’s, where a 2-drink maximum policy was instituted.

Donn Beach was notoriously secretive about his cocktail recipes, creating special mixes for his bartenders that boasted numbers rather than names, keeping even the staff in the dark about his signature drinks. Imitations emerged in other Tiki joints, and Donn himself very likely noodled with the original recipe over time to accommodate new products or lack of available ingredients in certain markets. Countless recipes now exist, making it virtually impossible to pin down an original with which to craft a true artifact version for home consumption.

Tiki expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry appears to have come the closest in excavating an original recipe through interviews with former staff from Don the Beachcomber’s. Poring over personal notes kept by these waiters and bartenders from their days behind the stick, several are published in his book, Sippin’ Safari. A variation via Dale DeGroff is below.

THE ZOMBIE
Adapted from The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

1.5 oz medium-bodied Jamaican rum
.5 oz 151-proof Demerara rum
.25 oz Velvet Falernum
.5 oz Donn’s Mix #1
1.5 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
.75 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon grenadine
2 dashes Angostura bitters
6 drops Absinthe
Mint sprigs for garnish

Combine with crushed ice in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour into a chimney glass, topping with crushed ice to fill the glass. Garnish with mint.

DONN’S MIX #1

2 parts fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

1 part Cinnamon Syrup (below)

Combine the grapefruit juice with syrup and shake well. Use immediately, or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

CINNAMON SYRUP

5 cinnamon sticks, each about 2 inches long

20 oz. bottled or filtered water

1 quart sugar

Break the cinnamon sticks into pieces to create more surface area. Put the cinnamon, water, and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved, and then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool completely, then bottle; keep covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Makes 2 cups.

Cin-cin!


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*LUPEC Boston’s latest ruminations, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

Nothing excites the ladies of LUPEC Boston more than when endangered spirits once again become available. The latest of these to catch our fancy is Bols Genever.

We’ve discussed Genever in our little corner of the Dig before, but to refresh your memory, it is a Dutch spirit distilled from maltwine flavored with juniper and other botanicals that flowed abundantly into Holland during the heyday of the Dutch spice trade. Order a gin drink in a mid-nineteenth century barroom and this is what the barman would use as the base, an earthy, malty, backdrop softened by citrus, cordials, syrups, etc., into an elegant cocktail. Dry gin (the style we most commonly drink today) didn’t come into vogue until the late 19th century.

Genever was considered one of four main spirits categories in the pre-Prohibition Golden Age of Cocktails, holding forth on the back bar alongside whiskey, brandy, and rum. Excavating certain classic recipes without it has been clumsy business, earning the spirit a designation as “the missing ingredient in the bartender’s palate” by cocktail historian David Wondrich.

While the Dutch have continued to consume Genever abundantly, we’ve been unable to get Holland-distilled product in the states for some time (though the good folks at Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco turn out a robust take on the category called Genevieve.) In 2007, the Lucas Bols brand revived the1820 recipe for their premium Genever, and just last month, the spirit flowed liberally into Boston with a classy, genever-soaked launch party at Drink.

Now that you can get your hot little hands on a bottle, why not taste some of those drinks as they were meant to be enjoyed? Mix up one of these for the full experience.

THE IMPROVED HOLLAND GIN COCK-TAIL

2 oz Bols Genever
1.5 bar spoons sugar syrup (2:1)
2 bar spoons Maraschino liqueur
.5 bar spoon Absinthe
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin filled with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a lemon peel over the cocktail, then rub remaining lemon oil around rim of glass. Drop in the peel, and enjoy!

Cin cin!


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*LUPEC Boston’s latest ruminations, in case you missed ‘em in this week’s Dig.

by Pink Lady

Ever lie to your doctor about how many drinks you have each week? In the bright glare of the examination room, checking off the “7 or more” box may make you feel bashful. LUPEC suggests dispensing with the shame – after all, for centuries, alcohol and medicine have been closely intertwined.

Many ingredients of modern mixology trace their roots to the pursuit of good health: gin, digestif liqueurs, and of course bitters, the key ingredient in the “cocktail” which spawned a whole new era of drinking in the 19th century. Without bitters, we’d all still be drinking slings.

Without Peychaud’s bitters, we’d never have the Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans. In the early 1800s, Creole apothecary Antoine Amadee Peychaud began bottling and selling his signature bitters as a “solution for what ailed one, irrespective of malady”. Though a pharmacist by trade, Peychaud became famous for this aromatic tincture, which he mixed with Sazerac de Forge et Fils brandy (the spirit du moment) and served to fellow masons after hours in the back of his shop.

The Sazerac has gone through many transformations in subsequent decades. Later generations added absinthe, then Herbsaint when absinthe was outlawed; rye took the place of cognac. Some bartenders even add a little Angostura bitters to their concoctions, but few would argue that without Peychaud’s, you can’t have a Sazerac.

As you read this, members of LUPEC Boston and thousands of other cocktail enthusiasts are descending upon the Crescent City for the annual Tales of the Cocktail conference, where we will drink many Sazeracs. Follow our hijinks through our “Live Blog” updates to the Weekly Dig’s website, making sure to take your medicine, as prescribed below.

SAZERAC
Adapted from The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

1 sugar cube
3-4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
2 oz rye whiskey
splash of Absinthe, Pernod, or Herbsaint
Lemon peel

Take two rocks glasses and fill one with ice to chill for serving while preparing the drink in another glass. In the bottom of the prep glass, muddle the sugar cube and bitters until the sugar is dissolved; a splash of water can execute the process. Add the rye and several ice cubes, and stir to chill. Take the serving glass, toss out its ice, and add the splash of Absinthe, Pernod or Herbsaint. Swirl it around to coat the inside of the glass, and then pour out any liquid that remains. Strain the chilled cocktail into the prepared glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Cin-cin!

VISIT TALES OF THE COCKTAIL VICARIOUSLY THROUGH LUPEC AT WEEKLYDIG.COM, LUPECBOSTON.COM, OR BY FOLLOWING US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER (twitter.com/lupecboston)

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by Pink Ladyimg_2919

In this week’s Dig column, we shared the story of the Bloody Mary, a cocktail that is perhaps the most popular eye-opener for modern brunchers. And by eye-opener, we mean Merriam-Webster’s definition No. 1:

eye–open·er: noun
1 : a drink intended to wake one up

Daytime drinking may have fallen out of fashion in American culture, but there was a time when a morning tipple wouldn’t have branded you a layabout or a louse. Consider this treatise from Ernest P. Rawling’s RAWLING’S BOOK OF MIXED DRINKS (as quoted in David Wondrich’s IMBIBE) on the positive effects of the Fizz when taken early in the day:

“And in the ‘morning after the day before,’ when the whole world seems gray and lonesome, and every nerve and fibre of the body is throbbing a complaint against the indiscretion, just press the button and order a Gin Fizz — “Not too sweet, please!” It comes. Oh, shades of the green oasis in the sandy desert of life!”

Oh, wait. Hmmm…he seems to be talking about hangover cures. As Wondrich goes on to explain, a Fizz was the ‘Sporting Man’s’ breakfast of champions, a beverage to “moisten the clay with directly upon rising – an eye-opener, corpse-reviver, fog-cutter, gloom-lifter. A hangover cure…packed with vitamins, proteins…and complex sugars, foaming brightly and aglow with the promise of sweet relief.”

Hungover or not, we could all use a frothy glass of sweet relief every now and again. When in need, give one of these a try. The drink even has the word “Morning” etched into its nomenclature, perhaps to dispel any notions that drinking this before noon would be gauche. As Harry Johnson wrote in the recipe notes,” The author respectfully recommends the…drink as an excellent one for a morning beverage, which will give a good appetite and quiet the nerves.

MORNING GLORY FIZZ
Adapted from Harry Johnson’s NEW AND IMPROVED BARTENDER’S MANUAL as quoted in IMBIBE
.75 tablespoon sugar
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz lime juice
.5 tsp absinthe
1 egg white
2 oz Scotch whisky

Begin with the juices and 1 teaspoon or so of water in a mixing glass, stirring the sugar into it. Add shaved ice and shake vigorously; strain into a good sized bar-glass. Fill with soda water and serve.

Then of course, there is the Ramos Gin Fizz, a New Orleans eye-opener that can still be found on many a brunch menu today even outside the Crescent City. At one time, the popularity of this legendary combination of tough-to-emulsify ingredients necessitated a one-to-one bartender-to-“shaker boy” ratio at Carl Ramos’ Imperial Cabinet Saloon – a ‘shaker boy’ was a young black man whose job was to receive the ingredient-filled shaker from the bartender and shake the hell out of it. After relocating to the Stag Saloon, this epic cocktail was responsible for the jobs of 35 shakermen during Mardi Gras 1915, each passing the drink along to his neighbor once his arms grew weary. Again, with thanks to IMBIBE, here is the recipe adapted from Carl Ramos’ 1925 dictation to the  New Orleans Item-Tribune

RAMOS GIN FIZZ/NEW ORLEANS FIZZ
1 tablespoonful powdered sugar (use superfine)
3 or 4 drops of orange flower water
1/2 lime (juice)
1/2 lemon (juice)
1.5 oz Old Tom Gin (finally available in Boston!)
white of One Egg
1/2 glass crushed ice
About 2 tablespoonsfull of rich milk or cream
About an ounce of seltzer water to make it pungent

Together well shaken and strained (drink freely)
“Shake and shake and shake until there is not a bubble left but the drink is smooth and snowy white and of the consistency of good rich milk,” Ramos told the reporter. Best to have someone mix one for you if you’re truly looking for a little hair of the dog in this glass.

On the subject of hangovers, Charles H. Baker offers 27 drinks called “Picker-Uppers” in his Gentleman’s Companion, (repubbed  as Jigger, Beaker, and Glass), saying, “There are times in every man’s life when, through one reason or both, a man feels precisely like Death warmed up. In such sorry plight there is but one thing to do if we do not wish to sit and suffer through a whole day waiting for the cool hand of normalcy to stroke our dry and fevered brow — a Picker-Upper.” What follows is a fascinating list, atop which sits a unlikely suggestion: Drink Champagne.

Marches Champagne

A plain chilled pint of champagne per person with two or three simple biscuits is probably the finest picker-upper known to civilized man. The champagne must be very cold and can either have bitters, a little added brandy, or both…

Champagne in this role is somewhat more expensive than any of the other remedies collected, but when we think back there is stark realization that the time comes to every man when relative expense means little; and rather risk “turn” from the sight of raw egg, or taste of sweet ingredients, the refreshing, chill tartness of the bubbly is a dispenation straight from heaven.”

And how, Charles Baker!

Last but not least, here’s a recipe for the drink that they actually call the “Eye-Opener”, from the Savoy Cocktail Book:

yolk of 1 fresh egg
1 teaspoonful powdered sugar
2 dashes Absinthe
2 dashes Curacao
2 dashes Creme de Noyau
1 Liqueur Glass Rum
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

A modern interpretation is chronicled here, by Erik Ellestead from Underhill Lounge.

Whatever you choose to imbibe in the morning, may it pick you up and dash away your hangovers/sorrows.

Cin-cin!

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