Showing posts with label barkeeper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label barkeeper. Show all posts

Friday, December 3, 2010

Buvare: Gift Your Favorite Cocktail

Forget the boring norm and give your loved ones what they really want for the holidays - A stiff drink.

Bar Keeper is making it a pretty effortless task this year with their brilliant Gift Box program. The beautifully packed modern honeycomb hat boxes fall under two theme categories - Mixologist and Classic.
All include spirits, bitters, tools, recipes, and glassware to make your drink of choice - or of LA's elite bartenders' choice.
The featured mixologists: Eric Alperin ("Colonial Ties"), Matthew Biancaniello ("Kentucky Bubble Bath"), Michel Dozois ("Smokey Old Fashioned"), David Kupchinsky ("Oaxacan Angel"), Alex Strauss ("Smokey Martini"), and Marcos Tello ("Staten Island Cocktail").

Classic cocktail box choices include Bourbon Manhattan, Rye Manhattan, The Last Word, Vesper, Sazerac, and the utilitarian Corpse Reviver #2 - So you can rejoin society in case you don't make it through the holidays.

Bar Keeper
3910 West Sunset Blvd. Silver Lake; 323.669.1675
barkeepersilverlake.com

Friday, October 22, 2010

Buvare: Bar Keeper Gets Serious

After seventeen months of bureaucratic poppycock, THE high brow bar accoutrement shoppe to end all high brow bar accoutrement shoppes Bar Keeper finally got its wish - to sell the rare small batch high brow booze that was always meant to fill its pristine glassware collection.
Still being un-boxed and shelved on the library wall, hard to find Rye whiskeys rub elbows with hipster gin, top shelf vermouth, Del Maguey single-village mezcals, a fetishist's line of absinthe, exotics like Batavia Arrack, and enough amari to fuel a downtown speakeasy. Weak at the knees, I limited myself to two bottles of essential Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry (dry and rouge; $14) and pinched myself to put back the Rothman Crème de Violette, Bols Genever, and Old Overholt Rye.
And as if Bar Keeper didn't already carry the most devastatingly advanced selection of aromatic bitters, Joe Keeper's added to his arsenal some kingpin selections from Bar Code and Miracle Mile Bitters Co. (killer spicy gingerbread bitters!). Curious? All bitters are available to sample in the store.
And just in time for the holidays, starting November the store will be selling holiday gift boxes complete with recipes, necessary liquors, bitters, tools and glassware needed to make a given drink. Give an absinthe starter kit, Perfect Manhattan set, or The Varnish in a box to that special someone this year.

3910 W. Sunset Blvd. Silver Lake 90029; 323.669.1675
barkeepersilverlake.com

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Buvare: Cure

One week before my trip to New Orleans, I sat at the counter of Barkeeper in Silver Lake -as so many weekend mornings I do- daintily sampling spicy gingerbread bitters.
"Isn't that insane?!" Joe Keeper's eyes bugged waiting for my reaction. I smiled, spices tickling my throat.
"It's delicious..." And before I could protest, another bottle was produced and a small plastic cup of baked apple bitters was pushed toward me. His eyes widened again, daring me to give THIS one a whirl.
Keeper had just returned from Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans' annual cocktail geek-out fest, with a bag full of exciting new products he was so enthusiastically sharing. I mentioned my trip planned for the coming week and he said one word, a word I anticipated and said along with a nod: Cure.

Following our absolutely indulgent dinner at Restaurant August, Michael, Larry and I hailed a cab to the Garden District and sailed into the dark night. The cab driver circled the streets several times, unsure of exactly where Cure was - something I had been warned about. The bar is unmarked and often unnoticed from the street - but then I caught a glimpse of an illuminated wall of bottles through an arched window and the car screeched to a halt.
Opening the bar door, pulsing dubstep beats shook the glass walls on either side of the entryway. A tungsten streetlight outside lent a little help to the architectural chandeliers, Edison bulbs and the neon-backed bar to shed some light on the dim and modern interior of the 105 year old firehouse. Here ancient, decrepit New Orleans had been left behind.
Even in this hidden dark corner of the Garden District, the residue of White Linen Night filled the stools and booths of the bar with sharp tailored whites and airy summer cocktail dresses, though much more fashionably than the older set in the Arts District downtown. The room breathed Neo-New Orleans tradition, and we absorbed it (along with some bass) and sat at a table hear the window to look over the menu.
I'd been looking forward to enjoying a drink at Cure since I read their #1 Best NOLA Bar ranking for 2010 in the Gambit, proclaiming "There are bartenders, and there are chemists — Cure supplies both."
Owner Neal Bodenheimer is a NOLA native but sharpened his teeth in New York bars (including those of the BR Guest restaurant group) before bringing his brand of contemporary mixologist back to "the cocktail's birthplace," opening Cure in February of 2009. I knew he was serious, but back to the point - what would I get??
I chose the Celery Stalker first, created by Cure's Danny Valdez. An herbal marriage of Miller's Westbourne Strength Gin, Lime, House-Made Celery Bitters, Prosecco, and Cucumber it was a perfect quencher for the steamy conditions. Simple enough to concoct at home, the housemade bitters set this flavor profile apart. Luckily I came across the secret to this cocktail in Edible New Orleans.

Celery Bitters
By Kirk Estopinal, Cure
In 750 mL of high-proof vodka (100 proof +), add:
2 tbsp cinchona
2 tbsp dandelion
2 tbsp calamus
2 tbsp gentian

Let flavors infuse for 11-14 days.
Add 1 cup of celery seeds, toasted, into the blend and let rest 4 days.
Strain everything through a cheese cloth and, if necessary, a coffee filter.
Larry sipped a Single Malt Scotch, but Michael joined me for a cocktail, selecting the Cease & Desist by Maksym Pazuniak, a classic and brute blend of Carpano Punt e Mes, Rittenhouse Bonded Rye, Fernet Branca and Orange Peel. Had I been deviating from gin, I would have been tempted by the Start and Finish, recipe below (via Nola.com).

Start and Finish
By Rhiannon Enlil, Cure
1 1/2 ounces Averna Amaro
1 1/2 ounces Lillet Blanc
1/2 ounce Dry Vermouth
1/2 ounce absinthe
1 dash orange bitters

Mix all ingredients over ice, chill, strain and garnish with a lemon twist.
While Cure does not carry many bar staples, it is not pretentious about helping you select a tasteful replacement. This is THE bar to create a relationship with your bartender and tell them what you like. You will end up with a specialized cocktail far surpassing your "usual." Also because all of the bartenders at Cure are total rock stars, each with their own impressive lineage. Kirk Estopinal came to Cure from the Violet Hour in Chicago, bringing with him the popular Juliet & Romeo which he made for me requesting something along the lines of a gin gimlet and the Celery Stalker. With the essence of dusk in a lush summer garden, I'd do a disservice by not sharing this recipe laced with mint, cucumber, and rose water.

Juliet & Romeo
From the Violet Hour (source)
2 oz Beefeater or Henderick's
.75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz Simple Syrup
3 drops Rose Water
3 drops Angostura Bitters
3 slices Cucumber, peeled
6 sprigs Mint
Salt

Muddle cucumber and pinch of salt. Slap the mint. Add rest of ingredients. Let sit for 30 seconds (time allowing). Shake. Strain. Garnish with 1 floating mint leaf and 1 drop rose water on top of leaf, and 3-5 more drops of angostura on the surface of the drink.

4905 Freret St. New Orleans, LA; 504.302.2357
curenola.com
Cure on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Buvare: 'Twas the Punch Before Christmas

Every once in a while, something will strike such a perfect chord with me that it's as if The Universe just WANTS me to be happy. And that's how I felt when I saw this flier for Rum Dood, Barkeeper, and Kraken Rum's 'Twas the Punch Before Christmas contest at Malo Cantina. It was just an equation for success! A great drinkin' blog, a great bar shop, my favorite dark rum I hadn't had yet, all under one roof at one of my local haunts. Sign me up!
For the contest, Rum Dood had posted the rules, to concoct an original recipe containing citrus, spice, spirits, sugar, and some sort of “weak.” The six selected finalists were mixing up large batches for this event at Malo. And I had a ticket.

It was a particularly blustery night when two of my friends and I huddled together, walking through the rain-tinged wind to Malo. Once in the toasty upstairs, it felt as if the holidays were finally upon us; a warm and lively scene highlighted by laughter and the sound of pouring punch.We didn't really waste any time and gravitated first to the station of Zach Patterson from STK. He was serving up a concoction titled "Port of Portland Punch", an iceberg covered with fresh mint and fresher-than-fresh lime zest (he was zesting as we approached) had our mouths watering before we had a glass. This punch was a velvet smooth mixture of Kraken Black Spiced Rum, Canton Ginger Liqueur, Benedictine, Green tea, Lemon, Gum syrup & Tahitian Vanilla/Citrus blend, topped with Prosecco. My palate was excited - and this was only stop #1?? Zach's punch literally made me swoon, the magical blend of Tahitian vanilla and lime mingling like creamy key lime custard, but finishing clean and spicy. Living in LA by way of Portland, OR, naturally we began an instant rapport over the city, the next punch-man down the line chiming in, Mr. Blair Reynolds of Portland tiki culture fame. We slid down to his station and he poured us another slam dunk.Blair (of Tradertiki.com) called his recipe "Blackheart Punch," a blend of Cruzan Black Strap Rum (my favorite!), Cruzan Amber Rum, Iced black tea, Cinnamon syrup, Lemon & lime juice. Another popper on the tongue, the cinnamon syrup a superb bond for all of the flavors. I could have stayed in this room all night, back and forth between these two bowls, but then what if they only got better?!In the next room, Jason Schiffer (from 320 Main in Seal Beach) was topping off his gorgeous "Tonjok Punch" with some bubbly. Already promising, we held out a glass. The curious contents included Bols Genever, Batavia Arrack, Root, Depaz Cane syrup, Simple syrup, Lemon juice, Peychaud's bitters, topped with Chandon Brut. While I was intrigued and impressed with the creativity, the overall effect was quite stiff (as in alchoholic!) and not quite as refined flavorwise as I had hoped for. This was also when we realized we were a wee bit tipsy and visited the snack table!Next we hit Chuck Taggart's "Ponche Relejante" ("Relaxing Punch"). Boy, this was even more intense! Alright, check this out: Gran Centenario Rosangel tequila, Del Maguey Minero Mezcal, fino sherry, Licor 43, Guaycura Liqueur de Damiana, Demerara sugar, Té de 7 Azahares (Mexican “7 Blossoms” tea), lemon & lime juice, Fee’s Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters, Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters (get Chuck's recipe here). The smoke of the mezcal hit me first, a splash of kerosene in an otherwise smooth floral mixture. His punch was risky with its flavor profile, and I had to give him props for that! But the drunker I was getting on this school night, could not finish my potent glass.By Chris Bostick's (The Varnish) "Punch You in the Eye Punch," I felt like perhaps someone had (even my photography got... fuzzier). This was based around green tea-infused El Tesoro Silver Tequila, with Scarlet Ibis Rum, Aperol, Benedictine, Cucumber Demerara syrup, Lemon & grapefruit juice, topped with Ting Jamaican soda. As much as I wanted to love this (big Varnish fan here), that pesky Aperol took the flavor away from a drinkable punch realm for me. It was a slow sipper, and the pleasure of punch in my opinion is enjoying its potability whilst the tipsy just creeps up!Lastly, a nice lady was mixing up hot buttered Kraken Rums, which at the time sounded lovely, but after a few sips just didn't seem to be the right proportions. Noticing the full glasses about the perimeter of the room, I could see we were not alone in this impression.
So back to the beginning we went!We revisited with Zach and Blair, "reassessing" their pleasant punches before traipsing down the steps with our punch glasses for a quick taco in the dining room. By the time we made it back upstairs, the winners had already been decided (whoops! We hadn't even gotten to vote yet!). Chuck Taggart won the judge's award, while the people picked Zach Patterson. Both well-deserved!
A festive night in all, I left happy, and more pleasantly plump than a $12 ticket has ever left me before! Can we do this once a month, guys??

Click here for some more holiday party punch recipes!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Super Bon!: Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters


Behold.. The only bitters you will ever need (or desire?) ever again!
I scored the last bottle from Barkeeper the other night, where the staff collectively oooed and ahhed as the glass clinked; the final bottle lifting from the shelf. I turned to see the owner give me the "you know what you're doing, friend" eye. I grinned back.
Why such a fuss?
For starters, this premium bitters is extremely difficult to get - A strictly limited edition item, aged in the Fee Brothers' own front window and only bottled once a year in the spring. Barkeeper said they can only place one order (for only one case) per year.
The Fees age these aromatic bitters in freshly emptied oak whiskey barrels from Tennessee, interiors charred and soaked with aged whiskey. The result of mingling these great flavors is spicy and bold, with cinnamon and clove notes, smoke, mint, sharp bark and citrus oils. This product is interestingly the *only* bitters commercially available in U.S. that contains real angostura bark as a bittering and flavor component (Yep, Angostura bitters does not!). The small addition of this original ingredient makes a huge difference.
So how does one use these special limited edition bitters?
"Use it in anything that your fertile mind comes up with," says Joe Fee, part of the current generation of Fees. Brilliant! But use sparingly, even a drop can shape up a drab Manhattan, or even I am told a Margarita! I have added the product to my drink-o-the-season, the Appalachian which perfected it!