Showing posts with label bitters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bitters. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Recettes Secrètes: Apple Bitters


Top of my wish list this year is (once again, ah hem Santa) Brad Thomas Parsons' omnibus Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas. Luckily I was able to score this recipe last year even without the book and whipped up a batch of consumable giftage gold. Trust me, your whiskey drinking friends will thank you later.


Apple Bitters
by Brad Thomas Parsons

Peels from 6 medium to large (preferably organic) apples
Zest of half a lemon, cut into strips
2 Cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp allspice berries
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cassia chips
1/2 tsp cinchona bark*
4 cloves
2 cups high-proof bourbon
1 cup water
2 tbsp rich simple syrup (two parts sugar, one part water)

Place all of the ingredients except for the bourbon, water, and rich syrup in a quart-sized Mason jar or other large glass container with a lid. Pour in the 2 cups of bourbon, adding more if necessary so that all the ingredients are covered. Seal the jar and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 2 weeks, shaking the jar once a day.


After 2 weeks, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth-lined funnel into a clean quart-sized jar to remove the solids. Repeat until all of the sediment has been filtered out. Squeeze the cheesecloth over the jar to release any excess liquid and transfer the solids to a small saucepan. Cover the jar and set aside.

Cover the solids in the saucepan with the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the saucepan, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool completely. Once cooled, add the contents of the saucepan (both liquid and solids) to another quart-sized Mason jar. Cover the jar and store at room temperature out of direct sunlight for 1 week, shaking the jar daily.

After 1 week, strain the jar with the liquid and solids through a cheesecloth-lined funnel into a clean quart-sized Mason jar. Repeat until all of the sediment has been filtered out. Discard the solids. Add this liquid to the jar containing the original bourbon solution.

Add the rich syrup to the jar and stir to incorporate, then cover and shake to fully dissolve the syrup.

Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature for 3 days. At the end of the 3 days, skim off any debris that floats to the surface and pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined funnel one last time to remove any solids.

Using a funnel, decant the bitters into smaller jars and label. If there’s any sediment left in the bottles, or if the liquid is cloudy, give the bottle a shake before using. The bitters will last indefinitely, but for optimum flavor use within a year.

*Can be ordered online through Tenzing Momo. Another great use for cinchona bark? Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Homemade Tonic Water.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Recettes Secrètes: Peychaud's Bitters Ice Cream


Friends, note: I keep my promises.

On a recent episode of The Table Set, I divulged my obsession with creating an aromatic bitters ice cream. Peychaud's Bitters, to be exact.
These magical Creole bitters are sweet, floral and fruity; the classic invisible touch in a true New Orleans Sazerac. In ice cream, they add a pretty pink hue - Fitting for this grown-up bittersweet bubblegum confection.
Thinking I was on to something pretty brilliant, I then read in the LA Times that Giovanni Martinez of Sadie LA also created a Peychaud's ice cream that he floats in Pellegrino Sanbitter soda. Touché, good sir. But I say up the ante. Sanbitter is essentially a virgin Campari n' soda, let's call a spade a spade, shall we?
I digress. Back to promises. And a perfect nightcap, in or out of your cocktail.

Peychaud's Bitters Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup Peychaud's Bitters

If using an automatic ice cream maker, make sure bowl is completely frozen before starting. Whisk the chilled milk and cream with sugar until completely dissolved. Stir in the bitters. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions (should churn for about 25 minutes). Cure in freezer for at least two hours or overnight before serving.

For more classic ice cream social excitement...

Listen to The Table Set: Party Like It's 1899

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Buvare: Witching Hour Cocktail


Halloween is easily my favorite time of year. Crisp autumn air, harvest flavors, and a palpable childlike excitement. On the Table Set this week we're discussing our favorite Halloween parties past, spooky new ideas, and of course what kind of booze is the scariest to serve your house ghouls. While overall we decided moonshine was a pretty badass spirit for All Hallows Eve cocktails and punches, we also pondered making a pumpkin-infused bourbon for the purpose of a layered "candy corn" shot (lowbrow/highbrow! Classic ChocoMeat). The layering didn't quite pan out... but I took the ingredients I was working with and instead made a refined cocktail for more sophisticated costume parties to toast the night with. I had to include Strega (which means 'witch' in Italian), a bright yellow Italian herbal liqueur possessing a complex structure with fennel, mint and coniferous notes. I rounded the cocktail out with Royal Combier, a blend of Combier’s original triple sec, cognac and Elixir de Combier (a 19th century French hygienic liqueur which includes aloe, nutmeg, myrrh, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron).


Witching Hour

2 oz Pumpkin Bourbon*
1/4 oz Strega
1/2 oz Royal Combier
dash Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a stirring glass over ice. Stir until chilled and [double] strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and a flamed orange peel.

*Pumpkin Bourbon

1 bottle of decent Bourbon, such as Bulleit
1 sugar pumpkin, hollowed, peeled, and sliced
1 vanilla bean
1/2 of a whole nutmeg

Cut 1 vanilla bean in half lengthwise. In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart jar, combine vanilla, pumpkin slices, and nutmeg. Cover with Bourbon (saving empty Bourbon bottle). Seal jar and rest at least 4 days or up to 3 months in a cool, dark place. Once desired flavor intensity is achieved, strain liquid through cheesecloth and funnel back into Bourbon bottle.


Happy Haunting!

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!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Gala Parfait: Holiday Party Libations


I love entertaining, I love the holidays, and I love good drinks. So naturally holiday punchbowl concoctions are of my most favoritest things! Egg nog, Gluhwein, you name it, I'll drink it!
Here are several recipes, some traditional, others offering new ideas, or a contemporary update of a classic.

Nathan's Christmas Champagne Punch
I made this impromptu punch for a holiday party last weekend. It was a hit! Not too sweet, with robust dark red fruit. (And I was able to get all of it with one stop).
Serves a lot

Many bottles of inexpensive sparkling wine, 6-10..
One bottle citrus vodka
One bottle cherry cider
One bottle raspberry dessert wine
1-2 bottles sparkling pomegranate or cranberry juice
Two bottles seltzer water
1-2 bottles Lambrusco or other "soft" (semi-sparkling) Italian red wine
One bottle Triple sec
One can frozen lemonade
2 large oranges, sliced into wheels
3 lemons, sliced into wheels
Frozen black cherries
Fresh cranberries

First (4 hours to a day ahead), make an ice float (or two) in a jello mold, or tupperware lined with plastic wrap using the frozen lemonade concentrate, water, and some of the craberries and lemon wheels. Freeze.
I prepared the punch to taste, starting with the frozen cherries, the entire bottle of vodka, about 1/3 of the triple sec, 1/3 of the cider, 1/3 of the dessert wine, 1/2 of the soft red wine, 1/2 the pom juice, one whole bottle of seltzer, and about 3 bottles of sparkling wine (added last just before serving). Add an ice float and garnish the surface with more citrus wheels and cranberries.
As the punch level went down, I added the rest of the ingredients throughout the evening.
Note: There is never too much sparkling wine.... (I asked all of my guests to each bring one bottle).


Farmer’s Bishop
adapted from The Holiday Drink Book, Peter Pauper Press, 1951
Serves 24

6 oranges
around 4 dozen whole cloves
1 bottle apple brandy
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 gallon cider
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
and if you have any pimento dram kicking around, an ounce or so would work wonders here

Stick each orange with 8 cloves, and bake them whole in a slow oven (300F) for 1 hour. Place them in a heated punch bowl and prick them well with a fork. Heat the apple brandy in a saucepan until warm — CAREFUL, especially if you’re using a gas stove — and pour over the oranges; sprinkle with the sugar. While warming the brandy, heat the cider to almost boiling. Take 1/2 cup of the cider and mix the remaining spices in it, then set it aside. Carefully light the brandy — I like to use a sugar cube soaked with a bit of the brandy, place it in the bowl of a long-handled spoon, light it and then stand back while placing the burning cube in the boozy punch. Let it burn for a few seconds, then add the hot cider to extinguish the flames; stir in the cup of spiced cider. You can keep it warm in a chafing dish or on the stove.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Perfect Egg Nog
"I love egg nog, but I can’t stand the thick, gelatinous goop they sell at the grocery store. Even if you were to cut it with alcohol, it’s still so overly-pasteurized and full of preservatives that it would be anything but enjoyable to slug down at a Christmas party. So I set about concocting the simplest, tastiest Egg Nog recipe I could, and here’s what I came up with.
"This recipe can be made in just about any home or bar, since the ingredients are fairly simple. It can be done entirely in a blender, so there are no whisks or beaters or rubber spatulas or stovetops needed. It yields two healthy servings, so you can easily multiply it to serve more. It doesn’t use a ton of heavy cream, so it’s fairly light. In other words, it’s practically perfect."

2 large eggs
3 oz (by volume) granulated sugar
½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
2 oz brandy
2 oz spiced rum (I use Sailor Jerry’s)
6 oz whole milk
4 oz heavy cream

Beat eggs in blender for one minute on medium speed. Slowly add sugar and blend for one additional minute. With blender still running, add nutmeg, brandy, rum, milk and cream until combined. Chill thoroughly to allow flavors to combine and serve in chilled wine glasses or champagne coupes, grating additional nutmeg on top immediately before serving.
One note about blenders. This recipe works great in home blenders, but the commercial models are designed to heat whatever they’re blending, which can result in scrambled eggs by the time you get around to the sugar. If you’re using a Vita-Mix or similar commercial blender, cut that initial blend time down to a quarter minute or so.

The Good Neighbor
Created by: Toby Maloney (Alchemy Consulting, Freeman's)

2 cups Laird's Applejack (or Calvados)
2 cups rye whiskey
3/4 cup fresh squeezed ginger juice (from any fresh juice purveyor)
3/4 cup sugar
1.5 cups fresh lemon juice
7 dashes of bitters
1 bottle hard cider (dry's best)
Large, cold ice cubes

Combine everything but ice/cider in a large bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Put in fridge for a couple of hours. Add ice/cider at last minute. Garnish with apple slices and lemon wheels.

Gluhwein (Hot Mulled Wine)
Serves 12-15

4 quarts dry red wine (zinfandel, Côtes du Rhône, burgundy, etc.)
1 pint brandy
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
5 cinnamon sticks
5 cardamom pods
5 black peppercorns
10 cloves, whole
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp mace
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
2 oranges, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
Special equipment: a 6- by 4-inch piece of cheesecloth; kitchen string

Wrap cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and cloves in cheesecloth and tie with string. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 5-quart heavy pot, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add the wine and begin heating over low heat. As it begins to warm, add brandy, vanilla bean, allspice, mace and spice bag. Heat thoroughly, but do not allow to boil! Add the lemon and orange. Steep for about 1 hour over low heat. You may add more sugar during this time if desired, stirring well so it disolves. Serve hot and garnish with orange slices. A stick cinnamon could also be used.

Negroni Punch
Serves 8

4 cups assorted fresh fruit (such as cranberries, pitted cherries, sliced apricots and oranges)
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 cup Campari
1 cup sweet vermouth
1 cup gin
2 750-ml bottles chilled Prosecco
Ice cubes

Place fruit in large punch bowl. Sprinkle with sugar to taste, if desired; stir and let stand 10 minutes for sugar to dissolve and juices to form. Add all remaining ingredients except ice cubes. Divide punch among 8 tall ice-filled glasses and serve.

Empire City Punch
from “Bartender’s Guide by Trader Vic” 1947
serves 50

2 oz. maraschino liqueur
2 oz. Curacao liqueur
2 oz. Benedictine liqueur
1 qt. Jamaican rum
1 bottle cognac
4 bottles Tokay wine
2 bottles Madeira wine
4 bottles claret
4 lemons
2 oranges
½ pound sugar cubes
2 bottles club soda
Large block of ice
1 pineapple, diced
12 oranges, thinly sliced
1 box strawberries, sliced
6 bottles champagne, chilled

Mix together all liquids except champagne and club soda and chill.
Rub the lemons and oranges with cubes of sugar until all color has been absorbed by the sugar. Dissolve sugar in a punch bowl with club soda.
Add ice, fruit, and liquid mixture.
Just before guests arrive, add chilled champagne. Serve in punch glasses or champagne goblets.

English Christmas Punch
This recipe makes 27 individual drinks when served in white wine glasses. As with any drink that is flamed, caution should be taken when making English Christmas Punch and igniting the ladle filled with rum.

750 mL bottle dark rum
750 mL bottle dry red wine
3 cups strong tea
1 lb superfine sugar
juice of 1 large orange
juice of 1 lemon

Heat, but do not allow to boil, the wine, tea, lemon and orange juices in a saucepan or chafing dish. Pour the heated mix into a heat proof punch bowl. Place as much sugar as possible into a large ladle and any excess sugar into the punch bowl.
Saturate the sugar in the ladle with rum. Ignite the rum and sugar in the ladle and pour it while still aflame into the punch. Stir well and extinguish the flames.
Pour the remainder of the rum into the punch. Stir well.
Serve in white wine glasses.

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!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Buvare: Applejack


Last Halloween, saddled up at the cozy bar inside Freemans, I fell in love. My drink contained Applejack, a colonial "cyder spirit" from Laird & Company that Johnny Appleseed himself once taught his congregations along the Ohio River Valley how to produce. Technically an apple brandy, when mixed Applejack can take on more of a caramelly bourbon role. Try it on the rocks with rye whiskey, in place of brandy in your favorite cocktails or on its own. Lately I've been enjoying mine like this..

Appalachian

2 oz Applejack
2 oz Knob Creek Kentucky straight bourbon
2 dashes Fee’s Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters
¾ oz unpasteurized apple cider

Pour the Applejack and bourbon into an old fashioned glass, add bitters, then two or three ice cubes, and top with apple cider. Stir gently.

Other delicious Applejack cocktails from some inspired mixologists..

New York Trading Company
from William Tigertt, owner of Freemans (NYC)

2 oz Applejack
½ oz simple syrup
¾ oz Velvet Falernum
¾ oz lime juice

Shake together all ingredients and strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a bitters-soaked apple wedge.
“Applejack is a great fall liquor that blends really well. We mixed it up a bit and added Velvet Falernum, which is a sugarcane liquor that gives it some spiciness and complexity. The bitters on the apple slice soak into the drink as you sip it, adding more complexity.”

Northern Spy
from Josey Packard of Alembic (San Francisco)

2 ounces Applejack
1 ounce fresh apple cider (flash-pasteurized is okay, but no preservatives!)
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
¼ - ½ ounce apricot brandy, to taste, depending on brand*

Shake well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass that’s been rimmed with cinnamon sugar. Top with champagne, if you like (be sure to goose up the sweetness a little to compensate for the extra acidity), and for the holiday go ahead and garnish with a cranberry.
* or pimento dram, or ginger liqueur, or ……

Applejack Old Fashioned
from Misty Kalkofen of Green Street (Cambridge, Mass.)

1 tsp (or to taste) real maple syrup
2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Aromatic Bitters*
2 ounces Applejack

Build in an old fashioned glass. Give a little stir, a big chunk or two of ice, another little stir, then garnish if you like.
* If you can’t find the barrel-aged bitters, then Fee’s Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters will do (or, Angostura in a pinch). But really the Whisky Barrel Aged Bitters is an exceptionally fine product. If you can’t find it where you live, give the good folks at Fee’s a call and see if you can order some — they’re really worth the effort.



Another delicious apple brandy comes from Clear Creek Distillery in Portland (be sure to stop into their tasting room when in NW Ptown), which my favorite bartender utilized in nailing the perfect Fall cocktail..

Autumn Leaves
from Jeffrey Morgenthaler, head bartender at Bel Ami (Eugene, OR)

¾ oz Wild Turkey rye
¾ oz Clear Creek apple brandy
¾ oz Carpano Antica Formula vermouth
¼ oz Strega
2 dashes cinnamon tincture*
1 large strip orange peel

Stir ingredients over cracked ice. Strain into an ice-filled old fashioned glass and garnish with orange peel.
*To make cinnamon tincture, soak 4 ounces whole cinnamon sticks in 16 oz grain alcohol for three weeks. Strain solids and bottle.