Archive for the ‘Portland’ Category

Drinking My Way Back to Beer Camp

I’ll be drinking my way back to Beer Camp
With a burn-ing love insiiiiiiide



So Beer Camp is a thing. Specifically a nation-wide invite to all craft brewers to join a seven-city tour of brewfests put on by Sierra Nevada. Guess where the New England stop is? No, really, guess.


drinkingtobeercamp_map



So yeah. The Lady Friend and I will certainly be attending. Now I don’t feel bad about skipping the ACBF this year.

As a happy bonus, Sierra Nevada brewed 12 collaboration beers with some of the craft breweries on the tour, and put them in a mixed pack. Which is awesome. Oh, and a Sierra Nevada dIPA bomber.

I’m gonna drink them all. And tell you about it. Good? Good.


drinkingtobeercamp_lineup


Also, all of these are collaborations with Sierra Nevada and some other brewery. I don’t want to type “Sierra Nevada & …” 12 more times, so I’ll only be listing these with the collaborator (collaboratee?) brewery.


drinkingtobeercamp_torpedoFirestone Walker Torpedo Pilsner
Hoppy Pilsner, 5.2% abv
Pils are kind of hit or miss for me. I think a hoppy one from FW will be quite delicious.

Nose: Pils cereal grain. Slight sour twinge. Hint of cardboard/latex, but not to the extent of a lot of pils. Smells FRESH.

Taste: Sour/cardboard/latex more prevalent in the taste. Nobel hop style bitter, as would be expected from a classic pils. Some clean grain flavors, but it gets lost in those grassy hops.

Lady Friend: “The smell is kind of cereal and a little bit lemony. It tasted cereal grainy, with some grass and hay-like flavors. Not bad for the style.”


drinkingtobeercamp_yvanRussian River Yvan the Great
Belgian-style Blonde, 6.3% abv
I was very excited for the Russian River offering (makers of the legendary Pliny the Elder and/or Younger if you can get it, which you won’t/can’t) but a bit disappointed to find that it’s a Belgian Blonde. First time I’ve been disappointed by a Belgian Blonde. However, it’s Russian River, so the beer will likely be amazing, even if it’s not my favorite style. Can’t get RR on the East Coast (to my knowledge).

Nose: Fruity. Strawberry, cherry, tart, with a little tropical citrus. Oooh. Neat.

Taste: That fruity nose comes through in the beginning of the taste… a sweet yet tart flavor which turns a touch sour in the middle. Finishes more on the wheaty/Belgian side, with a slight banana clove and vinegar tart. There’s almost a hint of watermelon in there as well. I generally don’t like these beers, but I like THIS beer. Complex yet approachable. Lovely.

Lady Friend: “The smell was tropical fruit, honey, and apples. Tastes mango, pineapple, honey. Tasted fresh and crisp, but tart. Like the last one, not bad ‘for the style.’ A little more complex than I picture most of the Belgian blondes being. It helps greatly that I can tell it’s fresh.”


drinkingtobeercamp_myronAllagash Myron’s Walk
Belgian-style (duh) Pale Ale, 5.3% abv
Portland’s own Allagash makes the cut with, not surprisingly, a Belgian-style pale ale. It’s kinda what they do, and they do it well.

Nose: Light aroma. Belgian wheaty/clove, a touch of herbs, and a lemon/orange/floral lilt. Some pine hop in there, but as a secondary aroma, not hop-forward.

Taste: Light flavor as well, but tasty nonetheless. Slight Belgian smooth intro, with an easy sour/bitter hop. There’s an almost light savory quality in there. Fresh grain in the middle rolls through the finish. Exceedingly drinkable. Does not even taste like 5.3% abv; rather it’s more like a session. I suspect this will be too weak for Belgian lovers, but I think it’s got a lot of nice flavor in a light package.

Lady Friend: “Surprisingly hoppy. Honey sweet. Taste is cereal grain with a bit of hop bitterness, finishes honey sweet. I like it. I’m glad I like the local presentation. Now that I’m thinking about it, it doesn’t taste like a typical Allagash. I guess that would be the collaboration with Sierra Nevada. It’s been my favorite of the bunch so far.”


drinkingtobeercamp_altVictory Alt Route
Altbier, 6.6% abv
I don’t know what to expect from this one. Not a clue. I’ve had altbiers before, but they tend to vary. Regardless, I’m expecting a malty experience.

Nose: Smells… malty. Yup. Fall leaves, maple syrup, damp wood, and a citrus sensation floating on top.

Taste: Malty, but with a sharp, bitter hop that helps cut the syrup. Not too heavy of a mouthfeel. Well balanced; though there is a sharp contrast between the dark malt and bright grassy hop, they cancel each other out quite well. This is another beer that is not something I would seek out, but this particular example is done quite well. Suggested pairings: cool, early fall evening, campfire, hooded sweatshirt, and s’mores.

Lady Friend: “The smell was caramel malt. Taste was molasses, caramel, malt… chewy. It was ok, but I’m not a fan of this style anyway. Probably my least favorite so far. I don’t love really malty beers. It’s ok… I don’t dislike it, but…”


drinkingtobeercamp_thereandbackNew Glarus There and Back
English-style bitter, 5.6% abv
New Glarus is famous for making great beers in southern Wisconsin. And refusing to sell them anywhere else but Wisconsin. So this is a pretty big deal. You probably won’t find Russian River on the East Coast, but you WILL NOT find New Glarus anywhere else but Wisconsin. Those cheese-eating bastards are hoarding it all.

Nose: Slightly fruity malt aroma. Not much else. Not much else I’d expect from an ESB. There’s also someone in the neighborhood cooking on a charcoal grill, so that’s become a factor. Full disclosure. Because you care. Is anyone still out there?

Taste: Yup. It’s English. Got some of that chewy English style yeast, but not with the Ringwood esters like Shipyard and Geary’s beers. Malty sweet, but clean, not too sticky. Perfect for the style. This needs a dark pub and unintelligible accents. And I don’t mean Wisconsin accents. Oh ya dere hey.

Lady Friend: “Smell: it wasn’t a strong smell, but I got a slight fruitiness. Taste: smooth, like a copper penny, amber-like. A little honey sweet. It’s well balanced, but not as ‘bitter’ as expected. I’m used to Red Hook ESB, and this wasn’t really similar. But I still like it a lot. I could definitely drink a pint of this, especially with dinner.”


drinkingtobeercamp_chico3 Floyd’s Chico King
Pale Ale, 6.5% abv
3 Floyd’s makes some great beers, and I’m looking forward to a hoppy adventure with this one.

Nose: Ok, we’re back to normal here. This smells like a straightforward hoppy pale ale. Decent malt sweet, and a citrus spicy hop.

Taste: Yup. Hoppy. Spice hop tingle, then quick transition to malty middle. Finish is on the dry side, with that spice lingering. Very normal, very nice.

Lady Friend: “Smells like Froot Loops. Taste: smooth and fruity. I like it. I could drink a lot more of this.”


drinkingtobeercamp_CANfusionOskar Blues Canfusion
Rye Bock, 7.2% abv
The 12-pack has 10 bottles and two cans; the Lady Friend and I were trying to guess what the OTHER can was, assuming one would be Oskar Blues. They were one of the first craft brewers to can rather than bottle their beer, which has certainly become more popular. I’m hoping the rye bite cuts through some malt in this bock.

Nose: Fruity and malty. Sweet, but not syrupy, with an earthy quality. Definitely smells like toasted rye grain, with an almost raspberry-like aroma to the malt.

Taste: Certainly malty, but with a strawberry/raspberry sweetness, rather than just liquid caramel. There still is that toffee flavor, but not as heavy as expected. More fruit than spice from the rye malt. Very nice and unexpected.

Lady Friend: “I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. Smelled slighty sour with a tiny bit of hoppy pine. Tasted kind of metallic with some cereal grain. That’s all I came up with. My mind is not sharp tonight.”


drinkingtobeercamp_yonderCigar City Yonder Bock
Tropical Maibock, 7.7% abv
It’s the second can! “Tropical” and “maibock” are not two words that I’ve ever seen together. One implies equatorial rainforest, palm trees, and parrots. I would also accept monkeys. The other is a German spring beer named after a goat. So, yeah, this will be interesting.

Nose: Yeeaarruuugh. This is… stinky. Damp, dead leaves, rotting wood, mud. A farmhouse aroma, but after a late fall rainstorm. There is a slight citrus fruit sweetness, but it’s not as apparent as the stinkmalt. This smells like a goat.

Taste: Doesn’t taste like a goat. Tastes malty. There’s a brief citrus open, turning over to a malty middle, with a toasted grain finish. I guess this is what a “tropical maibock” would be, and I guess it’s why no one else has done one. My least favorite of the batch thus far.

Lady Friend: “The smell is cinnamon/strawberry. Taste cinnamon/nutmeg, spice-like. A little bit of mango and pineapple sweetness. There’s a slight bitterness to it.”


drinkingtobeercamp_taterAsheville Brewers Alliance Tater Ridge
Scottish Ale, 7% abv
I’ve never heard of these guys, but there’s a description on the Beer Camp site: “The Asheville area is a brewing hotspot nestled in the mountains of North Carolina. Tater Ridge was brewed by something of a craft beer super group made up of members of the Asheville Brewers Alliance.” Ok then. Now I know. I’m expecting a chewy malt bomb from this one.

Nose: Faint aroma, sweet and malty. There’s a little blue sprucy hop pine in there as well.

Taste: Pretty mild. Tastes like a brown ale. Nice and toasty, not overly syrup sticky. I was expecting a malt bomb, but wound up with a tasty ale. Very nice.

Lady Friend: “I was having a lot of trouble identifying a smell. At first I thought ‘metallic,’ but now I’m almost thinking ‘squash.’ It’s kind of malty sweet and also metallic in the beginning, finished kind of roasty. Thought it was well-balanced.”


drinkingtobeercamp_maillardBell’s Maillard’s Odyssey
Imperial Dark Ale, 8.5% abv
I don’t think I’ve had/heard of an imp dark ale before. Curious about this. Could go several ways. I wondered what that name was about and found the answer on Bell’s Brewery Blog: “The name honors the Maillard reaction—the “browning” of sugars and amino acids—that creates the wonderful caramelized toffee-like and roasted flavors so abundant in this beer.”

Nose: Smells like a good roasty ale or stout. Some char, some sweet cream. I’d have guessed this was a coffee porter/stout or the like judging by smell alone. Smells goooooood.

Taste: Heavier mouthfeel. Certainly some sticky syrup. Leads off roasty malty, there’s some sugar in the mid, then finishes with a bitter charcoal. Fig, chocolate, and raisin flavors abound before the ash aftertaste. I suppose a dark ale and a porter/stout are kind of the same thing, so they could have skipped a step here and just labeled appropriately. It’s an imperial stout. Think of it like that and it all falls into place. Regardless, it is quite wonderful.

Lady Friend: “Smells like chocolate coffee. Tastes like bitter dark chocolate and coffee. Tastes exactly like a chocolate-covered espresso bean.”


drinkingtobeercamp_electricBallast Point Electric Ray
India Pale Lager, 8.5% abv
Ballast Point makes very tasty West-Coasty beers, so let’s see what their IPL tastes like. I’m expecting a lot from this one.

Nose: Medium sticky hop aroma, blue spruce spice and very citrusy. So far, Ballast Point is on the ball with my predictions. In for the taste.

Taste: Malt snap, slight metallic, and a dry spicy, citrusy hop. It’s pretty good, but a lot more grain flavor than expected. Citrus sticky hop flows throughout.

Lady Friend: “I couldn’t really pick up any smell. Cereal grain taste with some fruity sweetness. I tried taking some sips, but I can’t pinpoint WHAT fruit exactly…”


drinkingtobeercamp_latteNinkasi Double Latte
Coffee Milk Stout, 7.6% abv
Really looking forward to this one. I like milk stouts, and I like Ninkasi. Let’s see how much “coffee” flavor this one has. Also it’s nearly 90° with the humidity over 80%. Not the best climate for tasting a coffee milk stout (much like the Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout we sampled earlier at Bier Cellar).

Nose: Smells like coffee. I dunno about this one. I’m expecting something like Founders Breakfast Stout.

Taste: Tastes like coffee. Seriously. Carbonated cold coffee. There’s a little hint of cream in there, but it’s all roasty bitter beans. Much like the aforementioned Founders. I’m sure people will LOVE this one, but it’s not my fav. Too much coffee, not enough beer.

Lady Friend: “Smell: big surprise, coffee roastiness. Taste: bitter roasty coffee. A perfect after-dinner drink if coffee doesn’t keep you awake at night.”




drinkingtobeercamp_aerialUm.
Ok then. I drank 12 beers and told you about them. This was kind of a way to brag that I’m going to Beer Camp. So I’m kind of a jerk, buuuuuuuut I stopped caring about that a long time ago. This twelve pack was pricey (came out to about $2/beer, which is a lot for a mixed pack) but the justification is that these are unique beers that you won’t see again. Probably. They were all good, mostly great, with a few excellent standouts. Go find one and try them. And come to Beer Camp.

Rum-Off!

RumOff_HDR2_layer_lores

Rum-ble?



So I got a bunch of new, somewhat local, rums recently from a variety of sources. Some gifts, some smuggling requests, some I just plain bought. So I’m going to line them up and try them side by side. Sounds like a fun afternoon for me.

All of these happen to be local(ish) rums, all blackstrap style, and all fairly new. As in, none of these existed ten years ago. The oldest of the group is Rhode Island’s Thomas Tew rum which started production back in 2006. Historically, rum has had a significant place in New England and contemporary craft distillers are taking advantage of that connection to the past. Rhode Island was HUGE in the rum trade, so Newport Distilling’s Thomas Tew brings some of that history back. GrandTen Distilling’s Medford Rum is named for the original which started back in 1715. Bully Boy’s Boston Rum, the aged version of their white rum, is a nod to Boston’s rummy past. The old New England rums were generally a blackstrap style, made from molasses. Molasses is the gunk left over after refining sugar and some people think it tastes delicious. I think it’s great after you distill it. This is in no way related to the incident two weeks ago where I bit into what I thought was a brownie, which turned out to be a runny molasses cookie. Vile goo. Ferment it, boil it, and drink it.


rumoff-seahaggSea Hagg Silver Rum
Sea Hagg Distillery, North Hampton, NH
Unknown price. Available in NH State Liquor Stores

This one comes from my hometown, so now there’s a brewery and a distillery there. Craziness. I haven’t visited yet, so I don’t know much about this one, other than what’s on the webpage. Copper pot still, aged, and small-batch. Nice squat olive glass bottle, and a orange wax dipped top. Not sure how much this goes for, since it was a gift from the Lady Friend’s parents. I literally found this hiding on the bar one day.

Nose: Sugary with oak, floral, some antiseptic booze, and a tinge of vegetation, like a rhum agricole.

Taste: Hot. The heat leaves a sticky sugar coating, honey, vanilla, and a touch of dead wood. Light, yet syrupy, and floral.

Lady Friend: “Smell definitely was antiseptic/alcohol but with floral notes. It actually tasted sweeter than I expected, but I get a specific flavor of creamy tomato sauce, like with a milk base. I don’t know where I’ve had it before, but it reminds me of that. It tasted better neat than I expected it to.” She made a “New Hampshire Mojito” with this last night, and also noticed the tomato/vegetable aspects.




rumoff-medfordGrandTen Distilling Medford Rum
GrandTen Distilling, Boston, MA
$40 at the distillery
40% abv/ 80 proof

Like the Bully Boys, GrandTen also dove into the Boston rum history. I first tasted this right off the still several years ago when I went for a tour, but finally got a bottle of the finished product as a gift from Leelz. Thanks for the smuggling! Nice graphic label to fit with the rest of their lineup.
Numbered bottle Batch 1, Bottle 0646.

Nose: Cleaner, sugar aroma. Soft and light. Hay, straw, sunshine. Floral vanilla, lilac. Frosting. A twinge of booze, but not hot and stinging.

Taste: Warm, not hot. More oak than expected, with a sugar warmth and touch of dry wood that counteracts the syrup slightly. Sugary, but lighter. The oak flavors lead me to believe this is aged longer than others, or it’s a lighter taste to begin with so the oak shows through.

Lady Friend:I smell sugar cookie, birthday cake, vanilla. This is actually the opposite of Sea Hagg for me. Sea Hagg smelled boozy but tasted kind of sweet, but this one smelled really sweet but tasted really boozy. It actually reminded me of our scotch tastings. It does finish smoothly. Towards the end I get some of that vanilla sweetness back. The initial taste is boozy.




rumoff-bboyBully Boy Boston Rum
Bully Boy Distillers, Boston, MA
$33, Liquor Land, Boston, MA
40% abv/ 80 proof

I’m a big fan of Bully Boy White Rum, and had been waiting several years for the aged version to finish. Finally picked up a bottle at the liquor store around the corner from their distillery on a MA booze run. Hand-numbered like all their bottles, this one is Batch 8, Bottle 205.

Nose: Straight up sugar and booze aromas. This one smells more caramel/toasted, and it’s darker, brown sugar aroma rather than white. Aromas are much like a good bourbon, though much more sweetness.

Taste: Oh this just glides right down. There’s some heat, and then a little smoke char, like a campfire, but dark brown sugar all the way through. S’mores. Boozy s’mores. Toasted vanilla oak and caramel. Very nice.

Lady Friend:It was much smoother than the last one. Little bit of alcohol bite, but not as overwhelming. Very vanilla, sweet, kind of reminded me of a sugar lollipop I had when I was a kid… made of complete sugar. You get it at like a penny candy store. This is my favorite of the bunch so far.




rumoff-tewNewport Distilling Co. Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum
Newport Distilling/Coastal Extreme Brewing, Newport, RI
$32, Standard Liquors, Providence, RI
42% abv/ 84 proof

I had been to Newport Distilling/Coastal Extreme before (they make the Newport Storm line of beers) and loved their rum. This is a pot-still single barrel rum (I have Barrel 53). Only sold in RI, I kicked myself for not picking up a bottle. The brewery/distillery will do a rum tasting for $9 which gets you three samples (white rum, cask strength, and finished product) and a tasting glass. The Lady Friend and I made a visit a few months ago and got our own bottle. Note: the distillery only sells the 375ml size bottles. The regular 750ml are only in liquor stores and retail for $32-38. Standard Liquors in Providence looks kind of sketchy on the outside, but has great service and prices, so I scored this bottle on the low end of the price scale. Also I had KFlynn smuggle up a reserve bottle, since he lives in the Ocean State. Thanks Flynny!

Nose: Boozier, some fruit and wine-like aromas, with dark sugar syrup behind it. This one is much more forward in the aroma. More syrup, more heat, but not stinging hot in the nostrils. Vanilla, fig, raisin, caramel, and grape.

Taste: Smooth, but it’s got some heat. The heated tingle opens up the caramel flavors, like you dipped your tongue in liquid toffee/butterscotch. Lots of vanilla, and VERY sweet. The booze helps cut down the syrup, though this does have a thicker mouthfeel than the others. It’s hot, but full of flavor. I wouldn’t change it at all.

Lady Friend: “Smelled caramel sweet with a little burning alcohol in the nose, but still a lot of sweetness. Definitely some heat, but got a nice vanilla oak tast as well that kind of balanced it. Also thought it was a little woody or hay-like… maybe that’s from the oak.”




rumoff-lineup2So which is best?
Well.
The Sea Hagg tastes a bit more unrefined and country. Which is fine, but it’s not a sugar bomb like the others. It was probably unfair to put it in this comparison, but it was our least favorite of the bunch. It also gives some off-flavors when mixed, leaving few options. However price is going to play a role here, and I suspect this one is under $30, which would help its case. I would expect to pay between $25-35 for an aged craft rum, so if this is on the low-end of the price scale, I can forgive some flavor quirks.

The Medford Rum was lighter than expected, but still very tasty. However at $40, it’s the most expensive by a wide margin. I haven’t mixed this one yet, but I fear the more subtle flavors would get lost in, say, a daiquiri. It might be hard to justify this one.

Bully Boy is all-around tasty. As a fan of the unaged version, this one was like an extra layer of frosting on the sugar cookie flavors. Not as brash as the white, but a lot more caramel smooth. The flavors are there and the price is right.

The Thomas Tew takes the win for me. It’s got the big flavors, the sugar, and the boozy heat to balance without being too harsh to sip. I’ve put it in a daiquiri where that syrupy sweetness shines paired with tart fresh lime. Drink this neat in the winter by the fire, or with ice and soda in the summer. The cheaper you can find it, the better, but I would say this tastes more like a $40 rum than the Medford.

Lady Friend: “I still think Bully Boy is my favorite, but the Thomas Tew is a close runner-up. Not that I dislike the Medford, but if you have to split hairs…”

Rule 37: Southern Baptist

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



This week’s cocktail comes from Serious Eats. According to them, it’s a drink by Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo in New York, and I have no reason not to believe that. It just sounded tasty, AND I get to bust out my freshly-made ginger syrup for this one. More on that later.

For this inspirational-sounding cocktail, I needed an equally holy whiskey.
Time for my Redemption.

rule37southernbaptist_redemptionRye whiskey must be made from 51% rye grain (whereas bourbon must be 51% corn), but as far as I’m concerned, the more rye, the better. Redemption Rye whiskey boasts a 95% rye grain bill, making it one of the most rye-y of the ryes out there. It doesn’t get much rye-y-er than this (though my treasured Alberta Premium clocks in at 100% rye). The original recipe recommends Bulleit, which I’m sure is also tasty, but I don’t have any. And I just got this bottle of Redemption. They’re actually produced from the same source, but Bulleit is aged about twice as long.

Let’s get to it.


rule37southernbaptistSouthern Baptist
Created by Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo
Recipe from Serious Eats

- 2 oz rye whiskey (Redemption)
- 3/4 oz ginger syrup
- 1 oz lime juice

That’s it. Shake it, strain it, serve it.






The drink doesn’t look all that impressive. Lime juice usually seems to cloud drinks, and it just looks strange paired with whiskey. The ginger syrup is certainly brown as well, so the whole thing comes out with a rather muddy hue. The combination of whiskey and lime juice always reminds me of the Leatherneck (2oz blended whiskey, 3/4oz blue curaçao, 1/2oz lime juice) a pre-blog Rule 37 drink from Ted Haigh’s fantastic Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. That one also turned a muddy sort of color, despite the blue curaçao, the culprit there being the clouded lime juice. And so it goes.

Nose: It smells of whusky, and not much more. Sweet though. On its own the Redemption has a sweetish alluring aroma, though with a scorpion sting of alcohol warning you to be cautious. The boozy bite doesn’t come through in the smell of this drink, but rather the wood, cherry fruit, cinnamon, and dark sugary molasses are at the forefront. There isn’t too much ginger, but a decent hint of savory spice lurks beneath the whiskey glow. It’s a wet and dry spice all at the same time. My mouth is watering. Time for a sip.

Taste: Sweet fruit to start. Cherry. Then it washes away to a lovely rye whiskey essence: sweet but with a bite. The ginger comes through in the midtones paired alongside the lime citrus, and it’s wonderful. The heat of the ginger spice warms, the lime tart snaps, and the whiskey flows along with a woody sweet spice. The overall effect is that of cloves, cinnamon candy. It’s difficult to tell the lingering ginger heat from the alcohol’s warmth. Redemption does weigh in at a welterweight 92 proof, but it’s not overly boozy in this one.

Let’s see what that female creature thinks. Right from the start she thinks my ginger syrup is too peppery, and just exclaimed that the kitchen smells of black pepper. So I think I can guess where she’ll go with this one.

“I’m trying to place that smell… it’s kind of anise. But a little bit bourbon. Alright: now tasting. Kind of grassy, and then sweet. I really don’t know what you put in there. [Another sip] It’s very tree-like. It’s piney but not gin piney. I guess herbal might be the term. There’s something I’ve recently had that this reminds me of… ROSEMARY. I think that’s what I get. Am I insane?”
Well. Kind of.
But I see her point.
“Can you put at the end of my review ‘Hi Mom!’? She’ll get a kick out of that.”
I suppose.
“I like ginger, but that syrup is too peppery.”
CALLED IT.


I think this one is excellent. The rye and spice combination is a wonderful pairing, with a citrus tart adding a cool counterpoint. It leaves a tingle in the mouth, but it’s sweet and tasty as well. I wouldn’t call it complex, but there is a good range of flavor happening here. Without the ginger, it’d be a dull whiskey sour, but that spice gives it a healthy snap. Fantastic.

My goodness. I do believe I shall have another.

Rule 37: Black Russian

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



Yes, this is a pretty simple one, and no, I’ve never had it before. The Black Russian consists of only two ingredients, vodka and coffee liqueur, neither of which I’m particularly fond of. I’m not a coffee drinker, and vodka lacks… personality. But, this was an easy cocktail to concoct, so I decided to make a batch and take it along on a woodland walk. Turns out it travels quite well as a trail sipper, so here we go.


rule37blackrussianBlack Russian
From Dale DeGroff’s The Essential Cocktail

- 1 oz vodka (Bully Boy)
- 1 oz coffee liqueur (Kahlua)


Um. That’s it.

Dale says to build over ice in an Old Fashioned glass, so we don’t even have to shake. Or stir. Though you can add a stirrer to give it a quick spin here and there. No garnish on this one.


You can play with the amounts any way you please as long as it’s equal parts. A 2oz drink over ice might make a nice little nightcap nipper, but is kind of an underwhelming handheld drink. Unless you’ve got straight liquor in your Old Fashioned glass, you could do better than a few ounces. Go ahead and make this one a double.

If we’re using vodka, might as well use GOOD vodka. I like Bully Boy’s (of course) because it’s really neutral without a syrupy/glycerin mouthfeel, or too much heat. It’s just nice. Reviewers have described it as “wet granite” which is odd and awesome at the same time. The coffee liqueur de rigueur here is Kahlua. Pretty standard.


rule37blackrussian_alt2Not surprisingly, the bouquet here isn’t terribly complex. Booze and coffee. If I think really hard about it I can go with “The top notes of an astringent sting become overwhelmed with roasted bitter char and soft creamy sweetness. Hints of chocolaty mocha pair well with the lifted spirit warmth.”

…aaaaand it tastes like coffee and booze. With a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Admittedly, the flavors are much more chocolate than coffee, starting with a milky sweetness before the roast char bitters bite back. A slight alcohol heat eases in as a peppery sensation and continues through the finish. The initial sweet chocolate mingles with char becoming a lingering velvety dark mocha.

After several gulps and some typing (on an empty stomach) the computer screen suddenly gave a good wobbly lurch to the left before righting itself again, so heads up: this drink is decently boozy, even if it doesn’t taste it. A liquor and liqueur ingredient list still counts as all-booze.


The Lady Friend sez: “I just smell coffee mocha Kahlua smell. Mmmmm… it tastes mainly like Kahlua, and then after it’s been in your mouth a second or two you get that alcoholic burn from the vodka. Yeah, that’s kind of tasty and dangerous.”


I think we’re actually on the same page with this one.
Amazing.


rule37blackrussian_alt

Nature tip: Maine mountain streams are not as cool and refreshing as they appear.
Bring booze instead.


Wake Up, Maine

Warning: rant ahead.


After moving to Portland about a year ago from Braintree, MA, I breathed a sigh of freedom after living under some of Masachusetts’s draconian liquor laws. There are drink specials here! Happy hour! Granted, the selection at my local “packies” isn’t quite what I could get in MA (the Boston market is a big one for craft beer and increasingly, craft liquor) but there are some fantastic local offerings, such as Maine Beer Company and Marshall Wharf brewery. Yeah. Lunch IPA is plentiful up here. Think about that.

Maine is one of the top states for breweries per capita, coming in at number 6 (little New England neighbor Vermont is number 1). My brother, who moved to Portland, OR last year, loves to brag about all the breweries out there (143 according to this site) but was shocked to discover Maine was so high up on the list. Even MA doesn’t crack the top 20. This is the beauty of “per capita” statistics. Maine has about 40ish breweries, but only about 1.2 million people in the whole state. So when skewed per person, we’re doing pretty good. And growing. As a result, more and more people are coming to Portland as a craft beer destination, and the city is hosting more and more brewfests and craft beer events. Last weekend, Portland hosted The Festival.

The Festival was held in Worcester, MA last year, and kind of flew under the radar. This year, however, it was highly publicized, and moved up to Portland. Organized by Shelton Brothers Importers (based in MA), this event pulled together world-class breweries, many from Europe, to showcase some incredibly rare and special beers, focusing mainly on Belgian styles and sours.

No, I didn’t go. I’m more of a hophead than a Belgian lover, and I don’t think sours are much fun. Plus, tickets were a whopping $65 for not much beer. More on that below.

So when I stumbled across this article today, I was infuriated:

Portland Press Herald, June 26, 2013



Unbelievably bad publicity. Beer festivals in Maine are in trouble if this state doesn’t shape up and reevaluate its silly rules. If you want to be part of the craft beer game, and reap the benefits of festivals pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the economy, then you have to provide a welcoming environment to the hosts and vendors of the event. Here’s what needs to change:

- Drink Tickets
This is just plain silly. Limiting patrons, who pay ticket prices upwards of $50 (The Festival was $65) to 48 oz of beer is insulting. That’s equivalent to four 12oz beers, or three 16oz pints, which any craft beer drinker can take down without blinking. When you divvy that up into pours of <2oz, it's highly unsatisfying.
Naturally the Maine Liquor Licensing and Compliance Division claims that the 48oz limit wasn't in effect for this event, yet I'd put money down that they threatened the organizers that they'd better adhere to the rule regardless. Criminal bureaucracy bait and switch.


- Not Letting the Brewers Pour their Beer
This was a big beef with The Festival. The brewers are basically told that they can’t touch their own beer… can’t serve it, can’t provide the equipment to serve it, can’t touch it. Not even the distributors can get involved. Because of licensing issues, it qualifies and a “catered event.” Everything has to be owned and handled by the catering company that officially serves the beers, in most cases by people who know NOTHING about the brews they’re pouring. This defeats the whole purpose of an event like this. Let the brewers bring their own team to serve and spread knowledge about their own products. Get real and come up with some realistic guidelines for a beer event.


- Cost
The Festival was $65 per ticket. Plus fees. The upcoming Maine Brewers’ Guild event in July (“Craft Beer Comes to Maine State Pier”) is $50, $75 for a VIP which gets you in an hour earlier. The only reasonably priced ticket we’ve encountered is the Portland Brewfest for $35. Come on. If BeerAdvocate can throw the ACBF in Boston for $47.50 per ticket which includes over 600 different beers from 140+ breweries, why should I pay MORE money for a third of the breweries? Did I mention that the ACBF doesn’t have drink tickets and that the brewers actually pour and handle their own beer?

When Massachusetts does a better job of handing an alcohol-related event, you know you’re in trouble.


- Mandatory Donations
There was an issue where basically the organizers were forced to give a donation to charity to obtain the license in the first place. I mean, donating to charity is great, but not when you’re told you HAVE to do it if you want your license. That’s extortion.


- Liquor Violations
Apparently, some of the volunteer servers were doing some tasting of their own, which is against the rules. If the brewers can’t touch anything, then aren’t these volunteers under the direction of the catering company? So isn’t it THEIR duty to police the event? You can’t blame the brewers for this one at all if you’re going to tell them they have to be “hands off” for the event.



As a result of these issues, Shelton Brothers won’t be back to Maine for another Festival unless the contradictory and uninviting laws change. The venue was great, the patrons were great, and nearly 2,200 people pumped $750k into the local economy. Apparently Maine won’t be seeing that money again until they get their act together and make some realistic regulations for these events. Which makes more sense: one event that nets $750k and pisses off all the vendors and organizers, or keeping them happy, so they come back year after year, and hopefully dump more and more money into the local coffers?


Stop chasing away business, Maine. You’re being an asshole.

Rule 37: Rum Collins

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



Ok, ignore the last post. That was started last week when it was merely “wum” out. It’s officially balls hot. 90°+ and humid with high probability of local scattered swass outbreaks.


rule37stretchycat

Even the cat is trying to air out his naughty bits.



I need something refreshing.

I had originally been thinking of a Tom Collins, but I had a few of those this weekend, and wanted a change. Hot weather means rum, and I do love a good Daiquiri, but perhaps a more refreshing version.

BAM! Rum Collins.


So, a Tom Collins is simply a Gin Sour (I make my sours 2:1:1, that is, 2oz spirit, 1oz citrus, 1oz simple syrup) served in a highball (well, ideally a Collins) glass, over ice, and topped with club soda. It’s a tall, cool, refreshing drink. Very nice. I don’t prefer gin (I’m getting better about that) but this one is easy for anyone to take down. Another good description I’ve heard is “sparkling lemonade with gin.” Pretty much. Though gin mileage varies per individual.

Anyway, a Rum Collins is simply a Rum Sour (a Daiquiri) served tall, over ice, with soda. A Daiquiri Highball. Sound good? I thought so. Apparently James Bond thinks so too.


rule37rumcollinsRum Collins

- 2 oz rum (Bully Boy)
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz simple syrup
- Top club soda

Shake the rum, lime, and simple syrup in a shaker, as if you’re making a Daiquiri. Actually, this is a Daiquiri, but with soda. Pour into a highball/Collins glass filled with ice and top with club soda. Traditionally, this was garnished with a cherry and lemon slice, but I went with a lime peel. Cherry would be ok, but lemon doesn’t make sense in a lime-based drink.


It’s a fairly tropical drink, so feel free to decorate with flags, umbrellas, crazy straws, or drink stirrers. I have a pretty green flamingo.

Couple notes here: I used Bully Boy rum because it’s goddamn fantastic. Was the cursing necessary? Yes. If you’ve tasted the Bully Boy then you’ll agree with me. Use any white/light rum you’ve got, but know that Bacardi isn’t going to have much flavor to it at all.

I also use a raw simple syrup, made from equal parts raw sugar and water. It gives the drink a touch more dark brown sugar flavor rather than white sugar. Also, it’s practically healthy. Yeah, let’s go with that.

The lime ratio varies by recipe and by personal taste. I like things a bit more tart, so I’m fine with the simple 2:1:1 ratio. Dale DeGroff gives all his sour recipes as 1 1/2 :1 :3/4, lowering the spirit to the more regulated serving, and easing off of the citrus by 1/4 oz to make a sweeter drink which he feels suits the American palate a bit closer. I started out using his recipes and they’re mighty tasty, but I like a little more pucker and flavor nowadays, so it’s a full ounce of lime juice. Either way, the ice dilution and club soda will ease the sharp edges a bit in this cocktail, versus the unmolested Daiquiri.


The nose here is quite simple: lime and Bully Boy happiness. That white rum just gives off sugar cookies, bunny sneezes, and rainbow dust. It’s like a Disney movie in a glass. Until the booze kicks in. Then it’s like parts of Alice in Wonderland.

It tastes like a bubbly Daiquri… a perfect combination of tart, sweet, and spirit. With bubbles. The club soda (and ice) dilute the drink down a touch, but does help to make it a bit more refreshing; I find regular Daiquiris just make me want another Daiquiri, whereas this drink is a bit more thirst-quenching. Quite nice on a day when my lower region is sitting in a puddle of dampness.
Yeah. That was gross. I agree.
But the drink is really really tasty.

Especially today.

Rule 37: Painkiller

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



This spring has been irritating.
Largely it’s been cold. Then a little warmer. Then suddenly 90 degress for three days. Then back down to the low 60s. Now it’s hovering in the 70s and incredibly humid.

The weather in Maine is like a cat trying to decide which side of the door to be on.

Well I’ve had it. Time for tropical drinks. It’s warm enough.
(Actually, up here it’s pronounced “wum.”)


rule37essentialcocktailHaving exhausted the recipes of Dale DeGroff’s Craft of the Cocktail over the past several years, I finally sprung for his second book, The Essential Cocktail. This one has quite a bit more design work in it, lots of photography, and more information about the individual recipes, specific ingredients, and techniques. However, this means there are a lot fewer actual recipes, and many of them (as feared) are repeated from Craft of the Cocktail. Still, there are enough new ones to keep me happy, and the book is divided up into categories (classics, sours, tropicals, etc) which is helpful for finding a particular KIND of drink, rather than just skimming an alphabetical list of recipes.

Wanting a fruity tasty tropical drink, I merely perused the fruity tasty tropical drink section. Simple. What was not so simple was finding a drink I hadn’t had before. The Painkiller was a familiar name, but hadn’t been dumped down my gullet, so let’s mix this one up.


rule37painkillerPainkiller
From Dale DeGroff’s The Essential Cocktail

- 2 oz Navy Rum (Pusser’s recommended, used Sailor Jerry)
- 1 oz coconut cream (Coco Lopez)
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz orange juice

Mix it up, shake it up, pour over ice. This can be a tall or a short glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg. Dale is very insistent on that point. I also tossed an orange peel in there.


So, a couple things to note: navy rum is specified here, which is generally a higher proof. The Pusser’s Dale recommends varies in strength, depending on where you get it, but in the US it’s generally 94 proof. Also, apparently Pusser’s decided to TRADEMARK the “Painkiller” in 2003, and claim ownership, like Gosling’s did with a “Dark ‘N Stormy.” I think it’s kind of a dick move, and their 4 oz of pineapple juice is quite different from the version used here. So between that and the use of Sailor Jerry, by law, this technically isn’t a Painkiller. Ugh.

After that legal nonsense, I need some sort of drink… to… kill… the pain.


Nose: Well, with that fresh nutmeg grated across the top, that’s about all there is to smell. I’ll have to reevaluate after sipping some off.

A good stir mixes that nutmeg down into the drink, and now I get aromas of coconut, pineapple and orange. There’s a touch of vanilla sweetness as well, but in general, the aroma sum does not add up to more than its separate parts. I can clearly identify each ingredient. Not that it’s bad – they’re all quite tropical and yummy – but it doesn’t really mesh together as well. Perhaps it will in the taste.

rule37painkiller_altTaste: OOOOOoooohhhhhhh hominahomniahominakerzam. That’s gooooooooooooood. The flavors do mingle together a bit better in the taste, but are still identifiable. Coconut cream lovliness all over everything. Pineapple sweet tropical fruit. A touch of orange tart (I hesitate to say tart, as fresh orange juice is generally pretty sweet, but compared to the coconut and pineapple, the orange IS the citrus tart in this drink). The rum is harder to identify. Sailor Jerry is a SPICED navy rum, with a LOT of vanilla in the bouquet and flavor, but it’s no match for the other flavors in here. The nutmeg really adds a nice spice to the finish, and helps create another layer other than fruity sweetness. Don’t leave it out of this drink: it really works. There’s a very slight alcohol sour hiding underneath, but mostly this is one you could pound without even tasting the booze. Hence the higher proof rums… you’ll never notice them in here. Coconut and pineapple make almost everything taste wonderful, but this drink is a touch too sweet. It could use a little splash of lime tart, and some bitters would just make it better, but as-is this is alarmingly tasty.


Trademarked or not, this tasty concoction can will get you into trouble.

Rule 37: Nolita

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



This one came from an idle afternoon snooping around Kindred Cocktails, which is proving to be a very handy resource. A recent blast down to MA brought the NH State Liquor store across our path, and since the Lady Friend was taking advantage of a St Germain sale, I did some wandering of my own, coming away with a sale-priced bottle of Kahlua. How I’ve gone this long without some Kahlua on the bar, I’m not sure, but I do know it rules out a lot of new drinks, being a gap in the ingredients available. So now I have some. And need to use it.

Kindred Cocktails lets you search by a particular ingredient, and after several unappealing suggestions, I decided to go with this Negroni variation. It’s simply splits the sweet vermouth with the coffee liqueur. Tia Maria also comes up for this sort of thing, but for now the Kahlua will have to do. According to the creator on San Diego Food Finds, this one is named as a mashup of “Negroni” and “Cafe Lolita,” apparently a brand of coffee liqueur. Don’t have that, but do have Kahlua, so in we go.


rule37nolitaNolita
From San Diego Food Finds via Kindred Cocktails

- 1 oz gin (I used GTD Wire Works because it’s AWESOME.)
- 1 oz Campari
- 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
- 1/2 oz coffee liqueur (Kahlua)
- 1 dash bitters*

It’s a Negroni at heart, so STIR it. Use Julep strainer and serve up or on the rocks. I prefer my Negronis (or variations) on the rocks with one giant monster ice block. Garnish with a lemon peel.


*Yeah, so they simply say “dash of bitters” but neglect to specify WHAT bitters. I could go with orange here, which would play nicely in the Campari flavors, but with that addition of coffee liqueur, I’m going to use the old standby, Angostura. I’m assuming that when people say “bitters” but don’t specify, they mean Angostura. A little cinnamon/spice should also work here.

Nose: Actually, with that big iceberg in there, I don’t really get much aroma at all. There’s a hint of gin botanicals, and a very subdued Campari, but that’s about it.

rule37nolitabottlesTaste: Cold. Slightly syrup mouthfeel, as can be expected from that Campari ooze. Light gin up front, followed by bittersweet puckering orange Campari, and finishes with a coffee roast. I really wish this was more dramatic, but that’s how it is. It’s quite nice, but it’s a Negroni with some coffee flavor. For the second sip, I rolled it around in my mouth a bit more to warm it a touch, and it had a bit of a numbing effect from the booze rather than the cold. The gin is certainly prevalent, matched with the Campari spice. I’m sure this would be quite a bit rougher without the vermouth, but I can’t really pick out any of its essence among the big flavors. Again, the finish is a coffee roast, like a good stout/porter, bitter rather than mocha or dark chocolate. I bet Kahlua gets somewhat chocolatey when mixed with whiskey, but with the brighter, sharper flavors in a Negroni, it sets itself apart as the darker ingredient. The Angostura is nowhere to be found, though I suspect it’s lurking in the finish sheltered by the coffee flavors.

This is quite nice with the Wire Works, an American style gin, which eases off of the juniper a touch. I think the combination of a big, brash London Dry style would be an odd pairing of pine and coffee.


Is this a good time to say that I don’t drink/like coffee?

Even so, this is a good alternative to a regular Negroni. Something about it feels more like a cold, damp, rainy day drink. A little brown liqueur in an otherwise bright drink. It dims things down a bit.
Wonderful.

Rule 37: Blue Hawaiian

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



There’s a monster lizard!!!



What started as a predicted “2-4 inches beginning in early afternoon” before the main blizzard event rapidly escalated when at 7am, there was a blanket of 4″+. Yeah. Apparently some sort of “microburst” which “didn’t show up on radar” hit Portland and dumped half a foot. BEFORE the actual blizzard. Awesome.

Weathermen/women should be publicly whipped when they’re this wrong.
Or take a pay cut.

I know which would be more entertaining on the 11 o’clock news.

Yes, I’ve heard it before: it’s nearly impossible to predict the weather. So… why is that a profession? Couldn’t we just throw darts at a board of weather events with about the same rate of accuracy? Or let a monkey do it? (That would be awesome.) It’s not even that they’re so constantly wrong: it’s that there’s no accountability. Why is this a magic job with no consequences for consistently poor performance?
And how do I get this job?


So, the Lady Friend and I were discharged from work at noon, and proceeded to spend the rest of the day drinking stouts, and watching The Empire Strikes Back, certainly both fine choices for a snowy afternoon. But then it was cocktail time, and something had to be done. I had already decided I wanted something with rum. And pineapple. Because screw you, snow. It’s going to be tropical in my belly.


This one comes from The Rum 1000 by Ray Foley. It’s a half decent go-to if you’re looking specifically for rum drinks, but a tad annoying, as many cocktails are named by brand. I don’t need different recipes for an Appleton Daiquiri, a Bacardi Daiquiri, a spiced Daiquiri, and several other variations. At least there wasn’t a Captain Morgan’s Daiquiri. Wait… the “spiced” one was. Ugh. I guess it was a bit of a stretch to get to 1,000 recipes. But basically a lot of them have rum and pineapple, so I picked one and went for it.


rule37bluehawaiianBlue Hawaiian
From The Rum 1000 by Ray Foley

- 1 oz white rum (Bully Boy!)
- 1 oz blue curaçao
- 1 oz coconut cream (Coco Lopez)
- 2 oz pineapple juice

The book says to “blend with a scoop of crushed ice until smooth” and serve in “a glass.” Very detailed. I went a different route. Shake everything as normal, strain into a snow-filled pineapple cup, garnish with a cherry, pineapple slice, and a whole bunch of tropical tiki junk. Drink. Repeat until the snow stops.


Broke out the tastilicious Bully Boy on this one, and juiced up some fresh pineapple. Coconut cream makes everything taste happy (Coco Lopez has a squeeze bottle… use that. It’s much easier than the can) and blue curaçao turned everything blue-green. The pineapple cup took some doing, but was worth it just for the occasion. I wish I had made it bigger.

The drink smells… well, like sugar cookie rum, pineapple, and coconut. There’s a slight astringency from the rum, but this isn’t a complex sipper. A couple dashes of Angostura bitters would really help this along, but it’s not necessary. Somehow any drink that uses blue curaçao doesn’t seem worthy of bitters.

It tastes… well, again, about how it smells. The coconut cream is forefront in the flavor, which a choking sweetness and syrupy texture. Bully Boy rummy goodness adds to the sweet, but the booze helps cut through a bit. The pineapple just kind of hangs out in the background making everything juicy and happy. I don’t get any of the blue curaçao, though a touch of that alcohol astringency might be from that triple sec dryness.

It’s not terribly complex, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s a super-sweet tropical drink to make you forget about the accumulating snowdrifts. Sunshine in a cup. If you have enough of them, you can actually feel the deck of the cruise ship sway under your feet. Don’t fall overboard. There’s no water: just snow.

Rule 37: Jack-In-The-Box Cocktail

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.



I just wanted something tasty.
That’s all.
Minimal effort.
You know, one of those Friday evenings when you don’t want to think/blog too hard.
Oh, you don’t have a blog?
I do, and sometimes it’s a pain royale with cheese. Until I have a drink or two. Then it’s easy.

The usual Friday night routine involves finding/choosing a unique Rule 37 drink because I haven’t bothered to do that step in the preceding week. Usually. Sometimes I do, and that makes everything easier. When I have a starting place, it helps a lot. Once the drink has been chosen, I have to think of the “hero,” or main shot of the cocktail itself because I haven’t bothered to do that step either. This means choosing the right glass, deciding on a lighting setup, choosing a background, testing the lighting setup, deciding it doesn’t work, redoing a different lighting setup, chilling the glass, making the drink, making the garnish, getting the chilled glass out of the freezer, pouring the drink and staging the garnish all before the foam/oil on the drink surface dissipates and the frost on the glass melts. Before I even get to taste it.

First world problems. I am aware of this.


In hopes of finding something simple, I started flipping through a 1965 edition of Mr. Boston and found some wacky stuff, but this one didn’t seem too outrageous. Just equal parts apple brandy and pineapple juice, with a dash of bitters. I’ll give it a try.

There doesn’t seem to be much history or story behind this one, though many examples of the drink appear throughout Teh Interwebz, though one is a completely different concoction using vodka. Ick.


rule37jackintheboxJack-in-the-Box Cocktail
From Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide, 1965 ed.

- 1 oz apple brandy (Laird’s)
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- Dash of bitters (Angostura)

Old Mr. Boston sez “Shake well with cracked ice and strain into 3oz cocktail glass.”
Simple enough. Shake it VERY well to get a nice foamy pineapple juice, and serve it in a chilled glass. I made a double, which fit quite nicely into a modern 5oz cocktail glass.



Yup. Pretty easy. I don’t have any FRESH pineapple juice on hand at the moment, so the canned will sadly have to suffice for tonight. One review stressed using the fresh juice, and normally I agree, but I don’t have a method of juicing fresh pineapple. Yet. Citrus fruits, yes; large tropical hard fruits, not so much. The drink turned a lovely orange-pink color, but it looks lonely without a garnish.

rule37jackintheboxbottlesIn we go. Well. It smells of apples and the so-called pined apples. They kind of battle back and forth between tart and sweet, with the crisp apple seeming almost sour up against the syrupy tropical nectar. There’s an astringency in there as well (the Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy is 100 proof) which is likely providing some of the sourness, and deep underneath lurks the cinnamon spice of the Angostura. I suspect that the drink needed a heftier dose of bitters, but we’ll see when I sample it.

There’s also a waft of mildew from the Old Mr. Boston. Old indeed.

Sour start. It’s the apple tart combined with the alcohol that begins the drink with a frowny note. The pineapple washes in to cheer everything up, all sugar and sunshine, then a kick of booze stings the tongue pushing the pineapple aside. The Angostura comes in on the heels of the alcohol fire with a dry spice linger in both the flavor and mouthfeel. It finishes a tad sour and dry overall. Sometimes that apple brandy lends a sweetness, and sometimes a tart sour depending on the other ingredients.It plays the part well, lending that alcohol pucker when you need it, or an apple crisp sweetness when up against bitter foes, like Chartreuse.


rule37jackintheboxaltIt’s by no means bad, but just not as fruity and sweet as I would have expected. Quite well balanced, actually, as pineapple just can be TOO sweet if you let it. The Angostura really did come through in the flavor, and the play of apple and pineapple wound up being more interesting than anticipated. You could make a milder, sweeter version of this using the regular 80-proof Applejack, but I think the added boozage helps tame the tropical sweetness to a good balance. I’m dying to try this with FRESH juice and reevaluate. Perhaps soon.

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