Rule 37: Hanky Panky

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.



Yikes.
I didn’t know what I was getting into with this cocktail. I just wanted something simple, but this one comes with a lot of history. I’ll try to make it brief.

The Hanky Panky Cocktail is an old one, coming from the famed American Bar at the Savoy Hotel and head bartendress, Ada Coleman, wonderfully described in this LUPEC post. As for the cocktail, here’s the story, in her words:

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



rule37hankypankybottlesSince it was an official Savoy cocktail, it got put into Harry Craddock’s (who was the head bartender at the Savoy after Ada) also-famous Savoy Cocktail Book. And since it’s in the Savoy Cocktail Book, it’s covered over on the Savoy Stomp blog, which attempts to go through the entire book, drink by drink. There’s also some further info over at Cold Glass, where the use of particular vermouths is discussed. Like the Historic Core Cocktail, I think this one would really benefit from a big, flavorful vermouth like Carpano Antica or Punt y Mes. I have Martini & Rossi. Work with what you have.


rule37hankypankyHanky Panky
Originally from Ada Coleman’s American Bar
Recipe from Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book

- 1 1/2 oz gin (GTD Wire Works)
- 1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)
- 2 dashes Fernet Branca

Stir (no juices involved) and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel. Don’t skimp on the garnish with this one… it’ll make a difference.



Sooooo… it’s basically a Sweet Martini with some Fernet in it. Ok then. Not my usual type of thing, but let’s give it a try. I’m using GrandTen’s Wire Works American Gin in this one to ease off the juniper a touch. Savoy Stomp suggests using “a gin with some spine” but I’m not the biggest fan of the London Dry juniper bombs. Plus, Wire Works is awesome.


Nose: Yup. Smells like orange. Must be all those orangy oils I spritzed over the top. Will have to reevaluate after sipping some off. There is a botanical gin quality below the orange… astringent, juniper, and a sweetness. There’s the barest hint of menthol/mint from the Fernet Branca, but it’s buried deep down.

Taste: Rounded pine and juniper. Herbs. Mint. Medicine. Eucalyptus. A boozy quality, but not burning… more warm than hot. Bittersweet and mouth-puckering, yet rounded out by the vermouth. Dry, herbal finish with woody spruce notes.

Whoa.

That’s an interesting tipple. I was worried that I either put too much or not enough Fernet in this one. It’s powerful stuff, and the recipe specifies two drops. I put the barest splash – a splish really – into the mixing glass and it comes through very well without overwhelming the drink. The Wire Works does get a bit weak in the mixture, which is what Savoy Stomp was referring to… you need a bigger gin. I’m still pleased with the Wire Works, as I think it creates a softer drink, but others might want that slap of pine from a London Dry style. Quite sippable.


Let’s see what SHE thinks:

rule37hankypankyalt“I still get orange peel in the smell, but I smell the juniper fragrance. Hmm. I’m initially shocked at how sweet and smooth it is. I get sort of a grapey sweetness balanced very well with that juniper floral… hmmm. It’s not bad, it could probably use just a touch less sweet vermouth, but that’s a very easy way to take gin. You want to appreciate a good gin, and I think I got a little too much of the vermouth. I wouldn’t say it’s bad, but I think it dominated. I forgot about Fernet Branca! …I don’t get much of that. Maybe I would pick up more of the Fernet if the vermouth wasn’t as much.”

Review: Stella Artois Chalice


“It’s a chalice, not a glass.”



stella_chalicesSo, I belong to a word-of-mouth marketing group called BzzAgent. Every once in awhile they send me some free stuff, and I tell people about it. Pretty simple. Occasionally, they have BOOZE stuff, which is pretty much why I signed up in the first place. This is one of those times. They sent me a logo’d 33cl (~11.2oz) drinking chalice to drink their beer with. I already had the 40cl (~13.5oz) bigger sister, likely from some bar giveaway, but unique glassware is always fun. Until I have to move again.


Stella Artois is the current campaign, and they sent me a glass chalice. They like it when you call it a chalice. Stella is a Belgian lager, and a big brand of Anheuser-Busch InBev which is pretty much the largest producer of beer in the world. I would show you some choice quotes from the legal agreement they sent out, but that link has mysteriously disappeared. Basically I’m not supposed to mention any other brands and just stick to the Stella basics, which is difficult because I like to compare things. For example, there may be another beer company who made it a point to create their own custom drinking glass to enhance the flavor of their product. Just saying. It happens.

Not that this is anything new. A great number of breweries, especially in Europe, have brand-specific glassware to serve their beers in. The theory is that the shape, size, thickness, and other features of the glass are tailored to each individual beer and everything tastes better. Certainly glassware makes a difference. You wouldn’t want a martini served in a plastic red cup, or a fine scotch sipped through a twisty straw (well, maybe you would, but you know what I’m saying). So that’s where Stella is coming from. They’re also big about the ritual of the drink. There’s a certain well-known Irish stout that also has a bit of ritual for a proper pour, but the Stella dance is a NINE STEP NUMBER:


stella_ninesteps

Yikes.



Now, I’ve never known a bartender to go through that many steps to pour a beer, despite what the commercials say. Even on a train. But then I don’t order Stella that much. The tastiest one I ever had was from a keg, but most likely you’ll find it in a bottle. A green glass bottle. Green glass doesn’t block as much light as brown glass, and the beer gets skunky, like a number of other imported European brews. In sciency talk, the beer is light-struck in a process called photodegregation. When the light-sensitive isohumulones in the hops are exposed to light, they break down creating, among other things, sulfurous atoms creating the undesirable aromas and flavors. Why they haven’t made the switch to UV-blocking brown glass despite this known flaw is beyond me, but I suspect it has to do with brand recognition. Some argue that the sulfurous qualities are intentionally created traits in certain brews. I don’t really buy that. I’ve had both good and bad examples from the same brewery, so either way, inconsistencies exist in the product. Maybe it’s from being light-struck, maybe not, but a beer brewed in Europe has plenty of opportunity to sit in less-than-ideal conditions, even on the supermarket shelf. So let’s do the ritual and see if the chalice can enhance my Skunky Artois.


stella_steps


I had my bottle chilled and ready to go. The glass was washed purified, and I popped unveiled the bottle. The alchemy part was fun, but I skipped the plum bob for the crown, also known as building a head. Having misplaced my antique Belgian dagger, I went with a samurai sword for the beheading. It seemed to work just fine. The head crown was judged to be exquisite, I cleansed my glass chalice, and bestowed the frosty beverage upon myself.

Man, this terminology gets tricky.


stella_closeupSo, how did it work out?
Well, the brew nosed sweet with cereal grains, and a mild skunky aroma. Not the worst one I’ve smelled, but that sulfur musk is still in there. It does smell corn sweet, which makes sense as corn is an adjunct used in the brew. It’s even bragged about as part of their ad campaigns.

The taste?
Well, it’s a little too sweet. Very rounded, very pleasing, very refreshing. I can’t say that I notice the difference the chalice makes to the taste, as opposed to swigging straight from the bottle. The chalice does impart a nice handfeel… there’s some weight to the chunky stem that counterbalances the liquid. The stem also allows you to handle the chalice without touching the reservoir itself, which would raise the temperature of the beer from the heat of your hand. Lagers should generally be served as cold as possible. Stella recommends serving at 36°-38°F, just a shade above freezing. Bad things happen to warm lagers.


Did it make a difference? Maybe, but it certainly didn’t hurt. Having a little ritual to a beverage can be nice sometimes, but other times you just pour the beer already. Either way, now I’ve got a brewery-specific piece of glassware should I pick up some more Stella. Actually, I’ve got one more bottle in the fridge, so I guess it’s time to start the ritual over again.




Squirrel Farts is now accepting solicited product reviews! Send me a bottle and I’ll take a pretty picture and talk it up in the amusing tangential manner you’ve come to expect. Beer, spirits, mixers, whatever. Contact here for details. Note: I will mention that the review was solicited, hell, I’ll even brag about it. Free booze? Damn right. But The Man says I have to say I got it for freebies. I’m excited about free stuff, so whatever. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ll like it, or that I’ll give it a good review. But chances are if you read this blog, then we’ll get along. Put it to the test: send me your booze!

Rule 37: The Diamondback

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.



Sometimes Teh Interwebz works out the way it’s supposed to.

A couple weeks ago I did a post on the Historic Core Cocktail, which was pretty wild. I happened across another blog in the research, Tempered Spirits, and its author commented back with a suggestion:


rule37diamondback_comment

Sounds awesome. Boozy, but awesome.



Always open to suggestions, I decided to give it a try. I suspect it’s going to be another big boy drink, with those two bonded liquors, and the 110 proof Chartreuse. Kindred Cocktails came to the rescue again here with a little more information. Apparently, there are two versions of this cocktail, one with yellow Chartreuse, and one with the more powerful green (I like to call it Chartreuse2 ). The history is spelled out pretty well on this other site, but the gist is that yellow Chartreuse was originally used until Murray Stenson of Seattle’s Zig Zag Cafe (a well-known craft cocktail mecca) put some green in the mix to liven things up. It’s also listed on this OTHER cocktail site from way back in 2005 when Hollaback Girl was a thing. The green-utilized recipe become adopted as the modern version, so that’s what I’m going with.

Also, yes, we have no bananas yellow Chartreuse.


rule37diamondbackDiamondback
Suggested by Tempered Spirits

- 1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye whiskey
- 3/4 oz Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy
- 3/4 oz Green Chartrueuse

All booze.
Stir this one until icy cold. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass of your choosing. A cherry is suitable for the garnish, though optional. Having a personal cache of homemade cocktail cherries, I opted to include it.



Nose: A decently complex nose snorter. Sweet herbal notes like licorice/anise, laundry detergent, fancy guest soaps and potpourri waft above. Below there’s a warning warmth of alcoholic strength, cooking the nostrils, and hints of brown sugar with apple sweetness. The herbal Chartreuse dominates the aromas here, and you can smell the booze below.

This is either going to be fantastic or vile.

Taste: Alcohol sour, though the cold helps to numb. Bitter herbs and cinnamon spice warmth spreading from the outer edges of the tongue inwards. Fresh green herbs, alcohol heat tingling the tongue and gums. Cinnamon spice again, or is it a tangy botanical of sorts? A lovely hint of apple sweet cruising placidly in the lower currents. The top end is heat, hot coals, a slow burning fire. Rye snap and alcohol sting, and the herbs turn to a floral sensation as the heat passes. Sweet, sugary sensation, I suspect from the liqueur, but with a powerhouse of flavor. This one is complex. This one is boozy. This one is EXCELLENT.


Let’s see what SHE thinks:
“Smells like a sweet apple/caramel. I smell caramel apple mixed with like a whiskey smell. I don’t get Chartreuse. I don’t get anything herbally… from the smell I get mainly the whiskey, but with a little apple.”

I think her nose is on the fritz. Let’s move on.

“Alcohol burn. Hmmm.

I’m waiting for something.


I get an herbalness to the finish. Oooh. Now I really do. But that took awhile.”

Huh. I think her mouth is broken too.


So, apparently we have wildly differing views on what this drink smells and tastes like. She smelled caramel apples and didn’t notice the Chartreuse at all. Where I found lovely complex layers in an alcohol-fueled oven, she tasted nothing but booze and some slight herbs in the finish.

I dunno what to make of that.
But I say it’s a fantastic cocktail.

Rule 37: Fernet Branca 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.



Ok. We’re hitting the Fernet Branca tonight. Here we go.

rule37fernetbrancacocktail_bottleI was looking for something-or-other in Dale DeGroff’s Craft of the Cocktail and stumbled upon the “F” pages. The Lady Friend got her Rule 37 cocktail, the Fancy Tequila Cocktail (like a Margarita, but with orange juice), and I got mine: the Fernet Branca Cocktail. I’m a bit late to the whole Fernet Branca craze, but certainly have been an enthusiastic convert. Here’s the deal.

Fernet Branca is an Italian spirit, an amaro, very bitter and herbal, and touted as a digestif. Fernet is the TYPE of amaro (like bourbon is a type of whiskey) and Branca is the specific brand, taken from its inventor’s name, Bernardino Branca. It’s from back in 1845, and claims to have medicinal properties, again, as a digestif or stomach remedy. Listen to Bill’s story.



So, it’ll help you out in times of, shall we say, gastric distress. But seriously, it really does seem to help indigestion and such. Packed with 27 herbs at bottled 78 proof it’s bound to do SOMETHING. The flavor takes some getting used to, and most people it seems never get used to it. I personally started to enjoy it after about my third sip, but it’s wild: dark, bitter, dry, herbal (I know I know, I keep saying that, but there’s not a lot of other adjectives that cover it) and minty. Yup. It finishes kind of menthol/minty. There is a mint version (Branca Mente) as well in case the regular version isn’t minty enough. Apparently Fernet Branca is insanely popular in San Francisco, as a shot with ginger ale back, and in Argentina where they mix it with Coca Cola. It’s even become somewhat of a handshake or nod among bartenders. I like mine IN ginger ale, as a highball, on Sunday nights following a weekend of liver torture. Good for what ails ya. But here’s a cocktail version.



rule37fernetbrancacocktailFernet Branca Cocktail
From Dale DeGroff’s Craft of the Cocktail

- 2 oz gin (Tanqueray)
- 1/2 oz Fernet Branca
- 3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)

That’s it. No juice here, so pour it into a mixing glass, add ice, and stir.
Serve in a chilled cocktail glass (or on the rocks if you prefer) and garnish with a flamed lemon peel.





Well, based on the ingredients, it seems like it’s going to be interesting. Somewhat like a Negroni, using gin, amaro, and sweet vermouth, but the proportions are way off (Negroni is equal parts). That Fernet Branca is going to be wildly different from Campari, and there’s a lot more gin to deal with. I’m frightened. Hold me.


First impression of the aroma is of the Fernet Branca mint/menthol, with a sickly sweet floral gin essence mingling in. Fernet Branca is powerful stuff, and I think it’s going to take four times more gin to counteract it. It’s that herbal medicine with some gin.

In we go.

Bitter. Right off. Some bark and cinnamon, then various dry herbs. Dry spice, not savory. Lavender? That would be the gin coming in now with floral and citrus notes. It’s alcohol warm all the way through, and finishes minty/piney, like candy canes on a Christmas tree. It’s boozy and a flavor punch. Bitter overall, so don’t chug these down like a tiki drink. This is more like an aperitif. Or digestif. I’m not sure which. Probably both. The Fernet Branca is a renowned digestif, but vermouth is typically an aperitif. Gin is gin. Screw it: drink it whenever you want. But carefully.

Another note: serve this one in a CHILLED glass and drink it as cold as possible. I’m not sure why, but I’m getting the impression that this one would taste absolutely vile at room temperature. There’s a lot of herbs, spices, flowers, and citrus here, but it’s very very dry overall, and none of those attributes get better in a lukewarm drink. Served hot might be a different story, but tepid is going to be a train wreck.


rule37fernetbrancacocktail_altHere’s the Lady Friend:
*Brow furrows. Bitter face.* “I get gin, an alcoholy burn, then the Fernet.”
No no no. Don’t tell me what’s in it, tell me what it TASTES like. Close your eyes, take a good sip, swirl it around in your mouth, swallow, and chew it for a second and tell me what you’re TASTING.
Piney in the beginning. Christmas tree, alcohol, just alcohol, maybe a little grapeyness, kind of like grapey spicy though. Spicy, not like chili spice, but like cinnamony, but not like really, but more in that direction. Spicy. And I’m still tasting Christmas tree.”
Ok. Much better. Now we’ve got some adjectives. Wasn’t too far off from my impressions, but sometimes it’s a struggle to get her to use her WORDS.


So, there it is. Dry, spicy, bitter, but not bad overall. An avant ou apres repas sipper. Just don’t let it get warm.

Absinthe: The history stuff.

Absinthe!
Strap in, we’re doing this.

So, I got some absinthe samples from absinthes.com to review, which I’m very excited about. The thing is, I feel like a lot of people still don’t really know much about absinthe: what it is, where it’s from, if it’s legal, and if it’ll make you hallucinate green fairies. Well, before I get to the actual reviews, I’ll explain what the deal is with absinthe so we’re all on the same page. Then I’ll drink some free samples and see if it’s any good. Ok? Great.


Let’s start at the beginning. Absinthe is an alcoholic spirit. It’s distilled from a variety of herbs and botanicals, and generally tastes of anise, or black licorice. It can be clear, yellow, green, or even red in color (I bought a bottle of Great Lakes Distillery’s Amerique 1912 Rouge, which is a light red color, on a visit earlier this year). It became wildly popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, especially in Europe, especially in Paris, and especially among artsy types like Van Gogh, Wilde, and Hemingway. The trouble came with one of the main ingredients, grand wormwood, which contains a chemical called thujone. Thujone allegedly produces hallucinations, (some say it’s why Van Gogh cut off his ear) and is responsible for absinthe’s nickname, “la fée verte” or “The Green Fairy.”

It, um, doesn’t really glow like that either.



So, this stuff was popular right around the time the Temperance movement was a major force. The US wound up banning absinthe because of it’s alleged psychoactive ingredient, the thujone-containing wormwood.

The real deal is:
a) No absinthe ever really had enough thujone in it to do much of anything.

b) Absinthe is a high-proof spirit (generally 90 proof/45% abv or higher) which in large does could probably cause you to see some wacky things like pink elephants or green fairies.

c) You’d die of alcohol poisoning long before the thujone in absinthe made you go crazy.

d) The European wine industry was in ruins.


Wait, what? WTF does wine have do do with this? Well, it’s a big deal.

In the 1860s, a bug called Phylloxera was brought to France and decided it really liked to eat grapevines, and it devastated the industry. Seriously. Like 40% of all the vineyards in France were wiped out. It’s called the Great French Wine Blight. So wine and brandy (made from grapes) was pretty hard to come by and absinthe became the popular drink of choice. By the turn of the century, the vineyards were recovering (the solution was to graft bug-resistant roots from North America onto the French vines) but absinthe was dominating the market. So, the winemakers started spreading rumors about the toxic and hallucinogenic effects of absinthe and even said it would make you go crazy and kill your family. Better drink good ol’ wine instead. See how sneaky that was? Yeah, well, it worked. Many countries bought into the hype (or were paid off) and banned absinthe, including the US in 1912.

And it stayed banned.
For 95 years.



But it’s back now. Basically what started to happen was a renewed interest in classic cocktails and liquors. Absinthe was all over the old-timey drink recipes, but you couldn’t get it anywhere. Several anise-flavored alternatives were available: pastis like Pernod, Ricard, Herbsaint, and even an absinthe substitute, Absente liqueur. So demand for this banned liquor was growing, and some sciency boffins did the research and concluded that the whole thujone thing was banana oil. Horsefeathers. Malarkey. Countries began lifting their bans and many found, like Great Britain, that it had never actually been banned in the first place. In 2007 the US decided to finally accept that there was no reason to continue their ban, and legalized absinthe once again, though only thujone-free. And you can’t depict anything trippy on the label. Seriously.



So, you can buy (thujone-free) absinthe in the liquor stores again and drink it without worry.
It’ll get you drunk, but you won’t hallucinate, and you won’t kill your family.
Probably.

…aaaaand just for fun, here’s Kylie as a green absinthe fairy.


Rule 37: Historic Core 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.



Cocktail time!

The Lady Friend received a bottle of green Chartreuse from her parents for Christmas, so we needed to put that to use. Right away. Chartreuse is interesting stuff: it’s an herbal liqueur from France, was originally made by monks, and comes in a couple different versions. There’s a yellower, mellower version, a super expensive fancy version called V.E.P. (Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé or “really old”), and the standard green version. Fun fact: Chartreuse is the only liquor/liqueur to have a color named after it. What color is Chartreuse? It’s Chartreuse. Outside of France, you’re most likely to come across Chartreuse in a Prohibition-era cocktail that has been somewhat revieved, the Last Word.


no9_lastwordBut I’ve already had a Last Word before. Several. Two occasions in particular are noteworthy: one at Drink when the Lady Friend and I went on our first date (yup, took her drinkin’), and another on Repeal Day in 2011 when Ted, bar manager at No. 9 Park, sent over a round for us after hearing that we were out celebrating the drinker’s holiday. The Last Word is tasty, but what else can you make with Chartreuse?

The Lady Friend intended to find out just that. She wound up on a site called Kindred Cocktails, which looks like a fantastically awesome resource for future cocktail quests. I don’t recall what Chartreuse-inclusive recipe she wound up making, but she also found one that looked like a winner for me. It’s called the Historic Core Cocktail, and seems to have been invented by a bartender in L.A. named John Coltharp in 2008. Apparently, it was part of a cocktail competition where bartenders had to create cocktails that represented the different parts of the city. Coltharp wound up with the “Historic Core” and started mixing some fun stuff, namely rye whiskey, applejack and Chartreuse. Sounds right up my alley. It also made it into a cocktail book called Left Coast Libations, and the recipe on Kindred Cocktails was attributed to that. Much like this other author, I was kind of excited that I actually had the correct ingredients on hand, except the Carpano Antica vermouth. I generally use Martini & Rossi Rosso because a) it’s easy to find and b) I don’t go through vermouth quickly enough to justify buying the nice stuff. Vermouth tends to last for about a month after opening if you keep it in the fridge. Rossi isn’t as lively as Carpano Antica or Punt e Mes, but it’s more affordable for a consumable until I can find smaller bottles of the nice stuff.


Historic Core Cocktail
By John Coltharp.
From Kindred Cocktails and Left Coast Libations

- 1.5 oz rye whiskey (Rittenhouse)
- .5 oz apple brandy (Laird’s)
- .5 oz Chartreuse (green)
- .5 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)
- Generous dash bitters (Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters)

No juice in this one, so STIR it, and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel after squeezing the oils across the top of the drink.


Did you see that? TWO ingredients that are bottled-in-bond, and therefore, 100 proof: the Rittenhouse and the Laird’s. Chartreuse is no slouch either, with a 110 proof sucker punch.The recipe calls for Angostura, but with the rest of the team bringing their A-game, I figured I’d let the Fee Bros Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters come out to play. Go big or go home. Except I am home. Does that mean I don’t have to go big? Wait, what?

Never mind.


Nose: Predominantly apple. With booze. Strange, because there’s only a half ounce of the Laird’s in there. Powerful stuff. I can see the lemon oils swirling across the surface, like 10W 40 on asphalt after a rain shower. There is a bit of lemony essence, but mostly apple. And booze. Did I mention the booze? Yeah, it’s there. Not searing hot in the nostrils like a snort of acetone, but a warm warning. I might be getting a tinge of darkness, from the whiskey and bitters, but it’s hard to detect. A very very slight vegetative musk lurks in there too. Those herbs are up to no good.

Taste: BY THE CROWN OF ZEUS. Whoaowmunummeowzlebub. That’s a-spicy meat-a-ball. Lots of heat in the flavor: some alcoholic burn, some herbs and spices. This isn’t the Colonel’s secret recipe however. Very complex, with a lot going on. I’d take another mouthful to try to walk through the electrical storm of sensations, but I think half of my tongue is numb. My gums are tingling too. They won’t stop. Making another approach. Roger, Squirrelfarts has the ball.

Ok.

Ow.
Alcohol.
Ow.
Herbal Chartreuse.
More of it.
Whiskey, dark, syrup.
Apple.
Astringent alcohol.
Tingle.
Tingle.
Tingle.
Spices. Cinnamon, bark, leaves.
Anise; Licorice.
Astringency eases off.
Dark spices left. Slight syrup. Apple sweetness.
Fresh cut grass? Seriously. Where did that come from?
Brown sugar.


rule37historiccorecocktail_bottlesWowsers.
I think I like it. I’m not sure. I do know that after about a third of this drink, I’m starting to feel the booze kick in. Warm happy warm booze. Make no mistake: this is a potent drink. 2oz of 100 proof liquor, 1/2oz of 110 proof Chartreuse. Oh, and a little vermouth. Yowza.

Oh I totally have to inflict this on the Lady Friend. This should be good. Standby.

“*furrows brow* I get mainly the Rittenhouse. I was searching for the Chartreuse. I get a little herbal essence towards the end, but it mainly tastes like a Manhattan to me. A little bit of sweetness, I guess from the applejack, but I don’t get a lot of the Chartreuse in that. I would assume it would be like a Pernod-rinsed glass. I was figuring that Chartreuse would be like Pernod, like a little would go a long way, and it would overpower a cocktail. Now I’m excited to use it. It adds just a little dimension.

I suggested that she take a good mouthful instead of the dainty little sips she usually employs.

Hmmmm. I guess I could see almost a 50/50 split with the rye and the Chartreuse. It’s a lot of flavor. It’s three big boys fighting. I don’t get the apple so much. The other two are a lot bigger. I do get a little bit of apple sweetness though. It’s not LOST, but the other two are much more prominent.
It’s good though.”
“For the amount of alcohol that’s in there, it’s actually quite palatable.



I think she’s associating the alcohol heat solely with the Rittenhouse, which I found to be a secondary player in this cocktail, despite the ratios. Sure, there’s a whiskey presence, but the addition of strong straight apple brandy, and an herbal Chartreuse kick, creates a complexity that sideswipes my precious rye. It is tasty, though a pricey cocktail. Not that these are particularly rare ingredients, but they are decent bottles that may not be found on every bar. If you do have them, give this drink a try. Very complex and wild. Whoa.

Rule 37: Tennessee

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 is called the Tennessee.
I really don’t have anything witty to say about that.
I just liked the recipe.
But I have been humming this ever since:

But I am still thirsty



It’s just occurring to me now, long after the fact, that I at least could have used a Tennessee whiskey for this one. That means Jack Daniels or George Dickel, and I don’t think either of them make a rye. The term “Tennessee whiskey” actually refers to a bourbon anyway. I’m sure there could very well be rye whiskies from Tennessee out there, but I am not aware of any. So, I went with the Jim Beam Rye on this one. Why? Well, I haven’t used it in awhile, and I have another full bottle sitting in my backup stash. It makes a decent whiskey sour, but it generally doesn’t get deployed for spirit-forward cocktails because it’s… not as exciting as others. It does have a bit of rye spice to it, but overall I find it somewhat sweet, more like a bourbon. My nice rye collection has been taking multiple hits the past few weeks as I’ve been in a Manhattan craze, and I’m trying to wean myself off, as it’s going to be a long, cold winter and I will go into liquor hibernation. Not hibernating AWAY FROM liquor, but hibernating DUE TO liquor. And for that I need to gather my stores of booze before the snow falls. So it was the less-desirable Jim Beam for tonight.


Tennessee
From The Complete Bartender

- 2 1/2 oz rye whiskey (Jim Beam)
- 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur
- 1/2 oz lemon juice

Mix it, shake it, serve it. Chilled rocks glass with plenty of ice. No garnish specified, but I went with a big swath of lemon peel. Seemed fitting.


Nose: Whiskey. Yup.
There’s a bit of lemon in there, but I’m not sure if it’s from the juice, or the peel I added as garnish. It smells plenty sweet though, but again, as a rye, the Jim Beam is on the sweeter side. It’s like a slightly bitter bourbon.

Taste: Whiskey. Yup.
The ice dilution from shaking does take the harshness out of the alcohol, and I can distinctly taste the lemon, which also helps to round things out. The maraschino contributes a tiny hint of floral bittersweet, and a dry mouthfeel, like I get from triple sec. But mostly it’s lemony whiskey. Which isn’t a bad thing. Just not that interesting.


Meh. They can’t all be amazing. But still, I wouldn’t turn one down.

Rule 37: Beachcomber’s Gold

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.



Rum.
I wanted rum tonight.
The Lady Friend had a super awesome Manhattan (THIS version) and I was kind of jealous, but I already had my heart set on RUM. I don’t know why, but I did.

So, I started flipping through the New York Bartender’s Guide by Sally Ann Berk, where I had previously found The Million Dollar Cocktail. This book sorts by liquor, which is awesome, so I started in the middle of the rum section. There were a few interesting recipes to save for another time, but I had to start over at the beginning of the section to find this one: Beachcomber’s Gold. I’m going to assume this one was either created by, or named for (or both), Tiki drink legend Don the Beachcomber. Apparently there are other versions out there, but they’re nothing like the version I made. They do use a cool ice “garnish,” but this version is many much more easiers. You heard me.


Three ingredients. And one of them is rum. The other two are actually both vermouth, but they’re different kinds. That’s it. It’s basically a Perfect Manhattan/Martini with rum instead of whiskey or gin. “Perfect” in these cases means using equal parts dry/white and sweet/red vermouths. A Martini uses dry vermouth, a Manhattan uses sweet, and a “perfect” version of either uses both dry and sweet. Got it? Great. Drink time.


Beachcomber’s Gold
From the New York Bartender’s Guide

- 2 oz light rum (Bully Boy)
- 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
- 1/2 oz dry vermouth (Martini & Rossi)

The book says to shake it, and strain into a cocktail glass full of crushed ice. Nuts to that. I’m treating this like a Martini/Manhattan or any other spirit-only drink, which means STIRRING it. Since she got that first part wrong, I’m also going to ignore that bit about crushed ice, and serve it UP, in a chilled cocktail coupe. There was no word on garnish either, but with rum, a lime peel might work nicely. I left it plain this time.


Broke out the Bully Boy rum for this one. The recipe is for a light rum, but the Bully Boy has tons of flavor. Like a molasses-coated sugar cookie spread its legs, grunted, and gave birth to a bottle of rum. It probably wasn’t the right type of light rum to use for this, as the flavorful Bully Boy tends to overwhelm things, but with only vermouths as the other ingredients, I figure I may as well put something tasty in there. The drink does have a lovely golden hue (hence the name) as the reddish sweet vermouth is diluted by the faint yellow dry vermouth and clear rum.


The drink reeks of the aforementioned sugar cookie offspring, with a touch of grapey wine-ness underneath. This is a brand new bottle of sweet vermouth, and the difference is apparent. Vermouth is a wine, and tends to lose its aroma and flavor after about a month. Keep it in the fridge after opening, but unless you power through Manhattans and Negronis like I do, buy the little 375ml bottles so you don’t feel too bad about throwing any unused remains out at the end of the month.

The taste is a wash of that sweet blackstrap rum up front, with a pleasant warm alcoholic tingle. Interestingly enough, the vermouth strikes back in the middle of the taste, oozing in with a syrupy dark grape and lightly floral essence. I really didn’t expect the wines to put up a fight against the rum, but it really works out well. The vermouths take the sting out of the spirit, leaving behind the flavors, while adding their own grapey contributions. This is certainly a grown-up cocktail, though I would caution that the same recipe with Bacardi will not be terribly exciting. Having had the “perfect” version, I’d like to go back and try both a sweet and dry version of this drink. My guess is that the sweet will have a nice dark syrup to play with the rum’s spice (oooh… especially with a dash or two of Angostura), whereas the dry version will be more akin to a lighter, floral concoction, like the Presidente without the grenadine. I’d go with orange bitters on that one and see how things play out.


Well there you go. I just gave you three cocktails for the price of one. Bunch of moochers. Go make one! NOWS.


The Lady Friend grudgingly tried the recipe and offered the following pearls of wisdom: “I smell the Bully Boy, the cupcakes, rainbows, and all that good stuff. Hmmm. I immediately get the grapey vermouth, but I can pick up some of that sweet Bully Boy. It’s alright. I wouldn’t drink it, but… *shrugs* It’s an interesting cocktail, but I wouldn’t choose it.”


Great. Thanks.

Rule 37: Employees Only Manhattan

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.



It’s stupid cold this week.
So, I’ve been using Manhattans in place of turning up the thermostat.

It works quite well, actually. The Manhattan is a great cold-weather drink, a lovely aperitif, and makes some wonderfully deep winter slumbers, all snuggled up under the covers until the heat kicks on in the morning and toasts my room into a oven-like chamber of Hades. But for the chilly evenings, a little whiskey warmer has been my drink obsession for the past two weeks. Or three. Or one. I’m not sure. Its been kind of a blur. A happy warm fuzzy kind of blur.

The Manhattan is one of my most favoritest of cocktails (especially this version) and I really don’t want to stop the streak of awesomeness, so the Rule 37 for the week will be a Manhattan variation. It’s actually pretty different from the traditional recipe, so it totally counts. The name comes from renowned cocktail bar Employees Only in New York, who put their own spin on the classic drink.


I found this one on liquor.com, which is an excellent go-to for cocktail recipes and resources. With this one, you can view the recipe here, find it in their book here, and watch a video of cocktail guru Dushan Zaric make the drink for you:

He used Michters. I don’t like Michters. Time for Rittenhouse.



So now I’ll make one for myself.


Employees Only Manhattan
From liquor.com and well, Employees Only

- 1.5 oz rye whiskey (Rittenhouse)
- 1.75 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)
- .5 oz Grand Marnier
- 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

It’s a Manhattan, so you better damn well stir it. Watch the video. Dushan stirs it. You’d better too. Make sure it’s COLD, and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Seriously, it makes a difference. Garnish with a lemon twist (after squeezing the oils from the twist on the surface of the drink, rub it on the rim and drop into the glass).


I had to do some double-checking to make sure that ratio was correct. A standard Manhattan has more whiskey than vermouth (I like mine at a simple 2:1. Embury suggests a whopping 5:1) but this recipe changes that. The addition of Grand Marnier (a brandy-based orange liqueur) also makes for an interesting element, as does the lemon peel rather than traditional cherry garnish. The lemon oils even left a little oily rainbow sheen across the surface of the drink.


Nose: Sweet. Grapey dark vermouth, with some orange candy aroma. There’s a little spice in there from the Angostura, and a dark rye lurking beneath everything. There are upper and lower aromas: lilting and lifting up above there’s the orange fragrance, a little light lemon, and some cinnamon spices, while the syrupy grape vermouth essence oozes together with the whiskey in a cloying cinder block that will drag you down to the deep depths. It’s quite interesting. A lot going on here.

Taste: The nose had a lot going on, but the flavor is fantastically layered. Right away, it starts vermouthy: sticky grapes and syrup. The Angostura sneaks in right behind to start spicing things up with cinnamon, dark roasted wood, and pepper. While this is confusing your taste buds, the whiskey sloshes in, coming in a wave of bitter rye spice and alcohol warmth, which cuts down the cloying vermouth, and a lilt of citrus wafts above it all, not quite an accent, but more of a bystander who nods a friendly “hello” as you pass on the sidewalk. It’s almost as if the cinnamon-smoking driver of a vermouth truck slowly crashed into a low-pressure whiskey fire hydrant. Not enough for a full-on geyser, but enough to puncture the vermouth tank and mix it with a stream of rye. The driver flees the scene and drops his cinnamon into the concoction, while orange-and-lemon citrus observes from across the street, commenting “Well, I do say, that IS a right shame” and continuing on his way after a moment’s pause.

The after-finish lingers on as a tingly cinnamon syrup with a raisin-like fruit.


Well.
This one is quite interesting.
Though I do still prefer a more traditional recipe, this is a welcome change of course. It’s smoother from the added vermouth, and spicier, due to the liberal application of Angostura, Use a big rye with this one, as a weakling like Old Overholt or Jim Beam would be rolled over by the wave of vermouth and spice. The Rittenhouse worked quite well, not overpowering the drink, but matching the vermouth syruped intensity, despite being outnumbered. Orange notes from the Grand Marnier and a hint of lemon really do add wonders to the layered quality at work here. Do not omit either ingredient. I might go with two dashes of Angostura on the next one, just to see how it plays out, but the Trinidadian exotic is certainly welcome in this alcoholic amalgamation. And yes, with the Rittenhouse (100 proof) that warming glow sets in quite easily.

I will certainly have another. Or three.
Wake me up in springtime.

Rule 37: The Bell of Camille

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 comes from a rather whimsical old book from 1972 that I have in the collection called the “Quick Guide to Spirits.”


…and there’s a picture of a ghost!


Anyway, according to the book, this one comes from the Four Seasons in New York, and reads “John Covas, another dean of drams, named this after Camille, a lamb.” Um. Ok then. I didn’t really find much else about this cocktail, other than other sites posting the same recipe, though apparently there IS an actress named Camilla Belle.


Why, hello there.



That, however, is neither here nor there, and the two are entirely unconnected, since this book dates from 1972, and she was born in 1986. Yes, I know, it’s depressing. The drink itself is pretty simple, with only two ingredients. I like each of the ingredients (bourbon and Campari) but I’m a little concerned about a drink consisting of only those two. It does remind me of the Boulevardier, though that one at least had sweet vermouth in it, as in a Negroni. He didn’t mention how to prepare it, or what type of glass to serve it in, so I’m making a few executive decisions here. Other recipes suggest a cocktail glass, but I’ll take it like my Negronis: on the rocks.


Bell of Camille
From Robert Jay Misch’s Quick Guide to Spirits

- 1 1/2 oz bourbon (Old Crow Reserve)
- 1 oz Campari

Uh.
That’s it.

STIR in an ice filled mixing glass. Use a julep strainer to, well, strain into a cocktail glass, or, as I prefer, a rocks glass with a travel-sized iceberg in it. I garnished with an orange peel sliced thrice.




Well, it smells like Campari and bourbon.

Well, it tastes like Campari and bourbon.

Yeah. Pretty much. The aroma has a decent chunk of orange to it from that swath of peel I garnished with, and the Campari bittersweet is of course, rather dominant. It’s hard to pick up any of the bourbon, though there’s a subtle hint of dark sweetness lurking in the shadows.

The taste is all at once WHANG BANG ZOOM Campari and ZING BOFF FIZZ bourbon. The two actually meld together quite nicely. The herbal Campari dries out the palate while the sweet bourbon adds its complement of brown sugar, molasses, and roasted caramel corn. The two have a bit of back-and-forth, but it’s a discussion, not an argument. Neither one wins and they both make a lot of good points.


The Lady Friend’s take:
“I still get hit with Campari first, as I always do, but that’s actually a good balance. Towards the end I get that whiskey Old Crow… tasty actually. I like that. I think it’s well-balanced. A lot of drinks you make with Campari are WAY too Campari. And of course that quote’s going in there. Stop typing!”
And then she walked away.


I rather like this drink. It’s perfectly simple to make (provided you have Campari) and that Old Crow Reserve goes well with EVERYTHING so far. And I’ve used it a lot. Yum. In a cocktail glass this would make a good sipper, but I like the sturdy feel of a rocks glass with large amounts of solidified water. The orange peel adds a nice touch, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to flame it over the surface of the drink. Well played, ghost book.

(Call me, Camilla)

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