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.

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, 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 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.

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

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)

Rule 37: The Oriental

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.

Le sigh.

I know what I want to drink, but it isn’t a Rule 37 qualifier.
All week I’ve been on a Manhattan kick. Rye, with homemade maraschino cherries. Remember those? They’re AWESOMES. And very pleasantly spiced for late fall/early winter. I’ve made a little nest of Manhattans and burrowed into it for the cold weather. But needed a unique cocktail for tonight, so I went page flipping in a thicker book that seemed like it might have something Manhattan-like. The book is “The Complete Bartender” by Robyn (with a “Y” ugh) M. Feller and promises to feature “the new drinks of the ’90s!” Radical! The copyright is 1990, though the “updated” versions on Amazon are from 2003. I bet they don’t have an exciting dust jacket that poses such quandaries as “What are the newest ‘fun’ drunks of the ’90s? [Ugh. A lot of Cosmos and “tini” variations. Soooo “fun”] How can you reduce the caloric count on your favorite drink? [Don’t drink it] How can you make the finest vodka taste even better? [you can’t. It’s not supposed to taste like anything.]” But I did manage to find a drink that was whiskey-based (rye even!) and let me go off on some tangents.

Now, I’m not sure that “The Oriental” is the most heartwarmingly correct term these days, but it has a better ring than “The Cocktail of Asian Descent.” What it did make me think of was a topic I’ve been investigating lately. See that guy? His name is Hotei. Or Budai. Or the Happy/Laughing Buddha (he’s not actually the real Buddha. Well, maybe). It depends who you ask. Anyway, he was originally a Chinese monk who lived early in the eight century and carried around a big cloth sack (“Hotei” means “cloth sack“) filled with presents that he would give to children, like an Asian Santa. After his death, he was kind of adopted into myths and foklore, in practices of Zen/Buddhism, Shintoism, Daoism/Taoism, and made it into the ranks of Japan’s Seven Lucky Gods. He’s got a big fat belly from his big fat soul, and is a symbol of contentment, good health, abundance and prosperity. Oh, also, he’s a “patron saint” of children, restauranteurs (he liked to eat), fortunetellers (he could tell the future), and BARTENDERS. Seriously. There’s a bartender god. Sweet. It is said that drinking too much is attributed to Hotei’s influence, but he’s got plenty to share, so drink up.

So, this little drinking Hotei statue was given to me by some friends after their trip to Thailand (where there’s a similar guy named Phra Sangkajai) because they know I like drinking. Well, here’s the thing that puzzles me: in one hand, Hotei’s got an oogi, which is a fan that symbolizes his ability to grant requests and/or wishes. Right. That checks out. Now look at the other hand. He’s clearly drinking, though I don’t know what or if that’s a gourd or clay pot or whatever. Here’s the kicker: I can’t find any other statue or drawing of him doing that. Which is driving me nuts, because I would LOVE more little drinking Hoteis to keep me company and make me rich (in Feng Shui, place Hotei facing the front door of your home to greet the energies that enter and render them prosperous). I’ve scoured ebay, Amazon, and various other nooks of teh interwebz, and while there are a LOT of happy buddha, laughing buddha, good luck buddha, prosperity buddha, Hotei, Budai, Pu-tai and miscellaneous statues and figurings, NOT ONE is drinking. It seems that the novelty gift my friends found was somewhat unique, unbeknownst to them. It makes it even specialer. But if anyone sees another drinking buddha, LET ME KNOW.

So, yeah. Tangent. But hey, you just learned about a Chinese monk who is now the bartenders’ god.
So here’s the drink.

The Oriental
From Robyn M. Fellers’s “The Complete Bartender”

– 1 oz rye whiskey (Overholt)
– .25 oz sweet vermouth (Rosso)
– .25 oz Cointreau
– .5 oz lime juice

In a very Zen-like manner, combine the ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and shaker tin, and shake. The ice wishes to cool the drink, and does. Shaking the drink is the shaker tin’s intended purpose for existence, and it is most pleased to help you. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, which awaits a beverage to hold, and sip in a contented Hotei-like manner. Without all the children around.

So. Went with the Old Overholt rye on this one. Needed a simple go-to and didn’t want to dip into my nicer ryes, since they’ve taken quite a hit with the swarm of Manhattan consumption this week. Forecasts estimate this trend to continue well into the weekend. As a side note: the ingredients as listed from the book make a smaller cocktail than usual (somewhere around 3oz after shaking with ice) so you can use a smaller glass, or just make a double.

It smells primarily of whiskey, though with an orange essence from the Cointreau. There’s a limey tart citrus in there, but the orange liqueur does a pretty good job of covering that up. Orangy whiskey is by no means a bad smell, so I’m going in for a taste.

Hooooootei! Well, despite such a small quantity, the Cointreau dominates. Maybe a bolder rye would squash it down, but the Overholt is a good bargain whiskey, and is undercut by the lime tart and triple sec dryness. It is quite flavorful, though I personally dislike that dry, cotton-mouth effect from the Cointreau (I get this with most Cointreau/Grand Marnier/triple sec containing drinks). It’s nice and fruity with the lime, orange, and a slight hint of dark grape from the vermouth. The whiskey is content to ride along, adding in a nice note of rye spice and brown liquor, though again, a bigger rye would certainly change this drink. I think it might be needed to go up against the fruit flavors, as the orange in particular seems to linger, but overall, this is nice and tasty.

I might even offer one to Hotei. He seems like a party god.

[UPDATE] So, I did some more digging and I found out that thing he’s drinking out of IS a gourd, called a wu lou. It has two chambers, symbolizing the unity of heaven and earth, and is used by travelers to hold water or medicine. In Hotei’s case, the gourd of enlightenment holds the elixir of life. Booze totally counts as medicine, so that’s just Hotei’s flask.
Now that I know to look for a wu lou, I TOTALLY FOUND THREE MORE DRINKING HOTEIS!

Rule 37: Rye Two Ways

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 night!

This one comes from a website sent to me by colleague/bickering compatriot Leelz. She forwards me updates on this site regularly, though why I haven’t subscribed myself, I don’t know. Maybe because she keeps sending me the updates so it’s like I’ve already subscribed. Anyway, the website (Tasting Table) is currently doing a feature on cocktails across the nation (though there is a DISTINCT lack of cocktails from Boston, or, for that matter, Portland, ME) and several of them seemed tasty. This particular one calls for rye whiskey, which I couldn’t turn down.

The recipe source and backstory can be found here, which tells of the tipple’s trail via bartender Mia Sarazen’s Churchill bar in West Hollywood, CA. Apparently it can be made two ways, hence the name. I’ve gone the first route, making it as a cocktail, served “up” (“up” means chilled in a cocktail glass, as opposed to “neat,” “straight,” or “on the rocks.” Bit of a sidebar here so we’re all dealing with the same terminology. “Neat” is usually served in a rocks/old fashioned glass, with no ice. Liquor in glass. Like Scotch, neat. “Straight” means chilled liquor, like “neat” only cold. “On the rocks” is with ice. See also).

Anyway. I’m back now. The drink is Rye Two Ways because there’s a bonus cocktail in there: you take the “up” cocktail, but pour it into a highball glass with ice, and top with Allagash White ale. Sounds like a good idea, especially since Allagash is right up the road from here. But I don’t really get excited about Belgians (the beer or the people). So, it’s the cocktail version for me.

Rye Two Ways
By Mia Sarazen, Churchill. Recipe here.

– 1 oz rye (used Alberta Premium)
– 1 oz dry vermouth
– .75 oz grenadine
– .5 oz fresh lemon juice
– 2 dashes orange bitters (Fee Bros)

Mix ‘em up, shake ‘em up, serve it up, drink it down.
Garnish with a lemon peel.
It doesn’t have to be as big as mine, as long as you know that I’m better than you and you’ll somehow continue to go about your sad little life with that knowledge.

I went with my bottle of Alberta Premium rye whiskey for this one because a) it’s a 100% rye whiskey and b) it looked lonely on the bar tonight because I haven’t used it in awhile, since there are several other ryes to choose from. Like when you drive your Ferrari everywhere but forget about the Lamborghini in the back of the garage. I hate it when I do that. Anyway, this is one you can find ONLY in Canada, and the Lady Friend’s parents were nice enough to traffic this one across international borders for me last year (what’s the statute of limitations on smuggling?). You can read my thoughts about it here, and since it’s a bottle that’s hard to acquire, I don’t use it much. I’m a bit of a liquor hoarder. But you have to drive them all once in awhile.

So let’s drink some rye.

Nose: Lemony (yeah, GIANT lemon peel) with a sweetness. There’s a little whiskey essence, but that grenadine is the dominant smell. Sugary fruity sweet, with some lemon. Not terribly exciting.

Taste: Now, you might say “Gosh golly gee SquirrelFarts, 3/4 oz sounds like a lot of grenadine in that little cocktail,” and I might reply “You’re right. But who are you and what are you doing in my barpartment judging my drink decisions? Be off with you, post haste, lest my cane find your backside!” But it is quite sweet. So. Yeah. There’s a tiny bit of the grapey-ness from the vermouth, and a little caramel with bitterness from the rye. But it largely tastes of grenadine with some lemon. Not that it’s bad, but it’s very sweet.

Then the Lady Friend wanted a taste. Despite quaffing some Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA moments before, apparently she has a magic self-cleansing palate that can jump from big gobs of Cascade hops to a cocktail and give an accurate flavor assessment.
“Big surprise, smells like lemon” on the nose and tastes “Sweet. Not syrupy sweet but I don’t get much whiskey from that.
“I mean, it’s good.
“…because I don’t taste a lot of whiskey.”

I hate you.
Get out of my barpartment.

Rule 37: The Million Dollar 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 desperately need a cocktail.
Seizing a random cocktail recipe book (the New York Bartender’s Guide by Sally Ann Berk, a Goodwill find) I started flipping through looking for some sort of inspiration. Since I just happened to have acquired a big jug of Tanqueray (on super duper secret probationary sale), that’s the direction I was heading in. Now, there are several ways one can arrange a recipe book: alphabetically, chronologically, by primary liquor, or with seemingly no method whatsoever. Almost all are alphabetical, but this one happily goes the extra step and sorts everything by the base spirit, making it easier to find, say, a gin cocktail specifically. Also, the recipes are listed by parts (2 parts this to 1 part that), by ounces (oh yes thank you), and by milliliters, which I’m told is something used by people who don’t speak English, and therefore are of little importance to me. While perusing the pages (nice photography as well), I found myself stopping at the Million Dollar Cocktail. It seemed tasty enough, so I’ll give it a whirl.

Allegedly, this drink was invented by a dude named Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore around the early 20th century. This is right in Singapore Sling territory, also invented by Boon. A lot of recipes I’ve come across use egg white, but I’m using the book version, and passing on it. Also, many others suggest serving it as a highball, though again, I’m going to stick to the book and use a chilled cocktail glass. Moving away from the printed recipe however, I will add a dash of Angostura bitters, as that seems like a good suggestion from some of the other sites.

It’s good to be the king.

The Million Dollar Cocktail
From the New York Bartender’s Guide

– 2 oz gin (Tanqueray)
– 1 oz sweet vermouth
– 1 oz pineapple juice
– 1 tsp (dash) grenadine
– 1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake it up, serve in a chilled cocktail glass.
Other versions add egg white for extra body and frothiness, and serve as a highball.
It’ll allegedly make you feel like a million bucks.

It’s going to take a hell of a cocktail to make me feel that fantastic. Let’s see what happens.

Give it a whiff: yup. Gin. Though somewhat subdued. The pineapple doesn’t really have much of an aroma, but it does tame the juniper, and the mixture just winds up smelling like sweetened gin. Not a bad thing. Also, I double-strain my cocktails (strain through a Hawthorn strainer AND a tea strainer) to get rid of ice shards and pulp, but it also cuts down on the frothy foam that most shaken pineapple drinks will have. I just don’t like bits of ice in my drinks.

Now the taste: first impression is, again, gin, though the pineapple fruit sweetness comes washing right in behind it. There’s a vermouth grapey roundness, and a hit of the cinnamon spice from the Angostura in the finish. I only used one dash of bitters, where in most drinks I’ll use several, but here it’s perfectly suited to the solo spike. A little hint of the flavor without overwhelming the gin botanicals or the pineapple. The gin and pineapple play together very nicely; what is it about juniper and pineapple that works so well? I think it’s a sweet vs. spice quality that sets your tastebuds all a-quiver. See also: Royal Hawaiian.

The Lady Friend’s take: “GIN.
Half a moment later: “Oh, it’s not that bad though. Juniper right off the bat, but then it mellows out with the pineapple sweetness. Not bad.

Yeah. That’s a decent summation. Gin, but it’s not that bad.
I think it works rather nicely. Try one.

Rule 37: Apple Rrrrrrrickey!

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’m sorry. That’s just how I have to say “rickey.” Every time. Old timey “rrrrrrrrickey!”

Anyway, a rrrrrrickey is a family of cocktails similar to a highball. They date back to the mid 1800s or so, the most famous example being the gin rrrrrrickey, which I just so happen to be sipping on right now. It helps the writing process. I swear. The drink itself is pretty simple to make: a shot of the liquor of your choosing, half a lime, squeezed and dropped into the glass, ice, and soda water. Some recipes add a little sugar in there, but that’s about it. It’s old timey and tasty.

The Lady Friend was in an apple flavored cocktail mood, and we put my new bottle of Laird’s to good use. I had finished off my bottle of Laird’s Applejack awhile ago, but replaced it with their Bottled-in-Bond 100 proof Straight Apple Brandy. This stuff is the real deal. According to Laird’s, the Straight Apple Brandy is aged for a minimum of three years in charred oak barrels and bottled at 100 proof. And it’s mighty tasty.

The Lady Friend made her cocktail, a variation on a Sidecar substituting the brandy for apple brandy, while I took it for a test drive with a Jack Rose. It handled wonderfully, with a lot more real apple flavor than the 80-proof Applejack, which according to Laird’s is a blend of only 35% apple brandy while the rest is neutral grain spirit.

However, I’ve indulged in many a Jack Rose, and this was not to be my Rule 37 of the week. So I broke out a 1965 copy of a Mr. Boston “De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide” that reeks wonderfully of mildew, age, and lost dreams. Flipping through from back to front, I eventually came across the Apple Rrrrrrickey (though perhaps apple brandy rrrrrickey would be a more accurate name) and gave it a whirl. So here we go.

Apple Rrrrrrickey
Courtesy of my 1965 copy of Mr Boston

– 1 1/2 oz apple brandy (Laird’s!)
– Juice of 1/2 lime
– 1 cube of ice (?)
– Club soda

“Fill 8 oz. highball glass with carbonated water and stir. Leave lime in glass.”

Yeah, that’s all it says.

Realistically, here’s the deal: find a juice glass. Those are usually around 6-8oz. Fill it halfway with ice (really Mr Boston? ONE cube?). Squeeze the lime half and drop the shell in. Fill the rest of the glass with ice, and pour in your spirit. Top with club soda and give it a stir. Serve with a straw. Despite the fresh fruit juice, this is a built drink, made right in the glass. The bubbles in the soda water should do some mixing for you.

Initially, I’m a bit wary… there’s no sweetener in here. Just apple brandy and lime with some carbonated water. Let’s see what happens.

It smells of apples and lime, as one would expect. The two mingle quite nicely, except for a bit of overlap where a whiff of bile-esque acidity is detected, some strange ratio of lime citrus and apple sour tart. Let’s have a taste.

Hmm. Well, the carbonic is snappy on the tongue right from the start. Lime citrus is dominant, adding to the tongue snappage, teaming up with the biting bubbles. There’s a lovely apple quality that’s buried beneath the lime, but it really comes through on the finish, lingering on with sweetness, even though the tongue still reels from the double whammy of fresh lime and stinging carbon dioxide. I really don’t think you’d get this apple quality from the regular Applejack.

The Lady Friend went in for a sip and came out with this: “Tastes like apple juice. Almost watery in a way, but water with an apple tint to it.”

Then she had a second sip: “Eh. Yeah, I guess.”
“I get lime, yeah, but it’s not super limey, like sour in-your-face lime.”

Le sigh.

I thought it was pretty good. Despite my initial apprehension, it really doesn’t taste like there’s a shot of 100 proof booze in there. I’m putting that down to the smoothness of the Straight Apple Brandy and the dilution with club soda. The classic gin version of this drink is decently summery, but with the apple brandy it becomes perfectly suited to fall.
Oh, and it’s got plenty of booze.

Rule 37: Pirate Slavé

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.

Since it was raining when I left work today, my normal carefree saunter across the parking lot became a sodden bedraggled slog as my right shoe became less footwear and more rainwater receptacle with each bottomless puddle, unseen until I was ankle deep. This naturally put me in the jolliest of moods, but two things lifted my spirits: it’s Friday, which means it’s cocktail night, and the Lady Friend isn’t here, as she’s packing the remnants of her apartment, leaving me without proper adult supervision on an evening when I don’t have to be up in the morning.

This can be dangerous.

So, I began scheming various schemes while checking the obligatory social media feeds and happened across this:

Well hello, Ms. Banks.

Now, I’m not saying I was actively looking for Elizabeth Banks because the Lady Friend isn’t here. It was purely a coincidence. Seriously. I promise. For reals.

But it was a happy coincidence. They don’t usually put ugly people in makeup ads.

Elizabeth Banks is an actress best known for being in every other tv show and movie evar. Seriously, check out the list. Some of her mainstream roles were JD’s knocked-up girlfriend in Scrubs, Jack Donaghy’s badass girlfriend in 30 Rock, and the crazy chick in the thong in The 40 Year Old Virgin.

Sorry Elizabeth. Had to be done.

What was I talking about?

RIGHT. Cocktails. Drink blog. Back on target.

So apparently, Elizabeth has a blog. At least, that’s where the link took me. She posted a recipe for a drink called the Pirate Slave, which certainly seemed like an interesting one. She got it over at Imbibe, and THEY got it from a bar in Philly called The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co., but I’m going to credit her, because that’s where I saw it first. Since I hadn’t picked out a Rule 37 cocktail for the week yet, this seemed like it was going to be it. With a few adjustments.

The recipe calls for Rhum Agricole, which is a somewhat harsher, earthier, grassier kind of rum. The good stuff comes from Martinique, and it’s made from sugar cane juice, where RUM rum is made from molasses. Except I don’t have any Rhum Agricole. I’m not that hardcore about rum. Yet. But I DO have some cachaça (say it “KA-SHAH-SAH” and you’ll be pretty close) which is a rum-like spirit made from sugar cane juice. It’s the national spirit of Brazil, and is most commonly found in a drink called a Caiprinha. But it’s grassy and rummy, so I think it’ll work here until I can get my hands on some real Agricole.

Other substitutions: Punt e Mes is a strong, fancy vermouth that I also don’t have. So I’ll be using Martini & Rossi Rosso. I didn’t have any of Gaz Regan’s orange bitters, so a double-dash of Fee Brothers will have to suffice. I threw in a teaspoon of raw sugar instead of the cane specified. Prob should have used raw syrup, but the granules add a little excitement to the mixture.

Yes, since technically I’ve gone and changed the ingredients of the cocktail, it becomes a different cocktail. Maybe I’ll just call it a Pirate Slavé. Close enough. My house, my rules. When YOU have a drinking blog, you can bend the rules too.

Pirate Slavé
From the lovely Elizabeth Banks.
Recipe here. Also here.

– 2 oz Rhum Agricole (Cachaça 51 used)
– 3/4 oz Punt e Mes (M&R Rosso used)
– 1/2 oz Campari (yes, I have Campari)
– 1 tsp. cane syrup (just a dash. Use simple syrup, or even better, raw syrup)
– 1 dash Regans’ orange bitters (used Fee Bros)
– 1 dash Fee Bros. orange bitters (yup)

Dump it all into a mixing glass filled with ice. There’s no fruit juice here, so it’ll be STIRRED. Strain into a double Old Fashioned glass with a large chunkola of ice. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Well, it LOOKS cool. But most things served in a DOF glass with one giant piece of ice look cool. Let’s get to it.

The aroma reeks of bitter orange (I suspect, from the orange bitters, duh) and grassy cachaça. I’m sure the giant swath of orange peel is also contributing some of that citrus, but the dominating olfactory impression is that cachaça: astringent, sharp grassiness, a touch of sour, and even a grape-like essence. This should be wild. Taste time.

Well shiver me timbers. It’s not half bad. I expected much more fire from the untamed spirit, but there’s a lot at play here. The Campari bittersweet comes though in the flavor, though not much at all in the aroma. It mingles with that grassy, slightly medicinal sourness of the cachaça. A touch of vermouth really helps to smooth things out, and overall the concoction leaves a dry, yearning sensation in the mouth, especially towards the back corners of the tongue. A drink that makes you thirstier, though another sip puts the saliva glands into Defcon 3. The orange bitters open things up with a stinging citrus allowing the slightly syruped Campari-vermouth mixture to ooze across the tongue. Meanwhile, the cachaça bounces around the room, from the cheeks, to the roof of the mouth, tingling the gums and eventually leaving everything slightly molested with its flavor.

This is an interesting one. It really livens things up, and I’m glad I have that giant chunk of ice in there. The large piece of ice will melt slower than many smaller pieces, so it lasts longer and dilutes less. Perfect for a complex sipper like this one.

Thanks, Elizabeth.
(Call me)

Rule 37: Walters

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.

Um. Yeah. That’s the name.

Not a Sir Walter. That’s a different one.
This one is just plain Walters.

I found this one in the “Complete World Bartender Guide,” a paperback book of recipes I acquired recently as a birthday present, along with about seven other booze-related tomes. Plenty of firepower for future Rule 37s.

This one calls for Scotch, and I have many to choose from. Since it’s being mixed, I don’t want to use anything super pricey, and should probably go with a blend. However, I’m going to use a single malt because I can. I’m going with the standard bottle of Glenmorangie 10yr for a couple reasons: A) It’s tasty, but I don’t feel too bad about mixing it, since it’s widely available and decently priced. B) It was a birthday gift from the Lady Friend last year, and she’ll be excited to see me use it. C) I suspect this drink will taste a bit orangy, and that rhymes with Glenmorangie. If you’re saying it right. Don’t believe me? Ask a real Scot:

Thanks, Esquire! Brian Cox is the MAN!
He does almost 50 of these pronunciation guides.

Also, he was the police captain in Super Troopers.

Though I don’t think Brian Cox would dare mix a single malt, let’s go ahead and see what happens.

Um, yeah.
From the “Complete World Bartender Guide” edited by Bob Sennett, who I bet hasn’t tried 2% of the drinks in this book.

– 2 oz Scotch
– 1 oz fresh orange juice
– 1 oz fresh lemon juice

Mix ‘em up, shake ‘em hard. Lots of pulpy fruit juice, so this drink had better be shaken well.

The book just says “combine with ice; shake well, strain and add ice” and has a little illustration of an Old Fashioned and/or Rocks glass. With an alleged “more than 2,400 drinks” in this book, I guess there’s no room for embellishment, though to be fair, I guess there’s not a whole lot more to say. It’s only three ingredients, so just shake and serve. I would highly recommend FRESH juice. Lemon is easy enough, but I was tempted to use some Tropicana rather than drag out my little plastic juicer for the orange component. Trust me… you’re going to want to spring for the fresh juice in this one. Maybe you could get away with it in a Fog Cutter, or something where there’s plenty of other ingredients, but not here.

Anyway, I made a double, and put it into a big ol’ rocks glass with big ol’ chunks of ice.

Ok. Aroma-wise there’s just a lot of fruitiness going on. I smell both the lemon and the orange, but the poor whisky is lost in there. This is where a big peat bomb would assert itself, but let’s not use those with all this fruit juice. I’m already feeling a bit ashamed for using a single malt rather than one of the blends I have on the bar.

…and the taste. Yup. A lot of fruit juice, and not much Scotch. I’m getting a little booze astringency, and some honey flavors, but the one-two citrus punch of orange and lemon is really drowning out the whisky. A more aggressive ratio, like the 3:1:1 would certainly help, as would a bigger and bolder Scotch. The 2:1:1 recipe here is just fruit juice with some Scotch hidden underneath. I could serve this to an AA meeting and they wouldn’t know the booze was lurking in there. The Lady Friend insists she picks up the elements of Scotch in both the aroma and taste, but I’m not getting it. On multiple tastings there’s the slightest hint of smoke, like someone lit a match across the street, and almost a touch of bitterness. I’m sure the ice isn’t helping matters either. Cold temperatures dampen taste and smell, which is why Scotch on the Rocks is a bad bad choice. Perhaps if this was made as a hot winter drink, it might bring a little more whisky sensation forward, but warm orange juice just sounds icky. Verdict: don’t waste the Scotch. Or use a much more powerful ratio.

Unless you don’t really like the taste of Scotch, in which case this would be a tasty tipple. Wifey would like this one.

Review: Ninkasi Oatis Oatmeal Stout

So, Ninkasi Brewing Company just started following me on teh Twitterz! They’re a West-Coast brewery doing about 56,000 bbls of beer (if facts from Wikipedia can be believed) out in Eugene, Oregon, and they’re one of the fastest growing. It was started in 2006 by two guys, Jamie and Nikos, and the company is named for Ninkasi, the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer. For true. There’s even a Hymn to Ninkasi, which includes one of the first known beer recipes.

Ninkasi, you are the one who soaks the malt in a jar,
The waves rise, the waves fall.

You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort,
Brewing [it] with honey [and] wine

I had heard of Ninkasi Brewing Company, though precious little of their brews make it to the East Coast. I snagged a bottle of their Maiden the Shade ale at City Beer Store last fall on the trip to SFO. My critical tasting panel back east didn’t think much of it when we tried it… I think it was either an older bottle where the hops had fallen off their peak, or it’s simply a lighter IPA style, and we’re used to big palate crushers. Looking back at the other things we tasted that evening, it might have gotten lost too far down in the lineup. There were some big boys that seared our taste buds, like Epic Armageddon IPA and Ballast Point’s Sculpin. Still, it was enjoyable, even if it wasn’t comparable to the other hop monsters. I would LOVE to try their Tricerahops Double IPA, partly because of the style and mostly because of the awesome name.

So I was excited when my brother brought back another Ninkasi bomber from his new residence in Portland, OR. Yes, he and I both moved to cities named Portland on opposite sides of the country this summer. Now the beer trading begins. The bomber he gave me was the Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and in honor of my new Twitterz pals, the Lady Friend and I (she’s become a big fan of oatmeal stouts) cracked it and toasted Ninkasi.

Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.

What’d I think?

Well, the nose is boozy, with a strange fruity aroma. Grape! That’s it. The Lady Friend pinned it down. It’s almost like a hint of brandy. The stoutiness is lurking underneath, warm and roasty, with that hint of bitterness. But those stinging grape smells are what’s eye- (well, nose) catching. I suspect it’s a trick of the malt, which can get fruity with higher abvs. It’s not a BAD aroma by any means, but just a bit unexpected.

The taste starts with a quick hit of that alcohol astringency and fruity grape essence, before the dark roasted stout rushes in. Decently medium-light mouthfeel, avoiding the cloying syrup of others, and a nice dark mocha roast, and a bitterness almost akin to a high cacao dark chocolate, without the sweetness. There is a bit of sweetness in there, though not too creamy, just a hint of lactose. I doubt whether there’s lactose actually in the brew (like a milk stout) but there’s just a touch of creamy mouthfeel to round things out; the finish isn’t a sharp biting dark roast bitter, but rounded. The sharp edges have been sanded off, though there’s still a slight snap. Complex flavors, nice level of booziness, and very drinkable.

It’s quite excellent.

Compare this complexity to the brew we tried right behind it: Boatswain Chocolate Stout (Rhinelander Brewing, a $2.50 bomber sale from Trader Joe’s) which was like Fruit Stripe gum: a rush of flavor then suddenly gone. Wham, bam, thank you… wait where’d the flavor go? I didn’t even get to “ma’am.” It just evaporates in your mouth. That’s how you can pick a cheap brew out of a lineup. And Ninkasi is not in that cheap league.

They’re the real deal.

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