Posts Tagged ‘whiskey’

Rule 37: Merrymeeting Stump Puller

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.



The Lady Friend’s familial clan has a lakehouse (they’re among the New Englanders who refer to such locations as “camp” even though there is a roof over a walled structure, and thus, no actual camping is involved) on Merrymeeting Lake in New Hampster.

No, I hadn’t heard of it either.


rule37merrymeetingmap

Here’s a handy map.



Regardless, if you can avoid the dreaded “daytrippers,” it’s an excellent place for drinking WAY too much, though the drive home Sunday morning along winding dirt roads with many drastic elevation changes and the Lady Friend at the wheel can be a bit… horrifically ungodlyawfulmurderousvomituplungsandliver. That’s the technical term. But I never learn lessons about drinking too much so we packed some beer and cocktails and headed out to the aquatic splendor of central New Hampshire. I didn’t pack any bar tools, figuring there’d at least be a lowball glass (there was), some ice (yup), and a shot glass for measuring (there were plenty of those). What I did bring were the two simple ingredients for making a Merrymeeting Stump Puller.


merrymeetingpan

Begin imbibing.



I found this drink in a copy of Mr. Boston, and it was apparently invented by a “Ronald Sperry” for some Boston “Shake Up the World” contest. That’s all the detail it gives. The original name was the MONTANA Stump Puller, but I’ve made a slight ingredient adjustment to make this one a bit more unique to Merrymeeting. Also fitting, the specific area of Merrymeeting where the Lady Friend’s relations “camp” is known as Adder Hole. It’s the shallower end of the lake, so there’s lots of trees in/along the water slowly being absorbed into the watershed. Which means lots of logs and stumps that needed removal over the years, making this drink even more fitting.

This is not to be confused with the “Gull Lounge” on the end of Pete’s Sandbar. That stump was quite well-preserved with alcohol until the ice claimed it one winter.


rule37merrymeetingstumppullerMerrymeeting Stump Puller
Adapted from the “Montana Stump Puller,” Mr. Boston 65th ed (2000).

- 2 oz Canadian whisky (Canadian Club Reserve 10yo)
- 1 oz Dr. McGillicuddy’s Mentholmint Liqueur

Yeah.
Dump it into a rocks/Old Fashioned glass over ice and give it a stir. The original recipe called for creme de menthe, but I don’t have any. Then again, the original called for this to be served in a shot glass, but it makes 3oz. They didn’t say if this was a double, or if it should be split into two shot glasses, so I’m not too worried about not following their instructions to the letter.



Yes, that’s “whisky” with no “e.” It’s Canadian.

rule37merrymeetingstumppullerbottlesThere’s three reasons for using the Dr. McGillicuddy’s here. First, I don’t have any creme de menthe. No, this mentholmint liqueur isn’t a perfect replacement, but it’ll do. Secondly, the Doctor holds a place of honor in the Lady Friend’s clan’s liquors/liqueurs of choice. Apparently it’s quite popular to sip during ice fishing. Or regular fishing. Or yardwork. Or hiking. Or grocery shopping. They’re quite fond of it, is the point I’m trying to make. I had never tried it until meeting this group, and I jumped right in. It’s like liquid candy canes mixed with alcohol and happiness. Thirdly, I wound up with a nice big bottle (and a little pocket-sized sipper) of the Doctor at their last Yankee Swap. I contributed some very Mainely gifts of Allen’s Coffee Brandy and a 2-litre of Moxie. Uncle Ron was quite pleased to get it.


Into the cocktail we go. Start with a sniff.

It smells… not good. Like toothpaste and caramel gasoline. The sugary mint is pretty powerful in here, and that Canadian whisky is just… antiseptic? Yeah. Let’s hope it tastes ok.

rule37merrymeetingstumppuller_altOh.
Oh my.
That’s… not bad.
In theory, I was expecting this to be like a cheap version of a Mint Julep. All the ingredients are there. Well, sort of. There’s whisky (Canadian Club is no bourbon), mint and sugar (thoughtfully provided in one go, thanks to the Doctor), and ice. It is a bit heavy on the sugar/mint side, and there’s a wash of the whisky malt and alcohol warmth towards the finish of the drink. It’s really not bad. Not GREAT, but not bad.


I mixed one of these “upta camp” and there was even a bottle of the Doctor nestled in the freezer among the ice cubes and frozen vegetables. I supposed I didn’t need to bring my own bottle along. The Lady Friend’s father reluctantly had a taste, then seemed to warm to it a bit more with each sip. After our cruise around the lake, he happily made another one for himself. He’s part of a crew that heartily enjoyed their cocktails back in the day, though they preferred Wild Turkey to the blended Canadian stuff. They even made a club about it.


wtccc

No, seriously. That’s the Wild Turkey Canoeing and Climbing Club.



Simple to mix, with only two ingredients, and one of them is the Doctor. This would probably be better with a better whiskey, but you’ll have more of a flavor battle against the mint. However, given the fact that the Lady Friend’s father tried a couple of them, it seems like the Merrymeeting Stump Puller is officially endorsed.

Review: Bully Boy American Straight Whiskey

YES.
The first of the Bully Boy aged spirits. FINALLY.

Now I get to take you to whiskey school. You might learn something.
Plus, how awesome does “whiskey school” sound?


review-BBASW_bottle

Bully!



So. Bully Boy’s American Straight Whiskey. It’s a small-batch craft whiskey coming out of Boston by (very tall) distillers Will and Dave Willis. This one has been aging for about two years and change, and is an entirely different recipe from their White Wheat Whiskey. Dark blue label this time, and a taller, longer-necked bottle in contrast to their stubbier apothecary-like containers for the regular lineup. Instantly you know this is a different type of product, though the Bully Boy logo is just as recognizable in white rather than black ink. Let’s break down the name: American Straight Whiskey. It’s produced in America (well, Massachusetts, which can be very un-American at times YES I’M TALKING ABOUT YOUR RESTRICTIVE LIQUOR LAWS AND LACK OF HAPPY HOUR). Here’s the fun part… it’s a Straight Whiskey. There’s a number of important regulations that go with this designation, so you know what you’re getting. Like the term “bottled-in-bond,” it’s a guarantee from the government.

review-BBASW_label1) It has to be made from cereal grain.
The Bully Boys are using a mash bill that’s roughly 45% corn, 45% rye, and 10% barley. Somewhere in there.

2) Coming off of the still, you can’t exceed 80% abv/ 160 proof, and can’t exceed 62.5% abv/ 125 proof going into the barrel for aging.

3) Must be aged for at least two years in charred new American Oak barrels. Check.

4) No additives (like caramel coloring). Check.

5) Once it’s done aging, you can filter it (this one is not chill filtered) and dilute it down to no less than 40% abv/ 80 proof. We’re at 84 proof here, so no problem there.

6) IF you wanted to call a whiskey a “straight bourbon” (like Makers Mark) or a “straight rye” (like Bulleit Rye), you need 51% of the predominant cereal grain in the mash bill (51% corn for bourbon or 51% rye for rye). Bully Boy is split pretty evenly on the corn/rye line, so it’s neither a bourbon, nor a rye by definition. It’s simply a straight whiskey.


There you go. Lesson over.


Back in November I drove down to Boston to attend the official launch party of Bully Boy ASW at the Blue Room in Kendall Square. Will and Dave were both there boozing and schmoozing, and I was mistaken for (and narrowly missed meeting in person) Will Gordon, a like-minded writer and imbiber of various intoxicating beverages. The event was a blast, and I got my first taste of the ASW. Very tasty. The BBoys were also gracious enough to donate a bottle (Batch 1, Bottle 211) for an official SquirrelFarts review, so let’s get to it.


BBASW-releaseparty_bottles


Though there were two cocktail options at the launch party, I went for a sample served neat – whiskey in glass. No water, no ice. We’ll start the almost the same way here, but with a few drops of water added.

review-BBASW_neatNose: Caramel. Lots of caramel. Sweet. A slight cinnamon/nutmeg spice. Vanilla. Fruit. Cherry, plum and even fig. Dark syrup, like maple syrup without the maple. There’s a heat from the alcohol that singes a touch… don’t inhale TOO deeply.

Taste: Bitter, with a spicy snap right from the start. There’s a rounded sweetness that helps in the middle, and a nice wash of boozy heat that leaves the gums tingling. A dry oaky finish, and snappy rye spice overall. It leaves your mouth a bit parched and thirsty for more.

My initial reaction at the party was that it nosed like a bourbon, but tasted like a rye. That’s the story I’m sticking with here. It’s kind of both styles in one whiskey with the corn sweet and the bitter rye spice. Given the mash bill, that makes sense.

I really like it.
Shocking, I know.
I’m not as big a fan of the White Whiskey (the Belgian-like banana/ clove throws me off a bit) but this is MUCH more to my liking. It really is a good split of bourbon versus rye all in the same spirit. I need a cocktail that will work equally well with both styles. This calls for a MANHATTAN.

Like I need an excuse for a Manhattan.


review-BBASW_manhattanBully Boy ASW Manhattan
Nothing fancy here, no tricks. Just a normal Manhattan. I like mine at 2:1

- 3 oz Bully Boy ASW
- 1.5 oz sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters

For the love of Bacchus STIR IT. All spirit here, no need for shaking. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.


This is my normal Manhattan recipe to give the BB ASW a fair trial. I like mine at a reasonable 2:1 ratio, with a homemade cocktail cherry. I’m sticking to Angostura here so the whiskey isn’t competing with the other ingredients.

Nose: Rounded and smooth. It’s almost got an herbal touch, like oregano. Yeah, I know that’s really strange, but whatevs. My bar, my blog. I think what does it is the mixture of fruity/winey vermouth and the spicy/sweet whiskey, with the Angostura butting in its cinnamon bark tinctures. There’s an almost savory quality as a result, redolent of marinara sauce. Is my nose misfiring? Is that a thing? The whiskey character IS there, but it’s taken on a much more subdued, languished savory sensation.

Taste: We’re back to normal in the flavor. Once again, the drink starts off with a nice bitter snap, followed by a sweet corn just before the dark grape syrup of the vermouth comes in. The finish is dry, spicy, and warming, and it’s hard to separate the contributions of the Angostura from the rye spice.

I rather like it, but it’s different from many other whiskies. That herbal aroma is really freaking me out, but the taste is right where it should be.


review-BBASW_bottle2[UPDATE]
I just had to try this one again. There was such an odd aroma profile that I went back and made another Manhattan, this time eliminating such variables as my (past prime?) cocktail cherry, and with a fresh bottle of vermouth. Just in case. This time we’re going with a scotch tasting glass (dome-shaped rocks glass, not a Glencairn) to funnel those aromas down and see what the results are.

Nose: Much more normal from what I’d expect in a Manhattan, but STILL verging on the herbal spice. Craziness. It’s much more subdued than in the original test, and there are wider sensations of rye spice, cinnamon, syrupy grape, dry wood and/or sawdust, and yet, Italian spices. Oregano, basil. It’s not a BAD thing, just very unusual. Somebody in here (corn, barley, vermouth, Angostura… I’m looking at YOU rye) is fooling around. Weird, but neat.

Taste: As before, the taste is much more in line with a normal Manhattan. Dry spicy start, quick rounded sweetness before a warm wave of alcohol; grapey syrup gives way to a crisp arid finish, with a rye bitter mingled into the Angostura dark bark spice. Not as sweet as a bourbon, not as spicy as a rye, but somewhere in between. Lovely.


Overall I’d lean towards using this one in spirit-forward mixes due to its unique nature. It’s not quite bourbon, it’s not quite rye, but it’s very tasty. It’s got the best of both going on, and would make a fantastic Old Fashioned. Try it neat to see the duality of the mash bill before you mix it into other concoctions. Sure, I’m biased towards Bully Boy, but they keep making good products. Go snag this one. Here’s where you can find it (pdf).


For our Bully Boy rum review click here: Bully Boy Rum
For our Bully Boy vodka review click here: Bully Boy Vodka
For our Bully Boy white whiskey review click here: Bully Boy White Whiskey
For our visit to the Bully Boy distillery click here: Bully Boy Distillery



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: 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: 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 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: Hazzard County Line

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.



Just because I’ve been a slacker with the posts doesn’t mean I haven’t been drinking my Rule 37s. So let’s try to get caught up. This one, the Hazzard County Line, comes courtesy of the Lady Friend, though she had no idea what the Hazzard County reference was.


Hint.



In addition to having a tv-themed namesake, apparently it’s a drink at The Vanderbilt in Brooklyn. She found it on this site while looking for decent apple brandy recipes.

Since this is a spirit-forward drink, I’m actually using some very nice ingredients. It’ll make a big difference in a drink where you really taste the booze. For the bourbon, we’ve got Smooth Ambler’s Old Scout straight bourbon, clocking in at 99 proof. A hand-numbered bottle, (batch two), this one was a gift from boozing buddy Brent when he visited Boston earlier in the year. It’s not a Kentucky bourbon from Bourbon County (or Hazzard County, Georgia, for that matter), but rather hails from West Virginia. I swore I’d never use this one for mixing, but this spirit-heavy drink seemed like an acceptable compromise. Plus, the 99 proof was a much needed boost.

The peach brandy comes from Great Lakes Distillery, one of my happy places out in Milwaukee. They make a range of eau-de-vie brandies and liquors, like Grappa, Kirschwasser, and peach, pear and apple brandies. These are the real deal… a bit hot and boozy up front, but once the heat evaporates, they leave a wonderful fresh fruit flavor behind. Currently on the bar are the apple and peach brandies (I don’t like pear), and they’re great to use for a nice crafted cocktail featuring the spirit.

So. Let’s mix it up and see what happens.


Hazzard County Line
From The Vanderbilt Restaurant and Bar, Brooklyn, New York

- 1 oz peach brandy (Great Lakes)
- 1 oz bourbon (Smooth Ambler)
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- Dash of honey (Blue Line Apiary)
- Sprig of fresh mint
- Lemon wheel

Shake it real hard and fast like bouncing down a backcountry dirt road in your ’69 Charger. Serve over ice in a mason jar, garnish with a lemon wheel and a big ‘ol sprig of fresh mint. It kicks like the ‘shine from your uncle’s still, and it’ll make you jump right over the river. Better learn to fly or start flappin’ your arms real hard.


The original recipe just said “shake with ice, then serve over ice. Garnish with lemon wheel.” Um. What about the mint? What kind of glass? Yeah, this recipe isn’t too specific about a couple things. I used a nice big sprig of mint as a garnish, as with a julep. I also tossed it into a mason jar/drinking glass just like they’d do in Hazzard County. I’d recommend using some honey syrup instead of straight honey. Honey is a little too thick to mix well, especially with ice. Use a half ounce of honey syrup (1 part honey, 1 part water) in place of the straight stuff. Mine came from Blue Line Apiary, which was featured in my Rule 37: The Bee’s Knees.

Ok. Let’s try it.
Well, lots of mint and lemon in the aroma. Mostly because of the mint sprig and lemon wheel stuck up my nose when I go in for a sniff. Kind of hard to get past those, so let’s have a taste.

Whoa.

Boozy.

It’s an interesting combo. There’s the dark quality of the bourbon, and a lot of lemon right from the start. The peach and honey flavors are more subdued and come in with the finish. It’s kind of like a cough drop: honey, lemon, and alcohol. Actually, this would probably make a dandy cough remedy. Plus the booze would put you right at ease. I think it’s rather nice (good thing I made myself a double) though the Lady Friend found it way too boozy. As if there is such a thing.

Now if only there were a silly and gratuitous Dukes of Hazzard picture to end this post with…


That works.
Someone got Daisy Duke out of her Daisy Dukes.


Rule 37: Cherry Rye 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.



Tonight’s drink goes back to the last post where I made some fancy cocktail cherries, and wound up with some booze-infused cherry syrup as a byproduct. I made a variation on a whiskey sour, where the cherry syrup was used in place of regular ol’ simple syrup. It worked out well, especially as a porch-sipping drink as I watched the sky turn into a multi-hued light show with a combination of setting sun and oncoming thunderstorm. However, I speculated that – tasty as the drink was – it might be a tad more summery and sippable as a collins version, which simple means serving in a tall (ideally collins) glass over ice and topping with club soda. So the Rule 37 drink this week does exactly that.


Cherry Rye Collins

- 1 1/2 oz rye whiskey (Old Overholt)
- 1 oz cherry syrup
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 2 dashes orange bitters (for fun)
- Top with club soda

Shake the whiskey, syrup, lemon and bitters and pour into a tall chimney/highball/collins glass over ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a homemade cocktail cherry and a flamed lemon peel. Don’t burn your thumb. I did. Go ahead and throw a straw in there as well, since it makes drinking from tall glasses easier. And daintier. Tiddle-dee-dee.


I went with a rye whiskey for this version, since the cherry syrup is a) incredibly sweet and b) infused with bourbon, which is also sweet. I thought a rye would add a bit of a snap to cut through the cloying sweetness, which should be cut down by the dilution of club soda as well. Not that the lowball/sour version was BAD, but it needed to be lightened up a touch. The orange bitters are in there just for fun. Didn’t want to go with Angostura, as the cherry syrup is already quite cinnamon-y.

There’s not a whole lot of aroma here. Lemon, from the flamed peel, a hint of whiskey, but the club soda kind of blankets the other smells. Going to have to dive in for a taste.

Well. It tastes just like a yummy whiskey sour. There are certainly moments of cherry juice, cinnamon, and tart lemon in there, but you can taste a bit more of the whiskey with the rye in place of bourbon. The bourbon version melded into the overall flavor, whereas the rye pinches your butt as you walk by, just to get your attention.


I am pleased. It’s tasty, yet has a little bit of a spin on a classic recipe. The tall version makes it much more sippable, and appropriate for warm weather. Now I can sit on my porch, casually slurping my drink, and glaring at passers-by. How dare they walk past my house. This sidewalk’s for regular walkin’, not fancy walkin’.

The Bully Boy Speakeasy

So, last Friday night I went to Bully Boy’s speakeasy party.

It was pretty sweet.

Let me explain.


A couple months ago, the Bully Boys started dropping hints on Facebook and Twitter that they were going to throw an exclusive bash to celebrate their one year anniversary of the distillery. Old-timey garbed dudes started showing up at local bars, and posters appeared around town, each with a QR code to scan, which took you to a website. From there you registered, and got a secret entry password to the secret location (which wasn’t revealed until a week before the party), in the style of old speakeasies. I still have no idea what my password actually was, since the audio file kinda slurred the last word. Black gull? Black gulp? Black colt? Not a clue. Something like that. So I planned to equally slur the last word to gain entry.

Finally, the location was revealed: the Waterworks Museum out in Chestnut Hill. It’s located on the reservoir, and was the original municipal water pump station for the City of Boston until the 1970s, when the source was switched over to the gigantoid Quabbin Reservoir out in Central MA. The Lady Friend and I arranged a logistical puzzle (she was coming from Seaport in the city, whereas I was coming from work, then into the city on the T) and met up on the green line, carefully avoiding the horror of the B train through Boston University. Seriously, it stops every 30 feet out there. Ridiculous. After snagging a C train to the Reservoir stop (they were running shuttle buses after Reservoir, so we totally lucked out on that one) we had a brief stroll around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir itself, and over to the museum. Entrance was gained via the side door, and in we went. They actually never even asked for the password.


I bet it’s haunted.



Just inside the door, we ran into co-Bully Boy Will Willis, and chatted for a bit before continuing farther in to the museum. Holy snotrockets. This place was HUGE. Three story-high machinery lit with accent lights towered above, while the DJ pumped out remixes of classic Prohibition-era ditties (before switching over to some sweet Ace of Base). Several bars were set up throughout the machine room, and we sidled up to one to get a few drinks. I led off with a Mojito (pre-mixed, but Mojitos are a pain to make) and the Lady Friend went with the Rough Rider, the whiskey cocktail. After our traditional Bully Boy cheer “BULLY!” We took in the small details while sipping our drinks: the cigarette candle holders (real cigs… I checked), Bully Boy branded coasters, match books and empty liquor bottles as flower vases, all arranged on wooden casks. The Bully Boy logo projected brightly onto the machine room floor, and the guests, some decked-out in Prohibition-era attire, meandered in to clutch highball glasses and stare at the mechanisms looming above.


And jamming out to some sweet tunes. I did indeed see The Sign. And it opened up my eyes.



Our next round of drinks worked out quite nicely as the Rule 37 for the week:

The Commodore

- 2 oz Bully Boy White Rum (our pour was at least double that, but I’m the last to complain about a heavy-handed bartender)
- Top with Night Shift Brewing Trifecta (Belgian-style pale ale)
- Garnish with lemon wedge

Um. Pour a whole bunch of rum into a pint glass and top with the Night Shift. Plop a lemon wedge in there and drink it.


Whoa. It was certainly boozy. Trifecta is a 7% abv beer to begin with, so there’s a decent amount of punch in this pint. Yes, it’s more of a beertail than proper cocktail, but this totally still counts. Nosed with a strange mixture of sugary blackstrap rum and a Belgian-y sweet & sour aroma. The Bully Boy certainly overpowers the brew, but it’s still in there with a faint cry of “I’m not dead yet!” The taste? My notes read “oh that’s strange.” A Belgian fruity and sour note, offset by the sugar of the rum. There’s certainly a boozy astringency as well, and an almost grapey sour quality to the Belgian. I’d have to try the beer straight to get a better idea of it, but the two did get along quite well.

As we slurped our Commodores, the OTHER Bully Boy, Dave, came over and chatted with us for a bit. As we were talking, Michael O’Mara, co-founder and brewer of Night Shift, walked up, fresh from delivering kegs at the American Craft Beer Festival, and we were introduced. His altered suggestion for the drink was a shot of Bully Boy rum, topped with the Trifecta and lemon wedge, but served in the skinny highball glass over ice. It probably would have been a more manageable alcohol content, and a better blend of flavors, but I was satisfied with my big ol’ pint o’ booze.





The Lady Friend and I stayed a bit longer, exploring the museum, tasting more cocktails and having some snacks. We headed out as the party got REALLY crowded, and made our way back to the T, complete with Indiana Jones-style lawn sprinkler evasion maneuvers. While waiting for the God-forsaken T train way out in the wasteland of Cleveland Circle, we observed a pointy kitty (large rat) shuffling and snuffling along the rails. The Lady Friend, unperturbed by our new acquaintance from the Order Rodentia, and perhaps feeling a bit cocktail-laden, insisted on sitting on a junction box clearly marked “Wet Paint.” Luckily for her, it had dried by that point leaving khakis unblemished for the trip home. Bully!

Return top