Issue No. 027 “Tails” from the Bookworm “The Sun Also Rises”

 


“One generation passeth away and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth forever.

The sun also ariseth and the sun goeth down and hasteth to the place where he arose.

The wind goeth toward the south and turneth about unto the north;it whirleth about continually,and the wind returneth again according to its circuits.

All the rivers run into the sea;yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come,thither they return again.”

emingway, the master of deep dark stories, war hero and legend as well as legendary drinker, Hemingway and his generation that endured the First World War and came out the other side  darker and disillusioned and  yet in some ways emancipated from the morals and traditions that their ancestors held so highly . The quote above from Ecclesiastes discusses our impermanence , the cycle of life-death-life, how everything that is returns to where it came from, it is also where the book gets it’s title from. WWI was the catalyst that made a good portion of the world examine this Zeitgeist, writers, painters, poets all wondering and exploring who are we, where did we come from, where are we going, a major theme in this story of the lost generation in The Sun Also Rises, who wander empty filling their time with partying, drinking, traveling , chasing after what they can’t have and  searching for the unknown to make them feel whole again , no-one exemplifies this more than the  main protagonist  Jake Barnes.

In an alternate universe where the war had never happened, Jake would be considered a total stud, men want to be him and women want to be with him, but Hemingway decided to emasculate this poor chap who’s war scars are not only mental but physical too. After suffering a serious injury he is left impotent ( I think the one thing men fear most ) its almost cruel that papa doled out such a heavy burden on this poor chap, there’s not much else for him to do but to drink and hide himself in a glass of beer, brandy ,absinthe, wine and back to beer again, yes this guy knew how to hold his drink , and sometimes not, in every way but one the true man’s man . The other major theme for Jake’s character is his relationship with Miss emancipation herself Lady Brett Ashley, she nursed him through his war wounds then tears his heart to shreds all through the book , all because she can’t live a life without S.E.X.

So in following Jake through the book I decided to concoct drinks for him through various points in the story, there’s a lot of travel and back and forth, Paris, San Sebastian, Pamplona, Madrid and stop offs in between, Hemingway had a deep affection for Spain, along with fellow journalist Martha Gelhorn   he covered the conflict of the Spanish civil war and  became  an aficionado of bullfighting, the flavors of Spain are my starting points in most of the drinks, from the saffron and fennel in Paella,  cherries and chocolate in Basque country , to Jamon and sherry in Jerez.

Hotel Crillon, Paris

Its Five O’clock and I’m waiting for Brett, but she’s not here,  I fill my  time writing letters,  they’re not very good letters but they’re on Crillon stationary so I hope that’ll make them better. At a quarter to six Brett still has not shown up so I head down to the bar to see George the bar-man, he fixes me the popular drink of the day a Jack Rose, I take a sip and give a deep sigh , where could she be?

The classic Jack Rose is made from applejack brandy, grenadine and lemon, simple and tasty enough but what if we tweaked the ingredients and gave it some complexity and Jake Barnes something else to think about other than the heart stomping “Lady” Brett.

Le Jacqueminot

1 1/2 oz Lustau Spanish Brandy de Jerez infused with black peppercorns for a couple of days ( 1/4 cup black peppercorns to 1 750ml bottle brandy)

1 oz Spanish rioja/tempranillo

3/4 oz  pomegranite grenadine ( I used Wilks & Wilson)

3/4 oz lime juice

2 dashes peychauds bitters

two drops rosewater

1 drop vanilla

1/2 oz egg white

 fresh ground black pepper

strawberry lambic ale for finishing

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Toss everything but the ground black pepper and lambic ale into your shaking tin with 4 ice cubes, shake for about 20 seconds, and strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass, top with splash of lambic ale and finish with ground black pepper

 

Fishing in Burguete

It was a long walk and the country was very fine, but we were tired when we came down the steep road that led out of the wooded hills and into the valley of the Rio del la Fabrica. The road came out from the shadow of the woods into the hot sun. Ahead was a river valley.Beyond the river was a steep hill.There was a field of buckwheat on the hill. We saw a white house under some trees on the hillside.It was very hot and we stopped under some trees beside a dam that crossed the river. Bill put the pack against one of the trees and we jointed up the rods, put on the reels, tied on leaders and got ready to fish…..this is thirsty work and we hadn’t even begun!

G&T

A classic refreshing drink to partake in when you’re hot and parched is the Gin & Tonic, a drink that the Spanish have come to claim as one of their national drinks, sipped at lunch with boquadillos or at the beginning of a late late dinner. I’ve been playing with flavoring tonic water for a while, my most successful were a red pepper tonic where I used red pepper juice instead of water  or my other favorite a pinch of saffron that gives that golden hit of yellow and intense, complex flavor.

One of the quintessential  seafood dishes  of Spain is Paella, rice flavored with saffron and fennel that is baked in skillets with a selection of seafood, mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari or whatever came fresh from the water that day, peppers and pimenton also  imbue this dish with fruity and earthy flavors.

Tie me up, Tie me down

1 1/2 oz Bols genever gin ( maltier than a regular gin)

1/4 oz kubler absinthe

3/4 oz genepy

3/4 oz dolin or martini blanc vermouth

3/4 oz white verjus

for the saffron tonic

if you want to be adventurous you can make your own tonic syrup but you have to be very careful about the amounts of cinchona bark you put into the mixture, too much can make a person quite sick.

if you feel like cheating as I very often do, ( not from laziness more that I’m incredibly impatient) try this hack…

1 liter bottle tonic water

4-5 strands saffron

add saffron strands to  tonic water and tighten bottle so you limit the bass that escapes, if you’re luck enough to have a CO2 tank at home and the carbonating apparatus that goes along with it then you don’t have to worry, and good for you! The Saffron infuses fast so don’t worry too much about time on this one

 

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

For the drink

Build your ingredients into a mixing glass, add 5-6 ice cubes and stir for twenty seconds or so. Strain into a chilled collins glass filled with ice cube of choice, top off with the saffron tonic, and garnish with a long fennel frond and if in season some halved pea pods and a pea tendril make this drink really super pretty as well as tasty.

Fiesta of San Fermin, Bullfights and  Pamplona…

“I leaned over the wall and tried to see into the cage. It was dark. Someone rapped on the cage with an iron bar. Inside something seemed to explode. the bull, striking into the wood from side to side with his horns, made a great noise. Then I saw a dark muzzle and the shadow of horns, and then, with a clattering on the wood in the hollow box, the bull charged and came out into the corral, skidding with his forefeet in the straw as he stopped, his head up, the great hump of muscle on his neck swollen tight, his body muscles quivering as he looked up at the crowd on the stone walls. The two steers backed away against the wall, their heads sunken, their eyes watching the bull.

“My god isn’t he beautiful?” Brett said

Bloody Mary/Bloody Bull

The Bloody Bull is a drink similar to a Bloody Mary but has the addition of  beef stock, the Bloody Mary ( or Bucket of Blood as it was first called)has its origins in early 19th century Paris made  in Harry’s Bar ,an American bar that had been shipped over to Paris and reassembled just in time to rehydrate all those thirsty expats who had decamped in the city around the time of Prohibition, also just after the Russian Revolution happened, Paris was flooded with that odorless , clear spirit called Vodka, that the bartender at Harry’s began mixing with tomato juice , salt, pepper and other seasonings. It  quickly caught on  with the American contingency as a hangover cure and was renamed sometime in the Forties as the Bloody Mary.

Rather than use beef stock to flavor my version I used a ham bone and some bacon fat, that I sealed in a vacuum bag with vodka and allowed gentle heat to do the rest. I’m also quite obsessed right now with making a clear drink that looks like water but packs a punch of flavors so instead of tomato juice I made tomato water, made by hanging pureed tomatoes in muslin over a container where the tomato water drips into, all the flavor of sweet ripe tomatoes without the chunky bits.

Jamon , Jamon 

2 oz smoked ham and  bacon fat washed vodka

2 oz  tomato water

1 oz fino sherry

1 oz white verjus

good 2 pinches of maldon smoked salt

1 pinch ras el hanout

1 pinch pimenton espellete

3 dashes celery bitters

baby radish with leaves to garnish

For the tomato water

blitz 15-20 roma tomatoes in a vitamix, pour liquid tomatoes into a heavy bottomed pan and set on a medium heat until it starts to simmer and the pulp rises to the top of your pot. whilst this is happening line a  large chinoise strainer  with an even larger coffee filter and place over a pot or large pitcher. Once the tomato liquid has bubbled up, pour it into the chinoise strainer and allow the tomato water to drip through without agitating it. The yield should be about 2 quarts, store ing the fridge it will last a couple of days.

For the Jamon vodka

for those of you without fancy gadgets here’s a hack to achieve similar result to sous vide….

1 liter bottle vodka

1 ham bone ( your local butcher can provide and also chop in half if needed)

1 tablespoon smoked bacon fat ( a good excuse to make BLT’s, save the bacon fat after cooking)

1 large ziplock bag

1  ice cooler ( igloo will do,  keeps ice cold but also hot things hot due to its insulation)

a long cooking thermometer

Add your vodka, ham bone and bacon fat to the ziplock bag, zip up the bag until almost closed, leave a small opening where you can squeeze the air in the bag out, if you don’t the bag will not sink the air keeping it afloat and the vodka  will not infuse fully) once the air is removed seal the bag fully. To your igloo ice chest add  60 degree celsius hot water, insert thermometer and bag of vodka/ham. Close lid on chest, I’ve gone so far as to place my igloo in a box surrounded by a blanket ( no I did not sing it a lullaby ) The water temp can go down as far as 54 degrees but you will need to top it off with hot water once it starts to dip below 55, so have a kettle of hot water ready to go.  Let the bag sit for a couple of hours, then remove and allow contents to cool off before straining out fat and ham bits. Pour vodka into a sealable container , put on lid and store in fridge for 3-4 hours until fat has frozen solid and is easy to scoop off. Strain vodka again then store in airtight container back in the fridge till ready to be used.

 

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

For the drink

add all ingredients to a mixing glass with 4-5 ice cubes, stir for about twenty seconds , strain into a chilled collins glass filled with ice , garnish with a pickled or non pickled radish and a spindle more of smoked salt and pimenton. You can also garnish with pickled peppers or baby tomatoes, the choice is yours.

 

After Fiesta and back to Bayonne

“It was pleasant to be drinking slowly and to be tasting the wine and to be drinking alone. A bottle of wine was good company. Afterward I had coffee. The waiter recommended a Basque liqueur called Izzarra. he brought in the bottle and poured a liqueur glass full. he said Iazzarra was made of the flowers of the Pyrenees. The veritable flowers of the Pyrenees. It looked like hair oil and smelled like Italian Strega. I told him to take the flowers of the Pyrenees away and bring me a vieux marc. The marc was good. I had a second one after the coffee

Bayonne , a town that straddles the Pyrenees on one side of it Gascogny on the other  the Basque region,( oh, no you thought I meant Bayonne NJ famous for its drugs, prostitution and mob influences as well as for producing Shaquille O’Neil) no the original French Bayonne is famous for its chocolate making, wine production and scenic vistas and is slightly more civilized. Vieux marc is a dessert brandy made from grape pomace similar to grappa, a great accompaniment to the classic Basque dessert of cherries, kind of like a cherry soup , officially known as Gerezi beltza arno gorriakin, mmm, yes long isn’t it? Imagine trying to say that after making friends with  a bottle of wine and a couple of brandies. This cherry soup served with a dollop of fresh cream to balance out the sweet tartness of the fruit, all you need is chocolate curls and you’d have a liquid Black Forest cake…so I got to thinking

For my cherry soup I kinda sorta  made a version of a Ramos Fizz  crossed with an egg cream, but with a cherry shrub and Maraschino instead of lemon and orange flower water, and chocolate chili bitters with a dusting of chocolate powder atop, and to give it some base a touch of dry oloroso  and topped off with soda.

 

Matador

1 1/2 oz bourbon

1 oz cherry shrub

1 oz dry oloroso sherry

1/2 oz maraschino liqueur

1/2 oz simple syrup

1/2 lemon

1/2  oz cream

1 oz egg white

3 dashes chocolate chilli bitters

1-2 oz soda water

For the cherry shrub

pit about a pound of cherries and let them cold macerate with 1 cup of sugar in the fridge for a couple of days, the juice should be drawn out of the cherries , then add 1 cup of banyuls vinegar, stir and put back into the fridge to allow, fruit, sugar and vinegar to get on first name terms. Leave for further 2 days. When finished strain liquid through a cheesecloth and chinoise strainer, taste, you are looking for a balance between perfect tartness and a little sweet, you can add sugar or vinegar as needed but remember you don’t want to wash out the cherry flavor.

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Add everything except the cream and cola to your boston shaker with 2-3 ice cubes, whip shake to froth up the egg for about 40-50 seconds. Add cream and gently stir in, pour into a chilled collins glass  and top off with coca cola, dust on top a pinch of chocolate powder. Garnish with fresh  or homemade maraschino cherries.

 

Madrid, to pick up the pieces of Lady Brett 

The Norte station in Madrid is the end if the line. All trains finish there. they don’t go on anywhere. Outside were cabs and taxis and a line of hotel runners.It was like a country town. i took a taxi and we climbed up though the gardens by the empty palace and the unfinished church on the edge of the cliff, and on until we were in the high, hot modern town. the Taxi coasted down to Puerta del Sol and then through the traffic onto the Carrera  San Jeronimo. All the shops had their awnings down against the heat. The windows on the sunny side of the street were shuttered. The taxi stopped at the curb. I saw the sign HOTEL MONTANA on the second floor. The taxi driver carried the bags inside and left them by the elevator. I could not make the elevator work so I walked up. On the second floor up was a brass sign: HOTEL MONTANA. I rang and no-one came to the door. i rang again and a maid with a sullen face opened the door.

“Is Lady Ashley here?” I asked, I knew what was waiting, Brett would fall into my arms and I’d make her feel safe but she would never truly love me , it was pretty to think we could have had a damned good time!

To come to Jake’s aid on this hot summer day in Madrid , were I the maid opening the door I would be handing him a cold refreshing glass for his thirst and his woes, this drink below is based on  Ajo blanco or what is sometimes called a white gazpachio, that uses grapes , almonds and bread, instead of bread am using manzanilla sherry for a touch of nuttiness and depth , for the almond factor a delightful orgeat from the gents at Wilks & Wilson and then of course  crisp , sweet grapes with  dry Txakoli  as a spritz, its a sort of take on a Rebujito a couple of these and a plate full of pintxos and he’d forget all about that fickle lady he lost his heart to, at least for a moment !

 

Volver

2 1/2 oz good manzanilla sherry, Lustau is my current favorite

1 oz orgeat

1 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz amaretto

6 or so ripe green grapes, plus a small bunch for garnish. If you can get muscat grapes even better

2-3 lemon verbena leaves plus a sprig or two for garnish

1-2 oz Txakoli ( a sparkling dry white wine drank in regions of Spain as early as breakfast, I mean we have champagne brunches so why not eh)?

shot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 

In your trusty Boston shaker muddle lightly  grapes and lemon verbena leaves with orgeat and lemon, add the rest of your ingredients plus 5-6 ice cubes. Shake for about 20 seconds then dump into a vessel of your choice. Top off with the  sparkling Txakoli , garnish with either a mini bunch of grapes or a few grape halves plus a lemon verbena sprig.

 

Next up….an ode to Autumn

Issue No.019 Give me little drink from your Loving Cup

 

 

 

 

magine if  going on a cleanse  was as easy as switching on a vacuum cleaner and having it all get sucked out, all evils just washed away and us absolved of our many imbibed sins.  We spend so much time taking care of the outside, the visible parts of us , gussying it up, making it all shiny , yet we put so much crap into our bodies not really thinking too much about the consequences, or dealing with them many years down the line.

Modern diets and lifestyles, i’m not preaching honest, wreak havoc on us . Lets face it we’re all guilty especially at this time of the year when we’ve just spent a month ( maybe more) indulging in a plethora of delights from christmas pudding and mince pies, to egg nog and copious amounts of champagne (ok that was my holiday diet). You get to January and all your bits have gotten a bit softer, bit wobblier , you feel sluggish and lumpy. So the next step is you sign up for a new gym membership to get back into bikini shape, but what about the inside, whats the saying , beauty should start from within , right?A popular method of inner spring cleaning is the fast, you give your digestive system a rest by only drinking juices or teas or spicy maple lemonade. Fasts are  nothing new of course, but they’re pretty bloody trendy these days and not just as  religious practice during Ramadan or Lent  which both employ fasting as part of the “making yourself holy” schtick . A fast is great but but whilst washing your inner bits its not really putting anything back into your system.

I live in the city of Angels, the land of mashed yeast and alfalfa sprouts according to that great Noo Yawker Woody Allen, here there  is an almost unnatural   obsession with juice cleansing, juice bars popping up all over the shop, charging $10 a go for a cold pressed bottle of green nectar, its also become popular to add, dare I say it ( waiting to be struck down by lighting) a shot of vodka or gin to said juice mix, I mean I wrote about it this time last year so I know it to be true. But this month as a change of pace and to give us all a break I decided to concentrate on the beneficial aspects of juice cocktails , or mocktails.  As a bartender I get at least one request a night to make a mocktail of some sort , since I’m a lover of veggie juice I always try to incorporate it somewhere on any drink list I have a hand in. Recently  however I started thinking about making healthful tonics not only that will cleanse those twenty  odd miles of twisted pipes in your tum but that will also help put you back on the right track with the addition of plant extracts.

Phytochemistry ( yup a big word but not a scary one) is the science of chemicals derived from plants, natural chemicals of course,that are used to heal and prevent illness, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines are all derived from Phytochemical mixtures and have been used for centuries before modern medicine was even considered, in fact a whole slew of modern medicines are synthetic imitations of plant based compounds.You may be asking yourself at this point did I suddenly decide to change track and start writing a wellbeing blog, rest assured I did not but as someone that has over the years developed intolerance to all sorts of foods I started looking at ways of making my body feel better and stronger naturally. Here’s just a few…for my chronic migraines I take Feverfew daily, for joint stiffness ( brought on by standing too long and gluten in my diet) I take Boswellia ( same family as Frankincense, you know one of the gifts that a wise man carried) and Turmeric , for upset tummy I use Black walnut tincture or charcoal powder and as an immunity booster oregano or astragalus. Don’t get me wrong I still pop an Advil every now and again much to my Witch Doctor’s disapproval, sometimes pain needs a faster method of being whipped, especially if I’m behind the bar facing 6-8 hours of shaking drinks and attempting to be sweet ( not my forte) , but popping one too many and your liver will start to suffer, too many artificial chemicals will eventually take a toll.

Natural healers are all around us,  take for instance extra virgin olive oil, believe it or not it has similar actions to ibuprofen, its a powerful anti-inflammatory , turmeric one of the main components of curry also great for pain and joint stiffness, eating hot peppers helps to release endorphins and make you feel good, ginger root helps with upset tummies and has a higher level of cancer fighting anti oxidants than most berries ( and its often cheaper than them ) it also helps eliminate pain and inflammation. So using these guys as part of my phytocleansing arsenal, here then are this months soothing cups of love full of natural, plant based free radical fighting superheros.

Oh…and when you get sick of being too righteous  and good, toss in a shot of your favorite liquid poison.

 

Street Phyto Man  

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

 3 oz fresh pressed carrot juice

1/2 oz fresh pressed turmeric juice ( or a quarter teaspoon of powdered root)

1/2 oz fresh ginger juice ( or as hot as you can stand it)

2 oz fresh apple juice

1 bar spoon of devil’s claw  tincture ( available at most health food stores)

a pinch of cumin powder

Add everything to your tin with a couple of cubes of ice , no need for tons of dilution, shake for about 10 seconds only then strain into a vessel of choice. Drink it fast or within 15 minutes, the longer it sits the more the valuable elements within the juices will evaporate so you’re just left with carrot tasting water, defying the whole purpose.

great for stiff joints, replaces electrolytes, aids sluggish digestion, lowers sugar levels, soothes the pain)

 

The Kick Inside (an ode to my first vegetarian hero Kate Bush)

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

1 oz fennel juice

3 oz fresh apple juice

6 mint leaves

3 slices jalapeño

1 oz meyer lemon juice

1/2 oz agave ( plant based and low on that nasty sugar index)

black walnut tincture

fennel fronds and mint sprig to garnish

Using your trusty muddler mash up  mint and jalapeño with the agave and lemon juice, add rest of ingredients ( except garnish) and ice. shake for about 15 seconds an dump into a highball. Gussy it up with your garnish and sip away!

Helps with sluggish digestion , rebalances healthy flora in your body, releases endorphins and makes you feel good all over.

 

Flip It Good!

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

3 oz chilled jasmine green tea

1 oz meyer lemon juice

1/2 oz agave nectar

1/2 oz fresh ginger juice

1/2 oz egg white

bar spoon really fruity extra virgin olive oil

bar spoon Camu Camu powder

4 drops of vanilla extract

toss everything except for the olive oil into your tin and dry shake for 10 seconds without ice to build up a nice froth, add ice and shake again for a good 15 seconds to incorporate the Camu Camu. At last second stream in the olive oil, it adds a lovely velvety texture and fruitiness to the drink, shake again for few seconds. This is similar to making a Ramos Fizz, add the fat too soon and the drink will not whip up well.

High in antioxidants, Vitamin C, powerful anti-inflammatory and free radical fighter, immune booster and mood enhancer.

 

Phyt The Power

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

1 whole ripe avocado

1 whole ripe banana

1/2 cup finely chopped lacinato kale

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1 oz agave nectar

4 oz unsweetened almond milk or coconut water

bar spoon chlorophyll powder or spirulina

1 ml dropper full of astragalus and ashwaganda ( in the immunity section of your health food store)

Add everything to your blender and blitz on high till your mix is nice and smooth, there will still be green bits of kale but as long as you can get them through a straw you should be good to go.

Great blood cleanser, blood builder, oxygen booster, immune booster, chock full of anti-oxidants and healthy oils to make your skin, nails and hair look strong and vibrant.

 

Chill-dren of the Revolution

glamour shot supplied by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Ok , so this one takes some time to prep but once its done and presuming you made  a batch it will last in the fridge for about a week.

1 silicone ice cube mold (1 ” cube size)

vegetable spray

1/2 cup chilled mint tea

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup of ginger juice

1 cup fresh apple juice

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon vietnamese cinnamon powder

3 capsules Rhodiola Rosea, open up and just use the powder

1 teaspoon agar agar powder

2 tablespoons agave nectar ( sweeten to your taste)

put everything together into a saucepan except for the agar and the Rhodiola powder, bring  to a simmer and whisk in the agar agar, whisking for a couple of minutes to makes sure there are no lumps.

meanwhile have the silicone ice tray mold sprayed with veggie oil ( wiping out the excess with a paper towel) this helps release the cubes when ready.

take mix of the heat and add the agave nectar, stirring it in,  cool slightly before whisking in the Rhodiola, again make sure there are no lumps or clusters, you want to make sure it dissolves fully.

pour into prepared mold and let set in fridge for about 1/2 an hour or longer if you can wait that long.

for the drink, take 3 cubes and put into a cup or heat resistant glass, add lemon wheels or a twist, a couple of cloves and another twist of fresh black pepper. Pour over a cup of boiling water, the cubes will dissolve . Stir and enjoy the aromas hitting your senses.

Great stress reliever, mood enhancer, energy booster, helps your brain rebalance all the good brain chemicals such as seratonin and endorphins.

 

 

 

Issue No.018 Its getting hot in here, so take out all your cloves!

 

My family and I love this product. For years we have took it. Cialis daily? It can help many men who have erectile dysfunction get and keep an erection when they become sexually stimulated.

 

 

weating yet? If this gratuitous shot of hunky Paul Newman doesn’t do it for you ( I will seriously question your warm bloodedness) then perhaps the offerings we have for you  this month might do the trick. Though considering the weather here in Southern Cali as I write is 86 Degrees , even typing is making me schwitz!

Hot spiked drinks were my Pop’s favorite thing about winter, that and the yearly offering of Islay scotch that would wend its way south every Holiday with my brother,a peace offering of sorts, the only moment of the year that these two great minds could come together and agree on one subject. My first whiffs of the fair lady of the Isles would come floating toward my delicate  girlish nostrils via Poppa Iggy’s hot Toddy, I don’t remember many more of the contents of his cup except for maybe honey and lemon, sometimes I think black pepper got in there.  When researching hot cocktails the one that appears the most popular is indeed the Hot Toddy ( or Tottie which is also slang for  a pretty young girl trying to pass for someone older). The toddie became popular in the late 19th century and was possibly brought over from India to Scotland, a traditional mix of scotch whisky, citrus, honey and hot water and was a dram taken before bed time to help cure colds, though the American lung association will advise that drinking alcohol when suffering  from a cold is not a good idea since alcohol dehydrates , nonetheless its still a popular drink that is consumed if you’re suffering or not regardless of health warnings. The whisky serves to numb the pain, the citrus for a dose of big C, the honey to soothe and the hot water to raise your temperature. The popular classic cocktail the Penicillin is I personally think a cold version using similar ingredients with the addition of a peaty Islay scotch and ginger for extra kick. The toddy can take many forms, I like to use a variety of liquors and instead of plain hot water I infuse it with teas or herbs that will complement the flavors, for instance, chamomile and calvados, chai tea and rum, Earl grey tea, amaretto and bourbon, you get the picture I hope.

The second most popular hot drink would be the Irish coffee, its rumored was invented by a bartender at the LA tavern Tom Bergins which up until recently when it closed its doors was the hot spot ( pun intended) to go to for the best Irish coffee in town. The drink comprises of Irish whiskey, coffee and a generous topping of heavy cream. Europeans might disagree with this story , in Vienna and Germany coffee has been served with spirits and cream as far back as the 17th century except they used a cloud of whipped cream as a decadent foil to mask some of the liquor.

In old  Blighty  a  popular  wintery  tipple  would  be hot  apple  cider  laced  with  brandy and was used in a  game for Guy Faulks night   called  ”Apple  Bobbing” ( takes place on November 5th a pagan celebration where a paper stuffed effigy of Mr.Faulks who attempted to blow up Parliament is thrown onto a bonfire in a” take that you cad” type of retaliation, the origins of Burning Man methinks ) , whole apples are tossed into a bowl of the laced cider and the trick is to try taking a bite of an apples before you fall over drunk from taking mouthfuls of boozy cider, those wicked little apples will as soon as you get close duck under the surface making it near impossible to take a chunk out of them, you guess the rest its more a of a drinking game than anything else.

Spiced or mulled wines are another fruity alternative , the Swedes take the infusing of their wines one step further by adding almonds and raisins as well as spices to make glogg, rhymes with hug, am curious if some errant pirate landed on their fair shores and corrupted the  Swedes forever, more likely its roots go back to those conquering Romans who drank spiced  warm wine all the way back in the first century. I would imagine wearing those short skirts back then demanded some form of inner fortification to keep soldiers from freezing their nuts off. Some version of mulled wine is drank at Christmas time pretty much all over Europe and some Latin American countries. The Germans have something they call “glow wine”, in Italy they have “vin Brule” or burnt wine. My country men the Poles also have an affection for warmed up beer that has honey and spices added to it , Pops would drink it regularly on frigid nights when he had returned from being out all day in the freezing damp air of England, he would warm up a bottle of Newcastle brown or Guinness and sometimes even ramp up its powers by adding a shot of whiskey, kind of like a Boiler maker really.

I hope all this talk of warm and toasty drinks is getting you in the mood, if like me you are sitting in shorts and a bikini then save these ideas for the next time your holed up in a cabin in Mammoth or enduring a rainy afternoon next to the fire with the cat and good book, just don’t let the cat take a nip from your cup or your idillic sojourn will be no more. My favorites for this season without further ado….

 

The Faulk’s Tail Punch

Per drink you will need:

1 oz Calvados , Applejack or Brandy

1/2 oz Madeira

1 barspoon Kummel ( Germanic cumin spiced liqueur)

1/2 oz honey

3/4  oz lemon

2 oz hot mulled apple cider ( spiced with cloves, nutmeg, allspice and orange peel)

 

still life with apples by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Heat up your cider in a pot, you can make this a punch bowl or in small batches , throw in your spices as much or as little as you like and let simmer on a low flame covered for about 15 minutes . Meantime add your booze and juice to punch bowl or cup, when cider is ready pour into your bowl or mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick or a couple of whole cloves.

We have a cold version of this drink at Ink that is mixed with buttermilk and tastes like liquid apple pie

 

Little  Oge Flynn

for the drink:

1 1/2  oz of Irish whisky infused with Ibara chocolate ( I used one wafer or tablet per 1 bottle of whisky, you need to break it up and let it sit and ruminate for at least a week, lucky for me the impatient one I sous vide mine at 55 degrees for an hour and a half to get a good amount of flavor)

2 of good quality  piping hot coffee or espresso, espresso is my favorite it has less acid and more flavor

3/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup ( Vietnamese or Saigon is fuller and more intoxicating in my opinion) 1 tablespoon per 3 cups of 1:1 simple , needs to be added when the simple syrup is hot

4 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters

1 dash of vanilla extract

1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez PX sherry ( the raisins in this  and the chocolate are beautiful together)

for the milk foam:

in your ISI gun add all ingredients and charge with one NO2 canister

8 oz of skim milk ( or buttermilk)

1/4 oz vanilla extract

3 oz of egg whites

1 oz 1:1 simple syrup

study in black and tan by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Assemble your ingredients in a shaking tin stir a couple of times and pour into your warmed glass or vessel of choice , top withe generous cloud of milk foam and shaved dark chocolate, garnish with cinnamon stick.

 

Heathersage Cup

3 oz strong sage tea ( fresh sage leaves steeped in hot water for about 10-15 minutes)

2 oz islay scotch

1 oz lemon juice

1 – 1 1/2 oz clove infused honey  syrup ( 10 cloves to 2 cups of honey syrup 1:1 honey to hot water) infuse the cloves whilst your honey solution is still hot, let sit for a day)

a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper ( for kick)

2 juniper berries

sage leaves and a lemon slice for garnish

still life with teapot by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Put all ingredients in a heat proof glass or mug, muddle the juniper berries everso slightly, add the sage tea and stir, top with lemon  slice and sage leaves.

 

Sweet Bowl of Fire

This one takes some time, so be prepared.

1 bottle of average red wine, a good Syrah or Pinot Noir picks up the flavors of the fruit beautifully

1 /2 cup toasted almonds

1/2 cup of raisins

peel of 2 oranges plus the juice for some tartness

1/2 cup of molasses ( pomegranate molasses works too but adds a real tartness to the finish)

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon crushed pink peppercorns

6 whole cloves

1/2 a whole vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out

1/2 cup Smith & Cross rum ( 1 cup if you want to make a lively gathering)

3 oz st. Elizabeth Allspice dram

 

still life No. 4 by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Toss everything except the rum and allspice dram into a pot and allow to simmer covered for an hour. Let sit for a further 2-3 hours covered but off the flame to fully infuse. When ready strain out all the fruit  and pour the infused wine back into a pot to reheat, when ready to serve pour in rum and allspice, for each cup slice half an orange, add a couple of whole cloves and pour in a generous ladle full of the wine mixture. Great with a slice of gingerbread or a biscotti for dunking.

 

Coming up ….. a nip of nogg

Issue No. 010 In my time of dying

 

 

The product seems to have a direct effect on making me more regular. Order levitra canada? There are a lot of legitimate mail-order pharmacies in this country.

nce upon a time , many moons ago around the age of 22  I was hit by my first head banging hangover after a long night of drinking Brandy Alexanders and single malt scotch, it also  happens  to be  the day  after my  first  Hogmanay  spent  in  Scotland  ( more in  issue 009)the morning I still remember very clearly ( or maybe I should say the early eve ) I had used a bowl of peanuts that had been left on the floor as my pillow and awoke with several stuck to my face,luckily cell phones and instagram had not yet been invented or by pock marked face would be hanging around somewhere tormenting me in places other than my memory. Tis the first time I awoke and  felt like I had been hit by a truck, since then there have been many more occasions  usually after which I swear I will never touch another drop and yet somehow  and sometimes mere hours later I will be seduced by a jewel like glass filled with usually an amber colored enchanter, one whiff and am all his. Tis also the first time someone older and wiser than myself handed me  a glass of something stiff and told me to knock it back with the promise I would rapidly feel much better. This was my first introduction to an actual ” hair of the dog ” remedy, I think it was brandy, espresso and a ton of sugar, followed by my favorite breakfast a good old fashioned bacon and egg butty. Needless to say I survived that ordeal and went on to experience as well as fine tune many more such adventures in dog wrangling.

Am pretty sure we’ve all been there, waking up at 5 in the morning,heart pounding,  your mouth as dry as Maggie Smith’s humor and feeling like you’ve been run over by a herd of stampeding shoppers on their way to the Macy’s sale. As an antidote to the excesses of the New Year celebrations  most of us partook in I figured a dose of  something with more…ahem,  healing properties were  a good prescription for this issue.

This is also the time of the year where we all start to think about getting fit for summer, cleansing and detoxing  from all manner of over indulgence . Juice cleanses seem to be the most popular. For a while now I have been sacreligiously  mixing fresh veggie juices with my booze, I mean why not, should tomatoes be the only partner to your post binge pick me up, methinks no, besides tomato juice unless freshly pressed or made into tomato water as discussed in previous issues is infinitely less appealing to me than a glass of sweet and earthy carrot or beet juice. A restaurant I was bar manager of last year wanted a revamp of their brunch fair, they like most places had been sticking to the bog standard  mimosas or marys so I came up with a list of sippers that would both pair well with the chef’s dishes and garden to table vision and be a  refreshing , replenishing addition for the brunch diners. The menu was titled Hair of the Dog ( that bit you) and listed the health benefits gained under each drink.

Hair of the dog” is a colloquial expression used to refer to booze that is consumed with the aim of lessening the effects of a raging hangover. The expression originally referred to a method of treatment of a rabid dog bite by placing hair from the dog in the bite wound.The use of the phrase as a metaphor for a hangover treatment dates back to the time of Shakepseare . Ebenezer Cobham Brewer ( great name) writes in the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898): “In Scotland it is a popular belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences. Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine within 24 hours to soothe the nerves. ‘If this dog do you bite, soon as out of your bed, take a hair of the tail the next day.’” He also cites two apocryphal poems containing the phrase, one of which is attributed to Aristophanes. It is possible that the phrase was used to justify an existing practice, and the idea of similia similbus curantur  (no, not a spell from Harry Potter but “like cures like”) dates back at least to the time of Hippocrates. Like cures like is also the basis of all Homeopathic medicines where small doses of what has made you fall ill are taken to help heal you. The operative phrase here is “small doses”, am not by any means endorsing a post binge binge but more of a little tipple to smooth out your rough and ragged morning edges.

This brings me also to the Corpse Reviver , a gothic sounding concoction which was made in the style of a classic cocktail, popular in the 1930′s ,it is one of a small family of drinks originally mixed as hangover remedies and are documented as far back as 1871.  Harry Craddock, cataloging them in the “Savoy Cocktail Book” in 1930, wrote, “To be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed.” (He also famously cautioned: “Four of these taken in swift succession will quickly unrevive the corpse again.”) It was commonplace back in the day to be able to wander into a bar for an “eye opener” such as the corpse reviver that would shock your system and keep it going for the rest of the day. The drink needs to contain three key ingredients to work, sugar for energy, a stomach settler ( brandy or a bitter for instance) and  alcohol for that slap you in the face jolt .Whilst we all think we’re so modern and progressive these days how sad that in most bars these days you would only really find a bloody mary as a mid morning pick me up, that tradition of a well made pick me up has been replaced by a canned fizzy drink containing  synthetic hormone like substances derived from bulls testicles,you all know what am referring to, that drink that shall not be named, the Voldemort of beverages.

So next time you’re feeling a little peaky the morning after try one of these  more civilized “remedies” that will have you feeling frisky again in two shakes of a dogs tail. First the classic , then a bunch of interpretations.

Corpse Reviver #2

3/4 oz gin

3/4 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz Pierre Ferrand dry Curacao

3/4 ounce Cocchi Aperitivo Americano (original recipe called for Lillet blanc)

1/4 oz of absinthe to wash and perfume the glass.

optional lemon twist

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Combine ingredients over ice, shake vigorously  for about 30-40 seconds , add the absinthe to glass and swish it around then pour off the excess, strain your shaken cocktail into chilled  absinthe washed coupette. A garnish is unnecessary, but different recipes call for either a twist of lemon or a real maraschino cherry.

Beggs & Acon Flip

Ok so this one takes a wee bit of planning ahead , if you are not into the idea of smoking your beer then I forgive you , go without but it does add a lovely element to the drink, maybe save it for the moment when you want to show off to your mates.

1 can or bottle of dark beer, I opted for Old chub scotch ale

1 whole egg

1 oz bacon fat washed bourbon  ( recipe below in basics)

3/4 oz simple syrup ( 1:1 ratio sugar to hot water)

5 drops of Miracle Mile chocolate chilli bitters

1/2 oz Ramazotti Amaro

Smoking gun optional to add some smoke to your beer

Hickory  wood chips for feeding to the smoking gun monster

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

To smoke your beer add your wood chips to the chamber in the smoker, open your beer and pour a wee bit off, insert the nozzle from gun into the can or bottle and seal off with plastic wrap so your smoke does not escape. Set your wood alight and turn the gun on, smoke your beer for about 1 minute, turn off your gun and let the beer sit for about 5 mins swish the beer around lightly to get the smoke and liquid molecules mixed.

Once your beer  is ready, add everything to your Boston shaker except for the beer, give a quick dry shake to emulsify the egg, add ice and shake again for 40 seconds or thereabouts. Double strain into your vessel of choice, I am currently enamored by these half pint milk bottles that make me think of infant school morning recess. Any way I wandered off , then add your smoked (or unsmoked) ale.

 

Fernet Sour

1 1/2 oz Fernet Branca or  sub out a milder bitter depending on your cohones

1 oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar to hot water, let cool before using)

1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 egg white

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

Throw everything into your Boston shaker and dry shake without ice for about 20 seconds to wake up your egg white and make it fluffy. Add ice and shake again for 30- 40 seconds, strain into your chilled vessel and brace yourself!

 

The June Bug

1 oz fresh kale juice

1 1/2 oz  silver tequila

1 oz Cocchi Americano

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

3/4 oz simple syrup

4 drops Miracle Mile yuzu bitters

pinch fine salt

cracked black pepper and lime wheels to garnish

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

throw everything but your garnish into a Boston shaker with cracked ice, shake for 40 seconds or so or until your tin gets nice and frosty. Strain into a chilled ice filled old fashioned glass, add your lime wheels and a turn or two of fresh black pepper.

 

In My Time Of Dying

1 1/2 oz gin, my favorite at minute is Ford’s gin for the 86 Company, Plymouth or Beefeater also good choices.

1 oz Salers gentian aperitif

3/4 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz Maraschino

1/2 oz Creme  Yvette or Violette, ( delicate floral flavor and gives a lovely gothic look to your drinks)

1 egg white

1 oz or so of champagne ( club soda will do in a pinch)

spritz of absinthe.

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

So I saw this technique of layering from the crew at Pouring Ribbons in NY,which reminded me of the classic Pousse Cafe drinks of long ago drank after the coffee course ( pousse cafe translates to push coffee and was a pretty layered drink made from sweet cordials that were layered with spirits such as cognac). The Ribbons team make a Negroni-esque drink thats just fantastic, I employed similar technique to make this once shaken sour into something slightly more dramatic and  deconstructed. You will need one big chunk of ice to accomplish the layering correctly, Cocktail Kingdom sells  silicon cube trays that do the job.

In your chilled old fashioned glass add your Violette or Creme Yvette, top with the oz of bubbles and plop in your ice cube. In your shaker dry shake the rest of your ingredients except for your absinthe. Add ice and shake again for another 30-40 seconds, strain allowing your ribbon or stream of liquid to pour gently onto your ice cube, if you do it too fast it will disrupt the liqueur at bottom and get too mixed up. Spoon out some of the foam on top and give a spritz of absinthe to finish drink, the lemon twist is optional, as a painter I am into colors and the yellow adds a touch of drama to the whole presentation.

Note: the technique might sound a bit complicated but once you get a hang of it , its a doddle to do.

 

Kombucha green tea gimlet

2 oz gin of choice thats been infused with a couple of  big spoons of  green tea leaves per 750 ml bottle of booze, you can also sub out vodka if thats your preference.

1 oz Salers gentian apertif

1/2 oz  Pierre Ferrand Curacao or other orange liqueur if you cant get a hold of the good stuff.

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/2 oz simple syrup

1 1/2 oz of Kombucha, I used ready made Lavender Kombucha from GT’s

photo by Patrick O’Brien-Smith

throw everything into your mixing glass with cracked ice and give a good stir for about 40 seconds, strain into a chilled coupette and garnish with a lemon wheel and  a sprig of  mint.

 

The Basics

How to  fat wash a spirit

you will need:

1 cup of warm bacon fat, you can also use browned butter, chorizo or duck fat

1 750 ml  bottle of booze, I used Buffalo trace

a wide mouth jar

Add both your fat and booze to the jar, screw on lid,  give a good shake and let sit for a couple of hours. Put the jar in the freezer until the fat has solidified , get a spoon and smash the fat layer and pull off from the booze. Strain the liquor through a coffee strainer and then seal up in an airtight container such as the original bottle the booze came in.

Cocktail Kingdom Ice Tray $6.95

Nick and Nora cocktail glass

Creme Yvette

 Creme Yvette is a cordial that is about 100 years old, it was taken off the market in 1969 am sure due to lack of interest, it was revived recently by the good man behind St. Germain, Robert Cooper who’s family owned the recipe for Yvette since the 1930′s. The primary flavors are of fresh violet , cassis and wild strawberries. It should be used sparingly in drinks so that its delicacy can add a lovely nuance to your drinks rather than over power it, a splash with your favorite bubbly makes a fine starter to any party.

 Pierre Ferrand dry Curacao

I would recommend searching this baby out, its a gorgeous addition to any cocktail that calls for orange liqueur.

Issue No. 009 Twas a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht!

hrough the years  I have tended bar at many a NYE celebration, NYE as with most other holidays except for thanksgiving, technically not my holiday, is a complete let down , so I would rather be working or doing a Garbo  ( wanting to be alone). There is one NYE however that goes down in memory for me, it was spent in the bonnie town of Edinburgh where until you have experienced the Scot’s celebration of the final day of the year you have not really experienced a NYE. Why you may ask? Well they just do things differently, and plus the party can rage on for days. They even have a different name for the celebration calling it Hogmanay, the word stems from possibly the French or Norse languages of old. They also keep old traditions very much alive and as a bit of a history nut its reet up ma alley. As it should be the traditional drink of Hogmanay is  Scotch whisky, in Gaelic it is called the “water of life”, what better tipple to partake in to ring in the new .

You won’t find any better combination of quality and value. Viagra vs cialis. The difference between a brand name medicine and a generic one is in the name, shape and in the price.

Lets toast with a wee dram of Hogmanay history

Hogmanay is the Scottish celebration of New Years Eve and can last for days. It is believed the Scots inherited the celebration of Hogmanay from the Vikings and their celebration of the shortest day but many believe that as Christmas was virtually banned and not celebrated in Scotland from the end of the 17th century until the 1950’s( Christmas” is “Christ’s Mass” and mass was banned in Scotland, there are records of charges being brought against people for keeping “Yule” as it was called in Scotland), New Years Eve was a good excuse for some revelry and the excuse to drink whisky and eat good food. Hogmanay involves parties and festivals across Scotland with the largest and most famous public party in Edinburgh.
There are many customs, both national and local, associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread national custom is the practice of “first footing” which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbour and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt, coal, shortbread, whisky or a rich fruit cake called black bun, all intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts) are then given to the guests. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day (although modern days see people visiting houses well into the middle of January) much better  methinks than the boring one night of drunken mayhem which results in either hugging the bog ( toilet to you) or waking up in a strange bed, dont get me wrong nothing bad about either just gets a bit old once you leave yer twenties.The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year,  for me this ritual sounds much more interesting especially as  traditionally, tall dark men are preferred as the first-foot, any tall dark man would be welcome as my first , second , third or twentieth foot.

An even more interesting and charming custom from  the Highlands, which has survived to a small extent and seen some degree of revival, is to celebrate Hogmanay with the saining (Scot’s for ‘protecting, blessing’) of the household and livestock. Early on New Year’s morning, householders drink and then sprinkle ‘magic water’ from ‘a dead and living ford around the house (a ‘dead and living ford’ refers to a river ford that is routinely crossed by both the living and the dead). After the sprinkling of the water in every room, on the beds and all the inhabitants, the house is sealed up tight and branches of juniper are set on fire and carried throughout the house and byre. The juniper smoke is allowed to thoroughly fumigate the buildings until it causes sneezing and coughing among the inhabitants. Then all the doors and windows are flung open to let in the cold, fresh air of the new year. The woman of the house then administers ‘a restorative’ from the whisky bottle, and the household sits down to its New Year breakfast. The song of “Auld lang syne” is a scots song sang on Hogmanay written by  Scottish  number one son and poet Robby Burns , the words literally translates to old, long since, or long long ago.The song begins by posing a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten, and is generally interpreted as a call to remember long-standing friendships. In my humble opinion old times should be revived especially if it means a tall dark handsome man comes through my door bearing a bottle of fire water.

Lets toast with a wee dram of Scotch History

Scotch whisky (often referred to simply as “Scotch”) is malt whisky or grain whiskey made in Scotland. All Scotch whisky was originally made from malt barley. Commercial distilleries began introducing whisky made from wheat and rye in the late eighteenth century. According to the Scotch Whisky Association, Scotch whisky evolved from a Scottish drink called uisge beatha, which means “lively water” or “water of life”. The earliest documented record of distillation in Scotland occurred as long ago as 1494, as documented in the Exchequer Rolls, which were tax records of this time, The following quote  records “Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make aqua vitae”. This was equivalent to about 1,500 bottles, which suggests that distillation was well-established by the late fifteenth century. Friar John Cor was the distiller at Lindores Abbey in the Kingdom of Fife, he was  a Tironensian monk  who were well regarded for their skills as alchemists . Lindores Abbey is known as the birthplace of Scotch whisky. You know we owe a lot to those silent men of the cloth, without their alchemic tinkerings we’d all be drinking  fermented potato water, oh wait thats vodka ! Scotch whisky is divided into five distinct categories: Single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky (formerly called “vatted malt” or “pure malt”), blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky. All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. Any age statement on a bottle of Scotch whisky, expressed in numerical form, must reflect the age of the youngest whisky used to produce that product. A whisky with an age statement is known as guaranteed-age whisky. Scotland was traditionally divided into four regions: The Highlands, Lowland, Islay, and Campbeltown, each of these regions produces very different styles of Scotch. Below a selection of my personal favorites.

Lowland Auchentoshen Three Wood is a triple-distilled malt matured in bourbon barrels and finished in Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. These casks impart a great deal of complexity and depth to this nuanced whisky; the nose and palate express dried dark fruit, caramel, roasted nuts, and cocoa, while the finish introduces a citrus note. Unlike many delicate Lowland malts, this spirit boasts satisfying heft and weight, making it an unexpected treat. Auchentoshen is nicknamed the breakfast whiskey due to its sweet and delicate nature,  in Gaelic the name  translates to “the corner of the field”

Speyside Balvenie  Doublewood , two casks of different character produce a deeper, more complex flavor and greater character than maturation in only one wood. During maturation, the Balvenie DoubleWood is transferred from a traditional whisky oak cask to an original sherry oak cask, thereby acquiring character from each. The result is a rich, mellow flavor of great depth and unusual complexity Balvenie produces whisky in a traditional style. The use of locally grown barley is preferred, and is floor malted ( malt grains are spread out on a wooden floor which is then heated and smoked). Balvenie has many ranges of whiskey, a slew of core whiskey as well as many limited editions. For the money I love the Doublewood for everyday, the Caribbean cask and the Madeira cask or Islay from the limited edition collection.

The Highlands  Oban distillery (Scottish Gaelic Taigh-stail an Òbain) is a whisky distillery in the scottish west coast port of Oban. It is one of the few distilleries to have been built, in 1794, before the actual town which sprung up later in the surrounding craggy harbor.The distillery has only two pot stills, making it one of the smallest in Scotland, producing a whisky that has been described as having a ‘West Highland’ flavor that falls between the dry, smoky style of the Scottish islands and the lighter, sweeter malts of the Highlands. Oban is one of only two remaining distilleries in the Western Highlands, and its stills are some of the smallest in Scotland. Oban’s unique, enticing character reflects its origin, showing characteristics of both the Highland and Island styles. Elegant and glowing, it marries the briny sea air character of Island malts to the soft, rich, fruity style of the Highlands.

The Islands Highland park ,this Orkney Islands malt is produced at the northernmost distillery in Scotland, and is renowned for its consistently excellent whiskies. In Scotland and its Whiskies, Michael Jackson described Highland Park as “The greatest all-rounder among whiskies, because it combines so many elements: maltiness, smokiness, heather-honey notes and sherry character, in a rich, rounded whole.” Highland Park 12 Year Old is a surprisingly good value with tremendous complexity. Aromas of sweet peat, heather, smoke and ripe apple lead into satisfyingly malty flavors of honey, heather, pineapple, pear, and smoky peat. Try this single malt with just a drop of water to unveil its depth Talisker ,the malted barley used in Talisker production comes from Muir of Ord. Talisker has an unusual feature – swan neck lye pipes. A loop exists in the pipes taking the vapour from the stills to the worm tubs so some of the alcohol condenses before it even reaches the cooler. It then runs back in to the stills and is distilled again these coils are believed to give the whisky a “fuller” flavour (itself an indication of higher sugar content).Talisker’s water comes from springs directly above the distillery via a network of pipes and wells. Talisker was the favourite whisky of writers Robert Louis Stevenson and henry Vollam Morton. In his poem. “The Scotsman’s Return From Abroad”, Stevenson mentioned “The king o’ drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Islay, or Glenlivet.” Talisker 10 Year Old is a peaty malt with bold aromas of smoke, spice, and heather. The palate is unmistakably briny and quite complex with flavors of smoked meat, cracked pepper, and a hint of candied almond. The finish is slightly sweet and quite spicy.

Islay

The whiskies of the distilleries along the southeastern coast of the isle of Islay,Laphroaig, Lagavullin, and Ardberg, have a smoky character derived from peat, considered a central characteristic of the Islay malts, and ascribed both to the water from which the whisky is made and to the peating levels of the barley. Many describe this as a “medicinal” flavour. They also possess notes of iodine, seaweed and salt. Caol Ila, on the northern side of the island, across from Jura, also produces a strongly peated whisky. Lagavulin  is an Islay single malt Scotch Whisky produced in Lagavullin on the island of Islay, United Kingdom.The standard Lagavulin single malt is 16 years old (43%), though they regularly release a 12-year-old cask strength variety, a Distiller’s edition finished in Pedro Ximinez casks, and 25- and 30-year-oldvarieties.A recent 21-year-old bottling, matured solely in first-fill sherry casks, has been extremely well received by enthusiasts.The name of Lagavulin is an anglicization of the Gaelic lag a’mhuilin, meaning “hollow by the mill”. Lagavulin was established in 1830 and has the driest start of all single malts. Full amber in color, with a dominant sherry nose. Full-bodied yet smooth. The dryness is offset by the sweetness of the sherry character. Salty notes and a huge powerful peaty finish. A connoisseur’s malt, and with consistently high marks from late critic Michael Jackson of Whisky Magazine. Ardberg The name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic: Àrd Beag, meaning Little Height. Whiskey Advocate has this to say about Ardberg’s Corryvreckan Single malt: “Powerful, muscular, well-textured, and invigorating. Even within the realm of Ardbeg, this one stands out. The more aggressive notes of coal tar, damp kiln, anise, and smoked seaweed are supported by an array of fruit (black raspberry, black cherry, plum), dark chocolate, espresso, molasses, bacon fat, kalamata olive, and warming cinnamon on the finish. Quite stunning!” The Ardbeg distillery has been producing whisky since 1798, and began commercial production in 1815. Like most Scottish distilleries, for most of its history, its whisky was produced for use in blended whisky, rather than as a single malt.Ardbeg whisky is considered to be amongst the peatiest in the world, with most expressions using malt. Ardbeg seldom release whiskies with age statements.

Lets toast with a wee bit o’ the dram

Rusty nail 

A rusty nail is traditionally 2 parts Scotch whisky to 1 part Drambuie a honey and spice based liqueur fortified with malt whisky. I tinkered around and came up with my own version of a honey based liqueur .

Spiced Honey Liqueur recipe:

1 cup  runny honey , orange blossom is my favorite.

1 cup hot water

1 teaspoon of lapsang tea

2 medium sized chunks of ginger peeled and chopped

10 whole cloves

10 crushed black peppercorns

3 strips of orange peel

5 oz Islay Scotch ( I used laphroaig 10 year)

smoking gun optional

throw everything together into a small sauce pan, heat through but don’t allow to boil, keep on stove at lowest heat for about 1/2 an hour. Strain through a chinoise strainer and add the Islay scotch. If you want to take this one step further add the strained liquid to a plastic wrapped jar and smoke with your smoking gun, see Issue No.005 for full details on smoking a liquid.

Rob Roy Cocktail

2 oz Oban single malt Whisky

3/4 oz spiced honey liqueur

orange twist

3 drops Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters

garnish of cracked black pepper

matches

Flaming orange peel

In a chilled old fashioned glass add your ice cube/s. Pour in the Oban ,  liqueur and  bitters. Give a good stir for about 30 seconds. Take your orange peel in one hand and a lit match in the other, above your cocktail spritz the orange oils out of your twist onto the flaming match so that the ignited oils drop onto your drink. Rub the orange twist on the rim of your glass and drop into your drink, finish with black pepper.

Crooked kilt 

The Crooked Kilt is a new drink on the cocktail scene, created by master drink maker Leo Robitschek, the combination of the scotch with spices and fruit is absolutely lovely and one of my new favorite drinks, here as an homage to the master is my version, instead of Islay scotch I spritz a wee bit of Mezcal on the glass, the addition of the egg white softens the mouth feel of the alcohol so it feels less boozie than it is.

Oaxacan Kilt

2 oz blended scotch such as Famous Grouse or Ballantines

1 /2 oz agave

1/2 oz green chartreuse liqueur

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz pineapple juice

1 egg white

5 or 6 mint leaves

2 dash angostura bitters

mint sprig to garnish

spritz of  Mezcal

Toss everything into your Boston shaker and give a dry shake sans ice to emulsify your egg whites, add ice and shake again until you get a nice frost on your shaker tin.Spritz your Mezcal on a chilled coupette glass and strain your cocktail into glass. top off with mint sprig.

Tipsy Laird Nog

Tipsy Laird Trifle is a dessert usually eaten as part of the Hogmanay celebrations, it is a layering of cream, fresh raspberries and vanilla cake soaked in some sort of whisky. I took a Ramos Fizz recipe and tweaked it using Tipsy Laird inspired ingredients.

For the Cocktail

2 oz blended scotch whisky that has been infused with vanilla beans or if you want to be really creative get a vanilla pound cake and infuse that in your whisky overnight, one cake usually works for one 750ml bottle of whisky, for vanilla bean infusion scrape out the vanilla paste of one bean and add to half a bottle of whisky along with the bean itself, allow to infuse for a couple of days giving a good shake every so often.

1 oz ruby port

1/2 oz agave

2 drops orange flower water

2 drops Miracle Mile Orange bitters

2 oz almond milk ( can sub  1 oz heavy cream to make it richer, dairy sadly is not my friend)

1 egg white

1 oz fresh lemon juice

splash of champagne to top off .


Toss everything into your Boston shaker except for champagne and any garnish, dry shake without ice for about 20 seconds, add ice and shake again for another 30-40 seconds or so. Strain into vessel of your choice with a couple of ice cubes added , scoop out the foam and plop on top. Finish with a splash of champagne and a star anise pod or cinnamon stick.

Hot Toddy

A toddy is a hot drink traditionally served in the winter months that includes some form of hot liquid such as hot water or milk, some form of alcohol usually whisky or brandy , honey, lemon and a combination of spices. Below is a version I’ve been tinkering with recently.

Hot Cider

1 liter apple cider

juice of 2 lemons

10 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

2 chunks of peeled ginger chopped finely

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste depending on your heat preference.

toss everything into a sauce pan and allow to simmer but not boil for about half an hour till the cider is flavored by your spices.

Mackinnon’s Hot Grog

1  1/2 oz blended scotch whisky

1/2 oz Islay scotch

1/2 oz runny honey

1/2 Fernet branca

6 oz hot cider

Add everything to a heat proof glass and give a good stir, garnish with a lemon twist or wheel plus a pinch more of black pepper.

 

Bliadhna mhath ùr!

 

Next up…..The hair of the dog that bit you

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