Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rosés to Pair with Fish

By Liza B. Zimmerman

Now that springtime is in full bloom, crisp whites and roses seem to pair perfectly with just about everything. I just came back from a fantastic visit to Galicia in Northern Spain where I had some of the freshest seafood of my life. Everything from stripped bass to enormous hunks of octopus are served right from the ocean onto your plate in a matter of hours.

One of the region’s better-known local dishes is Pulpo la Gallega, which is a mix of octopus and potatoes slathered in paprika and olive oil. It pairs beautifully with the local rosés as well as the fresh and intense rosés made in neighboring Navarra.

While white wine is more often the go-to pairing for many seafood dishes, rosés—both still and sparkling--can have their charm and pairing affinities. First and foremost tuna and salmon, cooked almost any way is a no-brainer choice to enjoy with these wines. The fattiness of the fish has great synergies with the bright red fruit flavors in many rosés. Since Pinot Noir is considered a perfect wine with salmon, and consumed in copious amounts in the Pacific Northwest, why not try a rosé of Pinot Noir?

If you are eating Japanese or Peruvian and are having raw tuna or an Asian-inspired tuna-based ceviche, rosé is natural pairing. Sparkling rosés are ideal as the bubbles refresh the mouth for another bite of delicious raw fish

Notes from an Expert
Charlotte Tissoire, the head sommelier assistant at the Le Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsay in London had a few ideas to share on pairing rosé with seafood. With tuna she recommends trying a rosé from Provence in the South of France. These wines tend to have “a certain richness and will be nice with the meaty texture of this special fish. As a 100 percent Mourvedre it will typically bring a long structure on the palate and a sappy and salty finish.”

“With a trout cooked in a rich sauce, it will be nicer to choose an older vintage of rosé so as to bring more structure in mouth, and to have something more opulent,” she adds.

Sparkling rosé wines will perfectly match with fresh starters like a lobster salad or a fish tartare; she notes stressing the flexibility of these wines. Clams or mussels in a rich, butter-based sauce would also be perfect with a still or sparkling rosé

Great rosé pairings are not limited to just fish and classic seafood. With “anchovies and sardines let’s try a Bordeaux rosé, “ she recommends. The region’s big and full-bodies wines tend to contrast nicely with the saltiness of both types of fish.

Cheers from all of us at DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Milk Punch with Denizen Rum

By Warren Bobrow

The Miami Rum Fest is the premier event of the rum world.  A gathering of personalities who flock from across the globe to experience the calling that only comes with rum.  I just spent the better part of three days sharing my experiences in rum with nerd and tiki heads who speak this unique language of sugar cane spirits.  Unlike whiskey or gin- or Scotch- and all its derivatives, rum-heads are a colorful bunch.  They are decidedly un-serious about their craft surrounding the mystique of rum. Many of these aficionados are former scientists, blue-water sailors, pilots and abundantly, self-made adventurers who follow the Rhumb line around the globe in search of this precious, yet misunderstood elixir.  Whisky tends to be more snobbish in its personality although these spirits do share a certain synergy.  That would be the aging medium.  You see, the ex-bourbon casks that they age rum- are also used for Scotch Whisky and dare I say- the tempestuous cousins, Tequila- and Mezcal.  They share a symmetry that cannot be ignored.  There is bourbon in there- the trick is to imagine how much is revealed with each subsequent charring.  But I digress. 

I believe to learn about rum you have to attend events like the Miami Rum Fest.  There are more years of rum expertise in the room than in many of the events I’ve been fortunate to attend.  Rum Geeks, Rum Heads, Tiki Heads, Shrunken Heads... They’re all there.

Spending time in the company of so many passionate people teaches me great lessons about what I know and do not know about rum.  I watched how they tasted the spirits- the measure of sipping, the attention to detail- when to sip and when to spit- and what to eat within each tasting.  You don’t want to get blasted- that wouldn’t be cool.  And your palate?  That’s another story entirely.  I’m a professional, but even I get palate fatigue, so eat a cracker.  Normally I’d have a plate of real world food- barbeque comes to mind.  Something Pan-Asian in character- fish sauce- fermentation- food meant to awaken my palate and bring the rum into another space.  A place of history when sailors plied the unknown oceans of the globe- finely twisted on rum.  The perfect foil against the doldrums, when your nose is stuffed full of salt air and everything tastes like the sea. 

That is why I drink rum.  There is this product on the market that can approximate the experience of being out at sea.  It’s a saline spray- about five blasts of this stuff and your nasal passages are in the cut between Jost Van Dyke and Anegada.

Rum tastes better out at sea.  I know- this is where I learned about rum.  Heading out to uncertain waters on a yacht far too ambitious for my young self. 

Rum should be unforced.  I learned from the rum-fest that the best rums are the ones that speak a language.  A science would over intellectualize the process.  When you think of rum, you imagine an inexact science.  It’s not pretty- the distillation of rum from molasses.  The yeast is essential, the time in the barrel also important.  Too much rum is colored with caramel for my taste.  I understand the reasoning though.  I can’t wrap my hands around manipulation of the sugar, but again- commerce is a powerful determinate- one that I can only surmise. 

That leads me to the cocktails that I enjoy with rum.  Classic drinks sometimes sing a deeper tune and rums that are not overly manipulated speak more clearly in this regard.  I’ve found that the rum, simply named Denizen.  It’s something of a secret, this rum.  At least in the US market.  The company that created it has been around for hundreds of years.  Quietly performing their art for a very well-heeled audience without fanfare or pretentiousness.  Just like rum itself- passion in the craft of blending and securing the finest base spirits and doing the very least to reveal flavor.  Denizen is crystal clear in color- perhaps for my taste a bit too clear- since I prefer my rum to have some stuff left in it.  However, for the American consumer- Denizen is far better than most of the ‘clear’ rums on the market.  And it actually has lineage behind it of roughly four hundred years in the rum business!  They know a bit about rum I’d say. 

I cannot divulge the actual source of rum; I can say it is produced in Trinidad.  The nose is fruity and the mouthfeel is creamy and full.  There are bursts of starfruit and wet stones. The finish is richly textured and reminiscent of roasted plantain and freshly crushed nutmeg.  I often mix Denizen with coconut water ice, a touch of vanilla paste and a splash of heavy cream, shaken hard and served with a slice of grilled pineapple.   This is rum that speaks to my optimistic nature.  Rum that excites my palate through its simplicity- the way it tastes without color added to approximate age.  I think it’s about eight years old- and absolutely no color added.  Nice touch if you ask me.  And it’s elegant.  Certainly elegant enough to serve as a digestive in a snifter for dessert.  Gorgeous stuff.  Lucky me to have a bottle to sip on- although it’s getting low!   I do recommend tasting in a Neat Glass.  It offers something that no other glass offers on the market.  That is a different opinion. 

Pretty Much an Optimistic Milk Punch
Ingredients:
4 oz. Denizen Rum
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
2 oz. Coconut milk
2 oz. Coconut Cream
Coconut Water ice- that is regular coconut water-frozen and crushed in a Lewis Bag-canvas to wick off the moisture...
Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters

Grilled Pineapple- Slice a pineapple into the appropriate size spears, grill over hard wood charcoal until caramelized- set aside to cool

Preparation:
Fill a Boston Shaker ¾ with regular bar ice
At the same time- prep your serving glasses by adding about 10 shakes of Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters to some funky looking glasses, then topping with the coconut water ice- set aside

Add the vanilla paste, the coconut milk and the Coconut Cream along with the rum to the shaker.  Cap and shake hard for 30 seconds
Strain into your funky glasses filled with coconut water ice
Garnish with the charred, grilled pineapple spear
Serve and immediately start another batch for quick service on the uptake.  Brilliant!

Get yourself tickets next year to the Miami Rum Fest.  It’s a lovely way to spend the weekend with friends, and friends not yet met. 

Cheers from all of us at DrinkUpNY!

Warren Bobrow is the celebrated author/bar man and mixologist responsible for the 1st book on the topic, Cannabis Cocktails.

Warren has written to date four books, Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktails and Bitters/Shrub Syrup Cocktails.  His first book, Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail. Warren has been a dishwasher, and a pot scrubber- a cook- and a saucier.  He cooked professionally around the country, Portland, Me., Charleston, Sc., Scottsdale, Az., New Hope, Pa., He owned and lost his fresh pasta manufacturing company located in Charleston, SC in 1989- Hurricane Hugo.

Then came a twenty-year career in Banking.  Don’t ask!  Demoralizing yet, essential.
Fortunate to do what he is passionate about, Warren has five books in May 2017 and more ideas on the way.  Ministry of Rum judge, Rum XP associate, American Distilling Institute, Saveur 100, Oxford Encyclopedia, Sage Encyclopedia, Whole Food/Dark Rye, Liquor.com, Barrell Bourbon.   He taught a deep dive on rum at the Moscow Bar Show, taught at Stonewall Kitchen, Attended the Fetes Gastronomie in Burgundy, traveled to Abruzzo in Italy for wine and Michelin starred foods, just to name just a few.  From failed-executive assistant in a bank to tastemaker to the world.
Never working yet never not working.  Smoke and Mirrors.  Authentic.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Gantous & Abou Raad Arak

By Warren Bobrow

The language of travel supersedes the need to actually speak the semantic of the place.  As does travel, the need to fill the belly with more than just laughs- actual food- should take precedent over dialogue.  The same holds true for strong drink.  I always recommend taking some food when imbibing and the conversation will just flow- as marvelous as the food and drink that fills the gut- and the soul!

Arak (Middle Eastern in derivative)-distilled from grapes and anise seed, as opposed to Arrak- distilled from sugarcane (popular in Southeast Asia) is what fills my gut and my heart.  Arak is the last thing on my lips- and the first thing into my memories.  It is mystical and aromatic with memorable herbal elements of more than just licorice.  There are history lessons to be learned with each measured sip of Arak.

DrinkUpNY is fortunate to carry the classic Arak: Gantous & Abou Raad Arak

In my research on the topic, Arak is the same final product as Ouzo and Raki.  They are all created from grape based alcohol that is rectified and flavored with the same ingredients.  Anise Seed is used like juniper in gin and it gives Raki, Ouzo and Arak their signature flavors of licorice and reminiscences.  There is a certain Terroir in these liqueurs and they truly taste of the place where they are produced.  It’s quite uncanny actually.  I can taste the friendly nature of the people who make each drop.  They seem to beckon me to the table to enjoy a sip or two against the blistering heat. 

A favored way to enjoy Arak, as well as Ouzo and Raki is in a slender glass with a drizzle of water to release the volatile oils and aromatics.  Ice is usually not produced, nor is it offered as ice would have been impossible to attain and keep cold in the often arid temperatures of the Middle East where Arak is permitted and celebrated.

I’m a fan of flavors and tastes that evoke a far off place.  In this regard, I’m calling attention to this region of the world.  More out of a metaphor for conversation though the filling of the belly. Then as an added benefit there is good food and fine drink such as this Arak. 

And as health is my metaphor, may I suggest a portion of freshly crushed carrot juice to act as a determinate for the potent Arak?  Absolutely.  And because Arak is frequently no less than 50% alcohol, it needs very little to unleash the fire held deeply within. The grape base is aged in clay amphorae like they made wine 5000 years ago!  Talk about history!

Gantous & Abou Raad Arak is produced in a place further afield in the Middle East, this case is Lebanon, where the finest Arak is produced using the most historic methods including the use of copper pot stills and low temperature, through multiple distillations and the infusion of anise seed. 

Phoenician Carrot Frappe
Ingredients:
3 oz. Gantous & Abou Raad Arak
2 oz. Freshly crushed carrot juice
Crushed Ice
Fresh mint- (drop cut end in boiling water for 10-15 seconds, then store in ice water cut end down)

Preparation:
To a Burgundy Wine glass- add the crushed ice
To a Boston Shaker- add the Arak and the carrot juice- add bar-ice to fill ¾ and cap, shake hard for 15.5 seconds.  Double strain over the ice in the Burgundy glass
Garnish with the fresh mint, add more ice to the glass, if necessary

Serve with a full stomach and empty your mind

Cheers from all of us at DrinkUpNY!

Warren Bobrow is the celebrated author/bar man and mixologist responsible for the 1st book on the topic, Cannabis Cocktails.

Warren has written to date four books, Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktails and Bitters/Shrub Syrup Cocktails.  His first book, Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail. Warren has been a dishwasher, and a pot scrubber- a cook- and a saucier.  He cooked professionally around the country, Portland, Me., Charleston, Sc., Scottsdale, Az., New Hope, Pa., He owned and lost his fresh pasta manufacturing company located in Charleston, SC in 1989- Hurricane Hugo.

Then came a twenty-year career in Banking.  Don’t ask!  Demoralizing yet, essential.
Fortunate to do what he is passionate about, Warren has five books in May 2017 and more ideas on the way.  Ministry of Rum judge, Rum XP associate, American Distilling Institute, Saveur 100, Oxford Encyclopedia, Sage Encyclopedia, Whole Food/Dark Rye, Liquor.com, Barrell Bourbon.   He taught a deep dive on rum at the Moscow Bar Show, taught at Stonewall Kitchen, Attended the Fetes Gastronomie in Burgundy, traveled to Abruzzo in Italy for wine and Michelin starred foods, just to name just a few.  From failed-executive assistant in a bank to tastemaker to the world.
Never working yet never not working.  Smoke and Mirrors.  Authentic.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wines to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day for a Fortnight

By Liza B. Zimmerman

This holiday to honor the Irish has become one that almost all of us like to celebrate. I don’t bear the cold like I did when I was a kid to watch the parade but do love to fete the holiday inside with a couple of good bottles.

One of the ways to pay tribute to it is by drinking wines with Irish names as many producers from Napa to New Zealand and Australia having Irish roots. Another fun way to honor the day is to start it off with a little Vinho Verde from Portugal. This fresh and fizzy white isn’t actually green but it is a lovely pairing to start off a meal.

I also asked two sommeliers in San Francisco what some of their favorite picks are. “If you view Saint Patrick's Day as a celebration, I would suggest celebratory wine. Bubbles of any type will suffice, but there is nothing like true Champagne for a celebration,” says general manager and wine director Jon Kelble of Maybeck’s in San Francisco.

I couldn’t agree with him more that bubbles are great for any occasion. The sparkling lineup has just grown vaster year after year with lots of lovely cremants, proseccos, cavas and even delicious Lambruscos from which to choose.

“One of the things that I love about Champagne is it is easily, and happily, consumed on its own, but there are also bigger and richer styles that can be enjoyed with food. There are some Blanc de Noirs and Rosés that can be paired with heartier dishes,” adds lead sommelier David Castleberry from restaurant RN74. Some of the bigger, more fruit-forward styles can pair with almost every dish in a meal, even lighter meats or tartare.

Two Perspectives
You could go the full-on traditional route with food and wine pairing. At Maybeck’s a classic meal of corned beef cheeks with braised cabbage and roasted potatoes is served that Kelble would pair with an austere Austrian Gruner Veltliner or Riesling. He adds that “any of the more mineral based and higher acidic Pinot Gris, Rieslings or Gewurztraminers that inhabit those borderlands. Alsace also produces many excellent Cremants to continue the bubbly celebratory theme.”

Cremants from Alsace and the Loire Valley have long been favorites of mine. They deliver a lot of flavor for their price points. Another trifecta of regions to seek out good Rieslings is in the Finger Lakes region and both the Okanagan Valley and Niagara-on-the-Lake regions of Canada.

Since most of the country is just defrosting from winter by the end of March you might just want a big, hearty red to keep you warm. South African and Chilean blends are some of my favorites as they really show off the ever-improving wine making techniques in the two oldest of the two New World wine making countries.

Sláinte to you all. Let’s toast to the holiday all month long.

Cheers from all of us at DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Eden "Heirloom" Ice Cider

By Warren Bobrow

Ice Cider is one of the most exciting things to come out of the Northern American Climes since downhill skiing!  Well, that would be stretching the winter-esque verbiage just a tad, but bear with me here just for a moment.  I’m thrilled to share with you my passion for a dessert wine so unique that an entirely new flavor profile has to be honed within your brain.  Unless you’ve spent any time in the Normandy (northern-decidedly un-touristy) region of France or in the frozen tundra of upper New York State and Vermont, it’s highly unlikely that the words Ice Cider would mean anything to you.  But please allow me to introduce you to a product that is certainly as elegant as ice wine.  But costs a 10th as much!

As a comparison, Ice wine is one of the scarcest forms of wine in the world- and it is understandably expensive.  The grapes have to freeze on the vine without turning to black goop- it’s a process that already is expensive because the grapes (either Vidal or Riesling) are not an easy grow in the cold climates.  Enter the much more durable apple.  Apple cider has only been produced in the Niagara Peninsula and just beyond.  The art of freezing the freshly crushed juice before fermentation is an art that many have never heard of, much less tasted.

That is until the Eden Cider Company in Vermont radically changed the way that cider can be enjoyed.  Instead of drinking a glass of apple cider lightly fermented in a glass like beer or champagne, or sparkling-style-mixed with Guinness in a velvet- a miniscule portion of ice cider is a veritable revelation of flavor. 

Ice Cider is concentrated goodness that only gets better over time.  Just like German ice wines age over decades, Ice Cider can be laid down for longer than you would imagine.  They are durable things that taste delicious on release too!  For 29 bucks, DrinkupNY has something that very few people have ever tasted, much less know exactly what Ice Cider tastes like. 

Heirloom Apples are not to be eaten un-cooked!  That sounds so foreboding, when actually- heirloom apples are precisely the kind of apples that go into cooked foods.  They have flavor far beyond the apples that you reach into a tree and freshly pick.  Heirlooms are concentrated and tart.  Some may say that they are bitter across the palate and quite drying.  Others may want you to steer clear of heirlooms all together because they are quite ugly to look at.  Whatever the case may be, the apples that make up the Eden "Heirloom" Ice Cider are things of rare beauty.  Because no matter what they look like, heirlooms create liquid pleasure that goes down your throat, drop by drop into liquid driven dreams.

Sometimes you’ll want to mix with the Eden Heirloom Ice Cider and I’d say- go right ahead. 

Rolling, Tumbling and Cascading of Pearl’s Infinite Wisdom
3 oz.  Eden Heirloom Ice Cider
2 oz. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout- left to go flat overnight
4 oz. Sparkling Cider

Preparation:
Into a pre-chilled Burgundy Glass:
Add the “flat” Guinness
Float the sparkling cider on top
Finish with another float of the Heirloom Ice Cider
Serve and prepare another… They’re so good!

Cheers from all of us at DrinkUpNY!

Warren Bobrow is the celebrated author/bar man and mixologist responsible for the 1st book on the topic, Cannabis Cocktails.

Warren has written to date four books, Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktails and Bitters/Shrub Syrup Cocktails.  His first book, Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail. Warren has been a dishwasher, and a pot scrubber- a cook- and a saucier.  He cooked professionally around the country, Portland, Me., Charleston, Sc., Scottsdale, Az., New Hope, Pa., He owned and lost his fresh pasta manufacturing company located in Charleston, SC in 1989- Hurricane Hugo.

Then came a twenty-year career in Banking.  Don’t ask!  Demoralizing yet, essential.
Fortunate to do what he is passionate about, Warren has five books in May 2017 and more ideas on the way.  Ministry of Rum judge, Rum XP associate, American Distilling Institute, Saveur 100, Oxford Encyclopedia, Sage Encyclopedia, Whole Food/Dark Rye, Liquor.com, Barrell Bourbon.   He taught a deep dive on rum at the Moscow Bar Show, taught at Stonewall Kitchen, Attended the Fetes Gastronomie in Burgundy, traveled to Abruzzo in Italy for wine and Michelin starred foods, just to name just a few.  From failed-executive assistant in a bank to tastemaker to the world.
Never working yet never not working.  Smoke and Mirrors.  Authentic.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wines to Pair with Hearty Winter Meals

By Liza B. Zimmerman

Winter is my favorite time to use my crock-pot. These cold and rainy months you will find me slow-braising meats, making up different kinds of chili and cooking oxtail until it failing off the bone. These are among the richest foods in town and are a delight to pair with a wide range of wines.

While I am often drawn to intense red blends, from Bordeaux to California and Syrah-based gems, there is also room for some great whites here with these winter pairings.


Jason Alexander, managing partner at the two San Francisco restaurants The Progress & State Bird Provisions says that “Despite the season, we always seek to select wines that seek that elusive state of ‘balance’ with higher-toned fruit, moderate alcohol, bright acidity and tannins that are integrated.”

He adds that while, “The menus at both restaurants are intensely guided by the seasons and the team at our farm. Winter, though often associated with braises and hearty dishes, is really more driven by bitter greens, citrus and mushrooms [at the restaurants].” Given the dishes’ vegetal focus whites work well as pairings.

“For white wines we seek out grape varieties with texture and depth, but that shy away from wood and high alcohol [Chenin, Chablis]. For red wines we look for wines that are forceful and layered while also not driven by alcohol and wood influence [Nebbiolo, Syrah],” says Alexander.

In terms of red pairings, Alexander tends to choose “more savory red wines including Nebbiolo from the Alto Piemonte, Syrah from throughout the Rhone and cool-climate, thick-skinned grapes from California.” Twist my arm, they all sound delicious.

On his menu, he pairs dry, spiced BBQ lamb ribs with preserved lemon and curried ghee with a 2008 Nebbiolo, and Applewood-smoked squab with chili vinegar with a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.

Day-to-Day Pairings
With fatty meats you will want to choose wines with generous tannins that will help to break them down as you eat. Cabernet Sauvignon is a great pick for meat-centric dishes, and those wines can be from anywhere from California to Chile.

South African blends are also favorites of mine, and I have great memories of enjoying them with Springbok, a local antelope. I tend to prefer those without Pinotage, South Africa’s unusual, signature grape. The South Africans are also making great, smoky Syrah as are many producers in Eastern Washington.

For pork dishes, without red sauce, you can do as they do in Alsace: pair some dry, aromatic Rieslings with your meal. Rieslings produced in Alsace tend to be drier than those from Germany, but feel free to experiment. Aromatic whites like Gewurztraminer, and esoteric ones like the Northern Italian Kerner, also go well with simple pork dishes.

Whatever you choose to pair with those big cozy meals make sure you enjoy them in good company.

Cheers from all of us at DrinkUpNY!

Liza B. Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Kings County Distillery Chocolate Flavored Whiskey

By Warren Bobrow

Oh, of course by the name alone- I disagree.  This rare form of joy in a tiny 375ml. bottle is not to be believed if you just read chocolate.  If you were to further read the label, unfortunately it speaks of some confection, a sweet flavor-untarnished by smoke or char, that above said, chocolate.  So I disagree in point, but not in effort.  Not at all.  Because the chocolate element is not candy and it’s not sweet.  It’s bitter.  I love bitter chocolate.  It’s from the Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory, a place famed for their craft chocolate.  They evidently do some milling of raw cacao in their Brooklyn chocolate effort, and there is some waste product that makes a way into the expressive ‘moonshine’ whiskey lurking over there in the light.   All you need is a clean glass, a paring knife (thanks to Gary Regan for keeping me on the straight and narrow regarding cutting an orange zest) and an orange that is not green and bruised.  Some good ice is a start- don’t go offering me quarter cubes- they are the worst- taking advantage of your guest?  Don’t even get me started on bad ice.

I’m a huge fan of those cheap silicone trays that go in the freezer.  You should be double bagging them so they don’t taste like that plate of garlic shrimp that went into the blue phase weeks ago...  You know the one.  When working with fine spirits your efforts are only as good as your ice.  And if your ice smells like feet or ammonia, well too bad for you.  I tried to teach you to make it good or not make it at all. 

Kings County is making some of the most authentic ‘flavored’ whiskey I’ve ever tasted.  The composition is organic New York corn and malted Scottish barley.  It’s dry on the finish- has some pepper in there, a touch of caramel.. some smoke follows quickly, a touch of milk sugar- the corn is pronounced but not overly assertive.  There is a tactile sense of foreboding, like something will be coming down the road and it might not be what you expected.  That would be the dry nature of the corn whiskey itself.  It’s flavored for a reason though.  And the aging time is shorter than you might want to know.  As long as it takes to walk from the distillery to your car?  So, what is Chocolate Whiskey?  It’s not like flavored vodka, although the basic ingredients are virtually the same.  Different gravities at work.  Kings County gets it.  This is not flavored vodka! They absolutely have my support since I don’t write about flavored vodka.  Ever!

I love it in the following drink.

The Navy Yard: Be is to Bop 
Ingredients:
3 oz. Kings County Distillery Chocolate Whiskey
6 oz. Roasted Blood Orange Juice- split blood oranges, sprinkle with sugar and Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters, roast for ½ hr. at 350, cool and juice
2-3 large cubes of ice
2 oz. plain seltzer
Blood Orange Zest

Preparation:
To a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with bar ice:
Add the Roasted Blood Orange Juice
Add the Whiskey
Add the Aromatic Bitters
Cap and Shake hard for 15 seconds

Pour into two coupes
Test for bitter- add more if necessary
Splash of seltzer, pinch the blood orange zest over the top and serve

Cheers from all of us at DrinkUpNY!

Warren Bobrow is the celebrated author/bar man and mixologist responsible for the 1st book on the topic, Cannabis Cocktails.

Warren has written to date four books, Apothecary Cocktails, Whiskey Cocktails and Bitters/Shrub Syrup Cocktails.  His first book, Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail. Warren has been a dishwasher, and a pot scrubber- a cook- and a saucier.  He cooked professionally around the country, Portland, Me., Charleston, Sc., Scottsdale, Az., New Hope, Pa., He owned and lost his fresh pasta manufacturing company located in Charleston, SC in 1989- Hurricane Hugo.

Then came a twenty-year career in Banking.  Don’t ask!  Demoralizing yet, essential. 
Fortunate to do what he is passionate about, Warren has five books in May 2017 and more ideas on the way.  Ministry of Rum judge, Rum XP associate, American Distilling Institute, Saveur 100, Oxford Encyclopedia, Sage Encyclopedia, Whole Food/Dark Rye, Liquor.com, Barrell Bourbon.   He taught a deep dive on rum at the Moscow Bar Show, taught at Stonewall Kitchen, Attended the Fetes Gastronomie in Burgundy, traveled to Abruzzo in Italy for wine and Michelin starred foods, just to name just a few.  From failed-executive assistant in a bank to tastemaker to the world. 
Never working yet never not working.  Smoke and Mirrors.  Authentic.