Monday, December 31, 2012

Root & Snap Toddy For Powerful Cold Relief

By Warren Bobrow

There are a couple of marvelous products available that bring the early ages of cocktail creation back into the present day. These are the products named Snap and Root. Snap is a liquid driven ginger snap and Root is what Root Beer tasted like before they took all the fun out of it.

Both products are made using USDA Certified Organic ingredients. Root is made of anise, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, spearmint, lemon, smoked black tea, wintergreen, clove, orange, nutmeg, sugar cane and birch bark. Doesn't that sound inviting? Snap is made of blackstrap molasses, clove, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, rooibos tea, vanilla and pure cane sugar. I'm getting thirsty just thinking of these delightful liqueurs in a cup of hot tea.

Fact is, I've had the most powerful cold for the past week. It just swept me off my feet. Suddenly I couldn't taste anything and the cold sweat seemed to come out of every pore in my body. I couldn't get warm and strong medicine was necessary. Please meet Root and Snap.

I'm the kind of person who would rather unlock the past through healing preparations rather than trot down to the doctor for drugs, so into the liquor cabinet I went. First the proper water needed to be boiled. If you live in the city, your water is pretty good. My water is sourced from a well and is packed with minerals that leave a green haze on almost everything, due to the acidity of the water interacting with the copper pipes. I think that the water in a cocktail is one of the most important ingredients. If your water tastes like chlorine, the entire drink will be ruined, no matter what you do! May I suggest using a Mavea "Inspired Water" pitcher? This marvel of German engineering takes your formerly unpalatable water and turns it into a thing of rare beauty. My Mavea filter imparts a certain softness to each precious sip of water.

So, may I suggest boiling "Inspired Water" for your hot Toddy? I think you'll be very pleased. Also, and no less important, may I suggest making a couple trays of ice with the Mavea water? They freeze nearly crystal clear. How is that for making a statement in your glass?

Root is an authentic recreation of the root teas of olden times. Folk medicine practitioners to heal all sorts of maladies in the body originally prescribed Root teas. I'm not saying that Root will heal my cold, but given the ingredients it couldn't hurt. And with an alcohol content of 80 Proof, well, you know what that means... a nice fuzzy feeling. After all, part of getting sick is getting better. I tend to feel better after getting a bit fuzzy. At least it makes going to sleep easier. Easier sleep means less complaining.

Snap tastes like a German Gingersnap cookie - or in this case the Amish Lebkuchen. The healing ingredients like ginger and cinnamon put the kibosh on colds like nobody's business. If you are thinking medicinal bitters, you're more than half-way there.

Hot tea is the analgesic mixed with Root and Snap. If you want to make the drink a bit sweeter, may I suggest using pure cane sugar or raw honey? You'd never want to use a corn syrup sweetener on this mug full of healing. It would defeat the purpose!

Colonial Toddy

• Hot Tea
• Snap
• Root
• Mavea Filtered Water
The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
• Raw Honey or Pure Cane Sugar

1. Preheat a stout mug with boiling hot water, and then pour out
2. Add a tablespoon of Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
3. Add 1 oz. Root
4. Add 1 ½ oz. Snap
5. Top with the hot tea
6. Adjust sweetness to taste
7. Add a pat of butter over the top if desired for a certain savory character

I'm going to tell myself to feel better with this hot toddy!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Red Velvet Armchair Cocktail

By Warren Bobrow

This is a holiday firecracker of a cocktail. This drink has all the crowd-pleasing excitement of a tropically inspired Tiki Bar concoction. But please keep this mind - this drink has the potential to hurt you badly. If you finish the night with a large glass of Fernet Branca you'll be set from the get-go. If not... woes be.

Do not succumb to the wiles of this carbonated slurp that contains both Purity Vodka from Sweden and Campari from Italy, woven with the fizz of fine French sparkling water. Please don't say I didn't warn you first.

This is a very good holiday cocktail. It brings people together. The sound level will rise in the room from the soon to be inebriated crowd. Then come the singing and the dancing. Perhaps a bit of food is eaten, maybe not, then more cocktails. Carousing will take place.

The music seems far off, pulsing, throbbing in the background.

Soul Makossa? James Brown? Issac Hayes?

The room begins to spin.

Over there, by the punch bowl is a large Danish armchair made of red velvet. It looks so inviting. So charming. Reaching out for you to throw yourself into it. Let the chair envelop you in the firm material. The reasoning for the Red Velvet Armchair is quite simple - it holds you closely and won't ever let you go.

Visually, I love this punch for the colorful nature of the freshly squeezed blood orange juice and the addition of Campari and strong Swedish Vodka.

Each recipe will make two extremely strong drinks. Danger! Danger!

• 4 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice
• 2 oz Purity Vodka 
• 2 oz Campari
• A good splash, then some more of the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
• Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
• Chunk of lime

1. Add ice and the spirits to a cocktail glass (fill ¾ with ice)
2. Add blood orange juice.
3. Shake, strain into a Collins-glass filled with fresh ice and a squeezed lime chunk.
4. Top with the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (essential)
5. Add exactly three shakes of The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
6. Sip and hold yourself to three. NO MORE lest you fall into the chair!

Danger level 5 out of 5!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Crane Over Koi Pond

By Warren Bobrow

Hiro Sake is a gorgeous slurp of Japanese Sake history that you can enjoy today. Traditionally, Sake is produced in a method very similar to the manufacture of beer, but it takes a turn in another direction during the brewing process. The three ingredients of Sake are rice, water and koji mold. The rice is polished through a rigorous process that exposes the soft inner core of the grain. This polishing focuses the intense flavors that have been converted to sugar from starch.

Hiro Sake is versatile with food as well as on its own. I prefer Sake with food, lightly chilled and served either in a wooden vessel or fine crystal. Sake should NEVER be microwaved, as it destroys the delicate flavor balance. However, if you want warm Sake, it should be heated gently to no more than 140 degrees.

The first time I tasted Sake, it was indeed served hot. I cannot guarantee from my memory the quality of the Sake. I'm sure it was not like the quality of the Hiro product. I was in California, about 15 years of age. The Sake came served in the traditional manner, a small Sake cup made of pottery and a pottery vessel. The liquid elixir was heated to an impossibly high heat. Whatever was in the vessel scalded my fingers and my tongue. This burning sensation will forever stick in my memory because the subtlety of the Sake was lost when it was boiled. Everything from that point forward is a blur and anyone who has over indulged on Sake will tell you that they've had a similar experience with Sake. If the day is cold and the Sake is hot, watch out!

Later in my youth I tasted a most beguiling combination of flavors - Sake served chilled on the rocks with the addition of plum wine. Sake and plum wine for me is the veritable mind eraser. There is no doubt that my college years were clouded by this drink. A bit sweet to the slight bitter flavor from the Sake - served over ice in a tall glass. You could say that after a couple of these drinks your mouth starts speaking perfect Japanese. Then again you could say you don't remember a thing. Not necessarily bad.

Hiro Sake Red (Junmai) is traditionally brewed to be served hot, while Hiro Sake Blue (Junmai Ginjo) should be served chilled, on the rocks, or with your favorite liquor. I actually prefer the more robust flavors of the Red in my cocktails. It seems to play well with others even if the Red is not heated. One of these cocktails for the Red is called simply, Crane Over Koi Pond.

Crane Over Koi Pond

Ingredients to make two extremely powerful, yet balanced-short drinks:
Hiro Red Sake
Canton Ginger
Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (pink grapefruit essence)
Bitter Truth Orange Bitters

-(Prepare to have your mind erased…)
-Add to a Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice
-Add 4 oz. Hiro Red Sake
-Add 2 oz.
Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur 
-Add four-five shakes of Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
-Shake Shake Shake Shake
-Pour over a large cube of hand cut ice and top with the Perrier Sparkling Water to finish
-Contemplate the Crane gazing hungrily at your very expensive fish in the Koi pond. 

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mend'ham Mule

By Warren Bobrow

I cannot think of a more refreshing afternoon drink than Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer and Baker's Bourbon poured into a tall, ice-filled glass. But why would I choose such a venerable brand of bourbon if I wanted a mixed drink? Baker's happens to please my palate because of the 107 Proof heat. It stands up to your mixer, whichever one you happen to enjoy. Now I'm not saying that you have to mix fine bourbon like Baker's with soda, but it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

Baker's comes from the fine folks who make Booker's, Knob Creek, Basil Hayden's and the venerable Jim Beam Bourbons. I feel that if any bourbon deserves my written hand, then it must be Baker's Bourbon. And, Baker's Bourbon certainly does deserve to be enjoyed in a glass alone - pour it into a snifter with one cube of ice, or no ice (Why spoil it…right?).

I love the heat and the vanilla notes that give way to charred cornbread on the tongue. The mid range is smoked pork hock and there are caramel coated candy apples in the finish. This is not your "augmented by edible ethyl" alcohol, vodka-esque spirit.

It is the real thing folks, made by craftsmen who care about each sip that comes out of the bottle. Cork finishing (a real cork for a stopper) says something to me about the care it takes to bottle this spirit.

But, one must remember that 107 Proof is not 80 proof. Baker's has a magical way of slipping some fingers around your brain and twisting it. So pouring a healthy slurp of Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer into my Baker's really can't hurt.

Cock 'n Bull is a historic brand of ginger beer from the Los Angeles restaurant of the same name.  The original recipe dates back to the 1940s. This soda is not a sickly sweet ginger beer. It cuts the heat of the Baker's Bourbon and gives each sip a lift. There is spice in the bottle, which I suspect comes from hot chili or pepper. You can taste the sweet-yet-subtle burn as it goes down your throat. Baker's, its fire flickering in the mid range of each slurp, does the same thing.

The Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer is in a handsome bottle with bold graphics and a black label. The pictures of the rooster and the bull stand out against a black background with blood red lettering. I'm quite fond of this soda. And with the addition of the bourbon, it's something else entirely! You should definitely try to get some! Of course if you cannot find Cock 'n Bull, may I recommend a spicy Ginger Beer, like the one from Goya. It has hot chili peppers in it!

The Mend'ham Mule

The original Mule Cocktail was made in a hand hammered, copper cup. I've twisted it up a bit to fit my rules, which means there aren't any rules.

-Baker's 107 Proof Bourbon
-Fresh Lime juice
-Rock Ice (Hand Cut) using your Mavea "Inspired Water" Pitcher for clarity of the ice
-The Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters
-A couple good splashes of Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer

Pour 3 oz. bourbon over cracked, hand-cut ice.
Add about six ounces or more of ginger beer.
Add 1-2 oz. Ginger Simple Syrup (ginger grated over regular simple syrup).
Add 1 oz freshly pressed lime juice.
Add 2 good dashes of the Professor Jerry Thomas Bitters over the top to finish.
Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.


Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys.