Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cocktail: A Mere Pillar of Darkness

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Ireland is the country of all that green, bursting with emotion and sadness that wells up in your mind- even before you get off the plane.  I like flying into the West instead of directly into Dublin.  You see Dublin is a great city, but when I go to Ireland, I seek the hidden and the forgotten.  The places where all the great artists and musicians come from before they make their way into the city.  Sure Dublin has the best of everything, the best whiskey, the best food and certainly the best pubs.  But after living on and off in New York City over the years I’m well accustomed to the best of everything.  That doesn’t make me jaded, far from!  But what it makes me is thirsty for the people, places and things that haven’t gotten to the big city yet.  The places where time moves slower and flavor reveals itself through patience and fortitude.  You see my friends, in Ireland what is over the next hill is a discovery in itself and that for me is what travel is all about.  It’s that perfect wisp of sea air sensed just before you sip that carefully crafted Irish coffee, creating balance in your mind and in your thirst.

Irish whiskey is spelled with an e, just like American whiskey.  I wish I could tell you why, but I cannot.  It’s just one of those things I suppose.  And Irish whiskey tastes in many ways as sweet and sensuous as Straight Bourbon whiskey, the droplets flow down my throat, warming me along the way.  Not all whiskey can say that to me.   Traditionally I eschew most Scotch (too smoky for me!) and Canadian just doesn’t have enough oomph for my palate.  Yet Irish whiskey is the right interplay between sweet, savory and potent.

Teeling Irish Whiskey is something new in a field well populated with the big names in Irish whiskies.  This whiskey takes the lesser-known path of least resistance.  It drinks like the hidden Ireland is undiscovered.  It evokes emotions of the song and the smiles of Ireland’s residents.  Each sip takes a road yet undiscovered, each cocktail crafted connects that country to the flavor inherent to the less mechanization, more passion method of distillation. 

Teeling’s label says a bit about this new Irish whiskey that catches my eye.  The words no chill filtering means much to me, as do the words 6 Months in Rum Casks.  Now even the Irish are sharing in the used cask world.  In this case they use Flor de Cana casks.  Which probably began their life as casks for Bourbon whiskey.  Again the Rhumb line travels the world and with it casks with a noble heritage.  It’s become a bit of a pet project for the casks, their venerable history and me.   Also on the label it reads Small Batch.  I’m not sure what a small batch constitutes, but it does sound authentic. 

Tasting Notes:  A sweet molasses based rum nose breaks away immediately into sharply delineated grains and sweet/salty caramel.  There are a plethora of stone fruits coming into view, each enrobed in more of that salted caramel and finely cut pipe tobacco.  Late Fall flower oils across the back of my tongue gives way to a long and luxurious finish that drips down my throat in sweet rivulets.  There is sweet honey in there too, plus freshly cut grass and toasted breakfast cereal that marches down to the bottom of my belly warming me deeply!

It’s magical stuff!  If you like your whiskey on the sweeter side, you’re going to just adore Teeling.  I can tell you that it mixes like a dream and in an Irish Coffee, well- I’ll bet you can make one as fine as the ones enjoyed at the Shannon Airport on the Western reaches of Ireland.  Where time is slower and the fogs hang low over the cliffs.

Get yourself to this hidden Ireland, and don’t forget to drink your fill of Irish Whiskey- and make it Teeling if you please. 

My friend Josh Morton makes Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur in Brooklyn.  It’s authentic in every way. 

I was feeling cold inside the other night and wanted to make a hot toddy that spoke of the West Coast of Ireland from a fishermen’s perspective.  Traditionally Irish whiskey would be combined with hot tea and this cocktail for your mug is no exception, except that it will hold dark coffee instead of tea and Josh’s ginger liqueur is an augmentation to the brilliant Irish whiskey that says Teeling on the label. 

You must use a hand crafted stoneware mug to house this marvelous concoction of stomach warming (and healing) ingredients and force you into relaxation.

A Mere Pillar of Darkness

(Preheat your stoneware mug with hot water, and then pour out)
Whip your cream by hand to the liquid/soft stage.
You MUST NOT use that stuff from a can!

Ingredients:
Very dark coffee- steaming hot
2 oz. Teeling Whiskey
1 oz. Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
1 tablespoon of raw sugar (Demerara works)
3 oz. Softly whipped cream
Scraping of fresh nutmeg
Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Bitters

Preparation:
Pre-heat your mug with boiling water, pour out
Add the raw sugar
Add a good splash of the Teeling Whiskey
Ignite with a match so the sugar and the whiskey caramelize in the heavy sided mug
Spoon the heavy cream over to extinguish
Add the Barrow’s Intense
Add the remainder of the whiskey
Pour in the hot coffee
Spoon another tablespoon of the whipped cream over the top
Scrape some nutmeg
Dot with the Jerry Thomas Bitters

YUM.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkUpNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cocktail: Full of Light and Bustle!

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

What can I say about the combination of chocolate along with orange, spices and strong bourbon whiskey?  Well my friends it’s a match made in cocktailian heaven!  As a rule I don’t care for sugary sweet but this combination is anything but sweet.  It’s savory! 

Take the Kings County Chocolate Bourbon.  This is not made with massive amounts of sugar, nor artificial sweeteners.  It is chocolate, but only the husks- leaving the flavor profile intact, without adding anything that tastes like candy.  It’s most elegant in the glass and completely unique in the world of whiskey. 

Now I’m going out on a limb.  Traditionally I would refuse to talk about flavored spirits out of my overabundance of care for what I like and what I just don’t want to review.  For one thing, I would never review cake-flavored vodka.  I got some heat from a bunch of people on Pinterest the other day when I said something about someone’s idea of a craft cocktail…(chocolate cake flavored “vodka” mixed with a Starbucks Frappuccino, right out of the dairy case at the supermarket)… I suppose someone would say that the combination is pretty delicious, but I digress.  That is just not my topic!

But strangely enough I’m passionately attracted to the Kings County Chocolate Bourbon.  It has something to do with the quality of the chocolate.  You see the chocolate comes from Mast Brothers in Brooklyn.  You may have come across their ultra-high end, hand crafted chocolate bars at your local cheese shop or possibly at a wine store.   They are not just everywhere and for good reason.  They don’t make millions of bars like the big players in the chocolate scene do.   Their reputation for quality makes all the sense in the world.  They make chocolate for the artist in the stomach of each of us. And their chocolate stands alone in my mind each time a lozenge of it dissolves into my mouth.

Chocolate just goes magically with orange and spices.  I’m enthralled by the texture and pattern of this combination of flavors.  When I was growing up, my mom always had bittersweet chocolate dipped orange rinds around.  It was her thing and I knew not to go near them- or sneak a bite.  But years later I’ve begun to crave the tangy creaminess of the orange zest, enrobed in bittersweet chocolate and this gives me pause.  Why not combine orange liqueur like the Santa Teresa Rhum Orange Liqueur that is more rum than orange liqueur into the excellent mix of Kings County Chocolate whiskey and some hot chocolate?

Why not indeed! 

Simplicity rules the roost with this warming drink that is ½ relax and ½ invigorate.  The invigorating portion is from the fine Moonshine liquor in the Kings County Chocolate Whiskey and the relaxation is from the potent 40% by volume alcohol level held within.  There is just no messing around with this combination of spirits. Orange, chocolate, bourbon, hot chocolate… ahhhh how about some fresh nutmeg and the most marvelous German bitters to finish?

How about that indeed!

Full of Light and Bustle!
Ingredients:
2 oz. Kings County Chocolate Whiskey
1 oz.  Santa Teresa Rhum Orange Liqueur
4 oz. Hot Chocolate- the best you can afford- such as the chocolate from Mast Brothers?
Bitter Truth Spiced Chocolate Bitters
Fresh nutmeg

Preparation:
Melt the Mast Brothers Chocolate with a double boiler- slowly!
Pre-heat a stout ceramic mug
Pour out the water from the mug when it is good and hot- through and through
Add the Kings County Chocolate Whiskey
Add the Santa Teresa Rhum Orange Liqueur
Top with Hot Chocolate
Scrape some nutmeg over the top
Dot with the Bitter Truth Bitters
Offer one to your friend and then make another for yourself

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkupNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
PS: Warren's second book, Whiskey Cocktails is on the market now!
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wines for Thanksgiving

By  Liza B. Zimmerman


Those holidays don't always have to be about turkey. It has never been my favorite main dish and I am excitedly talking to my new partners in crime about potentially serving Osso Bucco or lamb for the upcoming holiday.

If you have a tradition-bound crowd, lighter reds like Cabernet Franc and even Pinot Noir will work well with that turkey. Remember to brine it if you want the meat to be tender and flavorful.

You will want something will a little acidity to cut through the animal fat of the bird. If your stuffing has a lot of intense meat, on the sausage side particularly, you might even want to step it up to a more alcoholic, fruit-forward wine: such as a California Zinfandel.

Bubbles are always fun and festive for the holidays. The luscious fruit profile of Lambrusco paired with its acid structure makes it a perfect pairing for Turkey. It is the one of the Italians' go-to wines for holiday feasts, such as Christmas. Lini is a wonderful producer. For your guests with a sweeter palate, a sparkling Shiraz can also be fun.

A fairly round and somewhat herbaceous white might also do the trick, for those red-adverse at your table. The right white Rhône blends are pretty amazing with even meat-stuffed fowl. An aromatic wine, like a Kerner from Alto Adige would also fit the bill.

Go for Lamb
When I have been able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family in New York, we have long stopped making Turkey. We  roast lamb ribs,  while my mom and I fight over how long it should cook, and pair it with dusty wines like Côtes du Rhône and earthy wines such as Cahors. If you want to be more patriotic for Thanksgiving, go with a California or Washington State Rhône blend.

One year with even did a pig roast cooked in Coca Cola and onion soup mix: trust me it was fantastic! A dish like that works beautifully with an off-dry Riesling, think German  or Washington State more than Alsace.

A domestic Cabernet Franc (there are lots of dusty notes to them) would even work. If you are in an Italian state of mind Barbaresco pairs beautifully with all kinds of rich meats and gives them a peppery zing. Much of the pairing will depend on how you cook the lamb. I tend to cover it in rosemary and some kind of red wine reduction, which can work well with some serious and tannic--and even sometimes herbal--wines.

What I Would Pair with Osso Buco
I have never had Osso Buco--that delicious hunk of bone-in veal shank served in Italy--for Thanksgiving, but it might happen this year. It would be even more unorthodox than lamb. The layers of fat in this dense meat call for rich, structured wines with tannins.

As it is an Italian dish I would probably go local with the pairings: Sangiovese is always fresh and fruit forward. Dense Aglianico from the Italian South would step up the intensity of the match and Piedmonte' s flexible and food-friendly wines: like Dolcetto on the affordable side, and Barolo on the high end, work with everything.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza 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, November 13, 2014

Pairing Sonoma Wine with Food

By Liza B. Zimmerman


We are spoiled by the enormous selection of great local wines living here in California. Some of my favorites have long been those found off the beaten path: Paso Robles, Anderson Valley and numerous impressive producers in Sonoma County.

A huge shift in day to night temperatures can produce subtle wines, with balanced acidity that are often reminiscent of Old World vintages in Sonoma. I had the pleasure of dining at the Dry Creek Kitchen, chef Charlie Palmer's restaurant within the Hotel Healdsburg, where sommelier and writer Courtney Humiston is incredibly passionate about the local wines.

She is also lucky enough to have an all-Sonoma list to showcase with the restaurant's locally sourced  and French-influenced food. Scallops en croute and truffles shaved on dishes upon request: just say yes! If I can have a peanut butter-parfait afterwards for dessert then I will feel if I have flown across the Atlantic and back during lunch.

A Closer Look at a Diverse Growing Region
"Sonoma  County is a very large and geographically diverse region -- from coastal ridges to Redwood forests to volcanic mountain ranges -- which lends itself to many different grape varieties and wine styles," says Humiston.

"There are so many different micro climates and different grape varieties growing here, I have fun introducing my guests to wines they have never had before [or heard of!]. ... so I appreciate having such a wide range of wines to play around with." She adds that many of these wines manage to combine the incredibly food-friendly flavors of purity, freshness and vibrancy.

A Passion for Pinot
Pinot Noir is often the go-to wine in this region. It can range from big, corpulent and meaty to sometimes reminiscent of Burgundy. Hot days and cool nights make for some powerful Pinots that hit some high alcohol levels and even stand up to steak. I often find them better pairings for dense and intense red meat than the region's Cabernet Sauvignons, which can sometimes be green and a bit tannic.

Anything with truffles on it, such as those being served in many restaurants this fall, ups the pairing potential enormously with Sonoma Pinot Noir. The funk and earth found in both of them brings out layers of flavors in the other. "You smell some wines from the Sonoma Coast and  'it's like being in a forest'--pine duff and crisp fall air--they capture the terroir perfectly. "

Humiston confirms that, "Pinot Noir is commonly considered the go-to wine for pairing with food because of its great versatility." She is lucky enough to offer four pages of local options, of just this one grape, on her list at Dry Creek. The Valley is famous for all kinds of mushrooms, not just those brought in from France and Italy. So restaurants often feature, where legal, local mushrooms and hotels often offer foraging trips.

Not all of the region's Pinot Noirs are expensive either. Mark West is a great example of an affordable and food-friendly wine.

Sonoma also produces some impressive Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. Many have great ribbons of acidity and balanced alcohol, making them ideal pairing partners for all kinds of food parings.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza 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, November 10, 2014

A Conversation with Benjamin Mélin-Jones of Rhum Clément

By Antonia Fattizzi, Founder/President, Cork and Tin

A fourth-generation member of the Clément family of Martinique, Benjamin Mélin-Jones was raised with rum in his blood.  While growing up in Maine, he learned to stay warm through the cold winters with Rhum Agricole Vieux produced by his French West Indian cousins. His appreciation for the family business started at a young age when his mother used to reward him for a job well-done with either a little bit of Créole Shrubb over ice cream or sips of aged V.S.O.P. Rhum with other traditional French desserts. Ben has vivid childhood memories of how his uncle, George-Louis Clément, would hoist him up and hold his finger under the drip of pure Rhum Agricole Blanc, fresh off the still.

His mother always had a few bottles of the family rum in the liquor cabinet. As these exceptional rums were not available in the US, they were carefully guarded and rationed out only for special guests in their home. Because the Clément rums were regarded with such reverence, Ben was inspired to import and share Rhum Clément with American rum connoisseurs. As opposed to industrial rum distilled from molasses, Rhum Agricole is made from the finest selection of sugarcane, pressed to extract the most aromatic fresh sugarcane juice.

In 2005, Benjamin Mélin-Jones successfully re-launched Rhum Clément and established the importing and marketing company, Clément USA Inc. Clément USA later added to its portfolio by introducing Rhum J.M. from Martinique in 2008 and Rhum Damoiseau, the leading producer of Rhum Agricole in Guadeloupe, in 2013. The selections of rhums from the Clément, J.M, and Damoiseau portfolios make up the full spectrum of Rhum Agricole available in the US market, and serve all sorts of spirits enthusiasts whether one appreciates rhum neat or in cocktails.

1.  Ben, you had the good fortune while growing up to experience an entirely different culture from your hometown in Maine when visiting your mother's family in Martinique.  How were you inspired as a young adult to bring your family's rhums to the United States?
Frequent trips to Martinique when I was younger gave me happy and long-lasting memories. With each visit to Martinique, our travels awarded us more Rhum Clement in the liquor cabinet, which we served on special occasion throughout the year(s). I made my start in the beverage industry soon after school with a craft beer company in Portland Maine.  Next, I created an import company for Italian wine producers.  That experience gave me the idea to do the same with Rhum Clement. I knew this would be a project that I would be naturally passionate about.

2. What is the difference between Rum and Rhum Agricole?
A great majority of Rum in the world is distilled in a variety of grades of molasses, the industrial byproduct from sugar production. Rhum Agricole is distilled from fresh pressed sugarcane juice, before the sugar is processed. Rhum Agricole is truly distinctive within the Rum universe and is popular for its enticing floral aromas and earthy, vegetal, terroir driven flavor profile.

The rum category is about to be re-organized. Classifications will be drawn up as simply English, Spanish and French style rums. The English and Spanish rums are distilled from molasses, but of different varieties and grades, and are finished according to each region’s cultural tradition. Rhum Agricole falls into a category of its own, and is very much the flagship of French style rum.

3. Martinique is very famous for its Rhums Agricole.  But not to be forgotten is the archipelago of Guadeloupe, which is north of Martinique and boasts three rhum-producing islands.  What are the differences in the rhums from each area?
Guadeloupe makes Rhum Agricole just as Martinique makes Rhum Agricole. Martinique follows tighter regulations due to the AOC, but Guadeloupe Rhum Agricole is produced according to the same standards and does take an appellation. Guadeloupe uses different varietals of sugarcane than Martinique. Guadeloupe is slightly more arid than Martinique.

I find that the overall differences between rums from these two appellations is that Rhum Agricole from Guadeloupe has a savory flavor profile with rounded brown butter and some salinity and brininess throughout the character. Martinique Rhum Agricole has more of an overall crisp tropical grilled fruit flavor, with floral aromas and a grassy vegetal foundation.

4. Your most recent addition to the Clement USA Inc. portfolio was of Rhum Damoiseau.  What are the origins of the distillery?
The founder of the distillery that creates Rhum Damoiseau, Mr. Rimbaud, came from Martinique to
Guadeloupe around the turn of the 20th century and created the Bellevue Distillery in the village of Le Moule. In 1942, Roger Damoiseau purchased the distillery and created the brand Rhum Damoiseau.  Over the past 70 years, the family made necessary investments and transformed the tiny distillery into a producer of world-class Rhum Agricole.  Today Roger’s grandson, Hervé Damoiseau, runs the distillery.

5. Tell us about the Damoiseau products: VSOP and the Virgin Cane Rum. What is their distillation process like, and how do you prefer to consume each of them?
Virgin Cane Rum is crafted from the very best batches of Rhum Agricole from the Bellevue distillery. It rests for a minimum of 3 months in large oak vats to mellow before bottling. This rum has an uncanny brine forward character with a nice salty fat Iberico ham center. It is a great base spirit in any rum or white spirit cocktail.

VSOP is Rhum Agricole is aged in re-charred Bourbon barrels. This rum is one of those best bang for your buck rhums. I love it as a sipper, and it shines in old-fashioned and sazerac style cocktails.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Since 2003, Antonia Fattizzi has managed, marketed and sold boutique wines and spirits in the US market. Her passion for artisinal products propelled her to found Cork and Tin, which serves as a voice and a strategic partner for small and emerging brands. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cocktail: The Outlaw Manhattan

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Sitting in front of me is a glass of something that I’d never tasted before.  Something so intriguing and complex that my sense of taste will take hours to reset, if ever.  Because what I have in my hand defies my sense of rationality.   The aromatics are redolent through my nostrils… Do I sense the ocean?  Or perhaps is it the scent of quince, just fallen in the orchard?

Adam Ford, founder and creator of Atsby New York Vermouth poured me a sip from a chilled bottle that he brought with him.  Note I said chilled bottle.  Americans are-as a rule- not fond of chilling their vermouth.  This is too bad because that bottle of Martini and Rossi, left over from your parent’s rec room from the seventies is long gone, yet people still think it’s still viable in a cocktail.  It’s anything but. 

Throw out what you have lurking on top of your fridge and order a bottle of the Atsby New York Reserve Vermouth.  This will be a game-changer in the world of American made vermouth.  But rest assured this is not pretentious wine or wine with a silly name and a pretty label.  What Adam has captured is something that I’ve never tasted prior.  Sure, lots of people experiment with vermouth and there are some pretty righteous and venerable brands out on the market.  To the best of my knowledge no one is currently aging vermouth in the Untited States.  This is too bad because the magic that occurs within the cask (in this case, stainless-steel) is otherworldly. 

Tasting Notes for the Reserve Vermouth:
Freshly fallen quince gives way to salted caramel and sea salt slicked stones.  Minced pipe tobacco that is enrobed in cherry jam reveals itself across your tongue, giving off little puffs of smoke and char.  There is a persistency around my palate of maple sugar and exotic mushrooms, grilled over hard-wood charcoal.  The finish is luxurious and lengthy lasting several minutes or more.  All I can think about is the Atsby Reserve Vermouth woven into a cocktail with exceptionally fine whiskey. 

I’m quite fond of the drink known as the Manhattan.  Perhaps because Manhattan is such a short distance away, but light years in the cocktail idiom.  I can make a drink with the ingredients that I have at my disposal as fine as the most expensive bar in the world, without having to travel into the big city.  It’s really a toss-up.  Go into a cocktail bar and face ingredients, thrown together of an uncertain provenance, or make it at home, myself.  I think I’ll choose the latter.  

Manhattan Cocktails and their ilk require a robust whiskey.  It’s also too bad, generally speaking that many bartenders make their Manhattan’s with bourbon.  I feel very strongly about the quality of my whiskey in my Manhattan so I’ve chosen a very intriguing and hard to get whiskey from Barrell Bourbon. 

Barrell Bourbon batch #003 is crafted from a robust mash bill of 70% corn, 25% rye and 5% malted barley, so you can stop your complaints about your bourbon being too sweet in your Manhattan.  There are very few brands of bourbon that have more than 60.8% alcohol… This one does and it makes a rather potent cocktail so watch out for your feet, they will numb up very quickly. 

I recommend this product highly and you should do everything in your power to acquire a bottle of Barrell Bourbon directly. 

As in right now.  From DrinkupNY.com

Since I don’t have a bottle of the reserve yet, I’m fortunate to have a bottle of the original un-aged version of the Armadillo Cake from Atsby in my larder.  It will have to do until I can procure a bottle of the Reserve for my cocktailian experimentation.  Today I have in my bar a few ounces of Barrell Bourbon 002 chilling in a tall cocktail mixing glass.  The mixing glass is filled ¾ with ice and I’m just letting the rare whiskey cool down a bit.  I’ve added a portion of the Atsby Armadillo Cake to the mix and given it a stir.  Then I add about four or five shakes of the Bitter Truth Orange bitters to the mix, a further spin with my cocktail spoon and strained through a Hawthorne strainer into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.  I’ve cut a piece of orange peel with a paring knife because I want to feel the connection with my garnish and pinching it behind a lit match, the volitile oils spray across the top of my Manhattan.  Try it!

The Outlaw Manhattan
(for two persons)

Ingredients:
3 oz. Barrell Bourbon
1 oz. Atsby Armadillo Cake or Reserve Vermouth-pssst. Get the reserve when you can!!
¼ oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
4-5 drops Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
cocktail mixing glass filled ¾ with ice

Preparation:
Cool your favorite rocks glass with ice and water- pour out when fully chilled and frosty
To the cocktail mixing glass, prime with the orange bitters, add ice to ¾ filled
Add the Barrell Bourbon and the Allspice Dram
Add the Atsby Vermouth
Stir slowly and carefully.  This is not a race!
Strain with a Hawthorne Strainer into your pre-chilled glass
Pinch a peel of handcut orange zest behind a match, over the lipid pool in front of you.. sip sip sip… have another and relax. 

Yes, you can garnish with a cherry, but please do not use those artificially colored ones.. Find a Luxardo cherry or cure some yourself!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkupNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.
Contact: jockeyhollow@gmail.com

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wines for the Fall Foliage: Red, Green and Yellow Wines Reminiscent of Leaves for the Holidays

By Liza B. Zimmerman


It is only after having lived almost a decade on the West Coast that I realize how much I miss the change of seasons back east: multi-colored leaves fluttering to the ground. In California is has been a constant brown (since the drought) all year long, and I remember when it used to be green.

It is wonderful to get back to my hometown of New York in the fall to see the autumn touchdown. So terms of wines to enjoy in the next couple of months, I will suggest some green, gold and red pairings. You can be in synch with the fall colors even if you can't see them from where you live.

Light Green with Herbal Hints
Portugal's Northern whites from the Vinho Verde region aren't really green. But they do have lovely ribbons of acidity and sometimes a little fizz on the palate. They also tend to be very well priced and are great food parings (think delicate seafood and stinky cheese). They are also a delightful way to start off an evening.

South Africa's reds have long been somewhat vegetal: and I say this with an enormous amount of affection. The country's Cabernet Sauvignons are particularly green and tannic--in a gratifying way that can evolve on the tongue--and the blends can be fruitier and more accessible. The blends often have lush upfront fruit as well., particularly if they have Syrah in them. Warwick and Vergelegen have long been favorites of mine.

Gold and Golden
Some of the Rhône Valley white wines have lovely, zesty oxidative notes. Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier all grow beautifully in this area, as do many wines from Washington State that use the same grapes.

The French are masters of dessert wines: should you want to amp up the heat on that color yellow. They can range from Muscat Beaume de Venise with tiny bubbles to unctuous Sauternes. Both wines pair divinely with caramel desserts or can be enjoyed on their own to finish off the evening.

Red and Orange
The pale colors of Chinon, one of my favorite wines in the Loire Valley, are a very clear red, but thankfully not orange. I have never been a fan of those oxidized wines from Northern climes--I won't name names--that have been such an object of fascination for so many sommeliers. They are frankly pretty unfriendly to food pairings and leave an unpleasant burst of acidity and bitter notes in your mouth.

Some of those rowdy, and somewhat tannic, Chilean and Argentine wines are great to enjoy on fall nights. Carmenere has long  been a favorite of mine, as well as some Malbecs and Bonardas from Argentina. Bodega Renacer makes some lovely wines. Don't forget France's Cahors when you are looking for big, thick inky wines to pair with a long-reduced beef dish.

Happy Fall.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza 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.