Cocktail 101: The Old Fashioned
One of America’s earliest cocktails, circa 1800 (originally the Bittered Sling) consisting of whiskey (or brandy, bourbon, rye etc.), bitters, sugar and water or soda and a lemon or orange peel and cherry. Try different sodas for various flavors like: Ginger Beer, Squirt or 7-Up.
Article of the Day: “How the Los Angeles Cocktail Scene Is Different From Other Cities’” by E.C. Gladstone
“With the cocktail craze having spread to every corner of the country, and bartenders flying from city to city to compete against one other, we wondered: Is there any regionality left in the noble art of the tipple? After all, when you can get an authentic Tiki drink at Manhattan’s Death & Co. in midwinter, or order a Queens Park Swizzle in Seattle with impunity, you might find yourself needing Foursquare to remember where you are.
And yet certain cocktail cultures still maintain some individuality, whether by fortune or design. Take Los Angeles. Though the city was slow to emerge from the dark ages of the Appletini, it’s also less concerned with following new traditions. Perhaps it’s always been that way, considering it once created nearly the only vodka-based cocktail respected by most mixologists, the Moscow Mule.
“There’s a wild-card element,” says Paul Sanguinetti, the beverage director of Ray’s and Stark Bar. “We don’t care what anyone else thinks as long as what we’re doing is good, and fun, and progressive.” Opinions differ on the significance of L.A.’s distinctions, and granted, both the bars and the drinkers are as varied as anywhere (there’s still plenty of “vodka soda” types, and the Old Fashioneds are still old-fashioned). But after polling nearly a dozen leading bartenders and mixologists, we’ve found certain aspects to be undeniable:
“Year-round produce, that’s a huge part of who we are,” says The Spare Room’s bar manager, Naomi Schimek, a notion echoed by virtually everyone. “We can make a specific drink with a specific pepper,” says Soho House creative bar director Chris Ojeda. “You try to take it to other cities and…I’ve found it difficult to recreate it.”
Or you might just be more limited, as The Roger Room’s Damian Windsor points out: “At PDT in New York, they do a rhubarb margarita, but they can only do it when they can get fresh rhubarb.” By comparison, many L.A. bars grow ingredients themselves—that may not be entirely unique to Southern California, but bars loaded down with herbs, berries, and buds are increasingly commonplace. Says Schimek, “I can just go around my neighborhood and pick flowers and that will go into the menu that night.”
“In L.A., people want to explore,” says Ojeda, “and people will try anything.” While Windsor bemoans it, Sanguinetti takes pride not only in uncommon flavor profiles but in the irreverent names that follow, like Don’t Worry I’m on the Dill, You Can Rum Inside Me. “I did a drink with pea tendrils and called it the ‘R.Kelly,’” he says. “Julian Cox [Comme Ca] created an apple-banana daquiri-ish drink called ‘The Banana Hammock.’”
More seriously, Schimek reasons, “We have such a diverse, accessible ethnic food culture, and that translates to the drinks.” On her current menu, she points to a cocktail using Turkish urfa biber peppers and housemade caramel. And taking the availability of produce one step beyond, self-proclaimed “cocktail chef” Matthew Biancaniello has built a bar program at Cliff’s Edge in Silver Lake driven by foraged ingredients like stinging nettles, mugwort, and toyon berries. Nor is he completely alone: following the inspiration of Vincenzo Marianello (Providence), Cox and Dave Kupchinsky (Eveleigh), Stark Bar also gets weekly forager deliveries.
“I was just in New York,” says Marcos Tello of Tello Demarest Liquid Assets, a drinks consultancy, “and the drinks are amazing, but they’re more straightforward. In L.A., we’re showmen: you drink with your eyes first, with garnishes, with glassware, with presentation.” Both Schimek and Sanguinetti admit, “We like to be a little showy,” the latter adding, “Bright colors, aromatic peels, bitters on crushed ice, all of the above.” Eric Alperin, proprietor of The Varnish, has taken that detail to the extent of co-creating a side business supplying sculptor-quality ice to all the bars within the 213 Nightlife group run by his partner Cedd Moses. “People take all the details here very seriously,” he says.
Not that the city is one big flair bar. “We can be minimalist and refined, too,” says Sanguinetti. Still, says Windsor, “We have a couple at the Roger Room that people order just because they know the presentation.”
If the point hasn’t already been implied, despite a geographically and culturally diverse territory, L.A.’s cocktail makers are driven more by community than by competition, an environment (fostered by the industry social group The Sporting Life) that’s definitely influenced the nature of bars there. “Tight knit” is the phrase oft repeated. “At 1886, we’re very proud to offer other bartenders’ drinks that we can recreate,” Tello says of one Pasadena bar he oversees—where the menu will even credit the originator. “And we actually send patrons to other bars.” Similarly, Ojeda notes seeing cocktails from The Varnish offered at a beer bar in Venice Beach. “When Varnish won Best American Cocktail Bar award at Tales of the Cocktail this past year,” Sanguinetti recalls, “we all crowded in and celebrated together.”“Check the link for recipes from Chris Ojeda and Naomi Schimek.
Source: Bon Appetit
Currently Sipping: Glenmorangie The Original
Here is a great read!
It all started with badly made cocktails at the country club, someone may or may not have stolen a bottle of wine (and a plate of dessert), one thing led to another and next thing I know I’m wrist deep in nutmeg. Which, all things considered, isn’t the most exciting thing to be wrist deep in.
I’ve never made eggnog before, nor have I even tried, so this was all new to me. I was actually planning on making White Russians, but we didn’t have Kahlua, and the liquor store was closed. All we did have was eggs. Impromptu eggnog ensued.
I know people usually make eggnog in large batches; I did this in a cocktail shaker, since I’m strong enough to make eggs emulsify without an egg beater. Rum is the traditional spirit for eggnog (I think; I’ve never actually had it before) but I ended up using half rum and half bourbon, because bourbon is sweet and delicious.
Again, this was an improvised recipe; I’m sure if I were doing this for serious I’d use more creamy stuff to make if frothier instead of just thick, but…whatever, I’ve got time to hone my craft.
Eggnog (makes two, because I don’t want to divide by two)
2 whole eggs
4 oz half-and-half
1 oz sugar
1 oz dark rum
1 oz good bourbon
1/2 oz allspice dram
1/4 oz vanilla extract
Put the eggs and booze in a cocktail shaker. Shake without ice. A lot. Dissolve the sugar in the half-and-half, since you haven’t made simple syrup in months. Add that to what’s already in the cocktail shaker. Dry shake it some more. I really don’t think you quite grasp just how much dry shaking this takes. Add ice. Shake it a little bit. Strain into some chilled glasses. Cover with nutmeg. Happy Holidays.
In the spirit of the season, (late season I should say) here is a recipe for something called Fall Apple Crush from the Morris Kitchen in oh-so-hip Brooklyn.
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1/2 oz Morris Kitchen Boiled Apple Cider Syrup
- 1 oz seltzer
- 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Cranberry Clementine Cocktail
- 2 oz clementine juice, freshly squeezed. (Regular OJ would work just fine, too!)
- 2 oz cranberry juice
- 1.5 oz vodka
- sparkling water to taste.
Combine clementine juice, cranberry juice, and vodka in a shaker with ice. Shake till well chilled. Pour into serving glass, top with your desired amount of sparkling water. Garnish with a juniper sprig and serve.
Found via two-tarts.com.
Spiked Apple Pie PunchPrep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutesServes about 36Ingredients• 1 gallon apple juice• 1 gallon apple cider• 3 cups white sugar• 8 cinnamon sticks• 1 bottle 190 proof grain alcohol (750 ml)Directions1. In a large pot, combine juice, cidar, sugar and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool completely.2. When cool, stir in grain alcohol.3. Transfer to large serving dish and let guests ladle into cups. Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks or apple slices, if desired.