Celebrating International Cachaça Day with the Royalton Caipirinha

Posted in Recipes on June 12th, 2009 by Josh

Today is International Cachaça Day. Who knows where these things come from, but I’ll take any excuse to make a cocktail! (Actually we do know – International Cachaça Day was started by Sociedade Brasileira da Cachaça, a Brazilian government organization. It was created to commemorate June 12th, 1744: the day when Portugal, then the colonial authority in Brazil, outlawed the production and selling of cachaça. Duh.)

Ingredients for a Royalton CaipirinhaCachaça is a distillation of sugarcane juice, which makes it something of a cousin to rum. Most cachaça is produced in Brazil (where it is incredibly popular). The most common use you’ll find of cachaça is the Caipirinha. The caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil, and is to cachaça what the mojito is to rum (in that both contain the spirit, sugar, and lime, and both are very over-produced.)

So while I’m not a fan of over-produced drinks, I do like creative variations. The folks at Cabana cachaça suggested the Royalton Caipirinha, a cocktail developed at Bar 44 at the Royalton Hotel here in New York City. Read More

Tags: Cabana, cachaça, caipirinha, lime, simple syrup, St. Germain, stawberry

The Virtues of a Twitter Tasting

Posted in Community, Events on June 11th, 2009 by Josh

I had the good fortune to attend a tasting last night of Macallan scotch. This wasn’t any ordinary tasting though – this was a Twitter Tasting! My cocktail-blogging colleagues and I took a break from our AA meetings to all get together in one place, taste amazing scotch, and broadcast our feedback via Twitter in real time. Our tweets were projected onto the wall so we could keep up with each others feedback, and the best part is, the entire conversation is preserved under the Twitter hash tag #Macallan. So even if you missed us last night, you can relive the entire event (including my feedback on the Macallan, and some great conversation with @halw, @livethelushlife, @nybarfly, @ekeyNYC, and many others) on Twitter. It’s a beautiful thing.

Once you’ve caught up, send me a tweet and let me know what you think.


Tags: macallan, scotch, tasting, twitter

Ice is Important, Dammit!

Posted in Community, Editor's Notes on June 9th, 2009 by Josh

02_orchardice_lgl[1]Any time I’m in a conversation about cocktails and I start extolling the virtues and importance of good ice, I get made fun of. Not to worry, I can take it. But finally, I’m getting some support in the press! Good ice is important, and New York Magazine has backed me up on that, complete with a slideshow of the best ice in New York City.

And before you ask, yes, I already have the spherical ice molds available from the Design Store at the Museum of Modern Art.

OK. So I am an ice geek. I’m OK with it.

Tags: ice

The Tramp

Posted in Recipes on June 8th, 2009 by Josh

Ingredients for The Tramp cocktailThose of you who know me well, know that my father is a die-hard fan of Frank Sinatra. And as much as I tried to prevent it from happening as a child, my father’s love of the Chairman of the Board has been passed down to me. So when I heard the waitress at Raines Law Room mention a cocktail called The Tramp while listing their specials a little while back, I’ll admit, the lyrics “She gets to hungry / for dinner at eight…” started playing in my head immediately. Thus, I had to try the drink.

The Tramp is a simple, tasty little cocktail. Here’s what you’re going to need. Read More

Tags: apricot brandy, club soda, cocktail, gin, lime, raines law room, sloe gin

Want to Breathe your Cocktail? Try a walk-in Gin & Tonic.

Posted in Community, Events on June 5th, 2009 by Josh

Just when you thought you’d seen it all…

Bompas & Parr – designer of fine jellies and curator of culinary events in the UK – has created a project called AlcoholicArchitecture_11[1]Alcoholic Architecture. In essence, they whipped up a walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail (gin & tonic to be precise, with Hendricks Gin no less!) Visitors “imbibed through inhaling.”

I’m honestly at a bit of a loss for words. I just don’t know what to make of this! Certainly, my preference is to experience my cocktails in liquid form, but then again, I’ve never had them any other way, so who am I to say? Any chance any of my readers in the UK have tried this? I would *love* to hear about your experience. Drop us a line and let us know what you thought. For those of you who haven’t tried this – would you??

Thanks to my friend Jenny for bringing this to my attention!

Tags: Events, gin, tonic, uk

Why There’s No Such Thing as a Mistake

Posted in Editor's Notes on June 4th, 2009 by Josh

A King's Park Swizzle?Well sure, mistakes exist. But as far as I’m concerned, not when it comes to mixing cocktails. Just as in the culinary arts, recipes are templates. They’re guidelines that reflect the goals and tastes of the artist, but they’re never carved in stone. The purpose of the resulting dish (or cocktail, in our case) is to be enjoyed, and one must always adjust accordingly.

The other night, I set out to make a Queens Park Swizzle – one of my favorite rum-based cocktails – which I was preparing to introduce to you here. However, what I ended up making was a mixture of lime, sugar, mint, angostura bitters (all of which belong), and gin (which most certainly does not). I poured gin instead of rum by mistake. The funny thing about it is that I was already a sip or two into the drink before I realized it (I swear, I wasn’t drunk!) Read More

Tags: angostura bitters, experimentation, gin, lime, mint, mixology, simple syrup

Absinthe No. 2

Posted in Recipes on June 3rd, 2009 by Josh

I’ll admit it – I’ve been behind on the absinthe resurgence. For those of you who are unfamiliar, absinthe is a high-proof distilled spirit with an anise (licorice) flavor. It has a storied past, dating back to the early 20th century, when it was banned in most parts of the developed world after having been accused of having psychogenic properties (beyond those of normal alcohol.) The psychogenic properties were thought to be related to inclusion of the herb commonly known as wormwood. However, over time, these accusations have been disproven, and contrary to popular belief, absinthe has been legally available in the United States since 2007.

Ingredients for an Absinthe No 2, including Lucid absintheBut again, I’ll admit to being behind on the resurgence. I’ve always kept Pernod around, a common absinthe substitute available during the ban,  and despite absinthe being widely available again, I hadn’t changed my habits. Recently, though, I was sent a bottle of Lucid absinthe to review, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to see how it compares to its colorful past!

I thought I’d start with a mixed cocktail called Absinthe No 2. Over the next week or two, I’ll also tell you about the most traditional way to experience absinthe – the Absinthe Drip. Read More

Tags: absinthe, cocktail, gin, lucid, orange bitters