Last weekend, we had our first snow here in New York City. It was a bitter, windy night on Saturday when I wandered into one of my favorite bars, chilled to the bone. This bar has an amazing cocktail menu, blending the best of classic cocktails and modern mixology, but as much as I wanted a drink, the idea of something shaken with ice at the moment was almost unbearable. What I wanted was a hot toddy. Read More
The other day I sent an e-mail to our friend Jonathan Pogash, renowned bartender, beverage director for Hospitality Holdings (World Bar, Campbell Apartment, et al), and head of the USBG chapter here in New York City. I was writing just to ask Jonathan a quick question, and as it turns out, he’s out of town this week. But Jonathan – never one to let a customer go thirsty – left cocktail recipes in his out of office message! Needless to say, this was one of the best out of office messages I’ve ever seen (and that’s after more than a decade working in the tech industry.) Read More
The Sazerac is one of the oldest cocktails on record – and supposedly the first cocktail invented in America. It came into being in New Orleans, Louisiana in the 1830’s, and was originally made with cognac and Peychaud bitters (created by Antoine Amédée Peychaud). The Peychaud bitters are still a key ingredient, but the most common preparation of the cocktail is now with rye rather than cognac (even though our friend @halw likes to mess with bartenders by ordering it with cognac anyway.)
I came late to the Sazerac, but was introduced to it by another friend, @livethelushlife, who counts the Sazerac among her absolute favorite cocktails. And it really came to life for me when I had the chance to sample the cocktail in its native environment – New Orleans – where the Sazerac is still an institution. Read More
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m a big fan of whisky – bourbon in particular. And in my mind, there’s no better bourbon cocktail than the Old Fashioned. Truly a classic (dating back to Harry Johnson’s recipes in 1888), and beautiful in its simplicity, the Old Fashioned adds some complexity with the inclusion of a small amount of sugar and bitters along with a twist of lemon and orange, but it still allows the unique flavor of whichever bourbon you’re using to shine through. As a result, I enjoy test driving new bourbons using this cocktail (after sampling them neat, of course!) Read More
It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite cocktail from my week at Tales of the Cocktail. The choices were so varied and plentiful that narrowing down the list was a difficult task in and of itself. However, if I’m really honest with myself, one cocktail in particular rises to the top. It was prepared for my by Erin Williams, the Cointreau Brand Ambassador (formally of Pegu Club). In actuality, I’m not certain of the name of the cocktail, as it was custom made based on a survey I completed about my cocktail preferences (Tales was just so awesome!) I think the Rosemary Gin Sour adequately explains it though. Read More
I’ve been on the hunt lately for new summer cocktails. I’m hoping that, in a tribute to mind over matter, the imbibing of summer cocktails will actually cause summer to materialize (which, as those of you enduring the incessant rain along with me in New York know, is long-overdue).
So recently when the folks at Bulldog Gin sent me their list of new summer cocktails, Friday I’m In Love jumped out at me (you’ll see why in just a moment). It also gave me a good opportunity to give Bulldog a try.
Bulldog itself is very well suited to summer cocktails. It’s on the drier side with some nice hints of citrus and pine. It’s also got some interesting ingredients like poppy and Dragon Eye (which is related to lychee). I’ll admit though, I had trouble picking out the Dragon Eye in the flavor, but hey, I’m still an amateur taster :-) Read More
I make no attempt to hide my true love for Angostura bitters. A wonderful, proprietary blend of roots and herbal extracts, bitters are the perfect modifier to so many cocktails. They were originally used to mask the taste of quinine in tonic water. Supposedly, they’re also thought to cure a number of ailments, including the hiccups or an upset stomach. Personally though, I just love the taste, the look, and even the smell (they’re a terrific aromatic when used in cocktails such as the Pisco Sour, for example.)
The Fitzgerald, designed by Dale DeGroff, is one of the most straightforward demonstrations of Angostura bitters. This cocktail is essentially just a gin sour with bitters added. While it may sound simple, and while a gin sour on its own is great, something wonderful happens with that last little touch. Read More