Podcast 99- Fred Minnick Interview

fred minnick

Let’s start with a diss from Greg. Bourbon Curious. Medicinal whiskey. The new book “Bourbon.” Fred’s Albuquerque connection. “A passionate lover of carne adovada.” Fred’s Derby Museum work.

Photo by James Eaton.

Download Episode 99.

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Los Angeles: Caña Rum Bar

cana rum bar sign

In the world of liquor, often the story behind a bar is often just as important as the modern-day reputation. The Petroleum Building in Downtown LA (built in 1925) is one such storied location, and it houses Caña Rum Bar.

Part of the same group that runs Seven Grand (which I posted about a few weeks ago), Caña is a tribute to rum and rum-producing countries like Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Nestled into the back of the old Petroleum Building, you find the entrance to Caña at the back of the building’s parking garage.

Caña is a private club and a $20 annual membership is required for admission (though you may bring guests with you). The bar itself is Continue reading

Silverado

silverado cocktail

I recently got an out-of-print book called Straight Up or on the Rocks: A Cultural History of American Drink by William Grimes, a journalist with the New York Times. It had been recommended to me long ago, so I picked it up used at Amazon. From what I hear, this book (published in 1993) was one of the few great craft cocktail books of the 1990’s (which was a particularly dark time for cocktails).

There’s a small collection of recipes in the back of Mr. Grimes’ book, and I found a simple one that sounded mighty tasty. It’s a 1:1:1 mashup of the Negroni and the Screwdriver. Here it is:

Silverado

  • Add the following ingredients into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice:
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka (I used Reyka)
  • 1 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1 1/2 oz orange juice
  • Stir and garnish with an orange wedge

Podcast 98- Jeffrey Morgenthaler Interview

Interview: Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Our full-length interview with Jeffrey Morgenthaler! The journey from dive bar to craft cocktails. The Pacific Northwest’s impact on craft cocktails. The infamous nose picking video. Cocktail recipes becoming the industry standard. Morgenthaler’s Amaretto Sour recipe. Barrel Aged Negroni recipe. The role of home bartenders. “What should I get for my home bar?” The resurgence of cooking, wine and cocktails. Willing to experiment.

Download Episode 98.

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Shaker 33

shaker 33

Shaker 33 had a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015, and has now released their product in 2016. Shaker 33 aims to improve the decades-old design of the cocktail shaker with modern materials and technology, addressing a few “problems” they see with the classic 3-piece cobbler shaker.

Starting with the most obvious, Shaker 33 is not made from metal like the shakers you’re used to. It’s made from clear, black or frosted plastic, and I got the frosted one. I expected the shaker to feel like a plastic water bottle, but the sides are much thicker and more rigid. The plastic is BPA free and shatterproof, though I wasn’t brave enough to drop mine to test it out.

Both the lid and the strainer of the 33 are twist-off designs, definitely easier than breaking the vacuum seal on a traditional shaker. Since you screw it on, the lid stays closed when you shake, or even if you drop the shaker. The volume of the shaker is much larger than I expected at 24 oz. Because of the thick plastic sides, this shaker never gets cold in your hand, either. The strainer cap (closeup in the photo above) is particularly useful in that it’s diameter is very large and is has two options for straining size.

Shaker 33 will run you $30, about twice as much as a comparable cobbler-style shaker. Though they show Shaker 33 in bars on their website videos, it’s unlikely these will replace tried-and-true Boston shakers at your favorite watering hole. It is a nice new option to have for home bartenders. It’s simple to learn to use, simple to clean and an interesting updated design of the classic cocktail shaker.

Buy Shaker 33 from Amazon here.

Peugeot Whisky Tasting Set

peugeot whisky set There is a wide variety of glassware in the world of spirits, beer and wine. Many of these have unique features and claims, and in the past, I’ve spent some time using a few of these glasses, from the Neat Glass to tulip-shaped stemmed glasses that whiskey is sometimes served in.

Recently, I had an opportunity to try another uniquely-featured tasting glass: the Peugeot Whisky Tasting Set, which is not only a glass, but a 3-piece set with the glassware, a coaster, and a metal plate that fits between the two to cool the liquid in the glass.

Much like the Whiskey Wedge, using the Peugeot set takes a little pre-planning because of the metal plate, which, depending on how cold you want your whiskey, you can refrigerate or freeze, or just leave it someplace cool (more on that in a moment).

peugeot whisky set

At $40, this set is a gift-level item, and its usefulness depends on the way whiskey is sipped by the user. If you (or your recipient) like your whiskey chilled, with little to no water added, this is a beautiful and elegant glass. I tend to drink my scotch this way, and find the Peugeot set is pleasant to use, from the etched glass to the leather stitched coaster. I froze the plate and I like the way it cooled the whiskey through the glass, and not in it. Pitting this set against its biggest rival, whiskey stones, this allows you to sip without fear of an eventual boop in the nose from a stone, but the Peugeot is 2-4 times the cost of a set of stones. I did feel like this set chilled my whiskey more than a set of stones do, probably because metal gets colder than soapstone in the freezer.

The Peugeot Whisky Tasting Set is not particularly easy to find, though specialty glassware and kitchenware stores tend to be the best places to find it, and it is available at Amazon, too.

Monkey Shoulder Scotch

monkey shoulder scotch

Welcome to the world, Monkey Shoulder, a relatively new scotch brand that you may have seen at your local liquor store as of late (it was introduced in 2005). Master blenders David Stewart and Brian Kinsmen run Monkey Shoulder as a bit of a throwback to the years when blended scotches reigned (as opposed to the many single malts available these days).

Monkey Shoulder is a blend of three Speyside single malts, and while the company won’t say which, the internet consensus is that the malts are Glenfiddich, The Balvenie and Kininvie. Speyside is the northernmost distilling region of Scotland, and its scotches fall into two flavor profiles, according to The Whiskey Exchange: light and grassy “lunchtime whiskies” or sweet and rich whiskies.

The flavor of Monkey Shoulder is more in line with the second profile, with tasting notes of vanilla, cinnamon and sweet cream. While some scotches are famed for their smokiness, Monkey Shoulder is absent of smoke and peat in exchange for its woody spice and sweet, rich finish.

The name, Monkey Shoulder, is an unusual one for a scotch, whose names often tend toward the exotic or unpronounceable (anCnoc, anyone?). A “monkey shoulder” is a temporary condition that maltmen would develop after a long day of turning barley by hand; another whiskey history throwback for the Monkey Shoulder brand.

For a bottle of quality whisky with a pretty great trio of pewter monkeys perched on it, Monkey Shoulder can be found at a very respectable $30-ish at your local liquor shop. You’ll find the bottle contains a solid blend of quality single malts with a familiar Speyside flavor. In that price range, too, you get a good sipping scotch and one that’s also feasable in cocktails like an Old Fashioned or Rob Roy.

Tales of the Cocktail 2016 Recap

totc cups

This is a familiar site to Tales of the Cocktail’s seminar attendees: little plastic cups with world-class cocktails in them. This year’s Tales conference was our second time attending, and in the 4 days we were in New Orleans, our schedule was packed with great drinks and great interviews with some world-class people in the cocktail business.

jeffrey morgenthaler interview

Interviewing Jeffrey Morgenthaler

If you’re a podcast subscriber, you may have already heard our Tales interviews, but if you’re not, you should definitely head over to Continue reading

Los Angeles: Seven Grand

Seven Grand - Sign

The presence of craft cocktail bars has been growing exponentially since the early 2000s, and finding a craft bar in many cities (even smaller ones) is becoming easier and easier. It’s strange, then, that one of the largest metropolitan areas of the United States, Los Angeles, has lagged behind other cities in the U.S. in the development of their own cocktail culture.

The reason for this, I’d hypothesize, is that there was no central location for bars to establish themselves as Downtown LA had only begun its revitalization in the early 2000s. In 2007, though, one craft bar launched in Downtown and has built a great reputation since then.

Seven Grand, at 515 W 7th St, is a whiskey bar primarily Continue reading

Tales Podcast 5- 7/27/16

totc blog header 2016

Peach Colada Daiquiri and frozen cocktails generally. What we missed. Best swag. Mr. Boston. Best kids’ swag. Best thing we stole. Coziest interview. All podcasts and a photo gallery can be found here.

Download Tales Episode 4.

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