Podcast 56- Jellybeans, Jäger, Tequila Old Fashioned

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We eat cocktail jellybeans. “Classics means ‘cocktails from the 90s.'” Let’s do a candy podcast….. not a porn podcast. We drink Jägermeister and Jäger Spice out of deer shot glasses. Karaoke was involved. The Long Island Iced Tea of Christmas. A brief discussion about high fructose corn syrup. We make Tequila Old Fashioneds“You just said a political joke!” I slurred the beans. “Determined to get out of my vodka rut.”

You can send questions and comments to podcast@simplecocktails.net!

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Manhattan Moonshine

manhattan moonshine

If you’re not familiar with my general sentiment on the “moonshine” category of liquor, let me refresh your memory: generally, unflavored moonshine is pretty gross and unpleasant to drink. Plus those damn mason jars spill all over you when you’re pouring them!

So, another opportunity to review another moonshine came to my attention and it’s not made from corn. That’s right, Manhattan Moonshine this is a oats-and-rye mash, plus it comes in an ornate art deco bottle (not a jar!).

I thought I might dislike Manhattan Moonshine as much as I had the gasoline-burn from previous jars I’ve tasted, but I didn’t. This is a good whiskey, one that I could sip on the rocks, even. It’s spicy, warm and shockingly flavorful for something that has no barrel time at all. Manhattan Moonshine will cost you twice what white lightnin’ runs, retailing for $45 a bottle.

As a respectable-tasting whiskey, I figured it was a good idea to serve this like other ryes I enjoy: in a Manhattan. It was too good of a cocktail-naming opportunity to pass up:

Manhattan Moonshine Manhattan

 

Alcohoot: A Smartphone Breathalyzer

Since we always have our smartphones with us these days, it makes sense that we would start to have access to helpful apps and devices that play off of that. I’ve noticed at least 5 consumer-oriented smartphone breathalyzers hit the market in the last 2 years or so, and Alcohoot is one of them. If you find yourself in situations where you’re unsure if you’re intoxicated or not, $99 is certainly money well spent.

The Alcohoot device is physically comparable to a chubby, rubbery Zippo and connects to your phone through the headphone jack (it has a sliding switch that simultaneously turns the device one and extracts the headphone plug). AlcoHoot comes with a tiny USB charging cable and a pack of 8 mouthpieces (see the photo below). It connects to a free app on iOS or Android, which gives you all the reporting and tracking on your blood alcohol levels.

I carried my Alcohoot with me during Tales of the Cocktail to test it out. I found the device just a little too large to be carried comfortably in my front pocket, so I kept it in my man-purse on the trip. I never had to charge it, and Alcohoot says it’ll last through 500 breath tests. The main problem I had with Alcohoot is the mouthpieces. They don’t snap in to the device, they just sort of rest on the blowhole (seriously, I couldn’t find a better word for that). I carried 2 mouthpieces with me, but I found it to be too much trouble to put it on, so I just blew into the hole on the device itself. That means, of course, that either I’ll never share my AlcoHoot with others, or I’ll have to keep really good track of the mouthpieces when I do. I noticed a small plastic mouthpiece case that Alcohoot sells on their site, but the device come with 8 mouthpieces stuck into a cardboard sheet.

The process of testing is a pretty easy experience. You need to wait 15 minutes after drinking alcohol before the results are accurate. You begin the test on your smartphone screen, blow into the Alcohoot for 4 seconds until the unit vibrates, then get your number reported on screen. The app keeps track of your BAC tests on a chart in the app until you delete them.

“Legally drunk” is over 0.08% BAC, so reporting higher numbers in red or with some sort of indication that you’re over the limit would have been helpful (remember, we’re talking about inebriation here). It has a orange line on the chart to indicate 0.08%, but it could still be more obvious when you blow above it.

In the end, there’s a lot of wisdom in having a device like Alcohoot around, because it gives you some data about your blood-alcohol level that you probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

Buy an AlcoHoot from Amazon.com.

Podcast 55- Tavi Tequila and Club

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Speakeasies romanticized. “It’s like tufu.” Greg mentions Boozehound by Jason Wilson. Flapper chicks dancing on the stage. We taste “premium” Tavi Tequila. “I’m gonna say 80, Bob.” Tequila bottles toppers on your stickshift. We make a Club Cocktail.

You can send questions and comments to podcast@simplecocktails.net!

Download Episode 55.

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Harvey’s Tiki Hut

Galliano’s vanilla-and-spice flavor profile makes is a pretty flexible liqueur in many different types of cocktails, from light and fruity to rich and savory. In the spring, we mixed Galliano with tequila in an Hola Harvey, and now it’s time to mix Galliano in a tiki drink.

Note that we’re using orange curacao in this cocktail (for the first time on this blog, actually). In the past, when an “orange liqueur” was called for, I’d just use Bols triple sec. The two “orange liqueurs” are different, though, and here’s a brief summary thanks to Camper English:

  • Triple sec is clear and based on neutral spirits. Cointreau is a triple sec.
  • Curacao is usually brownish, though can be orange or blue. It has color is because it’s brandy-based and sometimes aged, which also means curacao tastes richer. Grand Marnier is a curacao.

Without further delay, here’s Harvey’s Tiki Hut:

  • in a shaker, combine:
  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 3/4 oz Galliano
  • 3/4 oz Bols orange curacao
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • shake with ice and strain into a glass (or tiki mug) filled with ice
  • garnish with a lime wedge

 Special thanks to our sponsor Galliano L’Autentico

Cocktail Books, New and Old

4 cocktail books

If you aren’t aware, we’re in the midst of a craft cocktail boom that’s been going strong for a decade or so. In light of that, there is a deluge of great cocktail books, new and old, that are more readily available than ever. I’ve had the chance to get my hands on several of them lately, so I’m going to review and summarize some of the books that I’m reading right now.

New books: 

The Art of American Whiskey by Noah Rothbaum ($13). As a hardcover horizontally-designed book with lots of color photos, I imagined that AoAW would mostly be a coffee-table book. It certainly is nice to flip through in this way, I discovered AoAW is also a really well-written, well-researched historical book. It’s organized in a very cool way: segmented into 7 “ages” of American Whiskey, each age with history, whiskey labels, and “Cocktails of the Time.”  I was surprised at the thoroughness of AoAW and found it to be both an interesting coffee table book and a great history lesson too. Noah can be found at Liquor Intelligence.

Cocktail Chronicles by Paul Clarke ($15). It was hard not to get choked up reading through Cocktail Chronicles‘ first chapter, “Notes from a Renaissance in Progress,” because it’s true. Clarke quickly charts the near-death of the cocktail in the 70s up to the craft boom of the last decade, and here we are at the present Renaissance. Clarke then dips our toe in a handy-yet-formulaic cocktail technique section (later completed in the “Bottles, Tools and Tips” chapter), and onto the core of the book. Chronicles is primarily a history book, so sections are divided historically (“Not Forgotten”/”Muses and Bridges”/”Staying Power”), with subcategories given to ingredients, bartenders, even locales that fit that description. You’ll find a related, but small, recipe boxes on each page of your journey. This is a unique perspective on cocktail history, as Clarke calls it, a “renaissance in progress.” You can find Paul at Imbibe Magazine and at Cocktail Chronicles (the blog).

Old books:

The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto by Bernard DeVoto ($12).  Originally published in 1948, The Hour is more of a long, ranting essay than a cocktail book. At just over 100 pages, it might be a comedy piece – DeVoto lists only two alcoholic drinks that are “acceptable”: the Martini and a slug of American whiskey. He curses olives as a garnish and bans just about every other cocktail imaginable: “Remember always that the three abominations are: (1) rum, (2) any other sweet drink, and (3) any mixed drink except one made of gin and dry vermouth in the ration that I have given.” His Martini ration, by the way, is 3.7 parts gin to 1 part vermouth. The Hour is a fun (and funny) book to read, and I think is the point. Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) writes the hilarious intro, in which he references giving his 18-month-old a sip of his Martini.

The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury ($25). Also from 1948 and published as a “replica” from Cocktail Kingdom, Fine Art… is really a love letter to cocktails. Embury is not a bartender, but a home cocktail enthusiast, and this tome is the most cocktail-heavy of this group. Throughout, Embury paints a picture of what makes cocktails great, beginning as many cocktail books do with proper tools, liquors, ice, setup, and measurement, all the way through through 300+ pages of cocktail recipes. As I read Fine Art… I realized it’s been echoed in many cocktail books published more recently. I feel that if you asked a friendly, passionate, experienced home bartender to explain what’s great about cocktails, this very book would be the answer. This is a perfect starter cocktail book.

Podcast 54- Manhattan Moonshine and Brunelle

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Great Gatsby. Prohibition liquor. “I’m starting to sweat already.” We taste Manhattan Moonshine. “The ladies are cringing – I think you stopped her heart!” As a salute to Ted, we make a Brunelle Cocktail.

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Don Amado Mezcal and the Sealed Deal Cocktail

don amado rustico mezcal

If you aren’t already aware, mezcal is an increasingly popular liquor among the craft cocktail crowd. It’s distilled from agave, like tequila, but while all tequila is mezcal, not all mezcal is tequila.

Let’s differentiate mezcal from tequila. You remember hearing about a “worm” in a tequila bottle? Some brands of mezcal do that, but I don’t think tequilas do. From there, the flavor is where you really start to tell a big difference.

I hadn’t tasted mezcal until recently (hear us taste Don Amado for the first time on the podcast). Compared with agave-brother-tequila, mezcal is much smokier. Much smokier. I heard someone say “mezcal tastes like a campfire,” and I think that’s a great description. From what I’ve read, that flavor has to do with the way the agave is baked to prepare for distillation. There is less muggy-ness to mezcal, too, as the smoke is predominant. If you like smokier scotches, mezcal might be an interesting liquor for you to try.

sealed deal cocktail

Traditionally just served on the rocks, mezcal is appearing on cocktail menus now, and there is a lot of ways to experiment with it. At Tales of the Cocktail, we tried the following cocktail. Tasted alone, it was overly smoky, but that smoke paired perfectly when the drink was served with ribs.

Sealed Deal (by Ivy Mix)

  • in a shaker, add:
  • 1 1/2 oz Jägermeister
  • 1/2 oz mezcal
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup
  • a dash of bitters
  • shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, top with a splash of champagne
  • garnish with an orange twist

 

Brandy Presidente and the Brandy Crusta Cocktail

brandy presidente

Brandy is one of the 5 base spirits that most cocktails are based on (the others are vodka, gin, whiskey and tequila) For some reason, I don’t have much brandy in my home bar. In fact, I currently have 1 bottle, Presidente, pictured above.

Brandy is the result of distilling wine, though brandy can be made from grapes too, like in Grappa or Pisco, even (almost) Ciroc vodka, though Ciroc’s not aged, so it’s not quite brandy.

The bottle of Presidente I have, a gift from a friend who traveled to Mexico, is the most popular spirit in Mexico. Surprised? Yeah, me too. It’s by no means a complex spirit, and you can get a bottle for around $10 here in the States, which is a great value for a 3-year-old aged spirit. The taste of Presidente is mild (it’s only 35% abv), a little sweet, and pretty pleasant with just a little touch of cheap-liquor-burn. It’s easy to drink straight from a snifter and like I said, you can’t beat the value for a sipper or a cocktail base.

brandy crusta cocktail

The Brandy Crusta is a classic cocktail in every sense. Recipes for the drink appear somewhere near the mid-1800s, and it’s the inspiration for what’s probably the most popular brandy cocktail today, the Sidecar. Try this one out at home:

Brandy Crusta

  • in a cocktail shaker, add:
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 tsp triple sec
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 dash bitters
  • shake with ice and strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass
  • garnish with a lemon twist

 

Podcast 53- Tales Tally and La Quintinye Vermouth Royal

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Coming down from our New Orleans high. Lisa’s googling “rent-a-father.” Complete Tales summary page. Tales tally. “If it’s Hotmail, I don’t trust you.”  Check out our vermouth page. We taste 3 types of La Quintinye Vermouth Royal. “Last night I made you a gin Martini.”

Download Episode 53.

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