Our man DKF has been in his secret lab again, flogging the cocktails, and he's come up with one that really caught our attention. We love both Buffalo Trace bourbon and Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur - they're fucking delicious. Check out what happens when you mix them up in one glass and add some cocktail-y stuff to the mix. We even think his name for it - Shanghai's Last Gentleman - is the bee's knees...at least he didn't call it Shanghai Surprise. Keep 'em coming, DKF.
Shanghai's Last Gentleman
This sultry bourbon-laced cocktail is a true 'East Meets West' concoction, mingling slow Southern hospitality with classic Asian flavors. Muddled oranges - the "Chinese Apple" - orange blossom honey, and Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur meddle with Buffalo Trace Kentucky bourbon for a charmingly exotic cocktail.
2 oz. Buffalo Trace bourbon
1 1/4 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger cognac
1 tbsp. orange flower honey
3 drops, Fee's Old Fashioned Bitters
3 drops, Regan's Orange Bitters
1 slice of orange
1) Muddle orange, honey, and both bitters in a cocktail shaker.
2) Add bourbon, ginger liquer, and ice cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously.
3) Pour into an old fashioned glass. Enjoy the simple bliss of life that is a well-made cocktail.
Sorry for the lack of pictures due to a fritzy camera, but we decided to use a picture of fireworks. Because where were fireworks invented class? That's right...China.
Today was a good day at the Liquor Snob offices, as shown by the fact the FedEx guy showed up with a bottle of Beefeater 24 gin. We've heard many a good thing about this spirit, with its 24 hour marriage of gin and various exotic teas. It also boasts multiple citruses, licorice, and your standard juniper, but we're focused on the tea, something we've never had before. Seems to work well, at least according to these reviews we found. We'll add our tasting notes to the mix as soon as we can.
We got a pleasant surprise in the mail yesterday, in the form of a bottle of Akvinta Vodka, a brand we hadn't heard of before, but bills itself as the world's "first luxury Mediterranean vodka." The stuff is made of Italian wheat and Dalmatian water, and is triple-distilled and filtered through birch, marble, silver, gold, and platinum. According to the Akvinta website:
Akvinta has a light lemon citrus nose with a touch of sweetness, a light peppery mouth feel, and very smooth finish with no burn. It is luxurious and well- balanced when drunk on its own, in mixed drinks or simply served over ice; and it works wonderfully in all cocktails especially those with citrus and fruit ingredients.
Sounds good to us, and we'll get that review posted ASAP.
We've been excited to try out the Vinturi Aerator, especially considering the fact we'd never given much thought to decanting white wine, or even letting it "breathe" as we might a red. Vinturi was kind enough to send us a model to review, and when we opened the box we were impressed with the heft of the vaguely cylindrical gizmo that greeted us, and pleasantly surprised to find a no-drip stand and cloth storage bag as well.
We peeked through the Aerator, unsure how much effect it would really have on our wine, but decided to take it at face value. We poured two glasses from the same unchilled bottle of the best Chardonnay we could get at the supermarket for $3.49, one directly from the bottle and the other through the Aerator.
It sloshed through the gadget with a satisfying glugging sound, and we were fascinated by the bubbles we saw in the chamber, and if nothing else we felt like we got our money's worth for the show alone. But would it fulfill its promises of a tastier glass of wine?
We took the two aforementioned glasses of wine, and we put them in front of our Senior Wine Intern, asking for a blind taste test of the contents of the glasses, to identify which had been aerated. After going through the tasting rigamarole, our intern correctly identified the aerated wine, saying the flavor and bouquet were subtly, but noticeably improved. Further tasting with other interns confirmed the positive review - this thing really works, especially on wine that starts out not-so-hot. The price tag may seem high, especially for those who don't drink much wine, but it strikes us as a great gift and an exciting addition to the gadget-hound's wine rack.
A while back, we introduced you to the McNuggetini, an assplodingly horrible idea for a cocktail. "But wait," you're probably saying to yourself. "I remember this McNuggetini story, but I ignored it since it was not in video form!"
Fret not, dear readers, for we offer you the McNuggetini in full, Technicolor, motion picture glory! You'll thrill at the barbecue sauce-rimmed cocktail glass! You'll swoon as vanilla vodka and chocolate shakes are combined in a cocktail shaker! You'll gag as you watch the look on their faces as the ladies take that first nauseating sip! All we can say is they'd better deliver that ham daiquiri they promise at the end of the video...
Our enrollment in the Bar Smarts Wired course has gotten us thinking a lot more about the parts of a drink that we usually didn't pay much attention to. An example? The garnish. We historically thought of garnish as something to toss on the cocktail napkin so it doesn't get in the way of your drinking. But we're starting to see that the garnish can be the unsung hero of a drink, adding flavors and excitement to a cocktail, or at least a little zazz.
Our Bar Smarts kit came with a good channel knife, but of course, being the Snobs we are, we want more. We gravitated toward Wusthof, a brand we trust and have had good experiences with, which includes a channel knife, zester, double-edge peeler, butter curler, melon baller, and corer. We know it's pretty expensive, but hey, it comes in a sweet carrying case so you can feel like a real chef when you whip it out.
It might surprise people to hear the Liquor Snobs have been a bit late to the elderflower liqueur party. St. Germain has been the belle of the ball for quite a while now, but we never got into it too much due to a sweetness that we found borderline overbearing. Yeah, we know it's meant to be used in small amounts, but hey - taste is taste.
That's why we're psyched our man on the street DKF has gotten a chance to sample Thatcher's Elderflower, an organic liqueur he says knocks the stuffing out of St. Germain. In fact, he says St. G is the tawdry, syrupy older sister of Thatcher's, and at half the price. We have to agree - our last bottle of St. Germain was almost $40, and BevMo has Thatcher's Elderflower for under $20, along with two more of their eight total flavors.
It appears Jamieson brewery's clever ad campaign about dwarves is going to climb up and bite them on their collective Aussie asses, which we think is a shame. The image (above) is a pretty damned funny twist on the Snow White story, especially when paired with the "Anything but sweet" tagline, in reference to a raspberry beer. It's too bad Disney has decided they own the rights to a folk tale, which is friggin' retarded. Our fearless Editor in Chief's last name is Jamieson, but you don't see him suing over the brewery using his name, now do you? Of course, we've got fewer high-powered lawyers trying to justify their retainers too...
This dude gave himself the ultimate physical challenge by getting flailing-ass drunk and attempting to buy beer. Our favorite part was when he fell over the first time and couldn't get up, but refused to remove his hand from the 12 pack to extricate himself. Favorite moment too is when he juuuuust misses the handle on the exit door and hilarity ensues.
One of our interns claims the guy must have something else going on because no one can get that drunk. That intern obviously hasn't been working here long enough. (Thanks, Crotchbat)
Our friends down at our favorite local bar, the Three Penny Taproom, have shown us they're about more than just great beer - they know their spirits too. That's why we were excited when they showed us a new line of bitters they'd found out about - Urban Moonshine. Located just north of us in Burlington, VT, Urban Moonshine is all about making organic bitters and tonics for digestive health and other benefits. We were especially into this one line from their website (bolding ours):
Now, whether you enjoy them as an apertif, digestif, or as a remedy to settle an upset stomach, calm a hangover or gently cleanse the liver, bitters are back!
That's right they're back - and these particular ones come in original, citrus, and maple. Check out Treehugger for a nice little write-up and a cocktail recipe to get you started.
We only have to drive a half hour to get them. You, however, can use the majesty of the Interwebs and buy them at the Urban Moonshine website.
You'd be surprised how useful these little angled measuring cups are when you're making cocktails - your liquids are easier to see, for one thing. It's also nice to have a few lying around, which is why we got the three pack of plastic ones. These bad boys hold up to a quarter cup and are marked at 1/4, 1/2, 1, 1 1/2, and 2 ounces. They also come in Stainless Steel if you're going for the durability and jigger feel, but we like the visibility we get from the plastic. Just be sure to wash them quickly and thoroughly so they don't pick up any flavors, though we haven't had any problems with that.
For some of us, tapping a keg is second nature thanks to more keg purchases than we'd like to count. Not everyone has been practicing for so long, however, and there are certain situations where you can save the day by being the one who knows how to tap a keg without out overpumping it and causing it to puke beer foam for the next hour. This video will teach you how to tap the major keg types (American and European sankeys), and even give a little 101 on how to pour that perfect pint you've been searching for.
We're pretty impressed with this graph of beer consumption by country - especially the format of partially-filled pilsener glasses. The country list is by no means complete - a commenter points out there are some hard-drinking European countries absent from the list - but it does our hearts good to know that based solely on the beer bottles littering the area around the computer, we're well ahead of the US curve.
Check out the graph (in a format large enough to actually read) at Snippets.com.
We've been on a wine kick lately, and we recently got an email about a product that intrigues us quite a bit. A while back, we wrote about the Vinturi Wine Aerator for red wine, which we called "scuba gear for your wine." Little did we know you can also get an aerator for white wine - we're winos without being wine snobs, and we'd never really heard about people aerating whites. Anyone had luck with something like this?
Specially designed for white wine, the Vinturi Essential White Wine Aerator delivers a better bouquet, enhanced flavors and smoother finish to your favorite Chardonnay, Viognier or Sauvignon Blanc. When wine is poured in the Vinturi, its design creates an increase in the wine's velocity and a decrease in its pressure. This pressure difference draws in air, which is mixed with wine for perfect aeration.
The claim is the better aeration leads to better aroma, flavor, and even mouth feel. Who knew?
We've just caught wind of a new Margarita-aping juicebox that has an interesting twist. Instead of distilled spirits filling the booze portion of the proceedings, they're slightly lower-test so they can be served by restaurants without spirits licenses. In the words of the company:
The mar-GO-rita is made from a fermented version of the blue agave plant that classifies our product as wine instead of distilled spirits. The wine classification allows beer and wine retailers the opportunity to sell premium margaritas under their beer and wine license.
The pouch allows the consumer to place the product into a freezer and enjoy a frozen margarita without the hassles of mixing or blending. We use a screw top and provide the straws for a true "On-the-Go Experience". Simply freeze, squeeze and enjoy!
Mar-GO-ritas are available in California, South Florida, Louisiana, Virignia and Texas, and they've got some new flavors on the horizon as well (Pina-Go-lada and the Daiq-GO-ri. We're not kidding). An interesting concept and we like the idea of having a freezer full of boozed-up slushies, so we'll see where this goes...and how they taste. More info - and a store locator - at Big Easy Blends.
For some reason, the staff here at Liquor Snob have had a wild hair this autumn to try our hands at making our own wine. We've done some brewing in the past (we're no Brew Dudes, but we can hold our own), but winemaking has always seemed daunting. There's the longer maturation period, for one thing, and while we'd guzzle pretty much anything beer-shaped, we've been worried that our natural laxity about things like "cleanliness" and "reading directions" would leave us holding whole mess of vinegar.
Nevertheless, we decided to start out with some country wine, made with fruit we've picked ourselves, and we've got the Fruit Wine Making Kit to prove it. Our only problem? A complete and total lack of knowhow about how to get started or even what to make. Which is where Making Wild Wines & Meads: 125 Unusual Recipes Using Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & More (Amazon) comes in. With more than 100 recipes, including mead for when we're feeling a bit renaissance faire, we're sure there's a wine in there we'll be able to make without embarrassing ourselves. Here's hoping, anyway.