Ever since we did our Pama review a few weeks ago, we've been thinking about this pomegranate liqueur and how it fits into our cocktail-mixing toolkit, both at home and behind the bar. The first thing that struck us about PAMA was that it was much more versatile than we originally gave it credit - we were able to use it tasty cocktails from a modified Kir Royale to a tasty Manhattan (pictured above) and we wanted to spend some more time investigating just how versatile it can be.
We'll come out and say it - we're really excited that our home town of Waterbury, Vermont was recently called out by the Boston Globe as the best beer town in New England. Vermont is a great state for beer, and we're happy to see the local breweries being recognized on a grander scale. Equally exciting is the inclusion of our beloved nearby Three Penny Taproom (pictured above) in Montpelier on a list of 6 craft beer bars to visit in Vermont from Serious Eats. Check out what they have to say:
Inside the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, you could spend an entire weekend sampling from the 24 taps, and another few days supping from rare bottles (Tilquin Oude Gueze and multiple brews from Cantillon among them). The best-kept secret, though, is the food from chef Matthew Bilodeau; all of it is thoughtfully executed to pair with the beer.
What is PAMA?
PAMA is a liqueur made with pomegranate juice, vodka, and a bit of tequila. It weighs in at 34 proof (17% ABV) and while you might expect it to be on the sweet side, it is actually quite tart, and adds a striking ruby red color to cocktails. It stays far away from the syrupy sweetness we've seen in other fruit liqueurs, and can actually be used in cocktails to reduce the overall sweetness of the drink.
The Look: As mentioned, PAMA is ruby red and really makes its presence known when added to a cocktail.
The Nose: Dark berry fruits are the first thing you'll smell, tart and fruity without being syrupy. There is an assertive (but not overwhelming) whiff of the vodka and tequila that form its base.
The Taste: More berries, with a surprising tartness that lingers on the tongue. It has a mouth feel similar to wine, and while it has a thickness to it, it's not syrupy. If you know what pomegranates taste like, you know pretty well what PAMA tastes like, and we mean that in a good way.
The Verdict: PAMA is available at our local liquor store for $19.99, and we feel this is a very fair price for a good product. In comparison to some of the other "pomegranate" liqueurs we've tried, PAMA is the clear winner, and we enjoyed playing with using it to modify our cocktails.
Our fellow bartenders started off a bit skeptical at first, but once they tasted it every single one of them had an idea for a cocktail, from just mixing it with soda for a good low-alcohol "session cocktail" to mixing it with beer (see our recipe ideas below, as well as some notes on using PAMA as a cocktail modifier).
If you're interested in distilling your own spirits but haven't wanted to hassle with putting together your own still, your wishes may have just come true. Introducing EasyStill, a compact distillery contraption meant to take the "guesswork" and "old car radiators" out of home distilling. You'll have to do the research on the legality of using it in your area, of course, and in the words of our friend Rick at CocktailGoGo, "I have no idea what their guarantees are when it comes to blindness or a Jake Walk, but who cares!"
At last it is easy to make alcohol distillation a hobby. The actual distilling is as easy as making coffee! EasyStill is a tabletop distillation unit. 4 liters of mash or wine are added and the unit plugged in.
A quick three hours after you flip the switch, you'll have 1.4 liters of 92 proof spirits. No word on how crushing the hangovers are. Learn more at EasyStill.com [via CocktailGoGo]
Ever wished you had some kind of robotic bartender to perform your every cocktail whim? While it may not have the charm and conversational skills you're looking for, The Inebriator will mix you a cocktail and (apparently) play some tunes for you too? Check out the video above for this Arduino-powered bartender in action. The first thing we noticed was that it lacks an ability to shake a cocktail...maybe they just need to put a paint mixer at the end of the conveyor belt?
If you're wondering how it works:
...bottles lined up upside-down and optics providing set measures. The user places their glass on a pedestal and selects their drink of choice on the display at the front of the unit. The pedestal then moves along collecting the right spirits as it goes thanks to motors pushing the glass upwards at the appropriate moments. Finally it adds the mixers, connected as and when needed by nitrogen-pressurized tubes to deliver the final touches to the cocktails from a cooler located out of sight.
These are sample bottles, but yes you can get them in 750ml bottles at retail.
We received several samples of Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, and some Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, and we can safely say - this stuff makes a great drink (see after the jump). How did this new liquor come to be? Cognac Ferrand owner Alexandre Gabriel with help from cocktail historian David Wondrich wanted to recapture the spirit of the quintessential cocktail days of the 1800s and Pierre Ferrand Cognac 1840 Original Formula was born.
Back in the nineteenth century, when the art of the cocktail as we know it first came together, barkeepers knew that nothing made for a better mixed drink than a good "three-star" Cognac. Pierre Ferrand 1840 is bottled at 90 proof, higher than most Cognacs, making it exceptionally mixable in cocktails like Crustas, Juleps and Punches.
We had the pleasure of receiving a bottle of Cruzan Aged light rum this month and took it with us on our yearly trip to Martha's Vineyard. Many, many, many drinks were made, and a great many of them with our bottle of Cruzan. We aren't big rum drinkers but we do know what we like and the rich notes and drinks we made came out smooth and delicious.
Looking for a packable brew for your next backcountry camping or hiking trip? We can't vouch for whether it's any good or not, but a company called Pat's Backcountry Beverages claims to have your answer:
Pat's Backcountry Beverages have developed a powdered beer concentrate (not a new concept) that, when added to water and placed in their special carbonating bottle, makes "microbrew quality" beer anywhere.
We think they mean "craft beer quality" but that's just the snob in us picking nits. [via Geekologie]
Looking for the ultimate craft cocktail experience around the US or around the world, but not sure where to start? We just got our hands on Destination: Cocktails, a book by James Teitelbaum, that might just fit the bill. Teitelbaum traveled to dozens of cities around the world and sampled hundreds of cocktails in all kinds of bars, from dives to five-star hotels.
As we page through the book we see multiple examples of finely-crafted cocktails using top notch ingredients, as well as profiles and information on the bars themselves. Just a few pages was enough to make us want to pack up our bindles and travel the open roads from bar to bar, and we would like to thank the folks at Santa Monica Press for supplying us with this fine book.
Back when we were in college (read: when the crust was still cooling on the earth) we were fascinated with "what glows under black lights." By "fascinated" we mean "we loved painting things with laundry detergent under a black light while drinking gin and tonics and wearing white clothes." Sue us - we were idiots.
If you're looking for something a little more adventurous, we recommend Aurora Jungle Juice, which apparently looks absolutely badass under said blacklights. We do, however, recommend you leave the laundry detergent out of it.
WHAT YOU NEED
2 liters Gin or Vodka
9 Liters Tonic Water
3-4 Bottles Roses Mojito Passion, OR 3-4 Canisters of Pink-Lemonade Concentrate
Mix all ingredients together shortly before the party begins.
Add ice as late as possible before drinking.