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July 2016

Got Intense? -- Putting My Money Where My Liver Is

I got Intense.  Barrow's Intense.  Barrow's Intense is an excellent ginger liqueur that lives up to its name and multiple awards.  I fell in love with the product when I first went to the Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans in 2014.  During that conference I had the privilege of speaking with the founder and some of the Intense team.  They are good people, and meeting them at the bar of the Bombay Club was a memorable experience.

Barrow's IntenseCourtesy of its Wefunder campaign, I recently moved from the realm of passionate consumer and advocate of Barrow's Intense to the realm of investor. I'm certainly no Warren Buffett (or Gordon Gekko, if you prefer a cinematic investor reference), as Wefunder is designed for small investors, i.e. regular people.  Given my very positive experiences with the people and product, I relished the chance to become a part of Barrow's Intense.

What cocktails use Barrow's Intense?  How about the Intense Ginger Lime Martini, the Intense Ginger Sidecar, and the Intense Ginger Sutra (when I published these posts I was not an investor)?.  For other ideas go to the Barrow's Intense website.

Thinking about getting Intense?  Here's the three step process I used: (1) try Barrow's Intense (if you can't buy it at your local liquor store you can buy it online), (2) thoroughly read the pitch deck on Wefunder, and (3) invest.  If you don't want to go through with steps two and three, simply go with step one.  I'm fine either way.  After all, I'm Intense!


A Cocktail With Counsel -- The Attorney Client Privilege

Everyone hates attorneys, unless they are one (like me) or need one (unlike me, but maybe you?).  The attorney client privilege with its confidentiality is a key part of the legal system.  Thanks to Imbibe magazine for profiling what it labels the Attorney Privilege.  The person who gave this cocktail that name is not in the legal profession.  It is the attorney client privilege, not the attorney privilege.

Attorney Client Privilege
2 ounces bourbon (I like Willett or Bulleit)
.5 ounces orgeat syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the measured rhythm of an attorney explaining just how screwed you might be, and strain into a chilled glass.

Pairing bourbon with orgeat syrup, which you're more likely to find in tiki drinks such as the Mai Tai, seems unusual.  Nonetheless, the two complement each other quite well.

Here's some free legal advice: remember the numbers five and 11.  Five as in the Fifth Amendment -- the right against self-incrimination. 11 as in the 11th Commandment -- thou shalt not get caught (just kidding, that one is not in the Old Testament). Of course, this is NOT real legal advice.

Now here's some free drinking advice: have an Attorney Client Privilege. Consider it our not so confidential communication. 


Tiki Mystery -- The Mai Tai

The Mai Tai evokes Hawaii and tiki glory except ....... it doesn't come from Hawaii.   The origins of the Mai Tai are murky and a subject of great debate.

Mai Tai 2So where is it from?  California.  Some sources point to Don the Beachcomber creating it in Los Angeles in the 1930s, while other sources point to Victor Bergeron (the founder of Trader Vic's restaurant chain) creating it in Oakland in the 1940s. Most everything about the Mai Tai is debatable, including how one makes it.  I slightly adapted this version from the great Employees Only bar in New York City.  

2 ounces dark rum (I used Appleton Estate 12 year old)
.75 ounces Cointreau
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 ounce orgeat syrup

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the polar opposite of the laid back tiki vibe, and strain into a chilled glass.

Are you thinking "where's the pineapple juice?"   Many versions of the Mai Tai have it. I prefer this version because it only contains four ingredients and you get that great balance of sweet and sour.  Also, neither of the likely original Mai Tais used pineapple juice.  If you want a tiki drink with pineapple juice, which I like, try something such as the Jungle Bird.

So what about the phrase "mai tai?" It's probably not from the Chinese language, where it literally means "sell a desk."  The more accepted understanding is that it comes from a Polynesian dialect and roughly translates as "the best."  

Let this new knowledge soak into your brain like the Mai Tai soaks into your soul.


Or What? -- Orgeat Syrup

Orgeat syrupWhiskey Tango Foxtrot?  If you're as profane as I am, that's probably what you first thought or exclaimed when you saw the word "orgeat" on a menu. Orgeat (pronounced or-jah; it's a French word that originally referred to barley) is an almond syrup and a quintessential ingredient in cocktails such as a Mai Tai.  You can buy pre-made stuff, but why not have a DIY product that tastes better?  Thanks to Kevin Liu and his book Craft Cocktails At Home for this wonderfully simple recipe.

6.5 ounces almond milk (I used Pacific Brand organic)
3 ounces sugar
1/8 teaspoon (8 drops) almond extract
1/16 teaspoon (4 drops) orange blossom water

Combine all of the ingredients in a container and stir.  Seriously, that's it.  Simple, right?  Don't forget to refrigerate whatever you don't use immediately.

Orange blossom water, which is not remotely the same as orange water, is the trickiest ingredient to find, but it is out there.  Fortunately I learned about a Turkish grocery near my office that carried the stuff. 

Making my own orgeat syrup gives me the satisfaction of accomplishment, just as when I make super simple syrup or glorious grenadine.  You can get the same sense of accomplishment, and you'll have a fine base for a cocktail or two.  Win win!


A Tropical Tonic -- The Cocogin

Ready for an oddly refreshing clear and crisp cocktail?  Ready to expand your cocktail horizons? Of course you are.   The Cocogin is more or less exactly what it sounds like -- two of the three ingredients are in the name.  Pairing coconut water with something other than rum seems unusual, but this combination really works.

HawaiiSunset22 ounces gin (I used The Botanist)
1.5 ounces coconut water
.5 ounces super simple syrup

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the deceptively precise motion of an ocean tide, and strain into a chilled glass.

I'm not a fan of gin, but in recent years friendly bartenders have introduced me to some that I like in cocktails.  For the Cocogin I suggest using a gin that doesn't, to put it not so delicately, taste like you're sucking on a pine cone.

The Cocogin essentially is a riff off of the In The Dominican. I wanted to make something with coconut water, and the gin happened to be in closer proximity than the dark rum.  So enjoy the fruits of my laziness and experimentation, and make yourself a Cocogin.


The 14 Commandments Of Drinking At A Bar

Remember the hilarious scene in Mel Brooks' History of the World Part 1 when God gives the Commandments to Moses ("The Lord Jehovah has given unto you these 15 (crash) .......  oy, 10, 10 Commandments for all to obey!").  This post has nothing to do with that.

If you're reading this you've been spent time in bars, and you'll probably spend more time in them in the future.  This good article from Shayla Love (click here to read it) provides a short and sweet summary of what to and do ...... and just as importantly, what not to do.  Despite what some of you might think, unlike Love, I am not an industry professional.  Nonetheless, I would like to add my own commandment -- remember that bartenders are more than mixologists.

Think of this as a Golden Rule for bars.  It's not the version of the rule that declares he or she who has the gold rules (that just makes them a pretentious insecure jerk).  I mean the traditional version of the rule -- Do unto bartenders as you would have them do unto you.