Previous month:
September 2015
Next month:
November 2015

October 2015

Drinking Like Ian Fleming

The Aston Martin DB5 -- my favorite Bond car.
The Aston Martin DB5 -- my favorite James Bond car.

During my recent journey to London I had all sorts of James Bond related experiences.  They included a great walking tour courtesy of Brit Movie Tours (the motto of the tour should be "For Bond Geeks And The People Who Love Them"), a fascinating exhibit entitled Bond In Motion at the London Film Museum, and a cocktail at Dukes Hotel bar.

007 doesn't actually live here.
007 doesn't actually live here.

Why Dukes?  Because it was Ian Fleming's favorite watering hole.  Yes, that Ian Fleming, the man who wrote the James Bond novels.  Amusingly, after watching Dr. No (the first movie) he thought the character's adaptation to the silver screen was a disaster.  After 24 (and counting) films in more than 50 years, clearly he was wrong.  

MI6 headquarters (really).
MI6 headquarters (really).

Rumor has it that Fleming coined the iconic phrase "shaken not stirred" for the James Bond martini while imbibing at Dukes.  Dukes has embraced its connection to Fleming and his literary creation, as much of its cocktail menu has a James Bond theme.

Another reason why Dukes might be for your eyes only -- the place makes martinis to die for.  Or live and let die for.  Or give you a license to kill for.  You get the idea.

Good Things Come In Threes -- The Triple Orange

Inspiration can strike at any time.  This citrusy epiphany came one night as I stared at the lineup of homemade liqueurs in my refrigerator.  The number three is important in American society, e.g. three branches of government, the Triple Crown in baseball and horse racing, etc., so I decided to see what I could do with three ingredients of the same flavor.  And voila -- the Triple Orange.

Triple Orange2.25 ounces vodka
.75 ounces Lupo arancello (orange liqueur)
Juice from 1/4 orange
2 dashes orange bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the excitement of winning the Triple Crown (like you're Miguel Cabrera or American Pharoah's owner), and strain into a chilled glass.  Orange peel garnish optional.

You make Lupo arancello just as you would make Lupo limoncello, but you use oranges instead of lemons. If you can't wait to make a batch of arancello, use Cointreau or something similar as a substitute.  However, as arancello is sweeter (half of it is super simple syrup) if you use a substitute you may want to scale back on the juice and/or bitters, or add some super simple syrup.

Plan to have three Triple Oranges?  To paraphrase the old Doublemint gum commercial, you'll have triple the fun.  And probably triple vision and triple the hangover.

London Calling ...... With Great Cocktails

London Calling 3I recently had to take one for the team and accompany my wife on her business trip to London.  Talk about a First World problem, right?  If you're still reading it means this post made it through the sarcasm filter on your computer or smartphone.

London is a dynamic city with many iconic sights.  As it is one of the great cities of the world, not surprisingly it has a hell of a good cocktail scene.  My wife and I went to the place at the top of our list -- the Savoy Hotel, which exudes class and old school wealth (neither of which I have ha ha).

The most famous clock in the world.  To quote Clark Griswold -- "hey look kids, there's Big Ben!"
The most famous clock in the world. To quote Clark Griswold -- "hey look kids, there's Big Ben!"

First up was the Beaufort Bar, which won the Best International Hotel Bar award at this year's Tales of the Cocktail conference.  The bar itself is gorgeous and the drinks are exquisite.  After that we backtracked through the lobby to the legendary American Bar.  We had the opportunity to converse with Erik Lorincz, an award winning bartender    Combine some sublime cocktails with a pianist covering Frank Sinatra tunes and the total experience is .... brilliant (in the British meaning of the word).     

The cocktails at both bars are very classy, very expensive, and worth every British pound.  Unless you are rich or drinking on someone else's tab, choose carefully from the options.

While imbibing I wondered if the old song Stompin' at the Savoy (Benny Goodman made it famous, but I think the version from Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong is better) refers to the hotel.  It does not.  It refers to the Savoy Ballroom club in New York City.

So regardless of whether you prefer the music of Ella Fitzgerald or The Clash (read the subject title again), if you have the opportunity to drink cocktails in London, seize it.  Cheers!

Drink Pink To Save The Ta-Tas

Raspberry BeretOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Although Drink Pink is one of many breast cancer related slogans out there (my personal favorite is Save The Ta-Tas), as far as I know it's the only one that combines this important issue with cocktails.

I'm drinking for a close friend of mine who is fighting, and will defeat, breast cancer.  My guess is you know someone who has survived, is fighting, or succumbed to this cancer.  Raise a glass of a pink (or pinkish) cocktail with me in their honor.  Your Den options include lovely libations such as the Raspberry Beret, the Siesta, the Italian Sunrise, the Intense Ginger Sutra and the Pussycat.

Thanks to Chef Geoff's restaurant for bringing the Drink Pink slogan to my wife's attention, and thanks to my wife for telling me about it.