The Intoxicologist

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Screech Daiquiri: Interesting Twist for a Classic

Newfoundland has something to holler about; Screech Rum. With fall in full swing and the weather doing its fair share of keeping our bones chilled, it is time to reach for a bottle of warming rum. Screech is “The Taste of Legends.” While this rum is no longer bottled at such a staggering proof so as to make anyone yelp or “screech” from the burning sensation trailing down their throat, it does have quite the warming effect needed to take the chill down a notch. Sip Screech neat, on the rocks or yes, in a cocktail. Try my version of the Screech Daiquiri for an interesting twist on an old favorite. The color is vibrant and deep and the taste is most pleasantly unusual.

Screech Daiquiri
2 ounces Screech Rum
1 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 ounce Bar Syrup

Combine in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for ten to fifteen seconds. Strain into a well chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

For my review of Screech Rum please click on Newfoundland’s Legendary Favorite Rum – the Proof is in the Screech at The Intoxicologist is In.

Cozumel Cosmo: Fresh Ideas for Tequila

Looking to expand your tequila experience beyond the shot or margarita? Agavero is the tequila encounter you are searching for. Agavero is smooth and delicately rich on the palate. It has the perfect balance of tequila and agave nectar with the lilt of Damiana flowers. Agavero may be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in a variety of cocktails that are only limited by your imagination. Try my Cozumel Cosmo below.

Cozumel Cosmo
1 ounce Agavero
2 ounces Vodka (try Ketel One)
3/4 ounce Pom Pomegranate Juice
1/2 ounce Lime Juice
1/2 ounce PAMA Liqueur

Combine in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for ten to fifteen seconds. Strain into a well chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

For more recipes and a full review of Agavero Tequila go to
Agavero Tequila: Inspiring Cocktails beyond the Shot & Margarita at The Intoxicologist is In.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Exquisite Cocktails from Double Cross Luxury Vodka

Created in the foothills of the Slovakian Tatra Mountains, this seven times distilled, seven times filtered luxury vodka uses diamond-dust micro-filters in the process. According to the technique of Master Distiller, Dr. Jan Krak, diamond dust is the ultimate filter. The unique contour and sub-micro dimension of diamond dust create a micro-filter of unparalleled filtration capability. The result is exceptionally pure luxury vodka with hints of white pepper and lemon zest. Spirits expert Paul Pacult gave Double Cross Vodka a rating of four stars and it received the Gold Medal for taste at this year’s San Francisco Spirits Competition.

Interesting cocktails are what interest me. Double Cross Vodka positively traveled into extraordinary territory with their array of appealing cocktails. Each innovative creation entices the imagination and tempts the palate. I look forward to indulging my palate with the Double Cross Luxury Vodka.

An example of one out of the ordinary cocktail from the
Double Cross Vodka website:

Double Vision
3 ounces Double Cross
1/2 ounce Tuaca Liqueur
1 ounce Passion Fruit Juice
1/2 bar spoon Fennel Seed

In clear mixing glass, muddle the fennel seeds with the fruit juice and Tuaca. Add ice and Double Cross. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon and lime twists.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Aperol: Setting the Standard Since 1919

Aperol, introduced in Padua, Italy in 1919, set modern day standards ahead of its time by creating a spirit with a lower alcohol content of just 11%. The trendy and easily adaptable Aperol inspired an aperitif that went on to become the signature drink of Italy; the Aperol Spritz. Even today, the Aperol Spritz continues to thrive as a classic among cocktail drinkers the world over. In a cocktail world spinning with new infusions and creations released on the market every day, a classic which has stood the test of time like Aperol should not be overlooked.

Aperol is a dark orange Italian aperitif with a sweet orange flavor. It is made from a blend of base spirit, rhubarb, chinchona, genziana and of course the best kept secret of combination herbs. Aperol is now produced by the Campari Company.

While the Aperol Spritz is the clear-cut traditional Aperol cocktail to experiment with, there are of course recipe creations to please the palate.

Aperol Spritz
2 oz Prosecco
1 oz Aperol
Splash of Soda Water

Serve over ice, garnished with an orange slice.

Aperol Royal
3 oz Spumante Brut
1 oz chilled Aperol

Pour chilled Aperol into a champagne flute. Top off with chilled Spumante Brut.

Parrot Bay Key Lime Rum: Newest Addition to Captain Morgan Family

Parrot Bay Key Lime is just one new addition to the growing Captain Morgan family. Parrot Bay is already known as a rich quality white rum perfect for all delicious exotic cocktail blends. From talk out and about this latest Key Lime flavor is lightly sweet and crisp making it an excellent mixer whether you lean toward the tropical or traditional cocktail.

My first thought for this flavor is of course the
Key Lime Cocktail. While I have not had the opportunity to test out the new Parrot Bay Key Lime Rum flavor, my Intoxicologist brain is already starting to muddle over the possibilities. My original recipe calls for vanilla vodka and Licor 43. Now that there is Key Lime Rum it’s time to whip out the cocktail shaker and start tweaking the recipe. Maybe add in some KeKe Liqueur as well?

What about the classic twist on a Gin & Tonic. Frequently I change things up and switch to Rum & Tonic using one shot of white rum and one shot of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum with a squeeze of a half a lime topped off with diet tonic water. Why not exchange simple white rum for the new Parrot Pay Key Lime Rum for added Key Lime Flavor? Layering of flavor in a cocktail excites the taste buds.

Certainly there is only one way to be sure on any of these cocktail recipe musings. I must wait it out and then get my hands on a bottle of Parrot Bay Key Lime Rum!

Pinky Vodka: Amaze Me


I found something interesting today developed by champion Scandinavian wine tasters. Meet Pinky. The introduction to “The World’s Most Beautiful Vodka” through the eyes of the official website is sufficient temptation to lead me in search of this charming vodka. Pinky’s beauty is said to be more than superficial. Five times distilled from pure glacial water and Swedish winter wheat is only the beginning. Violets, rose petals and ten other botanicals are hand blended to create Pinky. The pink hue delicately balances with the name.

The website says, “prepare to be amazed.” I would love to be amazed as Pinky seems to be a marvelous addition to the vodka family with its delicate blend. Below is just one of the many recipes I found and would love to sample. If you have tried Pinky, drop me a line and tell me what you think.

Naked Pinky Cosmo
1 part Pinky
Splash of cranberry juice
2 squeezes of lime
Splash of simple syrup

Stir over ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lime wedge.

Baileys with a Hint of Coffee Continues Roll-Out

Baileys with a hint of Coffee continues the tradition of smooth tasting Baileys affectionately mingled with the rich, roasted flavor of coffee. This flavor release followed in the footsteps of Baileys with a hint of Mint Chocolate and Baileys with a hint of Caramel from preceding years. Baileys with a hint of Coffee was available exclusively in World Duty Free stores beginning in late February with expanded roll-outs in April. Apparently this flavor has done exceedingly well as its market expansion grows. If it is not available where you are, look for it online.

As soon as I acquire this delightful treat, I will be sure to let you know what I think and possibly new recipe concoctions as well. However, with Baileys reputation of quality and the flavor of coffee combined, there really is no doubt this is a wonderful addition to the Baileys family. Two recipe suggestions from the official Baileys website are listed below.

Relax into the evening with friends, sipping Baileys with a hint of Coffee blended with ice and letting the gossip unfurl.

Baileys Blended
Step 1: Drop 2 large ice cubes into your blender (that’s 2 per person)
Step 2: Add 50 ml of Baileys with a hint of Coffee per person
Step 3: Blend until completely smooth
Step 4: Pour into your tall glasses

Unwind with friends as the sun sets on another day and the light taste of cold-shaken Baileys with a hint of Coffee floats over your tongue.

Baileys Shaken
Step 1: Fill a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice
Step 2: Pour 50ml of Baileys with a hint of Coffee per person
Step 3: Shake vigorously
Step 4: Strain into Martini glasses
Step 5: Garnish with a dusting of chocolate or cocoa powder

www.baileys.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Boulard Calvados Bartender Competition


Calling all professional bartenders and mixologists! Boulard Calvados, the number one selling Calvados worldwide, is pleased to announce the BOULARD CALVADOS BARTENDER COMPETITION. Bartenders & mixologists are cordially invited to come out, test their skills and vie for the title of NUMBER ONE RATED CALVADOS MIXOLOGIST!

The Grand Prize winner will receive a Caribbean trip for two, and $500 cash prizes will be awarded to the second and third place winners. Winning cocktails will be announced to the press and incorporated into a Boulard advertising campaign.

RSVP to BoulardContest@palmbay.com by October 15th to secure your spot in the competition!

Date: Oct 20, 2008 (Mon)
Time: 3:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Cost: Complimentary (trade only)

Club 230 Fifth230 Fifth AvenueNew York, NY

boulardcontest@palmbay.com

For more information: Palm Bay International

Corby to Represent Absolut Vodka in Canada

Sep 29, 2008 (Datamonitor via COMTEX) -- Corby Distilleries has entered into an agreement with Pernod Ricard providing Corby the exclusive right to represent Absolut vodka in Canada effective October 1, 2008 for the next five years to September 30, 2013.

As part of this agreement, Corby will also receive the exclusive right to represent Plymouth gin and Level vodka.

Con Constandis, CEO of Corby's, said: "I am very excited about adding an iconic brand like Absolut vodka to the Corby portfolio and even more pleased that we have been able to leverage our successful track record and relationship to secure a long-term deal. We had been seeking to add a global brand, particularly in the premium vodka segment, but were constrained by our size and resources, so the opportunity to represent Absolut vodka in Canada fits perfectly with our strategy."

OVAL Vodka to Release Luxury Swarovski Bottle in Super-Premium Limited Edition

With cutting-edge design and saturated in 7000 Swarovski crystals, a brand new limited edition version of the award winning OVAL vodka bottle will be released this April in the UK. Costing a staggering £3,500, the OVAL Swarovski Crystal bottle will be available to buy in exclusive London night clubs such as Embassy, Dolce, Amika, Maya, Tramp, Maddox, and Chinawhite.

From this month, the stunning bottle will be presented on the back bars of the named clubs, displayed on a new invention The Glorifier, which is a rotating LCD display unit, highlighting the glittering Swarovski Crystals to create a sparkling, avant-garde display. The OVAL team will also be attending selected evenings to offer samples and to explain the OVAL Swarovski story.

Rui Amorim, the Brand Manager of OVAL Vodka UK, said: "The interest in the Trade has been absolutely fantastic! We are having to see over 150 bars, just to see which ones fit the OVAL Vodka profile."

Finger Lakes Wine Center Jazzes Sonnenberg’s Harvest Wine Celebration

Art, wine, and jazz come together for an unforgettable day in Historic Canandaigua of the Finger Lakes.

Canandaigua, NY, September 30, 2008 --(PR.COM)-- The second annual Harvest Wine Celebration is set for Saturday, October 11, from 2-4 pm at the Finger Lakes Wine tasting room in Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens. The event is held as a fund raiser for the Finger Lakes Wine Center kitchen project.

The event is presented by Wick-edly Sent Soap and Candle Company. Enjoy wine tasting from Dr. Frank’s Vinifera and Heron Hill Wineries. Wines can be also be purchased at the Finger Lakes Wine Center by the glass, bottle or case. Cases can also be ordered just in time for the holidays. Music from the instrumental jazz group Four on the Floor Quartet is scheduled with Hors d’oeuvres from the Lumberyard Grille. There is also be a silent auction for an original painting from local artist Pat Rini Rohrer and framed by Finger Lakes Gallery and Frame.

“Many people help with putting this day of fun together,” Doug Kane says, marketing director of Sonnenberg. “RGE assisted with the lighting for this event and Uncork New York helped with marketing.” The Harvest Wine Celebration also marks the closing of another successful season at Sonnenberg.

Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens is a state owned historic park operated by a non-profit organization, in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Finger Lakes Wine Center, featuring an “Abundance” of vintages from more than 40 partner wineries throughout the region, is located within the grounds next to the gift shop.

There will also be a raffle of a Finger Lakes Gift Basket with goodies ranging from candles, soaps, chocolates and other regional made products. Funds raised will benefit the Finger Lakes Wine Center Kitchen. Space is limited for the event, reserved tickets can be purchased by calling 585-394-4922. Advanced registration is $15 per person (pre-paid credit card reservations accepted by phone), or $20 at the door.

Contact Information
Finger Lakes Copywriting
Don Stevens
585-394-5260
don@fingerlakescopywriting.com
www.fingerlakescopywriting.com
Contact:
Doug Kane
585-394-4922
http://www.sonnenberg.org
marketing@sonnenbergy.org

Sunday, September 28, 2008

MartiniArt.com: Martini Recipe Contest

Join our fabulous martini recipe contest and win some great stuff...

It's time to show the world the best, most creative martini recipes that you've got. Submit something amazing and you may win some fantastic MartiniArt.com swag. The contest is simple! Fill out the contest entry form below with your best martini recipe and we'll award a first and second place winner chosen from all of the recipes we receive.

First and second place prizes will be a fabulous gift pack of Martiniart.com products of our choosing. First place winner will receive merchandise of $100 retail value, Second place winner will receive $50 retail value.

We are looking for amazing, creative, delicious, beautiful, scientific, modern, classic, colorful, surprising, stunning...martini recipes! Get inspired, get crazy - the more creative the better.

On to the rules and particulars & important stuff to read...

· Recipes submitted must be your own original concoction. Copying a recipe from a book or website will get you disqualified.
· You must be at least 21 years of age and a legal US resident to enter.
· You authorize that any recipe submitted may be reprinted on our website at our sole discretion.
· The winning recipes will be featured on a "contest winning" recipes page.
· Recipes must be "recreatable" based upon the info submitted - we have to be able to make and try it!
· Winners will be decided by our judges & and all decisions are final.
· Contest ends November 8th, 2008 - winners will be notified via email on or about December 1st, 2008.
· No purchase neccessary to enter.
· We will not spam you! Entering our contest will not put you on our mailing list - nor do we sell or release our customer information - ever. We would love for you to sign up for our newsletter, but you'll have to do that yourself.

http://www.martiniart.com/martinirecipecontest.aspx

Volta Vodka: Your Spirit Just Got an Energy Boost


Volta is an interesting vodka I came across from White Rock Distilleries. Interesting due to the caffeine and other herbal stimulants within the spirit. Also quite interesting is their age verification requirement to gain access to their site. I had to answer a question about Jack from the comedy show “Three’s Company.” Having answered it correctly the site knew I had to have been over 21 and allowed me to enter. Ouch! That kind of smarted. In case you are not familiar with the time frame of “Three’s Company, it aired on ABC from 1977-84. I am definitely feeling my age!

Apparently Volta Vodka is made from Russian rye, quadruple distilled with spring water from France’s Northern Region. It is caffeinated and infused with five energy ingredients: Guarana, Taurine, Yerba Mate, Ginseng and Inositol. Not all of those ingredients are listed on the official site. Two, ginseng and inositol, came from a little research on the internet. I would love to hear from the company on this one and give Volta Vodka a try for actual review. In the mean time, below is a quick rundown of the energy ingredients.

Energy Boosters:
Guarana accounts for some of the caffeine. Each guarana berry yields approximately five times as much caffeine as one coffee bean.
Taurine is actually an organic acid that when investigated sounds extremely scientific and slightly disgusting in the way it works in the human body. It is a component that is often found in energy drinks, but as with many things “scientific” not all studies prove taurine to be energy-giving.
Yerba Mate is also a contributor of caffeine, but to a milder degree. Supposedly Yerba Mate differs from caffeine in that the negative side effects of jitteriness and anxiety are removed, yet the alertness caffeine gives off remains.
Ginseng is a supposed aphrodisiac and nourishing stimulant. It is also often found in energy drinks and teas, although in such a low dose the medicinal effects are immeasurable. Alas, Volta has not cornered the market on the next diet/sex therapy wonder drug!
Inositol is an interesting addition that I cannot quite figure out the reason for its inclusion. It spans vitamin B (yet is synthesized in the body thus unusable), to slows down hair loss in men (hmm…making them better looking through beer goggles perhaps?), to a cutting agent in illicit drugs (but clearly unusable for this in vodka form) and lastly alertness, focus and mental clarity – all of which seem to fall within the scientific unknown category.

Volta is not out on the liquor store shelves in my area, but that does not necessarily mean it is unavailable. Sometimes it just means it is tucked away due to lack of consumer knowledge about the product. Even so, it is available online for roughly $22 - $25. If you would like to check out Volta’s website, click on the link in the opening paragraph.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The 26th Marie Brizard Cocktail Challenge


The 26th Marie Brizard Cocktail Challenge, USA Competition Opens its Online Voting at cocktailtimes.com/mariebrizard

Marie Brizard Cocktail Challenge opens its first online voting in 26 years

New York, NY / San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) September 26, 2008 -- For the first time in 26 years, Marie Brizard Cocktail Challenge invites the public to cast their vote online for their favorite challenger at
http://www.cocktailtimes.com/mariebrizard. Online voting is available from now through mid October before the regional final events in New York City and San Francisco. The challenger, who receives the most votes will receive the Hospitality Award - original bartender kit from Marie Brizard Distillery in Bordeaux, France.

This year's Marie Brizard Cocktail Challenge, USA competition brings 20 challengers from coast to coast. The USA champions, one from each coast will travel to Bordeaux in December to attend the 26th Marie Brizard International Bartender Seminar and Cocktail Competition. For over 25 years, thousands of top bartenders from around the world have participated in this seminar and competition. It is one of the most rewarding lifetime experiences for the world's bar professionals.

The west coast regional final takes place on October 27th at Conduit Restaurant in San Francisco and on November 7th at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the east coast. The challengers will mix their submissions and a final cocktail with an assigned Marie Brizard flavor at the event. The USA champions will be selected by a tasting panel, technical judges and the head judge, Chester Brandes, president and CEO of Imperial Brands, Inc., importer of Marie Brizard.

The challengers' biography, recipes and photos are available on the official site of 2008 Marie Brizard Cocktail Challenge, USA Competition at
http://www.cocktailtimes.com/mariebrizard. The site allows voters to cast their votes only once in each region. This year's challengers are:

The West Coast Challengers
Joel Baker, Bar Manager at Bourbon and Branch (501 Jones Street, San Francisco)
Joe Parrilli, Bartender at Clock Bar at Westin Hotel (335 Powell Street, San Francisco)
H Joseph Ehrmann, Bartender at Elixir (3200 16th Street, San Francisco)
Brian Mac Gregor, Bartender at Jardiniere (300 Grove Street, San Francisco)
Sierra Zimei, Bartender at Four Seasons Hotel (737 Market Street, San Francisco)
Camber Lay, Bar Chef at Epic Roasthouse (369 Embarcadero, San Francisco)
Joe Wrye, Bartender at Waterbar (399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco)
Tim Stookey, Bartender at Presidio Social Club (563 Ruger Street, #563, San Francisco)
Jackie Patterson, Bar Manager at Orson (508 4th Street, San Francisco)

The East Coast Challengers
Eben Freeman, Master Mixologist at Tailor (525 Broome Street, NYC)
Jason Cobb, Bartender at Brandy Library (25 N. Moore Street, NYC)
Don Lee, Beverage Director at PDT (113 St Marks Place, NYC)
Brian Miller, Bartender at Death & Company (433 East 6th Street, NYC)
Gen Yamamoto, Bartender at Zen Lounge (252 DeGraw Ave, Teaneck NJ)
Antonio Lara, Bartender at The Modern at MoMA (9 West 53rd Street, NYC)
Terence Miller, Beverage Director/Sommelier at Megu Midtown (854 UN Plaza, NYC)
Miguel Aranda, Bartender at Plaza Hotel (768 5th Avenue, NYC)
Pichet Ong, Chef at P*ONG (150 West 10th Street, NYC)
Tony Perez, Mixologist at G Lounge (111 South 17th Street, Philadelphia PA)

To learn more about this year's Marie Brizard Cocktail Challenge, please visit:
http://www.cocktailtimes.com/mariebrizard.

Marie Brizard is imported by Imperial Brands, Inc. in the United States. Headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., it is a U.S. subsidiary of Belvédère S.A., one of Europe's largest producers and distributors of white spirits and wines. Belvédère S.A. operates production and distribution units in Poland, France, Bulgaria, Lithuania and the United States and additionally owns subsidiaries in Russia, Canada, Spain, Scandinavia and Brazil. Belvédère S.A. purchased Marie Brizard & Roger International in July 2006.

Imperial Brands Inc. also owns Florida Distillers Co., which has two production facilities located in Florida. This provides bottling capacity of 5 million (9-liter) cases of distilled spirits for the company and a base on which to coordinate its expansion across the U.S. To learn more about Imperial Brands, Inc., please visit the company website at: http://www.ibrandsinc.com

Friday, September 26, 2008

Christiania Crowns Cocktail of the Month Contest

From master mixologist to novice vodka fan – create a cocktail showcasing Christiania Vodka and win 1000 Crowns redeemable for your choice of:

· A Christiania sponsored birthday bash
· A private cocktail lesson with a master Christiania mixologist to enhance your “Christini” knowhow
· $100 Amex cash or Shell gas card or any combination of prizes that range from 25-500 Crowns!

(Of course, you can also save up your Crowns for even more luxury items like a private jet trip.)

Simply submit your favorite drink recipe featuring Christiania Vodka to christianiaCrowns.com and our elite tasting panel, led this month by Jason Law of the Chelsea Hotel – Atlantic City, will vote on the winning mix. Remember, this is an ongoing contest, so feel free to enter as many recipes as you want. At the end of the month we’ll name a winner and post the winning recipe on the site and feature it in our monthly newsletter!

To join Christiania Crowns simply click the link and be the
guest of The Intoxicologist. Tour the site, read all about Christiania and learn how you can start earning more Christiania Crowns.

Diageo Backs Initiatives to Combat Drunk Driving and Underage Drinking in Indiana

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Sept 26, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Students in Indiana Learn From Survivor

Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company is proud to support Brandon Silveria in his efforts to prevent drunk driving and underage drinking as he speaks to students and community members this week in South Bend, Indiana.

Silveria, who survived a drunk driving crash when he was a teen, spoke today to students at Washington High School in South Bend, Indiana alongside Attorney General Steve Carter about his experience. Brandon tells his story under the auspices of The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.

"Brandon has a powerful story to share with young people and we hope his message resonates with students today and helps save lives," said Joshua Sanders, Senior Director of State Government Relations, Diageo North America. "Diageo believes our products should be enjoyed responsibly by adults and we want to send the message loud and clear that we do not want the business of anyone under the legal drinking age."

Silveria was 17 when he endured a three-week coma due to a drunk driving crash. Since his rehabilitation, Silveria has devoted himself to speaking about his experience and encouraging people under the legal drinking age to make the right decisions about alcohol. Although his speech has been permanently impaired, Silveria's presentation delivers a resounding message on the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking and has captivated audiences across the country.

Diageo is a founding member and major supporter of The Century Council, an organization funded by some of the country's leading distillers committed to developing programs to combat drunk driving and underage drinking. These programs include "Ask, Listen, Learn," "Cops in Shops" and "We Don't Serve Teens." The Century Council also works with a broad array of education and prevention professionals on alcohol issues.

About Diageo
Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands and performance, visit us at
http://www.diageo.com.

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere, responsibly.

SOURCE Diageo
http://www.diageo.com

Liquor Group Wholesale and Drinks Americas Play the Trump Card

Liquor Group is signed by Drinks Americas Holdings to represent Trump Vodka, Old Whisky River and others in their portfolio.

Jacksonville, FL, September 26, 2008 --(PR.com)-- Liquor Group Wholesale, publicly traded under the ticker (LIQR) was signed by Drinks Americas Holdings, Ltd. originally to represent Drinks Americas’ brands, Trump Super Premium Vodka, Trump Premium Flavors Vodkas, Willie Nelson’s Old Whiskey River Bourbon, Cohete Rum, Damiana Liqueur, Aguila Tequila, and the soon to be released Dr. Dre Chronic Cognac and Dr. Dre Topless Sparkling Vodka in Michigan. Today Liquor Group and Drinks Americas Holdings have announced that the further strengthening of this working partnership by signing Liquor Group to represent Drinks Americas’ Premium brands in 16 of the 18 U.S. Control States. “Our first strategic maneuver was in Michigan and the New England States, then our efforts naturally progressed into the other Controlled Liquor States.” says, Steve Dodge, Vice President of Control State Operations for Liquor Group Wholesale, “This is a strong friendship and a great working relationship we are developing between Drinks Americas and Liquor Group.”

J. Patrick Kenny, CEO of Drinks Americas explains, “In our view, we carry products that are synonymous with the very best of class. Liquor Group delivers the same criteria that we, Drinks Americas, wanted in brand development from a distributor.” Currently the Control States that Liquor Group is representing the Drinks Americas Holdings brands in are New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Alabama, and Iowa.

For more information and news regarding the premium products of Drinks Americas Holdings Ltd. (www.DrinksAmericas.com) visit www.LiquorGroup.com for Liquor Group’s catalog of products or call 1-866-REACH-LG (1-866-732-2454).

About Drinks Americas

Drinks Americas develops, owns, markets, and nationally distributes alcoholic and non-alcoholic premium beverages associated with renowned icon celebrities. Drinks Americas' portfolio of premium alcoholic beverages includes Donald Trump's award winning Trump Super Premium Vodka and Willie Nelson's Old Whiskey River Bourbon. The Company’s non-alcoholic brands include the distribution of Paul Newman's Own Lightly Sparkling Fruit Juice Drinks and Flavored Waters. Drinks Americas recently formed a joint venture with Universal Music’s Interscope, Geffen, and A&M Records to develop and market beverage products. For further information, please visit our website at www.drinksamericas.com.

About Liquor Group Wholesale

Liquor Group Wholesale is an emerging liquor and wine distribution company operating in 31 US States. Liquor Group Wholesale is publicly traded under the symbol LIQR. Information is available at www.SEC.gov on Liquor Group Wholesale’s operations including the past two years of audited financial statements.

Safe Harbor
Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, including the description of the company and its product offerings, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the historical volatility and low trading volume of our stock, the risk and uncertainties inherent in the early stages of growth companies, the company's need to raise substantial additional capital to proceed with its business, risks associated with competitors, and other risks detailed from time to time in the company's most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. The company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Liquor Group
James McGonigal
904-285-5885
Info@LiquorGroup.com
www.LiquorGroup.com

TequilaRack™ Provides Hub for Budding Tequila Aficionados

TequilaRack™ Launches Interactive Website That Educates and Entertains Tequila Enthusiasts.

McLean, VA, September 26, 2008 --(PR.COM)-- International Tasting Group (ITG), the U.S. importer of six 100% Agave Micro Tequila brands, is looking to make wine tasting passé with an interactive website that helps gourmet enthusiasts learn about the history, production, versatility and nuances of Tequila, Mexico’s most misunderstood spirit. The website has just launched its interactive training module which is available online at
www.TequilaRack.com

In addition to purchasing the finest Tequila brands, visitors can explore www.TequilaRack.com to learn about the unique process and care applied to the production of 100% Agave, the top shelf of Tequila. Developed with branding and interactive firm Fathom, TequilaRack™ helps turn fans into connoisseurs with interactive quizzes, knowledge builders and suggestions for hosting Tequila tastings, complete with recipes, ambiance tips and online invitations that can be emailed to friends. Through the website, TequilaRack™ hopes to connect with the ever-emerging subcultures of foodies who appreciate finer tastes and new ways to expand their love of gourmet spirits.

More About TequilaRack™
TequilaRack™ is a platform that allows consumers the ability to enjoy a selection of Micro Tequila brands to taste and compare. Each brand is made in extremely small batches by family run distilleries. This affords consumers a wide-range of taste profiles. This platform is designed to coincide with the continued strong growth of the super-premium Tequila market, the growing popularity of tasting flights and the increased trend towards entertaining at home.

TequilaRack™ take-home Tequila tasting kits are now available for sale. Each kit contains three distinctly different Micro Tequila brands, two Riedel Tequila tasting glasses, a proper tasting jigger and an educational DVD. Each TequilaRack™ presentation is channel specific allowing a different presentation for each class of trade at retail. A Back-Bar Rack tasting display for on-premise bars and restaurants and a Stand-Up Rack display, named the Hacienda de Tequila, for the off-premise high-end grocery and liquor stores are among the presentations available. The Back-Bar Rack display accommodates three ITG brands to be sold as a tasting flight set. The Stand-Up Rack display is for single sales at retail and houses all brands, glasses, jiggers, DVDs and Tasting Kits. TequilaRack™’s innovative and interactive website, www.TequilaRack.com is integral to its goal of building and educating a community of Tequila Aficionados.

More About Fathom
Fathom is a branding and interactive firm that helps businesses develop a distinct marketing presence and unique online experience. Fathom’s team of artists, communicators and marketers dive deep into a company’s business challenges and ambitions to bring the creative vision to the surface. Fathom clients include Yale University, EW.com, Jacobs Vehicle Systems, Wireless Zone, Aramark and other forward-thinking companies from the non-profit, lifestyle, online, education and business-to-business industries. Winner of over 40 design awards in the past year alone, Fathom can be found at Fathom.net.

More About ITG
International Tasting Group (ITG) imports, markets and sells distinctive tastings of ultra-premium alcoholic beverages using proprietary packaging, display and an interactive web based education process that, through consumer preferences, allows Breakout Brands to be identified for individual development. TequilaRack™ is the first trademarked platform. Additional branded tasting platforms will roll out in future months. At this time, RUMRACK™, tastings of single barrel Caribbean Rums, is scheduled for 2010.
ITG is comprised of 20 owners/advisors with more than 300 years of combined expertise in the alcoholic beverages industry spanning all facets thereof including importing, production, operations, back-office, communications, sales and marketing.

For more information on ITG or TequilaRack™ contact
JaneLuba at 703-245-8548 or by e-mail at Info@TequilaRack.com

Contact: Jane Luba
Phone: 703-245-8548
E-mail:
JLuba@TequilaRack.com

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Straight Up Update from The Intoxicologist

There have been several updates to “The Intoxicologist Is In” at http://intoxicologist.wordpress.com/. I hope you join my new site there.

I have recently compiled a list of new carbohydrate and calorie lists for liqueurs and vodkas. I will soon be adding new pages for tequilas, gins, cognacs, rums, whiskeys… My fingers are typing as fast as they can to search and then pass the information along to you.

New articles to the site include:

1. A press release about BarSol Pisco Acholado including three new recipes. If you have not tried Pisco yet, read up about it and then head out to a bar near you for a sip before you buy.

2. My recipe for the yummy Raspberry Lemon Drop. It is so spring and summery rolled up into one. I have included a beautiful photo so you can have a look at the mouthwatering concoction yourself. When you head out to the grocer for raspberries, look for big juicy ones.

3. Zen Green Tea Liqueur is a fascinating find. My friends over at Myth in the Old Market Omaha hooked me on this one. There is a taste test comparison with a run down on what the Zen is all about on my new site along with a page in the right hand column with all the recipes you could possibly wish for to get your creative juices flowing where the Zen is concerned. If that doesn’t do it for you, one of my readers wrote in to ask how to make a Zen Green Tea Shooter, so I did more research and came up with even more recipes for another article about Zen!

4. Speaking of readers writing in… People ask about a lot of basic drinks. A must read is my article about “21 Must Try Drinks” which includes more than 21 recipes.

5. Would you like to add more bang to your bar? I took a day and made bar syrups galore and found an amazing drink from a restaurant in Durham, NC. I will give you a hint. It is garnished with rosemary and is really fantastic! A real must try.

6. How long has it been since you have had a Lollipop? Well, I found one made with German cherry water, otherwise known as Kirsch. Like all the articles I research and write, this one taught me a few things I didn’t know and some great new recipes as well.

So, come on over and join us. Read up. Drink up. Enjoy our company. Email me with questions, input, or just say hello.

Thanks for reading!
Intoxicologist

Monday, May 5, 2008

Straight Up Cocktails New Site Information

Straight Up Cocktails has moved to a new site. While I endeavor to keep Straight Up Cocktails up to date, the new site allows for more options to give you more information. Currently I am working on new pages for the Expanding World of Liqueurs as new liqueurs are introduced to the market. Also in the works for the new site is a listing of carbohydrate counts for liqueurs.

All the articles from Straight Up Cocktails have been moved to the new site, so nothing has been lost. If you have suggestions, questions, recipes or liquors you would like to learn about, email me or drop me a line in the comment section. I would love to hear from you. Please click on the link and have a look around.
http://intoxicologist.wordpress.com/


As always, thank you for reading!
The Intoxicologist

Reloading the French 75

It is with some argument as to what a “real” French 75 cocktail consists. Is it cognac, vodka, or gin? Does it contain lemon juice, orange juice or Gran Marnier? As with many cocktails, time and research does not always make the past any clearer. What does become evident is the taste factor. The question to ask is, “what does my palate tell me about a drink?”

For a taste of some disputable and some indisputable French 75 history: The French 75 is a champagne cocktail originally dreamed up by flying ace Raoul Lufbery. Raoul loved his champagne, but wanted a drink with more intensity to it. Cognac proved to be a natural addition due to its availability at the time. Cognac is also complementary to champagne since they both are derived from grapes. The cocktail packs a punch, thus is named for the noted French World War I Artillery gun, the 75mm howitzer, otherwise known as a French 75. Although its roots began with the French flying ace, its popularity soared in America at the famous Stork Club in New York City owned by Sherman Billingsley.

That being said, what about the contents of the drink itself? The first time I ever had one it was terrific in the first few sips. Quite tasty in fact. After the third and fourth sip, however, it lost its impact. The reason was due to the ice factor. In recipe after recipe found in very reputable data bases the French 75 is mixed and then poured over ice. For my palate this waters this particular cocktail down too much. The ice absolutely needs to be thrown out. Despite the ice factor, two content items became distinctly clear throughout these data bases. The French 75 traditionally calls for cognac and lemon juice.

The other factor in this drink to consider is which cognac to use. Since Courvoisier and Hennessey are two cognacs that are readily available, I chose to compare these two for the French 75. Side by side in the cocktail the Hennessey stood up much better having a deeper, richer color and a much more intense flavoring. The difference using Courvoisier was definitely evident. The coloring was pale and the richness in flavor was lacking. The Hennessey French 75 absolutely had more depth of character, rounding it out to be a much more fulfilling drink.

Next in line was a little tweaking with ratios. Raoul Lufbery loved his champagne, so maybe that is what he wanted to taste the most in his beloved drink. For me, the richness of the cognac needs to shine. With more cognac a little less sweetness is needed. Speaking of the sugar factor; always go with a bar syrup rather than granulated sugar. Granulated sugar is difficult to dissolve. Bar syrup is liquid and ready to mix without the granulated mess.

This of course is my palate. You should absolutely try a taste test with the French 75 at home or order one up at your local bar. Any great bartender will make one to order or better yet, know how to make one already!

French 75 ala the Intoxicologist

1-1/4 ounce Hennessey Cognac
1/2 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 ounce Bar Syrup (or a tad less)
Brut Extra Dry Champagne
Lemon Twist for Garnish

Combine Hennessey, lemon juice, and bar syrup in a cocktail shaker filled one third full of ice. Shake thoroughly for ten to fifteen seconds. Strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top off with champagne. Garnish with lemon twist.

Side Note: If using Courvoisier rather than Hennessey up the amount to 1-1/2 ounces of cognac to achieve the balance of flavor.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Coffee Liqueur Infusion: Especial Style

Kahlua Especial is a special treat indeed for the coffee liqueur lover. The Especial has a richer, deeper coffee flavor than its original counterpart and is stronger at 70 proof rather than 40 proof. At a price of only a couple of dollars more than the original Kahlua, it is well worth the upgrade in value and taste.

It is little wonder that the surge in interest of infusing liquor at home has moved on to coffee liqueur and this particular formulation of espresso liqueur. While the formula is strictly under wraps with the parent company it has not hindered experimentation. There are many recipes on the internet claiming to be a coffee liqueur infusion. However, most seem to be so generically put together that any flavor whether it be an herb, fruit or nut seems to be interchangeable in the recipe. That does not fit the quality of Kahlua Especial.

One recipe stood out from all the books, recipes, and sites I poured through trying to find an answer to one reader’s question about where to find a coffee liqueur infusion to match the richer flavor of the Especial. Although I have not experimented with this formula myself, it looks promising. A few tweaks have been made to try to ensure a better match to the Especial, but again, no promises. I will be attempting it and will post my results in a later article. However, according to the recipe the best results take three to six months.

Coffee Liqueur Infusion “Kahlua Especial fashion”

2 cups Freshly Ground Espresso Coffee Beans – Kahlua uses Arabica beans according to their website. For a deep flavor grind your beans for at least 15 to 20 seconds in a blade style grinder as close to the time you plan to use them rather than purchasing them already ground.

3 cups Boiling Filtered Water

1-1/2 cups Superfine Granulated Sugar

1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar

3 cups Pure Alcohol – This is personal choice as I could find no recommendation specifically for Kahlua. However, high quality vodka such as Belvedere seems to be a good blank canvas to start with or if you prefer rum, I recommend 10 Cane. Do not start with poor quality liquor or you will end up with a poor quality infusion. As a side note, Tia Maria, another coffee liqueur, specifies dark spiced rum for its infusion process.

1 Whole Vanilla Bean Sliced Lengthwise

1 teaspoon Liquid Glycerin

Cheesecloth

Bring water to a boil. Remove boiling water from the heat. Pour the coffee grounds into the water and set aside. Place sugars into a saucepan large enough to hold the contents of the complete recipe, but do not put everything into the sauce pan yet! Filter the water and coffee through several layers of the cheesecloth until no more coffee grounds come through. Pour the water mixture into the saucepan with the sugars. Heat until all the sugar is melted, but do not bring to a boil. This may take five minutes or more. Wait until mixture is cooled completely. Then stir in alcohol, vanilla bean, and liquid glycerin. Place mixture into a sealed glass container and store in a dark, dry, cool area. Gently shake contents once or twice a week. Filter through cheesecloth again after approximately two weeks, removing the vanilla bean. Again, return the contents to a dark, dry, cool area to age the mixture tasting periodically. This could take three to six months. Once it reaches an aged flavor of your liking, enjoy!

Pacharan: The Sloe Berry Worth the Search

I recently received a question asking if I had any recipes for the Spanish liqueur, Pacharan. The only reference to this liqueur I have ever come across is from Gary Regan’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle that is reproduced in the online Ardent Spirits newsletter I receive regularly. This particular liqueur is extremely hard to find, which in turn makes handy recipes even more difficult to come by.

In researching this liqueur it appears to have a pinkish hue and be delectably sweet rather than syrupy sweet, making it an excellent choice for after dinner sipping. However, it is exceptional for mixing as well if you have the courage to begin experimenting with it once you can get your hands on a bottle.

The foundation of the pacharan, or sloe berry, is the fruit of the Prunus Espinosa, a wild bush. The fruit is called endrina or aranon. It is dark blue to purple and dusted with a fine white powder. Quite interestingly, it is thought that this sloe berry had medicinal purposes for stomach ailments, childbirth pains, and aches that went along with old age. Many older liqueur roots were founded in the thought that they had medicinal uses.

The Pacharan is infused through the process of maceration which means the sloe berries are steeped in alcohol. Aniseed essence is added to the mixture before and after the process is complete. This method can take anywhere from one to eight months according to one source before it is ready for the final steps of processing, packaging and on to the shelves of select markets.

Below is the recipe from Gary Regan’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the author of The Joy of Mixology and other books as well as the Ardent Spirits online newsletter. E-mail him at
gary@ardentspirits.com if you wish to subscribe.

Basque Martini

1-1/2 ounce Baines Pacharan
1-1/2 ounce Crème de Bananes
1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
2 ounces Pineapple Juice
Pineapple Slice – Garnish
Maraschino Cherry – Garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full of ice and add all of the ingredients. Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float the pineapple slice atop the drink and place the cherry in the center.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Key Lime Pie in a Glass at Upstream Brewing Company

Upstream Brewing Company in the Old Market happens to be one of my favorite everyday eating establishments. It is just right for soup and salad, burger and fries, or one of their revolving daily specials. But for Friday night cocktails or beer at the bar, their Greek pizza cannot be beat. They have great food, reasonable prices, and above all else, terrific service by a wait staff who always appear genuinely happy to see me.

While Upstream is primarily known for their on site handcrafted beers, they also provide a variety of wines and a martini list of creative cocktails. Recently they added a few new cocktails to their menu. While perusing the list, two in particular caught my eye. One is often a blended drink, but Upstream has changed it into a straight up drink calling it a Pina Colada Martini. They also used Bacardi Peach Red, which is far from the traditional rum with coconut cream and pineapple juice.

I played with the ingredients for the Pina Colada Martini, finding a recipe to my liking and then tried the Upstream version. Our recipes were very similar. The Bacardi Peach Red adds a pleasant detail to the drink that is unexpected. This straight up version is a great alternative to dragging out the blender and my guess is this one also skips on quite a few calories since it exchanges coconut rum for sugared coconut cream. Instead of using heavy cream as Upstream’s version calls for, I substituted half and half. The only thing Upstream missed on the cocktail was a garnish. This cocktail definitely calls for a skewer of pineapple chunks or at the very least a maraschino cherry. All in all, this is a great tweak on the traditional blended Pina Colada.

The other drink to capture my attention was far more intriguing; the Key Lime Martini. For one, I could not imagine mixing lime juice and cream together and it being reasonably worth tasting. The picture formulating in my mind was combining orange juice and milk. Ick! But primarily my interest in this drink was the liqueur. It called for Liqor 43. Liqor 43 is one of those liqueurs I pass on the shelf at the store, but never purchase. It was time to pick up a bottle for a tasting.

Liqor 43 is Spain’s most widely exported liqueur with a distribution to over 60 countries. Cuarenta Y Tres is Spanish for ‘43’. Apparently there are forty-three herbs, spices and flavorings added to this liqueur, consequently the name; Licor 43. This liqueur has a golden hue with hints of orange and vanilla. It is excellent as a sipping liqueur for after dinner, but even better as a secondary layer to add dimension to mixed drinks and cocktails. The Key Lime Martini is a perfect example of how layers of flavoring make or break a drink.

While Upstream’s Key Lime Martini did have nice flavor, it was rather watery and the Licor 43 was totally lost under the Rose’s Lime Juice. The concentrated form of sweetened lime gave their version a slightly acidic, tart taste rather than the drink coming together smoothly as a whole. It is a shame to add a premium spirit such as Liqor 43 to a mixed drink only to have it smothered beyond recognition. It should be used to enhance a cocktail and make it unique, memorable even.

Again, I played around with the ingredients for the cocktail coming up with a Key Lime Cocktail that was liquid pie in a glass. To say I was amazed is an understatement. The components to this drink played off of each other to perfection. This is what happens when quality products are used in ratios that complement each other as well as using fresh juices rather sugared concentrated juices.

For a weeknight or weekend out, give the cocktails and cuisine at Upstream Brewing Company in the Old Market a try. While at home try out my versions of the Upstream Pina Colada and Key Lime Martinis.

Pina Colada Cocktail

1 ounce Bacardi Peach Red Rum
1 ounce Parrot Bay Coconut Rum
1 ounce Pineapple Juice
1 ounce Half & Half
Pineapple chunks for Garnish

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a cocktail shaker filled one third full of ice. Shake for fifteen to twenty seconds to mix half and half thoroughly. Mixture will be frothy. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a skewer of pineapple chunks. Upstream’s recipe uses 1.5 ounces of pineapple juice instead making for more pineapple flavor.

Key Lime Cocktail

1-1/2 ounce Three Olives Vanilla Vodka
3/4 ounce Liqor 43
1/2 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
1 ounce Half & Half
Lime Twist for Garnish

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a cocktail shaker filled one third full of ice. Shake for fifteen to twenty seconds to mix thoroughly. Mixture will be frothy. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Rim edge of glass with fresh lime twist garnish and then drop into cocktail.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Drink in the Beaches of Blue Hawaii

With Spring Break in full swing for so many, yet the beautiful beaches out of reach for the vast majority it seems appropriate to bring Hawaii to the masses in the form of drink. Perhaps Hawaii is better known for more unusual drinks using ingredients such as papaya or Li Hing Mui, but the Blue Hawaiian is the cocktail with the namesake.

In researching the Blue Hawaiian, so many versions surfaced it was difficult to decipher which one was the “real” Blue Hawaiian and which ones were the imposters. What also came to the forefront is another drink often confused for the Blue Hawaiian; the Blue Hawaii. These two drinks share a name so similar it is no wonder they are often confused by many a bartender and patron alike. So let’s break down the difference.

A true Blue Hawaiian never contains vodka, but rather rum. It also uses cream of coconut rather than sweet and sour mix. Adversely, the Blue Hawaii uses vodka instead of rum and sweet and sour mix, but no cream of coconut. Both however share something in common always; Blue Curacao.

Blue Curacao is essentially an orange liqueur infused with the dried peels of the Larahas plant which is derived from the Valencia orange. The difference between Blue and Orange Curacao is the color. Substituting one for the other in a drink will only change the color, not the taste.

The Blue Hawaii has an advantage over the Blue Hawaiian in that it makes for quite the easy party punch as well as individual cocktail drink. Since the Blue Hawaiian traditionally calls for cream of coconut which needs thorough stirring, shaking or blending, it is not conducive to a punch bowl setting.

So, you decide. Pour over ice, stir, shake, or put the blender on puree. Set your sights on the sandy beaches of Hawaii, sit back and sip a tall, cool one. Choose one or try them all.

Blue Hawaiian

1 ounce Bacardi Rum
2 ounces Pineapple Juice
1 ounce Blue Curacao
1 ounce Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
Crushed Ice
Pineapple chunks for garnish

Pour liquid ingredients plus approximately one cup of ice in a blender. Mix at high speed until thoroughly liquefied with no ice chunks. This should take a few minutes. Pour contents into a Collins glass. Garnish with a skewer of fresh pineapple chunks.

Blue Hawaii

1-1/2 ounce Smirnoff Vodka
1 ounce Blue Curacao
1 ounce Sweet & Sour Mix
1 ounce Pineapple Juice
2 to 3 ounces Orange Juice
Garnish: Pineapple chunks or maraschino cherry

Combine ingredients in order given into a Collins glass filled half full of ice. Stir briefly. Garnish with a skewer of pineapple chunks or top with a simple maraschino cherry. To make this recipe into a punch simply multiply the recipe ratios.

For a blend of both worlds try this cocktail using vodka plus coconut rum instead of cream of coconut:

The Blue Hawaii Cocktail

1 ounce Jaguar Vodka
1/2 ounce Blue Curacao
1/2 ounce Parrot Bay Coconut Rum
1-1/2 ounce Pineapple Juice
3/4 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake thoroughly for ten to fifteen seconds. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Find a Thrill with the Blueberry Hill

Inspiration often comes out of the blue at an unexpected time. While I am continually on the lookout for new liquors on the market and searching for hard to find ancient ones, sometimes an item catches my eye that is not in the liquor department at all. Occasionally an idea is sparked during an ordinary trip to the market while perusing the juice aisle.

A while back Smirnoff Vodka came out with blueberry flavored vodka. This was entirely new on the market and of course a must have to try in my test kitchen. It paired well with Caravella Limoncello, fresh lemon juice and bar syrup. However, bar syrup is not my first choice for flavoring a cocktail. It is nothing special after all, just sugar and water. There is no real flavor in it. Flavor means adding punch to something. An explosion of enthusiasm is what transforms a cocktail from corner bar weekday to nightclub Saturday night.

This infusion of flavor insight came from a tiny bottle of concentrated blueberry juice. WOW! Does this little bottle pack a punch?! Merely opening the bottle and shaking a quarter of an ounce of it in the shaker had the entire place smelling of fresh blueberries. With a few minor adjustments and tweaking of my original recipe, this cocktail indeed went from the monotonous everyday drink to an explosion of flavor.

Blueberry Hill

2 ounces Smirnoff Blueberry Vodka
1 ounce Caravella Limoncello
1/2 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/4 ounce Blueberry Juice Concentrate
Lemon Wheel, Garnish
Four Fresh Blueberries, Garnish

Place liquids in a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake 10 to 15 seconds until chilled thoroughly. Strain into a well chilled cocktail shaker. Garnish with a floated lemon wheel. Place a skewer of fresh blueberries across top of glass. Enjoy!

Blueberry Hill Thrill

2 ounces Smirnoff Blueberry Vodka
1 ounce Caravella Limoncello
1/2 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/4 ounce Blueberry Juice Concentrate
Brut or Extra Brut Champagne
Lemon Wheel, Garnish
Four Fresh Blueberries, Garnish

Place liquids except champagne into cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake 10 to 15 seconds until fully chilled. Strain into a well chilled cocktail shaker. Garnish with a floated lemon wheel. Place a skewer of fresh blueberries into the cocktail. Top off with champagne; about one to two ounces.

I used Dynamic Health Blueberry Juice Concentrate, 100% Pure, Kosher from organically grown blueberries found at Whole Foods Market for $8.99. This particular brand may also be found on the internet.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tanqueray's Rangpur & the Maharani Cocktail

Sometimes the winter seems so long, cold and brutal that the only drinks that keep me warm are a glass of cabernet sauvignon or a double shot of Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka with a single ice cube melting slowly away in the glass. However, spring puts a fresh perspective on the cocktail shaker and new drinks are begging to be shaken and stirred.

Tanqueray launched Rangpur Gin in the summer of 2006 to a couple of trial cities in the United States. Obviously Tanqueray realized they had a success on their hands, because two years later Rangpur Gin is widely available throughout the US. This particular gin is aptly named for the essence of rangpur limes, ginger, and bay leaves that have been added during the final stages of the distillation process. This merging of flavor results in Rangpur being a slightly less edgy gin than one might associate with the higher end Tanqueray 10. Tanqueray 10 has the sharpness needed for a perfect straight up martini, while the Tanqueray Rangpur has a softer, fruitier lilt to it which enables it to mingle well with less traditional gin drinks. It is this factor also that possibly opens gin up to an entirely new demographic of drinkers who may have never considered experimenting with gin before.

While spring calls for experimentation, it also calls for bikini season on the horizon. The waistline has been taken into consideration as much as possible where liquor is concerned and diet tonic water has been used in the following recipe. This version is preferable to regular tonic water and it really keeps the carbohydrate count down for anyone on a low carb diet. The following highball cocktail contains only 1.5 grams of carbs.

Rangpur & Tonic

2 ounces Rangpur Gin
1/2 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Diet Tonic Water

Pour gin and lime juice into a highball glass filled half full of ice. Top off with diet tonic water. A half a fresh lime may be used in place of the fresh squeezed juice and then dropped into the glass as garnish.

Cheri Limeade

2 ounces Rangpur Gin
1/2 ounce Chambord
1/2 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Diet Tonic Water or Regular Tonic Water
Maraschino Cherries & Lime Wheel for Garnish

Measure Rangpur and lime juice into a highball glass filled 1/2 full of ice. Top with tonic water leaving enough room at the top of the glass to float the 1/2 ounce of Chambord. Garnish with maraschino cherries and lime wheel on a skewer.

What is spring and cocktail hour without a straight up cocktail? One of my favorite liqueurs is St~Germain. This liqueur seems to have been created for spring as it originates from bountiful elderflower blossoms. These fragile blossoms transform into a delicate sweet spirit during the production process. While gin and St~Germain may not be a traditional combination, the uniqueness of St~Germain and the infused layering of Rangpur make them an ideal complement to each other.

Maharani Cocktail

1-1/2 ounce Rangpur Gin
1-1/2 ounce St~Germain
3/4 ounce Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Thinly Sliced Lemon & Lime Wheels for Garnish

Combine liquids in a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake for approximately 15 seconds. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Carefully fold the lemon and lime wheels together into the shape of a “C” and thread onto a skewer through the rinds. Place into the cocktail and serve.

Summer Fun Begins with Sex on the Beach

Spring break, sand volleyball, bikinis, and Sex on the Beach; all mark the end of a long bitter winter and the beginning of fun in the sun. While some may view Sex on the Beach as a girlie cocktail with its pinkish hue and fruity flavor, there was a time when this particular drink topped cocktail lists in the hottest bars across the country due to the name alone. This drink has taken on a life of its own with variations such as Creamy Sex on the Beach, Oral Sex on the Beach, Quick Sex on the Beach, Sex on the Brain, Sex on the Pool Table, or even Sex with the Bartender.

Although it is difficult to pinpoint when or where the first Sex on the Beach cocktail originated, there is no doubt what makes for a good one. The Sex on the Beach cocktail is classified within the New England Highball family of drinks. All New England Highballs contain cranberry juice. From there various liqueurs or juices are added to create the other cocktails within this family grouping.

The key to creating a fabulous Sex on the Beach is the right ratio and quality of ingredients brought to the shaker. While Chopin vodka with its four times distillation is fabulous for a straight up martini, it is not necessary for your average highball. A good quality average Joe vodka is essential. Smirnoff Triple Distilled Vodka is the ideal vodka for most average mixers. It has a clean taste rather than that nose turning, rubbing alcohol scent that most lower end and even some flashier advertised vodkas share. An additional benefit is the eleven flavors Smirnoff has introduced to the market including blueberry, which mixes wonderfully with Caravella Limoncello.

Whenever possible fresh fruit juices make the difference between a ho hum cocktail and a “Wow!” cocktail. If fresh juices are not available, at least do not forget to garnish the drink. Garnishing is the finishing step. There are some cocktails that a garnish is merely an accessory to pretty the glass up a bit. However, more often than not garnishing adds just that little extra hint of flavor to the cocktail. Whether it is slightly pungent from citrus twists, sweet from the syrup of maraschino cherries, or briny like dunked olives, every garnish serves its purpose in a cocktail.

Sex on the Beach

1-1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce Peachtree Schnapps
1/4 ounce Chambord
2 ounces Cranberry Juice
2 ounces Pineapple Juice

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake 10 – 15 seconds until frothy. Strain into a highball glass filled 1/2 to 2/3 full of ice. Garnish with a skewer of fresh pineapple chunks.

For those who would like to enjoy Sex on the Beach all day, this is a little something I concocted that is non alcoholic.

Faux Sex on the Beach

3 ounces Pineapple juice
2 ounces Cranapple juice
1/4 ounce Raspberry syrup (found on the coffee aisle)
2 ounces Apricot nectar
Club Soda

Pour all ingredients except Club Soda into a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake 10 – 15 seconds. Pour into a highball glass filled 1/2 to 2/3 full of ice. Top off with Club Soda. Garnish with a skewer of fresh pineapple chunks & maraschino cherries.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Myth Cocktail Lounge & Agavero: Where Legends Begin

Call it legend or lore, the tucked away cozy cocktail bar Myth actually exists in a thriving little alcove in The Old Market at 1105 Howard Street in Omaha, Nebraska. Amid big business chain restaurants and long time sports bars that cater to specific market types, this small cocktail lounge has met the calling of a clientele that is difficult to pigeonhole and, quite frankly, appears would rather not be.

On any given evening there may be an elderly woman with her daughter and grand daughter sipping wine and a cosmopolitan at one corner table while a bachelorette party is quietly beginning their evening festivities at a small sofa nook. Through the door may enter a couple on their first date taking seats at the bar next to a regular who chats amiably with the owner Brian and one of the friendly bartenders Bryan or Joel. Meanwhile other couples and singles mingle in a fashion that does not read any particular stereotype at all. It is just a mix of people having a good time in a low key, sophisticated bar where jeans or suits are the norm.

There is a small TV hanging over the bar area, but it is rarely tuned in as this is not a sports bar. The music playing in the background at Myth comes from local bands that have toured through and often play at Myth on Tuesdays and Thursdays any given week. These artists are posted on the Myth MySpace page along with a calendar of Myth performance events.

Myth’s bar is particularly intriguing if you take the time for more than a glance along the back wall. Quite a few bars of Myth’s size have a marginally stocked bar with the typical offerings. Most bars will carry the run of the mill well stock liquors and then there will be the call liquors; three or four tequilas, three or four vodkas, one or two rums, one or two gins, and most likely one of each scotch and whiskey. Myth goes the extra mile. Myth’s back bar looks like the kind of bar a person would like to stock in their own home. It is not what is usually seen in a typical small commercial bar. There are high end vodkas made from potatoes, some flavored with double espresso, and a very new one coming made from corn. There are enough selections of whiskeys to do a drink comparison with them if you wish. Myth stocks some of the liquors and liqueurs people hear about, but have not had the opportunity to try. What it all adds up to is fabulous drinks and a relaxing atmosphere for an unmistakably good time.

A little something I was pleasantly surprised to learn about at Myth was Agavero tequila liqueur. Agavero is a blend of 100% agave anejo and reposado tequilas with an addition of Damiana flower. Damiana flower is indigenous to the mountainous region of Jalisco. Legend maintains that the essence of the Damiana flower stirs up the emotions in people. Whether it is the flower or the essence blended in this tequila, it is difficult to say, but at 64-proof, consuming too much could certainly stir an emotional response in the weak of spirit. The result of blending of Damiana with 100% blue agave tequila is a smooth, vaguely sweet tequila that mingles rather nicely with Patron for margaritas or champagne if you dare for something a bit more frisky.


If you are up for a place with sophistication without an air of pretentiousness to it, check out Myth in The Old Market.

Champagne Agavero

1 ounce Agavero
Brut or Extra Brut Champagne
Lime Wedge

Pour Agavero in champagne flute. Top off with champagne leaving room for squeezing the lime wedge and dropping into the champagne. It is advantageous to chill the Agavero for the purpose of this drink. Thank you to Brian at Myth for introducing me to Agavero and this particular cocktail!


Agavero Margarita

2 ounces Patron Reposado Tequila
1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 ounce Agavero
Salt for Rimming
Lime Wedge for Garnish

Run lime wedge around rim of margarita or double old fashioned glass. Dip rim of glass in salt. Fill glass 2/3 full of ice and set aside. Place Tequila, lime juice, and Agavero in a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake until frothy; approximately 15 seconds. Strain into salt rimmed glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Make Your Valentine's Day a Red Hottini Success

As always, the Intoxicologist is on a quest for something exciting and new for parties and special occasions. Valentine’s Day 2008 stirred my imagination for creative new cocktail recipes. I’ve been in the test kitchen trying out new concoctions, in the library pouring through books, and in the cellar sampling wine. There are new trends and new liquors on the market for your enjoyment. So, scroll down and take note. Something may spark your interest.

Espresso Cocotini

1-1/4 ounce Three Olives Vanilla Vodka
1/4 ounce Van Gogh Double Espresso Double Caffeine Vodka
3/4 ounce Godiva Chocolate Cream Liqueur
1/2 ounce Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
Hershey’s Syrup
Ground Nutmeg
Chocolate Shavings (optional)

Place first four ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake well. Swirl Hershey’s Syrup inside a cold cocktail glass. Strain contents of cocktail shaker into Hershey’s Syrup swirled cocktail glass. Sprinkle ground nutmeg and chocolate shavings on top of cocktail. Serve immediately. Another garnish option is a Hershey’s Kiss pierced at the end of a cocktail pick and placed horizontally across the cocktail glass.

Red Hottini

2 ounces Three Olives Vanilla Vodka
1/2 ounce Hot Damn
3 to 5 Whole Candied Red Hots

Mix vodka and Hot Damn in a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake well. Place 3 to 5 Red Hot candies in bottom of well chilled cocktail glass. Strain cocktail shaker ingredients into cocktail glass. Serve immediately.

Since Almond Joy is a trademark candy bar, I use caution in naming my cocktail after this particular candy bar. However, after toying with this particular cocktail, I blindly taste tested it on a couple of people and they immediately exclaimed that the Almond Joy is what it tasted like, which is what I was going for in this particular drink. You decide for yourself.

Faux Almond Joy Cocktail

1-1/4 ounce Three Olives Vanilla Vodka
1/4 ounce Parrot Bay Coconut Rum
1/4 ounce Disaronno Amaretto Liqueur
1/8 ounce Godiva Chocolate Cream Liqueur
1/4 ounce Coco Lopez Coconut Cream
Hershey’s Syrup
Ground Blanched Almonds (they can be ground in a coffee grinder)

Place a small amount of Hershey’s Syrup on a saucer. Pour ground blanched almonds on another saucer. Dip the rim of a chilled cocktail glass in the syrup allowing excess to drip off. Next dip the chocolate rim into the blanched almonds to create an almond rim on the glass. Place cocktail glass into the freezer or carefully fill with ice to keep chilled. Mix first five ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake well. Set aside. Swirl Hershey’s Syrup inside of empty, chilled cocktail glass. Strain contents of cocktail shaker into chocolate swirled cocktail glass. Serve immediately.

Cocktails may not appeal to everyone. I tend to be drawn to bottles and labels. So, when I saw the Little Black Dress wine label I immediately picked it up. With its white lettering, red hanger and red high heeled pumps strewn in wanton abandon on the label, this wine begs to be swiped up, drunk without inhibition, come what may. It is the perfect mid priced wine for any budget. I chose the Merlot, but it also is marketed in Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. This wine can be found at Whole Foods or online in the price range of $10 - $12.

For a little experimentation of your own, pick up a copy of The Martini Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide by Gary Regan and Mardee Haidin Regan. These are two of my favorite cocktail experts and they have not disappointed in this book. This copy was a Christmas gift and it is a gift that has kept on giving me a wealth of new ideas. What a pleasure! It will be a tremendous extension to your cocktail library as well with its timeless classics and trendiest cocktails from the most chic hotels, restaurants, and bars.

A relatively new product on the market is Jaguar Vodka. While most vodka is made from grain or potato, this one is made from sugar cane. Jaguar Vodka is distilled five times or more, which means it is a very clean tasting, pure vodka. In a taste test with Chopin (potato vodka), Ciroc (grape vodka), and Tall Blond (grain vodka); Jaguar Vodka stood up well. Chopin and Ciroc have a clean scent, meaning there is no scent at all. Tall Blond and Jaguar both have a denatured alcohol scent. All have a clean, full bodied taste worthy of a refreshing straight up martini. With the grape base of Ciroc and the sugar cane base of Jaguar, both make an incredible foundation for top of the line fruit cocktails. What makes Jaguar a little different is their marketing strategy. They set aside a portion of their proceeds to preserve the Jaguar habitat. For more information log on at
www.jaguarvodka.com

Enjoy this year’s Valentine’s Day, but do not delay. Next Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Next year it gets scarier. Friday the thirteenth falls just before Valentine’s Day on Saturday. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for scary movies and a Frankentini. The Intoxicologist will be in the lab concocting something special.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Getting Beyond the Core of the Appletini

One would think the Appletini would be a cinch to make. Vodka and a little apple liqueur and voila, one has the perfect cocktail set before them. Not so. This little number is a bit more sophisticated than expected. It can be a breeze for sure, but only if one wants mediocre results. Why settle for average when the exceptional is only a jigger and shake away?

The Appletini is a contemporary cocktail on the International Bartenders Association’s list of official cocktails. It is classified among the family of duo and trio drinks, meaning it is comprised of two or three ingredients. This particular family of drinks is remarkable due to the nature of its flexibility. All of the cocktails begin with only two or three ingredients, making them a fantastic building block for many more drinks to discover and create. This paves the way for duo and trio drinks to go from the ordinary to the extraordinary with only minor changes in dashes or quarter to half ounce additions of bitters, liqueurs and juices. The Appletini is no different. It can go beyond the comic book Green Goblin color to the amazing flavorful cocktail that sends the taste buds zinging with a few minor changes.

Take for instance the basic duo recipe:

Appletini – Duo

2 ounces Vodka
1 ounce Green Apple Liqueur

Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an apple slice.

The basic recipe is uneventful. It gets the job done. There is indeed apple flavor and the punch of liquor in it, but no layering of flavor to make it interesting. Some adjust the ratios and add apple juice at this point, making this a trio drink.

Appletini – Trio

1 ounce Vodka
1 ounce Green Apple Liqueur
1 ounce Apple Juice

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an apple slice.

This trio Appletini possibly has a bit of layering to it, but now it seems a wee bit watered down. While using fresh juice in fruit based cocktails is always a plus, it is doubtful most would have fresh apple juice in the refrigerator. Even so, apple juice is still thin and weak. Fresh squeezed will always be better in a cocktail, even if it is not the fresh squeezed juice you may expect.

The answer to the multilayered, abundantly flavored Appletini was created by Dale DeGroff for Natalie Cole and her manager for Rupert Murdoch’s seventieth birthday party. You can read a small quip about it in his book, The Craft of the Cocktail, and acquire an abundance of other essential cocktails you won’t believe you ever went without. Below is DeGroff’s version of the indispensable Appletini with fresh lemon juice.

Sour Apple Martini – Dale DeGroff from The Craft of the Cocktail

2 ounces Citrus Vodka
1/2 ounce Sour Apple Pucker
1/2 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
Thin Slice of Granny Smith Apple, for garnish

Place first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled 1/3 full of ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the apple slice.

The Waterfront Ale House in New York City has a specialty Apple Martini using their own infused vodka with pear, apples, cloves and cinnamon. You will find the recipe for this Apple Martini in The Craft of the Cocktail as well. It is definitely a must see!

Champagne & Orange Juice: The Buck Starts Here

A Buck’s Fizz by any other name is what most Americans know as a Mimosa. This Sunday brunch staple may well be the most commonly known Champagne cocktail. The Buck’s Fizz or Mimosa is a simply elegant cocktail which turns an ordinary breakfast into an invitation for leisurely conversation.

The Buck’s Fizz originated in 1921 with barman, Pat McGarry, the first bartender of the famous Buck’s Club in London. McGarry is also the recognized creator of the original Sidecar cocktail. Captain H. J. Buckmaster established the Buck’s Club in 1919. He wanted an American Cocktail Bar rather than the stuffy traditional gentlemen’s clubs in existence at the time. He must have hit upon something, because the Buck’s Club made its way into contemporary fiction writing and has hit Hollywood’s big screen. Most importantly, Buck’s Club is still in business at the time of this writing.

With only two ingredients, Champagne and orange juice, the Buck’s Fizz is an easy preparation. A Buck’s Fizz is heavier on orange juice than the Mimosa version that followed a few short years later, making its appearance at the Ritz Hotel in Paris in 1925. Both are very similar, the difference being only in the ratios of Champagne to orange juice. If Champagne is not available or desired, sparkling wine or Prosecco may be used. Fresh orange juice is always a plus, but is not absolutely necessary to make either of these cocktails a winning combination.

Buck’s Fizz

4 ounces Orange Juice
2 ounces Champagne

Pour orange juice into a champagne flute. Top off with Champagne, sparkling wine, or Prosecco. This cocktail may be garnished with a float of grenadine and a cherry if desired.

Mimosa

2 ounces Orange Juice
4 ounces Champagne

Pour orange juice into a champagne flute. Top off with Champagne, sparkling wine, or Prosecco. Garnish with a float of grenadine and a cherry if desired.

Barman Frank Meier or the Ritz Bar created an alternate version to the Mimosa calling it a Valencia.

Valencia

1 ounce Orange Juice
1/2 ounce Apricot Liqueur
5 to 6 ounces Champagne

Place orange juice and apricot liqueur in champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with an orange spiral.

Yet another version of this ever popular cocktail is the French Mimosa using Gran Marnier. Cointreau may be used as a substitute as well.

French Mimosa

1 ounce Orange Juice
1/2 ounce Gran Marnier
5 to 6 ounces Champagne

Pour orange juice and Gran Marnier into champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with an orange spiral. A few dashes of orange bitters before adding the Champagne is another alternative for an extra layer of exceptional flavor.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Champagne Cocktails for the Everyday Royale Experience

It is a shame that champagne seems to only make an appearance at special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, birthday brunches, and New Years Eve. This particular effervescent beverage rises above all others on cocktail menus and wine lists. This may be due in part to the celebratory nature of its existence or the underlying impression that only expensive champagne or sparkling wine is worth partaking of. Not so. Imagine the opportunities wasting away that could be had sipping on a bit of the bubbly while experimenting with exciting flavors of liqueurs.

The Kir Royale for instance not only allows our taste buds the joyous fizzy bubbles, but also a walk on the wild side with the seldom used Cassis liqueur. Cassis is a liqueur made from the tart blackcurrant berries. These tiny berries are miniature pinkish red clusters that appear almost translucent. Once the blackcurrants are refined into liqueur form the liquid takes on a lush, deep purplish hue to match its rich flavor. While blackcurrant berries are tart, the Cassis liqueur is a sharp sort of sweet that is neither syrupy, nor bitter.

The Kir Royale needs just two ingredients, Champagne or sparkling wine and Cassis liqueur. While an expensive bottle of authentic Champagne would indeed make this an exquisite cocktail, it is completely unnecessary. The liqueur added to the Champagne breaks down the complexities a high quality Champagne has to offer. The real reason to spend a great deal of money on a bottle of Champagne is to savor every drop of flavor from the Champagne itself, not to mix it with a liqueur.

An inexpensive Champagne or sparkling wine is the way to go for the Kir Royale or any other Champagne cocktail. Keep in mind liqueurs have a high sugar content. Since Champagne or sparkling wine is already sweet, it is a good idea to look for the classifications of Extra Dry, Brut or Extra Brut. Drier Champagne helps balance the liqueur for a more satisfying cocktail. Save the expensive champagnes for the extraordinary occasions, but bring out a bit of the bubbly for the everyday celebrations that make life festive each day.

Kir Royale

Champagne
1/4 ounce Mathilde Cassis Liqueur
Lemon peel for garnish

Pour the Cassis Liqueur into a champagne glass and fill with champagne. Garnish with a lemon peel.

A Kir is basically an identical cocktail to the Kir Royale. White wine is used in place of Champagne in the Kir. In France it has become commonplace for waiters to offer the choice of blackcurrant, blackberry, or peach liqueurs when ordering a Kir. A Kir Royale becomes a Kir Imperial when Mathilde Framboise (raspberry) is substituted for Cassis. Try any of these for a pleasant new twist on a classic favorite.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bartender's Source Guide for Creative Cocktails

Where does a bartender on the rise go to find reputable recipes that are beyond the ordinary? Where does the party host with the most go for the inside scoop on the old fashioned cocktails making their way back into the mainstream trendier bars? Where is that little tidbit of ice breaker cocktail trivia to be found that gives you the edge over the other guy at the end of the bar?

Let’s face it, anyone can throw together a book with slapped together recipes to get someone drunk and call it a bartender’s guide to everything. Throw a few catchy, sexy drink titles in there with flashy photos and someone will buy it. There is no guarantee the cocktails will be great or even remotely good. With the barrage of bartending books out on the market touting 1,000 to 2,800 recipes it is difficult to know where to start. If the recipes are not of quality and satisfying, it does not matter how many are in the book. If a book is awkwardly arranged with recipes difficult to find, it is also not much use. So, where does one start?

Dale DeGroff’s book, The Craft of the Cocktail, is a fabulous starter book for the beginner and seasoned cocktail enthusiast. Dale is internationally recognized as one of the world’s finest mixologists. His book spans setting up a basic bar, selecting and using tools correctly, and the techniques he teaches bartenders who train through his seminars. He includes 500 recipes that are classic and current cocktails. The most fascinating aspect of Dale’s book is the stories and histories behind the cocktails. There is a wealth of personal stories to be told about the individual drinks and how they came to be or the famous people who consumed them. This is an invaluable tool not only for the recipes, but for the little crumbs of information and fascinating facts you will glean in reading this book through and through.

The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan is another excellent learning tool for the bartender, professional or amateur, interested in learning the mechanics and dynamics of how cocktails are put together. Gary created a system for categorizing drinks to help in remembering drink recipes and also how to build from these categories to create new recipes. For example many cocktails belong to a family of drinks. Once the family standard is recognized, many more cocktails are built from a single few cocktails within one family by adding ingredients or changing out the base liquor. Gary also covers bartending basics along with the 350 recipes provided within the book.

A favorite all purpose guide is The Bartender’s Best Friend by Mardee Haidin Regan. This guide is a favorite due to its ease of use. There are over 850 recipes all listed alphabetically in this book. The index also lists the drinks by liquor. For example, if you want to know what to make with Cachaca, there is a listing for it in the index with all the drinks in the book with that ingredient. Mardee also covers bartending basics and helpful hints for a home bar and cocktail party bar. This is a great book to keep handy for quick referral.

For an up to date glance in cocktail trends from the hottest bars across the United States take a look at the Food & Wine Cocktails 2007. The 150 cocktail recipes outlined in this small paperback are the newest cocktail sensations hitting the market in the finest restaurants and hippest night spots in the nation. These cocktails come from cutting edge bartenders who are out there night after night mixing up traditional favorites and innovative new ones. Each page highlights one cocktail recipe along with information on the bar or restaurant from which it came. Often there is a side note about the cocktail and how it was created or a little anecdote about the establishment itself. This is an excellent tool for any mixologist who loves to get a little creative behind the bar.

There are also online reference guides to make cocktail surfing much easier.

www.kingcocktail.com with Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff
www.ultimatebarchef.com the ultimate location for all of your bartending needs
www.talesofthecocktail.com the most spirited event of the summer
www.cocktaildb.com the internet cocktail database-an encyclopedia for scholars, writers, bartenders, and mixologists
www.ardentspirits.com Gary and Mardee Regan, cocktail connoisseurs