The Intoxicologist

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Straight Up Update from The Intoxicologist

There have been several updates to “The Intoxicologist Is In” at 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!

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.

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.