Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tasting #1

Well, friends, I've been busy.  On Thursday I conducted a cocktail seminar for a friend's holiday party. I hope it'll be the first of many, because I had a ridiculous amount of fun!  An hour to blather on about cocktails for a captive audience?  Yes please.

In honor of the occasion, here are my drink notes from the event.  I turned this into a little menu/brochure (also including some recommendations on cocktail books and local bars) to provide as a handout and reference.

1/2 oz creme de cassis (Mathilde)
~5 oz dry sparkling wine (Cava)
To build: Pour the creme de cassis into a champagne flute and slowly add the wine.
Other notes: Bubbles are always a great pre-dinner or special event beverage.  This is a very easy drink which you can adjust to your personal taste.

2 oz rye whiskey (Bulleit)
1 tsp holiday spice syrup (a simple syrup with cranberry, cinnamon, and other spices)
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
To build: Pour a small amount of absinthe into a short glass and swirl to coat the inside (or spray with an atomizer) then let the glass chill in the freezer.  Stir the other ingredients over ice and strain into the prepared glass.
Other notes: The Sazerac is a very old-school drink, and is the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans.  Don't be afraid of the absinthe.

1 1/2 oz white rum (Plantation 3 Star)
3/4 oz creme de cassis (Mathilde)
3/4 oz lime juice
To build: Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Add a lime wheel if you like.
Other notes: This is a great example of the Sour genre of drinks, and can be remixed with almost any spirit and liqueur you have on hand.

1 1/2 oz dry gin (Tanqueray)
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz creme de cacao (any brand)
1/2 oz lemon juice
To build: Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Add a strip of lemon peel or a bit of grated chocolate as garnish.
Other notes: This makes an excellent test if you want to see how knowledgeable your bartender really is.

3/4 oz rye whiskey (Bulleit)
3/4 oz white rum (Plantation 3 Star)
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz creme de cacao
3/4 oz holiday spice syrup
3/4 oz heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1/2 egg (or egg white)
To build: Shake all of the above without ice until frothy, then shake again with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass.  Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg.
Other notes: 1 large egg is usually enough for 2 drinks, or use smaller eggs for a single serving.  The silky texture of this drink makes it a perfect liquid dessert.

I made half-size versions of each of these, to share between each of the couples in attendance.  That worked out perfectly, providing just enough to taste, but not enough to completely inebriate.  The Winter Daquiri wound up being the crowd favorite, but the Flip was well-received too.

This whole experience has me very seriously thinking about how to monetize (or at least subsidize) this little hobby of mine.  A few of the folks in attendance expressed interest in events of their own, and I sincerely hope that we can make it happen, because I'd love to do this again.  I was also asked about wedding consulting, personal liquor shopping... seems like the sky's the limit!  Stay tuned, because I'll most certainly post about it.

Gondola Hook

The merging of two cocktails: the Gondolier and the Red Hook.

2 oz blended scotch (I've been digging Pig's Nose lately and it works well here)
1/3 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1/3 oz Punt e Mes

Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with lemon peel if you like.

I really enjoy this particular combination of accents.  I could see a number of different "Hooks" with different bases - the Boat Hook with navy-strength gin, the Captain's Hook with rum, the Golden Hook with cognac...