October 22nd, 2007


Notes on the weekend

A number of notes this fine Monday afternoon...

tmfiii put up a recipe for the Habanero Orange Blossom recently.  I decided to give it a shot on Saturday.  First, of course, I had to do some errands.  I ran out to Schneider's down at Union Station to get the Fee's Whiskey Aged Bitters, but alas, they were out.  I bought a bottle of their regular bitters, some Stirrings grenadine (made from pomegranate, it's much like the kind Marshall made on his own - but at the same cost as a bottle of POM, and already had some preservatives), two bottles of Laird's Applejack (one for me, one for him), some Original Stock maraschino liqueur, six miniatures of Apple Brandy from Oregon, and a bottle of Buffalo Trace bourbon.

Earlier in the day I'd hit the new ABC store on route 7, just past 123, and bought a bottle of the Stirrings blood orange bitters just to have some variety.  I'd also hit the Bed Bath & Beyond store out on Leesburg Pike and gotten two of the 2 ounce measuring cups.

Finally, my brother and I headed up Lee Highway to Harris Teeter and to the ABC store by it.  That one (at Lee-Harrison Shopping Center) is the only one that I'd found that had the Hendrick's Gin in a leather carrying case, so I bought a bottle of that, while Matt got some Jack Daniel's for himself and Chambord for his girlfriend.  (I was weirdly happy that he got JD - he hasn't been a big liquor drinker as of late.)  We then hit Teeter for other supplies, such as the habanero peppers.

I'd meant to buy some cilantro and/or coriander while there but managed to forget.  Oh, well.

So back to my house.  We were, of course, out of rubber gloves, so I went after the habanero simply very carefully.

Not the best picture in the world, I know.

Slightly better.  I got all the seeds and white stuff out of the middle of the pepper then sliced it up.

(The weird color is due to the fact that I couldn't keep my flash from going off, so I put my hand over it.)

To remember the ingredients: Sarticious Gin, orange bitters, orange juice, habanero.

Since I don't have Sarticious, the first one was made with Hendrick's.

Wahoowah!  The glass wasn't as chilled as I would've liked, and the habanero slice garnish sank right into the drink.  But it had a pleasant citrus taste, with a bit of a burn in the end that was as much habanero as liquor.  The combination of the orange and the ice reminded me a bit of an orange julius, in a way, but the Hendrick's and habanero made a good combination with it.

It's probably more of a summer drink I'd think.  It has been unseasonably warm around DC, though.

Next I gave it a shot using Tanqueray 10.  The taste wasn't as nuanced as it was with the Hendrick's - it was a bit more straight forward.  The glass was frostier, though, and the garnish floated.

A tasty drink.

Having polished those off, I decided to crack open the Laird's to make my own version of the Virginia Autumn.  Of course, his recipe calls for whiskey aged bitters, which I do not have.

I had some leftover apple juice, which I debated seeing how it'd change the drink but didn't get around to trying.  I also had the apple brandy there in case I wanted to do more apple-based experimenting.  (Later trying the apple brandy, it does have a distinct apple taste - it might be worth it to see if I can incorporate it into a drink.)

Since my bitters were a bit off, I put in two dashes of orange bitters and three dashes of Fee's original bitters.

Plus, of course, the slice of apple.


Later that night it was over to tmfiii's house for the small get-together he'd mentioned earlier in here.  He started me off with a Death in the Afternoon, the Pernod & champagne combination originally invented by Ernest Hemingway.  I can't say that I was a huge fan of it.

Later I made a Police Gazette Cocktail.  That's three ounces of Buffalo Trace bourbon, 2 dashes sweet vermouth, 3 dashes simple syrup, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 2 dashes orange curacao (I used Grand Marnier), 2 dashes maraschino liqueur.  I ended up making it a bit heavier on the "dashes" - it's hard to do a dash of (say) vermouth or Grand Marnier.

It was definitely a strong drink, but it was quite good - and I'd really like to try it with rye, too.

Sunday came by, and that's football day.  Marshall had pointed out that the Harris Teeter had Noilly Poit sweet vermouth, something that I'd been looking for in different stores for a while and hadn't been able to find, so I've been using Martini & Rossi - which I've seen reviewed as "not so good". but I hadn't tried any others.

I poured a small amount of my rapidly-emptying Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth into one shot glass and a small amount of the Noilly Poit in another.  The Noilly was definitely better but I can't say that I really liked either one of them just straight.

Not like those peach schnapps that Marshall got, which just tasting them was delicious.  Not that I'd drink a glass of them.

While at the store I also found dried cherries.  There were two kinds - a mix of sweet and tart cherries, plus a bag of just sweet.  Knowing my sweet tooth, I got the latter, planning on soaking them in some of the maraschino liqueur and finally getting rid of that batch of the bright red artificial cherries.

But I have to wonder - would the tart cherries maybe be better in Manhattans?  It's too bad I couldn't tell them apart, but I might give that a shot, too.

If my roommates don't kill me for filling up the fridge with random marinating cherries.

Finally, I did some tasting of whiskeys for my drink I'm trying to develop.  This time was Dimple - a blended scotch I hadn't tried before, and wow, I was really impressed with it.  I also tried some Chivas Regal, and hey, it was Chivas - not bad, but probably not what I want.  The search will continue.