November 28th, 2007


Winter drinks

Even the Washington Post is getting into winter drinks right about now.  I've had a winter drink on my mind for a while now.

I knew from the get-go what I wanted to combine - bourbon and vanilla.  A lot of bourbons have a vanilla taste to them, and bourbon is one of my favorite liquors.  I also have found as I got older that I truly appreciate the flavor of vanilla more and more, so I wanted something to accent the two of them together.

At first I tried putting them together using vanilla extract and orange flavor.  The orange took over and gave the drink a taste more appropriate for an Orange Julius, perhaps, and definitely something more familiar to summertime than a cold Virginia winter.  I wanted something that would be refreshing, yet warm you up on the inside.  That didn't mean the drink itself needed to be hot, however.

I took out the orange, and later, the vanilla extract when I realized it was giving an unpleasant alcohol tang to the drink.

I wanted to wait to post the drink until around the weekend, but with the WaPo's article today, I couldn't resist.  I just had to come up with the final bit: the name.  You see, names are my weakness - I have a hard time coming up with titles for my stories, names for characters, etc.

But I've gotten one.  And I don't care if you like it or not, I like it, and I like me!

The Winter's Kiss
2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce vanilla vodka
1/2 ounce rich simple syrup
2 dashes Fee's Mint Bitters

Shake in a cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Alternatively, depending on the type of bourbon you're using, you can make a variant of this.  For The Winter's Kiss I was using Maker's Mark.  For the following drink, I'd suggest something a bit stronger - Buffalo Trace, perhaps (90 proof), or another stronger tasting whiskey.

The Winter's Flip
2 1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce vanilla schnapps
1/2 ounce rich simple syrup
3 dashes Fee's Mint Bitters
one egg white

Shake in a cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The latter hasn't been experimented with as much; if I muck around with it a bit more this week/weekend, I'll let you know - but if you try it first, please, let me know!

If you're the type that needs to garnish a drink with something, I'd suggest a twist of orange.  A mint leaf or a single vanilla bean might work, too, though I'd be careful with the latter that it doesn't overwhelm the taste of bourbon.
Dexter & Stagg
  • tmfiii

Back from my coma . . .

Well, it has been a while since I posted . . . damn work . . . and then Thanksgiving creeping up on me filling by blood stream with ham and turkey and sweets . . . ummmmm turkey . . . 

Anyway, I hope all of ya'll out there had a great Thanksgiving and was able to spend it with friends and family.  I do want to send my thoughts and prayers to Sean Taylor's family during this trying time.  Especially his little girl.  Even though she is very young, having lost a parent myself, I have some idea of what his family is going through.   

While I was visiting my mother this past weekend she asked if I wanted this really nice martinee set.  It came with a pitcher, six glasses and a serving tray.  Unfortunately, I couldn't take it now because I simply have a finite amount of space in my apartment and one more thing in the kitchen/bar/laboratory could cause havoc (and exploding cabinets.)  But I seemed to remember a cocktail book that she and dad used to have.  I asked her about it and she said yes, they did have an old cocktail book tucked away in a bookcase somewhere.  After a bit of hunting we found it.  And it was just as I remembered.  Thin and tall, with covers made out of wood, bound by a strap of leather.  The cover has an etching of a rooster drinking a cocktail.  It was an awesome find.  But why don't you judge for yourself . . . 

So the book is titled "Just Cocktails" and was published in 1939 by Three Mountaineers, Inc.  My mom believes she bought the book for my father as a gift during one of her trips to Washington, DC as a chaperone on a senior class trip.  (Mom was a high school teacher before retiring.)  There are a lot of recipes that we've seen before and some new ones that I haven't been able to look at too closely . . . yet.  But one thing that I found interesting was the recipe for the Aviation.  It called for applejack, pernod and grenadine . . . hmmmm . . . strange.  Sometime I want to do an Aviation post, but not until I get a bottle of Creme de Violette so I can make a proper Aviation.

I'll start exploring this little treasure as soon as I finish reading David Wondrich's new book "Imbibe."  If you get a chance to pick up this book, I highly recommend doing so.  It is a fascinating read.

Something else I really have to share with ya'll.  You know of my love for bourbon.  You know of my growing fondness and appreciation of Rye.  Well, I may have mentioned this earlier, but about two monthes ago I got wind that Buffalo Trace distillery were releasing their 2007 Antique Collection.  Now this is something I just couldn't pass up.  I contacted the Virginia ABC and put in a special order.   After waiting a little over a month, I get a phone call saying my swag had arrived.  Luckily, I live two blocks from an ABC store (dangerous, I know) that was holding my new babies for me.  If you click on the link above you can find out information about the individual bottles.  But here are a few pictures and some notes for you to drool over.

Here are all five of my children in a row.  Notice the color difference from left to right.  From left to right we have, Eagle Rare 17 Year Old, Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old, Thomas H. Handy Rye, William Larue Weller Bourbon and, finally, the granddaddy, George T. Stagg Bourbon.  It should be noted that two of these bottles are older than the rest.  The Eagle Rare and the Thomas Handy are from the 2006 Antique Collection.  It is so hard to find any of these at any given time, I had to snatch those up when I could . . . 

Here is a close up of the Thomas Handy Rye and the WL Weller bourbon.  If you notice in the picture both of these are uncut, unfiltered and bottled at barrel proof.  This is some potent firewire!  The Weller is bottled at 58.95% Alc. by Vol. (117.9 proof.)  The Handy comes in at 66.35% Alc. by Vol making it a whopping 132.7 proof.

Here is another photo of all of the bottles together.  Again, notice the color differential.  If you check out the bottle on the far right (the Stagg), you'll notice that it too is uncut, unfiltered and bottled at barrel proof.  That is why this is the granddaddy of the bunch.  Mr. Stagg comes to the table at a staggering 72.4% Alc. by Vol., aka, 144.8 proof.  Damn.

Well folks, that's it for me tonight.  I'll be back in a day or two.  Keep watching this space because next week we'll have another Mixology Monday post.  This month it is being hosted by Jeffrey Morgenthaler and the theme is Repeal Day.  Yee-Haw!!!!  (From a family of moonshiners, I love this idea!!!)

See ya'll later!

Sometimes, when you get bored

And you're on a cleaning rampage like I was, you think, hey, let's catalogue ye olde bar.

I even zoomed in a bit, but you don't need all THOSE pictures. 
Collapse )

While I was at it, I took the time to write down what I have.  Stars via The Complete Book of Spirits by Anthony Dias Blue, but given that I don't always agree with him (or think that the liquor has changed since he wrote the book).

Tanqueray 10                              ****
Tanqueray Rangpur                   ***
Bombay                                         ***
Bombay Sapphire                        **
Hendricks                                     ***
Plymouth                                       ***

Stolichnaya Vanil                          **
Absolut Vanilla                             ***
Charodai                                       ***
Absolut Kurrant                            ***

Evan Williams Green Label      **
Buffalo Trace                                *
Maker's Mark                                ***

Other whiskeys and whiskys
Glenfiddich 12 year old             **
Redbreast Irish Whiskey          **
Bushmills 10 year old               ***
Canadian Club                           **
Sazarec Rye                                ***            

Dogfish Head Wit Spiced Rum            not listed
Dogfish Head Honey Brown Rum       not listed
Bacardi Superior Blanca                       **
Marti Licor de Rum Mojito rum             **
Foursquare spiced rum                        **

Jose Cuervo Tradicional                   ***

DeKuyper Peppermint Schnapps            not listed
Arrow Peppermint Schapps                      not listed
Arrow Original Raspberry Schnapps       not listed
DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps               *
Goldschlager                                                not listed

E&J VSOP                                          **
Arrow Coffee Flavored Brandy       not listed

Original Stock Maraschino                     not listed
Wild Turkey Honey Liqueur                    not listed
Irish Mist                                                     **
Dr. McGillicuddy's Vanilla Liqueur         **

Stuff I don't feel like or know how to categorize
Noilly Prat dry vermouth
Noilly Prat sweet vermouth
Lillet blanc                              not listed
St. Germain                            not listed
Hiram Walker Creme de Cassis      not listed
Leroux Triple Sec                  not listed
Cointreau                                 ***
Grand Marnier                         ***
Bols Blue Curacao                not listed
Arrow Creme de Cacao        not listed
Arrow Creme de Menthe      not listed
Copa de Ora Licor de Cafe coffee liqueur     not listed
Cuarenta y Tres                       ***
Amaretto di Amore                   **
Chambord                                 ***
Stirrings Grenadine
Fee Brothers Orange Flower Water
Laird's Applejack                    not listed

Pernod                                       ***
Zalios Devynerios 999           not listed
Fee Brothers Original Aromatic Bitters
Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters
Fee Brothers Mint Bitters
Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6
Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Peychaud's Aromatic Bitters
Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters

Things I still want to get
better selection of tequila, vodka (non-flavored), bourbon, scotch, brandy, dark rum
different vermouths