MxMo: You Scratch My Back…

mxmologoWell, it’s been a month since our last little gathering, and two since I participated, so, to make up for it I have two cocktails for you with a total of three ingredients from scratch. First off is a little something from way back in the day when they had no choice but to make it all from scratch:

The Chinese Cocktail (After Jerry Thomas)

  • 2 pt. – Jamaican Rum (Appleton V/X)
  • 1 pt. – Grenadine (Homemade)
  • 3 dashes – Curacao (Gran Gala)
  • 1 dash – Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)

Stir to combine and serve as you like.

Now this is obviously a riff on the “fancy cocktail” with grenadine replacing the syrup, and the orange cordial adding just a bit of complexity. I should not that in order to make my grenadine, I simply reduce pomegranate juice by a third without adding sugar, as I find most pomegranate juice quite sweet enough. But this is hardly original. Let’s try something with a bit more interest:

The Island Inferno

  • 2 pt. – Dark Rum (Cruzan Blackstrap)
  • 2 pt. – Medium Sherry (Taylor Golden)
  • 2 pt. – Orange Juice
  • 1 pt. – Falernum (Paul’s #8)
  • 5 dashes – Spicy Cocktail Bitters (Scrivenal Spiced Sherry Peppers #1)
  • 2 dashes – Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)

Shake it all up over ice, and serve straight up in a cinnamon rimmed glass.

Now this is something worth drinking. Of the cocktails I have invented to date, this is by far the most successful. There is something wonderful going on here. It hits notes that you don’t often see cocktails hitting, and that was quite intentional. For just about any cocktail, you have some sweet, some sour, and from time to time, some bitter. There’s nothing wrong with this, but asside from a few savoury cocktails, it’s rather predictable. Here, I made a cocktail that burns the back of the throat as it slides down, and does all sorts of other nice things, without being a blood mary. It’s just a much more complex cocktail than most of what I am exposed to.

I highly recommend that you go for the Cruzan offering here. The Blackstrap is a much fruitier rum than, say, Gosling’s, which makes it work much better in this cocktail. It combines nicely with the orange juice, which transitions nicely into the sherry. The peppers pick up the sherry, while adding island spice and heat. The spices are reinforced by the falernum, which also moderates the spiciness. I am, justly, I think, quite proud of this concoction.

Pictures to follow as soon as my camera charges back up.

Keep on scratching,
The Scribe

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Quit Your Wining

Downtown Wine & Spirits, my choice for premium beer and high end everything had their annual wine tasting and sale yesterday, so, of course, I meandered on down. They were pouring quite generously enough, and I sampled the full line from Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, as well as a variety of other sparkling wines from all over the world. I hit the highlights of France, America, Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Australia, and pretty much anywhere else they have figured out how to grow grapes. They were pouring wines that sold for $5 per bottle, and wines that sold for $100 per bottle. All in all a great showing.

The standout for me was a bottle called Le Cyclot or something along those lines. It was an unfiltered and unfined wine made from biodynamically grown grapes, and then of course, aged in oak. It might well be the single nicest wine I have ever tasted. It was smooth as a baby’s bottom and full of all sorts of yumminesses. Unfortunately, my wine budget doesn’t go to such premium sips, or I would have put away a case of this vintage.

Now the tasting was combined with a 20% off sale. Let me just say that the combination of lots of free wines and a fifth off the asking price is a disasterous combination for the Scribe’s wallet. In addition to a Crémant d’Alcace, I picked up a couple bottles of a nice Italian red, a  bottle of Gran Gala and a bottle of rye.

Keep up the good drinking,
The Scribe

The Session: What’s in My Glass

session-logo-smOooo…Matt over at World of Brews threw down the gauntlet this month with a simple but loaded question:

What is your favourite beer?

Well, Matt, if you wants to ask the questions, you gots to be able to take the answers. I’ll borrow an Ed Hamilton (from the Ministry of Rum) classic retort:

Whatever happens to be in my glass.

No. Seriously. Think about it. Who has one favourite beer? Honestly, if you have a favourite beer, you haven’t drunk enough. Is your breakfast of champions brew the same one you enjoy as a hair of the dog? (Of course not, since your hair of the dog ought to be ginger ale, orange juice, and a generous pour of Angostura bitters. It tastes as good as it sounds, but boy does it work.) I’d rather a Woodstock Inn Autumn Ale to go with my apple pie, but before dinner, I’d probably go with their Pemi Pale. Is Beirtuit (the drinking game) really the same with a beer that costs more than $15 per case?

I probably drink more Pemi Pale than anything else, but that is also because I have ahuge supply. At the same time, at last count, I had over a dozen different beers within five yards of my computer, and you can be sure they all have their day in the sun. With all that said, it wouldn’t be the Session without a beer review, so since I’ve been really enjoying it lately, why don’t I suggest a brew from my favourite brewery:

Woodstock Inn Brewing Co.: Autumn Ale Brew

Tasting Conditions: I enjoyed this brew after quite a long hard day of life, with a very late dinner. I used a Harpoon seven ounce straight sided beer tasting glass to try this seasonal lager. I got the bottles from the brewery and they sat for maybe a month at room temperature before being consumed.

Eye: This is a dark reddish-brown ale. On the pour, it was quite fizzy, foaming up rather like a soda. After the surge settled, it continued to produce Champagne-like bubbles. The bottle was very Halloween with orange, yellow, and black dominating. The label featured a bunch of apple-headed witches stirring a cauldron of beer.

Nose: The nose had lots of apples and spicyness. The aroma can best be described as the smell of fresh baked apple pie, with just a bit of hops and ferment underneath.

Mouth: The first sip revealed lots of winter spice: cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The cinnamon dominated the finish, with the nutmeg close in front. There were also fairly constant apple notes, of the sweeter, softer variety. The front end was quite sweet with sugar notes. The middle revealed that you were, in fact, drinking beer with a nice hoppy bitterness. The beer was also almost chewy in the mouth.

Conclusion: This is a yummy brew, though definitely on the sweeter side. It would be perfect with desert, especially, and this is from experience, if said desert involved baked apples. Other wonderful uses include warming up after a cold day. Altogether a yummy brew from my favorite brewery.

Picture shortly.

So drink down whatever is in your glass, and head over to World of Brews to catch the roundup,
The Scribe

The Reports of My Death

Are, indeed, greatly exaggerated.  Unfortunately I got caught in a perfect storm of holidays, sports, school, and organizing an academic conference. Now that is all behind us. What can you expect for this month?

  • Monthly Events. The Session should be up later tonight. MxMo is coming up on Monday, and what all else.
  • Reviews. I’m long due for a few. I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I have an even dozen beers waiting to be reviewed, as well as a bottle each of whisky and rum.
  • Festivals, Tastings, and Brewery Tours. I still need to get the Harpoon Brewery up. Tomorrow is the Downtown Wine and Spirits beer, wine, and spirits tasting, so I’ll be there for that. I’m hoping to get down to the Sam Adams brewery one of these days.
  • Cocktails. Beyond MxMo, I’ll hopefully whip up some yumminess.
  • More, More, More!

In proof that the sea may one day give up its dead,
The Scribe