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Vermouth in the Balance

April 21, 2011

Part one of an investigation into achieving balance in spirits-driven cocktails. A few days ago I had the occasion to revisit an old original cocktail called The Criollo. I created it back in 2009 when I first fell in love with amari (singular amaro), the class of Italian digestive bitters that many bartenders were experimenting […]

When the Fat Lady Sings…

September 1, 2010

Stone fruit season is definitely coming to a close. A recent trip Berkeley Bowl last week revealed the selection of apricots, plums, nectarines, and their various crosses starting to diminish. There were in fact only about two or three apricot varieties on display, way down from the dozen or so earlier in the month. Of […]

Cherries 2010

August 4, 2010

It’s been a good cherry season here in northern California with plenty of nice looking fruit still for sale. Commensurately, I’ve been busy. Here’s an update on my projects. Candied Sweet Cherries—Two ways Back in May I made two separate batches of candied cherries using Bing and some Van, both of which are bigarreau-type cultivars […]

BARSmarts LIVE, Seattle 2010 (1)

April 28, 2010

Part 1: Smart Bars I’ve been in Seattle for the past four days, here to attend the BARSmarts Live day which took place on Tuesday (yesterday). It’s certainly a relief to have the testing behind me, in particular the practical exam, which was certainly the most intense part of the program, least ways for someone […]

Crème de Noyaux: A Short, Moderately Accurate, Incomplete History

November 19, 2009

By now most of us know the stories of “lost” cocktail ingredients like orgeat, grenadine, and pineapple gum syrup. These are well known to us today, in part, because their fortunes are linked to many famous (and delicious) cocktails: orgeat to the Mai Tai, grenadine to the Ward 8 (among others) and pineapple gum to […]

The Criollo: Mixing with Mozart Black Chocolate Liqueur

August 27, 2009

A few months ago Paul Clarke went on an insane blogging spree, writing about thirty different cocktails in as many days. On day 17, Paul wrote about an adult chocolate cocktail called Theobroma made with tequila and creme de cacao. The Camerone (another cocktail from the original LCL) was also mentioned, which of course caught […]

Cherries Jubilee: A Five Day Followup

August 25, 2009

So last night I sampled my two batches of cherries. Here are my notes: Cherries in Rye: These seemed a bit tart to me and not very well integrated with the rye spirit. I decided to doctor things a bit. I strained the cherries out of the spirit (now a lovely red) and removed the […]

Cherries Jubilee

August 19, 2009

A few days back I walked into Berkeley Bowl (my absolute favorite place to buy produce) and much to my delight saw they had Balaton cherries for sale. Balaton’s are a coveted and relatively new sour variety, perfect for pies and tarts, more hardy than the heirloom Montmorency (which I have never seen except canned […]

Experiencing the Joys of Shrub

June 1, 2009

In which the author shares his recipe for black cherry balsamic shrub and a couple of cocktails which use it. [NOTE: I’ve been erroneously adding a second ‘b’ to ‘shrub’ during these past posts. I think that crept in because I started out using the made-up gerund “shrubbing” (“shrubbin’”) in the title of the first […]

Do I Dare to Drink a Peach?

May 18, 2009

A few weeks ago I attended the American Distilling Institute’s public tasting event at Hangar One in Alameda, CA. One of the more interesting things I tried was a peach whiskey made by Peach Street Distillers, located in Colorado. This was not a “for sale” product but rather something the distillers had made for themselves, a bottle of which they’d brought along as something of an “under the table” treat. It piqued my interest sufficiently to do a little research and ultimately to discover that Leopold Bros. makes a Georgia Peach-flavored Whiskey which was actually available for sale. Impressed with their other products, I decided to purchase a bottle and give it a try.