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Old Fashioned Italian

by on Oct.09, 2012, under Uncategorized

Twists on classics or old-age drinks is how very many of today’s modern cocktails come about. It’s always fun to take something that works undeniably, make an epic twist to it, and find that is still palatable; the Old Fashioned Italian falls into this category.

Old Fashioned Italian:
60ml ‘malty’ American whisky
10ml Campari
15ml Luxardo maraschino liqueur
2.5ml Luxardo syrup (0.5 tsp)
2.5ml Lemon juice (0.5 tsp)
30ml seltzer water

2 Old Fashioned Italian

Build drink in rocks glass, blast the oils and zest of one lemon peel over the drink and toss in, stir, and garnish with a luxardo cherry. Add rocks, last, after blasting lemon zest into, and adding the lemon peel.

1 Old Fashioned Italian

A traditional old fashioned is hard to beat, but you are very likely to get a poor one out in the wild. Very much a classic, not only is it ordered often, but just as often ruined by poor skills. Just today at lunch, a friend ordered an old fashioned. His drink received 5-6oz of flat water, in addition to a half dash of Angostura, a proper pour of Jim Beam, a packet of sugar, a 1/3 wedge of orange & sugar-cherry muddled. Needless to say, his drink was overly sugary, *way* too watery, and not very special. A bad old fashioned is like nothing else. No patron will complain about this old fashiononed, the old fashioned way.

Old Fashioned:
45ml rye whisky
1 lump of sugar
3 dashes Boker’s or Angostura
30ml seltzer water

Build drink in this fashion: add sugar cube and bitters to a rocks glass. Muddle. Add seltzer. Muddle and stir with muddler. Add whisky. Let stand for 30-60 seconds. Stir more. Blast zest of one lemon peel over the drink, and drop the peel into the concoction. Add rocks. [Optional: garnish with Luxardo cherry].

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by on Oct.03, 2012, under Life, Music, Travel

Slacking and fixating on things is a weakness we all have, and I’m not afraid to note having so myself. Work, and other things, have robbed my time of late, and my time for ‘me’ has been limited; cheers to working on that.

drink Happenings

Fall (or autumn) in Phoenix is a lot like spring elsewhere, just like our winter is like most peoples’ summer. Weather gets nice (trust me, it’s relative). It’s bearable to be outside. Things grow. Things flourish. It’s fantastic. Phoenix, unlike a lot of places, can host gardens twice a year. I like to plant in fall, as well as around the time of the last freeze. Additionally, fall, like spring, is a time for new additions. In this very case, our addition happens to be … more chickens!

brahma and cal Happenings
brahma and cal 2 Happenings
Brahma & Cal

I live on a great property, allowing for such things as chickens, gardens, and – hopefully someday soon – bees. Maricopa County law states no more than 20 hens, zero roosters, and residents nearby must be notified. So where does that put us? 16, if you’re interested to know!

Four from the original flock.

pumpkin Happenings
Pumpkin – Barred Plymouth

Six from my second flock, of which two have started laying eggs just this month (green and light peach … almost white).

eggs Happenings
Mixed Eggs

Six new chickies: 1 Brahma, 1 Welsummer, 2 Cuckoo Maran, 2 Ameraucana. My third flock is much less stressful to deal with, and almost effortless. I’ve amassed enough knowledge and equipment that the new flock is very cheap, little of time consumption, and little-to-no stress.

chicks1 Happenings
chicks2 Happenings
chicks3 Happenings
chicks4 Happenings
The new chicks

Additionally, fall is a great time to plant a garden in PHX. The harshest weather is gone. The air is less dry than normal. And the risk of freeze during the winter to come is fairly low. We typically have less than a week of freezing nights; with due-diligence you can keep a garden alive through so few frosts.

gardening1 Happenings
gardening2 Happenings

Lastly: a flavorful trip with Cal-my-gal to Tucson allowed for great times, and an amazing musical theatre by Beach House at the Rialto Theater.

shelter Happenings
Shelter Cocktail Lounge – A hideaway of the 60s

heads Happenings

bh1 Happenings
bh2 Happenings
bh3 Happenings
Beach House at the Rialto Theater in Tucson

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The Count

by on Sep.14, 2012, under Food

In the light of the Campari Group’s latest acquisition, I felt yet another Campari based drink was important this Friday. Early this month, the 150 year old Campari Group purchased the controlling stake (81.4%, for $415m) in Lascelles deMercado, who crafts Appleton, White, Wray & Nephew, Coruba and other wonderful elixirs. Over the last decade, Campari has been elbowing its way through the drink world to take more presence and assert its due position. The Campari Group (Gruppo Campari) includes, but not limited to, such classic & modern populars as Aperol, Cizano, Cynar, Frangelico, Wild Turkey, Skyy, and Ouzo 12.

count negroni The Count

Cheers to that, I say!

The Count:
30ml rye whiskey (Templeton)
30ml Lillet Rouge
30ml Campari
Splash of soda
Garnish: Luxardo cherry and orange twist

the count The Count

You’ll note this drink is very similar to a very fine dark chocolate. Hints of bittersweet cocoa, savory herb and citrus dance across your palate. Drink up!

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I Get on Kicks – The Americano & Negroni

by on Sep.07, 2012, under Food, History

Apéritif or not, the Negroni holds a special place in my bar-book. Recently I visited a regular haunt of mine with only minutes to spare before dinner across the way. Lacking my favorite before-dinner (and after-dinner) ingredient, I opted for a classic – The Negroni. Both bartender and manager knew not of the drink I spoke, so proper instruction was necessary. Questions then ensued of where I resided. To their demise: their very town being both my birthplace and place of residency. Modernly accepted as a variation of the Americano, the Negroni is a stiffer, potentially more bitter, version of the Milano-Torino (AKA, these days, Americano). Milano, where Campari is made, and Torino, the homeland of vermouth and Apéritif drinks itself: a marriage of the two, with a name so literal, yet vague, you question a drink’s name like gin & tonic.

americano 1 I Get on Kicks   The Americano & Negroni

30ml (1oz) Campari
30ml (1oz) vermouth
Top with soda
Lemon twist

Gaspare Campari served said drink in his bar, Caffe Campari, in the mid-1800s. The name “Americano” isn’t believed to come around until early in the 20th century, when the drink was renamed because of a burst in popularity. The Americano, or Milano-Torino, holds deep history with Mr. Campari though. At the young age of fourteen, Campari was already tending bar in Italy, and tinkering with tintures, elixirs, and herbs. Through his experiments came a drinkable bitter spirit, which he sold in his travels, and named after himself. The Americano remains one of his many creations, using his namesake mixer, Campari.

Fast forward: The ever popular Milano-Torino is requested to be made stiffer by one Count Negroni (little information remains of this good gentleman). Barkeep Fosco Scarcelli, tending bar in Florence, swaps out the soda water for gin, and adds an orange twist instead of a lemon twist. Voila! Enter: Negroni.

bar hop negroni I Get on Kicks   The Americano & Negroni

30ml (1oz) Campari
30ml (1oz) Italian (sweet) vermouth
Splash of gin
Orange twist

Which brings me to one of my favorite drinks – a flavorful, modern twist on the Americano, the Americano Rouge. You will be hard pressed to find written cocktails for Lillet Rouge, which is astonishing to me, because it is incredibly complex, delicious, and universal. Here’s one to enjoy before, during, or after dinner.

30ml (1oz) Campari
30ml (1oz) Lillet Rouge
Top with soda
Grapefruit twist

americano 2 I Get on Kicks   The Americano & Negroni

Cheers to you!

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Happy Hour You Say?

by on Aug.31, 2012, under Food

Labor Day is a lot like Memorial Day, Family Day, or Father’s Day. We celebrate…anything to keep us from working – laborious! That said, kick back a stiff one this Friday’s happy hour to start off your break away (or lack thereof) from work!

laborday Happy Hour You Say?
The first American labor day took place in 1882 – New York on said day

While it’s hard to compare any drink to a classic of the likes of the classic Manhattan, this drink is sure to please. Take the complexity, leave the sour, add some tart: you have The Cleaver.

cleaver1 Happy Hour You Say?

2oz (60ml) Rye – Templeton is choice
.5oz (15ml) hibiscus cordial*
.5oz (15ml) dry vermouth
dash of lime juice
3 dashes cherry bitters – Peychaud** work in a pinch

Add ingredients to a beaker, stir until chilled, strain into coupe & garnish with a Luxardo cherry. Savor your mixing ability.

cleaver1 Happy Hour You Say?

* – Hibiscus cordial can be substituted for Fruitlab’s Hibiscus Liq, or the ever delicious Hum. If you prefer to make a homemade version, as I do, try something simple like this recipe.

hum Happy Hour You Say?

Hibiscus syrup:
1/8oz dried hibiscus (available both online and in many ethnic groceries)
3/4c white sugar
3/4c filtered water
Steep ingredients in a mason jar for 24-48 hours. Strain, and keep chilled. Feel free to play with extra flavors. My hibiscus cordial involves many more additions, but this syrup is a simple way to spice up your bar and kitchen.

** – Peychaud bitters do change the profile of the drink, but adds a nice complexity of anise and mixed spices, while holding onto a tad of cherry flavor.
peychaud Happy Hour You Say?

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