I’m working with my webhost to migrate over to a new server. I’ll spare you the boring details, but it will enable me to incorporate some nifty new design elements on this site. It does, however, mean that this site will probably go dark for a little while during the migration period. I have no idea when it will start or how long it will last. I’ll update as more info comes in.
UPDATE, 2/5/09: Still some work to do, I see.
Onward, young rangers, to a new horizon! Let us strike out across this great land to explore strange new territories, seek out new life and new ci…
Uh. Oops. Heh.
The theme of the January MxMo is Change. How appropriate, right? New horizons, new ideas, change. Our challenge, from the anonymous Scribe of A Mixed Dram, is appropriate–to simply “Try something new!”
My choice for this challenge features the bitter liqueur Ramazzotti, an Italian tonic that you can sip as an aperitif or a digestif, or even just mix into a cocktail. Now, I’ve had the Ramazzotti on hand for a long time. I bought it in Brooklyn, back before we moved to Rhode Island. My plan was to make a small batch of Jamie Boudreau’s Amer Picon replica. Well, I’ve had the bottle for nearly a year, haven’t made the Amer Picon, and have seen Ramazzotti in local liquor stores. So what’s the point of letting this bottle languish in a box for another year?
I grabbed a copy of Robert Hess’s new book, The Essential Bartenders Guide, at Borders last week. (This is a book that’s screaming, loudly, for an editor. A full review of the book is pending.) Among the recipes in Hess’s book is the Chaplin, a mix of bourbon, sherry, Ramazzotti, Cointreau, and orange bitters. That’s what I chose to mix up tonight. The Chaplin is a good drink, well balanced but on the tart side. It’s not bitter, by any means, but it’s nothing to serve to anyone with a sweet tooth. The nuttiness of the sherry really shines. (I’m starting to really love sherry in cocktails.)
Photograph by Jennifer Hess
- 3/4 oz. bourbon whiskey
- 3/4 oz. dry sherry
- 3/4 oz. Ramazzotti
- 1/8 oz. Cointreau
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- lemon twist, for garnish
Technique: Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.
Yesterday morning, Jen was catching up on her blog reading and asked me, “Have you ever heard of the Ruby Rye cocktail?” I said No, and she said one of the food bloggers she reads had a drink by that name at Gramercy Tavern or someplace. All the blogger said was that the drink had port. I googled and found next to nothing. But a drink called Ruby Rye has to also have rye in it, I’d hope, so I decided to wing it.
I have a couple of bottles of Sandeman’s port that I received last month for review. I didn’t mix with them at first because I wanted to sample them on their own. Jen and I always like to have port on hand for Christmas and New Year’s, and so the arrival of the Sandeman’s was very timely.
Anyway, I didn’t get anything together in time for the Sandeman chat at Thursday Drink Night, but I wanted to mix with it, and this was a good excuse. I figured I’d make it easy on myself, because I am at heart a lazy bastard. So I went with a Manhattan variation, swapping out the port for the vermouth. It’s tasty, although I think a spicier rye might be better in it. (I used Old Overholt.)
It’s a simple recipe, and although I haven’t named it, I’ll give it to you here anyway.
The Cocktail with No Name
- 2 oz. rye whiskey (I used Overholt)
- 1 oz. port (Sandeman Founders Reserve)
- 2 dashes orange bitters (Angostura)
- Lemon twist, for garnish (I left that out, but I think it’s the way to go)
Technique: Stir briskly over cracked ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.
As if it matters, this photo’s actually my own. I figured I’d take a crack at the pretty picture-taking myself for once.
Port, cheese, and walnuts
Sandeman’s Founders Reserve Port, Stichelton blue cheese, and walnuts. Photograph by Jennifer Hess.
As I was redesigning this site, I wanted to make the blogroll a priority. It had been dramatically out of date for months. One thing I wanted to do was link it to my Google Reader account, so that whenever I add a feed to the Booze section of my account, that feed will automatically appear in my blogroll. Same thing for deleting feeds. It’s annoying to have to manage your subscriptions in two places–in your feed reader and in your Links panel–and it makes it difficult to keep your blogroll up to date.
I found out linking my blogroll to my Reader account was actually pretty easy to do, even though Reader doesn’t really hype this feature much. If you use WP and Google Reader and you have your feeds sorted by folders or tags, here’s what you do:
- Log in to your Reader account.
- In the top-right corner, choose Settings.
- Choose Folders and Tags.
- Choose a folder and set it to Public. (All of my cocktail and spirits feeds are sorted into a Booze folder, for example. I chose that and made it Public.)
- Once it’s public, you should have an option that says Add a Blogroll to My Site. Click that.
- You should see a pop-up window with your new blogroll. For my site, I deleted the default title that Google provided and I changed the color scheme to None, so that I could control the title in WP and let my own custom CSS styles govern the presentation.
- Copy the code from the box.
- Switch to your WP admin panel, go to Design, and choose Widgets.
- Create a new Text widget and paste the code into the widget box. Title your Text widget with whatever you want–in my case, Bartenders and Cocktail Nerds. Save the new widget and then click Save Changes.
- Et voila.
Now, what this obviously means is, the list to the right of this post is the list of everyone I’m currently following in Reader. If you’re not there, it’s probably because of one of three things:
- You haven’t updated in a few months and I’m assuming your blog is dead
- I’ve never heard of you.
- I’ve been too lazy to add you to my Reader account.
If you’re a cocktail or spirits blogger, you want on this blogroll, and you’ve updated since, oh, October or so, drop me a comment here and I’ll try to add you.
As promised/threatened, I made the Ford Cocktail that Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh recommended on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. Doc said to Liane Hansen that this is a drink he wants to revive in 2009 and rightfully so. It’s delicious. He describes it as lovely and beautifully balanced, and once again, the doctor’s prescription is right on the money. I’m happy to do my part.
Although the only source Haigh mentions is “an 1895 book,” I was able to uncover it with my fancy Google fu–George J. Kappeler’s Modern American Drinks.
Modern American Drinks How to Mix and Serve All Kinds of Cups and Drinks By George J. Kappeler
Haigh modernized the measurements for Hansen as follows:
- 1 oz. gin
- 1 oz. dry vermouth
- 3 dashes Benedictine
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- Orange twist, for garnish
Technique: Stir over cracked ice in a mixing glass. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.
Notes: Doc didn’t actually mention the garnish to Hansen, but since it’s in Kappeler’s, I’ve added it. You can see from Jen’s photo that I used lemon. You might recall that Jen’s allergic to orange. Finally, to address the perennial question–how much is 3 dashes of Benedictine?–I dashed the orange bitters first into my measuring cup and noted the level. I then carefully measured a roughly equal amount of Benedictine.