This one was fun, one of the times when the words started flowing and didn’t stop until I was finished writing.
Following up on last week’s discussion of the Negroni, I thought I’d take a bit of time and explore the world of bitter liqueurs. As I said then, “You hate Campari until that one moment when you love it, and then when you love it you never want your bottle to run dry.” But how does one go about learning to love Campari and, for that matter, other bitter liqueurs?
I am on the prowl now to find the best version of a Negroni that I can devise at home. I’m going to start by examining the gin. As we know, gin is a blend of neutral spirit and a mix of juniper and other aromatic herbs and spices. Some gin distillers push the juniper to the front, whereas others craft a spirit that’s more floral or citrusy. Which style of gin works best for a Negroni? I wanted to find out.
Read more, at Serious Eats.
Her apartment was in a large modern elevator building with central air conditioning. Her windows overlooked no view at all, but were large anyway. The living room was expensively and tastefully decorated, but with the sterility and lack of individuality of a display model.
“Bar over there,” she said, pointing. “Just let me get this film started. You could make me a martini, if you would.”
“Very very dry.”
She went through the archway on the far side of the room, and Parker went over to the bar, a compact and expensive-looking piece of furniture in walnut. It included a miniature refrigerator containing mixers and an ice cube compartment, and up above a wide assortment of bottles and glasses.
Parker made the martini with the maximum of gin and the minimum of vermouth, and added an olive from a jar of them in the refrigerator. For himself he splashed some I. W. Harper over ice.
— The Handle, Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)
I know I’m in a vanishing minority, but I still believe in blogging, and especially cocktail blogging. When I started my own blog eight years ago, I used it to report on cocktail trends, share recipes, talk about bartenders and techniques and ingredients, and—most importantly—connect with other people who had the same passion for cocktails that I have. Though there are many other venues now in which to share these stories, I still think blogs have a place for the kinds of longer-form writing that you won’t usually see on Facebook or even Tumblr.
Six months ago, I highlighted some of the newer cocktail blogs on the scene, but today I have a few more new and/or under-the-radar blogs to recommend.
I know that at the moment it seems I only keep this blog alive to post links to my stuff, but I hope that will change shortly, when I finally finish my manuscript. Anyway…
True Essentials for Your Home Bar: Bottles, Bitters, and Tools
I find that it’s easy to overthink the simple things. For example, I work from home while caring for two small children. Jeans and a black t-shirt are now my daily uniform at home. Why buy button-downs and polos and sweaters just to wear at home, when they’ll just get jam and drool and Angostura on them anyway?
It’s also all too easy to overthink the home bar, and to assume you need to spend a couple hundred at the Liquorteria just to get started. Here are some tips on the essentials you really need.
Bad rye whiskey? Sadly, there is such a thing as bad rye; usually, the juice is so young, it has no nuance or subtlety, and all you get is fire and unpleasant fruity flavors. But enough about the not-so-good stuff. Let’s talk instead of the stars of the budget-rye universe.
Good rye should be spicy, somewhat fruity, and a little more rugged than bourbon. A common analogy is to compare rye bread to corn bread, and use that comparison to point out the differences between rye and bourbon. (The analogy is imperfect, but it’s a reasonable starting point.)
In which I run on at length about the basics of column distillation.
With the holidays behind us, it’s time to scale back, tighten the belt, buckle down, and engage in other cliches that mean spending less money on booze. This week, we’ll start considering the best ways to save a little cash and still drink well, one spirit at a time.
Today, I’m covering bourbon. [Read more, at Serious Eats]
Resolve in 2014 to be a better you! Bear-hug your youness! Revel in the youness that is your youness. Encourage everyone to also embrace your youness. Especially the cute co-worker you keep trying to talk to in the break room.
Or. Don’t do any of that. It’s creepy.
Instead, relax and have a drink. Take a break and think about all the boozy stuff you ever wanted to do. Now’s your year. If you don’t have any boozy stuff you always wanted to do, here are a few ideas.
With Christmas and New Year’s approaching, I know that many people take this time to restock their home bars for parties, for unexpected guests, or just to take the edge off after visiting relatives or attending holiday parties.
Splurging on expensive or hard-to-find bottles is always going to be a holiday thing, but even if you can find Pappy, you’re probably not going to drink it every day. Likewise, that bottle of the 10th anniversary Peat Monster is also a special-night-at-home drink.
So you stock up on the tried-and-trues at the holidays because, well, they’re the tried and true. Over the years, I’ve developed a list of go-to brands: fairly affordable bottles that don’t disappoint and generally stay consistent from year to year. In most cases, these spirits all mix very well and taste great on their own, so they’re not just good, they’re versatile, too.
[Read ’em all!]