Now, you young folks won’t remember this, but back in my day, when you wanted to make a cocktail, and you needed some cocktail bitters, you went to the soda-pop aisle of your grocery and found the shelves dedicated to mixers for adult beverages, and if you were lucky, you’d see a bottle of Angostura right there sitting next to the lime cordial and the sour mix and the tonic water.
Then about eight years ago, the bartender and booze writer Gary Regan formulated the newest and greatest recipe of his orange bitters, sensing a need in the marketplace, and so it came to pass that Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6 became available to bartenders and cocktail nerds.
These days, you kids are spoiled for choice. I decided one day to count the number of upstart companies producing bitters, and I had to stop when I got to 30 because I can’t count much higher than that.
I’ve heard a rumor that in other parts of the country, the weather is turning colder, leaves are starting to drop from the trees, mountain men and other rustic types are gathering wood for their fireplaces, and drinkers are turning their bloodshot eyes toward the brown spirits.
Me? I have the air conditioning on as I type this. It’s about 80°F out there. Then again, my bloodshot eyes never turn away from brown spirits even when the temperatures crack the triple digits, but I’m unusual that way.
A few months ago, I provided a primer on Scotch terms. Today, I thought I’d turn my gaze inward and explain a few things about good old bourbon whiskey.
[Fill 'er up!]
Next time you’re at the gym or the salon or the grocery, and someone says it’s a sacrilege to mix Scotch into a cocktail, promise me you’ll grab that person, take him or her out back, and…
[Want to know my picks for five essential Scotch cocktails? Read on!]
Harry Craddock only wrote one book, the Savoy Cocktail Book, but many of the cocktails in that book are justly renowned and worth adding to your repertoire. The Corpse Reviver #2 is probably the most famous, but we’ve written about that drink many times before, so we’ll move on to a few other cocktails from Savoy that you should know.
When you start looking through vintage cocktail books, one thing you’ll quickly notice are the names of obscure ingredients—products with names like Caperitif and Hercules. And if you’re anything like me, you’re curious about these products. What were they? What do (or did) they taste like?
My latest at Serious Eats. [Read on!]
My piece on ingredient substitutions at Serious Eats.
I don’t normally post about this sort of thing, but Campari just announced that Uma Thurman is its calendar star this year. I know it’s not a universal opinion, but I think Uma’s great in nearly everything I’ve seen, and I also think she’s stunning. Campari’s released a few behind-the-scenes shots, and here’s one you might like:
Whatever you might think of Edward Snowden, you can keep to yourself; this is a booze blog, after all. But in reading a recent New York Times story about his flight from Hong Kong, I found a funny tidbit.
You see, when a group of lawyers arrived to advise Snowden in Hong Kong, he asked them to stash their phones in the refrigerator. According to Adam Harvey, a designer specializing in countersurveillance, it seems that the materials in the fridge walls serve as a Faraday cage, a space that can disrupt radio communication.
For the drinker with something to hide, however, there’s a better solution:
Another household object that functions similarly, Mr. Harvey has learned through his research into cellphone data transmission, is a stainless steel martini shaker.
“It’s a perfect Faraday cage – it will block all radio signals unless you decide you need to pour yourself a martini,” he said. Although this sounds like a plot point in a James Bond movie, Mr. Harvey has actually done extensive tests on the shaker in the process of developing a surveillance-blocking cellphone case called the OFF Pocket.
Now that’s cool. Most of serious cocktail geeks probably have four of those damn, otherwise-useless things cluttering our barware. At least they’re useful for something.