Posts tagged cocktails

Apple Pie and Roast Beef: American Moonshine Dinner

Isn’t Moonshine the ultimate American Drink for the Holidays? After all, it’s made with American corn, and it was always the drink of independent individuals, not part of government or industry.
Apparently, as a teenager delivering the family’s moonshine, Junior Johnson learned “evasion” and other driving skills that eventually propelled him to NASCAR fame. Later he went back to moonshine – legally, this time, having learned his lesson with an 11-month stint in prison. His Midnight Moon moonshines are cleverly packed in homestyle canning jars, individually numbered on the labels, some with fresh fruit added for flavoring. Strawberry and other flavors are recommended for cocktails.
But for the holidays, I tried several of Johnson’s moonshines and I think I’ve come up with the definitive food pairing: Apple Pie Midnight Moon with Roast Beef and Roasted Root Vegetables. Add a dab of horseradish sauce if you like some bite to your meal.

Have a Cocktail after this Film. Make that two…

It’s a circus – cirque du soleil style. With sideshow of gastronomy.
The film Hey, Bartender is a crash course in American culture – behind the bar. It entices you in by following the real-life ups and downs of bartenders, bar owners and managers.
The people behind the bar are maniacally serious, they are a cross between circus performers and butlers. The ultimate in service and showmanship.
With a cast of luminaries in the mixology world, this film takes you on an adventure from a local watering hole to the hottest bars in the country today. And fills in the history of the American cocktail along the way.
Take notes: in this film you’ll get a taste of just about every top bar and every top mixologist working today.
After the film, go have a cocktail and start planning your road trip.

Easier Cocktail-Making? Not Really

Having recently tried 3 gadgets that are supposed to make drinking – or at least creating drinks – easier, I have to report they didn’t really work.

One was amusing: the Brookstone Cocktail Master. With two buttons held down, it shoots out the cocktail into your glass, and of course that’s fun. Though the electric stirrer part was easy to operate, and it was a little faster than actually shaking a drink to mix in simple syrup, the whole thing seemed rather unnecessary. It really isn’t made to put ice in — the stirrer gets caught up in the cubes. And I can imagine how messy it would get after a while…

Then there was the BarTule, which looked so lively, cute and compactly fit together. But it was more than disappointing, it hurt. The edges of the plastic tools were so sharp they cut into your hand when you tried to use them, especially the wine opener. And while it’s nice to have a clear ice bucket, this is not exactly the first thing I’d want on a picnic or at the beach – thinking about sand, bugs, etc. Worst of all, there’s no cocktail shaker in the kit.

I really had high hopes for the Barmaid Drink Rimmer when I saw it demo’d. But at home, it proved very difficult to put the right amount of moisture along the top edge of the glass. And impossible to find the right angle to deposit a consistent band of the flavored sugar on the rim. The producers kindly pointed me at their website for detailed instructions on how to hold the Drink Rimmer against the glass. Maybe with practice this would work. Maybe a bartender would get the hang of after a few dozen tries. And maybe a bartender would be able to afford to have several of these gadgets, because you need to be able to change out the flavors of rimmers for different drinks. But not me, not in my house.


Unlocking Galliano

When I was young, I eyed the long, tall, yellow Galliano liqueur bottle with suspicion, when I saw it on people’s home bars. Rather than a mark of sophistication, I looked at it as a demonstration of ego. Which it probably was, for most of those guys. Anyhow, I was too young to drink it, and too young to figure out exactly what the symbolism meant.
Fast forward to a few years ago when I was inventing some cocktails, and I found myself wondering what was in that tall bottle, the one that still sat on so many bars. When I was out one day, I asked for a splash, and quickly predicted it would make a come-back soon. No one listens to me about stuff like that, so I was pretty surprised to see Galliano L’Autentico everywhere this fall. A bottle even arrived at my house. Most of our guests seemed to need refresher splashes of it as soon as they saw the bottle. Yep, it’s still the anisey liqueur they remembered, though this updated version has more herbal flavors and less of the sweet vanilla: “A little more, please…”
Recently, I tried my first Harvey Wallbanger cocktail. This being the 21st century, I made it with freshly squeezed orange juice, even though I’m sure the original drinks were made with frozen OJ from concentrate. No matter, it works fine this way.

Then I created my own drink, for a time at the end of the day when I wanted something across between a cocktail and a flute of sparkling wine. Hard Gold, I called it. Not for wimps, it’s one-third Galliano L’Autentico and two-thirds Freixenet Carta Nevada. Both are nearly the same color, and the effect is of a petillant liqueur. Tonight I might try it with a twist of lemon, to bring out the citrus in the Galliano. In a white wine glass — easy to disguise as wine, when, say, there are too many relatives in the house over the holidays. Or any other day…