Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Repeal Day - December 5th

I'm going to join in and help Jeffrey Morgenthaler spread the word about Repeal Day. December 5th marks the date that the 21st ammendment was ratified and prohibition was over. In 1933, Joe Kennedy, the American agent for Dewar's and Gordon's was ready with massive stocks for repeal day. This year, I propose you stock up on some whisky, and raise a glass and toast Repeal Day.

Here's a classic Prohibition-era cocktail from Emmet Atherton's 1933 "Be A Good Mixer, Here's How."

Rob Roy Cocktail (1933)

Fill glass half full with shaved ice.
2 dashes orange bitters
One quarter wine glass Scotch Whiskey (sic)
One Quarter wine glass French Vermouth

Stir well and strain into a cocktail glass.
Twist a piece of lemon peel on top and serve.

I'm going to adapt this a little bit to match my scotch whisky and simplify the recipe with modern measures.

Here's my recipe for Repeal Day:

Rob Roy

Fill a mixing glass with ice.
2 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters.
1 1/2 oz Dewar's 12 Scotch Whisky.
1 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
Stir well and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a flamed lemon twist.

Like many of the vermouth drinks, you need to adjust the amount of vermouth to match the base spirit. I'm using Dewar's 12 which is a smooth and malty whisky, so I cut back on the vermouth a bit to let the round character of the Dewar's 12 shine through.

A toast to the 21st Amendment.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mixology Monday: Bitters

Cocktail bitters are one of those ingredients you don't know you need, until you know you need 'em, and then you don't know how you survived without 'em. Most people still don't know they need 'em.

It's my experience that many bars will happily serve you a Manhattan with no bitters at all. It's a shame because the bitters really make the Manhattan. My favorite bitters for the Manhattan are Fee Brothers "Old-Fashioned Aromatic Bitters." These multi-faceted bitters combine orangey-citrus flavors and holiday spices with complex bitter notes. Somehow the bitters round out and smooth the flavors. On to my recipe:


2 oz. Rye whiskey
1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1-2 dashes Fee Brothers Old-Fashioned Aromatic Bitters
garnish with a brandied cherry

Bitter Flexibility.

The Manhattan recipe works great with the Fee Brothers Old-Fashioned Aromatic Bitters, but it's good to have a variety of bitters at hand. You need Peychaud's for the Sazerac, and Regan's Orange bitters are great in Martinis and Bourbon Manhattans. I keep a small bitters bottle full of absinthe to use like bitters, it's a great secret ingredient in tiki drinks. Fee Brothers Orange Bitters are subtle and provide a smoothness to a cocktail without drawing attention.

Source of Bitterness:
Buffalo Trace Distillery sells Peychaud's and Regan's Orange Bitters. (Choose the Food::Mixes menu item)

Fee Brothers will ship their products directly as well. Their line-up includes Orange, Lemon, Mint, Peach, and Old-Fashioned Aromatic Bitters. Call them on (800) 961-FEES.

Angostora Bitters should be available at your local supermarket.

This week's Mixology Monday is being hosted by Dietsch over at A Dash of Bitters. Make sure to check the round-up and see what the others have come up with.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Best Issue Yet.

The latest Imbibe Magazine is out, and looks to be the best issue yet. If you don't have a subscription yet, head over to their website and sign-up. Highlights of this issue include a Holiday Gift Guide, Doc Cocktail's column, A profile of San Francisco's incredible Alberta Straub (from the Orbit Room), and tons of killer seasonal and holiday recipes.

This is a great looking book. Great job Imbibe.