Monday, October 29, 2007

Madagascar Sour

This is a drink made popular in London by Townhouse and Lab Bar. The vanilla liqueur required for this drink has been hard to find in California.

Recently, San Francisco bartender and man-about-town Dominic Venegas gave me a sample of the re-re-introduced Navan Vanilla Liqueur.

Navan is cognac-based, and maintains a sturdy 40% by volume. The Navan has a natural vanilla aroma, and a strong vanilla flavor. It's a great match for this cocktail.

This cocktail works best if you make the vanilla sugar it requires, so I've included a recipe for that below.

Madagascar Sour

A London Vanilla Daquiri

1 1/2 oz Bacardi 8-year old rum
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1/3 oz lime juice
2/3 oz Navan Vanilla Liqueur

Combine all ingredients and shake hard over ice. Fine strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Vanilla Sugar

2 pounds granulated sugar
3 vanilla pods

Blend in food processor.
Sift out larger pieces of vanilla

The original calls for Bacardi 8, but I think there is plenty of room for experimentation in your rum choices. I'd like to try it with an ounce of light rum and an ounce of demerara rum. If you've got some ideas, let me know in the comments.

Friday, October 19, 2007

WhiskyFest: Top Pick: Mackillop's Choice

While you're planning what whiskies to try at WhiskyFest remember to put a gold star next to Lorne Mackillop's name.

Lorne's independent bottlings are available under the Mackillop's Choice brand name. These bottlings represent some of the finest single casks available anywhere. Lorne personally selects each cask based on their individual characteristics and merits. As a Master of Wine, Lorne has all the skills required to choose the best casks, and I have never been disappointed by his selections.

Stop by the Mackillop's Choice booth and say hello to Lorne at WhiskyFest this Tuesday.

WhiskyFest San Francisco

Tuesday, October 23
Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero
Tickets and more information at The Malt Advocate.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

WhiskyFest San Francisco

On Tuesday, October 23, WhiskyFest comes to San Francisco for the first time. Attendees will have the chance to sample some of over 200 of the worlds finest whiskies. The whisky list includes Springbank Rum Cask, Aberfeldy, Bruichladdich, The Dalmore, Sazerac Rye, Ardbeg and many many more.

If this wasn't reason enough to attend, a host of educational seminars are planned. All the seminars look very good, but one seminar promises to be particularly enlightening.

Whisk(e)y Debate

The Dalmore Master Blender, Richard Paterson and someone called Fred Noe plan to have a well-reasoned and civilized discussion on the relative merits of Scotland's finest malt whiskies as compared to some various types of American "Corn Likker."


Richard Paterson, the Master Blender for The Dalmore malt whisky and Whyte & MacKay blends, is a true gentleman and a more than qualified whisky expert. A third-generation master blender,
he knows just about everything about whiskey and is a passionate and knowledgeable history buff as well. Richard is entertaining, educational and an all-around asset to the whisky industry.

Richard Paterson discusses the finer points of Scotland's Whiskies.


Fred Noe will be talking about various types of American Corn Whiskey.

Apparently Fred's qualifications have something to do with the fact that he comes from a family of barefoot hillbilly moonshiners going back many generations. (They say his Great Grandfather was someone called Jim Beam.)

Fred Noe discusses the produce of barefoot hillbillies.

WhiskyFest San Francisco

Tuesday, October 23
Hyatt Regency, Embarcadero
Tickets and more information at The Malt Advocate.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bitters Exchange

The cocktail bloggers are a small and tight-knit community. I exchange e-mail and phone calls with bloggers I've never met in person. Virtual gatherings and events are what keep most of us posting. Mixology Monday is fun because everyone gets involved to share ideas and explore new concepts. Kaiser Penguin's recent community Tiki Cocktail Photo Contest was really fun for everyone. The Spirit World's Raider's of the Lost Cocktails is off to a great start.

Reviving lost ingredients, and bringing the virtual community together for an event seemed like a great idea. Since bitters are a key ingredient in classic cocktails, and the variety of bitters available can be somewhat limited, I thought it would be fun to organize a bitters exchange.

The idea is that everyone who participates will make their own batch of bitters, share their recipe, and then trade with all the other participants. By trading bitters, you can sample a variety without having to make many different batches. Most of the bitters recipes I've come across make a liter or more of bitters.

I figure you can divide a liter into 3 oz. samples about 11 times. Share your success (or get rid of your mess).

Bitter Resources:

Darcy at The Art of Drink has done all the hard work and gathered a collection of bitters recipes off the tubes:
Basic Bitters
Regan's Orange Bitters No. 5
Chuck Taggart's No. 3
Boudreau's Bitters #2
Robert Hess House Bitters
Dr. Schwartz's Bitters

Neyah White has a recipe for Sunshine Bitters.

You can also google around a bit and come up with bitters recipes from Jerry Thomas, Charles Baker and Tom Bullock.

If you need to obtain some secret ingredients for you bitters recipe, you can find them at Tenzing Momo in the Pike Place Market.

If you want to participate in the bitters exchange, leave a comment here or contact me through e-mail so we can work out the logistics. I've got four participants already.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Campari Competition Results

Manny Hinojosa from the Walnut Creek Yacht Club, was the winner of Monday's Campari Mix-off. (Photo copyright 2007, Camper English. Used here without Permission)

Monday was the San Francisco Campari Cocktail Competition and Mix-off. Somehow my entry wasn't a finalist. Mine doesn't look as tasty as some of these anyway! Here are the winners and a list of all the competitors (the finalists, really). Congratulations to the winners, and all the competitors.

1st Place
Manny Hinojosa
Walnut Creek Yacht Club
3/4 oz Campari
2 oz SKYY Orange
1 oz Michele Chiarlo Muscato
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Fresh lemon juice

Mix Campari,SKYY,Citronage,lemon juice in a Martini shaker, serve in a martini glass and add Michele Carlo Muscato on top, finish the martini with lemon and grapefruit peels..

2nd Place
Victoria Damato (Monahan’s)
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz. Gran Centanario Anejo Tequila
1 oz. fresh Meyer Lemon juice

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

3 oz. Passion Fruit juice.

spritz of soda

Lemon and a Cinnamon stick for garnish

In a chilled tumbler add the juice of half a lemon and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.
mix well. Add the Campari, Tequila & Passion Fruit juice.
Shake well! Strain into a 8 oz.collins glass.
Spritz the top with soda.

3rd Place
Jon Santer (Bourbon and Branch)
Blush Punch
1oz Campari
1.5 oz Matusalem white rum
1.5oz fresh pinapple juice

.5oz lime juice

1oz muscato di asti

Steven Oliver ( Le Colonial-manager)
Reza Esmaili (Enrico's)
Jordan Mackay (Spirit Writer)
Camper English (Spirit writer)
Alberta Straub (Celebrity bartender and star of “Cocktails on the Fly” )

All Contestants and Cocktails (Well, not ALL, just the finalists!)

Lonnie Long (Arsimona in Oakland)
Campari Blank Check
Muddled mint leaves
3/4 oz. Millers gin
3/4 oz. Campari

1 oz. pineapple juice

1 oz. cranberry juice

fill with gingerale

Muddle mint leaves fill pint glass with ice
add gin and campari
then add pineapple and cranberry juice and fill with gingerale
can be served in cocktail glass just add gingerale after
shaking and straining

Joe Alessandroni (Farmer Brown)
The Snooty Booty
3/4 oz Campari 3/4 oz Skyy Orange Vodka
3/4 oz Gran Marnier

2 oz Prosecco

1 oz fresh squeezed Orange Juice

1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Combine Campari, SKYY Orange, Gran Marnier, OJ, and Lemon in a shaker. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glass.

Joe Parrilli & Edgar Solis (Bacar)
Cielo Bello (beautiful sky)
3/4 oz. Campari
3/4 oz. Skyy Berry

1/2 oz. La Pinta tequila

1 oz. Pomegranate syrup

1 oz. Orange juice

Shaken & Strained
Served up with a splash of prosecco
Garnished with burnt orange peel

Manny Hinojosa (Walnut Creek Yacht Club)
Cielo Rosso
(See Above)

Darren Crawford (Tony Niks)
1.5 oz Limoncello
.75 oz Campari

.5 oz Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 oz Cranberry Juice

6 raspberries

Top up with Soda Water

Shake first five ingredients vigorously with ice and carefully strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and raspberry and top with soda water.

Jon Santer (Bourbon and Branch)
Blush Punch
(See Above)

Victoria Damato (Monahans)
(See Above)

Tim Stookey (Presidio Social Club)
Desert Rose
¾ oz Campari
1.5 oz Martin Millers Gin

¾ oz Orange Juice

Tsp. Sugar

Splash of Sparkling Wine
Served over ice in a tall glass and garnished with an orange slice.

Christain Curtis

Campari Royale
1 1/2 oz. campari
1 1/2 oz. citronge

3 slices of fresh squeezed lemon

Shaken into a sugar rimmed martini glass and filled
with Mountadon Brut Champange.
Garnish with a twist of lemon

For more information about the brand and future events please visit

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