GSN Alert: March 5th – National Absinthe Day

art_nouveau_absinthe_poster_by_mybeautifulmonsters-d4ya3ntWho would have guessed that there would ever be a National Absinthe Day?  Since it was banned in the United States in 1912, and prohibition nailing the coffin shut in 1919, it is really a miracle that absinthe is back on the market.  2015 marks the ninth anniversary of this new holiday devoted to the Green Fairy.

In celebration of this event, here is the traditional way to enjoy a glass.  And no, you don’t light it on fire!

  • Pour a measure of absinthe in an absinthe glass
  • Place a sugar cube on a flat perforated spoon on top of the glass
  • Drip ice-cold water on the sugar cube to slowly dissolve it
  • Add three to six parts water to the glass
  • Take your time, sip. The slower, the better

If you’re looking for a cocktail that calls for absinthe, try this one from the classic Savoy Cocktail Book published in 1930.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail
Absinthe
.75 oz Plymouth Gin
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Lillet Blanc
.75 oz Lemon juice
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with absinthe and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into the prepared glass.  Be revived!

 

GSN Alert: March 3rd – National Moscow Mule Day

To commemorate the Moscow Mule’s significance in cocktail history and its impact on cocktail culture, Smirnoff vodka declared March 3rd as National Moscow Mule Day.  Smirnoff vodka announced the date last night as the country’s best-selling vodka brand welcomed guests to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Moscow Mule with a one-of-a-kind, immersive cocktail party that took guests back in time to 1941 to explain how the cocktail became a pop-culture sensation.  The event took place just miles away from where the cocktail was first invented on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip.

The date of National Moscow Mule Day – March 3 or “3-3” – is significant. The Original Moscow Mule was crafted with three ingredients: Smirnoff No. 21 vodka, premium ginger beer and lime. As the story goes, there were also three key people involved in the cocktail’s creation: the first, John G. Martin, had trouble selling his Smirnoff vodka at a time when brown spirits were king. The second, Jack Morgan, owner of a popular pub on the Sunset Strip, could not convince his patrons to try his ginger beer.  The third, a woman named Ozeline Schmidt, provided the copper mugs, the perfect vessels for enjoying the zesty creation they called the Moscow Mule. The trio came together to creatively combine their crafts and simultaneously revolutionized cocktail culture with the Moscow Mule.

GSN Alert: February 27th – National Kahlua Day

kahlua_label__22824Let’s revisit a brief history of “the other” Mexican spirit, Kahlua.

1930: The Alvarez brothers harvest Arabica coffee beans from the fields of Coatepe, Veracruz, Mexico. They work with Señor Blanco, a local entrepreneur, to use their beans in a spirits recipe he was financially backing.

1936: Chemist Montalvo Lara uses the Alvarez brother’s coffee beans in a spirits base made from sugar cane to produce both syrup and rum. The final product is named Kahlúa, meaning “House of the Acolhua people” in the Veracruz Nahuatl language.

2014: Kahlúa is made in Mexico City at a Pernod Ricard owned factory. The beans are medium roasted and then cold brewed.  When bottled, natural vanilla flavoring and only a touch of caramel coloring is added to insure the same rich dark brown liquid goes into every bottle.

The two most iconic cocktails using Kahlua are the Black Russian and the White Russian.  I’d suggest making one of each and comparing while celebrating National Kahlua Day.

 

 

GSN Alert: February 24th – World Bartender Day

Bartenders play an important social role and must adjust to many scenarios. They deal with many types of patrons: people hanging out with friends, people on dates, people relaxing after work, and people who sometimes get a little too unruly in bars. Bartenders have to build strong relationships with their patrons, and sometimes become a therapist of sorts for them. They rely on tips for much of their wages, making it even more important that they have good relationships with their clientele. On top of this social role, bartenders must remember the names of many drinks, what goes in them and how much, and the type of glass the drink is served in. They must also prepare them very quickly.

Bartending goes back to ancient times. Roman, Greek, and Asian societies had public drinking houses that were social gathering places. Prior to the fifteenth century, bartenders were usually alehouse owners or female innkeepers that made their own liquor. Later, taverns became important places for professionals and writers, and bartenders had a high social status. Bartending then made its way across the ocean to the New World.

Today, bartenders not only make drinks and lend their ears to patrons, but many try to entertain patrons by “flair” bartending as well. Some bartenders have elaborate pouring or bottle tossing tricks that they enthrall audiences with. Flair bartending contests are held around the world.

Celebrate the day by paying a visit to the bar that has your favorite bartender. Make sure to thank them for serving you, and wish them a happy World Bartender Day. Since tips make up a large portion of a bartender’s wages, make sure to tip your bartender a little extra today. There are many other ways the day could be celebrated:

 

GSN Alert: February 22nd – National Margarita Day

69d0d254b7bc1eb5dc9af1b0782ea373The middle of February is a perfect time to be drinking Margaritas.  Why?  Because the flavor instantly conjures up the feeling of warmth, sunshine, and good times.  So, why not make some tacos, burritos or enchiladas and a mess of Margaritas this Sunday for dinner?

The Margarita has been around for about 85 years and although there are several legends as to its creation, I’m of the opinion that it is what was previously known as a Tequila Daisy.  The word “daisy” translates into “Margarita” in Spanish.  Why a daisy?  It was yet another of those old-school terms for cocktails along the lines of fizzes, eye-openers, flips, crustas, etc…

Anyway, the great folks at Casa Noble Tequila asked me to come up with an original take on the venerable Margarita using their Crystal Tequila.  So, in keeping with the summer weather theme, I decided to break out the grill and see what I could come up with.  This recipe makes enough for a party, so make sure to invite over some friends when putting this together.

Pina Margarita (makes six cocktails)
Ingredients
1 medium pineapple (about 3 pounds)
6 oz Crystal Casa Noble
3 oz Cointreau
3 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
House-made saline solution*

First, peel the pineapple and cut it in half lengthwise.  Then cut the halves into 1/2 inch thick pieces.  Put them on a grill that’s been heated to about 400°F.  Grill uncovered about four minutes per side.  Then remove and let cool for 15 minutes.

Take three pieces of pineapple and muddle in a mixing tin.  Add 1 ounce of tequila, 1/2 ounce Cointreau and 1/2 ounce lime juice.  Fill with ice and shake until well chilled.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Add a dash (3-4 drops) of saline solution.  Garnish with a chunk of grilled pineapple and a lime wheel and serve.

Saline solution
Mix 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 tbl mineral water until dissolved.  Either use an eye-dropper to dispense or store in an empty bitters bottle.

GSN Alert: 2021’s Love on Tap VIRTUAL Shore Craft Beer Celebration

Shore Craft Beer & OCDC invite you to participate in 2021’s Love on Tap VIRTUAL Shore Craft Beer Celebration! 
We will have exclusive content online to celebrate local craft beer. This content includes:
  • A video on the state of craft beer in Maryland – and nationally — by Kevin Atticks, the CEO of the Brewers Association of Maryland and Grow and Fortify.
  • A video discussion with the brewer at Heavy Seas.
  • A video discussion with Tom Knorr, founder and partner at EVO Craft Brewing.
  • A “Cooking with Craft Beer” lesson by the chef at Schooner’s using Backshore Brewing’s Jo Jo Starbuck beer.
  • A brewery tour and discussion with Eric Camper, brewery at Tall Tales Brewing in Parsonsburg
  • Another tour, this time hosted by Nate Todd, the head brewer at Backshore Brewing on the Boardwalk in Ocean City.
  • A tour of Crooked Hammock’s brewery in Rehoboth hosted by Steve and team.
IN ADDITION TO THIS EXCLUSIVE CONTENT, YOU WILL ALSO GET ACCESS TO…
  • Some exciting videos produced for the Ocean City Film Festival.
  • An overview video about the breweries on the Eastern Shore.
Then, there will be a live craft beer/food pairing cook-off at the Princess Royale which we will broadcast LIVE on YouTube and Facebook.   Some of your favorite local breweries are competing to be the best from 2-3. Get ready to vote for your favorite on the Shore Craft Beer App – Please make sure to have this downloaded before the festival!
You don’t have to leave the comfort or safety of your home to enjoy this exclusive content the weekend of January 26-28, but if you WANT to, you can come to the Princess Royale on 91st Street and the ocean and pick up some of the specially curated beers to go, stay for one of their happy hours, the EVO tap takeover, or brunch.
Go to https://www.shorecraftbeerfest.com/love-on-tap.html for more information and to book your hotel package!

Buy your hotel packages at one of our featured hotels throughout Ocean City.  These hotels are offering different packages, from credits at their properties, to free breakfast, and much more.  Each hotel offers something different to guests wanting to isolate at the beach.

Please remember to bring your computers so you can access the restricted virtual content available to all participants.

Download the Shore Craft Beer App to get all events and notifications to help you negotiate the weekend.

IF YOU CAN’T COME TO OCEAN CITY FOR THIS VIRTUAL EVENT, you can buy a ticket to access our virtual content.  Every ticket over $10 will get a branded mask mailed to you.

GSN Alert: Equiano Rum Celebrates Tom Bullock

Olaudah Equiano was an 18th century freedom-fighter, abolitionist, and author whose autobiography shaped history and whose spirit is honored with every bottle made of Equiano Rum. To celebrate Black history, Ian Burrell, the Global Rum Ambassador and Co-Founder of Equiano Rum is partnering with four Black bartenders to showcase cocktails using Equiano Rum, Tom Bullock’s “The Ideal Bartender” book and Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography. The bartenders were invited to attend a virtual masterclass with Ian to learn about the spirit, how to use it and why it’s unique.

Equiano then challenged each bartender to select a recipe from The Ideal Bartender, pick an inspirational figure in black history and create an Equiano version of their Tom Bullock cocktail, telling the story of why they picked that person. The cocktail needed to be mindful of Equiano and its tasting notes, the significance of Tom Bullock as well as the inspirational figure they’re spotlighting.

In 1917, Tom Bullock was the first African American bartender to write and publish a cocktail book which has since been republished in an exact copy of its original form, showcasing favorite pre-Prohibition cocktails with an introduction penned by Ian Burrell. The original foreword of The Ideal Bartender was written by George Herbert Walker, George W Bush’s great grandfather – in those days, a white man was needed to endorse a black writer. Equiano will continue highlighting people like Olaudah who challenged the narrative and the brand is committed to bettering the bartending industry of tomorrow and the black bartenders who help craft it.

Additionally, Equiano Rum started the Equiano Rum. Co Foundation to help, aid, share, and create awareness of various injustices around the world that Equiano, as a brand, can shed light on. During Equiano Rum’s inception in 2018, Co-Founders Oli Bartlam, Aaisha Dadral, Ian Burrell, and Amanda Kakembo pledged to donate five percent of global company profits to ground level freedom and equality projects, annually. In addition, two dollars from each bottle sold directly through the website are automatically added to the grant-giving fund. Equiano Rum Co. Foundation’s first ever 2021 grant recipient is Anti-Slavery International, an organization that works to eliminate all forms of modern slavery throughout the world.

Bartender: Sargent Black, Washington DC
Cocktail Name: ‘What’s The Deal?’
Inspired by: Louis Deal
Recipe: 2 Drops of Fire Water
Bar Spoon of Sfumato Amaro
.25oz Lemon Juice
.75oz Hibiscus Syrup
2oz Equiano Rum

Build in Highball glass over pebbled ice. Top with Soda.

Garnish with Fruits & smoked cinnamon

Here’s why: “Fashioned after the ‘Bliz’s Royal Rickey,’ created by the first published black bartender, Tom Bullock. This cocktail was inspired by the experience of 1890s black bartender, Louis Deal. Living in a “separate, but equal,” Cincinnati, Deal was praised for his work ethic and hospitality, yet faced a segregated bar community with patrons threatening to boycott daily until he was removed from the bar. Through the fire and the smoke, diversity and inclusion can only take place when we know what the “Deal” is.”

Bartender: Thandi Walton, Atlanta
Cocktail Name: ‘Soweto Blues’
Inspired by: Zenzile Miriam Makeba AKA Mama Africa
Recipe: 1 1/2 oz Equiano Rum
3/4 oz Aperol
1 oz Mandarin orange juice (fresh)
1 oz Grapefruit Juice (fresh)
1/2 oz Champagne syrup
1 oz soda/sparkling water
10 dashes of Angostura Atop

Shake all ingredients except for soda water and Angostura bitters.
Strain into an iced white wine glass add soda/sparkling water stir/
swivel with bar spoon. Add dashes of Angostura atop

Garnish with dehydrated blood orange slice and edible flower.

Here’s why: “Miriam Makeba is my inspiration because while she was exiled from South Africa in the late 50s, she continued to evolve and never forgot her roots. She will always be an image of strength, beauty and courage to me.”

Bartender: Kim Hunter, Texas
Cocktail Name: ‘Miss Kitt’
Inspired by: Eartha Kitt
Recipe: 1.75 oz Equiano Rum
1 oz Yellow Chartreuse
.25 oz Agave Syrup
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
6 Raspberries

In a shaker, muddle 4 of the raspberries with the lemon juice. Add in
the agave syrup, yellow chartreuse & Equiano rum. Add ice and
shake vigorously for about 10 seconds, or until the shaker is very
cold. Double strain the cocktail into a coupe glass. Garnish with the
remaining raspberries & edible rose petals on a garnish stick. Cheers!

Here’s why: “This cocktail was inspired by the talented Eartha Kitt because she was much more than what we saw on the surface. Much like Eartha, my cocktail has layers that are unique, and it just works! Eartha showed us how delicate she could be while serenading the world with “Santa Baby”, just like the sweet and delicate raspberry. On the flip side, Ms. Kitt was fierce, strong, and quick to speak her mind on social and racial issues. She was not to be played with! Similarly, to Equiano rum and the spiced herbaceousness that yellow chartreuse lends. Just like Eartha, this cocktail will take your taste buds on a journey around the world!”

Bartender: J’Nai Angelle Williams, New Orleans
Cocktail Name: ‘Carlotta Highball’
Inspired by: La Negra Carlota
Recipe: 1.5 oz. Equiano rum
1 oz. muscat wine
3/4 oz. pear juice
1/2 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
3 dash rhubarb bitters
grapefruit soda
Sage

Add all ingredients except soda to a highball glass. Add ice and stir to mix.

Top with grapefruit soda. Garnish with sage.

Here’s why: “La Negra Carlota was an enslaved Yoruba woman in Cuba. She led a slave rebellion at the Triunvirato plantation, where she burned down the slave master’s plantation and sugar mill. She helped spread the rebellion to other
nearby plantations, which amounted to a total of 5 by the end of the revolt. The planning and execution of slave revolts was seen as highly masculine and too violent for a woman to plan, making her an anomaly.”

“This cocktail is based after the Admiral Schley Highball, which has a whiskey base. I chose Carlota for this cocktail to challenge the masculine nature of the original cocktail name, asserting that gender plays no role in battle planning abilities, similar to how flavors are not limited to any cocktail style.”  

“I took this whiskey highball and made it lighter and more aromatic by adding rum, muscat wine, and bright fruit notes.”

“Admiral Schley was an admiral in the US Navy and the hero of the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish American War. I thought it apt that Admiral Schley’s life is so heavily documented – and the recount of his historic battle is incredibly detailed – while little is known about the details of Carlota’s life, and the description of the slave rebellion she spearheaded is full of most generalizations. This goes to show that history is written by the victors and people of power.”

GSN Alert: February 19th – National Chocolate Mint Day

IMG_7831-800One of the things I miss about traveling these days, are the chocolate mints that I would find on my hotel room pillow at the end of the day.  So, when I was challenged by Fratelli Branca to create a drink for National Chocolate Mint Day using Brancamenta, I jumped at the chance.
Brancamenta is the lesser known cousin to Fernet Branca.  Branca is heavily herbal, intense and is an acquired taste for most.  Menta on the other hand is nearer to creme de menthe, except that it is dark brown in color as opposed to green or clear.
In trying to recreate the flavor profile of milk chocolate and mint, I chose dark creme de cacao, heavy cream and Brancamenta for the recipe.  And as with the tiny treat of a small candy, I decided to make a shooter instead of a cocktail.  I think it’s a winner.

Cioccolato alla Menta Shooter
0.5 oz Dark creme de cacao
0.5 oz Brancamenta
0.25 oz heavy cream

Instructions: Carefully layer each ingredient in order over the back of a bar spoon into a shot glass.  When done properly, it should look like a miniature glass of Guinness stout.

GSN Alert: Passing Time: A Virtual Wine Tasting & Talk with former Miami Dolphins Quarterback and Hall of Famer Dan Marino and former NFL QB Damon Huard

The Dan Marino Foundation presents Passing Time: A Virtual Wine Tasting & Talk with former Miami Dolphin Quarterbacks Dan Marino and Damon Huard, hosted by Andrew Lampasone with Wine Watch, a unique wine boutique based in Fort Lauderdale.

  • Participants will get an exclusive opportunity to virtually Meet & Greet with Dan Marino and Damon Huard, co-owners of Passing Time Wine based in Washington State. Guests will hear from the NFL Quarterbacks about their award-winning wine and receive an opportunity to ask questions about football and life. 
  • Guests will also hear from Andrew Lampasone, owner of Wine Watch, and Chris Peterson, the Winemaker at Passing Time Wine.
  • Registered attendees will choose from two tier options: a Passing Time Trio set to include three bottles of fine wine (2017 Passing The Time Chardonnay, 2017 Columbia Valley Red Blend, & The Flagship 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon), and a chocolate tasting box from Hoffman’s Chocolates OR a Passing Time Duo, two bottles of fine wine (2017 Passing The Time Chardonnay, 2017 Columbia Valley Red Wine).
  • Wine packages will be shipped to individual registrants prior to the event date. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Dan Marino Foundation to help support its mission to empower individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.
  • The Marino family started the Dan Marino Foundation 29 years ago with a vision that has become reality, focusing on creating opportunities leading to employment and independence for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.             

SPONSORS:        Badia Spices, United Kronos Group, Hoffman’s Chocolates, Emeril Lagasse Foundation, and Wine Watch

WHEN:                 Thursday, March 18  5:30 p.m.  – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:               Virtual Event: www.DanMarinoFoundation.org/PassingTime  

DETAILS:              Individual tickets are $250 – $350

Limited tickets are available

Reservations must be made in advance by Thursday, March 11. 

About the Dan Marino Foundation:

Founded by Dan and Claire Marino shortly after their son, Michael’s, autism diagnosis in 1992, the Dan Marino Foundation has a long and distinguished history of life-changing programs and services, with the mission to “empower individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities”.  The Foundation has raised more than $84 million to create and support unique and impactful initiatives. For more information, please visit https://danmarinofoundation.org or follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

About Passing Time

Former Dolphin QB Damon Huard had to travel 3,000 miles away from home to learn about the fine wines coming from his home state of Washington. It was teammate and NFL Hall of Famer, Dan Marion, who went into his personal cellar to introduce Damon to Washington State wines during the 1997 season. Over the next decade, the formers QB’s conversation about wine evolved into a discussion about owning and operating their own winery upon Huard’s retirement and return to Washington State. Damon’s family has deep roots in the heart of Washington wine country, helping pioneer the valley into the agricultural powerhouse that it is today. “The vision of making a truly great Washington wine is one that Damon and I have shared for a long time,” said Marino, one of the most decorated quarterback in NFL history and a member of the NFL’s Hall of Fame. “Although there are more than 900 wineries in Washington State, we believe the industry is still in its adolescence and we want to be part of it as it grows into the world’s next great wine region.” Passing Time was launched with the 2012 vintage of cabernet and released in the spring of 2015 to rave reviews from wine critics and customers alike.

About Wine Watch

From 1998 to the present, Andrew has owned and operated the Wine Watch, located in Fort Lauderdale, and today, the Wine Watch features over 4,000 different selections and a floor to ceiling display of wines in 3,000 square feet of display area that is housed in a new location that is custom built to house over 30,000 bottles they have over 10,000 active customers with over $3,500,000 in sales annually for the last five years Wine Watch is one of the largest wine only retailers in the Southeast United States. 

GSN Alert: February 18th – National Drink Wine Day

February 18th is National Drink Wine Day, which is a day each year that celebrates the love and health benefits associated with wine. According to the consulting group BW 166, wine sales in the U.S. topped $72.2 billion in 2018, which was nearly a 5 percent increase over the prior year. Clearly, we are nation that loves a good glass of wine, and the more we learn of the health benefits, the more likely more of us will add a bottle to our grocery list.

“People were enjoying a good glass of wine long before the research showed that there are health benefits,” explains Blake Helppie, managing partner at Rosé Piscine, a rosé wine specifically made to drink over ice. “Now we can enjoy our glass of wine and feel good about what it is doing for our body, too. Rarely do we find something that we enjoy so much that also provides health benefits.”

Wine enthusiasts can rejoice as they celebrate National Drink Wine Day this year, because the drink has plenty of research pointing to the fact that it’s a healthy beverage to drink in moderation. What exactly is moderation? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate drinking is up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. One drink is defined as being four ounces of wine. Further, they recommend that number is not the average consumed over a week, but the amount consumed on any given day.

Most people who enjoy having a glass of wine with their meal love the taste, but they may not be aware of the way it’s helping their body. Here are some of the many health benefits that have been associated with making wine a part of your diet:

  • Heart health. The National Institutes of Health reports that studies have shown that adults who drink light to moderate amounts of alcohol may be less likely to develop heart disease than those who do not drink at all or are heavy drinkers.
  • Gut health. The April 2017 issue of the journal Current Opinion in Biotechnology included the research results of a study on the health benefits of fermented foods, including wine. The study found that fermented foods, including wine, provide health benefits well beyond the starting food materials, and contain living microorganisms of which some are genetically similar to strains used as probiotics.
  • Diabetes health. The April 2017 issue of the journal Endocrine reports that the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend a Mediterranean diet for improving glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes. It also reports that studies show that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a 20-23 % reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Mediterranean diet is one that includes drinking wine in moderation.
  • Brain health. Research out of the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2018 found that drinking wine in moderation was associated with reducing inflammation and helping the brain to clear away toxins, including those that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

“From the brain to gut to your heart, drinking a little wine has health benefits for most people,” added Helppie. “It’s nice to feel good about what you are drinking, whether with dinner, at a party, or at the beach. You can drink some wine and know you are doing your body good.”

GSN Alert: Discover Flagstaff Virtual Beer Month This February

Northern Arizona has always been THE place for hiking, biking, skiing, and sightseeing in breathtaking beauty. But the real adventure begins in the heart of the city. Flagstaff’s local breweries have something to please everyone’s craft beer palate, from distinctive IPAs and light-hearted Sessions to limited-edition brews and Kölsch-style ales.

So grab a passport and start exploring the wild creativity that has turned Flagstaff into Arizona’s Craft Brew City. Best of all, your journey ends with the treasure of a lasting trail memory: A special-edition commemorative nonic-style pint glass. Cheers!

FIND OUT MORE HERE

GSN Alert: February 2nd – National Pisco Sour Day

1610834_10152862980905943_61540934822568108_nThe Pisco Sour has been around for nearly 100 years now, but you still rarely see it on cocktail menus outside of metropolitan cities.  Hailing from Lima, Peru, it was created by Victor Morris an ex-patriot American.  Designed as a South American spin on the Whiskey Sour, it became an instant hit.  Originally a simple mix of pisco, simple syrup and lime juice, by 1924 the recipe included the key addition of egg white topped with aromatic bitters.  Sadly, only five years later Morris declared bankruptcy and soon passed from cirrhosis of the liver.  Perhaps too much of a good thing.

If you want the total authentic experience, make sure to use Amargo Chuncho bitters which are made in Peru.

Pisco Sour
1.5oz Peruvian pisco (Caravedo, Barsol or Encanto are good brands)
0.75oz fresh lemon juice
1oz simple syrup
1 small egg white
Amargo Chuncho Peruvian Cocktail Bitters (use Angostura bitters in a pinch)Combine pisco, juice, syrup and egg white in a shaker; and shake vigorously without ice. Add ice, shake well again and strain neat. Place a few drops of bitters on top of the foam.

GSN Alert: January 31st – National Brandy Alexander Day

brandy-alexander-290x290Sure, we’ve all had at least one Brandy Alexander in our lifetimes.  But rarely does anyone wonder who the eponymous Alexander was.  My good friend Gary ‘gaz” Regan wrote about the origins of this dessert-like concotion a few years ago.  Here’s what he discovered.

“One of the earliest known printed recipes for the Alexander can be found in Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. The cocktail, according to historian Barry Popik, was likely born at Rector’s, New York’s premier pre-Prohibition lobster palace. The bartender there, a certain Troy Alexander, created his eponymous concoction in order to serve a white drink at a dinner celebrating Phoebe Snow.

Phoebe Snow, I should explain, was a fictitious character used in an advertising campaign for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. The company wanted to get the message across that it powered its locomotives with anthracite, a clean-burning variety of coal. The ads emphasized this by showing Ms. Snow traveling while wearing a snow-white dress.

Getting back to the Brandy Alexander, I should note that it was first known as the Alexander #2. Want to know the secret to making the drink? Go heavy on the brandy and light on the sweet stuff. My recipe is a decent jumping-off point; you can play with it to make it your own. Try the original gin-based Alexander, too.  It’s a mighty fine drink.”

Here’s gaz’s recipe:

Brandy Alexander
2 oz Cognac or other fine aged brandy
1 oz Dark crème de cacao
1 oz Cream
Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg
Glass: Cocktail

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

GSN Alert: January 25th – National Irish Coffee Day

Jameson Irish CoffeeAlthough we’re celebrating National Irish Coffee Day today, the actual date of its arrival on our shores was on 11/10/52.  It was imported from Ireland to San Francisco via Stanton Delaplane who first had a taste of it at Shannon Airport.  The creator was Chef Joe Sheridan.

Here is Sheridan’s original recipe.  “Cream as rich as an Irish brogue; coffee as strong as a friendly hand; sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue; and whiskey smooth as the wit of the land.”

In case that is too vague, here are some recommendations for you.  Use a heavy whipping cream, all the better if it comes from grass-fed cows.  The coffee should be French Press pot using a Full-City or Vienna roast.  I prefer to use Demerara sugar cubes, and the whiskey should be Jameson’s or Powers.

Dale DeGroff also has this to say: “Never use canned cream in an Irish Coffee. Whip your own cream without sugar by placing a stainless steel bowl or pitcher in the fridge until it is very cold . Start with very cold heavy cream and whisk or whip to just under stiff so the cream has no bubbles and will still pour slowly. Always sweeten the coffee using brown sugar or brown sugar syrup. Finally don’t drown the drink in coffee, about 4 ounces is all you need. Try to find the classic stemmed Irish Coffee glasses, because of their size they will force you to use the right amount of coffee. Those are the tricks we use in the business to make drinks bartender proof.”

Irish Coffee
1 1/2 oz. Jamesons Irish Whiskey
1 oz. Brown Sugar Syrup
Coffee
Lightly Whipped Unsweetened Cream

Combine Whiskey, coffee and syrup in an Irish coffee glass. Ladle one inch of cream on top.