News Flash – Otium

Recently we made a visit to Otium in downtown LA, a chic contemporary restaurant in downtown LA. The food will be discussed on the Partner In Crime’s blog, but the drinks, of course, are here.

Milk Punch

Milk Punch – Bourbon, Rum, Masala Chai, Allspice Dram

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The Irish Derby

The Irish Derby

I’ll get back to Jerry Thomas soon, I promise! This is another dinner party drink, this one St. Patrick’s Day themed. I found this gem of a cocktail when investigating drinks that weren’t Irish coffee, car bombs, or generally green in color.

Probably the most important (American, as opposed to Irish) news that came out recently is of course the fact that the Republicans in Congress could not agree on their own health bill, and Obamacare / the ACA remains in place for the foreseeable future. I actually like this news for two reasons: one, I am a fan of Obamacare, but two, I actually appreciate that for once people were not just blindly voting on party lines. Granted, some of the Republicans that would have voted no would have done so because it was TOO similar to Obamacare, so that’s not quite what I’m going for, but at least it’s a start.

The Irish Derby - Ingredients

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The Al Capone

The Al Capone - Hero

This is the second drink I made for the Speakeasy party (the other being the French .45). It’s a pretty simple cocktail, just a modification of a Moscow Mule but I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a version of a Moscow Mule that wasn’t delicious so how can you go wrong. As evidenced by the name, this represented the Mob side of the game.

There’s no vocab I can really spark on newswise (there are some recent comparisons of Rachel Maddow and Trump’s tax returns to opening Al Capone’s vault live online to find nothing, but that’s boring), so instead I’ll share something that is only related through train of thought. Speakeasy > Prohibition > Smuggling > Tunnels > this cool story! Enjoy.

The Al Capone - Ingredients

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The French .45

IMG_5149

Last weekend, our friends hosted a Speakeasy party, and we were tapped to provide the drinks. For those of you that don’t know (most of you, I assume), Speakeasy is a party game where you lie to each other (always fun) and try to figure things out about the other team without knowing who’s actually on which team, and obviously lends itself very well to having 1920’s theme decor and comestibles.

Since I didn’t want to be stuck behind the bar the whole time, I opted for two batched drinks, attempting to satisfy both those guests who wanted a lighter, fruitier drink and those who wanted something a little more spirit-forward. Both of these ended up rather on the first end of that spectrum, but I was okay with that. This one, the French .45 (like the gun) represented “The Feds” in the game, and is apparently the more original recipe for a French 75 (usually with gin). The second drink, the Al Capone, was obviously for “The Mob” and, well, you’ll just have to take a look at that post to find out.

Some not so great news coming out of the French town of Grasse yesterday, when a teenager committed a school shooting, which is rather uncommon outside of the US. The silver lining is that no injuries were considered life threatening.

The French .45 - Ingredients

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69. West Indian Punch

69. West Indian Punch - Hero

Here’s another variation on JT’s Brandy Punch (after last week’s Barbadoes Punch). I, for one, didn’t know that preserved (not candied) ginger was a thing, but apparently it’s pretty common in British-esque countries. And is very tasty. I’ve eaten many a “clove” or two on their own once I found it at our local British food store. It’s a pity it’s not more common.

One of the biggest news stories today is Wikileak’s release of details on CIA hacking tools that can snoop on your phone, computer, and even your connected TV. This is not super surprising, as the spy agency is just that — a spy agency — but it will definitely pose problems for the western organization (ugh that’s a stretch) as some of the tricks of their trade are now revealed.

69. West Indian Punch - Ingredients

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70. Barbadoes Punch

70. Barbadoes Punch - Hero

This is one of the many variations on JT’s Brandy Punch (which was delicious). It is notable for being one of the drinks I never thought I would actually make, due to the required additional ingredient — guava jelly. Because who has that? That’s not a thing! Then, one of our friends brought back some guava jam as a gift from a tropical trip so… problem solved! Technically jam not jelly I suppose but close enough.

The only news that I could understand about Barbado[e]s itself was this which does not merit repeating here. So, instead, some regular news. Scientists have found what they think are the oldest micro-fossils yet, dating back to 3.77 billion years ago. They are probably bacteria that lived around hot volcanic vents in the ocean’s floor. Cool!

70. Barbadoes Punch - Ingredients

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Strawberry Basil Margarita

Strawberry Basil Margarita - Hero

One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to have more dinner parties. And so, I have been working on that! To that end, here is a drink we served, taken from a cocktail book I received as a Christmas present.

Since I’m actually writing this article day of, it’s a little easier to find news. Mexico, the home of the margarita, is having some issues with the US. What’s new? Particularly because of the changing opinions (and laws?) on immigration, we’re seeing relations get a little bit frosty. If that’s a word you can use for two countries that border on a desert. Anyways, a meeting earlier today between Mexican officials and our new Secretary of State showed some animosity, but nothing that can’t be handled. Hopefully.

Strawberry Basil Margarita - Ingredients

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106. Bottle Cocktail

106. Bottle Cocktail - Hero

So, turns out this is pretty much the same as one of his others, the Brandy Cocktail, just in a bottle. I guess if you made it the actual size he wanted (we cut it down considerably) it’s more useful as a separate recipe, for storing and whatnot. Aged cocktails are certainly a thing now, though I haven’t yet tried the little bit of this we have left, so I don’t know if it improved with age. Either way, I got to use my new bitters!

Not really any keywords to go on for this one. Hm. It’s also really tough for me to not always default to “terrible things that are happening with our government.” So, instead, let’s go for “interesting things that are happening with other governments.” Earlier this week, Kim Jong-Un’s half brother was killed in Malaysia. The mystery surrounding this continues, as a somewhat exciting intrigue/conspiracy plot with North Korea suspected of carrying out the killing. If it weren’t real life, I’d enjoy reading it in a spy novel!

106. Bottle Cocktail - Ingredients

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Chilled Cider Punch

Chilled Cider Punch - Hero

Today’s interlude is brought to you not by Jerry Thomas, but by the New Year’s Eve party I made this for. This is a (very tasty) recipe, modified in this particular occasion, from Saveur magazine, presented below. I’ve made this a few times now, though, and it’s always a hit. A little dangerous alcohol-wise, and addictive, but hey, it (was) New Year’s Eve. Might as well!

For those of you in the northeast, be warned! Your houses are about to be chilled again with a “one-two punch” (their words, not mine, so it’s okay) of more bad weather this weekend. It’s times like these I really miss being back home. Which is weird, I know, but it’s just how I am. Will hopefully be up in the snowy California mountains soon, which is almost as good. Anyways, wait out the storm with a hot cider and then you’ve got all three words in one blurb! I mean… a good drink. Both.

Chilled Cider Punch - Ingredients

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130. Porter Sangaree

130. Porter Sangaree - Hero

This is an alternate version of one we’ve already tested, the Ale Sangaree. This one is better.

Hopefully, the most important thing that will happen today in the news is the Super Bowl, this afternoon between the Patriots and the Falcons. Being from New England, my choice here is clear, and so I will be a porter of Pats spirit even here in LA — or let’s face it, most places — where people kind of hate them. At press time, the odds are 61% in favor of the Pats (according to FiveThirtyEight) so I’m okay with that. Have fun watching!

130. Porter Sangaree - Ingredients

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