219. Sherry and Bitters

219. Sherry and Bitters - Hero

Next on the list of lame two-ingredient cocktails (at least they’re easy to make!), one of my favorite ingredients! Let’s see if it rescues the drink.

Let’s see, how can I put the words in this cocktail into a story about the Olympics? Which is clearly the important news right now… Here’s an interview with the “team mom” for a lot of Team USA – Sherry Von Reisen. Boom.

219. Sherry and Bitters - Ingredients

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85. General Harrison’s Egg Nogg

85. General Harrison's Egg Nogg - Hero

I’m a little confused. I think the “General Harrison” in the title is referring to William Henry Harrison, who was a relatively famous General in the period prior to the writing of this cocktail book. However, he was also President of the United States, also prior to the writing of this book. So… shouldn’t this be “President Harrison’s Egg Nogg?” Or is there someone else? (I also found a general in the English Civil War but I doubt it was him.)

To be an useful purveyor of news, I’m going to focus on the General in this title, not Harrison (though I did find this entertaining and useless article). The biggest news is, of course, the revelation that Russia probably did act to influence the general election, and that Trump doesn’t really care and thinks it’s stupid (at the time of writing). Both things are, unfortunately, not hugely surprising. You may need a drink.

85. General Harrison's Egg Nogg - Ingredients

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213. Brandy Straight

213. Brandy Cocktail

Well, I’m back from a slightly extended summer break! I’ve got a number of drinks lined up, so we should be a little less last minute than we have in the past. Not that you’d know that, I guess — the secret’s out!

Anyways, sometimes Jerry Thomas is kind of odd. Or maybe it’s just the 1800s? Not sure. In any case, this drink is definitely one of the stranger ones, for multiple reasons. One: does this “recipe” even need to be codified? Two: was the term he mentions common at the time? Three: should bartenders, especially those concerned with highly crafted cocktails, really condone this type of drinking? Four: What does he mean by “safe?”

On the news front, everything seems to be going to hell generally, so you might just need to order a drink and keep the bottle. almost 50,000 acres of country burned by wildfires this week alone, massive floods in Louisiana, and probably other things equally terrible that I either don’t know about or was too upset to read about. So, stay sharp out there, and help out where you can. Donating blood is always a great option, as well as donating money to good causes, if you have some to spare.

Also, all emphasis is added by Jerry Thomas, not me, in the following recipe.

213. Brandy Cocktail Ingredients

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Mammoth Brewing Company – To Go

Time for the second in my series of breweries that have bears in their logo. This one makes slightly less sense than Big Bear Lake Brewing, but I’ll take it.

As some of you may know, I was actually living up in Mammoth for the past month. This made it a little tricky to create any drinks in my minuscule Airbnb kitchen, so that’s why you’ve been seeing all these reviews. I’ll get back to the cocktails soon, I promise. Anyway, the one thing I could do was taste all 15 beers available at the Mammoth Brewing Company. So I did. Continue reading “Mammoth Brewing Company – To Go”

Big Bear Lake Brewing Company – To Go

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I’m renaming this category! I’ve been traveling a lot lately, so there are more and more of these alcoholic postcards to write. Hence, “To Go,” which seems fitting, especially after our New Orleans experience of To Go booze.

Anyways, we were in Big Bear a few weekends ago, and of course we stopped in to their brewery — the Big Bear Lake Brewing Company — for a flight. It wasn’t a huge place, only 6 beers to try, but it was nice enough. They did have a very questionably “patio” that we chilled on with our friends; it was only about 1.5 people deep at maximum, but we could look out onto the oncoming rainstorm which was kind of fun.

(I’ve put a photo of their own tasting notes at the end of this post, if you’re interested.)

Barely Legal Honey Blonde – ABV 6.5%
This actually tasted like a sort of nutty, roasty mead. We didn’t taste licorice, though the card we got with it said that we should. Very malty, not hoppy at all. Nice!

Half Wit Belgian Wit – ABV 6.0%
I did not like this at all. It smelled like bananas, and had a similar aftertaste, which really wasn’t great.

Black Raspberry Session Pale Ale – ABV 4.3%
It smelled like raspberry but tasted like nothing. Hoppy, gross nothingness. It also wasn’t very bubbly, but that may have been because the tender poured it out of a pitcher for some slightly unclear reason. Our least favorite.

Ode to Winslow Chocolate Porter – ABV 6.6%
This was fine. Chocolate and coffee flavors like a classic porter / stout type drink. As you would expect.

Watergate Session Pale Ale – ABV 4.2%
Way too hoppy. But not many other flavors — almost watery. I hated it, but you could at least tell that there wasn’t much alcohol in it so you could drink a lot of it. If you liked that sort of thing.

Whispering Pine Belgian IPA – ABV 7.0% / IBU: 68
Still hoppy, but at least has flavors, unlike the other ones. The hops keep going and going on the aftertaste, but at least there’s a pine flavor to go along with them to make it a little better.

Well, we didn’t really love these. The Honey Blonde was the best of the bunch, but who knows — if you like IPAs more than I do (I feel like most people do) maybe you’ll like the brewery. And it’s still a fun place to go, even if you don’t like the beer.

Beer-Tasting-Notes

228. Soda Nectar

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This was a very exciting drink for me, less for the particular flavors and mix itself, and more for the interesting technique it allowed me to learn. In short, if you put a little baking soda into an acidic drink, it makes it bubbly! Which totally makes sense, but it’s not something I had ever thought about before. Who needs a SodaStream when you have baking soda? (But note that I still do have one.)

The Soda Nectar is also notable for being non-alcoholic. Thomas actually has a number of non-alcoholic concoctions in his book — a lot of various lemonades, among other things — and I’m excited to go through those as well. Especially the orgeat lemonade, but that’s another entry.

One note about this one: he uses “carbonate of soda” which is technically different from baking soda (Na2CO3 versus NaHCO3) but may not actually be edible? Obviously it’s basically edible (you can actually make it just by heating up baking soda for a while) but there were enough conflicting sources online that I chose not to use it. Also it’s hard to find. “Washing soda” is the other name for it.

In a surprisingly relevant piece of soda news, Pepsi is going to be opening a restaurant in New York Meat Packing District this spring called the “Kola House,” with cuisine “inspired by the exploration of the kola nut.” Which actually sounds kind of cool, as long as they’re open to serving Coke instead of Pepsi.

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228. Soda Nectar

(Use large tumbler.)

  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • ¾ tumblerful of water.
  • Powdered white sugar to taste. [I probably used about 3 tablespoons, which shows you how sweet sodas are.]
  • ½ teaspoon of carbonate of soda. [Again, I used baking soda here.]
  • Strain the juice of the lemon, and add it to the water, with sufficient white sugar to sweeten the whole nicely. When well mixed, put in the soda, stir well, and drink while the mixture is in an effervescing state.

Soda Nectar Fizz

Tasting Notes:

BN: As I mentioned before, the drink itself was not super fascinating; it’s basically just bubbly lemonade. However, I just can’t get over the baking soda thing. It kept it bubbly for a while, too — it wasn’t like a grade-school volcano — and I definitely want to try it again in other circumstances!

PiC: It was cool! It was basically like a lemon soda — it’s a cool way of doing that and it didn’t taste like baking soda which was good. Let’s try it with other flavors! (And can we do it with non-acidic flavoring? SCIENCE!)

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¡Tepache! Pineapple Cider – Boozy Newsie News Flash

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Been a while since one of these, but the Boozy Newsie News Flashes are just quick reviews of drinks, places, events, anything that I’ve experienced recently. Here’s the latest!

I’ve had a lot of ciders, of varying types (hard, sparkling, regular, pasteurized, raw and probably dangerous…) and my favorite is still the fresh-from-the-press bottles you can get at Russell Orchards in Essex, Massachusetts. Not trying to be hipster and know about niche places — mainly it’s right near where I grew up.

Until a few weeks ago, though, I had never had cider made from anything but apples and a few pear versions. Until Reverend Nat came along with a pineapple one. Technically, it’s Padre Nat, just like Trader’s Joe’s Jose / Giotto / Ming / etc. variations for its foreign foods.

Called ¡Tepache!, exclamation points included, you’re instructed to mix 2:1 with a light beer (for best results). We tried both that concoction (¡Tepache!-Tecate is a mouthful) as well as drinking it neat, and it was definitely an interesting experience.

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Tasting Notes:

BN: The cider was very sweet and light orange in color, with only a hint of carbonation. It wasn’t as acidic as pineapple juice is, but still had a good flavor of the fruit. Honestly, it tasted a little more like juice than it did cider or beer. I suppose that’s why they want you to mix it. Putting it together with a can of Tecate we had laying around somewhere, it added the right body and bubbles to the drink, without overpowering the pineapple flavor. It tasted like an unusual shandy, and I liked it, though I’m not sure I would have it again. It could be good for mixing in other combinations, but by itself it didn’t really have the right kind of oomph that I would be looking for in such a drink.

PiC: I definitely liked it better with the Tecate, but it was a little too sweet without it. It should taste more alcoholic.

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