Out of the Jar by Gestalten is a new book about the best, and some of the most unusual spirits from small distillers around the world. These are spirits made by a new generation of distillers who are using combinations of rare fruits, herbs, grains and spices to reinvent and reinterpret high octane recipes for alcoholic drinks. The book features distillers that are crafting these by hand from the distllery to to bottling the final product. The video above introduces a hands-on whiskey maker from a prohibition-era distillery in Brooklyn, a passionate mezcalero who doesn’t chicken out from an unusual recipe, and a Berlin-based artisan whose rum is taking the world’s best cocktail bars by storm. It’s a nice little video short with quality production value, and it makes me want to go find some of the booze featured here.
Nothing says patriotism like blowing things up while you consume alcoholic beverages. While beer is probably the number one choice of booze to drink on the Fourth of July, some of us might prefer something a bit different. Perhaps a Bourbon Cherry Seltzer. The recipe sounds more difficult than it is, and the results are definitely worth your time to make it.
It’s New Year’s Eve, and that calls for cocktails. Tasty tasty cocktails made with fine spirits, and the delicate touch of a well trained mixologist. For this years New Year’s cocktail endeavor, I’ve decided to try a new take on an old standard. The Ritz Old Fashioned. This is really a basic Old Fashioned with a few extra ingredients to give it some extra snap. As always, the better the booze, the better the taste. You can substitute any of the brands here, but I’m sticking with the good stuff.
2 oz Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey
2/3 oz Grand Marnier orange liqueur
1 tsp Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp egg white
1 large sugar cube
1 dash Fee Brothers Orange bitters
1 oz soda water
2 Griottenes Brandy Infused Cherries
1 Orange slice
1 Lemon Slice
Sugar in a saucer for the glass rim.
Rim an old-fashioned glass with lemon juice and sugar.
Place a teaspoon-sized sugar cube into the glass, and saturate with Fee Brother’s Orange bitters.
Fill the glass three-quarters of the way with chipped ice. (Medium sized cubes will work)
Shake other ingredients (except soda) and strain into the glass.
Top with a small amount of soda water if desired.
Add two Griottenes Brandy Infused Cherries on a cocktail skewer, with half slices of orange and lemon.
Every once in a while you stumble across a website that is simple brilliance. Drinkify is my case in point today. The concept is simple, “What music are you listening to right now?”, “This is the drink you should have with it.”
Powered by The Echo Nest, and Last.fm the site tries to make intelligent choices about drink suggestions based on the style of music, the period, and the musician. In my attempts it did a pretty good job, although I don’t think of Merlot when listening to Charlie Parker. I’m thinking more like a Manhattan, or Martini for his brand of Bebop. (They did get the quantity right though on the amount of Merlot Charlie Parker would have drank)
Back in December I heard that Infinium Bière de Champagne by Boston Beer Company was about to be released, so I of course began a search for the golden nectar but wasn’t able to secure a bottle of it. Only 15,000 cases of Infinium were shipped to the United States and with all the hype, I pretty much knew that I wouldn’t be able to secure a bottle here in Kansas City.
Because of the hype surrounding the Bière de Champagne, I read and heard a number of reviews about this beer before it even hit the store shelves. The fact is if you follow anything about beer or wine it would have been almost impossible to avoid the hype that led up to Infinium’s release. This was going to be a revolution in brewing; a brand new beer following the Reinheitsgebot.
For those that are curious, the Reinheitsgebot is a 16th century Bavarian decree. The Reinheitsgebot was the German purity law as it pertained to beer. In the original law it stated that only three ingredients could be included in beer: water, hops, and barley. (you might recognize the missing and quite necessary and crucial component for fermentation, yeast.) Because of the Reinheitsgebot traditionally, the yeast would either be introduced from remaining sediment from previous batches of fermented beer. If that process failed, the brewers would then leave their beers to rest and they would hope for spontaneous fermentation from wild yeast. If you dig around a bit you will find out that, Infinium is not a brand new style of beer, but a Bière de Champagne. If Infinium strictly followed the Reinheitsgebot creating a Bière de Champagne would be a near impossibility. Bière de Champagne usually comes in with an alcohol of 10% – 15% by volume. Because of this, you need very specific high gravity yeasts to achieve the desired fermentation result. So while they claim that Infinium Bière de Champagne follows the Reinheitsgebot, it probably doesn’t follow the original to the letter of the law.
Anyway, the real point of this post is, it turns out my neighbor had a bottle and offered to share a taste with me.
Infinium pours a honey gorgeous amber-colored liquid with a thick white head that has a hint of sandy pink that lingers for some time before dissipating and leaving a and heavy lacing of white on the sides of your glass. On first taste it had a feel of a lighter barley wine. As for the nose I was expecting some of the brightness and dry acidity that comes from champagne, but it was definitely missing. What I got was the surprising aroma of malt with hints of honeysuckle and possibly rose. Infinium was sweeter on the palate than I anticipated, and there is a fine effervescence that felt lighter than a traditional beer. Along with the aromas present in the nose, there are distinct flavors of honey, and grape notes. The finish on the beer is dry and bitter with a lingering that seems to hold with you for quite sometime after you swallow. If you are a traditionalist when it comes to beer you might find this a bit odd. The beer isn’t unpleasant, but it is different, and if you aren’t adventurous, you’ll be in for a surprise. One thing I really like about the Infinium is how well it holds its carbonation. After an hour and a half, the beer seemed as bubbly as it did when it was opened.
This beer is far more complex than I thought it would be, and while I was surprised at the sweetness it is still a fine craft beer. I would have liked something to cut through the sweetness. The beer is sweet enough you probably wouldn’t drink more than one glass at a time. It needs some level of acidity or bitter to counter balance all that sugar though. It might just be me tonight, the long and strong bitter finish should compensate for the initial sweetness, and I just might not be feeling it tonight.
Now the real kicker here is the price. My neighbor paid over $25.00 for a bottle of this back in January. There are plenty of other beers of equal to or greater than quality at this price point. It is up to you the drinker, but at 25 bucks I won’t be running out to buy this if it makes its way back here any time soon.
I do however appreciate the taste I got, and if I am offered another, I’ll be sure and imbibe.
As the Christmas season got into full swing a few weeks back, one night while out at Happy Hour with friends Kristy coined the phrase “The Twelve Cocktails of Christmas”, and a new tradition was born.
At that point, using a couple of apps for the iPhone and my original drink menu from The Oak Bar, I decided to try twelve bourbon based drinks. One a day from December 12 to the 25th. (Yes I know that’s thirteen days.)
Below are the thirteen drinks I tried and recipes on how to make them. ( I went for a baker’s dozen ). With New Year’s Eve approaching, you can use this list as inspiration for your upcoming festivities.