Archive for the ‘Gin’ Category

February 26th, 2009

The Kissinger’s Eyebrow

The Kissinger’s Eyebrow — that’s the first “specialty drink” Conan O’Brien wants to learn in bartending school. “You’re a piano teacher, and Mozart just walked in,” he informs his instructor.

This is one of the many classic Conan sketches that have been virally making the rounds lately amid speculation over whether, now that he’s moving to L.A., hosting the Tonight Show, and going on air at the tame hour of 11:30 p.m., the Brookline native will continue to be ass-kickingly funny. Well, if the feared scenario rears its ugly head, at least we’ll always have stuff like this to watch online.

Based on Conan’s description of his favorite specialty cocktail, I’ve attempted a recipe.

Kissinger’s Eyebrow

1 oz gin
1 oz tequila
1/4 oz grenadine
1 hair from Kissinger’s eyebrow

Shake first three ingredients well over ice and strain into shot glass. Garnish with eyebrow hair. Shoot.

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Posted in Bartenders, Cocktails, Gin, Tequila | 2 Comments »

November 28th, 2008

Repeal Day bash at Eastern Standard

Repeal Day crowd at a bar

This December 5 marks 75 years since Prohibition was repealed, and Eastern Standard is celebrating this historic day with a blowout befitting the most extravagant speakeasies of the Roaring Twenties. (They’ve been celebrating all year, actually, with Prohibition-era cocktail specials.) The party starts on Thursday evening, December 4, and ends appropriately with a wee-hours-of-the-morning breakfast on December 5. If you’re up for a splurge, or ready to demand an early Christmas present, I strongly encourage you to get tickets for this thing.

In fact, the ticket price of $120 per person is a pretty great deal. The evening starts at 6:30 with a “juice joint” reception featuring bathtub gin, hors d’oeuvres and live of-the-era music by Miss Tess. This is followed by a six-course dinner with cocktails (see below). At 10:00 p.m., the dancing starts, courtesy of Jazz Age tunes by DJ Brother Cleve. But wait, there’s more: a 1:00 a.m. breakfast to fortify you after all that dancing and drinking. So, pull out those vintage threads you wore to the LUPEC Boston Tea Party last year and call 617-532-9100 or email for reservations. If you’re strictly a late-night owl, arrive at 10:00 for only $40 per person.

Eastern Standard Repeal Day Six-Course Dinner

First Course: Ampersand Cocktail
Buttermilk Fried Oysters with Standard Caesar Salad and Pernod Remoulade

Second Course: Waldorf-Astoria’s Perfect Martini
3 eggs, 3 styles
1) Thin, Toasted Rye Wheel, Smear of Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese, Caviar
2) White Truffle Scrambled (with shaved white truffle)
3) Deviled Egg

Third Course: Maiden’s Prayer
Maine Lobster in Pastry with a Sherry Cream Sauce, Peas and Carrots

Fourth Course: The Scofflaw
Philadelphia Pepper Pot Stew
Lamb Neck, Sweetbread, and Cockscomb, Root Vegetables

Fifth Course: The Charles Lindbergh
Roasted Karabuta Pork Chop
Scalloped Potatoes, Housemade Sauerkraut

Dessert: Corpse Reviver #3
Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Cardamom Tapioca

Hope to see you there!

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Posted in Cocktails, Events, Gin | No Comments »

November 18th, 2008

Plymouth Rocks

Simon Ford, Plymouth Gin-Eastern Standard dinnerThis is the time of year when every culinary scribe in the nation chips in to solve a seemingly widespread problem: What to Drink with Thanksgiving Dinner. Wine writers have made pinot noir a standard tipple to pair with turkey and stuffing. Beer writers are making inroads with the argument that, actually, craft brews offer way more variety for Thanksgiving pairings than wine. Historical purists would advocate drinking water, as that is likely all the Pilgrims had on hand during their 1621 feast with the Wampanoag Indians. I don’t know if hosts are really in as much agony over what to serve with gravy-soaked root vegetables as they’re made out to be, but if they are, I have an easy answer: Plymouth Gin.

Unlike, say, wine, Plymouth Gin actually has a connection to the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony. The Mayflower set sail from the original Plymouth, in England. Not only that, the night before they left for the New World, the Pilgrim Fathers lodged in a former monastery dating from the 1400s that is today known as Black Friars Distillery, a.k.a. the producer of Plymouth Gin. The ship that appears on the gin’s label? Yep, it’s the Mayflower.

Coriander venison chop Eastern StandardI learned all this on a little junket I attended recently: a dinner in Eastern Standard‘s private dining room with Plymouth’s brand ambassador, British drinks expert Simon Ford. (For the record, I was a devotée of this crisp, balanced gin before the company plied me with product.) This was a multi-course Thanksgiving of sorts that paired Plymouth Gin-based cocktails with dishes that featured some of the botanicals used in distilling the spirit. Kevin Martin led the Eastern Standard bar staff in mixing up French 75s, Alaskas and Gin Flips, among others. Dishes included a coriander-crusted venison chop, rabbit terrine with juniper berries, and cardamom tapioca pudding. And, believe it or not, before dinner we were given a steamed towel scented with orris root. Fancy!

Kevin Martin, Eastern Standard-Plymouth Gin dinnerReps from the Pernod Ricard company, which owns the Plymouth brand, informed me that Boston is a hot market for this gin. Given that every bar doing classic cocktails stocks the stuff (thanks largely to the pioneering B-Side Lounge), I’m not surprised.

Fun facts about Plymouth gin:

  • Not long after it was first distilled in 1793, Plymouth Gin became the official gin of the British Royal Navy. And because the navy shipped it everywhere, it became one of the first global brands.
  • Black Friars Distillery is the oldest working distillery in England, with records of spirit-making dating to the 1600s.
  • Like Scotch whiskey and Cheddar cheese, Plymouth Gin has its own appellation contrôlée, which means the spirit can only be distilled in Plymouth.
  • The pot still in which every drop of Plymouth Gin is made was installed in 1850.
  • In 1896 the first printed recipe for a Dry Martini, in Stuart’s Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them, specified Plymouth Gin.

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Posted in Cocktails, Gin | 19 Comments »

September 26th, 2008

A little follow-up on recent events

So, I announce some interesting event at a bar, like a Boston-New York bartender exchange or a tasting of Old Tom gin, tell everyone to check it out, and then just skip to the next post without recollecting the pleasant times that have given me, as Diana Ross would say, the sweetest hangover. My bad. Here’s a little follow-up on recent events.

That bartender exchange between Eastern Standard and PDT? Well done. I don’t have any intel yet on how ES’s Kevin Martin fared in New York, but it was a pleasure to be PDT bartender Daniel Eun’s patron during his guest stint in Boston. The highlight for me was Daniel’s beer cocktail. It involved a vigorously shaken mixture of Aventinus (a delicious weizenbock from the German brewery G. Schneider & Son), Sailor Jerry Rum, a whole egg and a bit of nutmeg grated over the drink’s frothy crown. As I told a friend, that drink was so good I wanted to marry it. Or at least shack up with it for the winter.

The B-Side Group Hug was a lot of fun, with a roomful of regulars, industry people and cocktailians paying their boozy respects. Would some bartender out there please keep the B-Side’s Tommy Noble cocktail alive? I love this combo of gin, Pimm’s, simple syrup and lemon juice. It’s a great drink to start the evening with, and it’s perfect for brunch, too. Oh, and FYI: B-Side barmen Al and Russ are both doing stints at the old Downtown Crossing haunt Cafe Marliave, which has recently been re-vamped.

Last night at Deep Ellum, a dozen or so people — many of them industry — gathered on the back porch to taste Hayman’s Old Tom Gin and Dolin Vermouth with Eric Seed of the Minnesota-based import company Haus Alpenz. There were people from Rialto, Dante, Eastern Standard, the Wine Bottega and Reservoir Wine & Spirits. Luckily for my lazy ass, Fred and Andrea from the Cocktail Virgin Slut blog were there taking notes, so if you want details on these spirits (and on the Trilby cocktail that bartender Max Toste mixed with them), check out this post. Max also showcased the Old Tom in a Tom Collins and a Ramos Gin Fizz, among other delights.

Thanks again to all of you who make going out to bars in Boston more interesting and fun than ever.

Posted in Beer, Boston bars, Cocktails, Events, Gin, Vermouth | 4 Comments »

September 23rd, 2008

A taste of Old Tom at Deep Ellum

Hayman’s Old Tom GinFirst: thanks to everyone who turned up for the B-Side Group Hug last night. Miraculously, I am fully conscious today despite being at the bar from doors-open to last call. It was fun.

Now for tomorrow night, Wednesday, September 24: Eric Seed of Haus Alpenz Importing introduces a spirit not seen since before Prohibition — Old Tom gin — to the Boston area at Deep Ellum from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Haus Alpenz has made several defunct or obscure spirits available again to mixologists — Pimento Dram (aka Allspice Liqueur), Creme de Violette and Batavia Arrack, to name a few. Here’s the company’s description of Old Tom:

“Old Tom Gin is a botanically-intensive and lightly sweetened style of gin popular in the 18th Century and was the Gin of Choice in the 19th Century. Relative to London Dry Gin, the Old Tom style imparts a more complex and flavourful taste experience. With its distinctive profile the Old Tom style of gin is the key ingredient in classic cocktails such as the Martinez, Tom Collins and Ramos Gin Fizz. Hayman Distillers is the longest serving family owned gin distillery in England. Hayman’s Old Tom Gin is produced from an original recipe from the family archives.”

Deep Ellum bartender and co-owner Max Toste and his staff will serve some classic cocktails using Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, including the Martinez (said to be the precursor to the Martini) and the Tom Collins. In addition to the Old Tom gin, Eric will also have on hand some Peruvian bitters (Pisco Sour, anyone?) and vermouth from the small French distillery Dolin de Chambery.

FYI, BRIX stores will carry Hayman’s Old Tom Gin as early as the end of this week, and Dolin Vermouth is due to arrive in about two months.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Events, Gin | 11 Comments »

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