January 25th, 2010

Nips – 1/25/10


» HAITI. Like a lot of people responding to the needs of disaster-striken Haiti, I’ve been texting donations to the Red Cross, over-tipping Creole-speaking cab drivers, and ordering Haitian rum (or rhum) at bars. Recently, Drink joined several bars across the country in fundraising for Haiti by creating a menu of drinks using quality rhums agricoles and donating some of the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders. If you’re near Fort Point this week, pop by and raise a glass to an urgent cause.

» BENEDICTINE. Congrats to Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard for being one of five finalists from around the country in Benedictine Liqueur’s  “Alchemists of Our Age” cocktail contest. The contest, which marked the 500th anniversary of the French herbal elixir, announced its winner earlier this month: Damon Dyer of Louis 649 in New York City. The finalists, along with their cocktails, are featured in the January 2010 issue of Esquire. Check out Boston Herald writer Julia Rappaport’s blog post about Boston bartenders and Benedictine, and Dyer’s and Cannon’s recipes below.

Monte Cassino
Damon Dyer

3/4 part Benedictine Liqueur
3/4 part yellow Chartreuse
3/4 part fresh lemon juice
3/4 part Rittenhouse Rye

Shake, fine-strain into a chilled coupe (or small cocktail glass).  Lemon twist garnish.

Vincelli Fizz
Jackson Cannon

1 egg white
1 1/2 part Benedictine Liqueur
1 1/2 part house-made rose vermouth
1/2 part fresh squeezed lemon juice

Dry-shake above ingredients to emulsify. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Pour into a coupe glass. Top with 1 ounce Champagne. Garnish with flamed madjool date essence. Proportions to be adjusted as needed for variations in vermouth and citrus.

» IRISH WHISKEY. My friend Lew Bryson, a beer and spirits writer based in PA, recently called to pick my brain about Irish whiskey. We both admitted being confounded over the assertion (made by Spirit Journal editor Paul Pacult, among others) that Irish is the fastest-growing spirits category in the U.S. That’s because neither of us are noticing it being downed in greater-than-usual quantity, at least not in the places we drink. How is all this whiskey being consumed, we asked? As shots alongside a Guinness (my fave method)? On the rocks, like Scotch? In cocktails? We guessed one of the first two, since there just aren’t a lot of cocktails containing Irish whiskey.

I addressed that dearth recently when I brought my brother to Drink for his birthday and introduced him to the fabulous Red Breast, pot-still Irish whiskey. Misty Kalkofen gamely created a cocktail with the stuff, which was delicious and needs a name: 2 1/4 oz Red Breast Irish whiskey, 1/4 oz Punt e Mes, 1/4 oz green Chartreuse, stirred well over ice and strained into a chilled rocks glass.

» ULTIMATE BEVERAGE CHALLENGE. Speaking of Paul Pacult, he is leading the launch of the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, a judging event that aims to evaluate spirits with the “most authoritative, accurate and consistent results.” Part of the overall Ultimate Beverage Challenge, the first-ever spirits challenge takes place March 1-3 at Astor Center in New York City, followed by the Ultimate Cocktail Challenge in April. Check it out.

» SCOFFLAW. Did you know that January 16 was the anniversary of the official coining of the term “scofflaw,” for which the Scofflaw cocktail is named? And that the word came about as the result of a contest held by the Boston Herald in 1923? I didn’t either! It was one of those “I can’t believe I didn’t freakin’ know about this” revelations.

“The Scofflaw drink followed the coining of the actual term by less than two weeks,” writes Ted Haigh in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. “Another invention of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, the cocktail hilariously baited Prohibition sensibilities.” Read more about it in the intro to Robert “DrinkBoy” Hess’ video about the Scofflaw. And thanks to Paul Harrington for being perhaps the first modern drinks writer to mention the history of the word and the cocktail.

» BOSTON DRINKING SOCIALS. Finally, this just in from Stuff Boston: Great Minds Drink Alike: Local booze crews give the term “social drinking” a whole new meaning.

Permalink | Filed under Books & resources, Cocktails, Liqueur, Nips, Rum, Whiskey | Tags: , , , , , , ,

17 Responses to “Nips – 1/25/10”

  1. Brayden

    One particularly good Irish whisky cocktail is the Brainstorm – which is Irish whisky, dry vermouth and benedictine. Very very tasty – and also serves to conveniently tie together two points of interest in your post!

  2. Craig

    I think your Irish Whiskey drink’s got a name…
    The Tipperary (2 oz Irish, 1 oz Sweet Vermouth, Chartreuse rinse)


  3. F. Paul Pacult

    With regard to the growth of irish Whiskey, I urge you and my friend Lew Bryson to enter the 21st century by reading the latest statistics for sales growth by individual categories from places such as DISCUS, Nielson, BIG, and others, who all unequivocally point to Irish Whiskey as the fastest growing spirits category. If you claim to be in this business, pay attention to the facts. If not, take up selling insurance or, better, shoes.

  4. ljclark

    My, you’re stern, Paul. It’s not that we dispute the facts. It’s that we haven’t personally observed this phenomenon “on the ground.” In any case, Lew will provide a more in-depth look in the March issue of MA Beverage Business Journal.

  5. Lew Bryson

    Paul, all that Lauren’s guilty of here is ambiguous phrasing. As you point out, Irish whiskey’s growth has been nothing short of phenomenal, especially considering how long that double-digit growth has been going on. Lauren and I are both well aware of the numbers and were not questioning your exposition of them; what we were looking for were the reasons behind it.

    I contacted her to get a read on whether she’d seen some groundswell of Irish whiskey cocktails; she’s well-wired into the exceptional Boston cocktail scene (which is lightyears ahead of my local scene in Philly), and if Irish whiskey’s going to get put into a cocktail, Boston would seem a likely locale. We pooled our experiences, concluded that there was no such thing, and put it down to a large increase in introductions. I believe that’s what’s behind it.

    But I really don’t think what Lauren wrote called for such a hard response. “Assertion” was probably an ill-chosed word. But considering your relative positions in the drinks writing business, perhaps a more understanding tone might have been better. I know you as a gentleman, Paul, and Lauren is a delightful person; I hope we can all smooth this further over a drink some day. The Irish whiskey is on me.

  6. ljclark

    Lew and Paul, I’m in. And I agree that my phrasing could’ve been clearer. Lesson learned.

  7. Joanie Frances

    Gee, I didn’t realize that this: We both admitted being confounded over the assertion (made by Spirit Journal editor Paul Pacult, among others) that Irish is the fastest-growing spirits category in the U.S., is such a dastardly comment, especially that “among others” part… And if that’s how he addresses his friends… you know the rest. geesh!

  8. Patrick Maguire

    Paul- Why the vitriol when you could have used this forum as an opportunity to share your knowledge and clarify the statistics regarding Irish Whiskey in a gracious way? Perhaps your comments were meant as humor? If not, are you as grumpy as you seem?

  9. Paul Clarke

    I’d buy shoes or insurance from you anytime, Lauren, but I’d prefer a glass of that Redbreast.

    I’ll admit to being surprised by the industry figures Mr. Pacult has cited (not to mention the tone of his comment above), but that’s not to question his accuracy, merely to invite further explanation of the factors driving this interesting trend. I’m curious to hear more about the reasons why sales of Irish whiskey are taking off, and I hope you, Lew and Paul will use this forum to dig a little deeper into them, preferably in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

  10. the modern serf

    I have had probably zero irish whiskey cocktails, but nearly every shot of whiskey I’ve drank neat was Irish. Remember: for every Drink or Green Street, there’s probably a hundred beer-and-a-shot bars with a semi-Irish theme.

  11. Jacob Marley

    While I respect Paul’s pallet and experience, he has no right to be as nasty and condescending as he is to other peoples work, both in his reviews and posts. Maybe Paul is upset that you did not recognize that the biggest selling Irish Whiskey is owned by the corporate spirits company that pays all his bills even though he claims to be detached and objective in his writings. Perhaps…

  12. MC Slim JB

    I don’t know this F. Paul person, but I’m disinclined to follow his advice, however well-informed, because he comes across as such a flaming pucker. In my 21st century, civility counts as much in how I regard a resource as knowledge.

  13. Frederic

    MC Slim, the Flaming Pucker sounds like a great new way to use Irish Whisky!

    1 oz Irish Whiskey
    1/2 oz Cask Strength Irish Whiskey
    3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
    1/4 oz Lemon Juice
    1 dash Green Chartreuse

    Stir all but cask strength whisky with ice. Pour cask strength whiskey in a coupe glass with a piece of lemon peel; ignite. Quench flame after 20 seconds with rest of ingredients.

  14. k.

    Selling shoes? Really? All because there’s surprise that Irish Whiskey is selling well? Classy!

    You’ll note the flaming pucker (what a fitting sobriquet) neglected to acknowledge the mention of his $645 per product “Ultimate Beverage Challenge.” It certainly demonstrates a lack of good taste, not the most promising personality quirk from a supposed reviewer of spirits.

    Back in the usenet days there’d have been a collective *plonk*.

  15. Jamie Boudreau

    I’d have to agree with you, as the only way I’ve seen Irish whiskey requested is by shot, and 9 times out of ten that whiskey will be Jameson’s. I’ve never had anyone request Irish whiskey until I’d moved to Seattle, which was a shock. I suspect that it may be the gateway whiskey to Scotch from bourbon for a whole new generation.

  16. robmarais

    Changing the subject to the Scofflaw, I’ve seen some variants using green Chartreuse, and since I’ve just invested in a bottle ($50 for a fifth, ouch) I branched out on this one up using a nice tequila reposado by Baluarte (which I snagged at the duty free in Cancun last week, otherwise not exported). I’ll call it a Bandido, kind of like a Mexican Scofflaw:

    2 oz tequila reposado
    .5 oz green Chartreuse
    .5 oz dry vermouth
    .5 oz fresh lime juice
    1 dash celery bitters (thank you, Boston Shaker!)

    Build in mixing glass over ice, stir to chill & dilute and strain into glass, add lime twist. Great mouthfeel and finish to this sipper.

  17. ljclark

    That’s a fantastic variation. Yeah, Chartreuse is pricey, but a little goes a long way. Your drink sounds most intriguing.

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