Thursday, May 24, 2018

SiscoVanilla Has a πŸŒ…πŸŠTequila Sunrise πŸŠπŸŒ…

Welcome back folks to the next installment of SiscoVanilla Drinks. For today I'm going back to the 1970's with an offering from the Old Man Drinks cocktail book: The Tequila Sunrise. Before I go into the cocktail itself, I wanted to look into the varied histories of the cocktail. Apparently there are a few histories behind how this cocktail came to be.

The Old Man Drinks cocktail book mentions that this cocktail harks back to the Prohibition era in Tijuana, Mexico. According to author Robert Schnackenberg, the Tequila Sunrise came to life at the Agua Caliente Racetrack as a hangover cure for those who were betting on the ponies.


In his article How to Make a Tequila Sunrise from Esquire dated January 5, 2018, David Wondrich states that the cocktail was supposedly invented at the racetrack. For more on the Agua Caliente racetrack, check out the article The Glitter of Agua Caliente by Greg Niemann from BajaBound.com. But it doesn't quite finish there.

According to the post The Birth of the Tequila Sunrise from the Sahid Bartending Club dated October 27, 2013, a guide book called Bottoms Up! Subtitled El Catecismo del la Libacion was published and distributed throughout the property's bars and restaurants. In said book was the original recipe for the Agua Caliente's version of the Tequila Sunrise. Here it is:
THE TEQUILA SUNRISE
(recipe for 1 drink)

1. One jigger Tequila.
2. One half lime, squeezed. Insert peel.
3. EXACTLY six dashes grenadine.
4. EXACTLY two dashes Crème de Cassis.
5. Two lumps ice.
6. Serve in highball glass, filled to brim with healthful Agua Caliente "Roca Blanca" water. If not available, fizz with seltzer.
7. Stir slightly.
There is no Orange Juice as in the recipe we know today. On to origin story number 2.

Now we are in post-Prohibition Arizona at the Biltmore hotel. Now according to the article Just Another Tequila Sunrise by Jeff Burkhart from the National Geographic Assignment Blog dated on February 17th, 2012, the Biltmore states that their bartender Gene Sulit came up with the idea for the Tequila Sunrise during the 1930's. His cocktail consisted of tequila, lime juice, soda and crΓ¨me de cassis. Burkhart states that he couldn't find any listing for this recipe in any of the cocktail books of the time and after. Aside from the grenadine, Sulit's recipe is very similar to the one listed above. Let's fast forward to the 1970's.

The third origin story takes us back to the Pacific Coast to the Northern California town of Sausalito. The story states that bartenders Bobby Lozoff and Billy Rice at the Trident came up with the Tequila Sunrise. It wasn't until the Rolling Stones arrived at the Trident in 1972 that the cocktail took off. Offering the drink to Mick Jagger, the cocktail became the go-to drink for the Stones across the country. To the point that one of the nicknames for their tour was the "cocaine and tequila sunrise tour." In stepped Lou, the manager of the Trident. For this I'll let Burkhart continue telling the story:



In 1973, Jose Cuervo seized on this new cocktail sensation and began marketing it in various print advertisements, eventually releasing it as one of their canned “club cocktails.”

“Lou, (the manager of the Trident) talked to the Cuervo people,” said Lozoff. “We were the biggest outlet in the United States, and they were talking to us – that recipe, with crΓ¨me de cassis went on the back of bottles, and at one point our recipe made it on the back of the gold bottle.”
But don't take his word for it. Watch this video to hear the story being related straight from the mouths of those who lived it at the Trident:


The video states that the creme de cassis was removed for simplicity sake. Was Lozoff's version based on the above listed recipe from the Agua Caliente? Who really knows. Does it really matter? I'll leave that up to you. 

Add to the mix the Eagles song entitled Tequila Sunrise, which ironically isn't about the cocktail but about just drinking tequila until the sun rises. Nonetheless, the popularity of the song just further made the cocktail one of the go-to drinks of the 1970's. On to the cocktail itself. 

I decided to make the cocktail based on the current version that is found in cocktail books. Here is the cocktail and the recipe I used:


I followed the advice of David Wondrich by using freshly squeezed orange juice as opposed to using store bought OJ. While I've had the Tequila Sunrise in the past, I can't say that I've had one as light and tasty as the one I made for myself. I would certainly think that using the Espolon Reposado and fresh OJ over Jose Cuervo and store bought OJ made a big difference in the cocktail. It was simply delicious. 

The cocktail was light. The flavor of the tequila stood out without being too sweet, even with the presence of the grenadine. Always go fresh when you can with your juices folks. Here are my thoughts right after tasting the Tequila Sunrise from the SiscoVanilla YouTube Channel:


So for my next post I stay in the 1970's with the Harvey Wallbanger. I'll be posting my thoughts on that cocktail soon. Keep an eye out for it. And with that I leave 

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

SiscoVanilla Has An Algonquin Cocktail Part I

For today's Old Man Drinks cocktail challenge, I decided to go to the beginning with the first cocktail recipe listed in the book: The Algonquin Cocktail. Now many of you might believe that this cocktail was named after the famed (or infamous depending on your POV) Algonquin Roundtable aka the Vicious Circle.

Starting in 1919, this daily lunch group was made up of such World War I luminaries as Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross, Robert Benchley, Franklin Pierce Adams, Heywood Broun, Ruth Hale, Alexander Woollcott, Harpo Marx,  George S. Kaufman, Marc Connelly, Edna Ferber, and Robert Sherwood among the many. This daily lunch date lasted for roughly 10 years. In reality, as per Old Man Drinks author Robert Schnakenberg the cocktail was actually named after the host of the Algonquin Round Table: The Algonquin Hotel.

For more on the Algonquin Round Table, I recommend you check out my October 28, 2013 post the Dorothy Parker-Collins and the post The Vicious Circle: Who’s Who of the Algonquin Round Table by John Calhoun from June 2, 1014 for more information


The New York City Landmark Algonquin Hotel opened on November 22, 1902 at its current location (59 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036). As the story goes, the original name for the hotel was The Puritan. Clerk and future owner Frank Case convinced then ownership to change the name of the hotel to The Algonquin after the Native American Algonquin tribes that populated the New York City area before the arrival of the Europeans.

In terms of the cocktail, according to David Wondrich in his Esquire Magazine article Algonquin from October 5, 2007, there have been many attempts to name a cocktail The Algonquin with one particular cocktail being made with Rum, Blackberry Brandy and Benedictine. The version in the Old Man Drinks book made with Rye Whiskey, Dry Vermouth and Pineapple seems to be the standard and more popular version of the cocktail, though the number of ounces for each ingredient differs from what I have found online, the basic ratio of 2-1-1 remains the same. Here is how I made it:
Algonquin Cocktail
2oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey
1oz Martini Extra Dry Vermouth
1oz Pineapple Juice

Stir with ice in shaker (if you want it to be frothy, shake it baby,) pour into chilled glass.

While the Old Man Drinks refer to this drink being tart and Wondrich refers to it being spicy, I found it to be neither. I actually found it to be rather flat. As if something was missing from it. While you could feel the booze, you couldn't taste it in the least. I couldn't taste the spiciness that Rye Whiskey seems to bring to a cocktail. Here are my thoughts on the Algonquin:


I think what I'll do is make one with the classic old man of Rye Whiskey: Old Overholt. 

With that I'll leave you with the following drawing of the Algonquin Round Table by famed caricaturist Al Hershfield. 


Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

SiscoVanilla Has a SoCo Lime at McDermott's Pub

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. I was out having lunch with Momma-San and Gabba Gabba at McDermott's Pub (2634 E Tremont Ave, Bronx, NY 718-792-4490) when for whatever reason, my eye focused on the bottle of Southern Comfort that sat on the back bar. Not sure why, but I decided to order something I haven't ordered in ages: Southern Comfort and Lime aka Soco Lime on the rocks. Before I go into the cocktail, I wanted to shed light on Southern Comfort.

According to the Southern Comfort website, Southern Comfort, which is known as The Spirit of New Orleans was created by M.W. Heron in 1874. Now until now I always thought that Southern Comfort was a whiskey of some sort. As per the website, the original Southern Comfort is 60-proof. At this point I wasn't sure if it was a whiskey or not (There's also an 80-proof and 100-proof version of Southern Comfort available.) A quick internet search somewhat clarified the issue for me.

The article So What Exactly Is In Southern Comfort, Anyway by Julie Thompson from Huffington Post dated October 10, 2014 states the following:
Most people think of Southern Comfort as a whiskey. A look at Google’s search trends shows “Southern Comfort Whiskey” as one of the more popular search terms. And the bottle of brown liquid often sits next to the whiskey at your local liquor store, but it is not in fact a whiskey. Or a bourbon. Or a Scotch. Don’t let its golden color make a fool of you.

Southern Comfort, which was first named Cuffs & Buttons, is in fact a liqueur —
a whiskey-flavored one. The original recipe was created by Martin Wilkes Heron in New Orleans. Heron was a barkeep looking for a solution to make unrefined whiskey more palatable. He came up with a recipe that added fruits and spices to the harsh liquor, and his customers loved it. With their thirst as his inspiration, he began marketing his recipe, which he later renamed Southern Comfort.
I guess that's somewhat of an answer. But it doesn't end there. The article Surprise! Southern Comfort Has No Whiskey. But Soon It Will by Robert Simonson of the New York Times dated May 8, 2017 shed more light on the subject:
Kevin Richards, the new senior marketing director for Southern Comfort, admitted as much, saying that when Sazerac bought it, the brand was “in danger of losing a lot of relevance in the mind of consumers.”

Sazerac hopes to reverse that. A new-and-improved Southern Comfort will hit the shelves in July, with a redesigned label and bottle. Flavored versions like Lime Comfort and Caramel Comfort will be phased out.
Simonson also adds:
But, most important, Southern Comfort will get back the one ingredient that many people have long assumed it contained: whiskey.

Once upon a time, Southern Comfort did include whiskey, though the complete formula has always been kept a secret. It was created by Martin W. Heron, purportedly while working at a New Orleans saloon. Over the years, it made hay out of slogans like “None Genuine but Mine” and “the Grand Old Drink of the South.” In 1939, in conjunction with the release of the film “Gone With the Wind,” the company promoted the Scarlett O’Hara cocktail, made of the liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice.

But by the time Brown-Forman bought the brand in 1979, the kick inside the bottle was provided not by whiskey, but by grain neutral spirit — basically a generic alcohol free of character, not unlike vodka.
Well alrighty then. I believe the bottle that was on the back bar was the newer version but I can't be 100% sure. Either way, while I didn't see the bartender make the drink, I would make the assumption that the Soco Lime I ordered was made with a 2-1 ratio of Southern Comfort to Roses Lime. Why not fresh lime juice?

I'm not sure I've ever seen a Soco Lime made with fresh lime. I know I was taught to use Roses Lime. But maybe I'll make one with Fresh Lime for a later post. Ok then. How was it.

To be honest, I can't say I've ever tasted a Soco Lime before. Not to say that I haven't had one before. I've always just shot it instead of sipped it. Hey, I started going to bar in the early 1990s. Don't judge me, Soco Lime was one of the shots dujour for the time.

I have to admit, it was rather tasty. The Southern Comfort and the Rose's Lime works very well together. Not too sweet and not too tart. Though to be honest, I wouldn't want to have more than one or two. After that, the sweetness might be a bit too much on the palate.  As usual, here are my thought at the point of having the drink courtesy of my YouTube channel:


For a change of pace, I'd recommend a Soco Lime on the rocks. Go for it!!!

Since the article by Simonson mentions that the flavored Southern Comfort versions would be eliminated, here is an oldie but goodie post from 2012 by yours truly entitled: Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry Give it a read.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla

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SiscoVanilla Has a πŸ₯ƒ Scotch and Soda πŸ₯ƒ

As some of you might know, I'm in the middle of reading Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man. I'm also in the middle of a cocktail book challenge with the Old Man Drinks: Recipes, Advice and Barstool Wisdom by Robert Schnakenberg. So here is a combination post utilizing one cocktail common to both books: The Scotch and Soda.


The book the Thin Man is based during the Prohibition era since there are instances where the main characters Nick and Nora Charles are spending time in speakeasies while in New York City. If you've watched any of the Thin Man movies, you know that there is drinking a-plenty but with the source material, the only real cocktail mentioned is the scotch and soda. For the post, I wanted to use a Scotch Whisky that you would have found during Prohibition. I chose to use Dewar's White Label.

Referring to my newly acquired Schweppes Guide to Scotch by Philip Morrice, the Dewar whisky business was established 1846 by John Dewar. His sons John Alexander Dewar and Thomas Dewar would become a partners in the firm in 1879 and 1885 respectively. It would be the sons that would be the driving force in making Dewar's a recognized name.

While John Alexander was the strength behind the scenes, Thomas was the face of the company going around the world to successfully advertise and build the brand through brash advertising such as the use of bagpipers at a trade show to drown out all the other vendors. Which might seem tame by today's standards but in the late 1880's, it just wasn't someone did. But it worked. By 1893 Dewar's was granted Queen Victoria's Royal Warrant for the supply of whisky to the household of the royal family. Dewar's White Label would be introduced in 1899

Here is the recipe used from the Old Man Drinks book:


Now the only difference between the recipe in the book and the one I used was the lime twist. I didn't have any limes at the house so I decided to forgo the twist. So what did I think about the cocktail?


Well...I'll start by saying that Dewar's White Label is no Dewar's 12. I say that since I've had Dewars 12 and enjoyed it straight up, on the rocks and in the Blood and Sand Cocktail. I wish I could say the same about the White Label. The smoky, peaty, scotchiness of the spirit came out had on the palate. That's cool if you like that sort of thing. But I found it to be a bit harsh and not enjoyable in the least. One is more than enough. Here were my actual impressions after having tasted the White Label and Soda:


My friend Amanda, the Editor in Chief of the Alcohol Professor recommended using the Toki Whisky by Suntory and Monkey Shoulder Whisky in my next highball. While I don't readily have the Toki at hand, I do have the Monkey Shoulder Whisky available at Finn's Corner (660 Washington Avenue, Corner of Bergen Brooklyn NY 347-663-9316) I'll make a Monkey Shoulder and soda next time I'm in at Finn's, which is next Tuesday.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

SiscoVanilla Has a 🌸 Spring In A Glass 🌻

Welcome back folks. I finally had a great weather day on my Tuesday Night shift at Finn's Corner (660 Washington Avenue, Corner of Bergen Brooklyn NY 347-663-9316) and to celebrate I came up with the following cocktail : 🌸 Spring In A Glass 🌻

About a month or so ago, I came across a bottle of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka at the bar. I tried a taste of it straight up and man was it a bit viscous and harsh. So I reached out to the many people I follow on various social media platforms and the general consensus is that the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka works the best with Lemonade. So listening to the masses, here is what I came up with.

🌸 Spring In A Glass 🌻 
2oz Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
3oz Lemonade
Soda Water Top

Pour Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade over ice. Shake, top with soda water and garnish with lime/lemon.


I found it to be quite refreshing. The harshness that I found with it straight up seemed to have disappeared with the lemonade. The soda top was a nice added tough of fizziness. This is a nice cocktail to have while sitting around the pool this Spring and Summer. I can see why this is a popular combination, especially down South. 

Here is the YouTube video I recorded for πŸŒΈ Spring In A Glass 🌻



Special thanks to Rhady and Charlotte for their first hand experience and knowledge with Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and Lemonade. 

Just a heads up, Finn's Corner now has food seven days a week. The Pub-Grub pop up is alive and kicking. So come by, have some food, cold beers and stiff shots. I'll see you there on Tuesday nights.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

You Only Live Twice (1967) Part I

Today's SiscoVanilla at the Movies post is the first of a two part post on Ian Fleming's You Only Live Twice (1967) starring Sean Connery in his fifth appearance as superspy James Bond. By the time filming for this movie started the James Bond movies were a worldwide sensation and even more so in Land of The Rising Sun: Japan. Japan was the focus of the story that You Only Live Twice is based on.

The Japanese media was relentless, especially towards Connery. An article I read said that Connery decided he was done playing Bond when he was followed everywhere by Japanese photographers, even in a public bathroom. That and dissatisfaction with his Bond character and disputes with management over profits would lead to this being Connery's final turn as Bond...or so they thought. More on that on a later post. Back to the movie. 

Before going to Japan, Bond is apparently murdered while on a "scouting mission" in Hong Kong with a lovely Chinese lady of the name of Ling. Knowing Commander Bond, it's no surprise that the night stand next to the bed has a bottle of Vodka though the brand isn't known.

Bond is apparently murdered in the next scene. We later find out that the murder is staged by MI-6 in order to take some heat off of Bond. No rest for the dead if you will, Bond is briefed by M and sent off to Japan to stop the skyjackings that have been happening in space that seem to be coming from somewhere in the Sea of Japan. Sayonara Moneypenny.

As Bond is making his way to the sumo tournament where he is to meet his contact, I spot on the wall a poster for what looks like a Suntory Japanese Whisky on the wall.


The ad is specifically for the Suntory Kakubin (square bottle) Blended Japanese Whisky which according to the Suntory Whisky history website this particular offering was the heart and soul of Japanese whisky and the country's No.1 seller. As per the label, it was created in 1937. For an in-depth review on the Suntory Kakubin Whisky, I recommend you read Best Shot Whisky Reviews and Tasting Notes post on the Suntory Kakubin from September 2015.

In a fun tidbit of information, Sean Connery would do a series of ads for Suntory Whiskey during the early 1990's. Here is one of those commercials:


After meeting his contact at the Sumo tournament, Bond is taken to meet British agent Henderson (Charles Gray) who in a side note plays Bond's nemesis and head of SPECTRE Ernst Stavro Blofeld in what would actually be Connery's last OFFICIAL Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever. But I digress.

As the two British agents are discussing what's going on, Henderson whips up a couple of drinks. While you can't make out the initial spirits, Henderson adds Martini dry vermouth and stirs. 


A funny exchange happens next...


We all know by now that Ian Fleming through his James Bond character made the statement Shaken not Stirred a household term.


Bond, being the vodka connoisseur that he is, instantly recognizes it to be Russian vodka.


I guess the Cold War isn't so Cold in Japan since Henderson was able to get his hands on authentic Russian Vodka from the doorman at the Russian Embassy. All's well in Love, War and Vodka eh comrade πŸ˜‰. Too bad this would be one of the last things Henderson would say before getting a dagger between the shoulder blades and Bond is off to the races to catch his killer.

Fast forward to the scene after Henderson is murdered, Bond infiltrates the headquarters of the Osato Corporation and gets into a brawl with the unnamed car driver (Peter Miavia who is the grandfather of wrestler and actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.) After the spirited fight ends, Bond finds the hidden bar. Here's what happens next.


To his dismay, Bond wets his whistle with Siamese Vodka. Bond's face is classic. Now, I'm not going to besmirch the fine vodka distillers in Thailand (formerly known as Siam.) I'm sure that there is a thriving craft distilling movement going on in Thailand today but I would take a guess that Siamese Vodka wasn't a highly regarded product back in the 1960's. Either that, or Bond is just a Vodka snob.

For the second part of this post, I'll cover the perfect temperature for warm Sake, the cultivation of Europeans as per Tiger, sparkles in the morning and another one of the Suntory Whisky brands.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Liquor Ads From the New York Times April 28, 1959 Part III.5

A quick update to my post on Martin's V.V.O. Scotch Whisky. As I had stated in that post, I really couldn't find much information on this particular brand past an image on the bottle and the age statement. Very often we hear about the negative impact social media. But sometimes social media really does work in a positive way, especially when it comes to information.

Since I couldn't find any information on the Martin's V.V.O., I decided to put my post on a number of different whisky pages. And I got the following information for Martin's V.V.O. from Billy on the #Whiskyfabric Facebook group. Billy was kind enough to send me two screenshots from the Schweppes Guide to Scotch by Philip Morrice.


For those of you who hadn't heard of the Schweppes Guide to Scotch by Philip
Morrice, this book was printed in 1983 and according to the Whisky Exchange website:
The Schweppes Guide to Scotch was a 1983 publication written by Phillip Morrice. Detailing the industry at that time, it contains details of the companies operating at the time and their brands. History and production information is included too. A book that was considered to have been well ahead of its time.
Billy recommended that I should get one since they are relative easy to find second hand. I did just that. I ordered one from Amazon and paid less than $8.00 for it including shipping. So not only did I get needed information on the Martin's V.V.O. Scotch whisky, but I also got a heads up on what I believe will be a valuable resource in my research. Thanks Billy for all your help.

Can't wait for the book to arrive.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla

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