Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blood and Sand On The Anniversary of Rudolph Valentino's Passing

With today being the 91st anniversary of the passing of silent film star Rudolph Valentino, I wanted to profile a cocktail named after one of Valentino's most popular films. The Blood and Sand cocktail is named after the 1922 film of the same name that was directed by Fred Niblo and starred Rudolph Valentino, Lila Lee, and Nita Naldi. The film was based on the Spanish novel Blood and Sand (Sangre y Arena) by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (1909) and the adapted play by Thomas Cushing. 


In looking for the origin of the Blood and Sand cocktail, I referred to the article Behind the Drink: the Blood and Sand by legendary bartender by Gary Regan which was posted to the Liquor.com website dated October 05, 2011. Here is what Regan said:
“Could you write about the history of the Blood and Sand?” asked my intrepid editor at Liquor.com. “Of course, sir. Leave it to me,” I replied. 
To the best of my knowledge, the recipe for the drink first appeared in print in Harry Craddock’s 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book. 
That’s it. The end. 
Unfortunately, that’s all we know about the origins of the Blood and Sand, a concoction that was introduced to me by Liquor.com advisor Dale DeGroff when he held forth from behind the bar at New York’s Rainbow Room, circa 1997. More on this in just a minute. 
So if we don’t know its inventor and we’ve no idea about the establishment in which it originally reared its spicy little head (unless it was the Savoy), what else do we know about the tipple? Nothing, save the fact that, in all probability, it was named for a 1922 movie starring Rudolph Valentino, the silent-film star known as “The Latin Lover.”
Well ok. That was short and sweet. Luckily for my I have a copy of the Savoy Cocktail Book so I can see the same recipe referenced above. Here is the recipe they list for the Blood and Sand:
Blood and Sand
1/4 Orange Juice
1/4 Scotch Whisky
1/4 Cherry Brandy
1/4 Italian Vermouth
Shake well and strain into cocktail glass
Some recipes listings for the Blood and Sand call for a slice of orange peel either squeezed over the cocktail to extract the oils or to light a flame over the rind and then squeeze the peel over the glass and running it over the rim. For the purposes of this cocktail, I am using Dewars 12, Cherry Heering, Martini and Rossi Rosso Vermouth and freshly squeezed Orange Juice. Since this is a cocktail of equal proportions, I decided to just use an ounce of each ingredient. So how did it turn out? DELICIOUS!!!!

The cocktail has a beautiful brownish/auburn color. It has a very aromatic feel to the nose. Considering the ingredients, the cocktail very well balanced. The slight smokiness of the Dewars 12 Scotch comes out along with the citrus of the freshly squeezed orange juice. The Sweet Vermouth and The Cherry Heering give it a bit of body and a little spiciness. Considering that I have had this cocktail on the radar for a while now, it is a cocktail that I would want to have again and to make if I were ever entertain. I definitely recommend this cocktail with the Dewars 12 or an even more smokier scotch for a stronger flavor.

Let me know what you think.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
#siscovanilla
#siscovanillaatthemovies





Monday, July 27, 2015

Irish Coffee At The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog

It has been a while since I've done one of these post. No longer having the bartender's income has severely hampered by cocktail excursions. But yesterday afternoon, I was out with my friend Melvin down in the Financial District and we were doing a little bit of exploring. After visiting the unrecognizable Fraunces Tavern (54 Pearl Street, NYC), we decided to go around the corner to the highly celebrated Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog (30 Water Street, near Broad Street, NYC)

Now I have been looking forward to checking out the Dead Rabbit since it was opened a little over two years ago, but I never found myself down in the Financial District. Luckily for me yesterday I was. I was not disappointed with what I saw.

Though the Dead Rabbit located in a narrow space, they utilize their space to the maximum. The ground floor bar space known as the Taproom made us feel as if we stepped back in time to the 19th century down to saw dust on the floor. Every seat was occupied in the Taproom and since we wanted to sit, we were directed to go up to the third floor bar known as the Occasional Room.

In between those two bar spaces is The Parlor. According to the Dead Rabbit's website:
Parlor focuses on small plates, communal punch, and 72 historically-accurate cocktails dreamed up by the nineteenth century’s most celebrated bartenders.
That room was closed to what seemed to be a private party. But it is definitely on the list of places to check out.

The Occasional Room was a very laid back space. It was cooled nicely via A/C and at the bar were two seats just waiting for us to sit in. The decor was amazing. I wish I had brought my camera with me to take a couple of snapshots. I could see how a public house in the Gangs of New York era New York City would have looked...minus the rough looking crowd.

Since we were in an Irish Pub, what better to have than an Irish Coffee. We were not disappointed. I've had a couple of Irish Coffees in my day, most of them just god awful. They were pretty much made with your standard coffee (more often old and burnt), Irish whiskey and milk. The ones we had at the Dead Rabbit were nothing of the sort.

While the coffee had a nice pour of Jameson's Irish Whiskey, it wasn't overpowering the rest of the ingredients. The whiskey blended nicely with the coffee and the whipped cream topping was silky smooth. The fresh ground nutmeg was the perfect way to top the cocktail. I had posted the following picture of the partly consumed Irish Coffee on my Instagram page and I immediately had a comment from my friend Amanda (@winenshine on Twitter) that simply said: The Best in the City... I can't argue with her.

The article Cup o' the Irish: The Perfect Irish Coffee from NYC's The Dead Rabbit by Kevin Sintumuang from GQ.com says the same thing. The article lists the following recipe for the Irish Coffee served at the Dead Rabbit:
Irish Coffee
3/4 ounce demerara sugar syrup*
1 1/2 ounce blended Irish whiskey
4 ounces coffee
freshly whipped cream**
grated nutmeg
Directions
Add hot water to a glass to warm it. Dump out the hot water. ("We want to pre-warm the glass, because the coffee underneath the cream has to be as hot as possible," says Muldoon.) Add liquid ingredients to the pre-warmed glass and stir. Top off with freshly whipped cream. Grate fresh nutmeg to garnish.
Mix one part hot water to one part demerara sugar.
** This is one of the most crucial parts of the recipe. Use heavy cream. Take a metal bowl and place that in a bigger bowl full of ice. Or fill your sink. Add the cream to the metal bowl and whisk the hell out of it. What you're looking for is a ropey consistency. "Once the bubbles disappear, you know you're done" says Muldoon. Always give it a few more whisks before pouring it over the coffee. And if plain ol' cream isn't doing it for you, add Baileys. "What we used to do, back in the day, is add a little Kahlua, or Bailey's, in the cream, just to give it a wee hint of something."
Now this isn't the first time I've had an Irish Coffee on my radar. I've been meaning to head over to the Pierre Hotel (2 East 61st Street at 5th Avenue, NYC) based on a recommendation from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men. And no trip to San Francisco would be complete without having a legendary Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Cafe (2765 Hyde Street, San Francisco).

If you're ever in the Financial District, make your way to The Dead Rabbit. You won't be disappointed.

And if you want to find other highly recommended places in New York City to get an Irish Coffee, check out Zagat's NYC's Best for Irish Coffee listing.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
#siscovanilla
#siscovanillaatthemovies

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) Part I

I know that its been a while since I've done one of these posts. I have been taking a hiatus after all. But I found this one too irresistible to not post about. So without further delay, Today's installment of SiscoVanilla at the Movies takes us to the world of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies. The movie I am specifically focusing on is Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004).

At the beginning of the movie, Black Mamba aka The Bride (Uma Thurman) is retelling us the story in soliloquy form. We are formally introduced to the man responsible for sending the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad to assassinated her groom to be, her friends, the preacher, the piano player and leaving her for dead at the chapel in El Paso, Texas: Bill (David Carradine) aka The Snake Charmer. After the flashback scene to the Massacre at Two Pines, we see a conversation between estranged brothers Budd (Michael Madsen)and Bill. Bill has made the effort to go see Budd who seems to be living a reclusive existence in some remote part of California, working as a bouncer at a strip club. As he's warning Budd about what has happened up to that point, I see Budd take a swig from a bottle of liquor.


At first thought, I figured that Budd was drinking a bottle of Scotch. Maybe a Glenfiddich as per the bottle. But upon closer look at the label, I noticed that he was drinking something else. It was called Black Death Icelandic Schnapps. I thought to myself "What The Fuck is that". Now, knowing how Quentin Tarantino and his co-hort Robert Rodriguez work, they have fictional products littered throughout their films. Two examples of these are Red Apple Cigarettes and Chango beer.  But upon further research I find that Black Death Icelandic Schnapps is an actual spirit. Here's what I found out about it.

Black Death Icelandic Schnapps aka Brennivín is the signature liquor of Iceland and translated means "Burning wine". According to the article Iceland’s signature liquor Brennivín vs. Vodka: what is the difference? from the Iceland Magazine website dated April 24, 2014, Brennivín is:
A distilled brand of schnapps that is considered Iceland’s signature liquor. It is sometimes called Svarti dauði, meaning Black Death. It is made from fermented potato mash and is flavored with caraway seeds...Is similar to Scandinavian akvavit. The steeping of herbs in alcohol to create schnapps is a long-held folk tradition in all Scandinavian countries...has an alcoholic content of 37.5% or 40%...It is almost solely drunk dry, or neat, as an experienced bartender might say, and usually frozen, to take the sting out of the strong taste...is only produced in Iceland and only by one distillery. It is a novelty drink not consumed regularly by locals. It is however the traditional drink for the mid-winter feast, Þorrablót, especially after eating putrefied shark flesh or hákarl. Some say it helps to mask the taste of the fish.
Well ok. That adds some depth to the Black Death. Looking for a description of what Brennivín tastes like, I came across the article Drinking the Black Death by Kelsey Osgood from the Vice website dated January 16, 2014 that described the author's experience drinking the Black Death:
“Want to drink some Black Death?” he asked.
“What the fuck is that?” one of our friends blurted.
Without waiting for the answer, the four people huddled in the kitchen unanimously agreed that we did. Visions of my Nordic former-roommate staring at his computer screen licking flecks of dried fish flakes off his fingertips flashed before my eyes while he opened the bottle. It seemed unlikely to me that anything out of Einar’s homeland would be delicious. I recalled too, the urban legend—I could only assume it amounted to as much—of fermented slabs of shark served for dinner. I don’t remember what we drank the Black Death out of—glasses, shots, or swigs from the bottle perhaps—but it tasted like licorice. I later learned that it is known as Brennivín, an unsweetened schnapps made out of potato mash that is flavored with caraway seeds, cumin, angelica, and a slew of other herbs native to Iceland. What I do recall from that evening involved hightailing it out of the party and into a cab back to my house in Northern Manhattan where I, inexplicably invigorated, spent the next two hours trying to master the complicated clapping rhythm that begins around 4:26 of Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman.” Einar never explained why it’s locally referred to as the “Black Death” amongst Icelanders, but perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the name, Brennivín, translates into “burning wine.” The beverage tastes more like mild rye licorice than liquefied bubonic plague.
Right before I ended this post, I remembered that I needed to find out from someone who I know has intimate knowledge of Brennivín. I reached out to my friend Mike aka the Wolf who bartends at The Grand Victory, 245 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (347) 529-6610 and at Local 138, 138 Ludlow Street, New York, NY 10002 (212) 477-0280 among other places.

I'm waiting to hopefully hear back from him with his thoughts on Brennivín and maybe he has some handy that I can taste. I'll get back to you all soon enough.

If you notice the title of this post, it is entitled Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) Part I. So Part II will showcase the titular character who is to be killed, Bill and the spirit that he partakes of near the end of the movie. Keep an eye out for it.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
#siscovanilla
#siscovanillaatthemovies



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Books At My Jobs Series: Hellraisers by Robert Sellers

Though this blogpage is still on hiatus in terms of cocktail drinking and creation, I am trying a new angle in order to shake the rust of the last few months. Now I'm not sure if you all out there know but I am no longer bartending. I'm not even working in a bar. I am currently working as a bookseller at Barnes and Noble and have started a new angle to my blogging. On my Facebook page Sisco Vanilla, I've started a new photo album entitled Books At My Job. Now, I'll go into the first two books in the album at a different time. For now I'll focus on the third book which goes hand-in-hand with my SiscoVanilla At The Movies Posts.

Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, and Oliver Reed by Robert Sellers seems to be an interesting book though a few reviews of it seem to sober down (sorry, pun intended) the fun aspect of the book.


Here is one such review:
Janet Maslin
Hellraisers wants only to be a rowdy collection of greatest hits, and it lives up to that fun-loving ambition. It reels off riotous tales about Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed without giving a moment's thought to what those tales might mean…Anyone horrified by the reckless abandon of Hellraisers should know what its ultimate effect turns out to be. This fun-loving celebration of drunkenness proves to be an even more sobering cautionary tale than some of the most serious addiction and recovery memoirs. And the fact that none could entirely stop drinking, even when it became a life-or-death medical necessity, makes it that much sadder. Funny as it is, the book's boisterous beginning gives way to grimly premature states of illness and dotage
—The New York Times
Though to be honest, I am partial to this review:
Publishers Weekly
Show business biographer Sellers (The Battle for Bond) chronicles the booze-soaked lives of four of the stage and screen’s most bombastic performers. Welsh Burton (1925–1984), Irish-born Harris (1930–2002), Irish-born and English-raised O’Toole (born 1932) and English Reed (1937–1999) gave some of the 20th century’s most memorable performances, but were equally famous for their offscreen antics. Except for Reed, their careers began on the British stage, before all four were lured to Hollywood, starring in such classics as Lawrence of Arabia (O’Toole), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Burton), Camelot (Harris) and The Three Musketeers (Reed). Consuming staggering amounts of alcohol on a daily basis, all were forces to be reckoned with on the set, often turning up too drunk to perform. Burton’s tempestuous affair with Elizabeth Taylor—which led to two marriages and two divorces—often eclipsed his talent, while O’Toole, Harris and Reed saw their careers slump in the late 1970s and ’80s, only to be revived by roles in such successful films as Troy (O’Toole), the Harry Potter franchise (Harris) and Gladiator (Reed). Though Sellers often muddles the chronology by switching too often between the four’s liquored-up antics, his glimpse into Hollywood’s culture of excess is more than enough to satisfy. (Dec.)
This book is definitely up the alley of Nitrate Stock. I'll get back to you on this when I pick myself up a copy.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
#siscovanilla
#siscovanillaatthemovies

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

SiscoVanilla Is Going On Hiatus

This is going to be my last post on this blog for the foreseeable future. It has been a trying time during the last three month since I was fired from my job. You all know where I worked so there is no need to give them any free press by naming them. Am I bitter? Well, yes. Yes I am. Whatever gave you that impression. The job search has been exhausting and quite barren.

In three months of hitting the pavement, dropping off and emailing hundreds of resumes and trying to tap into the non-existing bar "friends" and connections that I thought I had, I've had three unsuccessful interviews. That's right. THREE!!!! One I chalk up to an owner who is hard to please through a good friend of mine tried his best to get me the job. I hold no ill will to that interview though it was so close I swear I could taste it. The second one was through an employment agency who tried to find me a job in a new bar in a Latino neighborhood that obviously only hires women bartenders. The third was for a chain restaurant. How pitiful is it that I can't even find a job as a bartender in a chain restaurant.

What about those non-existing bar "friends" and connections I refer to above? Well, in working twelve years in one location (almost 20 years in the NYC bar business) and meeting a multitude of service industry individuals, I thought that I had made enough connections (and helped others make connections in the business) that when I needed a hand it would be there. All I found were unreturned voicemails, text messages and ignored/disregarded Facebook direct messages. For the record, I know those direct messages were seen and either ignored or disregarded since FB tells you when the message is seen. So thank you very much for nothing folks.

Couple that with my wife recovering from major surgery and you have the scene set for a doozy of a situation. Luckily for us, I was smart enough to save money when I was making it not spending it on trivial things. In other words, I am hard on a dollar. That has been our salvation. Thankfully I have been able to rely on Unemployment benefits to supplement my wife's income but to be honest I would rather be working...if I could find a job. But enough of my bitching. Why am I going on hiatus.

I don't want to drink. Period. If I have a booze blog, drinking is a big part of it. I could drink at home, but I don't want to. I don't want to be that guy drinking in front of the TV, wallowing in my sorrow. I need to keep my mind clear and focused. My family needs me to be that way. When I drink, it affects my state of mind. It makes me want to go out and spend money that I can't afford to spend at the moment. Sure I know places I can go to and "get hooked up". But in reality, if I can't show thanks by properly tipping those who do take care of me then I am not going to go out. I won't disrespect those who would take care of me and I am not going to embarrass myself looking for freebies like a moocher. That's not my style.

Some of you might say that I could continue with the movie posts. True, but to be honest, I haven't been watching many movies as of late. I've been real busy trying to improve my mind. I've been real busy with my HistorySisco tumblr page and the extra time has really allowed me to devote time to my BaseballSisco blogpage. Give those pages a look if you can. I'm sure that I will continue to post the occasional article and recipe that I come across online to my SiscoVanilla Facebook and my SiscoVanilla Google+ pages. My @SiscoVanilla twitter feed will also remain active

I thank everyone who HAS been there for me with your words of encouragement, support and suggestions. You'll never know how much it all means to me. Know that in me you'll always have a friend for life. Will I return to this blog? Perhaps. But to be honest, I need a fresh start in a new industry. The consolation to not working in the bar business is that I have left the negativity, the stressors, the lack of creativity and fulfilment that came along with working at my former job behind. I know I am going through a rough time now. But I will persevere.

Not to worry, I'll be back with the cocktails before you know it. Now whether it is as a server or a patron remains to be seen. Good luck to you all. Salud!

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
#siscovanilla
#siscovanillaatthemovies

Monday, September 15, 2014

Clan MacGregor Scotch Whisky Ad From The New York Times September 14, 1965

As with my posts Wolfschmidt Vodka Ad from The New York Times September 2, 1964 and Liquor Ads From The New York Times September 2, 1964, the inspiration for this post came while doing research for one of my other blogpages. I was looking for a boxscore in the September 14, 1965 edition of the New York Times for my post Willie Mays Reaches The 500 Home Run Plateau September 13, 1965 (from my Baseball Sisco blogpage) when I noticed that that day's New York Times had a whole bunch of liquor ads. The paper was printed on a Tuesday. Man, I guess Mondays in 1965 were so stressful that you would need so many liquor ads in the paper. LOL. One of the ads that caught my eye was for a scotch whisky by the name of Clan MacGregor. I had never heard about the Clan MacGregor brand of scotch whisky. It piqued my curiosity in this period that I am not drinking. I decided to dig a little deeper to see what this whisky is all about.

According to the Clan MacGregor website:
Clan MacGregor whisky honours the MacGregors, one of Scotland’s oldest clans and the decendents of ancient Celtic royalty as proclaimed in the motto ‘Royal is my Race’. The renowned history of the Clan dates back to the 14th century and Clan MacGregor whisky proudly displays the lion’s head crest, the symbol of the clan chief. The story of Clan MacGregor is perhaps the most stirring and fascinating of all the Scottish clans.

The Clan takes its name from Gregor, third son of Alpin, King of the Scots in the last part of the eighth century. This royal lineage gave rise to the clan motto, ‘Royal is my Race’. The MacGregor Clan underwent centuries of persecution and turmoil, with their land being confiscated and the very name MacGregor being outlawed. It is those who bravely defied their enemies in order to continue the Clan’s name who embody the spirit of Clan MacGregor. They were brave and resilient, and eventually all of their rights and privileges were restored. The fact that the Clan remained intact despite two centuries of oppression earned the MacGregors a reputation for unwavering courage and unbeatable unity.

The Clan badge, a crowned lion’s head on a wreath encircled with a belt and buckle, signifies the unity and loyalty of the Clan. Today, by using the badge on both bottle and label, Clan MacGregor proudly honours the heritage of the ancient Clan with a unique and distinctive style and signature.
I love looking into the history of these liquor brands that I come across either online or in person. But what about the scotch itself. The website states the following:
Fifteen of the finest malt and grain whiskies from the heart of Scotland have been skilfully blended to create a whisky of exceptional quality. Clan Macgregor Scotch whisky has a delicate, sweet aroma and a smooth, mellow taste – which has won many awards over the years.

Explore the flavours and aromas of one of the world’s finest blended Scotch whiskies.

COLOUR: Straw gold

NOSE: Distinctive sweetness, vanilla, malted, drying, hints of smoke

TASTE: Rich, grainy sweetness, hints of dry smoke, baked apple, biscuity, smooth, malty, lingering

FINISH: Long, clean, delicate sweetness
Now I have yet to come across Clan MacGregor scotch in my travels so I decided to look around online for some reviews.

Sláinte's post from September 6, 2011 entitled Whisky review: Clan MacGregor had the following review:
Clan MacGregor, 40% ABV
Blended Scotch whisky

Nose: Light and fruity, kind of like the standard Jameson. We're off to a decent start. Oh wait. After a bit more nosing, I really start to smell just ethanol and not much else.


Palate: The crap is beginning to really shine through here. Fruity crap, a bit of woody crap, and something in the back of my throat like charred crap.


Finish: Light fruits turning into crap.


Rating (of 100): 53. It would do in a pinch, like if the only other potential drinks you had were Drano and a full spittoon. I might still go for the spittoon, though, hoping one of its contributors had consumed a different whisky prior to use.


In the end, the remainder of my dram met the same fate a bottle of Drano would expect to meet.
Ouch!!! Not a good start. Off on the information highway I went to see if I could find another review.

I came across a website called We Love Scotch. For scotch lovers, I was curious to see what they thought about the Clan MacGregor scotch. Here is their review of Clan MacGregor scotch:
Name – Clan MacGregor

Price – $ (13 Bucks)

Region – Unknown

Blend/Single Malt – Blend

Promo Language – Combines the qualities of exceptional taste and fine flavor.

First Glass – Before we get started here, let us take a moment, on our first glass, as a chance to say everything we like about this scotch, First, the name is awesome! I mean, you can't even say “Clan MacGregor” without a proper 18th century Scot-Irish accent, circa Sean Connery. Second…uh…moving on.

Second Glass - Even for the “angel's share” the angels likely said, “meh, we'll pass.” I would use this scotch to clean my kid's paint brushes but I am afraid it would ruin her paint brushes.
The House that Scotch Built 

Reaching the Roof – This is a real service we are providing. Come on. We should have stopped at one glass. This is just awful. Just awful.

Mowing the Yard – We decided we had to find out more about this scotch. We scoured the web only to find some ancient blog review (back when this was going for 4 bucks a bottle) and this Facebook page. Founded by college drunks that hold Clan MacGregor with the same reverence as Old English Malt Liquor, Four Loco, Hookah's and Vivarin. Ah, to be young again.

Digging the Ditch – I am certain that I have had better scotch off a gun. It tastes like anti-freeze and melted bottle caps.

Draining the Well – Come on. We can't be expected to finish this.
Day After Thoughts: My hangover has a hangover.

Epilogue: We are out of scotch and forced to revisit the Mac Gregor. In our best Braveheart voice: You can take away our sobriety, but you'll never take our taste buds!
Damn!!! Wow. Can this scotch be that bad? Along the way I found a review by my good buddy Will Gordon who can be reached on Twitter @WillGordonAgain and you can read his articles on the Will Gordon Kinja page. Now this review by Will dates back to April 21, 2011 when he was doing the Drinking the Bottom Shelf column in the Drinks section of Serious Eats. Here is Will's review Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Clan MacGregor Scotch Whisky:
There is one part of life in which I'm just as patriotic as the next guy in a truck commercial, though, and that's booze. My favorite beer is Coniston Bluebird Bitter, which is English, but the next 20 on the list are big overhopped American tough-guy brews. And it seems like I never shut up about Old Crow and Eagle Rare, which is why it was disconcerting to discover that I like Scotch a lot more than I'd ever admitted to myself, and quite possibly more than I like bourbon. It will take months of rigorous research in other people's liquor cabinets to know for sure, but if the $12.99 liter of Clan MacGregor I picked up last week is any indication, the Scots might win this war.

I've always been vaguely aware that Scotch can be good for you in the same way Nantucket and cosmetic dentistry can be—when someone else is doing the planning and the paying—but I worried that it was too expensive and complicated to mess with here on the Bottom Shelf. My mistake.

Clan MacGregor tastes exceedingly Scotchy to me, so I was surprised that most reviewers call it simple and bland. It's a cheap blend and therefore more grainy than malty, but it's still got those weird fetid tobacco notes and maybe even a little maple syrup (though, full disclosure, I may be smelling that off my shirt).

I've had some excellent Scotch cocktails lately, but I've yet to make one myself. I've only tried once: MacGregor and grapefruit juice isn't as good as plain MacGregor or plain grapefruit juice, but I look forward to my next trip to the drawing board.

For now, cheap bourbon's still the preferred brown water in my parts because its charms are easier to harness; I like MacGregor but I haven't figured out what to do with it other than drink it neat or with soda, and there's a chance I just got lucky with my first bottle and all the other budget Clans are undrinkable.
Well there you go. That's a review I can back from someone whose pedigree I'm familiar with. Now will I run out to find a bottle of Clan MacGregor scotch? Probably not since I am not particularly drinking at the moment. But if I find that I come across one of those little bottles of Clan MacGregor that they serve on airplanes, then I'll cue up Highlander on the Blu-Ray player and give Clan MacGregor a go.

What do you all think of this particular blended scotch. Yea? Nay? Let me know what you think.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
#siscovanilla
#siscovanillaatthemovies

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Liquor Ads From The New York Times September 2, 1964

Hmm, I forgot to post these images for Booze ads from the September 2, 1964 issue of the New York Times that I started with my prior post Wolfschmidt Vodka Ad from The New York Times September 2, 1964. Enjoy the images of the Mad Men era of yesteryear when alcohol ads could advertise in the newspapers.

Old Grand-Dad Bourbon

J&B Scotch Whisky 

White Horse Scotch Whisky
I wrote about both J&B and White Horse Scotch Whiskys in my post on the movie Crimson The Color of Blood (1973). I had a number of samples of Old Grand-Dad Bourbon a couple of months ago but I didn't really take detailed notes so I will have to wait for a future tasting to let you all know what I think of the Old Grand-Dad.

I have a couple of more ads from a later date from the New York Times that I will post on in due time. Things have been pretty hectic personally, so I apologize for my sparse posts as of late. I'll try to post regularly from now on.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
#siscovanilla
#siscovanillaatthemovies