Wednesday, August 31, 2016

This Week in Home Cocktailing August 28, 2016 Part II

Moving along with the staycation marathon of cocktails, I wanted to highlight a trio of classic cocktails that I made. And here we go.

The tragic events in Nice, France during this past Bastille Day caused me to postpone my post on the French 75. But with the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Paris from the Nazis occurring on August 25, it was time to bring back the French 75.



The mention of the French 75 reminds me of the scene in Casablanca where Yvonne (Madeleine Lebeau) arrives with a Nazi officer and orders a row of French 75's. She indirectly starts a fight between the German officer and a French policeman/officer, who while sitting at the bar takes exception to Yvonne and her companion.

This scene is followed by what I find to be one of the most emotional and powerful scenes in a movie. A group of Nazi German officers singing Die Wacht Am Rhein stirs the patrons of Rick's Cafe American, led by Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid), to stand and sing La Marseillaise. The scene gives me goosebumps every time. Fast forward to August 25, 1944 and the liberation of Paris. Can you imagine how La Marseillasie was echoing off the buildings in Paris on that day? Vive la France indeed. Back to the cocktail at hand.

While at first the Prosecco dominates the cocktail. The gin and lemon juice subtly come up to the surface. The cocktail is very light and enjoyable. I can see why someone told me they prefer to have these during brunch as opposed to standard Mimosas and Bellinis. This got me wondering what the cocktail would be like with a French Cognac substituting the Gin as is often done. That I will do in a future post. Here I go again letting the world what I think about the French 75 on my SiscoVanilla YouTube channel:


The next cocktail I made was in honor of National Whisky Sour Day, which incidentally was a Whisky Sour. Imagine that. LOL. For this cocktail, I decided to use Crown Royal Canadian Whisky. Here is the recipe:


This version of the Whisky Sour is interesting. Some people are very iffy when it comes to using egg whites in a cocktail. If you don't want to use the egg white, then don't. What you will have is a cocktail that has less head and isn't as silky as one with egg white. I can have it either way. But what you don't want is to have a Whisky Sour that has just whisky and sour mix off the speed gun that some bars insist is a Whisky Sour. 

You should never settle on such a cocktail that is simple to make. It takes a little effort to extract the egg whites but once you do, you'll have a cocktail that is smooth and has a nice head (as the picture indicates). The citrus and sugar melds very nicely with the whisky. It melded so nicely that I had two more sans egg whites. Definitely play around with different whiskies. A nice spicy rye might add a different layer of flavor to your Whisky Sour. Hmmm, that's actuallly not a bad idea. 

Here are my thoughts on the Whisky Sour from my SiscoVanilla YouTube channel:


Next on the classic cocktail highlight reel is the timeless classic: The Tom Collins. 

You really can't wrong with Gin, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup and Carbonated Water. And you would think that you really can't screw this cocktail up. But like I mention with the Whisky Sour, some bars will make you a "Tom Collins" by using Gin, Lemon Juice or Sour Mix and Sprite or 7-up. That's not a Tom Collins. That's just a Gin, Lemon/Sour Mix and Sprite/7-up. 

The Tom Collins is arguably one of the most refreshing cocktails ever invented and you should never have a half ass, bootleg version of the Tom Collins. Period. Have it made with fresh ingredients or go somewhere else that will make it fresh rather than off the gun. Here is my video thoughts of the Tom Collins:



I'll get off of my soapbox now. Part III will be a single cocktail post. For that one, I will make the Love Boat inspired cocktail named the Isaac Cocktail. Look out for it.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This Week in Home Cocktailing August 28, 2016 Part I

Its been one long staycation that I took to end the month of August and during that time I made myself a few cocktails. Maybe a bit more than a few since I have to break this post into three parts. So without any further ado, here we go.

While I got to a slow start with the home cocktailing following the misadventures ending the week of August 7th, I picked up steam by making myself a tried and true favorite: The Dirty Martini. Now as you can see, I don't specify whether its a gin or vodka Martini. I believe that to do so would be redundant since a classic Martini is a Gin Martini. We can thank Ian Fleming and his iconic character James Bond who changed that with his ordering of a Vodka Martini, shaken no less in 1962's Dr. No. Even though in the past I have made what I call The Sisco Strength Dirty Hybrid Martini with a combination of Grey Goose Vodka and Bombay Sapphire Gin, this time I wanted to go straight up old school. Here is what I made:



Now I have to confess, at the last minute I decided to make it even filthier than the recipe card stated it would be. I added a whole ounce of the Bleu Cheese Olive brine which gave it that nice greenish color you see above. It was cold, briny and delicious. Here is my impressions of the cocktail from the video I recorded to my SiscoVanilla YouTube Channel:


Next came a riff on the classic cocktail known as the White Lady. Where the original recipe calls for it to be served with fresh lemon juice and straight up in a cocktail glass, I decided to make a frozen drink out of it. Why? It was hot and I was on vacation. What other reason did I need, right? Ok then. Here is what I made:

The drink was very light and definitely needed on the hot and humid day that we were having. Aside from the piece of ice that got lodged in my broken tooth causing a cold sensation along my nerves, it is something that I would definitely make again. On an aside, why did I use canned lemonade instead of fresh lemon juice. Very simply put, I didn't have any lemons and I kind of wanted that frozen, slushy lemonade feel to the cocktail. It worked. Here were my impressions of the Frozen White Lady recorded for the world on my YouTube channel:



So for the second part of my post, I highlight three classic cocktails. Keep your eyes peeled. The post soon to come. 

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ambassador Scotch Ad From the New York Times August 28, 1972

I was flipping through the August 28, 1972 issue of the New York Times and came across the following ad for Ambassador Scotch. I love how the ads from the 1970's portray their men as rugged and hirsute men aka the "Macho Man" look. Check out the stash on this gentleman right here.

Now to be honest, I haven't be able to find too much on the Ambassador Scotch brand. What I did find that it was a blended Scotch and was marketed as being the "Scotch at its Lightest" and "The World's Lightest Scotch". It was distilled in Glasgow, Scotland by the Taylor & Ferguson company. As per the listings for Ambassador Scotch on the Master of Malt website, it would seem that they sold an 8-year old blend, a 12-year old blend and a 25-year old blend.

This would have put them in direct competition with such brands as J&B, Dewars and Cutty Sark here in the United States. The peak period of popularity for Ambassador Scotch seems to have been during the 1960's and 1970's.

Here are a few more ads from the same era showing their manly Scotch drinking fellows in a variety of locations, engaging in a number of activities such as yachting, roughing it at a cabin in the woods, hobnobbing at a upscale black tie affair and even enjoying some Ambassador during the Christmas Holidays:


Recently Ambassador Scotch came up with an interesting new ad campaign with the tagline "Scotch from another era." It looks as if the dashing men and lovely ladies from the above ads have aged but perhaps, like their favorite scotch, their points of view haven't. Check them out.


Any thoughts or recollections on Ambassador Scotch? Hit me up and let me know. Leave a comment or email me here.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Liquor Ads From the August 25, 1954 Edition of the New York Times

I was doing some research for the passing of the Communist Control Act (for my HistorySisco Tumblr page) by looking through the August 25, 1954 issue of the New York Times and came across a few liquor ads. Now if you're followed my blog in the past, you'll know that I like to post old ads that I come across and the three that I will highlight today are of brands that I have never heard of. Here are the three ads that I found:



The first ad is interesting to me. Its for a Jamaican Rum brand called Dagger and it advertises the cocktail which is made with Dagger called Cloke & Dagger. I like how the Collins glass has eyes and daggers floating around.

Dagger Jamaica Rum was produced by J. Wray & Nephew Limited and came in four varieties: One Dagger (5-years), Two Dagger (6-years), the Dagger Punch (8-years) and Three Dagger (10-years) rums. The article Jamaica's Changing Rum Market by Richard Browne from the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper dated June 13, 2014 states that the rums went out in the 1950s.

The rum was found on the menu in such places as Mocambo Miami Beach from 1947 and as part of a Altman Plum Pudding Served With Hoemshel Hard Sauce And Flambeed In Three Dagger Rum from the Waldorf Astoria Christmas Tasting hosted by the Wine and Food Society of New York, Inc on December 8, 1947.

An ad from Life Magazine December 28, 1936 has the following description of the Dagger Rum brand:
YO HO!!!...make way for a robust drink-Jamaican Rum. Once the boast of buccaneers, now the toast of bon vivants. And the proudest name in rum is Dagger Rum, famed for 111 years for its aromatic fragrance, its softness and its flavour. 
Dagger Jamaican Rum is made by the oldest and largest Rum house in the British West Indies. It is popular wherever a truly fine rum is appreciated...as a liqueur, as a mixer, as an indispensable touch in holiday puddings, pies and desserts.
The post Dagger Rums: a former J.Wray & Nephew Rum Line by Bahama Bob has more information on the Dagger Jamaican Rum line.

The second ad is for Old Taylor 86 proof straight bourbon named after famed distiller Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. Colonel Taylor was one of the biggest supporters of the federal Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, which required distillers to state truthfully what was inside the bottle.

Old Taylor was one of the distilleries that were granted a permit to distill medicinal whiskey during Prohibition and is still being Old Taylor is still being produced. The bourbon brand has been owned by such distillers as National Distillers, Jim Beam/Beam Suntory and as of 2009 the Sazerac Company.

The Whiskey ID website has some interesting photos of the Old Taylor bottles throughout the years that you can see here. As of 2015, the original Old Taylor distillery was being renovated and is due to open at some point this year. The article Old Taylor Distillery's owners resurrecting its castle, gardens by Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald Leader dated June 14, 2014 describes the efforts of renovating the old distillery.

The third ad is for Ron Carioca. Carioca is a Puerto Rican Rum that came in White rum (86 proof), Gold Rum (86 proof) and Tropical Heavy Bodied Rums in 90 proof and 151 proof and was produced by La Compania Ron Carioa Destileria, Inc. What I find interesting is that the ad calls for Carioca and Tonic. I can't say that I ever made a rum and tonic, let alone drank a rum and tonic. Guess I'm going to have to pick up some tonic for a future post.

Apparently there was a lawsuit in the United States Court of Claims from 1958 where the Compania Ron Carioa Destileria, Inc. sued the United States in the entitled COMPANIA RON CARIOCA DESTILERIA, Inc. v. UNITED STATES 168 F.Supp. 546 (1958) for taxes paid to the United States deputy collector of internal revenue at San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1946 for spirits that had not been shipped yet. I'll leave it up to you to read up on the case. But at that point, the company was still Puerto Rican owned. This is where I get lost.


If you do a search for Ron Carioca, one of the first links you come across is from the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) that states that Ron Carioca is produced by United Distillers Canada Inc. and is made in Canada. The website DrinksOntario lists Diageo Canada Inc as being the producer of Ron Carioca. So my question is this: is the Ron Carioca brand made in Canada and Puerto Rico?

I'll keep trying to find out. Til I find out some more information, I leave you with this ad from 1960 for Ron Carioca and a recipe for a Carioca Voodoo.


Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

This Week in Home Cocktailing August 7, 2016 Part II

In my last post This Week in Home Cocktailing August 7, 2016 Part I, I described the preparation of the Watermelon Shrub portion of the Confederados cocktail, as well as, the Jean Harlow cocktail. For this post, I focus on the Confederados cocktail with a bonus Caipirinha mixed in while the 2016 Rio Olympics play in the background.

As I stated in the last post, the Confederados Cocktail recipe was found on the Imbibe Magazine website. The recipe comes courtesy of Julian Goglia of The Pinewood Tippling Room in Decatur, Georgia. Allow me to inject a little historical background here courtesy of my alter-ego HistorySisco (Instagram @HistorySisco).

In Brazil, the Confederados are descendants of many a Southerner who as part of the Confederate States of America fled the country to Brazil when the Civil War was lost. The Confederados built up their community in unexplored land in Brazil based on land grants given to them by Emperor Dom Pedro II. For more information on the Confederados and their yearly celebration in Brazil, I recommend you read Meet Brazil's 'Confederados': They've forgotten how to speak English but the South American descendants of rebels who fled US after the Civil War still turn out by the thousands to celebrate their Dixie roots by the Associated Press from the UK Daily Mail website dated 27 April 2015.

Now I can't definitvely say that this is the reason why the Confederados cocktail is named the way it is. But the connection can be made between the name, the base spirit used (cachaça) and the location of the bar/restaurant where it was invented. Be that as it may, let's move on to the cocktail.
















Cachaça is an interesting spirit to play with. Cachaça has a very interesting flavor profile to it. Some have described it as tasting "funky." From what I have read, this might be due to the fact that it is made using sugar cane juice instead of the traditional molasses that is used to make its cousin: Rum. Keeping that in mind, allow me to elaborate on the cocktail itself.

I had Momma-San give it a quick taste. She said that the cocktail went down "a little hot" but that overall it was pretty refreshing. I would say her description is accurate. This cocktail was hitting notes all over the palate. The "hotness" she felt was the balsamic vinegar part of the shrub which paired nicely with the sweetness found both in the shrub but also in the simple syrup. There was also a fresh tart taste from the muddled lime and a subtle fruitiness from the watermelon. The cachaça was definitely present, just swimming around the other ingredients. It was ironic that I used the terms swimming since I was watching the Olympic swimming on the boob tube. It was so refreshing that I put down three of them. Here is my YouTube video tasting the Confederados Cocktails.



But I wasn't done yet.

I would be remiss to do a post on Cachaça and not make the national drink of Brazil: The Caipirinha. In the past I've written a couple of posts on the Caipirinha:  Homemade Caipirinhas with Leblon Cachaça and Strawberry Caipirinhas so this isn't quite uncharted territory. This time I used the recipe found in the June 15, 2015 Esquire Magazine article How to Make a Caipirinha by David Wondrich.

Caipirinha Ingredients
1/2 lime(s)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 ounces cachaca
old-fashioned glass
Instructions:
Slice the lime into 1/2-inch rounds, cube them, and muddle them in an Old-Fashioned glass or small tumbler with the sugar. Add a couple of ice cubes. Pour in the cachaça. Serve with a stirring rod.  
I found the Caipirinha to be a bit tart for my taste. I added an extra 1/4-1/2 tsp of sugar to the drink and found it to be balanced. Truly a nice, refreshing way to end the evening's Olympic festivities. Here is the video for the Caipirinha:


With this week's work schedule being altered due to vacations, I'm not quite sure what I will do in terms of home cocktailing. I have a few ideas, hopefully time will let me execute them.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

This Week in Home Cocktailing August 7, 2016 Part I

This week's cocktails had a bit of a different flavor palate though the base spirits used are somewhat similar. I used white rum for the cocktail named after 1930's blonde bombshell Jean Harlow while I used Cachaça in the Confederados and the Brazilian national cocktail The Caipirinha. The Confederados cocktail also marked the first time I've ever used a shrub in a cocktail so this one took a little extra prep time to make. Now that I've laid the groundwork, let's get to drinking.

I came across the recipe for the Confederados Cocktail from the Imbibe Magazine website. The recipe comes courtesy of Julian Goglia of The Pinewood Tippling Room in Decatur, Georgia. Before I go into the recipe for the cocktail, I wanted to shed some light on one of the ingredients: The Watermelon Shrub.

Up to now, I've yet to make a cocktail with a shrub. The only experience I've ever had with drinking a cocktail with a shrub was way back during April 2013 when I had a cocktail named The Maiden's Mayhem which was served to me at the Library at the Public with a Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub. In that post, I described what shrubs were and since its been a while since that last post, I think it would serve to inform those unfamiliar with what shrub are if I reposted what I came across.

According to the May 26, 2012 article What's shaking in the cocktail scene? Shrubs by Jessica Gelt from the Los Angeles Times website, she describes shrubs as being:
Tart, acidic and weirdly, wonderfully refreshing, drinking vinegars known as "shrubs" are finding a savory home on a growing number of Los Angeles drink menus. Sometimes they're added to soda water as an alternative to mainstream sodas, and sometimes they're mixed with booze as a mouth-pleasing alternative to predictable acids such as lemons and limes. 
In terms of their origins:
Shrubs, which are generally one part juice or fruit macerated with sugar and boiled with vinegar, were mixed with water in 18th century America for refreshment. Vinegar was also used as a preservative and for its supposed medicinal benefits. It was only a matter of time before alcohol made the grade, but shrub cocktails never achieved a full liftoff.
Based on that description, here is the recipe for the Watermelon Shrub portion of the Confederados cocktail:
Watermelon Shrub: Combine 1 cup fresh watermelon purée, 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar in a large glass jar. Cover and shake to combine. Let sit overnight, then fine-strain. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
So I did that, with the exception of using granulated Splenda. While that sat blending its flavors together, I decided to work on the Jean Harlow cocktail.

I came across the recipe for this cocktail on page 61 of the book Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick.


The cocktail was named after famed actress of the 1930's Jean Harlowe, and it is said that it was one of her favorite cocktails. It really is a simple cocktail to make being equal parts of white rum and Vermouth Rosso. It intrigued me since I don't believe that I have ever made a cocktail with white rum and Vermouth Rosso. Here it is:


















I found the cocktail to be very interesting. While the Vermouth Rosso seemed to dominate the cocktail, you could taste the Real McCoy 3-year rum just chilling around in the background. The color to this cocktail is amazing. Two things stood out to me a few days after having the Jean Harlow.

First, I think I need to remake this with a fresher bottle of Vermouth Rosso. Its been a while since I had a new bottle. I don't think that it was bad, but to get a proper tasting of the cocktail, I should have a Vermouth Rosso in optimal condition. Secondly, I think a rum with a stronger flavor profile like a black strap or an aged rum might give a different taste to this cocktail. I'll get back to the drawing board once I get a new bottle of Vermouth Rosso. For now, here is the video I recorded for the Jean Harlow cocktail:


That's it for Part I of this post folks. The second part will contain the finished Watermelon Shrub and the Confederados cocktail and a bonus Caipirinha which I made while watching the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
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Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Week in Home Cocktailing July 24, 2016 Part I

The week ending July 24, 2016 saw a flurry of cocktail activity with a literary flair. The birthdays of authors Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Chandler were on July 21st and July 23rd respectively. I would be negligent to let the birthdays of these two bon-vivants pass without having a celebratory cocktail in their honor. Without further ado, let's see what I came up.

On July 3rd I celebrated the passing of Ernest Hemingway by making the Hemingway Daiquiri. In keeping with the daiquiri theme, for his birthday I decided to make what is known as the Papa Doble. This cocktail is made as a frozen drink and is a powerhouse of a cocktail.


Though I found this cocktail to be really strong, it was very refreshing. I can see why Hemingway would have five or six of these in a sitting while at La Floridita in Havana. Like him, I had multiple drinks. The difference being is that I decided to experiment with different rums. 

As the image above shows, I used the Real McCoy 3-year rum for the first cocktail. For the second cocktail I used the 1.5oz Real McCoy in conjunction with an 1.5oz of Cruzan® Black Strap Rum. I really like the addition of the Black Strap to the cocktail. The molasses flavor gives the cocktail an added level of flavor. I highly recommend it, using equal proportion of light and dark rum. 

For the third drink, I decided to use 3oz of Ron Abuelo Añejo rum. I was really expecting something exciting from the use of an añejo in the frozen drink. I was highly disapointed. I found the cocktail to be somewhat sour and really lacking. It was unappetizing to say the least.  

Here is the video I posted to YouTube on my initial take on the Papá Doble Frozen Cocktail:



For Raymond Chandler, I decided to make the cocktail that he describes in his novel The Long Goodbye. In the exchange between his protagonists Philip Marlowe and Terry Lennox at Victor's Bar in Los Angeles, Lennox describes why he likes Gimlets. Here is how the cocktail is described:
We sat in the corner bar at Victor’s and drank gimlets. “They don’t know how to make them here,” he said. “What they call a gimlet is just some lime or lemon juice and gin with a dash of sugar and bitters. A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose’s Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats martinis hollow.”
Now I already knew that this cocktail would be very tart. I had a brief conversation with Joel P., who told me that he had the Chandler version of the cocktail and that some much Rose's Lime Juice gave the cocktail a somewhat artificial feel to it. That he prefers his Gimlets with fresh lime juice and a splash of Rose's Lime Juice. For the sake of research, I decided to make it as Chandler described in his book.














As I already surmised the cocktail was very tart and I can see what Joel meant about it being artificial. Its not unappetizing in the least if you like tart cocktails. Hey it was Chandler's birthday, who am I to argue with his way of making Gimlets. Right?

Here is the video I posted to YouTube after I tasted the Gimlet from Raymond Chandler's the Long Goodbye:


For Part II of the week in home cocktailing ending July 24th, I'll be profiling an infusion I made with La Certeza Tequila Reposado in preparation for National Tequila Day, which was celebrated on July 24th. I initially was going to prepare one cocktail and ended up making two different drinks. Come back to see what I made.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
SiscoVanilla
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