Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cocktails At ACME NYC

Melvin and I decided to do a little pre-party cocktailing this past Sunday night. We originally decided on meeting at the Library at the Public but between my getting delayed on the subway and to an early closing at the Library at the Public for a private event, I met up with him, his wife Dawn and our friend Dana at ACME instead. Now I remember the old ACME cajun restaurant and music venue from back in the day. Let's say this newer ACME is definitely not the old ACME. This place is simply beautiful and surprisingly for a Sunday evening the place was busy and the atmosphere just buzzed.

Though the bar is not very big, the selection of spirits is amazing. The bartender (who I have met in the past from his coming to the bar with the ACME folks) showed me the leather bound book of spirits that they have on hand. The spirits ranged from various entries per spirit and was a very international blend of spirits that seemed to come from every corner of the world. Since we were going to have dinner at Mayahuel, we decided to keep out cocktails in the Tequila and Mezcal families. On the House Cocktails menu, there were a few selections that fit our desire to stay within the Tequila and Mezcal families.

The first cocktail I ordered was probably my favorite. The Pedron was a nice spicy blend of Tequila made with Pueblo Viejo Tequila, Cholula hot sauce, fresh Grapefruit juice, lime and orange bitters. I especially loved the salt and pepper rim on the glass that just gave the cocktail a nice crunchy texture.

El Pedron
The second cocktail was a cocktail made by the bartender called Napoleon's Loss. This cocktail was a very simple but tasty cocktail that was made with Tequila Reposado, Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup and a Mezcal floater on the top which made for a smoky but slightly sweet cocktail. Very light on the tongue.

Napoleon's Loss
My third cocktail was something different from what I have ever tried. I picked the Green Tomato Margarita and was not disappointed. The cocktail was made from a green tomato-infused El Jimador Tequila, lime and agave with a salt rim. As with the previous two cocktails, the use of simple and minimal ingredients made for a very pleasant cocktail experience. I like the flavor that seemed to pop from the green tomato infusion. It came across as very earthy and full bodied (if I can use that term to describe the cocktail). It wasn't your standard Margarita and I have to say, I didn't mind that it wasn't.

Green Tomato Margarita

The cocktails are decently priced as you can see from the list below:

Foxy Brown No. 2 el jimador tequila, mint, ginger, lime, grapefruit, honey

Fair Lady aperol, plymouth gin, lemon, st germain, honey, orange bitters, champagne

Jones St. Daiquiri blackwell rum, old overholt rye, lime, honey, aphrodite bitters

Graffiti Green beefeater gin, green bell pepper, basil, lime, agave

Sour No. 9 beefeater gin, averna, st germain, lemon, egg white, blood orange bitters

El Padron pueblo viejo tequila, fresh grapefruit, cholula, lime, orange bitters

Polish Pear Sour pear-infused zubrowka, lemon, honey, egg white

Green Tomato Margarita green tomato-infused el jimador, lime, agave


The only disappointment I had (and it is very minimal) is that I wanted to try the barrel aged Buffalo Smoker which contained Illegal Joven Mezcal, Zubrowska Vodka, lime and oleo sacchrum. The batch they had in the barrel had finished so I would have to wait until the next batch is ready. Guess I have another reason to go back to ACME. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a cool and relaxed environment to have a few cocktails.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Monday, April 22, 2013

On The Manhattan Road

After two different Manhattan cocktails containing Kirkland 103 Proof and Jim Beam 80 proof bourbons, I decided to switch things up a bit. Since I had an orange that I had cut open during the Kirkland's 103 Proof Bourbon post, I decided to incorporate it into the recipe that I use for a Manhattan. I decided to swap out the splash of cherry that I add for some Orange bitters and an orange twist. Here is what I came up with.

The Orange Manhattan
2.5 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
1 oz Sweet vermouth
4 dashes The Bitter Truth Orange bitters
1 maraschino cherry
1 twist orange peel
Combine the vermouth, bourbon whiskey, and bitters with 4-5 ice cubes in a mixing glass. Stir gently. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the oils. Drop it in.
I find this cocktail very appealing. I like how the citrus flavor and aroma leaps out at you from this cocktail. It isn't as sweet as the standard Jim Beam Manhattan and definitely not as strong as the Kirkland Manhattan. I find the addition of the Orange Bitters with the subtraction of the cherry juice gives a more spicier flavor to the Jim Beam Manhattan.

I might find myself making this one more while at home. Give it a try. Let me know what you think.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Kirkland's 103 Proof Bourbon

I finally decided to crack open the bottle of Kirkland's Premium Small Batch Bourbon that Pete picked up for me about a month or so ago. This particular batch is aged 7 years and sold at a whopping 103 proof (51.5% ALC/VOL). I have to admit I was afraid to drink this straight up. The little sip I had of it was hardcore. This bourbon was going to pack a wallop. So I decided to use it in two of my favorite cocktails that use bourbon: The Old Fashioned and The Manhattan.
The Old Fashioned
2 oz. Kirkland 's Premium Small Batch Bourbon

2 dashes Angostura bitters

splash water
1 sugar cube
1 maraschino cherry

2 orange wedges

Saturate sugar cube with bitters and water in an old-fashioned glass. Drop in a cherry and an orange wedge. Muddle into a paste using a muddler or the back end of a spoon. Pour in bourbon, fill with ice cubes, and stir.

The Manhattan
2.5 oz. Kirkland 's Premium Small Batch Bourbon

1 oz. Sweet Vermouth

Splash of Maraschino Cherry Juice

2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

1 maraschino cherry

In an ice filled cocktail shaker add Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth and Cherry Juice. Stir until the shaker is frosty. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass garnished with a maraschino cherry.
In total I had two of each cocktails and I have to admit that the Kirkland's bourbon worked better for me in the Old Fashioned than in the Manhattan. I like how the sweetness of the orange, cherry and sugar cube balanced out the strength of the Bourbon. I could tell that it was strong but it was a pleasant combination. In the Manhattan, I found the Bourbon to be too strong. The Vermouth just couldn't stand up to Bourbon. I found that I had to scale down to the Jim Beam 80 proof Bourbon to fully enjoy a Manhattan.

Oh, and about that wallop? I felt the effects of the Bourbon in the morning along with the other Beam Manhattans that I made for myself while watching movies at home Tuesday night. Speaking of the Beam Manhattans, for the next post I have a variation on the Manhattan recipe that I want to share with you that (in my opinion) made for a pleasant cocktail.

Until Then Happy Drinking
Sisco Vanilla

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Dandy Riot

For my second cocktail at The Library at the Public on Sunday afternoon, I asked the bartender to make me something that would be a opposite to the Maiden's Mayhem that I had just had. The question she posed to me was: Would you like something Citrusy or something Boozy. Well, I decided to live a little and throw caution to the wind. Naturally I said boozy. She recommended a cocktail called the Dandy Riot. Here are the ingredients in that particular cocktail:
The Dandy Riot
Old Overholt Rye
Talisker 10 year rinse
Before I go into the actual cocktail, I wanted to touch some light on the ingredients.

Old Overholt is an old school staple in the Rye Whiskey family though the current version has a lower proof (it has been lowered to 80 from 100 proof in 1930).

Aperol is an aperitif in somewhat the same vein as Campari. Here is how it is described on the Aperol website:
Aperol is the perfect aperitif. Bright orange in color, it has a unique taste, thanks to the secret recipe, which has never been changed, with infusions of selected ingredients including bitter and sweet oranges and many other herbs and roots in perfect proportions. Aperol’s strength is in its low-alcohol content of only 11 percent.
For an interesting comparison of Aperol and Campari, check out the article by Post Prohibition Hand Crafted Libations from April 21, 2001 entitled Aperol & Campari

Byrrh (pronounced Beer) is another aperitif in the cocktail, this one wine based with a taste of quinine. Here is how it is described on the Byrrh page on the Pernod website:
A wine-based aperitif, Byrrh is a typical product of the south of France, made mainly from Carignan and Grenache grapes from the hillsides of Roussillon....Byrrh is drunk as an aperitif. It is best served cool, at approximately 16°, and goes well with a twist of lemon zest or a little Crème de Cassis
Talisker 10 is a single malt scotch that is made on the Isle of Skye. According to the Talisker website Talisker 10's palate is one of:
A rich dried-fruit sweetness with clouds of smoke and strong barley-malt flavours, warming and intense. Peppery at the back of the mouth.
And its finish is one of a:
Huge, long, warming and peppery in the finish with an appetising sweetness.
Now that we've gotten the introductions out of the way, here is what I thought of the cocktail.

I love the complex balance that the cocktail brings. You can taste the smokiness of the Talisker 10 rinse on the glass and the alternating sweetness and bitterness of the combination of the rye whiskey and the aperitifs. It also packed a punch on the boozy side though it did so in a deceptive manner. The cocktail is a very pretty dark red color and is very smooth on the tongue. A couple of these in a row can do some damage...of course in a good way.

Now where to go for next Sunday's expedition which will coincide with the holiday party at Mayahuel (yes, I know its a little late for a Christmas holiday party in April but who am I to complain about it). Regardless it should be a damn good time.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Maidens Mayhem

I decided to start my Spring/Summer Sunday cocktail expeditions with a trip to the Library at the Public. Being my first time at the Library at the Public, I wanted to go into a little history. According to the website for the Library at the Public:
The Library, named for the building's original use as the Astor Library, is a central element of the mezzanine level, newly built with the revitalization of our landmark building's downtown home at Astor Place. Open late nightly for dinner and cocktail service, the hidden away space plays dinner bar, watering hole or backstage lounge to downtown denizens and neighborhood dwellers, theater-goers coming or going, academics and artists alike.
The space itself was very cozy. It wasn't large with a series of tables and banquettes in the front and middle of the room with a square bar in the back. The room was dimly lit by candles offering a very welcoming and private environment. In terms of what the Library at the Public is looking to do cocktail wise, the website describes it as so:
Our cocktail list uses choice spirits and seasonal house-made mixers from the kitchen, combining tried and true technique and a charming approach to the classics. Our wine list features a small collection of grower champagnes and beers on tap. 
Now that we've established where the Library at the Public stands, on to what I chose to drink.

Since I was going to be at work in an hour or so, I decided to start with something on the lighter side. Since I had never drank a cocktail with a Shrub ingredient, I decided to order a Maiden's Mayhem. Sorry for the not so clear picture. The bar had a nice dark and mellow vibe to it (aside from the dude talking on his phone at the highest voice he could possibly use). I didn't want to take away from it by being that guy blasting off a series of flashes in order to get "the perfect picture". Luckily for me the iPad's camera does a wonderful job in low light situations. Thanks Momma-San =) Here's what goes into the cocktail :
Maiden's Mayhem
Diplomatico Añejo rum
Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub
Club soda
Crushed Ice
Strawberry and Mint garnish
Before I go into what I thought of the cocktail, I wanted to touch upon what shrubs are since I have never used a shrub in a cocktail or drank one in a cocktail. 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.
Now that we've established what shrubs are, here is what I thought of the Maiden's Mayhem.

I found it to be very light and tasty with a hint of tartness. There was a sublime strawberry flavor to the cocktail. The club soda gave it a nice level of effervescence that seemed to compliment both the rum and the shrub. This is definitely the type of cocktail that you want when you want to start the night off slow or if you are lounging around.

For the next post, I'll describe the next cocktail I had at The Library at the Public. I asked the bartender to make me a totally opposite drink. She made me The Dandy Riot.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Return to the Dark ‘n Stormy

Back in May of 2012, my first post on a cocktail was on a Dark and Stormy that I had made illegally. Why illegally? Refer back to the article by Jonathan Miles entitled The Right Stuff (by Law) dated July 2, 2009 to see why. Let's just say that making Dark 'n' Stormy with the wrong ingredients makes a helluva difference. Where I found the cocktail made with the Cruzan Black Strap Rum and the Citadedelle "Taste of the Islands" Ginger Beer to be interesting (and way too sweet), I decided that I needed to have an official Dark 'n Stormy.

We recently started carrying Gosling's Black Seal Rum and Gosling's Ginger Beer here at The Bleecker Street Bar for the upcoming Spring and Summer Seasons. To see how its made, just watch the CEO of Gosling's make the cocktail:

So what do I think of it? It is a much smoother cocktail than the one I made in May. It is actually quite sublime in its flavor. The Gosling's is not a thick as the Cruzan Black Strap was and though the Gosling's Ginger Beer had a similar sugar content as the Citadedelle Ginger Beer, the cocktail wasn't overpowering in the least. The ginger beer left a nice little tingle after the cocktail was done.

I really must say that if the recipe calls for Gosling's. Make it with Gosling's all around. So go out and have yourself Bermuda's National Drink.

Until Then, Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla