Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 6- #30for30 The Moscow Mule and a special review of Exclusiv Vodka

In the 1950s, Vodka took over!!! Before that most cocktails were made with Whisky or Gin. One of the most popular drinks during this time was the Moscow Mule. Doesn't sound too appetizing, but the name refers to the notion that Vodka is a Russian product.

The cocktail was invented in 1941 by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublien Brothers Inc, a spirits and food distributor, and John Morgan of Cock and Bull products(which made Ginger Beer). It consists of Vodka, Lime, and Ginger Beer. An article in the New York Herald Tribune explains the origin of the drink...

"The mule was born in Manhattan but "stalled" on the West Coast for the duration. The birthplace of "Little Moscow" was in New York's Chatham Hotel. That was back in 1941 when the first carload of Jack Morgan's Cock 'n' Bull ginger beer was railing over the plains to give New Yorkers a happy surprise... Three friends were in the Chatham bar, one John A. Morgan, known as Jack, president of Cock 'n' Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock 'n' Bull Restaurant; one was John G. Martin, president of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc. of Hartford, Conn., and the third was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein's vodka division. As Jack Morgan tells it, "We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d'oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius". Martin and Kunett had their minds on their vodka and wondered what would happen if a two-ounce shot joined with Morgan's ginger beer and the squeeze of a lime. Ice was ordered, limes procured, mugs ushered in and the concoction put together. Cups were raised, the men counted five and down went the first taste. It was good. It lifted the spirit to adventure. Four or five later the mixture was christened the Moscow Mule..."

Now on to my favorite part of the 30 for 30.. Making and Tasting the drinks I'm learning about.. So... Here is my version of the Moscow mule.. Oh and I changed the name to fit the product I used...

The "Exclusive Ass"(Play on the Mule.. lol)

1 freshly squeezed Lime
2oz Exclusiv Vodka
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Regatta Ginger Beer
Build in a Collins glass, the freshly squeezed lime, add the Vodka, maybe 2 or 3 dashes of the Bitters, then Ice and Top with Ginger Beer. Garnish with the leftover lime..

So a couple weeks ago I got an email to check out and review some Exclusiv Vodka. I jumped at the chance as my personal bar is filling up with hard to find products. So I got it and immediately oped the bottle and took a good whiff of the product. Was blown away...  You can almost smell the wheat, as the vodkas Origins take it back to the fields in Moldova, that's near the shores of the Black Sea. So the Russian imprint is definitely there. The one thing I enjoyed most about this vodka was that it was no burn in it as well. Went down smooth, and had a distinct taste, almost like it was "Exclusive"....(Get it, heh heh).

So I didn't want to just have it in a basic Cran and Vodka or OJ and vodka so I paired the old with new and got myself a new take on a classic cocktail!! The "Exclusiv Ass" will be a constant drink at my home bar and as we get Exclusiv here in Chicago, Ill start making them behind the bar.

So the Moscow Mule is def a drink that can be enjoyed by all, esp Vodka Lovers.. So get yourself one next time you are out and about. And when you get to pick up that bottle of Exclusiv try it at home and get yourself a piece of "Exclusiv Ass".Play on the Mule, not literally... well If you like..lol

Until Next time

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 5 #30for30 - Old Fashioned

Old fashioned. Easy. Simple. Straight to the point. Alot of Modern things take alot of dips, and turns, and dives, and complicate things... But doing it the "Old Fashioned" way(as my dad used to say) makes things so much easier. Which brings us to Day 5 of the 30 for 30, the "Old Fashioned"

If you notice a trend with the first 5 posts its been Gin and Whisky. Back in the old days those were the most popular spirits, and most readily available. The first noted use of the Old fashioned was at a gentleman's club in Kentucky in the 1880s, when a patron asked for a cocktail using Bourbon Whisky. The recipe is said to have been invented by a bartender at that club, and popularized by a club member and bourbon distiller, Colonel James E. Pepper, who brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. The name Old Fashioned references the combination's age. It is possibly the first drink to be called a cocktail. Now on to what exactly is the old fashioned and the recipe... Well here is the recipe for the perfect Old Fashioned.

Old Fashioned
2oz Bourbon Whisky
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Splash of water
1 Maraschino Cherry
1 Orange Wedge
Mix sugar, water and angostura bitters 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.

There are many ways you can make this drink, as many different bartenders produce this in many variations. I always hear customers say I want a properly made Old Fashioned. Myself personally I don't muddle the fruit into a paste, just lightly just so that it adds a little color to it. But those are for my drinking purposes. For most of my clientele, I use Simple syrup instead of sugar. Simple Syrup eliminates the chance of undissolved sugar being left in the drink and killing that last sip. Or in some cases I use the juice from the Cherry, and leave the muddled cherry at the bottom of the glass.

So if you are in Chicago, The best Old Fashioned Ive ever had(outside of my own of course.. You can come see me at the South Loop Hotel Bar for one. Shameless Plug) is at Zed 451 in the River North section of the city. All the bartenders there make excellent Old Fashioned

So next time you are at the bar and are feeling adventurous, do it the "Old Fashioned" way and enjoy yourself one..

Until Next time

Day 4- The Classic Martini

"I Like my Martini Shaken, not Stirred"-Sean Connery as James Bond in GoldFinger

The Martini is by far the most popular drink in the History of cocktails. There are so many variations of a Martini, From Cosmos, to Appletinis, to Chocolate to just about any flavor you want. But there is only one "Classic Martini".

Classic Martini
2 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1 olive or Lemon Twist
Optional- Orange or Angostura Bitters

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes .Stir for 30 seconds .Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a dash of orange or Angostura bitters, if desired. .Garnish with olive or lemon twist

One theory of the origin of the Martini is set in the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City in 1911. Supposedly, the bartender who created it was named Martini. Another theory claims that in 1870 a gold prospector struck it rich mining gold. To celebrate the miner went to Julio Richelieu’s Saloon for Champagne. The bar was completely out of Champagne so the bartender mixed up a special cocktail. Richelieu gave the miner a small cocktail with an olive in the glass. He called it the Martinez after the California town.

Now whether it was First made in NYC or by some Gold prospectors, this drink is widely the most popular and most well known drink in the world. But an even more important question..... Should a Martini be shaken or stirred???

Shaking the Martini makes it colder. In fact makes it Ice Cold. In the 1950s, most of the vodka that was available was distilled from potatoes. Potato vodka is very oily and by shaking it, disperses the oil. So those that rather had Vodka than Gin for their Martini usually wanted them Shaken.

Some connoisseurs, however, are horrified at the notion of shaking a martini. Shaking is believed to "bruise" the gin, causing it to taste slightly bitter. Shaken martinis also have a cloudier appearance, caused by small ice fragments created when the cocktail is shaken.

So after my research I can contend that its all to your personal taste. Myself personally I enjoy my Martini Shaken lightly with a Lemon peel for garnish. Oh and occasionally I enjoy a "Dirty Martini". But I like my dirty with Beefeater Gin, extra dry and extra dirty..

So if you enjoy Cosmos, Appletinis, and many of the modern day flavored martinis, take a little time and have yourself a classic Martini. I guarantee you wont be disappointed!!

Until next time

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 3, 30 for 30- The Negroni

The Negroni.. Another Gin based classic that Ive grown to love. Best Negroni Ive had was at Death and Company in The East Village in NYC(Shout's out to my main man Jason Littrell and Lane for a great evening of classics).

Funny as I was researching this great drink, the origins are pretty hard to come by. But I found that this cocktail was invented in Florence, Italy allll the way back in 1919. Supposedly the Count at the time, Camillo Negroni, invented it by asking the Bartender to spice up his drink, the Americano, by adding Gin instead of Soda water. Then the bartender went into his creative juices and added a orange slice instead of the normal Lemon to show that its a different cocktail.

After the initial creation, and subsequent success of the drink, the Negroni family founded and opened the Negroni Distillery in Treviso Italy in 1919 and produced a ready made version of the drink sold as the Antico Negroni.

So here's the proper way to make a negroni..

1oz Gin
1oz Sweet Vermouth
1oz Campari
Garnish with an Orange Slice
Pour gin, vermouth, and Campari into a chilled Old Fashioned glass over ice; garnish with a slice of orange.

For a longer drink, add Soda water or Shake and strain it into a Cocktail Glass.
My personal view of this drink...Well I think most cocktail experts would say that this drink should be stirred, not built or shaken, whether served on the rocks or up in a cocktail glass. That said, I prefer it on the rocks because you get to enjoy the evolving flavors as the ice melts, and the drink stays ice cold.
The Negroni is a great before dinner drink and definitely one you should try out ASAP. A little bitter but if you want a drink that's classic and a different taste than the norm, this is the one for you!
Until next time

Saturday, November 27, 2010

30 for 30 Day 2-- The Perfect Manhattan

Whisky... I mean who doesn't love Whisky???  Rye, Canadian, Bourbon, Blended, and Tennessee.. Plenty of selection here you think? Well all of those can be used to make today's classic cocktail, the "Perfect Manhattan".

A little history for this wonderful drink....

History suggests that this drink was created at the Manhattan club in NYC(starting to see a trend here with Classics, but that will be discussed later on in the 30 for 30) for a banquet for then presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden in the early 1870s. That's a long time for a drink to still be around and be relevant still today. Now while that is the most popular story tracing this drink back to its roots, there are other accounts that it was created by a bartender in the 1860s by a bartender named Black at a bar on Broadway near Houston street in NYC.

Now there are a few different recipe variations but this is the one most commonly used..

The Perfect Manhattan
2 oz Whisky
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2oz Dry Vermouth
Dash of Bitters
Swirl with ice to chill, Pour into a cocktail glass, and Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

The Manhattan is subject to alot of change, variation, and innovation. Ive Been known to play around with the recipe and use lime juice, Cointreau, triple Sec, and many other flavors and ingredients to put a spin on the Manhattan.

There are many ways to enjoy a Manhattan. I prefer the original recipe and made with Makers 46. But here are a few ways that you can enjoy a Manhattan...

Dry Manhattan- No sweet Vermouth, only dry. This drink was made popular by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.
Cuban Manhattan- A perfect Manhattan made with Dark Rum(Appleton, Goslings, or Meyers for the best results).
Royal Manhattan- A perfect Manhattan, made with Crown Royal Canadian Whisky.

So this has easily become a favorite of mine, and hopefully after reading this if you haven't had a Manhattan yet, You'll try one ASAP!!!

Until next time

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 1 of the 30 for 30---> The Aviation

Classic Cars, Classic Music, Vintage clothes and appliances... Everyone loves them. Kinda gives you a glimpse into the past, and also lets you know how up to date items were derived.

So why not Cocktails?? Classic cocktails are making a huge comeback all around the country and Craft Bartenders are putting their own spins on these. So let me digress.. Ive been a bartender for a long time, and honestly(and I hate to say this) only in the last couple years Ive began to really discover, taste, and make the Classics. But in order to know where you are headed, you need to know where you came from.

So after some great advice I received from a fellow bartender( Thanks Josh, follow my boy and mixologist Josh Pearson on twitter @josh_pearson) Ive shifted my focus in this industry to the classics.. So for the next 30 days from the Turkey day all the way to Christmas day I will give you a classic cocktail, a little history, recipe and prep...

So what better way to start than with the time tested, excellent classic the "Aviation".

The Aviation
2 shots gin
1/2 shot lemon juice
Dash Maraschino
Dash Crème de Violette
Shake well with ice and fine strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

The Aviation was was created by Hugo Ensslin, head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in NYC(my favorite city in the world) in the early twentieth century. The first published recipe for the drink appeared in Ensslin's 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. Ensslin's recipe called for El Bart gin, lemon juice, maraschino, and crème de violette, a violet liqueur which gives the cocktail a pale sky-blue color. Upon some more research of this fine cocktail, I found that its also considered a variation of the Gin Sour and using the Maraschino as a sweetener.

Now I'm in the lab, and since I don't have any El Bart, I'm making my Aviation with 1st Tanqueray 10, and another with Hendrick's. The Tanqueray 10 really mixes well  and to me is the premier Gin in the industry today. Unfortunately I don't have any Creme de Violette, so I was unable to get the full experience today, but this is what i came up with in the lab....

So now my first 30 for 30 is done, I want to tell everyone to enjoy your Holiday! Eat Drink and be Merry! And hey while you at it, have yourself an Aviation!!!

Until next time..

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Drink of the Week featuring the ladies of Poshly Chic Cocktails

According to Dictionary.com ,The Definition of Posh is summed up in one word.. "Luxurious". That pretty much explains why the 2 ladies I'm spotlighting this week, Nataki and Nita, are the Owners of Poshly Chic Cocktails.

Just to give you a little background on these ladies, a couple months ago I received a post on my FB fan page wall that said, hey Poshly Chic likes your page and we want you to like ours too. I was interested, because I love meeting more people in this industry. So upon looking at the page I found out that they were not only Cocktail Enthusiasts, but they had a private Mobile bartending service in Las Vegas. I immediately showed them support as Drinks On Me is a mobile bartending service here in Chicago, and I have a few other friends with their own mobile services as well. If you are in the Texas area Be sure to check out Flirtini Bartending Service, Paradise Cocktails Bartending service, and Majestic Bartending services for your private party needs!

So Ive been watching and seeing some of these ladies custom cocktails and just had to do a profile on them on my blog. Here's what Poshly Chic is all about straight from Nataki and Nita...

"Poshly Chic Cocktails is a premier mobile cocktail service specializing in martinis. Co-owned by Nataki W. and Nita S., Poshly Chic Cocktails thrives on setting a new trend in event/party planning. As cocktail enthusiast, we’ve identified a need in the Las Vegas area for specialty cocktails. Our drinks are not merely mixed, but instead made with the finest ingredients and dazzled with a classy touch. They are sophisticated, pleasing in flavor, and presented in the most posh way. We pride ourselves on reliability, being well organized, and maintaining a positive and professional attitude at all times. We strive to please our clients, while making your event Posh and Chic!  Whether in Las Vegas for business or pleasure we would love to host your event/party. We can accommodate all venues including timeshares, corporate housing, or even the “suite life”. We are sure to make your party/event a huge success. Our motto: Let us mix, while you mingle!"

So on to the best part of the blog.. the "Drink of the Week"!! The custom cocktail they provided me is the 'CoCo Cabana"

CoCo Cabana
1 Part Coconut Vodka (Ciroc, Van Gogh, UV)

1 Part Strawberry Banana Nectar (Kerns, Del Valle, Jumex)
2 muddled Strawberries

Rim martini glass with toasted coconut shavings.
Muddle Strawberries. Shake coconut flavored Vodka and nectar vigorously in shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass and serve. Splash with ginger ale if desired.

Trying this drink as soon as I get home this evening! When I read the recipe and Prep, one word came to mind... DAMN!!!

Here are a few other pics of some of the ladies custom cocktails and event setups.

When in Las Vegas these are definitely the ladies to see for a good cocktail. You can find my 2 friends on various social networks listed here...



Hope you enjoyed this post and Until next time..