As of July 4, 2011, most of my blogs are on indefinite sabbatical, but you can still keep up with me on Twitter, my writing and Florida blogs, and JSH News!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Kentucky Pirate

Couple days ago I just happened to Google the words "Kentucky" and "pirate", because the little voices in my head told me to and I always do what the little voices say. And as usual, they're right again: I stumbled upon a youtube video demonstrating the construction of a concoction called a Kentucky Pirate.

I'd never heard of the thing, but evidently it's popular in Las Vegas. It's master bartender Jerry Vargas' spin-off of the Imperial Fizz and is said to be a big tradition at this upscale Vegas bar called the Sidebar. To whit:

1 slice diced muddled cucumber
1 bar spoon sugar
1 oz. Jim Beam
1/2 oz. Sailor Jerry rum
1/4 oz. Domaine de Canton
1 splash soda
1 slice cucumber for garnish

I'm definitely intrigued by the recipe, and not just because Kentucky and pirates are two subjects near and dear to my ventricles. I haven't made this drink yet, but I plan to, and will likely replace the Sailor Jerry with Kraken, or perhaps forgo the spiced rum and go for the clean clear lucid sharpness of Ten Cane. Maybe even Cachaca to add a Brazilian element. And though Vargas suggests Jim Beam instead of a higher-end bourbon because it's gonna get lost in the mix anyway, I will still probably stubbornly use something a little higher up the trough than Beam. (What can I say, I'm a snob.) I don't keep the ginger liqueur Domaine de Canton around the house, but I do keep fresh ginger root for my daily smoothies made in the juicerator of the official JSH research kitchens.

I'm mentioning this drink here now rather than later, because I probably won't get around to making it until after the Fourth of July, and a little birdie (okay, it's a duck, actually) tells me that you ain't gonna have JSH to kick around anymore after July 4, so if you want that one last kick you'd better make it quick. More on that in the days to come.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Raspberry St.Germain Tea

Okay, it's such a non-recipe that I probably shouldn't even bother, but here goes. After finally plunking down 38 shekels for a bottle of St. Germain, I found that it's way too cloying and sweet to sip straight, leaving me with a potentially undrinkable white elephant - it tastes like white wine, and I hate white wine.

The natural solution that came to my Southern gentlemanly noggin was to cut it with tea and a dash o' soda. So, yeah:

1 part St. Germain
1 part Turkey Hill Raspberry tea
1 dash of club soda

I'm sure any other teas would do nicely - I'm especially looking forward to trying this with Turkey Hill's Mojito tea, and also with homemade green tea from scratch, with Matcha.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Five Months Later

In some ways, things haven't progressed a whole heck of a lot since I filed my December Status Report. There are a lot of cocktail blogs out there that just make stuff up and talk about recipes they've never actually mixed, and drinks they aren't really drinking. I may be slow to post here, but at least I'm keeping it real.

I've been such a busy bee this year that I haven't spent as much time tinkering with experimental beverages as I used to. And when I do, it's usually something that I've already blogged about here, like my old standby the Veranda Cocktail. More often than not, when lounging around the JSH Plantation, I'm actually just sipping straight Bourbon or Zwack.

I do try a lot of nice boozy treats out and about in the world, but for the most part this blog is supposed to be about recipes for drinks that we make ourselves. Drinks I get out in bars and saloons generally get covered in the Victorian Squares blog, formerly the Transylvania Gentlemen blog. Sooner or later, probably not this year, maybe next year, maybe in five years, there WILL be an official Transylvania Gentlemen bar and yours truly will be head bartender. Once that occurs, this blog will snap into action like a Culpeper Minuteman who was already awake and on his fifth cup of Dutch East Indian coffee.

(That is, if there are still such things as bars, blogs, me and you by then.)

The rollercoaster writing deal I spoke of in the December report turned out to be a false shot from a misfired cannon, by the way - but now I'm excited about my new gig with I'll be traveling around and on the go more than ever because of this, I'm afraid, but will still try to get back to the noble alchemical arts of mixology when I can get the opportunity. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Overlook Cocktail

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. - Job 16:19

Recently I had the good fortune to finally track down a bottle of the mythical Advocaat, an egg-based Dutch concoction that played a pivotal part in the Stanley Kubrick film The Shining. I didn't know what to expect, but I was a bit taken aback by its viscous texture and ripe custard funk.

So what to do with it? At first I tried the logical first thing that entered my mind - the mixture that Jack Nicholson in the film jokes about after Grady the Satanic Butler spills Advocaat all over him and into his own drink:

Bourbon and Advocaat.

Although "add bourbon to it" is almost always a surefire solution to any dilemma about what to do with any given liqueur, this time it just didn't work for me. Advocaat is such a thick and cloying substance, the bourbon just gets lost in it unless you add a lot. And frankly, I just don't want to waste that much Russell's. The sharp custardy taste of Advocaat doesn't mix well with bourbon anyway - it isn't like Egg Nog at all, as I had presumed it would be.

This is probably best geared towards enhancing its weird sweetness, rather than trying to combat it. Southern Comfort might blend better with it than bourbon, but I don't have any in the JSH liquor cabinet and didn't really feel like going out and buying some just for a long-shot experiment.

No, clearly this is a job for Amaretto. Throw weird sweetness at weird sweetness. The recipe is simple: equal parts Amaretto and Advocaat.

Today was an unseasonably warm day, so I spent a pleasant hour this Christmas Eve Eve sitting on the old veranda, basking in the sun and sipping an ice cold... er.... what do I call this? How about the Overlook Cocktail? (So named for the film's Overlook Hotel)

But, my faithful acolytes and adepts, I can't bullshit you. If the question was put to me, will you ever fix this drink again?, I gotta say no. It's just too rich, too eggy, too much like a stale flan strained through too much dishwater to be helped by creekwater. Though I appreciate its mythic resonance and lineage, this is one devil I don't need to dance with in the pale moonlight.

(I did scan the web for inspiration, but everyone else's recipes sounded even worse than mine. Check out the Fluffy Duck, a truly turgid-sounding mix of Advocaat, creme de cacao, and 7up.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

December Status Report

I haven't been posting to this blog in quite a while, mainly because I haven't been concocting anything new lately. Unlike a lot of drink-recipe blogs by people who don't actually make the drinks they talk about, I only report on what I'm drinkin'. And this fall and winter, I've found myself sticking to my recent discoveries. It's hard to experiment with new cocktails when I just keep buying more and more bottles of Zwack.

And when I'm out and about, I've tended to fall into a comfortable rut of frozen margaritas at Ernesto's and Fiesta Mexicana. But oh, what a festive rut!

Meanwhile, the dangerously dumb trend of alcoholic energy drinks has been dealt a serious blow, I'm happy to report. I've ranted here previously against Jagerbombs, the unholy pairing of Jagermeister and Red Bull (I wouldn't even drink Red Bull by itself, not even if you paid me) and now you can click here to share in my glee about Four Loko being forced to change its formula.

There's other impending news in the offing, though it's not quite time to speak of it here. But I will say that my old eatin'-and-drinkin' column Nightlife Notes will soon return as part of a new journalistic endeavor that will be launched on January 1st.

Stay tuned, pallies. The rollercoaster is about to begin.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mad Men Cocktail Culture

I don't have an iPhone and probably never will (played with 'em many times, but I just don't like 'em and don't understand the hype), so I won't get to try out this intriguing gee-gaw: the AMC "Mad Men Cocktail Culture" iPhone app. Says here: "Think you can make an Old Fashioned as good as Don Draper can? This new game challenges your skills at mixing '60s-era cocktails." Of course, I have no idea who's judging at the other end, and those of us who came out of the box with that Don Draper feeling don't need approval from some electronic gizmo anyhoo.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Deep-fried Beer

Breaking news in the gentlemanly sciences: a Texas man has successfully found a way to deep-fry beer. Look upon his works, ye Mighty, and despair.

Apparently, the trick is to have a pocket of beer trapped inside a ravioli made of pretzel dough which then gets deep-fried at 375 degrees for about 20 seconds. According to the report, this is just enough time to cook the dough but not to evaporate the beer, nor to cook out the alcohol from it. Mark Zable said it took him three years to get it just right, and he's filed for a patent on the process. According to his website, he's going global with this baby: "If you are interested in purchasing Fried Beer for your restaurant or bar, please use the Contact Us page and send us an email."

I'm going to have to try this out for myself at home, of course, strictly in the name of science and all its wonders. Stay tuned for a Kentuckified spin on Zable's Texan-fried treat.