Wednesday, March 30, 2011

(Cocktail recipe) Uncle Tails Jazzy Juice (Sangria)

Make in 1 quart pitcher

20 oz fairly dry red table wine
10 oz of brandy/cognac or cointreau/triple sec
add a few ounces of fresh fruit
black cherries
orange slices
apple slices

If you want to make this in a larger quantity for a party use a gallon pitcher but make sure 75% of it is wine or you will knock everyone on their ass.

If you want to make this as a wine cooler sub half the wine for ginger ale/club soda or 7-up

Mix in pitcher add fruit slices. The ideal concoction is to freeze some of the cherries ahead of time to use as ice and just add them to the glass. If you let it sit overnight it tastes better as the fruit juices will mix and mingle. Pour into a Collins glass making sure each glass gets some fruit slices over ice or not and garnish with an orange slice. Enjoy on a hot day or any time.

(Cocktail Recipe) APPLE JACK SLAMMER

I'm not sure who originated this. I reverse engenieered it from a hot bartender who would never give me the recipe at a strip club I used to frequent. It's a fun round to have with friends and it tastes sweet and savory.

Get a 3oz thick walled shot or jigger glass

Pour 1.5oz of club soda or ginger ale in the shot glass

In a shaker place ice, 1oz jack daniels, .5 oz of apple flavored brandy shake well.

Float the jack and apple mix on top of the club soda/ ginger ale in the glass

Serve with napkin on top.

Place hand on top of napkin and slam glass on bar to mix.
Drink fizzy mixture as a shot.

(Cocktail Recipe) El Presidente's Mai Tai Punch

This is my take on the original Mai Tai. I've scaled it up so you can make it as a punch for parties and gatherings and it wont get you so schnockered after 2 of them. It still packs a wallop though.

6 oz dark rum
6oz light rum
2oz coconut rum
1oz apricot or peach brandy
1oz other fruity brandy like blackberry
24oz pineapple juice
24oz Sunkist orange soda
Mix in 1 gallon container, Shake, Pour over ice packed glass add orange and pineapple wedges to garnish with a paper umbrella.

(Do not sub any other orange soda. Sunkist is the only orange soda with caffeine and all that rum will make you sleepy, you want the party to be lively :)

(Review) Borsao Red Wine 2008 (Bodegas Borsao Spain)

Mystique: 1-10 points
Score: 2
never heard of it extra point for Spain, I like Spanish wines

Color: 1-10 points
Score: 8
nice ruby red with good legs

Scent: 1-10 points
Score: 7
average dry wine grape smell

Initial Impression: 1-10 points
Score: 7
Unassuming Abstract art in dark colors on the bottle

Feel: 1-10 points
Score 6
unimpressive standard wine consistency

Taste: 1-10 x 4 points
Score: 28
smooth slightly dry with a lot of tannin

Raw Score Total: 56 points

Bonus Points: 1-10
Value 1-10 points
Score 9
$8.99 a bottle

Total Score: 65 points

I had never heard of this wine. It was recommended to me by one of the Sommeliers at the fancy wine store I go to based on my liking of a similar Portuguese red table wine. I like wine, but I'm no connoisseur. I generally look for something that tastes good with food and is fairly inexpensive. This was surprisingly enjoyable. It had an even, smooth taste that was a little dry but not too dry. It would pair perfect with red meat or pizza. It's fairly average as red table wines go, fine with dinner and that's about it. I didn't enjoy it as much as other wines I have had in it’s class, but I bet I could make a pretty good sangria out of it.

(Review) Gambarelli & Davitto (G&D) Sweet Vermouth

Mystique: 1-10 points
Score: 1
Grandma’s secret Stash!

Color: 1-10 points
Score: 6
burnt amber

Scent: 1-10 points
Score: 4
grapey/alcohol

Initial Impression: 1-10 points
Score: 5
hobo wine alright!

Mouthfeel: 1-10 points
Score: 5
thin slight oily

Taste: 1-10 x 4
Score: 24
strong grape flavor / fruity

Raw Score Total: 45 points

Bonus Points:
Value 1-10
Score: 7

Total Score: 52 points

This isn't Campari with a twist. This stuff comes in a half gallon green jug as big as your head for 7 bucks. It's the kind of fortified wine you expect to see empty bottles of lying in alleys where hobos frequent. The surprising part is it doesn't taste bad or smell like fortified wine. It has a strong very sweet grape flavor, and a fruity aroma. You drink it and get a slight oily residue in your mouth, but it mixes well. I wouldn't drink it with club soda and a twist - but in a Manhattan its pretty good. You're definitely not going to beat the price. If it was a chick I'd hit it.

(Review) Evan Williams Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (86 proof)

Mystique: 1-10 points
Score: 2

Color: 1-10 points
Score: 8

Scent: 1-10 points
Score: 8

Initial Impression: 1-10 points
Score: 5

Mouthfeel: 1-10 points
Score: 6

Taste: 1-10 x 4 points
Score: 32

Raw Score Total: 61 points

Bonus Points:
Value: 1-10 points
Score: 10

Total Score: 71 points

Evan Williams Bourbon, a good solid bourbon at a great price. I like this bourbon. It's my everyday brand at home, but I have to say it needs it's own identity. The label and bottles are touted on the website as being proprietary and they seem quite proud of the gold foil script, but lets face the facts. When you think black label bourbon in a square bottle and you think ‘Jack Daniels’. It's the marketing. I can't find a reason that the bourbon labels are black or why you would want to look like your major competitor. If you look at Evan Williams website you get the feeling that this bourbon is older, more established and maybe they had the black label first, but I can say they lost the marketing war. They are the number 2 selling bourbon and they need to look different. I think this every time I buy a bottle and look at it on the shelf. I'm not sure if they have more dominance in the deep south, but that looks like where their marketing is aimed. They sponsor bass fishing and they seem to gear their marketing toward the American outdoor lifestyle.

I'm only waxing on about this because I feel bad about the low score on a very good bourbon. It's aged 7 years and tastes smooth and buttery with a very prominent spice and a slight burn on the back end. It's not for sweet bourbon drinkers. If you think Makers Mark is the best ever you probably won't like this, but try it and see if I can change your mind. It's that spicy taste on the back end. It reminds me of my favorite rye whiskey and matched with that buttery-ness up front it smooths out to a mellow and tasty whiskey. If you pour some in the glass you'll notice a rich amber hue and nice bourbon smell. It's kinda buttery and a little sugary with a waft of vanilla. You take a sip and notice it goes down smooth with that spice and slight burn on the back end but it has no oily type residue. You can enjoy this on the rocks but it really shines in a Mint Julep. If you prefer, try it with coke and see if you don't switch to it for everyday use. Lastly. the price: It's the best bang for the buck. A handle, if they had those will run you under 25 bucks and your getting a quality bourbon that will taste better and more true to form than some bourbons costing 3 times as much. I'm sorry for the low score for such a great bourbon, but in the words of a sage from my childhood Be someone important, be yourself.

(Review) Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy Rum (92 proof)

Mystique: 1-10 points
Score: 8
hyped / maybe more if i was into tattoo culture

Color: 1-10 points
Score: 8
Deep gold / this is not navy rum it's gold rum

Scent: 1-10 points
Score: 9
vanilla bean / sugar cane / mace spice / whiff of alcohol

Initial Impression: 1-10 points
Score: 9
No way this is Navy Rum, but it's got a Hula Girl

Mouthfeel: 1-10 points
Score: 8
no aftertaste / disappears quickly

Taste: 1-10 x 4 points
Score: 32
blended / little vanilla / tiny burn / buttery aftertaste

Raw Score Total: 74 points

Bonus Points:
Value 1-10 points
Score: 7
It's priced right in the middle of the pack

Total Score: 81 points

I drink a good bit of rum and this came highly recommended by friends so I was looking forward to reviewing it. It's got some hype about it and appears that is especially so if you're into the tattoo culture because of it's namesake. I held the bottle up to the light and thought it has a nice color, but this is the lightest ‘navy rum’ I've ever seen. It looks like a gold rum and is about the same color as Captain Morgan so I was feeling a little less than full on pirate.

It tastes pretty good with almost no aftertaste or oily-ness. A little vanilla with a buttery finish. I smelled the spices but really didn't taste any of them. Perhaps they were looted by pirates! It has a strange taste that it's blended, like it's not smooth enough or something. I really couldn't put my finger on exactly what that weird taste was. I wouldn't drink this stuff straight so I tried it in some coke. Mixed with soda the flavor almost completely disappears. It just leaves a sweet buttery hint. Not bad for people that don't want to taste the alcohol in their drinks. There are plenty of other rums I like better than this one. It's good, but there are better choices out there around the same price. If you don't want to taste alcohol in your cocktails or you have guests that don't, try mixing up something with this instead of that vodka drink next time.

(Review) JAGERMEISTER

Mystique: 1-10
Score: 10 points
cool bottle, stag on the label this shit is METAL!

Color: 1-10
Score: 6 points
black?

Scent: 1-10
Score: 7 points
mouthwash

Initial Impression: 1-10
Score: 10 points
interesting

Mouthfeel: 1-10
Score: 8 points
blood

Taste: 1-10 x 4
Score: 8 x 4 = 32 points
Cough Medicine

Raw Score Total: 72 points

Bonus Points
Value: 1-10
Score: 3 points

Total Score: 77 points

Jagermeister. You say the name and it sounds tough. This is a mans drink. Or is it? It's German (you know the Germans always make good stuff) and its made in a place called Wolfenb├╝ttel. Can that name be any more metal? Throw up your devil horns and slam one down. This stuff is pounded down by bro’s and ho's at bars across America. It's used as a challenge and a rite of passage, but never for it's creators intention. “Yea man, and I heard it has elks blood in it too!” (it doesn't, this was a rumor started some time ago).

How does that happen you ask? What was it's intended purpose? Well a long time ago some German dude created a new digestif. WTF is that you ask? A drink designed to help you digest your dinner, meant to be taken in a dainty stemmed shot glass and sipped. Hardly metal, but the stuff worked. The combination of herbs and spices uses some holistic medicine approach and it helps you digest your dinner. No, not really, what it does is stops the formation of gas therefore making you feel better after a big meal and seemingly digest your food better. It's ‘snake oil’, like in the old western movies. “Doc Browns cure all will cure what ails you, only a nickle.”

The stuff is legit as I can attest, it does make you feel better after a big meal. So it's billed as a kind of medicine. Did it at one time have a legit purpose? Yes, it was issued to the German army as a field anesthetic. What! “Hey that Yank blew your arm off, here put some Jager on it!”

Yes folks, that's metal!

So you own a drink recipe that tastes like cough medicine, has a high alcohol content and looks like blood. What do you do with it? You market the hell out if it. Get it’s name out there and sponsor tons of stuff like car and speedboat racing and make it manly. But it's too sweet and tastes funny. Well you recommend that it only be drunk at below freezing temperatures. Yea man, perfect! Just think, we'll name it tough, put some religious symbolism on the bottle and sponsor a metal concert tour!

All kidding aside I like the stuff, it does get rid of gas and its fun to pound a few. I would not recommend it at room temperature because it takes on this weird pancake syrup flavor and it'll coat a glass like paint, but frozen and chased by a beer it's a fun evening. I cannot say it's a great value. It's fairly expensive, but no more so than other specialty liquors. Save it for that after dinner shot or make a Jagerbomb with some Redbull at the bar (that’s the most popular form of mixer - it always has the word bomb in it). When you drink it always remember to make up some extra shit about it's history or ingredients to scare or impress your friends with and you can't go wrong. Whatever it is not, what it is, is fun! Hells yea!

(Review) Gordon's London Dry Gin

Mystique: 0-10
Score: 6 points

Color: 0-10
Score: 10 points
Perfectly Clear

Scent: 0-10
Score: 8 points
evergreen

Initial Impression: 0-10
Score: 9 points
refreshingly tasty

Mouthfeel: 0-10
Score: 9 points
thicker than you'd think

Taste: 0-10 x 4
Score: 36 points
Tastes like Gin is supposed to

Raw Score Total:
78 points

Bonus Points
Value: 1-10
Score: 10 points

Total Score: 88 points

Ahh! Gordon's Gin, I know it well. It's unassuming sitting there on the shelf in it's clear plastic bottle. Jealous; yet smug towards those fancy bottles on the top shelf. If you have never tasted this gin and know nothing about it you might pass it by as just another bottle of cheap hooch. It's only eye catcher is it's very classic looking label. The yellow label with the red boar's head might look familiar if you're a classic movie buff. You see, Gordon's gin is often cited as one of the the first examples of product placement in motion pictures. Cases are stacked between Bogie and Hepburn on that ragged old boat The African Queen - Hepburn, the tea teetotaler, throws several cases of the stuff in the river. What a shame to treat such a great gin with such disrespect. You see it's a little smug at those fancy top shelf gins not only because its a little famous, but it's the only gin to receive the Royal Warrant from the Queen of England shortly after it's production began in 1769. Did I also mention Gordon's has given permission for use of its logo by the Red Rippers US Navy Fighter squadron since the 1930's? Why has it been around that long? It's the quintessential London Dry Gin. A picture of it's label should be in the dictionary next to the definition.

Gordon's is clear as crystal, it's nose is all juniper and spices and it immediately reminds you of Christmas. The first taste is dry and complicated with a mix of juniper, coriander and botanicals with a smooth but slight snap at the finish. It's one of the few straight alcohols that actually seems refreshing when you drink it, and it tastes equally good in a martini or a gin and tonic. It's mixed, but always there, and lends a cool taste to anything you decide to put it in. In my area you get all this for $11 per 1.75 liters bottle. A great value with taste that's half or less than the price of the fancy bottled gins. It should score higher on the mystique but I don't think anyone knows about it's history anymore. Sure your gin has a nifty bottle, but this is a cool classic that never goes out of style.

The Ratings System

I tried to come up with a ratings system for reviews that mimicked the scores of wine reviewing so there is a relative standard scale for comparisons to other peoples reviews. After researching the topic I've noticed that many of the criteria for these kind of ratings are arbitrary and based on the particular reviewers experience. I've come up with the following categories and feel they are important to give the overall impression of the libation in question.

The point system:
Mystique: 0-10 (does it have a reputation?)
Colour: 0-10 (what does it look like?)
Scent: 0-10 (how does it smell?)
Initial: 0-10 (what do I think before tasing it.)
Feel: 0-10 (what's it like in my mouth?)
Taste: 0-10*4 (how does it taste?)
Value 0-10 (Is it a good buy?)
-----------------------
Final Score: ?/100

So, here we are.

Standing here to serve up the hair of the dog that bit you, or any other cocktail or alchemical potion that you care to have. I specialize in the classics, be it that cocktail or just an ear to whisper your troubles to. I’m interested in determining what the well stocked bar should include, discovering the history of your drink or introducing you to a new one. Finding a forgotten flavor or even sometimes creating your own. I prefer a lounge to a bar and am equally at home in a hole in the wall or a ‘tiki’ themed adventure as long as the place has some atmosphere. The cocktail is a social thing, and the conversation or storytelling is all part of the fun. Never forget an evening at your or a friend’s home is usually just as good or better sometimes than going out.