Friday, November 18, 2011

Welcome to the jungle

Born in the 1970s, I look back fondly at the '80s in many respects as they were some of the glory days of my from Guns n Roses, Van Halen, and Metallica, the rise of Michael Jordan and the Bulls, 'Da Coach' and the last (tears still flow) Bears Super Bowl championship in '85, and the simple, relatively carefree days of being a kid and teenager.  At the same time, reflecting on this decade in terms of its contributions to the world of mixology makes me...well, sad.  At my young age, I clearly didn't spend time pondering the cocktails of the time, but now that I have, I'm glad to say I feel I missed very little, if anything.  Nevertheless, enter this month's Mixology Monday theme of Retro Redemption by Jacob Grier over at  Liquidity Preference, and I was forced to dance with the devil.  As described by Jacob: 

Contemporary cocktail enthusiasts take pride in resurrecting forgotten cocktails of the past — unless “the past” refers to the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s. We sometimes refer to these decades as the Dark Ages of Mixology, eras not yet recovered from the violence Prohibition and a World War inflicted on American cocktail culture. The classic Martini, a flavorful blend of gin and vermouth, had morphed into a glass of cold, diluted vodka. Other drinks were just too sweet, too fruity, too big, too silly.  But still, it wasn’t all bad. People ordered these drinks for a reason. Despite the now annual “burial” of a disfavored drink at Tales of the Cocktail, not all of them deserve to die. Perhaps, as they said of the Six Million Dollar Man, we can rebuild them. We have the technology. So the theme of this month’s Mixology Monday is Retro Redemption! Your task is to revive a drink from mixology’s lost decades. Perhaps you feel one of these drinks has a bad rap; tell us why it deserves another shot. Or maybe the original concoction just needs a little help from contemporary ingredients and techniques to make it in the big leagues. If so, tell us how to update it... 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

XXQC - Blood and Sand

From time to time I come across a cocktail which makes me think, '...are you serious?'.  Staring at the list of ingredients and/or ratios, it just doesn't click.  How in the world can this mishmash of booze work with any sense of harmony?  Most times, but not always, I am pleasantly surprised...taken aback and nearly dumbfounded that the tipple is not only decent, but very enjoyable to say the least.  As a result, I have a tendency to enshrine these concoctions as some of the most intriguing if for no other reason than their sheer unpredictability.  While still the callow cocktail enthusiast with neither the thorough appreciation of the spirit universe nor the breadth of experience that often accompanies those behind the bar professionally, I still consider such unanticipated cocktails as deserving of a special respect.  And with that, the inconspicuous wonders of the Blood and Sand.

Friday, November 4, 2011

XXQC - The Manhattan

As fall has now crept its way around the corner here in the midwest, it seems like the perfect opportunity to take a look at perhaps my favorite cocktail to pair with the brisk winds and sun-starved days of autumn.  While a 'simple yet delightful mixture of spirit, vermouth, and bitters' can obviously be used to characterize a number of cocktails from the 1800s...the blend of spicy, peppery rye whiskey along with the full-bodied botanicals of sweet vermouth, all brought into harmony with the addition of a richly aromatic and herbaceous kick of Angostura bitters paves the road to only one cocktail, the Manhattan...a quintessential cocktail from any perspective.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Equinox, revisited and rewarded

A quick look back at one of my first posts to this blog related to my entry into the 'Casual Mixologist Competition' sponsored by Portland Craft Cocktails for a chance to win tickets to the Northwest Food and Wine Festival in Portland.  As described...

Attention all home bartenders, mixologists, and craft cocktail creators! The professional bartenders will be sitting this competition out, and allowing you the chance to craft your own cocktail recipe that will be evaluated by professional judges at the upcoming Northwest Food and Wine Festival. Each month, recipes will be made according to your instructions, and each month the winning mixologist gets 2 tickets to the Northwest Food and Wine Festival, November 5th, 2011, courtesy of Portland Craft Cocktails. You may enter as many times as you wish, but may not enter the same recipe more than once.