Monthly Archives: December 2015

My Top Cocktails Of 2015

The next few weeks will be full of lists and year-in recaps getting linked on Facebook and every o social media site.

And I’m not going to lie — I love that crap.

Somewhere in all the listicles, recaps and prediction pieces, I’ll inevitably learn something — which makes all the digging around in the dirt worthwhile.

In the meantime though, here’s a quickly-cobbled together recap of five memorable cocktails I was served this past year:

#5
Manhattan
Brazill’s On Main
Westfield, N.Y.

 

It’s a rare treat to go out and get waited on by someone when most of your nights are spent working in the service industry.

I’ve had two really nice meals at Brazill’s On Main in Westfield, N.Y. — and I’ve had several great drinks! The owner is an older guy and every time I’ve been to the place, he’s been the one behind the bar mixing up drinks.

The Manhattan pictured above was expertly done, and had an extra little kick of flavor — maybe from the (what I assume were) house-made cherries. My father-in-law and I were picking up subtle notes of cinnamon and other flavors. All-in-all an excellent night and a memorable drink.

#4
Mint Julep
Bag & String Wine Merchants
Lakewood, N.Y.

 

I’m so lucky to have Bag & String in this area.

If you’re new to the blog, I mention them a lot.

This past Derby Day the staff had prepared a pitcher of Mint Juleps to promote the many bourbons available at the shop.

I swung by for a quick sip and also to shoot the above pic, as any reason for a blog post is reason enough! And I’d mentioned to Betsy (pictured) that Jeffrey Morgenthaler had a dynamite recipe for mint syrup… Which can be found online here.

#3
Dill Breaker
Vera Pizzeria
Buffalo, N.Y.

  

Dill-infused mezcal with ginger syrup and lime. Had this on Halloween. Strange and tasty. Very worthwhile.

#2
Spin The Bottle
Buffalo Proper
Buffalo, N.Y.

  

Alright, so… Obviously this is a picture of me, but the drink I’m holding is my “Dealer’s Choice” cocktail. You see, on the menu at Buffalo Proper is something called “Spin The Bottle,” where you tell your bartender or waitress what sorts of things you like — and they craft you a drink of their choosing.

For this drink I mentioned amaros (amari?) and even mentioned Fernet-Branca and Campari, but what I got was something black and bitter, but juicy — maybe made with Aperol or Ramazzotti? I’ll never know. But I enjoyed it. Immensely.

#1
Boulevardier
Arendell Room
Moorehead City, N.C.

 

Another “Dealer’s Choice” drink with whiskey and amaro/bitter being the only things I mentioned. 

I’ve made plenty of Boulevardiers for myself in recent years, but sometimes a drink just tastes so much better when someone else is making it for you.

Other Drinks Worth Mentioning 

•A black walnut drink at Cheshire in Rochester made with Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters.
•Old Fashioneds at Good Luck with Robert Simonson.
•Champagne before Phantom of the Opera.

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Filed under 2015, DESTINATION COCKTAILS, DRINKS

Photos From My Christmas Day (2015)

Christmas.

I was up early, then immediately napped and awoke around noon just in time for brunch:

 

Champagne Coupe:

 

And more Milk Punch:

 

  

Tom & Jerry:

 

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Filed under CHAMPAGNE, HOLIDAYS, MILK PUNCH, PHOTO POST

Whiskey For Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to me! Thanks, sister!

 

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Filed under BRANDS, HOLIDAYS, NEW TO ME, WHISKEY

Brandy Milk Punch

Woke up this morning with a strong urge to make Brandy Milk Punch.

Got some good photos.

It was a beautiful day here in Western New York and the natural light really made all the difference for these photos:

  
  
  

My recipe on the Bar Notes app:

 

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Filed under APPS, BAR NOTES, MILK PUNCH, NEW TO ME

Silly Bartender, Cereal’s For Kids

Just playing around in the kitchen on a Monday night:

  

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Filed under GARNISHES & OTHER EDIBLES, PHOTO POST

Customer Appreciation Post — Boulevardier

A Boulevardier that I made a friend last night:

  
Gin is good, but sometimes you just gotta have bourbon!

From a New York Times article by Tony Cecchini:

The drink is credited to Harry McElhone, the founder and proprietor of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, and dated to 1927. It is mentioned only glancingly in his book “Barflies and Cocktails,” not in the 300-odd cocktail recipes that make up the bulk of that volume, but rather in a tongue-in-cheek epilogue that follows, recounting the antics of his regular customers.

Cecchini continues on to talk about Erskinne Gwynne, McElhone’s customer who created the drink — and the article gives the history of Gwynne’s version and McElhone’s version and modern twists by present day bartenders. It’s a worthwhile read.

Further Reading:

—A write-up by Serious Eats.
—Imbibe Magazine’s recipe.
—Don’t call it a comeback.
—The recipe on Difford’s Guide.
—The Boulevardier and another drink called the 1794 Cocktail!

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Filed under AMARO, BOURBON, CUSTOMER PHOTO

The Long Harvest Cocktail

A clear drink with lots of complexity in its flavor:

  
INGREDIENTS

  • Smoky scotch rinse
  • 3 oz London dry gin
  • .5 oz dry vermouth
  • 2 drops mushroom tincture
  • 2 drops balsamic vinegar
  • 2 drops olive oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cocktail onion
  • 1 green olive
  • 1 cornichon 

PREPARATION

Chill a cocktail glass and then rinse with the scotch. Stir the gin and dry vermouth over ice and strain into the prepared cocktail glass.

For the mushroom tincture I used Shiitake tincture from Green Heron Growers.

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