Category Archives: DRINKS

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

Jackie Kennedy Cocktail

Today is Jackie Kennedy’s birthday.

Did you know she has a cocktail named after her though? It’s the signature cocktail of the Elephant Bar at the Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (as well as its sister property the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor.

This is a pic of the Elephant Bar from their website:
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The Raffles Hotel Le Royal has the whole story online at their website, but in short:
Jacqueline Kennedy visited Cambodia in 1967. She found time during the trip to try the famous rouge Champagne cocktail in the hotel’s Elephant Bar. Years later, when Raffles Hotel Le Royal was being renovated, the glass she drank from (which still had her lipstick mark on it) was found.

Now called “Femme Fatale,” the hotel bar’s signature cocktail is a champagne-based drink with Crème de Fraise Sauvage and a dash of Cognac. It’s now the bar’s signature cocktail to commemorate Jacqueline Kennedy’s visit to Phnom Penh.

Femme Fatale
The website “A History of Drinking” lists the recipe as following:

•1/4 oz l Crème de Fraise (strawberry liqueur)
•Dash of cognac
•Champagne
•Build in a champagne flute, top with Champagne. Garnish with a rose.

Interested in more? Check out A History Of Drinking.

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Filed under CHAMPAGNE, COCKTAIL RECIPES, HISTORY, SIGNATURE DRINKS

Destination Cocktail: The Lenhart Rocker

Destination Cocktail:
Bemus Point’s Lenhart porch and their “Rocker”

Chautauqua County sees a nice tourism bump in the summer months.

We have Chautauqua Lake, Chautauqua Institution, the many attractions in Jamestown and, of course, the shops and such in Bemus Point.

The Hotel Lenhart is one of a dozen seasonal operations here in the county.

The Hotel Lenhart’s bar, The Lamplighter Room, is the only place in the county (or anywhere really) where you can get a “Lenhart Rocker.”

Rockers at The Lenhart:
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(Photo by Karen Glosser)

More about their signature drink later. First a little bit about The Lenhart:

The Hotel Lenhart is a staple of Bemus Point. It has been owned and operated by the same family since 1880, which makes this its 134th year in business.

Its regular season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

From their website:

•The big feature of the Lenhart is the veranda which wraps from the side all across the front of the hotel. There are 40 of their multicolored rocking chairs for viewing the spectacular sunsets over Bemus Bay.
•The dining room seats 125 and is available for special parties. The cocktail lounge, The Lamplighter Room, is located just off the lobby.

It’s in the Lamplighter Room that you can order a “Lenhart Rocker,” or just a “Rocker” as you’ll hear some people call it. Staying in the Lamplighter Room is an option, but more often than not you’ll find yourself with this view when drinking at the Lenhart:
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The drink’s a juicy one, and deceptively potent. If you’re watching the bartender, you’ll only see two bottles used to make the Rocker: vodka and a house mixture.

I’m not sure if the recipe’s a “secret recipe” or not, but I don’t know all of what’s in the house mix. What I have heard though is that the Lenhart is the largest consumer of cherry brandy in the county. Whether that means there’s cherry brandy in the Rocker, I don’t know — but I’d say its a safe bet.

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Filed under DESTINATION COCKTAILS, SIGNATURE DRINKS