So I have waited on this one the the last minute, I know, but there is still time. Booze alweays makes a great gift either for the connoisseur for those who need it just to maintain with the fam.
here are a couple great ones to get.
Campari is essential to any booze hound that likes making drinks at home and this bottle is part of a series of special labeling that will make your giftee want a Negroni on sight.
The new label reinterprets Leonetto Cappiello’s 1921 Spiritello print, and has been designed to bring a colourful and eye-catching twist to this classic, as well as a contemporary edge.
Russian Standard Gold is a unique combination of classic vodka and carefully selected extracts of Siberian Ginseng, or “golden root” in Russian, adding vigor and vitality to celebrations.
The product packaging – with its sumptuously embossed gold foiled label and one-of-a-kind gift box – embodies the true traditions of Russian generosity and gift giving. This is what makes Russian Standard Gold an ideal vodka to celebrate the many golden moments in life shared with friends, family and colleagues.
We have reviewed this little treasure in the past, but a brief recap: Caliche is a Puerto Rican and solera style rum from Destileria Serralles, the only 100% sustainable distillery in the world, and was created by a joint effort of Roberto Serralles and Rande Gerber.
Take a look at the review and interview here
HOLA! Tequila and Edible Cocktails
Your gifts don’t have to be limited to the bottle. This year two fantastic books were released that should be on every bartender and cocktail geek’s shelf. Hola! Tequila by Colleen Graham is an in depth look at the world of tequila, how it’s made and some great recipes that go waaaaaaay beyond the margarita.
Edible Cocktails by Natalie Bovis also a must have. I find myself reaching for this book as much as I do the books by Dale Degroff and Tony Abou-Ganim. Natalie created and compiled recipes from bartenders all over the world using homemade, fresh, organic, and garden-to glass ingredients with simple and easy to follow instructions. I get inspired (sips??) every time I take a peak inside.
Cheers and Happy Holidays everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Did you think I disappeared?? You’re not that lucky.
I was remembering the other day sitting at my grandmother’s house in Georgia with my cousins gathered around the fireplace in the kitchen (it’s a really old Southern house) on the brisk morning dunking slices of toast into hot chocolate. That was a glimpse into heaven.
I hope that wasn’t a foreshadow of the Mayan predictions this Friday!
The Mayans were the first to cultivate the cocoa bean not only for consumption as a drink and food, but for religious offerings, tax, and currency. The Spanish took it back to Europe during their conquering quests in Mesoamerica. Europeans began to mix coca with milk and sugar (an unknown ingredient in the Americas at the time). and Chocolate was born. In the 19th century, a guy by the name of Coennaad Johannes van Houtan created a thing called the “Dutch Process” alkalizes cocoa, improves its color and makes the bitter chocolate more palatable, and is the basis for cocoa powder and chocolate making today.
Cocoa has some really cool health benefits as well. Dutch Process cocoa is, again alkaline (something with a pH of 7-14), which is a good thing because our bodies try to maintain pH level of 7. Other cocoa processing leaves cocoa acidic (pH below 7). It was found that cocoa (2 TBS) has twice the antioxidants of red wine, 2-3 times that of green tea and 4 time that in black tea. Warm cocoa tends to release more of the antioxidants than cold, so keep that in mind.
Cocoa also makes people feel good (ask any woman!). It can lower blood pressure, suppress the symptoms of migraines, and contains several stimulants like caffeine and serotonin. Besides it jut tastes good.
So lets have a little cocoa. You can buy good pre-made cocoa mix but, again I ask why when we can make our own. And here’s how
Homemade Cocoa Mix
- 1 cup Dutch Porcess Cocoa
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper (yes, I mean it)
Pulse everything in a food processor, or combine in a stand mixer on low with the whisk attachment. You can do it by hand as well.
To make a cup o’ cocoa, use 2-3 tbs of you mix with warm milk. Top with a marshmallow, a little whipped cream, or spike that puppy up.
- Peppermint schnapps is a classic, making a Snuggler (the cold version is a Peppermint Patty). Licor 43, amaretto, and marischino liqueur are yummy too.
- Rum, never can go wrong with dark rum (Caliche and Blackbeard Spiced rock here)
- Believe it or not cocoa loves tequila (grate a little cinnamon on top as well)
- My personal favorite is a shot of rum with a drop of peppermint extract tossed in for good measure.
This makes a great economical, and wonderful homemade holiday gift as well. Get yourself a couple dozen 8 oz Mason jar, some ribbon or twine and your in business .
So a toast (with hot cocoa and toast) to all of you on this very special year as we celebrate many holidays and the contributions of the Mayan world.
No, I am not selling out and neither is Natalie Bovis aka The Liquid Muse! Finally there is a ready-to-pour cocktail done right. Natural, Organic, and tasty. Natalie looked at the world of RTP cocktails and found a way to combine ease with expertise. Om (Organic Mixology) is available is California right now and will spread to other markets beginning in 2013. Here is a little press release about OM:
Los Angeles, CA (November 20, 2012) - Busy party-throwers now have an easy way to serve fabulous cocktails… just add OM Cocktails to your grocery list. Simply open the bottle and pour OM directly over ice, or top with soda water or sparkling wine for a sumptuous sparkling addition to your holiday table!
OM fills growing demand in the market: Already-prepared cocktails made with premium, organic ingredients. ”I was inspired by the quality organic cocktails in LA mixology bars and restaurants and noticed that similar ready-to-drink options were lacking in stores,” said OM CEO Jason Monkarsh.
The original cocktail recipes behind OM were carefully crafted by mixologist and cocktail book author Natalie Bovis, aka: The Liquid Muse, whose area of expertise is bringing mixology to the home-entertainer. ”I love de-mystifying mixology for the female consumer,” says Bovis. “OM is a quality, organic, ready-to-drink cocktail making holiday entertaining easier for busy moms and professionals.” OM has the same alcohol content and price as most high quality wines but stands out from the crowd with its unique taste, striking reusable bottle and carefully crafted, superior taste.
OM (Organic Mixology) Cocktails bring a little eco-luxury to private festivities. Its the first of its kind, boasting a USDA certified organic label and high-quality 30 proof vodka-based cocktail crafted from American grown organic grain. Sweetened with organic agave nectar, OM cocktails contain no preservatives or artificial flavors. Even the coloring is fruit- and vegetable-based and non-GMO.
OM’s packaging is also eco-friendly, boasting a specially designed light-weight bottle, labels printed at a wind-powered printing facility, 75% post-consumer recycled content shipping cases, the reusable OM charm decorating every bottle – and a tree planted for every bottle sold – OM is truly the most enlightened cocktail on the planet.
About OM Cocktails
Entrepreneur Jason Monkarsh teamed with mixologist Natalie Bovis, The Liquid Muse, who created the original cocktail recipes behind OM. The USDA certified organic vodka-based, ready-to-drink cocktail is a premium, organic drink. Only 150 calories per serving, OM cocktails are crafted with organic American-grown corn vodka, sweetened with organic agave nectar and colored with natural fruit & vegetable-based colorings. With specially designed lightweight bottles and recycled shipping cases, a tree is planted for each bottle of OM Cocktails sold. The bottle is adorned with an OM symbol charm that can be worn on a necklace or turned in for yoga classes in certain areas. Wild Cranberry & Blood Orange is already on the shelves of Whole Foods and Gelson’s throughout Southern California. Upcoming flavors including Meyer Lemon & Ginger, Coconut Water & Lychee, Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt, and Mango & Kaffir Lime.(www.omcocktails.com)
CHEVY CHASE, MD (November 19, 2012)– Travel Channel to premiere “World’s Best Bartender” today, Monday, November 19 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT. Hosted by Travel Channel’s Don Wildman, this one-hour special showcases the top bartenders from all corners of the globe facing off in multiple rounds of competition. From Italy to Australia, and Lebanon to the United States, these 39 contenders have proved they’re the best on their own turf. Now, they need to test their talent, training and genius in a spectacular series of bartending challenges. Each bartender competes in three rounds of elimination, leading to a single winner who will earn the title “World’s Best Bartender.” The competition takes place in beautiful Rio de Janeiro, where each contestant competes and pushes the boundaries of creativity, innovation and showmanship.
Similar to a celebrity-cooking competition, judges and “gurus” watch, score and taste each of the competing cocktails. In the first round, the bartenders must craft two distinct cocktails. The first drink will be made at the “retro bar,” where each bartender will make an old-school cocktail such as a Martini, Manhattan or Bloody Mary. The second beverage in round one will be made at the “Hollywood bar,” where each bartender will invent a cocktail based on a movie. At the end of the first round, more than half of the contenders are sent home. In the second round, at the “Rio street market bar,” the remaining 16 bartenders must create a cocktail based on the local and exotic fruits of Rio de Janeiro. And in the final round, the 10 finalists have eight minutes to make as many stunning cocktails as they can, followed by the final challenge of making their signature drink.
“Exploring local food and drinks is a huge part of travel. They are the heart and soul of a location and key factors in experiencing its culture,” said Andy Singer, General Manager, Travel Channel. ‘World’s Best Bartender’ provides an exclusive pass to the world’s biggest and most-intense bartending competition. Viewers will get front-row access to the nail-biting competition – both on stage and behind the scenes.”
World’s Best Bartender” is produced by Shine Limited for Travel Channel. For Shine, the executive producer is Cy Chadwick. For Travel Channel, the executive producer is Bill Howard.
(This post is a release from the folks at The Manhattan Cocktail Classic)
There’s no one place to start when surveying the damage left behind in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Choosing any one group or relief effort feels narrow and self-serving — and many of you reading this are no doubt mired in your own struggles coming out of the storm (or indeed, may not be reading this for days, even weeks, still to come).
So to apply but one filter to the many concerns presently facing our region: right now we’re thinking about our friends and colleagues in the hospitality and beverage industries, many of whom will spend the next year fighting tooth and nail for their businesses’ survival. Even for those who manage to get back up and running quickly, the road to any semblance of profitability will be a long one, at best.
Those of you who have made it through the past week relatively unscathed, we humbly ask of you: please, support the local businesses that you want to see make it through 2012. Pay in cash, whenever possible. Tip generously. Tell your friends to do the same. A handful of bars in Lower Manhattan are already open for business thanks to the collective energies (and ice) of numerous bars in Brooklyn and upper Manhattan. If you want to get a jump start supporting your favorite local watering holes, here’s an updated list of bars open for business (including many in the Sandy zones). Similarly, Eater has been compiling a list of restaurants open for business.
Further, many bars and restaurants will be hosting fundraising events over the coming days and weeks, which we will try to keep track of on the Classic’s Facebook page. (Tonight, for example, Booker & Dax will be taking over Momofuku Ma Peche starting at 5pm to raise money for the American Red Cross.) Eater is also continually updating a page for fundraising events nationwide.
And if you’ve got the time and wherewithall to do more than patronize your beloved local establishments: the USBGNY (United States Bartenders’ Guild, New York chapter) has organized a volunteer effort to help clean up some of the bars that were most devastated. Their herculean efforts have already received national recognition on NBC News; folks can sign up to volunteer via this form.
Lastly, a number of Brooklyn-based distilleries and producers have also been badly affected.King’s County Distillery; Jack From Brooklyn; Cacao Prieto; the Red Hook Winery; Six Point Brewery (to list but the handful we’ve spoken to). If you want to see these brands survive, go out and buy their products. And, while you’re at it, why not buy them from one of the retailers who have been similarly devastated: Dry Dock Wines & Spirits in Red Hook; Waterfront Wines & Spirits in Brooklyn Heights; Rosetta Wines in FiDi; Vintry Wines in Battery Park (again, to list but a few).
Once again, please forgive the narrow slant of this email, both in content and geography. Going out to your favorite local bar and buying a few rounds of drinks may feel like a drop in an enormous, $50 billion bucket of devastation — and it is. But it is absolutely true that our collective spending behaviors over the next few months will directly determine which small businesses shutter, and which continue to be a part of the vibrant tapestry of New York City culture. (And besides, we could all surely use a drink or three right about now.)
Bottoms up, dear friends — we’ll get through this yet.
People love to celebrate and many of our celebrations are misunderstood these days. The symbols and meaning have been lost to commercialism much like the way we lost the use off fresh ingredients in mixology for so long. Once again I offer a little history to add back to our understanding of who we are and what we do.
In Ireland this time of year is Samhain (sow-wain), in America, we call it Halloween and in Latin America, El Dia DeL Muerto, The Day of the Dead. Celebrated by many cultures all of which have commonalities to each other like the sharing of food and drink, dressing in costumes, and honoring those who have moved on to the next……whatever you wanna call it (I’m not going to preach).
Well, maybe I am, because the more we understand the background the more we understand ourselves, whether we agree or not with the belief behind the story.
El Dia Del Muerto is primarily known in Mexico and is celebrated graveside with family and friends. It is a two-day festival beginning November 1 where the children that have died are first honored (All Saint’s Day) then on November 2nd, the adults are remembered with (All Soul’s Day)
Piedra Azul Blanco (meaning Blue Stone) is a great tequila for your Dia Del Muerto festivities. Made from 100% agave Piedra Azul is light and vegetal with stong lingering of brine and citrus that lend well to cocktail making. Eloquently packaged with trims of turquoise ( hence the name and a color that is believed to keep evil spirits out), it is great on its own or mixed which you know I can’t resist.
So in honor of those friends and family, loved ones and lost ones, allies and enemies, I toast each of you this season with this lovely drink
El Vaso Del Muerto
1 1/2 oz Piedra Azul Blanco
3/4 oz Blood Orange Liqueur
3/4 oz Fresh Lime
Dash of orange bitters
Wash the inside of an Old Fashioned glass with anisette liqueur. then fill it with ice. Combine all other ingredients in a mixing glass and shake. Strain into the Old Fashioned glass and garnish with a lime wheel and Star Anise
Thus was the comment made to me while sitting at a local watering hole by a bartender who recognized my name after we introduced ourselves; reputation around Santa Fe preceeding me once again.
I smiled, ordered and sat quietly as I sipped my Manhattan. In between chit-chat with others around the bar, I kept thinking about the bartenders statement. “We dont do mixology here” rang in my head over and over as I watched the drinks being made, and the imbibers sucking them down like bubble gum punch at a frat party. Everyone was a little buzzed from the oversized cocktail glasses filled to the rim mass amounts of booze. MIddle aged men and women acting like they had never been in public before with the raging hormones of teenagers and over service guiding their unihibited behavior.
The bartender wasn’t lying. They don’t do mixology here. But this got me thinking. What exactly is mixology? Is it following ulara-classic recipes and knowing the intricate details of the entire history of a cocktail? Is it making sure the bar is stocked with as many of the new and trendy bitters available? Is it all fersh ingredients bought from the local farmer’s market displayed accross the bar. Is it foams, airs, gelatins, deconstructions, and competitons? Is it making a name for yourself and having a pseudo celebrity status so that when you walk in a bar the bartenders either praise you or cringe at your presence?
Well, maybe there a little bit of this in mixology. Ok, maybe more than a little. Yes, many of those elements exsist in my bar, and I am honored with some popularity around town. But that wasn’t what was eating away at my brain like the liquor was at my liver. “We don’t do mixology here.”
What IS mixology??
I hounded myself about this the entire time I sat barely finishing the poorly made, shaken manhattan with oxidized vermouth, light bitters, and a touch of cherry juice poured from the ganrish tray (unfortunately I had ordered before the “we don’t” statement was made. Maybe should have changed my order, but that would have been snotty on my part).
Mixology can involve the list of things I bantered on about before, but does it have to? Then it occured to me as I sat eating one of the best burgers I have ever had in my life. It’s was good. DAMN GOOD!
It was not made by Thomas Keller at a fancy big city fine dining restaurant. Nor did it have a list of exotic nad obscure ingredients from the far reaches of the earth that could only be found by a mutated ferret with one eye and three noses. It was just a burger: ground beef, and all the usual toppings cooked perfectly medium rare, thick and juicy.That was a tasty burger!
The answer hit melike a brick to the head with a lemon twist. Mixology is about making a great drink. Period. It is doing it right and doing it well. Some of us do like susing exotic ingredients and knowing the history and that’s cool too, but it’s not the core of mixology. The core is making a quality drink.
I’ll be back for that burger again: that was culinary genius! But I think I’ll have a beer to drink nect time assuming the bartender can open a bottle.