Archive for October, 2011

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When Words are Not Enough

October 31, 2011

While almost all bars have access to the same set of ingredients, cocktail lists more often than not over-promise and under-deliver. Yet, I continue to find myself enamored by 4 to 6 word descriptions that find a sweet spot in my liquor loving mind. For example, this “Sweet Redemption” at the Silverleaf Tavern…

Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Honey Syrup, Ginger, and Mint

While high quality and complimentary ingredients are a good starting point, a cocktail falls flat without proper execution. In this case, the drink was cloyingly sweet overriding the subtleties of the Woodford Reserve. Even more disappointing was the ginger. The bite that fresh ginger can infuse would have balanced some of that sweetness. But cutting a coin sized nob and dropping it in before serving is not how you extract its flavor. Without grating or even better, creating a simple syrup with the ginger, the flavor gets lost completely.

How often does this happen to you when you are out? Probably more than it should, huh?

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The First Nobler Gathering

October 28, 2011

Last night marked the first ever Nobler Gathering with Bourbon acting as our guide to what can now be dubbed the official start to something special. Bourbon Garys kicked off the night paired with sharp cheddar both highlighting and complimenting the classic Jim Beam. But it was the bacon infused Evan Williams that really got the night going.

The bacon infusion was subtle but extremely enjoyable. The delicate smokiness that the bacon brings pairs fantastically with the sweetness of the bourbon. Pairing the corn distilled bourbon with popcorn sounds simple enough but it was the soppressata powder that took it to another level. You can take a look at the general concept here, but it was the unintended consequences that got the most excitement. As the fat in the sliced meat rendered, a wonderful crispiness ensued and behold…meat chips!

The Gathering capped off with a few fingers of Bulleit, like any good gathering should…

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Liquor before beer…

October 26, 2011

…well not exactly…

Beer has been a part of human history for longer than you probably would have guessed. As for crappy beer? I’m not so sure. But in all honesty, its pretty fantastic to think about ancient civilizations discovering their first buzz. With the first documented historical evidence citing beer to be at least 5000 years old, it sort of changes the context of slugging a PBR.

And while the Nobler Experiment is and will typically be liquor centric, there’s no denying the importance of fermented beverages such as beer and wine in the evolution of alcoholic consumption. Which is why the “brew your own” effort has sparked my interest as of late. A fellow member of the Experiment has expressed some interest and I think it’s about time we get down to business. After drinking a Larry Gordon Home Brew this past weekend, I’m more convinced than ever.

Any one out there have experience, good or bad, with home brewing?

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Nobler Reviews: The Mulberry Project

October 24, 2011


A good cocktail must be linked to a few key descriptors. But “balance” in my mind is by far the most crucial.

At the Mulberry Project in Little Italy on Friday night, the artists behind the bar were feverishly mixing mind-blowing cocktails with no menus in sight. And while I am sure they can make an old-fashioned or a gin ricky as good as the next guy, that’s not the point at this underground establishment. With little more than a tempting chalkboard full of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices acting as inspiration, individualized drinks are made to order. Like my bourbon, maple syrup, cayenne, and lime drink that blew me away, or the honey ginger vodka concoction that was so refreshing, it wasn’t until your legs got a little lighter you remembered its alcoholic content, these are real deal cocktails; balanced and delicious.

And I would have stayed until the chalkboard became too blurry to read if the ambiance hadn’t dictated otherwise. But unfortunately for our Nobler intentions, a Friday night at the Mulberry Project was a little too jacked up. Good looking, well dressed patrons in flickering candlelight doesn’t sound like much to complain about, but as the crowd packed in and the liquor flowed steadily, it quickly felt like so many other overpriced lounges in the city; a bit unbalanced.

I plan on heading back on a weeknight to see how my first impression holds up but until then, I’d say check it out for yourself. Go a bit early, be amazed by the cocktail wizardry and push on…

The Mulberry Project, 149 Mulberry St (btw Hester and Grand), Manhattan, NY

Cocktails: 

Ambiance:

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Worthy of the Nobler?

October 21, 2011

It’s Friday.

And after a night sans imbibing, I’m ready for a drink. Much like this Gin and Fever Tree Tonic at Txikito, the weekend calls for a bit of class. So while I have a few new places to check out, I’m looking for suggestions on bars worthy of the Nobler Experiment…any hidden gems out there?

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Anyone Need a Halloween Costume?

October 20, 2011

Has anyone had the opportunity to watch Ken Burn’s PBS documentary on Prohibition? I made my way through the 6 hour documentary on a recent rainy day and found it quite easy to become fascinated. The historical context leading to the 18th amendment is filled with passion and characters. But maybe none more intriguing than Carrie Nation.

Carrie’s aversion to alcohol was more than a little personal as her first husband may have enjoyed a drink or two, way too often. When she ended up in Kansas, a state struggling to enforce their pre-prohibition ban on liquor, with her second husband, she began a local chapter of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. But like so many social advocates, Carrie became frustrated with her lack of impact. Rather than bottling that frustration Carrie found a release, one she claimed was a call from God.

Carrie is now infamous for her hatchet wielding attacks on saloon’s and alcohol serving establishments throughout Kansas. And yes, I did say hatchet. And despite being arrest over 30 times, Carrie became feared for her bar smashing antics. Pretty bad ass right?

Carrie’s role in this fascinating time in American history is interesting to say the least and it’s kind of ironic I find myself loving her story. Something tells me she wouldn’t be too thrilled with my drinking habits…

 

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Either you are…

October 18, 2011

…Or you aren’t.

A few months back, a colleague of mine handed off a case full of liquor. Much of his collection had been collecting dust, and I’ve never been known to turn down a bottle….or in this case 12. Even more interesting, the case was packed with liquor I probably would never think to buy. A few rare rums and even my new favorite bourbon shared the case with that Cachaça and a few other clear liquors. But it was this bottle of barrel aged tequila, Jose Cuervo Black that caused the most intrigue. A tequila for a whiskey drinker? A whiskey for a tequila drinker?

Either way, there it sat in my liquor cabinet until last night. My interest was sufficiently sparked but after a stiff pour and a few tastes, those same questions remained. Not that the stuff is terrible…it just isn’t special. It certainly held true to it’s description; the barrel aging comes off rather quickly, but the aftertaste is all tequila. Unfortunately for Cuervo Black, it’s missing the depth a good whiskey brings to the table and missing the refreshing blast a good tequila offers. I think Cuervo Black needs to look itself in the mirror.

Or maybe I’m nuts…any Cuervo Black lovers out there?

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