Archive for April, 2012

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The Shortest Vacation

April 30, 2012

By this time of the year, most people are staring at their calendars dreaming of their next vacation. However if your job is like a summer camp as it is for Nobler supporters Sarah Gordon and Joe Fisher, this is not a problem. Because at any given time, you are probably on vacation. I swear I’m not jealous…

Okay, fine. I am. Cause when I started seeing pictures of their most recent trip to Manuel Antonio, CR I was tempted to jump on the next flight and meet them. But I was already on my couch watching playoff sports so clearly, I didn’t have the time to pack. Instead I opted for the next best thing. This vacation inspired cocktail just might get you through to memorial day. Simply stir a few of these guys up, close your eyes and let your imagination do the rest. Worst comes to worst, drink a few more of these until you pass out. Maybe you’ll even dream you are at the beach!

The Shortest Vacation

2 oz bourbon

3 oz coconut water

Juice of half a lime

1 tsp honey

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

In a cocktail shaker, mix the coconut water, lime juice and honey. In a rocks glass, add the bourbon, cinnamon and nutmeg and let rest for 1 minute. Add the coconut water mixture and ice and garnish with vacation envy!

 

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The Meloncress

April 26, 2012

I’m not a huge fan of store bought flavored vodkas but I have to admit, Absolut manages to produce a few damn good ones. A while back I stumbled upon their Absolut New Orleans which touted a mango and black pepper infusion. To my surprise, it was delicious. Even on it’s own, where flavored vodkas often suffer from a cloying or artificial flavor profile, this blend was really drinkable. Now if they really had wanted to impress me they would have made their New Orleans inspired vodka infused with wood-fired oysters and muffalettas, but beggars can’t be choosers.

It was this sweet and peppery profile that had me buzzing last night to make up this new cocktail for you guys. Originally I picked up this fresh cantaloupe and a head of watercress for some good old fashioned eating, but when I realized I still had my hand’s on fellow Nobler, Mark’s juicer I got to work. Watercress has an unbelievably delicious peppery bite and compared to related greens like mustard, their flavor is a bit lighter making them perfect for cocktail pairing. The ripe sweetness of the cantaloupe blends perfectly with the watercress and with a little citrus to bring it all together, this new guy is a definite winner. I paired the juice with Cachaça, a Brazilian spirit distilled from fresh sugarcane juice. You might be familiar with it as it is used in the very popular Caipirinha, or maybe from one of my original posts, the Clear and Sunny. Meloncress, I officially welcome you to the Juice Bar team.

The Meloncress

2 oz Cachaça

4 oz Melon and Watercress Juice

1 Splash Seltzer

Mix the first two ingredients together and pour over a highball glass with ice. Finish off with a splash of seltzer and a few watercress leaves for garnish.

Melon and Watercress Juice

1/2 Ripe Cantaloupe

2 Heads of Watercress (a few leaves reserved for garnish)

Juice of 1 Lime

Using a juicer, juice the peeled and chopped cantaloupe and reserve the juice. Juice the watercress into a second container. Squeeze the lime juice into the watercress liquid and then add the juice from the cantaloupe. Keep chilled and mix well before using.

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Free Pour!

April 25, 2012

After three days in the scorching heat, we all came to one completely unexpected conclusion. One of the smartest things about Coachella is their limits on drinking. No, no, I’m not suggesting they are running sobriety tests (trust me, they are not), but rather, there are designated drinking areas throughout the polo fields and only in those locations can you purchase and enjoy your booze. Originally, I was somewhat annoyed. How was I going to enjoy a show without an ice-cold beer in my hand? But pretty quickly, the reality set in. For three days, we spent our time shoulder to shoulder, cramming in to see some of our favorite bands perform, and with the exception of one idiot with a rat-tail, there wasn’t a single asshole confrontation to report. Now imagine if all of us had drinks in our hands during the shows. Drunk muscles and spillage isn’t exactly conducive to a peaceful experience. Nice work Coachella folks…

So does that mean we didn’t drink? Of course not! But no matter how much I wanted to, it was not bourbon I was ordering; turns out my love for a good bourbon dwindles as the mercury rises. Instead I found myself on a steady pace of Heineken (pretty much the only beer you can order there) and greyhounds. A greyhound, or less ridiculously called a “vodka grapefruit” is one of the most refreshing drinks out there and was perfect for those long hot days. Especially the ones from the “cold bar”.

We dubbed this liquor stop-off the “cold bar” because it was one of the few spots that had some serious air conditioning pumping. Of course I used this to my advantage as a means to convince the others we should stop in. “You guys look hot, we should stop at the cold bar…”. But more importantly to me was the free-pouring bartender serving up those delicious greyhounds. You see, at the other bar we often frequented, every bottle of booze was topped with a “exact pour” spout. These spouts, while an interesting idea, really tick me off. Here’s the thing: the exact pour could be viewed as a win/win for both the bar and the consumer. Exact measurements guarantee proper usage from a flavor and efficiency stand point and on the drinker’s side, there’s no questioning the “strength” of your drink. You know you aren’t getting jipped. But this effectively removes any and all interaction with the bartender as a person, and creates a  robot like relationship I’m not down with.

To elaborate further, think about it this way. One of my favorite parts (and I know I’m not the only one) of heading up to the bar for the first of many drinks is to make an impression on the bartender. Sometimes its subtle, sometimes its simple but when this relationship builds appropriately, this is where the real win/win comes into place. And I’m not talking about dropping unnecessarily large tips in the meatpacking district. I’m talking about a mutual respect for what makes us all tick. At the “cold bar”, my drinks got stronger as the days went on. At the others, they stayed exactly the same. Sure it could have gone the other way, but that’s part of the fun.

So if you are using exact pour spouts out there, unlock the booze and free pour!

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Holograms and 106 Degrees

April 24, 2012

We are home from a ridiculous weekend at Coachella and I’m gonna need a day or two to get back into the swing of things. I’ve got some festival related posts coming up this week along with a new cocktail because I know it’s been a while but for now I have to get back to work on my bourbon hologram. And you thought Tupac’s hologram was cool

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Birthday Tasting at Idle Hands

April 19, 2012

If you’ll remember back a few weeks, I posted about celebrating World Whiskey Day at Idle Hands in the east village. At that time, I was enamored by their unbelievable bourbon list and their straightforward approach summarized nicely by their motto: Bourbon. Beer. Rock. But it was the conversation I had with the owner that night, that made me sure this was the place I wanted to spend my birthday.

Every Wednesday night these guys are offering up one of the most ridiculous and worthwhile tasting experiences I’ve found in New York. Every week a brewery (last night was Sierra Nevada) and a whiskey (last night was McKenzie) send a representative to walk you through a tasting. Three 8 oz beer tastes (although I think we ended up with more like  five 5 oz pours) and two full pours from the brewery (although I think we ended up with one strong ass torpedo) and one solid tasting of the whiskey goes along just perfectly with an order of tater tots. But here comes the ridiculous part. It costs $10! Yes, I said $10!

Even more in line with my notion of a proper night out, these tastings occur in a truly informal manner. We had a fairly large crowd and managed to stake out a bit of a claim. Sitting back as the beer and whiskey came to us makes for an extended experience. It was almost like they read my last blog post!

As for the specifics, the Sierra tasting was pretty delicious. By the time we got to the 10% torpedo, I was heading upstairs to re-fuel with some extra food. Those tots were amazing but needed some company to help absorb all that 10% was offering. Even more interesting however was our McKenzie tasting. The rep Steven, walked us through the uniqueness of this Finger Lakes distillery sourcing their ingredients from NY state. Next week Steven’s coming back with their Rye which has me intrigued but at this point, I think it’s safe to say, you know where to find me on Wednesdays!

Thanks to everyone who made it out making for one of the more memorable birthdays I’ve ever had. And thanks to the folks at Idle Hands for being brilliant!

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Drink Often But Slowly

April 18, 2012

Look, I try my best not to be a New York snob. In fact, for full disclosure, my biggest concern when moving here now about five years ago was being the guy that solely referred to New York as “THE CITY”. So much for that…

But seriously, there is no better place to witness the emergence of spring than in the city. Dammit, I mean New York. The energy is electric, the clothes seem to disappear, and everyone seems to be drinking outside. Which is my favorite part for sure. But it all seems to fly by so fast. With weekends packed with activities and non-stop weekday happy hours, all of a sudden it’s October and were bitching it’s cold again. But this year, I’ve got a slogan to live by.

Drink often but slowly. (Things sound more intelligent when they are in italics, right?)

There is no better way to share an experience or to get to know someone than over your favorite glass of bourbon, or by sharing a great bottle of wine; these details are the catalysts to great memories. And the more you savor them as they occur, the more memorable they truly are.  Oh, and of course, don’t forget to instagram the shit out of those memories as well. Otherwise they never really happened.

It’s been a crazy few weeks and it mostly feels like a whirlwind but it’s time to take a step back and slow down. I’m kicking off my Spring/Summer motto with an awesome whiskey and beer tasting at Idle Hands with some close friends for my Birthday and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s already been a great Birthday week with a night out at Talde in the BK and a cauliflower crust pizza “cake” on Sunday (thanks Nancy!). And I can tell you one thing…

Tonight the first part of that motto will not be an issue!

 

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The Cow Thieves are Here to Stay

April 16, 2012

That’s it. I’m hooked. After our first batch of beer, I professed how awesome the experience was; how I could see beer making becoming a maybe annual enterprise more or less so I could continue working on my labeling prowess. But after this second batch of pilsners, which we had our first taste of yesterday, I’m all in. While our first two brews, an American Pale Ale and an IPA came out pretty good, these guys are simply fantastic.

In my post on the magical world of yeast, I alluded to our variable selection this time around. But that wasn’t the whole story. While we did choose to use two distinct hop varieties we also added one extra wrinkle. For one batch we used a process known as “dry hopping” which requires a percentage of the hop base to be added during the fermentation, rather than during the boiling of the mash. The outcome was really obvious. For the dry hopped “Garage Pale Ale”, the hoppy notes are more bright and forward. Which makes total sense. But that’s not to say its necessarily better. The standard hopped “Cow Thieves Pilsner” is complex and bold in flavor making a perfect pairing. They both ended up being a bit on the strong side but that’s fine by me! I can’t wait to share these beers with the Noblers.

Larry and I are already planning our Summer Ale to be debuted at the annual Southampton Extravaganza. Clamming and Cow Thieves never sounded so good!

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