Archive for May, 2012

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Anyone Need a Margarita?

May 31, 2012

At least 5% of my brain is constantly occupied with cocktail creation. Sometimes a name will come first and the ingredients simply follow, like the “Aspagrass” soon to be debuted. And in other cases, the drink is truly inspired by what’s delicious. But no matter how much I enjoy the art of drink making (I call making cocktails art because I suck at drawing), sometimes all you want is something simple. And today I want a damn margarita!

I’m here to plead with you. You, the person stocking up on margarita mix surely having something to do with Jimmy Buffett. The guy is a marketing genius, but you don’t need that clown to make yourself the perfect margarita. And in fact, you don’t need very much at all. I’ve tried tinkering with my own recipe here and there, but this unbelievably simple version I stole from the one and only Nancy Gordon, is damn near perfect. So while I won’t try to compete with her margarita making prowess, I’m offering up my slight twist on the classic lime margarita with the equally refreshing, slightly less ass-kicking grapefruit variety. Just like in the case of Nancy’s recipe, fresh squeezed juice is ideal but for my grapefruit version a high quality store-bought juice will do the trick. Plus it makes it easier to make a big batch for your next bbq. You can thank us later for never having to buy a pre-made mix again. Actually, you know what , you better thank us now, before you have too many of these and forget. Enjoy!

Classic Margarita

2 oz tequila (I prefer a good reposado)

1 oz cointreau or triple sec

Juice of half a lime

1 lime wedge

In a glass filled with shaved or crushed ice add and stir vigorously all of the ingredients. Garnish with a lime wedge and delete any and all Jimmy Buffett from your iPod.

Grapefruit Margarita

3 oz grapefruit juice (reposado or silver work well with this one)

2 oz tequila

1 oz cointreau of triple sec

1 lime wedge

In a glass filled with ice, add all of the ingredients and stir to mix. Garnish with a lime and enjoy! This one is obviously a little less strong so feel free to have a few more!

 

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A 7 Year Old Conspiracy

May 30, 2012

Bachelor parties thrive off of two inherently conflicting forces of celebration and punishment. On one hand, we as friends do our part to ensure, you the bachelor, are having the time of your life. This is about you, my friend! But then again, I guess we’re also supposed to push the limits? Embarrass you? Put you through the ringer? I’ll be honest, and admit, I’ve never understood how far some folks take this portion of the “fun”, which is why I’m glad to say, this past weekend’s festivities, celebrating our fellow Nobler’s impending marriage, was way more of the former making for a pretty stellar Brigantine/AC weekend. Although, when I took a look at this bottle of Old Monk Very Old Vatted XXX Rum, I was pretty sure this had to be part of the “punishment”.

“Posession by persons other than defence personnel is strictly prohibited”

This fantastic disclaimer and the plastic bottle alone had me convinced but the burning sensation and immediate panic as my esophagus started to dissolve (anyone know if this is possible? would love to remove that from the anxiety list), sealed the deal. In this way, this rum was hysterically appropriate for a bachelor party. “Keep drinking buddy!”

But here’s the thing: As I started to do some research on the impressively quick AC bus ride home, all I could find was link after link of praise. Apparently the third largest sales based rum distributed world-wide, Old Monk is touted for its word of mouth popularity, as advertising has never been a part of their business model. Additionally touted for its strong vanilla flavor, the few reviewers I could find online seem to prefer this stuff over some of the more common brands I was aware of. I’ll agree with the vanilla flavor as one of the other guys astutely commented “It tastes like grain alcohol flooded with vanilla extract”. This for you, still a little slow from the extra day off, was not a compliment.

So am I missing something? Is this a joke someone is playing on me? Old Monk aficionados: explain yourself!

 

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The Honoré Palmer

May 25, 2012

This isn’t the first time you’ve seen me adding in some fresh brewed tea to a cocktail, and that’s for good reason. Particularly in this case, the flavors of the green tea crave a little acid and some sweetness and the ensuing balance is the ultimate refresher.

So here we are, at the official kick off to the summer, Memorial Day Weekend, and you better believe it’s going to be full of drinking. I’ll be down in AC for a fellow Nobler’s bachelor party weekend and I’ll probably need some of the antioxidants from this drink to keep me going (see my packing list above). But regardless of your weekend plans, this green tea cocktail acts as a perfect compliment to the Bertha Palmer. Having a bourbon centric black tea blend to pair with this lighter, sweeter green tea mix will ensure everyone at the party has something to enjoy. Even better, this base recipe is a delicious non-alcoholic homemade “soda” for those that don’t drink (do these people exist?) and, maybe more appropriately, for the kids in the crew. Bertha would have happily served this one to her first son Honoré. See that, I even got all family friendly on you here at the Nobler! Enjoy the weekend!

The Honoré Palmer:

6 oz Green Tea Base

2 oz Lemon or Citrus Vodka

2 oz Seltzer to finish

1 Lime wedge

In a large glass filled with ice add all of the ingredients and serve with a lime wedge for garnish!

Green Tea Base Recipe:

4 Green Tea Bags

32 oz Boiling Water

5 tbsp of Honey

1 Lime

In a mason jar, pour the boiling water over the green tea bags and the honey. Let steep until cool and remove the tea bags. Add the juice of one lime and keep refrigerated for use.

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Why So Bitters?

May 24, 2012

I’m leaving the bitters giveaway drawing open until the end of the week so get your comments in if you want one of the very first bottles of Nobler Experiment Orange Bitters. For those of you somewhat unfamiliar to the world of bitters, you’ve probably seen this iconic bottle (picture below) sitting at almost every bar you frequent and somewhat more bizarrely next to the strawberry daiquiri mix on an end-cap in every supermarket. But as I’ve mentioned before, the availability of uniquely flavored bitters for sale, and even more uniquely flavored bitters in restaurants and bars (pepperoni bitters? really?) has absolutely skyrocketed. So, what the hell are bitters in the first place?

Maybe a more interesting question: where did bitters originate? While modern medicine is great and all, there is something pretty fantastic about a bunch of folks mixing up concoctions and selling them as cure-alls long before Advil and Pepto were in everybody’s medicine cabinets. Herbs and roots were observed to have certain effects as “cures” throughout human history and once distillation became more understood, it was a seemingly natural transition to “bottle” those perceived effects. By infusing the alcoholic distillate with these same herbal essences (mainly cascarilla, quassia, gentian, orange, and quinine) the original apothecaries could create symptom base remedies for the local communities.

But it was in 1824, when a German Physician, Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, fighting alongside Simon Bolivar in Venezuela, took these local cures to a whole new level. His now famous Angostura Bitters, named after the town they originated in, was intended to limit and reduce the effects of sea-sickness. Almost 200 years later, one of my first experiences with Angostura helped prove that Siegert wasn’t simply selling voodoo. Working in a restaurant, your daily caloric intake consists of coffee, crap, more coffee, alcohol, and probably cheese. We always had so much cheese! And that, my friends, is not a recipe for stomach comfort. But with a little seltzer splashed with Angostura (okay, and maybe some more coffee) it was always easy to rally. Good work Doctor!

So that takes care of Angostura, but you better not try to give your friend from Louisiana a bottle of these and call them bitters. Because in Nawlins, there is only brand of bitters you should be putting in your Sazerac and that’s Peychaud’s. Created in 1830 by a Creole apothecary, these bitters are similar in ingredient list to Angostura but are a bit lighter and sweeter as a final product. And if you haven’t had a true Sazerac, you should probably stop reading this and go find one. For this reason, Peychaud’s often gets credited for the bitters transition to cocktail contributor from simple cure-all.

So why all the crazy new flavors and countless available commercial brands in the last few years. What the hell have we been doing for 2 centuries? Well, once again, we can chalk this up to the most recent cocktail craze. Bitters, as a flavoring agent are a tremendous tool for adding strong and/or nuance flavors into a drink without large volumes or dilutions. If you are looking for a few options to add to your liquor collection (besides my orange bitters of course), I’d say definitely start with a bottle of lemon and a bottle of celery. You’ll find yourself adding these two to everything. You’ll even love a few splashes in an ice-cold seltzer. I know, I know, there isn’t booze in seltzer. But sometimes even the Noblers need to hydrate!

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Nobler Bitters Giveaway!

May 23, 2012

It was just over two months ago that I promised the very first batch of Nobler Experiment Bitters. And if you had happened to do any research on the matter, you probably know that it doesn’t take two months to produce…I hate when I make blog promises before I actually start the process!

So to make up for the delay, I’m upping the ante. For this Nobler giveaway, I’m making it extra easy on you. All you have to do is leave a comment or like this post through the Facebook tag below and you are in the running for not one, not two, not three…uh oh, I’m starting to sound like Lebron now. Okay, let’s make it three bottles of bitters that I’m giving away! So get in on the action and when this batch gets bottled early next week, be one of the only people with a bottle of Nobler Bitters in your collection. Plus I promise it won’t have that lame, rushed label for those aesthetically appalled…

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Jack White Blows My Mind

May 22, 2012

There are very few things I enjoy more than whiskey. Jack White is one of them.

Last night’s show at Roseland Ballroom was a mind-blowing onslaught of greatness; a non-stop performance that truly rocked the audience. From opening with Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground to closing with Seven Nation Army, White managed to bring back White Stripes tracks in an eery and intense way. With the full dude crew behind him, these classics were bigger than I could have ever imagined. The same could be said for his takes on some of my favorite Raconteur and Dead Weather songs (Steady as She Goes and I Cut Like A Buffalo to name a few) which kept everyone at a fever pitch. But it was a few of the Blunderbuss tracks that I found myself loving the most. The swooning title track about half way through the set was the perfect reprieve before the final 8-9 song push of craziness. The stage presence and enthusiasm White displays particularly with Daru Jones, the amazingly electrifying drummer is flat out absurd. Sixteen Saltines, Freedom at 21, and Hypocritical Kiss had White owning the stage, making unique choices for each track on the fly pushing his band to give one of the most memorable performances I have ever seen.

Dear Jack, how about you come to the next Nobler Gathering? We’ll have a glass of whiskey waiting for you!

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The Dark and Stormy

May 17, 2012

Probably close to 5 years ago, my life coach, Sarah Gordon started talking about something called a Dark and Stormy. Up until this point, I had never heard of it. These were the days prior to nostalgic picture filters and rapid posting, but I still remember catching a glimpse of that drink perched on that cozy Martha’s Vineyard bar next to an order of steamers. It must have been on my flip phone…

To me, the Dark and Stormy is another one of those drinks with serious personality. You aren’t going up to every bartender on any occasion and requesting this delicious concoction. Instead, there is a right time and a right place. Unlike my “clear and sunny” that has an overall pleasant demeanor, the Dark and Stormy has a bit of an attitude. I prefer mine to be heavy on the gingery bite and garnished with a little lime to cut the sweetness. A dark rum with some character only makes this drink better, and honestly, if you haven’t had one, I’ve got a good place for you to start.

The Great Jones Cafe on (you guessed it) Great Jones St has always been one of my favorite spots. Nothing can beat the actual food from New Orleans, but these guys are pumping out fantastic gumbo, po’ boys, and jambalaya and pairing it all with a great beer list and a really chill atmosphere. I actually ate brunch here for the first time not too long ago and can’t understand why it took me so long. Eggs and Jambalaya? Are you kidding me! But this isn’t that old food blog of mine, now is it….

The second I saw that Dark and Stormy (dubbed the Shaggy here), I knew it was going to be that kind of night. But the kicker here is that I had finally thought I found the perfect ginger beer for this cocktail. Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew has a serious bite to it and isn’t cloyingly sweet making it perfect. But this Blenheim Ginger Ale, the Great Jones Cafe is using, may have just out gingered the Extra Ginger. According to their website, Great Jones may be the only place that has this stuff in the city…is this possible? Good thing they sell it online!

As for the recipe, not much to explain here making it even better for your new favorite mid-week cocktail.

The Dark and Stormy

2 oz Dark rum

3 oz Ginger Beer or Bleinheim’s Ginger Ale

1 good-sized lime wedge

Pour the rum and ginger beer over a tall glass with ice and garnish with the squeezed lime. Drink slowly and enjoy the attitude!

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