Archive for the ‘aquavit’ Category

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The PFD and the White Life Saver

March 6, 2012

Assuming you were so inspired by yesterdays post, that you leapt to your feet and purchased the nearest bottle of aquavit, this pineapple and jalapeno juice I referenced is going to be a welcomed addition to your cocktail repertoire. But for those of you who require more time to react to my suggestions (come on people!), and most likely have a bottle of tequila stashed away for Cinco de Mayo, this twist on the margarita will work just as well.

Spice is a difficult thing to incorporate into cocktails successfully but when it is done well, the outcome is fantastic. My ideal spice level for a cocktail catches you off guard initially but settles quickly into a baseline for flavor. Which is why balancing the spice with a subtle sweetness is so important. If you go too sweet, there tends to be a major clash. Pineapple, while certainly sweet, has a great tartness which adds that last and final component for cocktail completion.

You could use this juice for anything but the combination with tequila works great for a more familiar flavor and the addition of aquavit sets the whole thing off in a crazy delicious way. As was agreed on at the Nobler Gathering, the aquavit version sort of tastes like a crazy incarnation of a white Life Saver, which I’ve also decided is the candy I should have never forgotten about. Screw those overly sweet gummy whales I’ve been buying at the Tasti-d bulk candy section before the movies…bring on the Life Savers!

Pineapple Jalapeno Juice:

1 pineapple

1 small jalapeno

Juice of 1 lime

Peel, core, and chop the pineapple. Blend in a food processor with the jalapeno (seeds included) and the lime juice until thoroughly juiced. Pass through a strainer and store in the refrigerator, covered until ready.

 

The PFD (Personal Flotation Device)

2 oz tequila

1 oz triple sec

3 oz pineapple jalapeno juice

In a rocks glass with ice, mix the three ingredients and serve with a wedge of pineapple for garnish.

 

The White Life Saver

2 oz aquavit

3 oz pineapple jalapeno juice

2 dashes of lemon bitters

3 oz seltzer to finish

In a highball or tall glass filled with ice mix the first three ingredients. Finish with seltzer and relish in the deliciousness.

 

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Voyage Across the East River

March 5, 2012

It was just after our Irish Whiskey tasting that I posted about, in all of its production glory, Linie Aquavit. It was an early topic at the next Nobler Gathering which is why I felt it was the perfect candidate to be our very first non-whiskey focal point. A voyage across the world may be more impressive than an L train ride to Williamsburg but the Noblers gathered nonetheless for another fantastic night.  In summary: (1) We are all now aquavit fans and (2) We probably don’t need to finish two bottles next time…

But in all honesty, as I mentioned in the Linie post, aquavit is by no means something I had a ton of experience with. Sipping on a few cocktails at Vandaag, while certainly providing the feeling of greatness, does not equate to overnight expertise. So I was as excited as the rest of the guys to give a more thorough tasting to this Scandinavian favorite. The best comparison one can make is to Gin in terms of production style but don’t think you’ll be getting juniper as the driving flavor. Aquavit on the other hand is flavored typically with caraway which is a wonderful ingredient for cocktail pairing. Taking some cues from the few experiences I had, I knew delicate sweetness and spice worked great with the caraway. This pineapple and jalapeno juice did not disappoint.

But it was, as we expected, the Linie that really stole the show. Unlike the Aalborg which has a seriously crisp finish, the Linie’s aging process, as unique as it is, is clearly not just a gimmick. Whether it’s the voyage across the sea or the sherry casks they select, there is a really amazing balance that develops. It is not nearly as rich as a whiskey, but just enough to make it super-drinkable on its own. It’s maybe the perfect after dinner drink for those that hate after dinner drinks. We all agreed, the Linie may not replace our whiskey addiction, but it’s definitely a bottle we want to add to our collection.

And speaking of adding to a collection…if you collect meatball sandwiches…

My take on the Swedish meatballs in sandwich form had us all a bit quiet for a while. And that may say it all. Because if Swedish meatballs, havarti, arugula and jam can make a bunch of drunkards keep their mouths shut, then I believe you can say it was pretty damn delicious! Take that Ikea!

Quick note: Our gracious host and fellow Nobler caught on to my hangover induced (I’ll use this excuse), but still ridiculous error of identifying our voyage as “over the Hudson”. Since we ended up in Brooklyn and not in New Jersey, I have now renamed the post appropriately. That was a close one…I’m not sure who’s more offended, the people who live in Hoboken or the people who live in Williamsburg…

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The Most Interesting Production in the World

January 4, 2012

Picture taken from Michael Langhoff Photography

Liquor branding has taken on a whole new life recently, and it’s hard not to notice. Maybe the most interesting man in the world kicked some marketers in the ass, but some of the more recent campaigns for Jameson, Johnnie Walker, and others must have P Diddy chugging Ciroc (ultra premium vodka) in shame. But then comes along branding that requires no heroic stories of the original distiller or a modern-day celebrity. Because when you have a 19 week voyage at sea as part of your production process, you are pretty much golden.

First and foremost, if you don’t know much about aquavit or akvavit, you’ll be seeing it a bunch more this coming year. This Scandinavian liquor is sort of the more bad ass version of gin. Mostly distilled from grains or potatoes (much like vodka), aquavit is flavored with herbs and spices with caraway being one of the more common choices. The first time I had it, it was a bit of shocker. It’s awfully flavorful, and unique to say the least. I tried a bunch of cocktails at Vandaag, a Scandinavian spot in the East Village and while I’ve haven’t dabbled too much with aquavit on my own, it’s on my list for sure. It’s complex and delicious. But we can chat more about aquavit at a future gathering…

As for Linie…it is a Norwegian aquavit and it’s amber hue and rich flavor come from the sherry cask aging process. But unlike most distilleries, these guys send their casks on a four-month journey across the sea where the sloshing of the spirit and the natural swelling and contracting of the wood under the extreme conditions imparts some serious character. Take that John Jameson. Pretty damn bad ass for some booze!

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