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The Noblers Know Cocktails: Part 2

May 23, 2013

cocktails

When the Noblers gather, it tends to be for a real purpose. And last night’s Gathering was no different. Because while we always share in the enjoyment of good drinking, sometimes you have to get back to the basics. The basics of delicious cocktails.

As I’ve said before, everyone should have an arsenal of drinks to pull from. Different cocktails work for different reasons, but knowing you have a few gold standards to draw upon is a wonderful feeling. And last night I think we came up with a new one to add to the list in the Ed Wood (see below for the recipe).

With a few basil juleps, some fantastic Old Fashioneds (with my new batch of bitters), and a couple of Manhattan’s rounding out the cocktail experience, I think it’s safe to say it was another successful Gathering. Thanks again to Mark and Kelly for hosting!

The Ed Wood

3 oz Gin (I used Bluecoat)

1 oz fresh lime juice

1.5 oz rosemary simple syrup (recipe below)

Ed Wood loved himself a few gimlets, and I think he’d love the woody addition of the rosemary. Mix all three ingredients and pour over ice. Garnish with a rosemary skewer.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

2 cups water

1.5 cups sugar

Half a lemon

3 bunches of rosemary skewers

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add the rosemary and lemon juice and lower heat to a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool. Strain the rosemary and keep refrigerated.

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VinePair and Our First Wine Tasting!

May 22, 2013

vinepairlogoIt’s been a while since we’ve had a wine post hasn’t it? Well it’s been for good reason. Nobler wine contributor, Adam and I, along with another good friend Josh have been busy working on an exciting venture called VinePair. VinePair removes the anxiety of choice in the wine purchasing selection and is launching later this summer in the New York City area for delivery service. I’ll share more as the details come but wanted to share some other exciting news in the meantime…

As part of the VinePair experience, we have developed a series of wine tasting events with our first tasting scheduled for June 16th. This won’t be your typical tasting, that’s for sure so check out more details and buy your ticket (space is limited) at our Eventbrite page here:

VinePair’s Summer Wine Tasting

It’s going to be a really fun day. Hope you can make it!

 

 

 

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Hipsters Drive Up Beer Prices

May 21, 2013

It feels a little strange referencing a FoxNews post here at the Nobler but I thought this was pretty funny…

As you all know quite well, PBR has become the epitome of Hipsterama. Almost to the point of absurdity. No, scratch that. It’s past the point of absurdity. But the rush on cheap beer by the growing hipster nation may have had some unintended effects, of which probably doesn’t impact the majority of said hipsters. The price of cheap beer is rising my friends, and at a rate higher than the craft beer offerings. This of course has manifested itself in some pretty ridiculous PBR and Budweiser prices at a number of bars around the city, and while you might be tempted to make the argument that it’s still a hell of a lot cheaper than a cocktail, I question if that’s the right comparison. Beer to beer pricing has become a more interesting evaluation.

I’m always a bit amazed when I see on a beer list the convergence of prices between the medium sized “craft” brews and the sub-premium standards. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not much of a beer snob. I find value in most beer in fact. But it’s all about price point. Or at least it should be. Both in stores and at bars, the prices are becoming too similar to distinguish. $6 for a Sixpoint versus $4 for a PBR seems like a no brainer for example. But there is still one place where the cheapies rule to roost.

The shot and a beer combo (my favorite naming of course being “The Sportsmen”) is a world the PBRs and the Buds should rule forever! Long live the Sportsmen!

 

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The Grapefruit Margarita

May 20, 2013

GM

Last Friday I posted about the appeal of the cocktail. And for real, I had full intentions of working on a few of my new ideas this weekend including some seriously spiced up spritzers, but the pull from one of my favorite and most simple drinks won the day. I figured I’d simply hold off on the next post thinking you’d be bored with a repeat and the basic, but then again, wasn’t I just the person who was touting simplicity?

The Grapefruit Margarita is one of the most refreshing cocktails out there. It takes the bright and delicious standard and adds some serious freshness and bracing acidity. It’s great for a weekend brunch or a summer BBQ and is surprisingly impressive to share with your friends and family. You see, we all claim to love margaritas, but the majority of us drink terrible versions of the margarita the majority of the time. The tequila and orange liqueur should be highlighted with the citrus and the sweetness should be balanced, dare I say subtle. No sugar bombs please!

So if you are still searching for your cocktail, the one that you can make your own, give this sucker a shot and try not to drink 4000 of them…

The Grapefruit Margarita

3 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice (or high quality bottled stuff, not from concentrate)

2 oz Tequila (I often lean on a silver tequila here but a reposado will work just as well)

1 oz Orange Liqueur (triple sec can work but if you haven’t tried some of the nicer options out there, I strongly suggest you do)

Lime Wedge for Garnish

Mix all of the above ingredients and pour over a rocks glass full of crushed ice. Yes, it’s that simple.

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The Cocktail Classics

May 17, 2013

For those of you in New York and for those who have made the trip, tonight marks the opening of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. The Classic is a series of events, some educational, some experiential that celebrate the world of spirits and the enthusiasts that keep it interesting. Tickets have been on sale for many of the events for some time and most sold out pretty darn quickly but there may be a few events still open so check it out here…

But in honor of the classic, I thought I’d put together a little post about the cocktail. You know, the notion of the cocktail. Because when well executed the cocktail represents a confidence and an intrigue that no other drink can encompass. And most importantly, you can make your cocktail your own. Maybe you tweak a recipe, maybe you choose something historical or cutting-edge, but no matter what, having “your’ cocktail is a damn good feeling.

What perfect timing then, that the folks over at Serious Drinks put together this list of 25 classic cocktails to get us all started. I’ll tell you, it’s a great list with a lot of great drinks; but encourage you to make these your own. Choose your favorite spirit and brand, choose your favorite garnish, and be sure to recognize the fun in choosing. Next week the Noblers are gathering for a little cocktail creation of our own and I bet we’ll have a few more options to report back on. So enjoy the weekend, at the Classic or not, and most importantly, enjoy a cocktail!

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Update: Maker’s Exceeds the Mark Ironically

May 16, 2013

makers

You’ll probably remember myself and just about every other liquor blogger out there commenting on the Maker’s Mark controversy from earlier in the year. As a quick refresher, in order to meet increasing demand and therefore limited supply, Maker’s Mark planned on decreasing the proof of their bourbon from 90 to 84 essentially watering down their final product to stretch their inventory capabilities. Well, after a few weeks of online outrage, the brand reversed course sticking with their classic 90 proof formula…you know, for us of course.

But you’ll also remember I (along with a number of others) had another theory. Not one necessarily rooted in conspiracy but at least one that acknowledged the potential boost that this whole “debacle” could create. And turns out, this was the case. I’ve been meaning to post this for a few weeks but this article over at Quartz highlights the amazing Maker’s sales numbers seen in the first quarter. A 45% jump in first quarter profit seems to suggest the Maker’s Mark lovers out there went out in hoards to gobble up the stuff upon hearing the news. This of course is highly ironic, as the Quartz writer points out, in that the news to water down the bourbon was in response to a limited supply issue. 

I know I wasn’t one of the reasons for increased sales but what about you all? Anyone rush out to hoard the 90 proof stuff?

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Apricot and Star Anise Bitters Giveaway

May 14, 2013

apricotbitters

I’ve been itching to try a new batch of bitters for a while now, particularly after how much I loved my first attempt. I really enjoyed the orange bitters I made a number of months back, with only a few complaints on my end. While the bittering agents did their trick, I never felt the “orange” hit home as much as I was hoping. Which is why I went back and forth for some time on what to make next. I wanted to marry flavors that were bright and interesting, but were also something I could see myself (and ultimately you all) using often. Enter some culinary inspiration…

I’ve been finding ways to incorporate star anise into just about anything I cook these days. I love it to add flavor to a simple broth or sauce and it does amazing things in marinades for meat. And nothing balances the vibrant flavor of star anise like a little sweetness and acidity. Now enter the apricot…

photo

These apricot and star anise bitters are friggin’ awesome. So pumped with how these turned out and thrilled to be able to offer the second Nobler bitters giveaway to let you in on all the enjoyment. You know the drill, simply comment, re-post on Facebook, or re-tweet and you are in the running for one of three free bottles. I’ll announce the winners tomorrow! Good Luck!

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