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Cocktails from the daily chow e-mail blasts.

I thought it might be fun to discuss the cocktails that chow.com selects to send in their daily e-mail blasts. I've raised my eyebrows in the past, and I raised them today:

Elderflower Sidecar by Aida Mollenkamp

1 part Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 parts brandy
3 parts St-Germain elderflower liqueur


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  1. Sounds awfully sweet.

    1. sounds like a drink for someone who doesn't appreciate a subtle cocktail. st germain is one of those ingredients that wipes out a drink. I imagine this one tastes of mostly sg and is kind of gross. although I bet that when I first started getting into cocktails this one would have been right up my alley. Also, the drink reads like it came off of a St Germain sticker or one of those things that the company puts on the bottle when you first buy it.

      1. You should never trust a Food Network star to make a cocktail. Look at her Chow profile, which links to another creation, the "Bitter Widow." A Negroni shamelessly ripped of its gin component, only to have it replaced by vodka. This is progress?

        2 Replies
        1. re: davis_sq_pro

          There is a wonderful comment. "I think the widow is bitter because someone took the gin away."

          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            Not progress but a step back -- the drink has been around along time and Martin Amis has spoken about them a while ago.


          2. Goes against classic cocktail groupthink. But the ingredients are pretty basic, somebody shake it up and serve it to an unsuspecting taster.

            1. I liked it when I made it. I guess my palate isn't all that refined.

              1. 3 parts, or almost half the drink, is St. G????? Holy cow.

                I actually made a "real" Sidecar with St. G a couple times. First I simply substituted the Cointreau for St G. The St G took over the drink. Then I only used 1/2 part St. G... elderflower still was strong. Gave up at that point.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Alcachofa

                  I love a sidecar but 3 parts St. G? That HAS to be a misprint.

                2. Here's one from today:

                  Touch of Evil
                  by Jacqueline Patterson, San Francisco, CA
                  1 1/2 ounces Bulleit Bourbon
                  1 ounce Rhubarb Syrup
                  3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
                  Dash St. George absinthe verte
                  Lemon twist
                  Mint leaf, crushed

                  "St. George absinthe verte works beautifully in this cocktail because it’s on the drier side. If you can’t find it, Kübler absinthe is a decent substitute."

                  This one sounds promising, if you don't mind making rhubarb syrup. I understand the desire to promote the local-to-San-Francisco St George, but you can't convince me that you can detect the dryness of one dash of absinthe in a cocktail with an ounce of syrup.

                  It doesn't sound vaguely evil to me. Sounds delicious -- a summery version of a whiskey sour.

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                  1 Reply
                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                    Well a dash of St. George is equivalent to 3 dashes of Kubler. Not sure about the drier part except that it might relate to the fact that it's cranked way up in intensity. Rhubarb syrup is rather easy to make and frozen rhubarb can be found year round (the fresh is seasonal to late spring/early summer).


                  2. Mojito this time. There are lots of recipes. Some call for a built drink, others shaken. Some muddle the limes, other use lime juice. Some use simple syrup, others granulated sugar. This version seems solid to me. I might double strain to avoid any flecks of mint after shaking.

                    Mojito by By Christine Gallary
                    3 fresh mint sprigs
                    1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
                    1 ounce Simple Syrup
                    2 ounces white rum
                    1 1/2 ounces club soda, chilled

                    1. Place 2 of the mint sprigs, the lime juice, and the simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and press gently against the mint with the back of a spoon to release the oils.

                    2. Add the rum and a handful of ice and shake vigorously until the mixture is well chilled, about 20 seconds. Fill a 10-ounce glass with ice and strain the drink into the glass. Top with club soda and garnish with the remaining mint sprig.

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                    1 Reply
                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                      That does sound pretty pretty good, but is pressing the mint gently necessary when it is then going to get all crushed up by shaking with the ice? I think avoiding pulverizing the mint is the usual reason for not shaking a mojito.

                      Going back to some of the previous comments, I have found that chefs tend to have a different take on drink recipes than people devoted to drinks. There are cocktail recipes in two cookbooks I have, Mark Bittman, and Ruth Reichl and particularly the Reichl Gourmet Today book has some strange spins on cocktails.

                    2. OK, the last blast was for a ... wait for it ...

                      1 1/2 ounces vodka
                      3/4 ounce cranberry juice
                      1/2 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
                      1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
                      Lime slice, for garnish

                      Looks like an OK recipe for what I find to be a ho-hum cocktail. I'd rather see something more interesting, although perhaps it helps quash the usual version made with yucky sour mix.

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                      4 Replies
                      1. re: EvergreenDan

                        Eau De Vie in Sydney do a fantastic Cosmo.


                        If you scroll through the videos you will find the cosmo, although a few of the videos are pretty great.

                        1. re: EvergreenDan

                          Isn't it supposed to contain citrus vodka?

                          1. re: davis_sq_pro

                            Good point, DSP

                            Gary Regan, the Joy of Mixology:
                            1 1/2 oz citrus vodka
                            1 oz triple sec
                            1/2 oz lime
                            1-2 dashes cranberry for color
                            lime wedge

                            Sounds a bit sweet to me.

                            Robert Hess, Essential Bartender's Guide:
                            1 1/2 : 1/2 : 3/4 : 1 oz

                            Much more cranberry-forward, and less sweet (depending upon sweetness of the juice, I suppose).

                            1. re: EvergreenDan

                              The BAR team, (Dale Degroff, etc.) go with
                              1 1/2 oz citron vodka
                              3/4 oz Cointreau
                              3/4 oz lime juice
                              1 oz cranberry juice

                        2. Today's post; the Bramble:

                          3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
                          6 large blackberries
                          Crushed ice
                          1 ounce crème de mûre
                          1 1/2 ounces dry gin, such as Plymouth


                          Combine the lemon juice and blackberries in a rocks glass and muddle until the berries are broken up.
                          Add some crushed ice and the crème de mûre and gin, stir to combine, and serve.

                          For reference, the Kindred Cocktails version of the Bramble was sourced from The New York Times article by Toby Cecchini:

                          by Dick Bradsell, Fred's Club, London, UK

                          2 oz Gin
                          1 oz Lemon juice
                          1/2 oz Simple syrup
                          1/2 oz Blackberry liqueur (Creme de Muir, as float)
                          2 Blackberries (as garnish)
                          1 sli Lemon (as garnish)

                          Shake 1st three ingredients, strain into rocks glass brimming with crushed ice, top with Creme de Muir, garnish.

                          You can see that the Chow version is much more berry-forward than the original, lacks the drama of the drizzle of liqueur over the crushed ice, and apparently has a bunch of blackberry seeds in it, since it doesn't say to double-strain them out. I also question the use of Plymouth here, as the drink is already plenty sweet and the juniper needs to cut through the lemon and berry.

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                          1. Today's entry
                            Bitter Widow
                            by Salt House, SF, CA
                            3/4 ounce Campari
                            3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
                            3/4 ounce vodka
                            Orange twist, for garnish (optional)

                            This "improvement" over a Negroni stumps me. Would not anyone brave enough to order a Campari drink be brave enough for some gin botanicals?

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                            4 Replies
                            1. re: EvergreenDan

                              It's like a boozier and flat Americano?

                              And probably because plastic bottled gin you try in college is a hell of a lot worse than plastic bottled vodka. People never seem to forget that $7 bottles and $20-30 bottles do have the same volume and sometimes proof, but the differences are grand.

                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                All I can say is NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

                                1. re: EvergreenDan

                                  No wonder the widow is bitter. No gin in her Negroni? Actually there is an article about 'vodka negroni' that a friend wrote. Check it out. http://www.shakestir.com/features/id/...

                                  1. re: JMF

                                    Fascinating read. Thanks. Interesting counterpoint.

                                2. I love how ALL the criticism is from folks who haven't tried the recipes. Come on, people; we can do better.