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What are you drinking tonight?

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In the spirit of the great, endless "what are you cooking today" thread over on home cooking...

In my case, it's what one or two drinks I am going to have this weekend, since I am not metabolically gifted enough to manage those extra calories on a daily basis.

It's gone back to yucky, cold and sleety here, so I suspect I will feel like a rye Manhattan. Dolin vs. Carpano Antica depending my sweet tooth.
My mint patch is just getting going, so I'll look forward to that and some actual spring (drinking) weather.

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  1. The weather now in central Connecticut is spectacular. So I'll be sitting on my back porch sipping Eagle Rare bourbon (one ice cube, thank you).

    1. I am on a Martinez jag right now, but heavier on the gin than the proportions I most often see. I'm really loving this drink right now (with Plymouth and Carpano Antica).

      1. Reposado - three fingers - neat.

        1. I've been working my way through a bottle of strawberry liqueur that I made last spring. Still surprisingly flavorful after almost a year. A few ounces of the liqueur, an ounce of lemon (lime is too overpowering), half an ounce of Gran Classico for a touch more sweetness and some complexity, then shaken and strained. Upscale strawberry Daiquiri done right.

          13 Replies
          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            Would you share your recipe for strawberry liqueur? It sounds delish. I love fruity but most fruit liqueurs are just too overpoweringly sweet to me.

            I also love a Martinez. So far it's our favorite use of the Boomsma oude I picked up a while ago.

            MGZ--I was just saying last night that I don't think I have ever actually had straight tequila of any sort. Somehow I missed out on the whole tequila shots thing in my partygirl days :)
            What is your favorite brand? Did you have a gateway drink(s) to the good stuff neat?

            1. re: splatgirl

              We like the Espolon as an affordable "everyday" brand. Sometimes, I'll splurge on the Herradura. Honestly, though, I'm pretty good with most any reposada. In a way, I actually prefer them to some of the anejos I've tried.

              And, to answer your question, I've had a hellofalotta gateways in my life.

              1. re: MGZ

                MGZ - El Ultimo has a very nice bargain repo, I think it has a little more agave flavor than Espolon, though it is a touch sweeter.

                Some really outstanding reasonable priced (<$30) repos I have had recently - if you can find them in your area or online - are Don Celso, Don Fernando, Muchote, Don Nacho, 30-30.

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  I will make a note, nc, thanks. I have never seen most of those, but will try to seek some out. I have had the 30-30 and it is truly good stuff, but it's only sold in a store a coupla towns over.

                  When Sandy came blasting away at my hometown, we hunkered in with a bottle of the KAH anejo. What better way to deal with a "Superstorm" than a skull full of expensive tequila? Needless to say, I slept through the worst of it . . . .

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Unfortunately other than the 30-30 none of the ones I have listed above can be found in my area, or are even easy to find online. I had to order them from California. I got a couple bottles of the 30-30 repo last year for $10 after a mail in rebate, which was quite a deal.

                    I have yet to try KAH though if I can find a decent price it is on my list. That does however remind me of another surprisingly good bargain brand, Costco's Kirkland brand - which is from the same NOM as KAH. No repo but I do like the anejo, and for $21 for a liter it is tough to beat. The blanco is a very nice mixer with good agave flavor, maybe a little on the sweet side, at around $20 for a 1.75.

                    1. re: ncyankee101

                      Well, Costco doesn't sell booze in my part of NJ, so that one's out.

                      As to the KAH, I'll simply say this: If you're ever sittin' in your house while 90 mile per hour winds rip around you, the salt water is comin' up your street, and the power goes out, that Black Skull is somehow awful comforting. Plus, it makes a great candlestick holder for the followin' fifteen days without electricity.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        (FYI Costo Rt. 70 Brick/Lakewood, exit 88 sells booze. Generally some great deals on wine)

                        1. re: jrvedivici

                          They have good deals, but they are not a "Costco Liquor Store." Apparently, it is separately owned and just a discounter. Last I was there, they did not carry any of the Kirkland brands. Besides, even if they did, I'd have to venture into the (s)lower OC . . . .

              2. re: splatgirl

                Strawberry liqueur:

                Step 1: Go pick your own strawberries somewhere. Go for small ones. Pick at least three or four pints.

                Step 2: Bring them home, wash them, eat a bunch of them. Make your hands turn red.

                Step 3: Get a bottle of overproof rum. I like Plantation's Dark Overproof. Vodka or grain alcohol would be a more typical choice but I don't personally see the point.

                Step 4: Cut the berries up into smallish chunks and fill a couple of 16oz canning jars 4/5 of the way full with the berries.

                Step 5: Add an ounce of lemon juice to each jar and top up with rum. The lemon juice supposedly keeps the berries from getting a chalky flavor. I suspect citric acid would work just as well and then you could get more alcohol into the mix.

                Step 6: Walk away for two or three days. At this point the berries will be greyish pink. No need to infuse any longer than that in my humble opinion.

                Step 7: Strain.

                Step 8: Put a bunch of granulated sugar on the remaining berries in the jars and let it sit for an hour or so. This will suck a lot of the juice out of the berries.

                Step 9: Strain the solids out of the syrup. Rinse with a bit of additional rum. Keep the syrup in a separate container from the rum you strained in Step 7.

                Now you have a choice: At this point you'll have some crystal clear (at least mostly) strawberry tincture and some really tasty bright red strawberry syrup. Most recipes recommend dosing the tincture with the syrup until it reaches the desired level of sweetness, but I'm not sure that's the best idea. The syrup is full of suspended strawberry solids. And the raw tincture is quite pretty and flavorful on its own. Combining the two will result in a cloudy mess, although it's a delicious cloudy mess.

                What I've found is that if you do combine the two, you'll never be able to filter out all of those suspended solids (about 10 trips through coffee filters verified that). But given enough time (several weeks), they will drop out and you will be rewarded with a crystal clear product, sitting on top of a bunch of sediment. So if you do feel like combining them, and you do feel patient, just be sure to make enough liqueur so that you can decant without winding up with next to nothing. That's my plan for this year.

                Enjoy :-)

                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                  "Vodka or grain alcohol would be a more typical choice but I don't personally see the point."

                  The point is generally "pure essence of <whatever>."

                  I have several lovely essences of citrus - winter is boring in Michigan - and I love that they aren't corrupted by flavors of other spirits. I look forward to corrupting them at will with various spirits as the mood hits me.

                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                    Thanks for this! I'm in the process of making my own liquers right now. I already have the amaretto and coffee. This would be the next one.

                    1. re: davis_sq_pro

                      I wanted to give a quick update on this year's effort. A bit too late for strawberry season but maybe good for some autumn fruits.

                      I followed all of the above, mostly, and learned some new lessons:

                      A) Don't be tempted to "speed up" Step 8 by putting way too much sugar on the berries. That's probably common sense, but it's exactly what I did this year, and after mixing everything together I had way too much sweetness. Luckily, I was able to balance it ...

                      B) Step 5 calls for lemon juice, but I upgraded my game this year by purchasing a bottle of citric acid to use instead. Why add lemon aroma to your strawberry liqueur? With the acid I feel like I have a lot more control, less dilution (I can make it super-concentrated), and fewer unwanted side-effects.

                      C) I didn't attempt any kind of filtration this year. Instead I followed the guidelines listed here. I let it sit in a bottle for 6 long and painful weeks, until I finally decanted (through a fine mesh strainer). Interestingly, there was a "cloudy" looking layer on the bottom which turned out to be, effectively, strawberry jelly. This held all of the other solids in place pretty well and I lost very little actual liquid in the decanting phase. The result is a beautiful and very clear liqueur.

                      D) If you're running low on high proof spirits, be careful what you reach for. I had a bottle of Goslings 151 sitting there and thought, "why not use it to top up these jars?" Mistake. My liqueur has a weird bitter aftertaste that I can only attribute to that rum. Luckily, it seems to hide pretty well in any mixed applications, so I guess that's where this stuff is headed. Very interestingly, the dark color doesn't seem to have impacted the color of the liqueur at all. It seems to have been absorbed into the berries -- those that were in the jars I topped up were markedly gray as compared to the other jars where I used a lighter colored overproof rum. (Yes, Wahooty, I am a corrupter of all that is pure.)

                      Next stop, I hope: quince liqueur. Anyone ever mess around with it?

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        Hey corrupt away...there's room in my liquor cabinet for triple sec, Creole Shrubb, and Grand Marnier...corruption certainly has its place. ;)

                        I'm now pondering peach liqueur...any experience there?

                2. Last Word.

                  With 3/4 Chartreuse and Maraschino to 1 gin and lime. Very nice on a warm spring evening.

                  Yes, I know it is one of the quintessential equal parts drinks, but the Chartreuse can get a little overpowering for me so I have been tinkering with the ratios.

                  1. I am about to pour a scotch. I've earned it today. Major house cleaning day. Time for the scotch, current book I am reading and my rocking chair. What is for dinner? Darned if I know.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Candy

                      "What's for dinner? Darned if i know.
                      _____________
                      WORD.
                      Or Manhattans and popcorn, but only if he cooks :)

                      1. re: splatgirl

                        Ended up grilling some chicken and basting it with a smoky BBQ sauce. Old family recipe of potato salad that needed to be eaten, and something else that is escaping me at the moment.

                    2. I decided to make some ghetto sangria. Didn't really have the proper ingredients, but the weather is lovely. So I used frozen strawberries mashed with sugar and some seltzer, then poured in sugar, orange juice and a cheap bottle of pinot grigio. It still needed a bite, so I poured in some tonic. Believe it or not, it's pretty tasty.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LisaPA

                        LOL Lisa. The ghetto is what makes it good! Anything else is a waste of good wine.

                      2. French 75, if I can convince my man to make a couple :-)

                        Perfect along grilled foods on the paddy-o.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: linguafood

                          Right along with ya...one of my absolute faves. Except at dinnertime I was grilling with a Hemingway daiquiri.

                        2. Currently sipping on some Wild Turkey 101 which was used to marinade some salmon belly for the smoker

                          May revisit some Elijah 12 Barrel Proof next

                          1. I made a gin martini, 4 to 1, with orange bitters. Really good, but ... gentle. Not the cold antiseptic sting of the Ur-martini.

                            1. Went with Old Weller Antique on a couple of ice cubes. Normally I might have mixed up an old fashioned or maybe a Manhattan, but after a trying long day it was all my frazzled mind could do not to drink straight from the bottle.

                              1. Little Carl, but made with Imbue Petal & Thorn. "Little Thorny"?

                                Cynar, (Carl) Sutton Cellars Brown Label vermouth, lemon, WBA bitters, salt

                                --
                                www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                1. Most likely a Bison Grass Vodka and cloudy apple juice, if the sun comes out... or a glass of Mikrosvin Pinot Blanc.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: vanderb

                                    is cloudy apple juice actually a thing, or just that your preferred brand happens to be cloudy?

                                    1. re: splatgirl

                                      "Cloudy" apple juice is just unfiltered. Very popular in Germany, here.... not so much. People probably think it looks "icky" :-)

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        Thank you. That's what I would have assumed, but you never know. I buy fresh cider like that in season. I think the funk makes it tastier.

                                      2. re: splatgirl

                                        As linguafood said... in addition to Germany it's pretty common here in the Czech Republic where I'm living now but was also readily available (from Tropicana no less) in Canada before I left.

                                    2. Stoli Vodka, shaken, poured into chilled glass, 3 tomolives in the glass.

                                      Now that it is spring here in the North East, this is my spring/summer drink. Then when the fall and winter comes I also enjoy it and nothing keeps me warm on those cold snowy nights like a few Stoli's. Come to think of it, I guess I have a few of these every night, regardless of the season!

                                      Cheers~!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                        There's so much I don't like about that drink. Yet, if you gave it to me right now, it would be empty before you could fill your own glass.

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          Ahhh mi amigo, I will admit, I don't have the stomach nor the cojones for tequila.

                                          I am having one of "those" days as well, and I will be hitting a happy hour shortly!!

                                      2. Tonight I'm going to have a Negroni at home, then a Beefeater's martini, up with olives, at the restaurant

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: TroyTempest

                                          Good for you!! Maybe it will loosen you up a bit, you look a little stiff in your avatar pic!! :-)

                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                            It can't hurt. BTW, watch me in action, no stiffness here:
                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E06cNv...

                                        2. Put a bottle of Cakebread chard in the fridge this AM to have over dinner with friend. If the weather holds we may start with nibbles out side along with a dark and stormy.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                            I love a dark and stormy--it's hard to go wrong with dark rum in my world. I need to get back around to brewing my own ginger beer to make them with. I suspect that would be a spectacular combo.

                                            1. re: splatgirl

                                              Um, recipe please!?! Would love to try my hand at ginger beer.

                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                Just google it. Impossible to go wrong. Fresh ginger, lemon, sugar, yeast (or not). I have made the yeast fermented type only but my last batch predates acquisition of my ISI so maybe I will try it that way next. I love that homemade allows you to control the ginger and sweetness. The bottled stuff is always too sugary and one note for me.

                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                  http://www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com/20...

                                                  Makes a Dark 'n Stormy to die for.

                                            2. Last night, it was a Martini made with No. 209 Gin and Carpano Antica . . .

                                              Night before, however, it was in the 80s, and I had St. George Spirits' "Botanivore" Gin with Fever Tree tonic.

                                              1. I went with my #2, the Catamaran-hattan, with a couple updates:
                                                2 Lemon Hart or other demerara rum
                                                1 white rum
                                                .5 Cocchi Americano
                                                .5 dry vermouth
                                                Two dashes orange bitters
                                                Lemon slice

                                                The Cocchi is a sub for the original recipe using Dolin sweet vermouth. It's sweeter, which I liked, but I need to try them back to back to tell if it's better.
                                                I also got the idea that a tiny bit of elderflower liqueur may work well in this drink...

                                                1. Was at the packy today and saw a bottle of Dunc's Mill Elderflower rum. It locally made and being that I am a St Germaine fan (don't hate me) I thought I would try it.

                                                  Any one else try this? What did you think? Did I just waste $22?

                                                  http://duncsmill.com/Elderflower.html

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                    How interesting that there already is such a thing. I thought I was being half crazy even suggesting it, but the demerara rum borders on floral already and I do think the drink could use a little more complexity.

                                                    I'll look forward to your report!

                                                    1. re: splatgirl

                                                      Ok, it is awful! I am drinking it over ice and it is overwhelmingly sweet and the elderberry essence is barely there. I would rather have a good rum with the tiniest splash of St Germaine. In your drink it might be just what you need but as a sipping rum, I wasted my money.

                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                        Oh drat!
                                                        Make it into rum punch.

                                                        1. re: splatgirl

                                                          I think it's even too sweet for that! Where do you live? You want it? LOL

                                                  2. Well, tonight, at the risk of being trite (woo! I rhymed!) it was margaritas. And yesterday it was juleps. What can I say...I'm a slave to my sense of occasion. I blame my father.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                                      I also had margaritas and one mint julep. now sipping wine.

                                                    2. Margarita with fish tacos for dinner. Muddled in some thin sliced jalapenos

                                                      1. Wine. Cab sauv on the deck. Gorgeous sunset in my part of the Mitten tonight - cures much of what ails you.

                                                        1. I'm thinking about cocktails for our mothers day gathering... As I sip my rye Manhattan and enjoy the perfect weather.

                                                          Need your expert opinions.

                                                          French 75: cognac or gin?

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                                            GIN.

                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                              Agree!

                                                            2. re: splatgirl

                                                              Both are good, but if you use good cognac, I think its more special. It could be that I drink so many gin drinks, that I like an excuse to break out the cognac.

                                                              --
                                                              www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                I'm not a cognac drinker at all.... is there a particular one you would recommend for cocktails such as the French 75 that doesn't break the bank but makes it worth not using gin?

                                                                1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                  I intend to test drive the cognac version for brunch tomorrow. I've only had them with gin in the past, so it will be a new adventure!

                                                              2. Tonight it's cucumber coolers-Hendricks, muddled cucumbers and a splash of seltzer. Such a gorgeous night!

                                                                1. We're hosting a poker game, so I'll be drinking any number of things. Probably start off with a Bitburger or two, then move on to one of the white wines we have. And then just keep drinking. And winning, hopefully :-)

                                                                  1. Bourbon. The only question is Evan Williams 1783 in an old fashioned or Bookers, maybe with a cube of ice. I am leaning towards the Oboe Fox so I can have two.

                                                                    1. A Moto Guzzi. A rather fitting drink for this biker chick since way back, but also a totally amazing combo of two of my favorite cocktails. Possibly AKA Negrohattan? A Mangroni?

                                                                      HUGE thanks to our fellow spiritChowers for putting me on to Punt e Mes. Holy cow. Buh bye, red dye/Campari. You've just been rendered sad and obsolete.

                                                                      1. At home I rarely, if ever, make cocktails for myself. I have either gin, rum, or bourbon on the rocks. Cocktails are for company.

                                                                        But at work (I'm presently a bar/restaurant consultant) I am creating both a classic cocktail menu with modern twists, and a totally historically accurate Tiki drink menu from all the famous places of the 1930-60's. So I am drinking rather well lately. After a day of bartender training and cocktail recipe creation I like to sit back and let the bartenders practice on me. Spring has hit so last night was a modern take on the Gimlet, and it is very refreshing and actually complex for a Gimlet because of my addition of lemon zest oils and bitters. And the famous Painkiller from the Soggy Dollar bar on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. A nice tropical drink with a kick that relieves all pain, great for a warm Spring evening.

                                                                        Fresh Gimlet
                                                                        1-1/2 oz. Tanqueray gin
                                                                        1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
                                                                        3/4 oz. simple syrup
                                                                        1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
                                                                        Shake on ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon zest strip twisted over and garnished into drink.

                                                                        Painkiller
                                                                        2-1/2 oz. aged or dark rum (But definitely not Pusser's due to their poor choice in trademark lawsuits)
                                                                        4 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
                                                                        1 oz. fresh orange juice (from a carton is also ok, has more acidity, some folks like it better)
                                                                        1 oz. Coco Lopez coconut cream
                                                                        Shake well on ice and pour into a tall glass. Top off with ice, grate cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Garnish with an orange wheel, or long thin strings of lime zest.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                          Bitters in your gimlet? Huh. Interesting.

                                                                        2. I just had my first Vieux Carre this past weekend. One of my new favorites!

                                                                          1 part Rye
                                                                          1 part Cognac
                                                                          1 part sweet vermouth
                                                                          splash of Benedictine
                                                                          dash Angostura bitters
                                                                          dash Peychaud's bitters

                                                                          It was lovely, couldn't believe I hadn't had one before now. I almost started a thread for it just to put it out there but then I saw this thread.

                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                          1. re: thimes

                                                                            I'm glad you were introduced to the Vieux Carré. It's never too late to try a new cocktail. I really like the Vieux Carré a lot as well. I remember my first one at the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone in NOLA many years ago. The cocktail was created in1938 by Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the bar in the Monteleone. That was before they moved the bar location and added the carousel.

                                                                            The main thing about the Vieux Carré is the proportions. I've also had poor renditions at the Monteleone, and elsewhere. Actually more poor than great ones, sadly. The quantities of Bénédictine, and both bitters, are the critical factors. Too much, or little, of either; and the drink is completely thrown off.

                                                                            I have seen Vieux Carré recipes calling for two dashes each of the bitters, and one dash, and also recipes calling for a "rinse", "splash", "dash", 1/2 tsp., full tsp., Tbsp. / 1/2 oz. of Bénédictine. (Excuse all the quotes, but each of those terms is an inaccurate way to measure, but brings in the individuals style and preference)

                                                                            Using high quality Rye, Cognac, and Vermouth take this drink from great, to sublime.

                                                                            This is the recipe I have been using lately, although I may have to do some tweaking on it this week. Any excuse for a good cocktail! ;-)>

                                                                            Vieux Carré
                                                                            3/4 oz. Rye whiskey
                                                                            3/4 oz. Cognac
                                                                            3/4 oz. sweet vermouth (I prefer Dolin)
                                                                            1 tsp. Bénédictine
                                                                            2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
                                                                            2 dashes Angostura Bitters

                                                                            By "dash" I go by a "scant" 1/8 tsp. which is what most bitters bottles orifices generate if you do a full-on dash. (Yes, I do keep a 1/8 tsp. measure in my bar kit.)

                                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                                              The recipe you mentioned is the recipe I worked from as well.

                                                                              You're a better person than I am if you are measuring your bitters' "dashes".

                                                                              It is my new favorite cocktail, no doubt.

                                                                              1. re: thimes

                                                                                I'm measuring very carefully lately as I am working on creating cocktail menus, and new recipes. Dashers can be so different, especially from person to person. So I now have all bitters, floral waters, tinctures in dropper bottles, and also have measuring spoons down to 1/8 tsp. in the bars I'm working with. Some cocktail recipes need very accurate measurements, some don't.

                                                                              2. re: JMF

                                                                                Putting this on my docket for Friday!

                                                                              3. re: thimes

                                                                                I don't have Benedictine, is there anything that is a reasonable substitute?

                                                                                1. re: ncyankee101

                                                                                  You could sort of sneak by with Drambuie. But not much else is in the ballpark.

                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                    Excellent, something I have - thanks!

                                                                                2. re: thimes

                                                                                  You people are bad influences. One of my favorites, and this was just enough suggestion to make me break my dry streak.

                                                                                  1. re: thimes

                                                                                    I love the Vieux Carre. But I love the La Louisianne even more. Try it, you'll like it.

                                                                                    1. re: curseofleisure

                                                                                      That sounds good. I'll have to try it at work later.

                                                                                      Cocktail à la Louisiane

                                                                                      3/4 oz. rye whiskey
                                                                                      3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
                                                                                      3/4 oz. Bénédictine
                                                                                      3 dashes Herbsaint, pastis or other absinthe substitute
                                                                                      3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

                                                                                      Stir on ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

                                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                                        Sounds right up my alley.

                                                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                                                          Nice cocktail.

                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                            Wondering if you have been to Maison Premiere in Williamsburg? I was introduced to both these N.O. cocktails (Vieux Carre and A La Louisiane) there in the last couple of years and have fallen in love with them. Not that you can't ask for these at other bars, but MP is sort of an NO homage place.

                                                                                            1. re: Silverjay

                                                                                              I've been to MP a half dozen times, but not in the past 10-12 months. It's a major trip for me going to Brooklyn bars coming from Westchester. I like the place and know several of the bartenders, but it tends to get a bit crowded. Foods very good too, especially if you like raw oysters.

                                                                                    2. Gin and tonic, Yep that's the answer! Two very important points: First, it must be Bombay Gin. Second, fresh lime and lots of it! I was very excited to find diet tonic because the calories from tonic are crazy! Cheers and Enjoy!!

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: bigmamasnest

                                                                                        Well . . . one out of two ain't bad.

                                                                                        1. re: bigmamasnest

                                                                                          If you are interested in a truly great g&t and concerned about calories I highly recommend the many artisinal tonic concentrates available these days. They are very minimally sweetened which allows the true deliciousness of the drink ingredients to shine vs. bottled tonic, diet or otherwise, which tastes like sweetener and/or chemicals and not much else. The concentrates are intended to be mixed with soda water, and even if you desire to sweeten further with simple syrup you'd still be at way fewer calories than bottle stuff.

                                                                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                            +1.

                                                                                            Also Fever Tree tonic only has 40 calories per serving and is very good. you can also make your own tonic concentrate very easily.

                                                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                                                              Fever Tree Light has 40 cal. The normal one has 100 or something like that - similar to regular soda.

                                                                                              I prefer Q, as it has a slightly brighter flavor, but both are really nice IMO.

                                                                                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                Right about the fever Tree, the light version doesn't have any artificial sweeteners, IIRC.

                                                                                                I like Q, but it's about twice as expensive as fever tree.

                                                                                        2. Well, I went totally nuts on a Tuesday and had that Vieux Carre, made with George Dickel rye, Landy cognac and Dolin. It was good, but didn't turn my head nearly as much as the Moto Guzzi that is a new darling from last week.
                                                                                          That said, I am not versed enough with cognacs to know how I feel about Landy. I also think I would have liked the drink better overall if made with Carpano or...out on a limb, Punt e Mes.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                            You are NEVER out on a limb with Punt e Mes. ;)

                                                                                            --
                                                                                            www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                                          2. A Punt e groni, minus the vermouth, so equal parts gin and Punt e Mes. I'm not sure it needs the vermouth.

                                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                              Typo of some sort? Where's the Campari? I think to be in the Negroni family you need an amaro, a vermouth, and gin, no? I'd say that Gin and Punt e Mes is a Sweet Martini, which, some to think of it, sound damn good, especially with a dash of orange bitters and a lemon twist. Tonight...

                                                                                              --
                                                                                              www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                                              1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                I believe the Punt e Mes is supposed to be replacing the Campari here, although I do believe it is a vermouth. It might be a substitution based more on taste than type. However, I could easily be wrong.

                                                                                              2. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                Punt e Mes is vermouth, so removing it would make it a Gin and nothing more... But agreed with Dan, that sounds like a tasty drink.

                                                                                                My mind immediately went to a lemon twist as well... Maybe a small splash of Benedictine so it could be a gin Vieux Carre?

                                                                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                  It did lack a bit of complexity, so the idea of a dash or two of bitters is good. With a thin slice of lime, please, which is how I like my regular Negronis.

                                                                                                  I'm not at all on board with the martini variant statement. To me, a martini is a dry drink, which this most definitely was not.

                                                                                                  I think one of the things that totally works for me about Punt e Mes is that it's a perfect balance of sweet and bitter, thus my use of it in place of Campari and my declaration that (another) vermouth was unnecessary.

                                                                                                  1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                    Put Campari in that puppy, not another sweet vermouth. One of my favorites is a (maybe Perfect) Negroni with Punt e Mes. For a wonderful-if-weird experience, try it with Ransom Old Tom Gin.

                                                                                                    While I agree that a Martini stands alone as the one classic truly dry drink, it can certainly be made with sweet vermouth and historically was done so. The "dry" in Dry Martini originally referred to the vermouth choice, not the vermouth quantity as it does today.

                                                                                                    It is ironic that the more dry vermouth you add, the more tart -- and therefore more dry -- a Martini gets. A "bone dry" Martini should really be a glass of cold vermouth. ;) (In truth, I use the word "dry" to refer to the lack of sugar, rather than the presence of acid to balance the sugar, but that's kinda splitting hairs.)

                                                                                                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                      Ohhh I was thinking Old Tom! But really, between being weirded out by the red dye aspect of Campari and finding it on the sweet side for my palate anyway, especially with the additional sweetness from vermouth, leaving it out completely suits. I will do a side by side of this and a standard Negroni next time.

                                                                                                      1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                        Campari is an ingredient that you need to think carefully about the amount you use. In small amounts it can add amazing complexity. In larger amounts it takes over.

                                                                                                        I was at an amazing Campari hosted party two nights ago in NYC as part of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic which has been going on since Saturday. The cocktails were among some of the most complex, and most incredibly good ones I have had, and that's saying a heck of a lot since I have been very involved professionally with the cocktail industry the past 6-7 years. Both all over the US, and abroad. There were a few that were too sweet for me, but that happens a lot since I don't like my drinks as sweet as most people.

                                                                                                        1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                          Why are you weirded out about the red dye? Dye is used in practically every food and beverage. Colorings can be natural or artificial, and the natural ones can be the weirder ones. Like the original, natural, red dye in Campari, cochineal which is ground up bugs.

                                                                                                          1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                            Back in the 1970s, the FDA banned Red Dye No. 2 as a food additive due to concerns about it being a possible carcinogen. The Feds recommended using Red Dye No. 40 in its place . . .

                                                                                                            HOWEVER . . .

                                                                                                            The Canadian equivalent to the US FDA had (+/- 6 months) banned Red Dye No. 40 as a food additive due to concerns about it being a possible carcinogen, and recommended using Red Dye No. 2 in its place . . .

                                                                                                            See http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/1770...

                                                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                              This.

                                                                                                              A quick survey reveals the one item in my pantry containing artificial dye is a few flavors of the Monin soda syrups I keep around for kid guests. In the liquor cabinet, it's Campari, Peychaud's bitters and presumably the blue curaco although that is not labeled.
                                                                                                              The most processed thing I consume, ever, beyond organic corn chips, salsa and bacon is probably booze, wine or beer. I cook (or grow, freeze, can) everything from scratch. Other than the Negroni, artificial dye isn't in much of anything I consume. I'd prefer the bugs, personally. I would also LOVE to do a side by side tasting of the bug and chemical dye Camparis.

                                                                                                              1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                                So . . . if someone is against any and all artificial dyes, that's fine. But then why do you keep it "around for kid guests"? ;^)

                                                                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                  I had not actually surveyed my collection prior to just then, but honestly, now that I am aware, it IS likely to affect the flavors I buy when I re-up. (But dang I really like the green apple, and the Lavender is a great alt. to creme de violette for Aviations)

                                                                                                                  As far as kid guests, if they get it at home, they can have it here. I also (with a fair amount of guilt) give kids Crystal Light even though I don't do artificial sweetener, because I know they get it at home anyway. Cow's milk as a beverage, same.

                                                                                                                  I did not say I am against or avoiding all dyes, just that blatant unnecessary ingestion of dyed stuff when there is an alternative isn't really my thing. Probably not going to give up Campari any time soon :)

                                                                                                      2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                                                                        I'm think I'm going to try perfect with 50/50 Dolin dry (because that's what I happen to have right now). It's going to be hot and humid today... :)

                                                                                                        I'm pretty sure that splatgirl knows that Punt e Mes is a sweet vermouth that happens to be particularly bitter -- hence my confusion. I guess you *could* argue that it's both an amaro and a sweet vermouth in one. <visualize DoubleMint commerical from youth here>

                                                                                                        --
                                                                                                        www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Comunity

                                                                                                        1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                                                          " I guess you *could* argue that it's both an amaro and a sweet vermouth in one. "

                                                                                                          Precisely.

                                                                                                    2. A blend of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof 127.9 and a non chill filtered EC 50/50

                                                                                                      1. Cocktail with homemade ginger liqueur (w/ vanilla bean and orange zest), bourbon, and meyer lemon juice. The Canton site calls it a Gold Rush, but I see that defined elsewhere as a different bourbon cocktail (bourbon, honey, lemon). Does anyone know a traditional name for bourbon (or whiskey), ginger, lemon? Regardless, it's been my favorite from winter on into Northern California's ridiculously hot spring.

                                                                                                        1. White Russian with soy creamer. I'm lactose challenged and don't want to take a pill. :)

                                                                                                          1. Not now, but last night. Some Havana Club 7 Anejo that came from Cozumel last week. Nothing like it

                                                                                                            1. The past few days the most unique thing I've has was vintage cocktails. These are cocktails made with vintage ingredients. I had a Manhattan and Negroni where all the ingredients were from unopened bottles from the 1950's to 1970's. They were wonderfully complex and with some very pleasant oxidation in the vermouths and more complexity to the Campari. These were at a special table at the Industry part of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Saturday through Monday. The gent manning the table specializes in finding these rare, unopened gems from the past and selling them for special events and aficionados.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                OMD, what a supreme treat. Like a 70's twinkie. As someone who is a million percent certain that mega scaling and cheapification have changed most comestibles for the worse, this would be my dream cocktail experience.

                                                                                                                1. re: splatgirl

                                                                                                                  To be honest, many spirits are better made today, than at any other time in history. The rum, single malt, bourbon and rye whiskey today are a case in point. Cognac made today is excellent, but it was years ago as well. Some liqueurs, vermouth, and amaro were better years ago, because recipes have been changed.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                    Yes, as I would have guessed. Technology and standardization of processes (spirits) vs. cheaper, easier ingredients (liqueurs).

                                                                                                              2. It is a nice late-Spring night here in North Central Iowa. I am having a gin buck made with Boodle's London Dry Gin, Gosling's Ginger Beer, and fresh lemon juice over ice. Lovely warm weather drink IMHO.

                                                                                                                1. Working through my collection of "gifted wine". Tonight is a '09 Central Coast Cupcake Merlot. Pretty much light bodied, one note, fruit forward, short finish. Paired with a grilled leg of lamb, mint chimichurri, grill finished potato wedges with smoked paprika, and grilled asparagus.

                                                                                                                  1. Some Aristocrat Rum mixed with Diet Coke and some shots of Fireball Whisky. I try to keep it classy for a Friday night. :P

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                                                                      I am absolutely confident that you are a lovely, classy lady, Sara. And, that being said, I assure you I am the kinda guy who has been respectful enough to try to commit to memory every tramp stamp he's ever viewed.

                                                                                                                      Nevertheless, in my experience, I have learned, there are only three ways out of a night with a girl who wants to drink like that. The first, involves nothing more than enough tequila to blackout. The second, involves her calling her "really cute" best friend, some cocaine, and enough tequila to blackout hours later. The third, involves a scream-filled trip to the emergency room and enough tequila to blackout for a second time. I should note, however, that none of the above scenarios insulates oneself from threatened paternity tests, stitches, or the inability to someday be able to properly match up the aforementioned tramp stamps with to right lady.

                                                                                                                      Anyway, let us know where you'll be later???

                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                        Bahaha! Funny you should mention "tramp stamps." I know it's hard to imagine, but I swear when I was in high school, lower back tattoos, or "tramp stamps" as they're so affectionately referred to as now, did not carry the negative connotation they now carry and were the "hip" place for a young girl who didn't know much about tattoos to get a tattoo. I pondered it and it was a toss up between there and my lower stomach next to my hip bone. The lower stomach won out and I cannot tell you how glad I am today that it did!

                                                                                                                        I drink far too much to bother with expensive drinks on an everyday basis, and most of my drinking is done at my local bars where they literally have the aristocrat and diet poured as I'm walking in the door. All my friends go to the same places and I always have a good time. Perhaps you get used to the cheap shit because I can honestly say I never wake up with a hang over! :)

                                                                                                                        As a true Chowhound, I know good drinks and I can appreciate them. But I save those for when I'm at "good places." I'll be staying in DC for work all of next week and I'm sure I'll take in my fair share.

                                                                                                                        And one last thing, I do not like tequila!

                                                                                                                        1. re: SaraAshley

                                                                                                                          Seems you're the perfect lady indeed. Drink cheap, good sense of humor, and can be trusted not to empty the tequila behind a man's back.

                                                                                                                          Hat's off!

                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                            Well thank you!

                                                                                                                    2. Tequila Ocho...El Puertecito (NOM 1474)...2011

                                                                                                                      El Puertecito is the field from which the agave for this bottle was harvested. Tequila Ocho is doing the single estate, vintage, thing but with agave. 2011 was El Puertecitos turn for harvesting. I like it :-)

                                                                                                                      1. Black and White. scotch and water. Torrontes wine with chicken wings and corn.

                                                                                                                        1. I;m enjoying a sidecar right now. This is the inevitable consequence of finding oneself face to face with an insolent lemon.

                                                                                                                          1. Aviation made with Creme Yvette, it has more magenta hue but is still kick ass.

                                                                                                                            1. Last night I opened one of those new small bottles of Carpano and had a very tasty Manhattan (or two). Delicious, but there was this tiny shadow of a doubt somewhere in my otherwise blissful reception of the libation that maybe I wasn't still blown away with Carpano for a Manhattan. Tonight I mixed up a Boulevardier with the Carpano (and Rittenhouse) and it was stunning. Silky smooth, like a red velvet cupcake dipped in rich liqueur. Carpano, I'm sorry I doubted you.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: tomjb27

                                                                                                                                Carpano doesn't play well with everything. I find it has too much vanilla for a Manhattan. But does work well in other things.

                                                                                                                              2. The Last Word.

                                                                                                                                Now officially my favorite gin cocktail. A bit expensive to make because of the Chartreuse, but it's worth it.

                                                                                                                                1. This:
                                                                                                                                  http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...
                                                                                                                                  I'm making it on the less-sweet side, and there is something delightfully mulled-winey about it.

                                                                                                                                  1. Enjoying a good dollop of Four Roses Small Batch on one rock. I tend to always go cocktail, so it's a nice change of pace to just enjoy a fine spirit revealing itself (first time I've had this actually) on it's own.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: tomjb27

                                                                                                                                      That's some tasty juice. I've been a fan ever since they came back into the US market.