Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Vesper

"I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made." - James Bond, from Casino Royale, 1953 by Ian Fleming.

The Dry Martini has become closely associated as the signature drink of James Bond since it's first appearance in the spy novels. In 'Casino Royale,' Bond describes it as his own creation, saying he will name it once he thinks of a good name, which, of course, ended up being that of his romantic interest, "Vesper Lynd."

The Recipe:

While chilling a martini glass with ice

- "Dirty" some ice with dry vermouth, (fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour some vermouth into it. Shake the vermouth and ice and pour out the vermouth.)

- Add a 6 count of Bombay Sapphire Gin
- Add a 2 count of Ketel One Vodka

- Shake well. ("Shaken, not stirred.")

- Strain into the now chilled martini glass.

- Garnish with a thin twist of lemon peel, (NEVER olives!)

That napkin was obviously Photoshopped in to make us look more sophisticated...

Bartender's notes: The original recipe was invented by Ian Fleming and the bartender of Dukes hotel in London. It called for 3oz Gordan's Gin 1oz of Vodka and .5oz Lillet Kina.

When Ian Fleming was writing his James Bond stories, the best available gin was Gordon's. The use of Gordon's in the recipe instead of Beefeater's must have sent a shock wave through the martini drinking world. Beefeater's at those times was the recommended gin for martini's as it was considered the driest gin available. Just as Ian Fleming had the audacity to upgrade the gin in his recipe, we also boldly follow in his footsteps by disregarding tradition and substituting Bombay Sapphire the best available juniper gin of our time.

Lillet Kina is no longer made and has been replaced by Lillet Blanc (with a completely different flavor.) Rather then using Lillet Blanc, (which of course would not have ever been used to make a vesper,) and taking into consideration the martini-drinking world's rather recent preference for using less and less vermouth, we have chosen to merely "dirty" our ice.
Our Vesper is clean, strong, sharp, and without fuss, Just like Mr. Bond himself. I have seen recipes that add garlic infused olive oil, (I find this somewhat disturbing,) a pinch of Cinchona bark, or even worse, "float two or three rose petals on top!"
I cannot visualize James Bond ordering such things... unless there has been a Casino Royale made without my knowledge starring Quentin Crisp as Mr. Bond.

Chris's notes: Considering this is essentially straight booze, (gin and vodka,) this is a very smooth drink. And not just smooth, "007 Smooth."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chivas Sour

The following recipe is starts with a traditional 'Whiskey Sour' but gets the 'Joe the Bartender' tweak of improvement easily bringing it to join the Greatest Drink in the World... This Week.

The Recipe:

Into a tumbler full of ice, add

- The juice of 1/2 of a large lemon,
- A teaspoon of 'simple syrup',
- A 4 count of Chivas Regal,
- A tablespoon of fresh egg white

- Shake vigorously.

No! Shake more vigorously than that!

- Pour into a brandy balloon, (shown,) or a highball glass over FRESH ice.

- Float a 2 count of Cointreau on top

- Garnish with a cherry and/or a wedge of lemon.

Recipe by Joe the Bartender, Passage To India Restaurant, Salem, MA

Bartender's notes: Joe explained how he fails to see the logic behind using ready-made 'sour mixes' when fresh ingredients like fresh lemon and sugar are so easily attainable. Why add all those preservatives when simplicity improves the flavors.

Further comments from the bar: Egg whites were traditional in sour mix drinks before the panic of salmonella, botulism, H1N1, et cetera, became the norm. "If you live in fear, omit the egg white!"

Chris' notes: I dig the whole retro approach to this baby. The fresh ingredients are immediately apparent, and make me feel good about a 'healthier approach' to cocktails. And that fine balance between the sour and the whiskey flavors is so stinkin' good! There is no egg taste, for those who feel there might be, but the egg white, (and the vigorous shaking of it,) does provide a bit more 'body' to the drink, giving it a nice, fuller consistency. Well worth that extra step.

Here's mud in yer eye! - Chris

Thursday, November 5, 2009

MY Mai Tai

Hey! This is my debut as "Guest Mixologist" on this blog, (I'm so excited!)

I hope you dig my own entry into The Greatest Drink in the World... This Week!

~ C:

One of my favorite mixed drinks of all time is the Mai Tai. There are many recipes for this “Elixir of the Gods,” and they vary from place to place, (and I have done a fairly extensive search looking for my faves, by the way!) But I decided to do a little "work," and create my own recipe. It took me most of the summer to finally get the perfect balance of the flavors I liked, but I am very happy with it, (and I am drinking one as I write this!)

My Mai Tai Recipe

The hooch:

1 ounce Bacardi White Rum

1 ounce Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Mango Rum

1 ounce Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Coconut Rum

1 ounce Triple Sec

1 ounce Amaretto

A splash of Myers Dark Rum

The Juices:

1 ounce Rose's Lime Juice

A dash of Rose's Grenadine

5 ounces of Pineapple juice

The Mix:

-Mix the white rum, the mango rum, the coconut rum, the triple sec and the Amaretto together with the lime juice and pour into a 16-ounce pint glass full of ice.

-Add the pineapple juice and stir.

-Pour a dash of grenadine so that it settles down the bottom.

-Float a splash of Myer's Dark Rum across the top.

-Garnish with a chunk of pineapple, a maraschino cherry, and or a slice of lime, and of course, a paper umbrella.

The straw hits the grenadine first giving a burst of sweet with just a pinch of rum taste. This changes soon and all of those flavors beat the sweet bejesus out of your taste buds. And just when the drink is almost dry, and the ice has melted a bit, the Myer’s Dark jumps in for a last minute “Pop!” MMMmmm, good!

Recipe by: ME! Chris Toler, Blog Author & resident souse!

Chris's notes: It is by no means a traditional mix, (the original had no pineapple juice!) but one straight outta my own melon. And it does what it sets out to do, too; give a great, all-over summery feeling in a Polynesian way!

And it tastes like pure, tropical sunshine in a glass!

Okole maluna!

- Chris