Apr
20
2012

An Enthusiasts guide to cocktails: Negroni

—Christian

I’ve had a love affair with the Negroni for a few months now. Hailing from Italy, this is the seminal drink involving Campari. The more popular legend has it that one day in 1919 Count Camillo Negroni, living and drinking in Florence, asked his bartender, Fosco Scarcelli, to give his usual Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth and soda water) a little extra kick. Fosco obligingly substituted gin for the soda, and an eternal classic was born. The less popular legend is that the French general Pascal Olivier Count de Negroni invented the drink “to aid digestion.”
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Jan
06
2012

An Enthusiast’s guide to cocktails: the Sazerac

–Christian

Sazerac Bar—Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans

The Sazerac is one of the oldest cocktails still commonly consumed today. Invented around 1830 in New Orleans (where all the classics seem to have come from) by a Creole apothecary from the West Indies named Antoine Amadie Peychaud, the drink’s original recipe called for cognac, bitters, sugar and a dash of water. Incidentally, this concoction was pretty much the only cocktail recipe back in those days—something now referred to as the Old Fashioned.

Antoine’s particular approach and proprietary bitters were so popular that bars (or “Exchanges”) all over NOLA started serving it. Legend has it that a man named Sewell Taylor, owner of Merchants Exchange Coffeehouse, was serving the drink at his bar when he became the sole importer of Sazerac-du-Forge et fils Cognac. Shortly thereafter Aaron Bird took over the Merchant’s Exchange from Taylor, who had gone full-time into importing, and changed the name to Sazerac House after the liquor in their signature drink. And the first branded cocktail was born.
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Dec
03
2011

Holiday Cocktails: Bourbon milk punch

–Christian

We’re heading over to a friend’s holiday house warming party tonight. Our contribution is going to be an old holiday favorite, bourbon milk punch. Lighter than eggnog, but still well-spiced and comforting on a cold night, bourbon milk is easy to prepare and makes a nice additional to any holiday spread.

You can mix to order, but more than likely you’re not looking to shake drinks all night. Which is where this great large-batch recipe from the New York Times comes in handy.

The ingredients

The Times recipe calls for the following to make eight servings:

12pts confectioner’s sugar (dissolves easier)
64pts whole milk (half gallon)
12pts bourbon
.5pt vanilla extract
Fresh grated nutmeg

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Aug
12
2011

How to make the Summer Tremble

Our first happy hour event was a great success. After setting up at HANGR 16, I mixed drinks like crazy for almost three hours.
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May
05
2011

An Enthusiast’s guide to cocktails: the Margarita

—Christian

While there is much debate about the exact history of the drink, the lore that surrounds the Margarita is rich and interesting. Initially tequila was not used in cocktails. Rather, it was served straight in a shot glass with a side of lime and salt (sound familiar?). Starting in the mid ‘30s, examples of mixed drinks that include distilled agave began to pop up. In fact, the 1937 Café Royal Cocktail Book includes not one, but 15 different tequila concoctions. One of which is called the Picador, which calls for 2pts tequila, 1pt citrus, 1pt Cointreau (note the absence of salt). Also, around the same time there was a well-known cocktail called the Tequila Daisy that combined tequila, citrus and grenadine. Incidentally, the Spanish word for “daisy” is margarita. Coincidence? I think not.

So clearly this combination was not completely original in the late ‘30s—early ‘40s when it was purportedly “invented” in the Americas.
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