I’ve been quiet, but I haven’t been a complete slug. The holidays were mainly a fall-back period, in which we enjoyed our favorite cocktails and didn’t try a lot of new drinks. I sampled a few new whisk(e)ys–bourbons, scotches, and ryes–during the holidays, and I’ve come up with a fun way to evaluate a new whiskey: in addition to drinking it straight, I mix it up into an Old Fashioned.
(As an aside, Drinkboy Robert Hess, to whom I’ve just linked, is no relation to my wife, Jennifer Hess, despite the fact that Jen’s dad and Drinkboy are both named Robert Hess. I tease her sometimes about this. Whenever Drinkboy has a new article or blog post, I say to Jen, “Hey, guess what ‘your dad’ just said!” I am a frivolous man.)
Back to the Old Fashioned, I’ve fallen in complete love with the technique demonstrated on the video blog Brilliant Cocktails. All that stirring with the ice really blends the flavors and chills the drink. I’m sure this is the way I should have been mixing my Old Fashioneds all along, but I’m dumb and never knew it. The extra work and time really pay off.
On our last trip to LeNell’s, I picked up a bottle of Fee’s Lemon Bitters. I’ve used this in a lot of drinks since picking it up. I’d recommend it anywhere you’d use orange bitters, or anywhere you’d like a bit of lemon flavor. The brothers Fee use lemongrass and lemon oils to make a piquant and spicy bitters. I think I’m especially surprised by the depth of flavor here because Fee’s Orange, compared to the Regan’s, is a little flat.
Finally, I’m sure everyone who reads this blog also reads Darcy’s The Art of Drink and Paul’s Cocktail Chronicles. If you don’t, you should. I mean no false modesty to say they’re better bloggers than I am. They have more experience and knowledge than I do, and they post more often.
But anyway, go check out Darcy’s recent series about the science of spirits tastings. It’s fascinating stuff, and with Darcy’s chemistry background, he’s the perfect person to parse the science literature so we don’t have to. Darcy’s the Harold McGee of drink!
And Paul’s in the middle of an excellent series on rye tastings (I’d link to all of his posts, but I don’t think he’s done yet), in conjunction with his article in the latest Imbibe magazine. I guess if Paul had slept with Sinatra and Presley, he could be the Gael Greene of drink. Or something. Anyway, his rye series is great. Go read, goddammit.
P.S. MxMo is pending this Monday. Have you sorted out your winter warmers yet? I know what I’m doing, and although it’s hardly unique or original, I think I’ll have fun with it.
P.P.S. Oh, I bought a bottle of Fernet Branca. Still puzzling this stuff over. Not sure yet what to make of it–or with it, for that matter. I’m open to suggestion.