Ramos Gin Fizz

September 12th, 2011

With a little bit more time on my hands, I’ve decided to get back into mixing shape. When I mixed a drink for friends recently, I’ve felt slow. Stuff I used to love to make just doesn’t come out right. For some things this was not surprising. For whatever reason, I find that my timing on a martini gets off if I haven’t done one recently. I got through the same motions, but if they aren’t practiced, the drink just doesn’t taste quite right.

So of course in jumping back in I picked a drink that always used to haunt me: the Ramos Gin Fizz.

It’s a pain in the ass, and I’ve never ordered it in a bar because it takes so much of the bartender’s time. The mojito takes a while, and I’ll only order if it things are slow. I don’t want the bartender having to rush and potentially mess up the drink, and I sure as hell don’t want him frustrated with me for rushing him. The Ramos Gin Fizz takes, I don’t know… four times as long?

Many have mixed it before me, and they probably did better. It’s always been a drink that haunts me. I either get separation or tiny little balls of curdled milk-fat in it, depending on whether I shake it little or too much. I think I got it right once, and fortunately my wife was there to taste it too.

Ramos Gin Fizz

• 2 oz. Gin
• 1 oz. cream
• 1/2 oz. lime juice
• 1/2 oz. lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1 egg white
• Tiny dash of orange flower water

Toss all that together and shake without ice until your arms start to feel tired. Then add ice and shake again until your arms are tired. Pour into glass and add soda to top. You’ll know it worked if you taste it and don’t think how much cream you put in, but instead get a light airy taste of citrus and flower. In my experience if you let it sit for a while it can still separate, so drink up. I won’t go into the disasters that can happen here, but let’s just say you won’t like it if it goes wrong.

Because there are almost no three ingredient combos left, I suspect that this drink already has a name. Much like the last one I posted here, it’s just too easy to make, and Punt e Mes was part of a little mixing fad a year or two ago.

Unnamed or Bitter European Guy Cocktail
Again, someone has to have already named this.

1.5 oz gin
.5 oz Punt e Mes
.5 oz Creme de Cassis
4 solid dashes of grapefruit bitters

I have not yet determined if the bitters are of any real value. I was so surprised that it worked, I just mixed another and didn’t question their inclusion. I shall have to report back when I’ve had a chance to refine it.

It has a deep rich taste, and there isn’t so much of the Cassis that it’s too sweet. Almost a leathery character to the taste, or maybe unlit cigar would be a good comparison. The basic idea was to use two ingredients that I normally think overpower everything, and let them duke it out for supremacy. It benefits from gins with sharp enough flavor profiles to do a little cutting for you. Think Tangueray and it’s cousins in the gin world.

Messing around with the home bar this past Saturday, I stumbled upon something tasty. No doubt someone has gotten there first, it’s too simple in this day and age. These days it feels like you have to infuse bourbon with something wacky just to get a sniff of originality, but never the less, I present what I’m sure someone else has already presented.

No Name (English Rose would be good if it weren’t taken)
2 oz. Gin
1 oz. Lemon Juice
.5 oz Apricot Brandy
.5 oz Ruby Porto

Standard prep, put in a mixer and shake with ice.

It’s maybe a little sweet for my tastes, but it is very pretty.

Also on the subject of drinks. Someone needs to fat wash vodka with schmaltz. Would it be tasty? Somehow I doubt it. Would it be funny? Yes. Serve chilled and neat with a nervous twist.

Cocktails of the Decade?

December 31st, 2009

Okay, so the author of this New York Times article on cocktails of the last decade is not so full of hubris as to claim that they are listing the top cocktails of the past decade. The article does point out some interesting developments in cocktails, which have made quite the comeback, at least in some parts of the country. Granted, I started the decade unable to legally drink, but my perception at the time was that people were heavily oriented toward vodka in fruit juices for their libations. Now I’ll grant that I was wandering through the world of college at the time, where people have a tendency to go for the cheap/disgusting/potent triple play. A lot of people in that age group are sadly drinking to get drunk. Still, getting out of college and into the Twin Cities, there did not seem to be a lot of bars where tasty for its own sake, but not too sugary, was part of the drinking culture. Now I hear that there are a bevy of new beers becoming available there, to combine with Bells (the region’s standard setter for beer as far as I’m concerned) making the scene there much more delicious. Perhaps there are even a few bars serving better cocktails. I didn’t get out to the bars much in my later time in Minneapolis, but as I was getting ready to move, there were a few that I bumped into that seemed to be edging toward the idea of better cocktails making happier drinkers.

Is the list in the article a little heavy on New York bars? Yeah, but it’s the New York Times. I’ve got a little bias for west coast bartenders, but that may just be tinting my glasses against this article, which really only mentions west coast drinking once. Those recipes they list on the sidebar of the article remain delicious, no matter what my bias is.

In the Times

January 13th, 2009

Sometimes blogs can create an odd feeling of interaction. I friend of mine noted the other day that he sometimes forgets that he isn’t friends with a couple of the bloggers that he’s been reading for years. He sees their work so often that they have simply integrated on some level into his life. I was a little unsure of his comment at first, but then yesterday I saw that Paul Clark is posting on the New York Times website. It was a feature article, and though I have never met Mr. Clark in person, I have read his site for some time, and couldn’t help having a moment where I felt like someone I knew had really made it. Congratulations Mr. Clark, who I still have never met, and probably won’t. It’s an odd feeling.

The posting, about arguments over the Old Fashioned, was good as well, hitting several key points about drink geekdom, without getting too fussy.

Holiday Drinking

December 29th, 2008

There is the temptation to say that the best holiday drinking is simply pouring a glass of cognac, but this paints too simple a picture. There are as many schools of thought on what to drink for the holidays as there are drink blogs, and believe me, there are a lot of drink blogs.

I’ve been staying away from drink blogging for a bit, because I felt that there are so many blogs, what did I have to offer, but I’ve been feeling festive, and thought I’d get back into the game a bit. I also intend to lay down a few bitters, based on the recipes that my friend, posting under the name causabon back on icelandspar, came up with. It is almost embarrassing how excited I am by them.

First up today though, we have Ted Haigh talking on NPR which I got thanks to A Dash of Bitters. In the segment, he gives the recipe for a drink that is going to make me restock my Benedictine.

Alcademics noted the recent NY Times piece on San Francisco bars in about the same pitch I had intended to. You can always count on the Times for a little condescension about the existence of culture anywhere but New York. It’s worth noting that Alcademics is one of the sites who’s writing renders most of mine superfluous.

And over at Mixoloseum, cocktail nerd has tried various egg nog recipes and mixes so that you don’t have to. It really is better than you think, when you don’t just dump rum into the store bought goop.

Having just bought a micro plane grater as a little Hanukkah gift to mysel, (as well as a second menorah, why do I need a second menorah?) I plan to mix up something out of Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to that feels suitably old.

Over at the Times, there is interesting article about bartending styles. It kept me diverted for a bit last night, as I tried to figure out which one I liked best.

The article was pointed out by Paul Clark of Cocktail Chronicles, along with a host of others. I don’t want to recap his post and steal his thunder, so I’ll just say check it out, there’s good stuff in it.

And back to contracts…

Linking the Normandy

November 29th, 2008

Outlining is a skill I had not anticipated needing as much as I do in law school. The most interesting/disheartening thing about it, is that I have found a point, where the outline is between 30-50% done where I just don’t want to look at it. It is like staring at the sun. I work at it for a bit, and have to step away, then after a while, it becomes more natural, and I can deal with it.

This distraction leads to more posts. I’d like to think they will last…but I’m not going to kid myself.

As I have a few tabs open, I thought I’d close one.

A while back Mark Bittman of the NY Times posted a video about mixing drinks. The gist of the video was that anyone can do it at home (good) and that a margarita was basically anything you damn well wanted to call a margarita (bad). I felt for every bartender who might now have customers arguing that the proper way to make a drink was the way they made up at home. I wrote to Mr. Bittman, and was perhaps a little indelicate, rude even. There was no swearing of course, but I was quite exasperated and it came across in my letter. He was quite kind about returning my email, which left me duly chastened, but still convinced of the rightness of my point.

So I want to point out this cocktail making video for a drink called the Normandy. It looks like a good solid drink, it’s done in the simple minimalist fashion that I think would be Bittman approved, and it isn’t going to make a bartender curse you under their breath. It also has a couple of nice tricks that you can pick up from it.

The Distant Cocktails

November 29th, 2008

Normally, I find cocktail menu postings frustrating. From time to time, one of the cocktail bloggers I read will post the specialty cocktail menu at some great bar, and I sit there gnashing my teeth because I’m not in that city, and probably wouldn’t be able to get there any time soon. On top of that, I am taking out loans for school, and so I wouldn’t really be able to spend the eight to twelve dollars plus tip if I was there. (For some reason this ruins the fantasy more than not being in the same city.)

There are exceptions, it is true. A while back Jamie Boudreau posted a cocktail list for his new digs. I was actually able to make his “La Bicyclette” and it was quite tasty. Also Seattle is close enough to Portland that I could think about going there. Much of the rest of the menu involved things like chamomile-infused scotch, which I’m just going to have to hope I can get to the bar for, because the applications do not justify me making a batch of that.

Wednesday was the second time I’ve not been totally frustrated. Check out this cocktail menu from DOSA on Fillmore in San Francisco. Much farther away, but for some reason totally inspiring instead of dispiriting. I don’t think I have the ingredients to make a damn thing on that, but makes me want to play around with recipes again, which I have been hesitant to do since quitting my job and taking out loans. Interesting liquors also cost a bunch more in Portland. But when finals is over, it may be time to try out a few ideas again.

The PEZ Cocktail

July 25th, 2008

So, I am moving to Portland soon, and this entails shipping a large number of bottles across country, some of which I don’t really think I’ll ever buy again. One of those? Mathilde Pear Liqueur, which I got for the pear cocktails competition a while back, and didn’t use much of since. It’s pretty damned sweet, and I spent much of the time mixing with it wishing I had something that I could use in larger quantities without things getting thick and syrupy. So now I have just a little bit of it left, and thought I’d try playing with it, so I didn’t have to take it with me.

I came up with a cocktail that tastes like PEZ candy. Drink at your own risk. Personally I hate PEZ and have always figured that only the little dispensers keep them in business. Ah well, such is life.

The PEZ Cocktail

1 1/2 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Mathilde Pear Liqueur
1/2 oz. Benedictine
2 dashes of Fees Orange Bitters

Stir over ice and strain into cocktail glass, repent.

Can’t say as I really recommend it, unless you like orange PEZ more than I do.

The Appletini is Dead

July 25th, 2008

The Appletini is dead. They held a funeral and everything. This is not some sort of king is dead long live king formulation. That green syrup in a glass? It’s six feet under.

Portland, Dosh, Demerara

June 9th, 2008

Tomorrow I head to Portland, hopefully to find an apartment, and a place that sells Lemon Hart demerara rum. While there, I’m going to get to see Dosh and Anathallo at the Doug Fir Lounge. Dosh is on tour with Michael Lewis and from what my brother tells me, they’ve been turning in some awesome sets. Until Dosh, I had only really seen Lewis working with Happy Apple. Indeed, it had been long enough since I had seen Happy Apple that I had forgotten how amazing the man was. Watch him stretch his multi-instrumental chops:

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3CGWOw9LHI”]

Now, check them out if you get the chance.

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