Interview with Troy Sidle of Pouring Ribbons and Alchemy Consulting

Photograph by Jakob Layman

In today’s interview we sit down with Troy Sidle of Pouring Ribbons which recently opened in NYC. In just a short time it has become one of my favorite bars in NYC due to its welcoming atmosphere coupled with exceptional … Continue reading

7 Daiquiri’s in 7 Days: the Look Normal & Freshman Daiquiri


This drink is an original creation of Matt “Rumdood” Robold a bartender at 320Main and creator of the Rumdood.com blog. When it comes to rum, his blog is my go to source for answers and from the limited interaction I’ve had with him on the web he seems like a really down to earth guy.
Look Normal
2 oz White Rum
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Orgeat
2 tsp Absinthe
1 tsp Maraschino
1 tsp Simple Syrup
Shake with ice, strain into an Old Fashioned glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a cherry and an orange twist.
Notes:
Despite the small amounts of Maraschino and Absinthe they both make their presence known and add extra complexity while the orgeat adds a smooth and rich goodness. You will notice that the directions for making the drink are slightly different then the ones that Rumdood wrote about on his blog. He says to shake with both cubed and crushed ice. After speaking with him he stated that it was something that he picked up after reading a book by Wayne Curtis. It was a pain to do and it didn’t really add anything different to the drink. For this reason I shook mine with cubed ice and strained over crushed ice.

After mixing up the Look Normal I went searching for another daiquiri variation that contained orgeat because I love the silky richness that it adds to a drink. I came across the Freshman Daiquiri which incorporated both falernum and orgeat, created by Theo Lieberman of Lantern’s Keep and Milk and Honey in NYC. How could it go wrong?
Freshman Daiquiri
4 oz. White Rum (10 cane)
1.5 oz. Lime Juice
.75 oz. Orgeat
.75 oz. Velvet Falernum
2 fresh orange wedges
Combine all ingredients, shake with ice, strain into two chilled glasses and garnish with a lime wheel
Notes:
The orgeat smooths out the drink with the falernum adding its trademark spice. The orange wedge adds hints of orange flavor in the background and a touch of bitterness in the finish.

Tomorrow is the last day for the series, 7 Daiquiris in 7 Days. The last cocktail is the Airmail.
If you missed yesterdays post: Royal Daiquiri

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Celebrate the Unofficial End of Summer with a Cobra’s Fang

With today being the unofficial end of summer it’s time to whip up something refreshing and strong, the Cobra’s Fang.

The Cobras Fang is an original Don the Beachcomber’s invention.  The exact recipe for the drink remains unclear. My personal favorite is a version created Brian Miller of Lani Kai.

Cobra’s Fang
1.5 oz 151 Demerara Rum (Lemon Hart)
.5 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Orange Juice
.5 oz Passionfruit Syrup
.25 oz Cinnamon Syrup
.25 Falernum
1 dash of Angostura
1/8 tsp of Absinthe
Shake and strain over crushed ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick. 

Notes:
The citrus helps to keep the drink light and fresh with the passionfruit adding the exotic sweetness with a hint of sweet spiciness from the cinnamon. The rum makes its presence known throughout the drink with
the Angostura and Absinthe helping to tie all the flavors together. I also enjoy adding about .75 oz of Dark Jamaican Rum when I want an even boozier drink.  This is the type of drink that helps to keep fall/winter at bay.

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Lucid Absinthe Review and the Absinthe Suissesse

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Absinthe continues to be a mystifying spirit, partly because of its scandalous history and the controversy surrounding its supposedly hallucinogenic properties.

Allegedly it was created as a medicinal elixir in the early 1790’s by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire. It gained popularity after it was given to French troops to combat malaria. When they returned they brought it back to cafes, bars, and other establishments and its popularity exploded.

Driven by the prohibition and temperance movement, absinthe was demonized and associated with violent crime, ultimately leading to its ban in 1912 by the US Dept. of Agriculture. After 95 years, the ban was ultimately lifted, and the genuine absinthe was once again reauthorized for sale in the United States. Lucid became the first genuine absinthe made with real Grande Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).

Lucid was developed in France by absinthe historian and distiller T.A. Breaux. It is distilled in the historic Combier Distellery in Saumur, in France’s Loire Valley.

For the taste test I sampled it as it is traditionally prepared.

The aroma is powerful and enticing, with aromas of anise, indeterminate spices, a hint of mint and other herbs filling the air around the glass.

The taste is more subdued than the aroma would lead you to believe. The flavors of anise and fennel are the first to engulf your mouth. This is followed by notes of various herbs which are impossible to discern as they blend together in one herby and earthy flavor.

Lucid is available in 750 mL for $59.99 and 375 mL for $34.99.

I now offer some additional ways to enjoy absinthe besides the traditional method.

First up is the Asbinthe Frappe which is an easy method used to turn the classic drip method into a refreshing iced drink.
Absinthe Frappe
1.5 ozs Absinthe (Lucid)
.5 oz simple syrup
1.5 ozs club soda
1cup crushed ice
Build first 2 ingredients over crushed ice and top with club soda. Give a quick stir to incorporate.
Notes:
This drink slowly changes over time as the ice melts adding more dilution to the drink. It starts off strong and cold before mellowing into a sweet and bubbly drink, perfect for those warm nights.

This drink has similar components to both the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Absinthe Frappè
Absinthe Suissesse
1.5 ozs Absinthe (Lucid)
.5 oz Orgeat Syrup
1 egg white or 1 oz of Pasteurized Egg Whites
1 dash or about 4-6 drops Orange Flower Water
2 ozs Half and Half
.5 cup crushed ice
Shake and strain with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a highball glass.
Notes:
The egg white and cream give the drink a frothy milkshake like texture. The orgeat adds a sweet nutty flavor helping to round out the flavor of absinthe.

This upcoming drink is a wonderful introduction into the world of tiki drinks.
Test Pilot
1.5 ozs Jamaican Rum (Appleton Estate V/X)
.75 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Cruzan)
3 tsps of Cointreau
1/8 tsp of Absinthe
.5 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Falernum
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 cup crushed ice
Blend all ingredients together for 5 seconds then pour unstrained into a low ball glass. Top with more crushed ice. Garnish with a cherry.
Notes:
I decided to use Cruzan rum instead of the light Puerto Rican Rum called for. Like most good tiki drinks, this drink is more than the sum of it’s parts. Nevertheless the bitters and the absinthe are noticeable in the background lending subtle spicy and herbal notes. It is an expertly balanced drink with the sweetness in wonderful harmony with bite of the citrus and ginger.

The last cocktail is a creation by Stew Ellington.
Felix Swizzle
1 oz Dark Rum Rhum Barbancourt
1 oz Jamaican Rum (Appleton Estate)
.5 oz Falernum
.25 oz Absinthe (Lucid)
1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Lime Juice
.25 Simple Syrup
Build in an ice filled tiki mug or high ball glass and swizzle. Garnish with a paper umbrella and a straw
Notes:
The original recipe does not call for the additional .25 oz of simple syrup but I felt that the drink needed because it was a little to tart for my taste. The absinthe adds a herbal depth with the maraschino adding a touch of it’s characteristic funk.

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Disclosure: This was a sample bottle that was shipped to me.

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White Pike Whiskey Review and the Idlewild Cocktail

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For full disclosure I did receive this bottle as a free sample from the fine folks at White Pike. I would also like to thank Asst. Brand Manager Mr. Steven Ljubicic for an engaging and informative meeting. Clearly the folks behind this product are passionate about good spirits and it shows.

White Pike Whiskey is a relatively new product, in the trendy category of white whiskey. The problem with trends is that they do not always translate into successful and sustainable projects over the long haul. Despite this, I believe that White Pike has the correct formula for creating a lasting quality spirit.

I rarely speak on the branding/packaging of a spirit, however, White Pike has created a design that will stand out on the back bar. Its black top is contrasted by the clear bottom, reminiscent of a tuxedo. This black and white theme extends through all of their branding. Black and white is a bold and classy choice and sets itself apart in an industry where the majority of label and bottle designs follow a predictable format.

White Pike is farmed, distilled, and bottled in and around Schuyler County, NY. Finger Lakes Distillery is the brain child of Brian McKenzie and Thomas McKenzie (no relation). Master Distiller Thomas McKenzie created White Pike from a recipe of corn (59%), spelt (28%) and malted wheat (13%). Mr. McKenzie has an extensive background in distillation, making him well suited to creating a White Whiskey. After distilling, the spirit is then aged for 18 minutes. Steven mentioned that this was a play on how Scotches take their age statements seriously and proudly display them on their bottles. White Pike decided to take this idea, and has instead placed their age statement on the side of the bottle. The subtle dig/inside joke is a cool idea. These 18 minutes (give or take) in no way imparts any oaky notes to the end product.

On the nose it smells of buttered toast with a hint of creamed corn and subtle alcohol.
The spirit is rich and silky in the mouth with a subtle corn note. It finishes clean and smooth with no trace of burn. This is clearly a well crafted spirit.

Idelwild
1 oz White Pike Whiskey
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 dash of Orange Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Notes:
This is a nice take on a Negroni. The Aperol is a good choice because I think that the Campari would have overpowered the White Pike. Its a bittersweet take on the classic

The next drink is my own creation. I wanted to do something that was clear and silky smooth with a hint of spice.
Clear as Day
1.5 oz White Pike Whiskey
.5 oz St. Germain
.25oz Velvet Falernum
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Notes:
One of the coolest things about this drink is its color, or rather lack there of. Rarely do you come across a drink that is as crystal clear as water. The floral and spicy notes smoothly dance across the tongue with the whiskey serving to support the drink.

Lastly is a simple yet flavorful drink created by me.
The Forgotten Path
1.5 oz White Pike Whiskey
1 oz Averna
.25 oz lime juice
5 oz Ginger Ale (Fresh Ginger)
Shake first 3 ingredients over ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top with Ginger Ale
Notes:
It is important to use a high quality ginger ale with some bite. I like Fresh Ginger as it is unfiltered and contains real ginger. Its sweet and spicy and was the perfect complement to the whiskey and averna. A simple and easy cocktail to construct that does not lack for flavor.
Whiskey and Averna

Solera

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I came across the Solera Cocktail on the Imbibe website. It was created by Dominic Venegas.
This cocktail makes an excellent use of sherry.

Solera
2 oz Santa Teresa 1796 Rum (Ron Zacapa)
1 oz Lustau Palo Cortado Peninsula
.75 oz Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
2 dashes of Regans’ orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the oils of an orange twist over the drink and drop in.

Notes:
The original drink calls for Santa Teresa 1796 rum. Unfortunately, I did not have any in my liquor cabinet, so I substituted it with Ron Zacapa 23. If you don’t have these particular rums, try and substitute another aged rum. If you don’t have the sherry, substitute with another sherry. The final taste profile of the drink will be different but you should get a glimpse at this drinks greatness.
There is orange on the nose due to the expressed oils floating on the surface of the drink. The richness of the rum and sherry are balanced out by the spiciness of the falernum and the bite of the bitters. The drink is a symphony of flavors that delights the palate and soothes the soul. A wonderful after dinner sipper.