The Volstead Act Company 1947 and 1933 Bitters Review

1933 Bitters

The Volstead Act Company is a brand new company formed in July 2013. They are a family owned and ran business. Currently they produce a limited range of 2 different varieties of bitters and 2 different syrups. In this review … Continue reading

Cana Brava Rum Review

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Cana Brava is the work of The 86 Co. which is made up of Simon Ford, Dushan Zaric & Jason Kosmos (founders of Employees Only), Malte Barnekow, and Kris Roth. Cana Brava is a 3 year old aged rum from … Continue reading

7 Daiquiri’s in 7 Days: La Florida Cocktail

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The original drink appears in Trader Vic’s Bartenders Guide from 1972 and is sometimes referred to as the Floridita Cocktail. The La Florida Cocktail is the creation of Constantine Ribailagualt and was one of the signature drinks of the La Florida bar in Havana, Cuba.

It’s name is strikingly similar to the Floridita Daiquiri but they are two different drinks. The daiquiri contains maraschino liqueur while the cocktail uses crème de cacao, sweet vermouth, and grenadine as the sweeteners. This particular version of the drink appears in the PDT cocktail book and is the creation of Jack McGarry.

La Florida Cocktail
2 oz Banks 5 Island Rum
.75 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Crème de Cacao (Marie Brizard)
.25 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano)
1 barspoon Grenadine (Hibiscus Grenadine)
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and enjoy.
Notes:
The drink is well put together and despite the .5 oz of Crème de Cacao the chocolate flavor is still subtle and interwoven with the herbal qualities of the vermouth. The final flavor is not one you would except but its delicious and well worth exploring.

7 Daiquiri’s in 7 Days continues tomorrow with the: Royal Daiquiri

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ROOT Liqueur Review and the ROOT Swizzle

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I have actually had ROOT for some time but am just getting around to doing a proper review of it. When I first heard of this spirit being introduced, I could not wait to get my hands on some.

ROOT is one of the most interesting liqueurs to have come along in quite some time. It is based on an old herbal remedy called Root Tea. The Native Americans taught this age old recipes to the settlers, where it was passed down from generation to generation.

When Prohibition swept through the country, a pharmacist from Philadelphia removed the alcohol and renamed it “root beer”.

This is unlike any other “root beer” liqueur on the market. Its true flavor is not produced with artificial flavorings nor is it drowned out by sugar. Rather, ROOT, is flavored with birch bark, black tea, spearmint, wintergreen citrus (lemons and oranges), allspice, anise, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, which help to give

ROOT is delicious and spicy flavor.

On the nose, it has the classic smell that you come to expect from a root beer with just a hint of alcohol. That slight alcohol vapor lets you know this is a powerful 80 proof liqueur.

The flavor is wonderful complex. There are notes of vanilla bean, mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, and birch. As one flavor asserts itself on your palate another quickly emerges. All the flavors vie for attention on your palate, yet the spirit never seems to be out of balance, with the cane sugar keeping the bitterness in check and smoothing the drink out.

This is a great liqueur to sip neat or experiment in cocktails. My one complaint is that it can be quite challenging to work with and can easily take over a drink. Think of it like an amaro or other bittersweet herbal liqueur and the possibilities become endless.
Suggested retail is around $35 for a 750ml bottle.
Now for some drinks:

My inspiration for this drink was the Black Orpheus.

ROOT Swizzle
1.5 ozs Gold Rum (Brugal Anejo)
1 oz ROOT
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz Vanilla Bean Syrup & .5 oz simple syrup
1 dash Fees Old Fashioned Bitters
half spent lime shell 4 or 5 mint leaves
Shake all ingredients with ice then double strain into a high ball glass and add the spent lime shell. Add crushed ice and swizzle until the glass becomes frosted on the outside.
Notes: The ROOT is the major player with its complexity evident throughout the drink but it does not dominate or overwhelm the other flavors. The rum is a smooth undercurrent helping to provide a base for the ROOT. The syrup and mint create extra layers of flavors to dance across the tongue.

The next drink is the Pennsylvania Dutch Manhattan created by Jason Wilson, who writes an excellent column at the Washington Post.
Pennsylvania Dutch Manhattan
1.5 oz rye whiskey
.5 oz ROOT
.5oz Bianco or Bianc vermouth
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

For the last drink of the night, I offer up my variation of the Pennsylvania Dutch Manhattan.
To Live or to Exist?
2 oz rye whiskey (Redemption Rye)
.5 oz ROOT
tsp Luxardo Maraschino
1 dash of Regan’s Orange No.6 Bitters
1 dash Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Combine all ingredients and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Fior di Sicily

Looking for a drink can be a daunting task at times. Often I find myself flipping through recipes looking for something that calls out to me. I picked up a copy of Left Coast Libations which has a range of interesting and exciting cocktails from some of the best bartenders on the West Coast. One cocktail that immediately caught my eye was the Fior di Sicily, created by Chris Ojeda.

Unlike most cocktails, the Fior di Sicily does not contain a base spirit; there is no gin, rum, whiskey, vodka, etc. Secondly all of the ingredients are in equal proportions which is just as rare. It combines an interesting amaro, an orangey aperitif, one of my favorite sweet vermouth’s, and an elderflower liqueur.

Fior di Sicily
.75 oz Averna Amaro
.75 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
.75 oz Aperol
.75 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Stir all the ingredients with ice for 30 seconds (wet ice) or 50 seconds (large ice). Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Flame the orange peel over the cocktail then drop in the peel.
Notes:
The color is rich and alluring. The orange oils float on the surface of the drink and its scent draws you in closer daring you to take a sip. The sweet notes of floral combine with the bitter and herbal notes to create a harmonious spirit. It has all the qualities of a fine wine that has been enriched and enhanced. This drink truly is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Behold the Origin of the Martini – The Martinez

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The Martinez has been around since the late 1880’s and has gone through an array of variations. All of them contain the same 2 essential ingredients: Gin and Sweet Vermouth, albeit in different ratios. The origin of this cocktail still remains a mystery, with no one person being able to claim the drink as his or her original creation. Despite its origin being clouded, it’s clear that in some respects it gave birth to the iconic martini. It is a wonderful drink that deserves to be enjoyed.

Martinez
2 oz Sweet Vermouth (Cinzano)
1 oz Old Tom Gin (Ransom)
1 tsp Maraschino or Curaçao (Luxardo)
1 dash of Aromatic Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Notes:
I like the vermouth heavy version of yesteryear. The modern drinks tend to put the gin forward instead of allowing it to play a supporting roll to the vermouth. In some modern versions the proportions are 2:1 in favor of the gin.
The drink is sweet and aromatic, with the botanicals of the gin coming through without overpowering the vermouth. The maraschino lends a light touch of added complexity to the drink that is just discernible in the background. If using curaçao it adds a subtle fruit note. This would be a great cocktail to introduce someone to gin.

For another version check out:
Modern Martinez (Jamie Boudreau)
1.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
1.5 oz Old Tom Gin
2 barspoons of maraschino
2 dashes Fee’s Orange Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass