Archive for July, 2008

Frozen Beer Experiences!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

I had an unusual beer experience today.

The beer I ordered with dinner poured into the glass with a slushy sorbet consistency.  Very weird.  The beer flowed out of the bottle no problem, and none of what remained in the bottle after I poured was frozen.  The beer itself seemed perfectly normal.  I think what was happening was that the beer was only just above freezing, and the chilled, thick-bottomed mug I was pouring it into was even colder.  The temperature differential between the two meant the beer froze into a foamy slush when it touched the mug.  Or maybe not.  Anyone got a better explanation?

Anyway it was quite disconcerting.  At first I thought the restaurant had developed a trick for deliberately achieving this amazing effect.  Then I remembered the waiter looked as surprised as me to see a beer sorbet on my table.  Perhaps it was just a fluke.  Or was the waiter surprised at my surprise?

Are there any restaurants or bars that deliberately try to reproduce this effect?  I guess it’s the ultimate in a cold beer.

My only other frozen beer experience (besides the obligatory exploded bottles in the freezer) was on an Eva Airways flight from Taipei to Manila.  I settled in and asked for a beer.  I think it was a Kirin.  When the beer showed up I found it not only refused to pour more than a dribble, but something was rattling around inside the can.  Realizing it had frozen solid I asked the flight attendant for another one.  No need she said.  If I would only wait this one would eventually defrost.  Well at least that sorted out my in-flight entertainment.  Thanks Eva Air!

Mixology Monday: Revisiting the Ramos Gin Fizz, Pisco Sour, and other Frothy Concoctions

Monday, July 28th, 2008


This month’s Mixology Monday sees me without ready access to a bar to mix a drink.  On well, I’m going to go ahead and post something anyway.  The theme this month is New Orleans cocktails, so I thought I could post a couple of tips related to making drinks containing egg white, with particular reference to that venerable old New Orleans drink – the Ramos Gin Fizz. (more…)

G’vine Gin Mini Tasting

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

My Tales of the Cocktail swag bag contained a miniature bottle of G’vine gin from France.  Time for a mini tasting. . .

I am sitting in a hotel room in the Caribbean with nothing besides the rest of my Tales of the Cocktail swag bag mini-bar, a maxi-bottle of Beefeater that came with the Tales of the Cocktail goodies, and some little bottles of Dominican Republic rum.  OK, and I also have my computer, clothes, toothbrush, etc.  What I was really getting at, in my typically convoluted manner, is that this post is not going to contain the words “double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with three drops of orange bitters and a lemon twist”.  I don’t even have ice handy.  I’ll drink the gin straight, then with tonic water.  No lemons or limes will be hurt in this tasting. (more…)

Tales of the Cocktail Roundup

Friday, July 25th, 2008



I thought I should post a quick something to just round off the Tales of the Cocktail thing. I may still post more on individual sessions later of course. A few random thoughts and observations follow: (more…)

Drinking San Francisco Roundup

Friday, July 25th, 2008



I got hit by the Tales of the Cocktail thing and never got a chance to finish writing up the places I visited for drinks in San Francisco.


On day three I visited the Golden Gate Bridge in the morning. The thing is huge so walking to it like I did is a mistake. You think you will be there in a few minutes, but it ends up taking you forever. The fort that sits below the south end of the bridge was pretty cool, as were all the historic houses I passed on my way there. (more…)

A Rum Brugal Festival and Tasting Ron Barcelo Imperial

Thursday, July 24th, 2008




I am now in the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo to be precise. Santo Domingo is a rough-around-the-edges sort of a place. The initial impression was lousy. Who appreciates arriving near midnight after delayed flights with no hotel booked, getting dumped by a taxi driver in a run-down area of town with no street lighting, discovering nobody speaks English and your Spanish teachers were a pack of lousy scam artists, and finally ending up in a roach-infested doss house called “El Refugio de Pirata”. No, really. That’s what it was called. I couldn’t make this stuff up. (more…)

French Cafes Session with Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

This session tried to cover an awful lot of ground in a limited time so the treatment was a little superficial.  There was some interesting information though.

One of the highlights was the discussion of a product called Vin Mariani, a cocoa leaf infused aromatic wine (perhaps something like a quinquina) that was popular in the later 19th century.  This stuff was consumed widely in Europe and the United States before cocaine was made illegal.  Apparently it later morphed into coca-cola under pressure from prohibitionists.

Another interesting point was the lack of citrus juices in early 20th century French cocktails.  France only got into citrus juice containing drinks in the 1920s.  The popularity of gin as a base spirit in early French drinks was also surprising.  Apparently gin appears in the majority of the early drinks.

We also got an insight into what the disappeared liqueur Cordial Medoc was.  Supposedly it was a coffee and citrus liqueur.

Interesting stuff anyway.

Friday Roundup

Saturday, July 19th, 2008




I got out of bed early enough to make the media breakfast at Brennan’s. To start we had a tasty Bloody Mary with a splash of red wine in it, then more wine to follow during breakfast – baked apple with cream, two types of eggs (French conversant eggs that arrived on beds of spinach and the like), and Bananas Foster. They take breakfast seriously in New Orleans.  The Bananas Foster was pretty good, but then Brenan’s was where it was invented so no surprises there.  We didn’t quite get table-side service, but the chef came out to demonstrate how the dish was made.  He came damn near burning down the old dining room while doing so. (more…)

Tiki Dinner with Beachbum Berry

Thursday, July 17th, 2008


I just got back from the Tiki Dinner with cocktails designed and mixed by Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry and Wayne Curtis.  A last minute and little advertised change of venue almost saw me miss the thing completely, but after a little running around I eventually got there only slightly late, and just in time for an excellent meal.  I meant to pinch a copy of the menu for reference, but since it somehow got lost in the last minute confusion of leaving, this account is a little cursory. (more…)

Tales of the Cocktail: Tuesday to Thursday Roundup

Thursday, July 17th, 2008



Tales has been an enjoyably chaotic mess. The Internet refused to work for me before and time was short so this first round up of Tales Stuff has to cover a fair bit of territory.