Archive for the ‘Spirits’ Category

Corpse Reviver Article

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Another article just appeared in DRiNK. Since this issue looks at brandy, I wrote about the Corpse Reviver. The Corpse Reviver is more like a semi-forgotten category than a single cocktail. The famous Corpse Reviver #2 is based on gin, but most of the other Corpse Reviver recipes use brandy. Oddly, despite being a diverse bunch, Corpse Revivers never seem to call for American spirits like bourbon, rye, etc. I figure they were a specifically English thing. (more…)

Pink Lady Article

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Another issue of DRiNK is out, and I wrote a story on the Pink Lady. This one gets unjustly neglected, and I am as guilty as anyone. Much as I really like the Pink Lady, I only rarely get around to mixing it. A White Lady just seems ‘easier’ when that way inclined. And out in a bar? I’m not sure I have ever ordered a Pink Lady for myself, though I’ve ordered it for friends a few times. This is clearly color prejudice at work. But color prejudice aside it is also easy to forget how mixable calvados is. The gin and calvados combo in the Pink Lady (original version) is just excellent, and well worth trying if you never have. This cocktail is probably the single best reason (Chicken Normandy aside) for keeping a bottle of calvados handy.

Orange Liqueurs, the Burnt Fuselage, and Elwyn Richardson

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

“But I like to think how nice it’s gonna be, maybe, in California. Never cold. An’ fruite ever’place, an’ people just bein’  in the nicest places, little white houses in among the orange trees. I wonder – that is, if we all get jobs an’ all work – maybe we can get one of them little white houses. An’ the little fellas go out an’ pick oranges right off the tree.” (John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath)

I’m rather late saying this but another issue of DRiNK is out, which means more articles. This time time it’s all about the orange, a fruit so ubiquitous in cocktails we easily forget how lost we would be without it. My first article takes a look at orange liqueurs, and the second turns to the Burnt Fuselage and the Kamikaze. Both articles, but particularly the first, got a little edited

The Burnt Fuselage had an odd run of popularity in Shanghai some years back. I found the recipe on Paul Clarke’s Cocktail Chronicles, introduced it to a bar or two, and before long, not only were friends and strangers drinking it, but I was getting late night phone calls from bartenders I had never met asking me how to make the thing. This odd phenomenon didn’t last, and Shanghai soon went back to drinking whatever it normally drinks. Truth be told, it was probably easier to start a cocktail trend back when Shanghai only had 2.5 cocktail bars.

Something else.

I just learned that Elwyn Richardson died late last year. It must be a couple of decades since I last saw Elwyn, but without him I doubt people would be paying me to drink cocktails and write about it. Although Elwyn was a teacher, the word does not fit. Certainly in his writing classes he didn’t exactly teach. He just drew people’s attention to common sense.

It is a pity I never told Elwyn I was writing for a drink industry magazine. He would have liked the idea.

RIP Elwyn. The orange-themed Steinbeck is for you.

Irish Whiskey Cocktails Article, and Irish Whiskey in Taipei

Friday, April 26th, 2013

My latest article for DRiNK is on cocktails with Irish whiskey – check it out. Irish whiskey has a habit of getting overlooked. Researching this article was the perfect opportunity to remind myself of how excellent the stuff is. Unlikely to ever become the world’s favorite mixer, Irish still deserves to be used in cocktails more often. Mind you, it is so pleasant straight that it hardly needs messing with.

Since writing the article I got to make a couple of visits to beautiful Taipei, where I happily stumbled across – and out of - Speakeasy. (more…)

Rum and Sherry Cocktails: The DR Daiquiri and DR Manhattan

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

I recently did some experimenting with amontillado sherry and Dominican Republic rum. While I do not drink it nearly often enough, sherry might be my favorite wine – it has amazing complex flavors. Rum of course is something I ingest rather more than my fair share of. It seemed efficient to try to combine my rum and sherry drinking, hopefully to the benefit of both liquids.

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Rusty Nail Article

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

A new issue of DRiNK just came out. This issue looks at  single malts, and so I wrote an article on the Rusty Nail. It’s an excellent drink for the northern winter so mix one up.

Much as I like peated whiskys, I think this drink works better with something lighter. Incidentally, if going that route, the recently released Drambuie 15 might be fun to experiment with. It is dryer than the regular Drambuie, and contains a higher ratio of single malt and older whiskys. I have not yet played with it, but am sure it would make a good Rusty Nail.

While writing this article I decided I rather liked Rusty Nails with a grapefruit twist instead of the standard lemon. A very simple way to take this cocktail in new directions.

No experiments for me right now though. I am headed to tropical Burma where I will no doubt imbibe a Pegu Club or two.

Rummy Ruminations – and the El Presidente Revisited

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

The new issue of Drink is out. The theme for this issue is rum, well known as one of my favorite topics. Fittingly, I got to write not one, but two articles. . . (more…)

The Pegu Club

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

My latest article for DRiNK is on the Pegu Club. It’s a great drink so go check it out. Special thanks to the translator for an excellent job on the Chinese. I did not make her life easy, what with poetry and other assorted weird stuff. The art work is also nice.

DRiNK is a good magazine, and it’s mere existence shows how much the cocktail scene in China has changed since I started this blog.

Years ago I remember sitting on an airplane here and leafing through a hospitality magazine that had somehow ended up in the seat pocket in front of me. It was not bar specific – more like a general restaurant magazine that included wines and spirits info. I forget the title. Anyway, the quality of information was shocking. An article on French wines was illustrated with colorful Belgian beer bottles. Well-bred ladies were cautioned to always add the ice before pouring their wine. Doing things the other way round would be most uncouth! Another article summarized the main categories of spirits and liqueurs. Having no idea what Angostura Bitters were, the writer came up with a tale about elderly Dutch men doing shots of the stuff by the fireside during winter.

I will link to a few other articles I have written for DRiNK soon.

My occasional writing for DRiNK is one reason things have been quiet. Writing articles that get published somewhere else takes the edge off the urge to write here. Despite that though, I do have a few interesting things in store. Besides cocktail stuff, there may even be a cautionary tale or two about the bar industry.

Your Man in Havana: The Daiquiri

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

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The Daiquiri at the Havana Club, straight from the pages of Graham Greene

While in Havana, when I wasn’t drinking Mojitos I could often be found in close proximity to a Daiquiri. I already discussed the Daiquiri in detail here, so there is no need to say too much more. Still, it would be a shame not to share a few observations on how the drink is made in Cuba.

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Drink Magazine Article: The Mojito

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

As mentioned previously, I had an article on the Mojito published in a China bar industry magazine, Drink (??). Drink does not have a website yet, but you can read the article here.

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