Americano

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For a long time I thought that Americano is something like infantile version of splendid Negroni. As a gin lover, I always preferred Negroni as Americano was a natural outsider for me. But summer comes, and it’s a time to switch over to lighter and more refreshing drinks.

But I can’t imagine my cocktail life without Negroni, so I see gin exclusion as the only way to keep myself enjoying sophisticated mix of Campari and sweet vermouth.

Last summer monstrous heat confirms my thoughts. Two months without single rain and with 35-40°C temperature in the Moscow megalopolis were very hard time to drink strong alcohol so sparkling bittersweet Americano was a salvation for me.

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MxMo LVIII: Favorite Niche Spirit – Transalpine Cocktail

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Rare, little known and local spirits can bring cocktail experimenters to excited state. Often they have a peculiar taste. Definitely they add special ethnic flavour to well-known drinks. Also they help to obtain important experience in work with new spirits and understanding how to use them properly in cocktails.

Current «Mixology Monday» event is about similar topic. «Favourite niche spirits» is the theme for it, and the present MixMo hoster Filip from Adventures in Cocktails wants to see us making cocktails based on the «niche spirits» which are not from «Big Six»: whisk(e)y, rum, gin, vodka, tequila and Cognac.

Well, what a spirit to choose? Calvados, Armagnac, genever, kirschwasser, akvavit? Due to my Russian origin I should prefer samogon, an old Russian spirit which later became similar to American moonshine, but since ancient times is produced by many home distillers with a good quality – better than most vodka brands of today.

But recently I was in experiments with Bavarian apple and pear schnaps so the story how I got it was fresh in my memory. Once I’ve bought it in a souvenir shop when I visited a small village in Bavarian Alps. Also there was transparent spirit in a bottle with blue flowers on the label. «Oh, Enzian Schnaps (gentian schnaps)» – venerable shop owner told me when I’ve pointed at the bottle and asked what a spirit is it. Certainly I’ve bought it too!

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S.I.P.#3: Manhattan

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Our third S.I.P. event is dedicated to another cocktail icon called Manhattan as well as its numerous variations made with other whiskey (whisky) and vermouths (or aperitifs and maybe amari).

For me, Manhattan is a counterpoise for Dry Martini. Warm, sweet and spicy side of cocktails against dry and bitter world of clear and cold gin flavoured with drops of vermouth. Brown spirits versus crystal clear alcohol, Alpha and Omega of cocktail world.

I’m not interested in stories about Manhattan. I just enjoy it when I get tired of other cocktails – classic of modern, it doesn’t matter. Manhattan is the special mood, the atmosphere of calm and confidence.

The never-ending experiment with whiskey and vermouth pairing. The search for the best additions – bitters or liqueurs. Much attention to details, technique improvement. Careful sipping, enjoying aroma, appearance and taste. It’s a more than cocktail, almost a lifestyle.

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Borden Chase

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I’m continuing with my Scotch whisky experiments. Now I’m about to learn Borden Chase, one more cocktail based on wonderful combination of Italian vermouth and Scotch whisky.

This cocktail should be called Rob Roy variation but if it were not for pastis. With pastis and orange bitters, this cocktail turns to something unique. Yes, there are Rob Roy Holiday Style and Bobby Burns with lightly anise-flavoured Drambuie and Benedictine, respectively. And there is almost identical Robert Burns Cocktail. But at first I’ve known it as Borden Chase at David Wondrich’s Esquire drinks database.

Both Drambuie and Benedictine work perfectly with whisky so I thought that pastis’ strong anise note could be nice addition to Scotch whisky flavour.

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MxMo LII: Forgotten Cocktails – Cameo Kirby

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Forgotten Cocktails, that’s the topic for November 2010 Mixology Monday event hosted by Dennis at his Rock & Rye blog.

The topic is not easy as it seems at first time. Here in Russia cocktails are not forgotten, they’re unknown.

I’ve remembered one cocktail  I saw earlier at «Approved Cocktails, authorized by UK bartenders guild» by Harry Craddock. Cameo Kirby, it looks like another Martini-like cocktail, and then I’ve tried it but can’t find anything about it in Internet except one more Google-book  «Gourmet’s Guide to New Orleans» by Natalie Vivian Scott and Caroline Merrick Jones.

The title Cameo Kirby is known thanks to old movie released in 1923. Who knows, maybe the cocktail was named after that criminal drama.

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The Bloodhound Cocktail

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One more article about summer cocktail with berries I failed to post at the right time because of two-month abnormally heavy heat in Moscow.

The Bloodhound Cocktail isn’t modern recipe. I saw it on Noilly Prat promo website and later found it in two books I have available.

The first book was Frank Meier’s «The Artistry Of Mixing Drinks» (1936). The second one was Mardee Haidin Regan’s «The Bartender’s Best Friend» (2003). And I found another third version at the CocktailDB. All these recipes differ from each other so it was interesting to me to find my own perfect variant.

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The Forty-Five

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There are a lot of alcohol combinations which now became classic. These combinations are so good that you’re always reverting to it and think that you do need any others.

Whiskey (and whisky too) with sweet vermouth create such combination, a wonderful duet, an exceptional base for further experiments. Well-known Manhattan (with bourbon or rye) or Rob Roy and Bobby Burns Cocktail (with scotch), it all are just three great cocktails among dozens of other good ones in which whiskey mixes with sweet vermouth.

The Forty-Five recipe has been found at Drambuie American promo-website. Another place where the cocktail was mentioned is The Intoxicologist blog. The article about cocktails based on Drambuie liqueur is awesome as well as most of other posts there.

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