There's just something about drinking a classic cocktail that puts you in the right state of mind, don't you think? I prefer my Manhattan on the rocks because the clinking of the ice feels old world and romantic to me. But truthfully, the cold, booze-soaked maraschino cherry is my favorite part! This cocktail goes particularly well with salty, rich dishes, making it the perfect addition to a Thanksgiving menu. But be careful: a couple of these babies and you could be dancing on tables this holiday season. Keep reading to stir up one of your own.
Regardless of how you spell it, whiskey and whisky are essentially the same spirit, created from a mash of fermented grains. On an initial glance, the difference between the two words just looks like an personal preference, or at worst a harmless spelling mistake. But the debate surrounding the one-letter difference between whiskey and whisky has a tendency to make die-hard bourbon connoisseurs' blood boil. Keep reading to learn the difference between whiskey and whisky.
ABC's Pan Am starts this Sunday, and I can't wait to watch the series premiere to see if it can captivate audiences just like Mad Men! The show will be an interesting glimpse into yesteryear, and if you're just as fascinated by this period, take a peek at Pan American's Complete Round the World Cookbook, which was first published in 1954.
With the show's premiere fast approaching, it was time to dust off my copy and discover the culinary world according to this airline giant. The book was a collaborative effort with recipes submitted by employees of Pan Am from across the globe. Of course, cuisine in 1954 was a very different place than it is now; I passed on a recipe for chicken enchiladas made with pancakes instead of difficult-to-find tortillas. However, many of the cocktails, like the ones featured here, were rather intriguing.
Before you sit back on Sunday to watch the season premiere, stir up one of Pan Am's very own around-the-world cocktail recipes!
Stocking up on spirits the other day, I noticed that the makers of my favorite bourbon, Bulleit, have now added a rye whiskey to their repertoire. Naturally, I had to try it, and had to find something delicious to make with it!
I wanted something that would bring out the flavor of the rye, be easy to drink, and preferably use in-season produce, and I found all that and more in the Easterner. The drink uses freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for tartness, and maple syrup and grenadine for smoothness. For optimal flavor, use your own grenadine; I tried it with both store-bought and homemade syrups, and the homemade won by a long shot. Kick your evening up a notch, after the jump.
After Guinness, the Irish coffee is quite possibly Ireland's most famous drink. This hot cocktail is a mixture of coffee, whiskey, sugar, and cream. It's famous thanks to the Buena Vista Cafe, a San Francisco establishment that perfected the recipe in 1952 and has since served countless Irish coffees — including the world's largest one ever. I headed to the cafe to learn its signature technique for making Irish coffee. Here, bartender Paul Nolan, who's been at the cafe for 32 years and estimates he's poured over 3-4 million Irish coffees, teaches us how it's done.
In honor of Mardi Gras, I've been on the hunt for a native New Orleanian cocktail to raise a glass to on Fat Tuesday. I can only take so many sugary hurricanes, so instead I looked to a stiff drink with a storied history.
I'm not an authority on the sazerac, so I asked Scott Brody, bar manager at San Francisco's Epic Roasthouse, for some expertise. "We use [executive chef] Jan Birnbaum's recipe," he explained. "Jan is very specific about the way the sazerac is prepared." When it comes to the classic cocktail, Birnbaum, who spent years working under the tutelage of Paul Prudhomme, doesn't believe in any fancy bourbon or martini glassware. "It's a working-class drink," Scott explained, adding that Epic's rough-around-the-edges sazerac is always made with Old Overholt Rye.
This Mardi Gras, make a French Quarter favorite with none of the pretense but plenty of authenticity. Read on for the recipe.
One of my favorite restaurants, Beretta, has launched a series of cocktail classes. Taught by hunky bartender Ryan Fitzgerald, the hands-on seminars cover the basic skills and focus on a different spirit. I sat in on a whiskey lesson where Fitzgerald led us through the process of making an improved whiskey cocktail while providing a fascinating history of the drink.
A long time ago there were no names for cocktails, and each drink consisted of booze, sugar, and water. If you went to a bar and wanted a drink with whiskey, you'd ask for a "whiskey cocktail." If you preferred a drink with gin, you'd order a "gin cocktail."
When absinthe was introduced to the scene, barmen started adding a couple of dashes to the whiskey cocktail; they called this variation the "improved whiskey cocktail." Fitzgerald takes the drink to 2011 by adding a few dashes of bitters and Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. It's potent, but it's perfectly balanced. Get his recipe after the break.
Looking for a fun way to start the weekend? Might I recommend a delicious cocktail? It's called the YumSugar special, and it's a twist on the classic whiskey sour. The traditional recipe involves simple syrup and lemon juice, but our variation, created especially for us by the fabulous barmen at Jardiniere restaurant (we guest-bartended there!), uses honey and Meyer lemon juice. Any honey works, but if you can get your hands on honey that's infused with chestnuts or lavender, that will give the drink a subtle complexity. The libation is sweet but not overly so, and the strong flavor of the whiskey is balanced perfectly by the citrus.
Often spirit grand tastings offer more than even the greatest enthusiast can drink. So at this year's WhiskyFest San Francisco, which boasted more than 260 whiskies in one room, I had to have a strategy. I came up with a brilliant one: ask all the experts pouring the spirits what their favorite Scotches, bourbons, and whiskies are, then go from there.
My favorite tip-off came from the reps at Highland Park and The Macallan, who pointed me to Buffalo Trace to sample the 2010 release of the distillery's George T. Stagg bourbon. This limited-release bourbon whiskey is aged for 15 years, made of uncut and unfiltered rye bourbon, and, at 143 proof, packs more of a punch than your average antiseptic.
But there's a reason why this bourbon, which is only distributed once a year, flies off shelves: it's absolutely spectacular. There was little burn — only smoothness — after I diluted the enticing molasses spirit with some water. I enjoyed the smoky-oaky, full-bodied, caramelly spirit to its last drop. Have you ever tried a high-proof bourbon?
- New Yorkers have finally come around to embrace the Michelin guide.
- New Yorkers have finally come around to embrace the Michelin guide. — New York Times
- The new Angel Red pomegranate boasts arils without a hard seed in the middle. — Wall Street Journal
- A sneak peek at Kitchen Impossible, the new DIY show from Danny Bonaduce. — Los Angeles Times
- Brilliant idea: use carrot juice as stock. — San Francisco Chronicle
- Madhur Jaffrey on the similarities between Sri Lankan, Malaysian, and Indonesian cuisines. — Boston Globe
- Kevin Kosar's new tome, Whiskey: A Global History, demystifies the spirit. — Washington Post
- Condiments old and new worth getting to know in the kitchen. — Chicago Tribune