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Floshenbarnical

Cocktails

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I work in a cocktail bar and as a result, discover many tasty drinks in addition to making some up. Let's share relatively unknown cocktail recipes we have found to be very pleasant so that we can expand our knowledge and our palates. I work in fl ounces. But if you're not familiar with fl oz, 1oz is approximately 30ml.

If people want I'll write a decent list of equipment and techniques which will make your friends shit themselves with excitement (pouring dripping blue fire into a smoking glass of crushed ice, anyone?)

So I'll start.

The Seelbach

I made this drink for myself at work when it was quiet yesterday, and I found it to be delicious and shareworthy.

Invented in 1917, and the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville Kentucky's signature cocktail, the recipe was lost for pretty much forever until fairly recently when it was found in a book in the basement. One of the bar staff convinced the manager to publish the recipe so it wouldn't be lost again.

1oz bourbon (a sweeter bourbon like Buffalo Trace or Mark works well)

1/2 oz Cointreau

7 dashes Angostura's bitters

7 dashes Peychaud's bitters

Champagne

Garnish with a lengthy lemon twist.

You will need a champagne flute.

Put the bourbon, cointreau, and bitters into a mixing glass.

Fill with ice.

Stir the shit out of it until it's chilled.

Strain into a champagne flute.

Top with champagne.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

The result is a really tasty, fairly bitter drink. If you don't have too much of a palate for bitterness, use a sweeter champagne and 5 dashes of each bitters.

I dinnae take a picture myself, so here's one online.

recipe_c_seelbach.jpg

Don't be fooled by it's girly appearance!

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I would drink that and order another one. Two. I mean three.

Not an unknown by any means but a good White Russian takes some beating IMHO.

At a recent dinner party I made Masala Chai shots, could be made into something longer. Condensed milk infused with tea, star anise, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper and ginger. Shaken with lots of ice and vodka. A bit acquired as you'd imagine but very nice.

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Measurements, man, measurements! :)

Haha, you're the boss here! Tin of condensed milk, couple of tea bags but can't remember what. Came from a selection from Thailand I think, nothing special but not PG Tips. Spices as per common sense and preference. Warmed and left to cool. Shaken half and half with vodka. Can't be more precise than that, sorry. I never write anything down.

I know it sounds odd but it was nice!

Looking forward to more input from you, I love a cocktail. A decent cocktail bar with drinks made well is awesome. I envy your job.

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Bump!

Thanks to Floshenbarnical's cocktail recipe in the Story thread, I was inspired and found this thread.

I've been thinking of getting into making cocktails at home as I love the awesome and interesting stuff you can get these days. Favourite tipples? Anything with Bourbon and bitters!

So, any helpful tips - I need some gear first.... cocktail shaker, jigger and all that.

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Get a decent shaker- the classic Boston shaker is IMO the best, those all-metal ones are a bit shit IMO as you can't see in them while preparing and they conduct heat from your hand far too easily when shaking. That and I can never get the bastards open.

40461.jpg

A jigger is a good shout. Don't be tempted to eyeball until you get a feel for the quantities.

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I've been thinking of getting into making cocktails at home as I love the awesome and interesting stuff you can get these days. Favourite tipples? Anything with Bourbon and bitters!

This isn't up to Floshenbarnical's sci-fi adventures but I like an Old Fashioned. This is how I make mine:

2.5 fl oz / 75 ml Woodford Reserve bourbon

3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters, adjust to taste

1 tsp / 6 ml of simple syrup [1], adjust to taste

Put all of that in a shaker and shake until chilled. Pour into a glass.

Add one maraschino cherry [2]. Briefly muddle.

Take one ice cube from the shaker and add to cocktail. Any more will dilute it too much.

Drink.

[1] a 50/50 mix of water and sugar (by weight), shaken until the sugar dissolves. With a dash of vodka will keep in the fridge for months. Means you don't have to work hard to dissolve grain sugar in your cocktails. I find this dead handy for all sorts of cocktails.

[2] The addition of fruit into Old Fashioned is perilous and controversial, but I like it, so there. Another suggestion people seem to like is a twist of orange peel but I can't be arsed to keep half-peeled oranges lying around for the rare occasions when I fancy a cocktail.

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I make my old fashioned a little differently, but it's a cracking drink. It's always what I order first at any cocktail bar, if they fuck it up, I know I should switch to beer.

I pop a tsp of brown sugar into the bottom of a glass, I've just been given some lovely crystal glasses for christmas so I'm using those. I add 2/3 dashes of bitters to the sugar and a little glug of soda water, then stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Then I grab a ball of ice , throw that in the glass and pour in the whiskey, usually woodford reserve but I'm using Knob Creek at the moment. I slice a big piece of orange peel, rub it around the rim of the glass and use it to stir the drink, then add the cherry and a little of the liquid from the jar, I like to keep the cherry in one piece and eat it at the end.

I'm going to start experimenting with a Dry Manhattan next, possibly in a moment actually. I've got some Noilly Prat I bought for New Year's martinis.

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A very concentrated bitter liquid that's often used in cocktails. You would typically only use a few drops or a dash. Most common is Angostura bitters, and if you see it in a shop it'll look like this:

220px-Angostura_aromatic_bitters_dD.jpg

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Why on earth has someone poured a glass of it?!

Fun fact: I had no idea until I bought some, a year or so ago, that bitters are about 45% alcohol.

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Had a rather good cocktail party at mine a few weeks ago, where I managed to make pretty much anything that started with M and nothing else- mojitos, Manhattans and margaritas. The next day I thought I was going to die, but they all turned out pretty good. Manhattans are a great drink for when you've had a bastard of a day and you feel like lounging back on the sofa with a good book, which is what I'm doing now.

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Why on earth has someone poured a glass of it?!

Fun fact: I had no idea until I bought some, a year or so ago, that bitters are about 45% alcohol.

Because it's more or less like drinking a liqueur like Campari, provided you like bitter tastes.

Bitters were originally invented for medicinal purposes, to "settle the stomach" and other such ailments. Bear in mind that due to the fact that people used to drink mainly alcohol, because it was safer than water, most people had hangovers of some kind come morning. The alcohol content gave some hair of the dog, and a lot of different bitters used ingredients that did in fact settle the stomach.

So bitters are basically any kind of spirit infused with a bittering agent (as in, something that makes it taste bitter), such as cichona bark (the active ingredient in cichona bark being quinine, which is also what makes tonic water bitter and cures malaria), or wormwood, to name but two. Herbs and spices are then infused, as well as other botanicals, some of which are for flavour purposes and some of which are for medicinal purposes.

Peychaud's bitters, for example, were invented by some guy called Antoine Peychaud in New Orleans during the French Occupation. This lead to the invention of the Sazerac cocktail; being a French town, all people could really get hold of in abundance was Sazerac de Forge et Fils (then a brand of cognac, which is now also the brand name of a fabulous rye whiskey minus the Forge et Fils bit), absinthe, and whiskey here and there. Then, Peychaud made Peychaud's bitters as a medicinal tincture for his friends. Here is a picture:

Peychauds-Bitters-sazerac-267x400.jpg

In like 1850 some guy called Aaron Bird bought a coffee house and renamed it Sazerac House (Sazerac cognac was his proprietary spirit) and started serving the Sazerac cocktail, which was a sugar cube dissolved in Peychaud's bitters, stirred with ice and cognac, and then served in an absinthe-rinsed glass.

This was one of the first cocktails to contain bitters.

Nowadays, bitters are basically cocktail seasoning. You can make them yourself with huge ease; get a base spirit, put in some bittering agent and some herbs/ botanicals, and leave it for a couple of weeks. Easy. Put a couple of drops into a drink and it'll change the flavour profile and make it more complex. You can buy them online; a bitters revolution happened recently and it was HUGE. Now there are countless brands and flavours of varying quality. Fee Brothers are pretty consistent, but Boker's are the best (and the most pricey).

It should be noted that the age-old definition of a cocktail is the same as the definition of an Old Fashioned as recorded by Jerry Thomas in the late 1800s.

- Whisky

- Sugar

- Bitters

- Water (gained via the dilution of ice while stirring).

So, drinks such as the Vieux Carre, the Sazerac, the "Old Fashioned", the De La Louisiane, etc, are all "Old Fashioned"s. Old Fashioneds are more of a style of cocktail than a literal cocktail recipe.

However, if you do want to make what everyone thinks of as an "Old Fashioned", here is the age-old authentic way to make it:

1. Put a sugar cube in the bottom of an Old Fashioned / rocks glass

2. Dissolve it a couple of drops of Angostura bitters

3. Slice an orange penny (a circular section of peel)

4. Remove the pith from the penny with a knife (the pith makes the drink taste weird)

5. Put it on top of the sugar cube and muddle it with a muddler (this allows the sugar to grind the peel a bit and release orange zest)

6. Pour in a bit of whisky (technically it should be rye whiskey, but bourbon is absolutely fine), then a few ice cubes.

7. Stir.

8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 until you've added 2oz / 60 ml of whiskey.

I realise I started this thread with good intentions and then abandoned it. My intention is to edit my OP and put some basics in there, and then turn this into an ace thread with regular updates. Thanks for keeping it's corpse somewhat warm.

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Bump!

Thanks to Floshenbarnical's cocktail recipe in the Story thread, I was inspired and found this thread.

I've been thinking of getting into making cocktails at home as I love the awesome and interesting stuff you can get these days. Favourite tipples? Anything with Bourbon and bitters!

So, any helpful tips - I need some gear first.... cocktail shaker, jigger and all that.

Thanks!

Ascot Wholesale should be in your bookmarks bar. It has everything you need, and more. You will need:

- A Boston Shaker (£4.32)

- A small measuring cup. Get this OXO one from the UK website when it's back up.

- A Hawthorne Strainer (£3.36)

- A Julep Strainer (£1.92)

- A bar spoon (£3.48) (Get one with a muddler on the bottom like this one; it saves time and washing up)

- An ice cube tray, preferably one like in the link. You don't want to buy ice; cocktails are ruined by shit store-bought ice because it melts too quickly. Get these biggish ice cube trays, which make actual cubes and not rectangles, and use boiling water to make the cubes; boiling the water releases a lot of the air in the water and allows the ice to freeze slower and harder.

- Some decent glasses. Try getting a couple of each; old fashioned (rocks), Martini, coupettes, slings ... Once again, you can use Ascot or Cocktail Kingdom to source them, but honestly you can find some really beautiful glassware in charity shops for next to nothing.

- Finally, and this'll sound weird, get your hands on a A4-sized canvas/ cloth bag (nothing too fancy, just like one of the reuseable ones you can buy from M&S at the checkout) and a wooden mallet. You put your ice in the bag, fold the top over, and smash the shit out it with the mallet to make crushed ice.

Then, buy Robert Hess' "The Essential Bartender's Guide, Dale DeGroff's "The Craft of the Cocktail", and Gary Regan's "The Joy of Mixology", and then follow all three on Twitter.

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Great posts, FB. I knew the history of the Old Fashioned but the bitters stuff was fascinating. I love cocktails, although I have scant knowledge of this complex topic -- keep posting!

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Floshen, do you post on twitter / instagram?

I'm interested in the cocktail scene on social media as I know a couple of great cocktail barmen who I want to help gain more exposure.

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God I wish I still had the money to stock a bar with a good variety of decent spirits and liqueurs. Nowadays I make do with the occasional martini, manhattan or negroni, nice and simple classics that don't need ten different ingredients only to turn out a gimmicky mess anyway. And don't need citrus juice to kill the sweetness either, "girly" saccharine cocktails like sex on the beach should've died with the 90s.

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Re: freezing ice with boiling water. You should do this because it freezes faster, not slower- thermal gradients and all that. Ideally you'd have a commercial ice maker that drips warm water gradually into a mould until it forms fast-frozen, solid lumps of square coldness, but this is not practical as they are huge and expensive to run, never mind buy.

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God I wish I still had the money to stock a bar with a good variety of decent spirits and liqueurs. Nowadays I make do with the occasional martini, manhattan or negroni, nice and simple classics that don't need ten different ingredients only to turn out a gimmicky mess anyway. And don't need citrus juice to kill the sweetness either, "girly" saccharine cocktails like sex on the beach should've died with the 90s.

Twelve Bottle Bar should be an enormous help. It's a drinks recipe site where only 12 bottles of booze are used. Will cost you a couple of hundred to get started but it's not going to take thousands like a full bar with.

Re: freezing ice with boiling water. You should do this because it freezes faster, not slower- thermal gradients and all that. Ideally you'd have a commercial ice maker that drips warm water gradually into a mould until it forms fast-frozen, solid lumps of square coldness, but this is not practical as they are huge and expensive to run, never mind buy.

Oh. I didn't know it froze faster. How bizarre. Thanks!

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Here's how I make (and like) my Old Fashioned, so far anyway. Feel free to criticised, FB!

Put a handful of ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Add 2.5 oz Woodford Reserve, 3 dashes Angostura bitters, 1 tsp of 50/50 simple syrup. Shake. Decant into glass. Add one maraschino cherry and crush with a muddler. Add one ice cube from the shaker into the glass. Drink, and make another.

I'd use fresh orange, rather than cherry, but I rarely have any on hand. Plus I like cherries.

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Who gives a shit? If you like it, then drink it. It's only when serving across a bar that you have to really be purist about things; if people ask for something by name and you don't give them exactly that, then you're not doing your job.

The only thing I'd say is that short drinks are traditionally stirred (James Bond can fuck off with shaken martinis) because shaking introduces air bubbles and makes the drink go chalky. But whatever. If you're not serving it in a professional environment then who cares how it tastes?

I like making rum Old Fashioneds, too.

Half a sugar cube

Dissolve it in Aztec Chocolate Bitters, and Grapefruit Bitters, both by Fee Brothers.

Crush, muddle.

Add 2oz Gosling's Black Seal rum (or any decent molasses-based dark rum, for that matter) while stirring with ice cubes.

Zest with some grapefruit peel and drink the living daylights out of it.

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Who gives a shit? If you like it, then drink it.

The only thing I'd say is that short drinks are traditionally stirred (James Bond can fuck off with shaken martinis) because shaking introduces air bubbles and makes the drink go chalky.
Ah! So that's why that happens. Thanks

I adopted shaking as a way of chilling the drink without adding so much ice that it was diluted. I probably need to experiment with the ice I use instead -- a single larger cube would probably be better.

Because I'm an inveterate fiddler with things -- you should have seen how many different carbonara recipes I've worked my way through -- and I haven't changed how I make Old Fashioneds for a while now. So I'm happy to try variations. I'm all about the journey, me.

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