Posts Tagged ‘cocktail’
Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
By Micah Hanks
Recently, I had a chance to catch up with my good friend Lesley Groetsch, owner of one of the nicest new bars to hit Asheville North Carolina in recent years: The Asheville Sazerac.
As stated at their website, much of the location’s inspiration is drawn from old New Orleans, though the Sazerac “is a uniquely Asheville restaurant and cocktail lounge.” Asheville may be “Beer City East,” but there is no doubt still quite a cocktail culture here as well; The Asheville Sazerac helps affirm this in the minds of Southern cocktailians everywhere.
“Classic and contemporary cocktails, a full menu of sumptuous small plates, lounge seating and rooftop dining have all made Sazerac an instant favorite. Whether you are a seasoned local or a sophisticated tourist, put Sazerac on your must-visit list today.” Indeed, to draw so well from the spicy flavors and culture of the Big Easy, The Asheville Sazerac speaks to the heart of its hometown. In future posts here at the site, we’ll be sure and get more information from Lesley about her fine new venture she and her husband, Jack, have brought to the table. In the meantime, if you’re planning on visiting Asheville soon (or better yet, you’re already a local), you can learn more about the Sazerac by following the link below:
The Asheville Sazerac
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
We all know that I’ve been on a bit of a Champagne flap for the past month, so let it be known that it will continue for at least one more article.
I was at the grocery store last night, buying sushi from the seafood bar. After making my selection (two California rolls), I happened by the wine section, and was immediately interested in the available stock. After perusing through the French, Spanish, and North Carolina wines, I came upon the Champagne selection and was reminded of my seemingly inherent love for the bubbly libation. I scanned the shelves until noticing a sticker that said “Wine & Spirits Magazine – Best Value Brand, 3 Years in a Row” on the neck of a bottle of Cristalino Brut. Intrigued, I purchased the bottle and made my way home. The sushi was delicious, better than most Japanese restaurants I’ve been to over the years actually. My ideas for the Champagne, however, were not as successful.
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Due to the way that heat from one’s hands can tend to melt ice in an otherwise splendid cocktail, thus dilluting the spirits within, it is commonly held that ice shouldn’t be introduced to a serving of fine Scotch whisky. Instead, it is widely recommended that mixologists opt to serve it “neat”. However, the Macallan Company (makers of the Scotch of the same name) are now offering a device which creates a perfectly round ice ball, which by itself can add its frosty element to your quality spirit, without compromising the age and flavor. But how exactly does a round ball of ice cool your drink more effectively than a regular ice cube?
By virtue of its pleasant round shape, a ball of ice not only floats conveniently in the center of your beverage, but it also has less surface space capable of being in close proximity to the edges of the glass, where heat from one’s hand can collect. Macallan’s ice-maker can be viewed by following this link.
Thursday, March 19th, 2009
The Richmond Cocktail; old ingredients with a new name, in honor of a historic landmark.
A terrible fire erupted in the mountains of Western North Carolina in the early hours of March 19, with the blaze that ensued managing to consume a historic landmark, the Richmond Hill Inn, near Asheville. Area news source the Asheville Citizen Times reported that “The months leading up to a devastating fire today at the Richmond Hill Inn were fraught with conflict as current and former owners battled over a $6.8 million debt. The historic inn building and surrounding complex were set to be sold April 16 on the courthouse steps because of an unpaid mortgage.”
Area officials suspect arson as the cause of the fire that consumed the landmark, and speculation abounds as to who, how or why it may have occurred.
Weather in the mountains was particularly dreary today, with the first spring thunderstorm arriving only hours too late to aid in quenching the smoke that still pours off Richmond Hill outside of town. As I drove North toward the township of Woodfin today on business, I could still see firefighters perched above the ruins, working to insure that no embers continued to burn within (I understand that thirtteen different firefighting crews were needed to assist in extinguishing the fire at its worst). After such melancholy news, I retired early this evening to continue working on excessive records and reciepts for the ever-nearing tax deadlines next month, and by around 8 PM this evening it became evident that a cocktail was in order.
Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Yesterday the New York Times featured a recipe for a cleverly-named cocktail, which they call “The Market Crash”. As much as alcohol and its particular relation to the present economic situation the world-over is discussed on this Web site, I felt that this one must be added to the cavalcade of crash-cocktails we’ll no doubt continue to enjoy for the next several months (at least). That being said, do you have a recession-themed beverage that you would like to recommend to Culture of Spirits? If so, email it to us by clicking here.
And now, on to that recipe…
Sunday, February 1st, 2009
When asked to give the best example of a great American mixed-drink, no doubt many a spirit-purist would cite the Old Fashioned as the definitive classic cocktail. According to frontier legend, the first use of the name “Old Fashioned” was with a kind of Bourbon whiskey cocktail served at the Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky, back in the 1880s. The recipe, supposedly invented by a bartender at the Pendennis, was also popularized by Colonel James E. Pepper, a regular there at the club who is later was said to have brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. On the other hand, historians would argue that the term “Old Fashioned” was already in use around the same time Pendennis Club was established (Editor’s Note: Indeed it was, and according to mixologist Robert Hess, the beverage is actually a traditional “Whiskey Cocktail, served old fashioned” and was likely stated as such, hence the origin of its popular name today. This title dates back to at least a year prior to the opening of the Pendennis). But all theories regarding its origin put aside, the heart of the debate that rages over the Old Fashioned today has the most to do with what goes in the damned thing.
The basic ingredients in the recipe appear to have been immortalized in print three-quarters of a century earlier than beverages were served at the Pendennis, in response to a letter asking to define the word “cocktail” in the May 6, 1806 issue of the New York Balance and Columbia Repository. The May 13 issue that would follow featured a note from the editor, who described it as a potent concoction of “spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters.”
With all due respect to the years lapsing between, at this point we’ll fast forward to 1948, and the release of David A. Embury’s seminal testament on the art of crafting classy mixed beverages The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. The reason for this was perhaps best summed up in the author’s views regarding the creation of any good cocktail beverage, which stated that the ideal mixed drink “should be made from good-quality, high-proof liquors”, and “should whet rather than dull the appetite. Thus, it should never be sweet or syrupy, or contain too much fruit juice, egg or cream.” Following Embury’s guidelines goes directly against practices maintained during the prohibition period, which involved heavy use of sugars, syrups, and fruits to hide the flavor of poor-quality liquors. This being said, we’ll skip straight to Embury’s notion that the over-use of sugar or fruity elements (both of which are called for in most Old Fashioned recipes) will need to be something to avoid when mixing this concoction correctly.