Down along the Texas Gulf Coast, there is a sprawling, cosmopolitan metropolis known as Houston. Within the downtown district of the 600 square mile city, there is a tire store that has been converted into a bar, that now bears the name Anvil. I have never been to this particular bar, yet I read a very interesting article in the Houston Press yesterday that put this place in one of the top 10 bars in the country that I would like to visit. The staff at Anvil have put together a list of 100 essential beverages(most of them cocktails by definition) that they feel everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. I have tried many of these libations already, but there are numerous of which I’ve never even heard of. Anvil has issued out a card with the full list on the front and back, and every time a customer has partaken in one of these beverages, they cross it off his/her list. Even though I am unable to do this at Anvil, as I do live quite some distance from Houston, I CAN do it myself, and look to do so over a long period of time. For now, let’s look at some of the more interesting concoctions on this list, and some of the ones that I have already experienced.
Posts Tagged ‘Martini’
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.
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…
In an attempt to preserve the look and feel of a classic cocktail (martini) glass, but cut back on spills related to the long stem and wide lip, inventor Renee Williams has inadvertently created an enhancement for clumsy drinkers which makes the otherwise-elegant martini glass look almost like a UFO (click here to see image).
“Sipatiniz maintain the standard shape of a martini glass but feature a curved rim and a straw to prevent spills,” noted the Dallas, Texas based Star community newspaper. “With Sipatiniz, party goers may walk across the room at ease without fear of sloshing their favorite drink out of the glass.”
After designing the initial concept for a sort of “spill-guard” combined with a martini glass, Williams found a manufacturer to produce the “Sipatiniz” for her, and entered her invention into a Dallas-area “Next Big Thing” contest. In December, Williams’ design was one of three finalists selected by judges in the event, landing her a $10,000 prize package. Presently, the Sipatiniz are available at a variety of gift stores and other retail locations in and around Dallas.
The general consensus among true drink connoisseurs is (and always has been) that a fine cocktail beverage is a proper blend of a few flavors, not a muddling mixture of too many. Thus, according to such lore from the annals of fine mixology, many weekend barflies may be surprised to learn that one of today’s most popular beverages certainly wouldn’t be considered a “fine cocktail”; the drink in question is none other than the Long Island Iced Tea.
This beverage, since its creation in 1976, has grown to a position of immense popularity, especially among college-age drinkers traditionally around the time of spring break. Modern Drunkard magazine cites it as a beverage which “no matter how old you are, at some level, you’re still afraid your parents are going to catch you drinking,” due to its ability to mask that a cocktail is being consumed at all with its convenient resemblance to non-alcoholic iced tea. But be warned; however much it may look like iced tea, be reminded that it surely isn’t. Sporting a recipe that includes equal parts vodka, gin, tequila, rum and triple sec, the drink is typically higher in alcohol concentration that most beverages (around 28%), and thus has the effect of ridding one of their sobriety more quickly.
It’s Friday… and many Americans will be going out to enjoy a few beverages this evening. Of this massive number of socialites who will be hitting the bars, at least a good portion of them may be hitting the floor also… that’s right, not everyone can be convinced that excess isn’t always best! This being the case, the unpleasant after effects of drinking too much can rear their ugly heads in the form of a hangover.
A hangover (the technical name for which is veisalgia) is the combination of ailments that follow the heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. Most commonly reported characteristics of hangovers include nausea, headaches, sensitivity to light and noise, thirst resulting from dehydration, and even mood swings that often favor sadness and displeasure. No doubt, since man first discovered spirits and their uplifting, intoxicating effects, he has similarly sought to find a remedy for the unpleasant mornings that follow any such evening of drunken euphoria.
PROHIBITION ALERT: And you’ll never guess where…
…Wrong again. It’s UTAH, the great state of fear-mongering.
Apparently, Utah state legislators are pressing for laws that will restrict restaurants from making mixed drinks in view of minors seated in their establishment. According to senate president Michael Waddoups, such legislation is necessary to protect the “safety and mental future of our children.” As we all know by now, “monkey see… monkey do.” Lord help us, we can’t have our children driven to insanity by watching bartenders pour up drinks… shield their virgin eyes, and presumably wait until the drinks arrive safely at the table, where they may be consumed in full-view of youngsters far and wide.
Indeed, restaurants falling under this new proposed category of restriction will be forced to remodel if their bar is visible from main dining areas. Hey, while we’re at it, we might as well go ahead and ban people from being allowed to light cigarettes in front of minors as well, eh? Apparently the problem with mixed drinks, according to legislators, is the act of making them in front of youngsters instead of the far less harmful act of drinking them; therefore, if we continue to follow this logic, a ban on lighting cigarettes in view of minors should likely be passed as well. Granted, the act of smoking in front of kiddies ought to be fine and dandy, right?
Hell, let’s take no chances… why not go ahead and just kill two birds with one stone? Why not say all smokers have to sit at the bar from now on as well (which will already be shielded from the highly impressionable young eyes of our children, of course). After all, this is America the free, baby.
In a report issued by the Associated Press earlier this week, the state of New Hampshire “is taking advantage of the bad economy by aggressively marketing less-expensive liquor to out-of-state customers.”
According to the report, liquor sales in the state are already roughly 4 percent higher than they were this time last year. Mark Bodi, chairman of the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission, shares that this most likely has a good bit to do with bargain-hunters coming from neighboring states. “Though wines priced above $25 a bottle are off, the state is seeing strong sales of cheaper boxed wine and larger sized bottles,” he says, also discussing Beer sales which have risen after being “flat” for half a decade. Oh wait, I get it. Beer sales had gone flat… heh heh…
This is only a small example of alcohol sales rising on a localized statewide level; New Hampshire in this instance. However, one must ask if the same sort of thing couldn’t happen much the same way in other states (or is it already occurring)? Is this further evidence of the notion that alcohol sales may indeed be a “recession-proof” industry of sorts?
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.
A press release by the American Fertility Association announced the first installment of its “Manicures and Martinis” infertility program in New York recently, intended to educate some-day mothers about the realities of infertility. In keeping with trends toward organic beverages, the event offers real martinis, or for the teetotalers among us, the “Fertilitini”, their new trademark non-alcoholic beverage, made with all organic ingredients. Below is the AFA’s original press release about the event:
NEW YORK, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ — The American Fertility Association launched the much anticipated Manicures & Martinis infertility prevention program Tuesday night at Dashing Diva Nail Salon in Gramercy Park, Manhattan. The event exceeded all expectations, drawing a standing-room-only crowd of young women from around the city and beyond. Manicures & Martinis targets young women who are not quite ready to conceive, but might one day want to have a child. The series features health care professionals leading a conversation about how to prevent infertility, while the attendees enjoy a complimentary manicure and martini or a Fertilitini(TM), an all-organic, alcohol-free beverage, whose recipe is the winning entry from a nationwide contest.