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The Grandfather | Friday night cocktails

21 Feb


For those who like Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. Delish.

1 oz. bourbon
1 oz. apple jack
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.


Bourbon smash, a la Dosa

24 Apr

The highlight of my meal last night at Dosa was not the meal (which was delicious). It was the bourbon smash, made with blood orange. I ordered a second partially because it was amazing and partially to watch the bartender make it (he happily obliged).

Bourbon Smash

  • 2 quarters lemon
  • 1 quarter blood orange
  • 1.5 oz. (?) Buffalo Trace bourbon
  • 1 oz. (?) maple syrup
  • mint leaves
  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker, then muddle.
  2. Add ice, shake well.
  3. Strain with a tea strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Add mint leaves as garnish, and serve.

Recipe note: I forgot to ask for the quantities for the liquids. I guess I’ll just have to use trial and error. Any taste-testing volunteers?

Equipment note: The bartender used a muddler that was roughly the size of a toddler’s forearm. It took three twists to muddle this all into a delicious blend. I was in awe. He recommended Mister Mojito as a source for monster muddlers. (The Hammer muddler looks the closest to what he used.)

Delicious. I also have to say that the bar staff at Dosa and the gentleman in the gorgeous blue patterned shirt (I believe it was Anjan Mitra, the owner) were so great: friendly, well-informed (one of my friends is gluten-free), quick, and engaged — both in their work and with the customer. They more than made up for the distracted and slightly snobbish host. If there’s a long wait for a table and you can get a seat at the bar, I highly recommend eating there.

The Zenzerro: ginger, bourbon, and mint cocktail

5 Dec

A few months ago, I had the fabulous opportunity to interview Southern food writer John T. Edge over drinks at the Bar Americano at the Hotel Vitale in San Francisco. Although the bartender initially steered me to the girly drinks, while I pondered the selection, Edge asked, “Will the Zenzerro be acidic enough for my liking?” (Southern food writers talk like that.) Bourbon, mint, ginger ale, and gingercello (gingercello?) — what wasn’t there to like? (Note: Sadly, they’ve since replaced the Zenzerro with the Ginger Bullet — Bulleit bourbon, ginger ale, gingercello, and bitters.)

We both ordered the Zenzerro. It was delicious. Just sweet enough, very spicy, and the mint helped smooth everything over.

I set about trying to recreate the gingercello first. I asked my moonshiner friend if he had any recommended ratios of flavoring to alcohol. He didn’t, but he did warn that I should keep tasting the gingercello every week or so. “A friend tried to make ginger moonshine,” he told me. “He let the ginger infuse so long, it was undrinkable.”

Duly noted. I grated about an inch of fresh ginger root, let it sit in a bottle with vodka for a few weeks, and tried it a few weeks later. It was — meh. I tried the drink, and it was good, but not the subtle blend that I remembered. The proportions still had to be figured out, but overall, it just wasn’t gingery enough.

I signed myself up for a DIY Mixology class on infused alcohol at Workshop. As we poured the ingredients together for limoncello, I figured out the missing element: sugar. Sure enough, after I added some to my gingercello, the ginger flavor was much stronger. Then I found this recipe for gingercello, which actually included proportions. I’ll try that next.

So then, to try the actual recipe. On the first attempt, I used Canada Dry ginger ale, which is nice and bubbly but does not have the proper ginger potency. On the second attempt, I tried Reed’s Premium Ginger Brew, which had the right flavor but not enough bubbles. Still, it allowed me to find the right proportions, with a tiny bit of tweaking. Here’s my recipe:

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1.5 oz. gingercello
  • 10 mint leaves
  • ginger ale (roughly 6 oz. per glass)*
  • ice

Pour the bourbon into an old-fashioned glass. Determinedly muddle the mint with the bourbon, then add the gingercello. Stir. Add ice, then fill to the top with the ginger ale. Stir again if you want. Clink glasses with a dear friend and enjoy.

* Don’t skimp. American mass-market ginger ale is simply too wimpy for this drink (British or Australian Schweppes might work, though). The ideal ginger ale here has a strong, spicy, natural ginger flavor. It should be carbonated enough that the bubbles move through the drink but not so much that the bubbles tickle your nose as you sip. This is a manly drink. Manly drinks don’t tickle.

Novel Drinks

7 May

I was just reading about a Lemon-Thyme Gimlet, on Slashfood, and the author mentioned that he started drinking gimlets after reading about them in Raymond Chandler novels. That’s why I did, too. Philip Marlowe made them sound so damn cool. I prefer mine like Marlowe’s–Rose’s lime juice, not fresh. It made me wonder what other food and drinks I’ve tried just because I’ve read about them in a novel.

(By the way, The Big Lebowski is based, in part, on Chandler’s novel The Big Sleep. The Dude’s Caucasians are his version of Marlowe’s gimlets.)

Martini Pitcher: Instant Elegance

20 Oct

Nothing says retro cool like a martini pitcher. More than the vintage cocktail shakers, martini pitchers prove that you�re committed to the cocktail lifestyle. Tall, narrow, and elegant, with a heavy glass stirrer, they can be used to serve any cool drink, from mint juleps to lemonade, and they make serving mixed drinks a (sea)breeze.

Try these:
Smoked glass from
Kate Spade’s barware collection
Mikasa fun polka-dot pitcher