The Norman Conquest: from England to San Diego

Last year I visited the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London and tried one of Erik Lorincz‘s creations, the Norman Conquest. It was similar to a Manhattan with a mix of bourbon and calvados as the base spirit. I love calvados so the drink captured my interest.

At the American Bar they used Woodford Reserve bourbon and Martini Rosso vermouth; at home I recreated the cocktail with Buffalo Trace and Dolin rouge for a more assertive mix. My calvados is Daron.

Then I remembered that I had tried a similar Manhattan variation with apple brandy in the past, Sam Ross’ Grandfather. He calls for applejack but I used calvados. I made them side-by-side for comparison purposes. The differences are minor – the simple syrup and orange twist in Erik Lorincz’s version, the Peychaud’s bitters in Sam Ross’ version, calvados vs. applejack, rocks vs. up. 10661170865_4c1359e330_z.jpg Continue reading

Fish House Punch

Since living in the U.S., there are a few holiday traditions that I have adopted. While I refuse to be involved with turkey in any shape or form, I can certainly appreciate a nice holiday punch. I’ve noticed that it tends to make family reunions a little more pleasant for everyone. And some, like the Fish House Punch, are so tasty that they get requested year after year.

There is a little place from out of town
Where, if you go to lunch,
They’ll make you forget your mother-in-law
With a drink called Fish-House Punch.

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Perfect Storm

  1. Leaky ice maker
  2. Freezer converted into giant block of ice
  3. Repairmen break a wall while “repairing” freezer
  4. Extensive leaks after repair
  5. Pay $250 and go back to step 2
  6. Spend 1 hour chiseling out ice to extract ingredients for dinner
  7. Kitchen transformed into a giant swimming pool
  8. Need a drink
  9. Abundant ice available, none suitable for cocktails
  10. Secret stash of Tovolo ice cubes located
  11. Cocktail achieved

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Level-headed

Dinah Sanders who authored the Art of the Shim, a nice little book about low-alcohol cocktails, is hosting Mixology Monday this month and has chosen shims as her theme. She defines them as drinks that contain less than half an ounce of strong spirits.

One of my favorite discoveries in the book is the Rhum Dandy Shim by Craig Lane of Bar Agricole in San Francisco. It’s red vermouth-based and cleverly uses rhum agricole and absinthe as modifiers. It manages to create a huge amount of flavor with only half an ounce of hard liquor. A very inspiring drink that shows that you don’t have to compromise on taste with these low-octane libations.

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