since May 2009


Lucien Gaudin Cocktail 8 Feb 2011
4:20 pm

Someone once mentioned that the Negroni works well with Hendrick’s gin. This might likewise…?

Oh and “Bing search” indeed…::rolls eyes::...you can leave the day job behind when you come home you know :-)

Lucien Gaudin Cocktail 15 Feb 2011
5:49 pm

Blair, on the Negroni being rather crisp: I tried the Negroni served straight up, but after forming the same impression I find I much prefer the Negroni built in a glass and served on the rocks. That’s the only way I drink Negronis now (and I do like a Negroni).

Bobby Burns Cocktail 7 Feb 2011
4:58 pm

Ooh! New episodes!

I’m curious about your use of Glenfiddich here. Glenfiddich is one of the lighter and milder tasting Scotch whiskies, whereas a Manhattan often calls for rye, which typically has a very bold and spicy flavour. I wonder about using a Scotch with a more pronounced flavour—have you compared different varieties?

(Also, given that this is a mixed drink, is it extravagant to use a single malt in this?)

Inside the Kitchen Door - Episode One - Part One 28 Mar 2010
4:52 pm

Ah, so I’ve been sitting here smiling as I watch this. That’s a very complex sauce with a long preparation. How do you do that in a restaurant setting? I’m guessing you make the sauce in advance and keep it ready for when someone orders the dish?

Margarita Cocktail 6 Mar 2010
3:14 pm

I just did a taste test between a “Grand” Margarita (made with Grand Marnier) and a regular Margarita (made with Cointreau). I used the same proportions and two halves of the same lime (with 1800 Silver tequila). I definitely found the one made with Cointreau to taste better, though I struggle to say exactly why. The one with Cointreau is more balanced, with a sharper and more pronounced kick to it, whereas the one with Grand Marnier is somehow softer and too round in taste.

I know one in principle should use less Grand Marnier than Cointreau if substituting, but I do think Cointreau works best.

Margarita Cocktail 18 May 2010
10:23 am

For anyone in California, Trader Joe’s has 1 liter of 1800 Silver tequila at $19.99 and 750 ml Milagro Silver also at $19.99. Both are decent 100% agave products and very good value at those prices. I do not know about availability in stores outside CA.

I have to say that in CA also we are spoiled for choice where spirits are concerned.

Margarita Cocktail 13 Sep 2010
10:13 am

I made Nick’s recipe a couple of times over the weekend and I quite liked the result. I find that 3 1/3 oz of spirits in a drink makes it a bit too alcoholic and so I have been interested in lower alcohol Margarita recipes. My own slight variations were to use 1800 Silver tequila (I don’t have any reposado), and to use a little more orange. I have not liked any cocktail with orange juice I have tried before, but in this case the sweetness seems to blend with the lime and it balances out. I will be making more of these for sure.

Margarita Cocktail 13 Sep 2010
12:33 pm

Indeed the first bottle of 1800 Silver I bought was quite expensive, but recently Trader Joe’s here in CA has started carrying the larger 1 liter bottle at $19.99. I feel it is a bargain at that price. TJ also has Milagro silver at $19.99, but that is the regular 750 ml bottle. I like both.

While on the subject of Trader Joe’s, they also carry two kinds of agave nectar (“agave sweetener” they call it), one of which is a raw organic product.

21st Century Cocktail 26 Jun 2009
4:51 pm

I don’t know, what can I say? ... Eeew!

Somehow this just doesn’t work for me. That combination of flavors somehow collides rather than mixes harmoniously. Maybe something went wrong with my combination of ingredients, but I can’t see myself making another one.

Sorry. Not everything can be a winner for everyone I guess.

Old Cuban Cocktail 8 Jun 2009
6:09 pm

Ah, good. I’ve been looking for more recipes that use rum.

I’m a little surprised to see you using the “Soft Grip” squeezer though. Mine is sitting unused at the back of a drawer. I have found it to be one of those products where someone apparently designed it on paper and put it into production without testing it to see if it actually works. It squirts juice everywhere except into the container (is that why you have your hand cupped over it when you squeeze?) and it leaves lots of juice behind in the fruit. I strongly recommend instead the classic design from Mexico in bright yellow or green. It works much better.

For simple syrup, a handy tip is to make it as required with a microwave. For 1 oz of syrup, simply measure 1 oz of fine baker’s sugar with the measuring cup, add it to a coffee cup with 1 oz of water, and microwave on high in 5 second bursts, stirring each time. Within seconds you have simple syrup in just the required amount and no messing around with saucepans. Of course you won’t use this method in a bar, but for home mixology it is very convenient.

Old Cuban Cocktail 9 Jun 2009
6:51 am

About simple syrup in the microwave and adding heat to the drink: most recipes only call for 1/2 or 1/4 oz of syrup, and by the time I have removed such a small quantity from the microwave and transferred it to the mixing glass with the other ingredients I find it has essentially returned to room temperature.

Secondly it seems like some kind of “magic” happens when dissolving the sugar. The action of the microwave seems to help it dissolve more rapidly than heating on the stove top, so the syrup is only just a little warm by the time the sugar is all dissolved. I do also use the very fine baker’s sugar rather than the larger granulated kind.

Old Cuban Cocktail 11 Jun 2009
8:00 pm

Well, I feel that the choice of rum really makes the difference in this drink. I first tried it with Appleton Special, a straightforward golden rum, and was quite uninspired. There were a variety of flavours there, but they didn’t seem to meld together. Later I tried it with Cruzan Black Strap, a much richer and darker variety. I feel the drink was transformed by that and was at once sweet and complex and with much greater intensity. Maybe a more complex rum than the Black Strap would be better still.

As for the Champagne, the genuine French variety tends to be somewhat pricey, but there are some nice options from California that are very drinkable at a more reasonable price. I tried Domaine Chandon Brut Classic and found it quite satisfactory. I just can’t make up my mind whether to drink it straight or make another Old Cuban!

Widow's Kiss 18 May 2009
7:46 pm

I think something to amplify about what Robert said is that there is no single “right” recipe. There is only your own personal “right” recipe, according to your own taste.

So what you need to consider is not “how big is a dash?”, but rather “is every dash from that bottle of bitters the same dash?” With practice you can judge how much will flow from the bottle when you shake it, and you can learn to get about the same amount each time. After that you can vary the amount each time you make the recipe until you find what suits your taste. If you follow someone else’s proportions exactly, you will find out how they like the drink, but that may not be how you like the drink.

For instance, I tend to find Robert’s taste tends towards the sweeter side of things, so I will often use a little more of the sour or less of the sweet than Robert does in recipes in order to meet my own preference. Mixing drinks is an adventure, and if you found every recipe published for a given drink was the same, it would be a miracle!

Pegu Club Cocktail 16 Feb 2010
5:29 pm

“you can try Patron Citronge”

Please no, good heavens no!!!

Patron Citronge is the most vile alcoholic concoction ever put inside a pretty glass bottle. It is disgusting!

If you want to know what it is like, imagine surgical alcohol with some orange oil added to it. You might use it for disinfecting wounds, but please don’t think about drinking it.

I have a bottle I bought a long time ago as an experiment, but I can’t find any way to use it up. There is no cocktail I know of with enough additional flavor to tame the Citronge and make it drinkable. It destroys anything you add it to.

I know Citronge is cheap, but save up your money and buy Cointreau instead. Your Margaritas will love you for it.

Pegu Club Cocktail 16 Feb 2010
6:13 pm


I’m afraid we will have to agree to disagree on this :-)

I have bottles of Cointreau and Citronge in front of me. On the nose Cointreau has a wonderful deep warm complexity of orange notes, whereas Citronge has a medicinal, almost industrial aroma of alcohol with a sharp and one dimensional hint of orange carried behind it. There is no depth or complexity there.

When I put Citronge in a drink some kind of off-taste comes through, perhaps the bitterness you speak of. I have tried several times, but I cannot bring myself to like it.

Anyway, let others try it and see what they think :-) Taste is personal, right?