Sunday, January 31, 2010


Amaretto Tea
Drink Type: Cocktail - A
6 oz. Tea (Hot)
2 oz. Amaretto
Pour hot tea into a pousse-café glass, using a spoon in the glass to prevent cracking. Add Amaretto, but do not stir. Top with whipped cream.

“Pour into a what?” I asked myself. Glassware is almost as important as the alcohol in the consumption of alcohol, as I have come to realize. One site for glassware says that the pousse-cafe glass is not manufactured anymore. A pousse-café glass looks like an over-sized pony glass, but with a flare to the top. It’s stemmed, and holds about six ounces. It is said to make an art out of the science of drinks.

Pousse-café glasses are used for creating a layered drink. Different liquids have different densities. Heavy liqueurs are used for the bottom layer of the cocktail, and progressively lighter liquids are added to build the layers. “The art comes in actually building the layers. After pouring in the first layer, insert the bowl of the spoon into the glass as far as it will go without being in the liquid, with the rounded side of the spoon facing up. Adjust the tip of the spoon so that it’s very near, or even touching the side of the glass. Very gently pour the next layer over the bowl of the spoon, so that it floats on top of the previous layer. The trick is to pour in a steady but very slow stream to prevent the layers from mixing.”

I recently picked up a glass to use for Irish coffee that should work well.  It looks similar to the description of a pousse-café glass. (

The Amaretto Tea doesn’t lend its self to layering, I discovered this while trying the spoon trick.  Also, I threw two cherries in to see what would happen ( they sunk--warm cherries work well in a hot pie not in a hot tea). Otherwise…thumbs up.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Disaronno: What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;

Enticing holiday commercials showed partiers asking for Disaronno.  “What,” this novice asks, “is Disaronno.? 

Just as the confusion over Tanqueray and the discovery that it was merely gin existed, there was a realization that Disaronno is merely amaretto.  ...And I love the artificial, non-alcoholic amaretto used to flavor coffee.  Amaretto is an Italian sweet almond-flavoured liqueur. It is made from a base of apricot or almond pits, or sometimes both.

Disaronno Originale has a characteristic bittersweet almond taste (although it contains no almonds or nuts).  Disaronno claims its "originale" amaretto's "secret formula" is unchanged from the year 1525.  The company describes its amaretto as an infusion of "apricot kernel oil" with "absolute alcohol, burnt sugar, and the pure essence of seventeen selected herbs and fruits". The amber liqueur is presented in a rectangular glass decanter designed by a craftsman from Murano.

The amaretto name is a diminutive of the Italian amaro, meaning "bitter", indicating the distinctive flavour lent by the mandorla amara--the bitter almond or the drupe kernel. However, the bitterness is not unpalatable, and the flavour is enhanced by sweeteners, and sometimes sweet almonds, in the final products. Therefore, the liqueur's name can be said to describe the taste as "a little bitter".  Conflation of amare and amore ("love") is primarily responsible for the associations with romance.  Amaretto should not be confused with amaro, a different family of Italian liqueurs that, while also sweetened, have a stronger bitter flavour coming from herbs.

Amaretto serves a variety of culinary uses.

Amaretto may be served neat (by itself) or on the rocks (with ice). It is often added to other beverages to create several popular mixed drinks. It is also a popular choice of liqueur to add to coffee in the morning.

•    Amaretto is added to desserts, including ice cream, which enhances the flavour of the dessert with almonds and complements chocolate.
•    Savoury recipes which call for it usually focus on meat, such as chicken.
•    A few shots of Amaretto can be added to pancake batter for a richer flavour.
•    often a major flavor component almondine sauce used on fish and vegetables

Move on over Irish coffee, what a lovely morning coffee Disaronno creates.  Maybe I will make pancakes next week.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy Anniversary Prohibition

The Temperance movement blamed alcohol for many of society's ills, especially crime and murder. Saloons, a social haven for men who lived in the still untamed West, were viewed by many, especially women, as a place of debauchery and evil. Prohibition, members of the Temperance movement urged, would stop husbands from spending all the family income on alcohol and prevent accidents in the workplace caused by workers who drank during lunch.

In the beginning of the 20th century, there were Temperance organizations in nearly every state. By 1916, over half of the U.S. states already had statutes that prohibited alcohol. In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcohol, was ratified. It went into effect on January 16, 1920.

On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, making alcohol once again legal. This was the first and only time in U.S. history that an Amendment has been repealed.

Miss Kitty, my barkeep, and Blood and Sand

I consoled myself earlier this week with a drink called Blood and Sand. My good friend, Miss Kitty passed away.  When they are old and sick you can prepare yourself, but she wasn’t.  The vet thinks she was manufacturing blood clots, when I took her in her front left side was paralyzed. So we did what was best for her.

Miss Kitty was named for the barkeep on Gunsmoke.  Pretty, aloof and  smart, topped off with a little of a hard edge.

I am realizing that in my old age, I am enjoying lighter, tropical drinks.  Blood and Sand’s only drawback is the color of the drink, in a dark bar I suppose you wouldn’t notice.

My supply of Famous Grouse Scotch, est. 1800, is running low.  Dewar’s White Label, est. 1846, is the new kid on the block.  Amazingly, you can see a color difference, the Grouse is darker.  The Famous Grouse also has an earthier smell compared to the Dewar’s.  My experiment on learning to drink Scotch is progressing well.  I can drink two fingers of Dewar’s with one ice cube, no water.

Blood and Sand

1 part DeKuyper Cherry Flavored Brandy
1 part blended Scotch
4 parts orange juice  

Friday, January 8, 2010

It’s all in the name

Tanqueray appeared in many of the commercials that interupted online movie and television shows during December.  They made it sound exotic and foreign.  Tanqueray is gin.  I was tempted to say, "Merely."  I stopped myself.  I am learning that this is a serious business.  Merely would be calling a Mercedes merely a car.  Modern gins may remain very simple – such as the Beefeater London dry gin, which is more-or-less the same recipe used by Beefeater when they opened shop in the early 19th century – or they may incorporate other flavoring agents or improved distillation for a crisper taste. The word 'Gin' derives from the Old French word 'geneva' meaning juniper. It is a colorless alcoholic liquor which was originally distilled, or redistilled, from rye and adding juniper berries as flavoring. Other flavoring, or aromatics, were also added such as anise, caraway seeds, or angelica root. The type of Gin called 'Tanqueray Gin' dates back to 1830 when Charles Tanqueray produced a recipe of botanicals and became a London dry Gin distiller. The recipe for Tanqueray is made with juniper berries, coriander, angelica and other secret botanicals. In 1898, Tanqueray was amalgamated with the Gordon's gin distillery.

Jerald recipe
1 oz Tanqueray® gin
4 oz cherry juice
4 oz orange juice

Stir together in a cup, and serve.

Todays sources:


Last week, a Speyside Sling, using Famous Grouse whisky, was my first “cocktail” of the year. It was a great combination but slings are light and fruity drinks and I over did the ice, watering it down too much.  A sling is a type of alcoholic drink that at first was not considered a cocktail.  The term cocktail was reserved in the 19th century for drinks that contain bitters. This distinction is no longer made, and all alcoholic mixed drinks are now essentially considered cocktails. 

The typical sling usually has several base ingredients, some type of alcohol, fruit flavors (particularly citrus), water (flat or fizzy), and sugar. The tradition of serving this drink cold, which is now the preferred method, came into popularity in the early 20th century, particularly with the invention of the Singapore Sling.  The invention of this drink is credited to Ngiam Tong Boom, a bartender at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore during the early 20th century. The Singapore Sling may include the following:

•        Gin •        Cherry brandy •        Cointreau •        Benedictine •        Pineapple juice •        Lime juice •        Grenadine

The drink is garnished with mixed fruit, and served either straight up or over ice, depending upon the individual drinker’s preference. Early recipes suggest the ingredients were shaken with ice and then strained and served straight up. (Many recipes of the Singapore version call for a dash of bitters, which would technically be outside the traditional classification for slings.)  The gin sling is much more true to form containing only gin, lemon juice, sugar, water, and possibly an orange peel twist. The Highland sling substitutes Scotch for gin, but is quite similar in other respects.

Friday, January 1, 2010

For my first cocktail of 2010, I will make a Speyside Sling.
  • The earliest known printed use of the word “cocktail” was in The Farmer’s Cabinet, April 28, 1803.
  • The earliest definition of "cocktail" was in the May 13, 1806, edition of the Balance and Columbian Repository, a publication in Hudson, New York.
  • The first publication of a bartenders' guide which included cocktail recipes was in 1862 — How to Mix Drinks; or, The Bon Vivant's Companion, by "Professor" Jerry Thomas.
  • The first "cocktail party" ever thrown was allegedly by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1917.
  • During Prohibition in the United States (1920–1933), when the sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal, cocktails were still consumed illegally in establishments known as speakeasies.
  • Cocktails became less popular in the late 1960s and 1970s.
  • In the 1980s cocktails again became popular. 
  • Traditional cocktails and gin started to make a comeback in the 2000s. 
o    Source Wikipedia:

There are distilleries in the Scottish countryside, in Speyside. “Speyside scotch is highly perfumed; compared to smell of carnations, roses, pear drops, violets and cream soda. They have little to no peatiness and some have a smokey odor.”  My favorite flower is the carnation, but Scotch should remind one of musty libraries, old books, and the mist on the moors, not perfume.  The following cocktail can be made with Famous Grouse.
Speyside Sling
Fill a highball glass with ice.
Squeeze lemon over ice and drop into shaker.
Add all ingredients apart from ginger ale and shake with ice.
Strain into glass and top up with ginger ale.

Glass Type:   Collins / Highball
Garnish: Orange Slice/Cherry
     Submitted By   Wayne Collins


                                                                                                                                                       Amount    Ingredient
1 shot(s)    Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
    Wedge of Fresh Lemon
1 shot(s)    FAMOUS GROUSE

1 shot(s)    BOLS - Cherry Brandy

top with    FEVER TREE - Ginger Ale

The popular brands of cherry brandy are Bols®, DeKuyper®, Kirschwasser® and Seagram's®.  Shopping on New Year’s eve left me with DeKuyper or Kirschwasser.  Kirschwasser had a cool label, but a plastic bottle.  It seems sanctimonious, but who wants to shell out money for a nice liquor that is sheathed in plastic.  
I am sharing my experience with “The Thin Man.” and my good friend Viviana tonight.  The Internet really is a cool thing.  She is home in the U. District toasting in the new year with a Charlie Chan marathon.  Viv says, "I opened my Lagavulin and it smelled like a library - fireplace smoke and old leather bindings. I'm in love... " There is nothing like a black and white flick.  The world was doomed when Technicolor was introduced.  Happy New Year One and All !

About Me

Boomer, hippie, yuppie, none of these are me. Born in the 50's, graduated from high school in the 60's, married & had children in the 70's, graduated from college in the 80's, joined corporate America & divorced in the 90's, was an early casualty of the recession in 00's,08, still unemployed in 09.