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Drink of the Week: The White Negroni

the White Negroni.I’m thinking that this weekend, in particular, you could use a drink and, of course, you’ve come to the right place. That will be particularly true if you’re looking for an interesting variation on an old favorite of ours, the Negroni. Now, the White Negroni is a drink that people have been making for quite some time, but the thing is, there are so many versions you can’t really say what it actually is. The basics are the same — some gin, some sweet type of vermouth and a more bittersweet aperitif — but the actual ingredients and proportions are so varied from recipe to to recipe that it seems like everyone who makes this drink has their own personal White Negroni. This will be mine, I suppose.

Most recipes use Suze, which I’ll have to try at some point, but I was recently gifted by a good friend with Salers, a really enjoyable, bittersweet white wine-based beverage that is sometimes used in White Negronis. It took more than a little experimentation to come up with my version, and I’m still not sure I hit it quite right, but I think this recipe should be fair to middling tolerable. See what you think. If not, well, there a bunch of other recipes online. One of them should be outstanding!

The White Negroni

1 1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce bianco vermouth
1/2 ounce Saler’s
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1 lemon twist (desirable garnish)

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Drink of the Week: The Toronto Cocktail

The Toronto Cocktail.Last week’s drink might have been a bit uncertain when it came to its geographical underpinnings, but this week’s is pretty clear that it’s an homage to Canada’s most populous city, a place I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting. The Toronto Star traces its origins to a 1922 cocktail book written by a London-based bartender who claimed the drink was a favorite of Torontonians but noted that the province of Ontario had its own version of prohibition between 1916 and 1927. Moreover, there’s no other known connection between the drink and the particular city it’s named for. That being said, it’s a truly worthwhile classic cocktail that can stand proudly beside any other city-named drink you can think of.

In any case, this version of the Toronto Cocktail comes, once again, from David Embury’s 1948 “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.” Depending on how you look at it, it’s a variation of an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. Since I prefer to make this one on the rocks, I’d say it’s more the latter than the former. Try it for yourself.

The Toronto Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces Canadian or rye whiskey
1/2 ounce Fernet Branca
1/4 ounce simple syrup or, if you don’t have that, 1 teaspoon of superfine sugar
1 dash Angostura/aromatic bitters
1 orange twist (high desirable garnish)

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Drink of the Week: Barbary Coast or Bishop

Barbary Coast or Biship.If my first selection of 2017 sounds to you like it should have a question mark after it’s name, you’re not far off. This drink is another selection from David Embury’s cocktail masterwork, “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” and the sometimes cranky ur-cocktailian apparently wasn’t sure of the correct name, as he simply called it “Barbary Coast or Bishop.” Indeed, in a footnote he refers to a much better known and sweeter concoction called “The Barbary Coast,” a relative of last week’s Brandy Alexander. There is also a drink out there called “The Bishop,” though I think this drink name refers to the Southern California high desert town, and the other one refers to a cleric.

Still, this indecisively named drink isn’t bad at all. It’s a very moderately sweet blend of classic cocktail ingredients that comes together reasonably well. Not what I’d personally call a home run, but it’s worth a try if you dig the ingredients. Let’s get started.

Barbary Coast or Bishop

2 ounces bourbon or rye whiskey
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce fresh orange juice
1 dash Yellow Chartreuse
1 orange twist (desirable garnish)

Combine the various liquids in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the orange twist and ponder whether you’d rather spend time in the notorious Wild West-era San Francisco red light district and gambling center, or the sleepy, modern day desert town of Bishop

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Ring in the new year with some rum cocktails

eximo-noir

As you host or head to a party tonight, here are some cocktail and bottle suggestions for anyone looking for rum drinks.

We start with Facundo Eximo, one of the premium sipping rums from Bacardi. Eximo is a blended, 10-year-old rum that is delicious when tried neat or on the rocks. It’s a great addition to any home bar or party lineup. It’s medium-bodied and spicy with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. It comes in a very attractive bottle as well as you can see in the photo below, so you’ll look good as well when bringing this to a party. This rum is so tasty it’s almost a shame to add it to simple cocktails like rum and cola, but we have a nice cocktail recipe for you to try as well.

Try this recipe for the Eximo Nior pictured above:

Ingredients:
· 1 ½ parts FACUNDO EXIMO
· ¼ part cold brew coffee syrup
· ¼ part Amaro Montenegro
· ¼ part Combier orange liqueur
· Orange peel for garnish

Method: To make the cold brew coffee syrup, combine equal parts cold brew coffee and Demerara sugar. In a mixing glass, stir all the ingredients with plenty of ice. Strain contents into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

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Drink of the Week: Brandy Alexander

Brandy Alexander.The biggest drinking holiday of the year is tomorrow night, and I’m thinking it might be time for something really special, or at least something especially fun to cap off a long day of drinking, eating, and socializing. We’re basically talking about a pleasantly uplifting dessert in a glass that makes for a very nice egg nog alternative.

Brandy Alexander is a simple enough drink that is typically regarded as a true cocktail classic and a more cocktailian-friendly version of your Chocolate Martinis and such. It’s true that acerbic postwar cocktail scribe David A. Embury dissed it to some extent in “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,” noting that it was the opposite of the appetite-encouraging, pre-dinner drinks he preferred. At the same time, even he agreed it made a grand dessert drink, even if believed those to be of a lower order.

On the other hand, this is not a drink to show off your favorite brand of super-high end Cognac or Armagnac; it appears it was developed during prohibition to hide the flavors of poor quality liquor. I should add that the original (the Alexander), although a less popular version of this drink, was made with gin. I’m not sure if was the bathtub variety but, if you’re talking Tanqueray or Gordon’s, it’s also worth a try that way. Definitely feel free to substitute your favorite whiskey or rum in this one if your New Year’s liquor cabinet is brandy-impoverished.

Brandy Alexander

1 ounce brandy
1 ounce crème de cacao (most prefer the dark colored version)
1 ounce heavy cream
Ground nutmeg (desirable garnish)

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