When you’re stocking your home bar, you always want to make sure you have the staples like vodka and bourbon, but you definitely want to offer your guests some unique spirits as well, particularly with the exploding popularity of unique cocktails.
One item to consider is KAPPA Pisco, produced by the Marnier Lapostolle family that is best known for its Grand Marnier Cognac. Pisco is like Cognac in that it’s a spirit made from the double distillation of wine. However, unlike Cognac which must be aged in oak, Chilean Pisco can be either aged or unaged in oak. KAPPA is the unaged variety that results in a delicious white spirit that offers an excellent option when mixing cocktails. It’s definitely unique and the beautiful bottle from renowned designer Ora-Ito will look great on any bar.
The grapes for KAPPA Pisco are sourced from the Elqui Valley in Chile which boasts 300 days of sunshine a year and fresh water from the Andes Mountains.
You can use KAPPA Pisco for all sorts of cocktails, and you can find tons of great drink recipes on their website. Cinco de Mayo is behind us, but margaritas are always popular. Here’s a recipe for what they call the “South American Margarita.”
1.5 oz KAPPA Pisco
0.5 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
0.5 oz agave nectar
1 oz fresh lime juice
Shaken, strained over fresh ice into rocks glass, garnish lime wheel.
Give KAPPA Pisco a try and you just might find a new staple for your home bar or something to order when you go out.
I’m not sure if it’s a good omen that the first DOTW of 2013 is celebrating Al Capone. Especially considering what we’re all about here, we might be prone to forgive the bootlegging and the gambling the man was involved with, but his probable involvement in mass murder is something we have to come down a bit harder on here at DOTW Central. On the other hand, it appears he had good taste in rye whiskey.
This week’s drink was suggested to me by a mysterious — though, I’m sure, entirely law-abiding — benefactor who was kind enough to send me a bottle of what we are told was the real original Scarface’s favorite whiskey and “the good stuff” well-heeled folks might have enjoyed at a real Chicago speakeasy during prohibition days. Made in nearby Iowa, Templeton Rye alleges itself to be a recreation of what my long-deceased reprobate Great Uncle Ben might have personally swilled at certain Chi-town establishments.
I have no idea whether or not that’s true, but I do know that this is some very good rye whiskey. A bit less peppery and less reminiscent of the stuff I eat with yellow mustard and pastrami than other ryes, it nevertheless sports a delightful potpourri of flavors with a bit more bourbon-esque sweetness than is usual. The fact that it’s 80 proof probably helps allow for a bit more gentleness than in your bonded 100 proof ryes.
As for the cocktail the Templeton people have created in the name of Al Capone, it’s much nicer than the man most people assume was behind the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre must have been.
This is a pretty easy one. Combine your liquids in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with plenty of ice. Stir vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Rim the glass with a very thin slice of lemon peel (none of the white stuff) and “twist” it over the drink to express the lemon oils into the drink. (This is actually standard practice with a twist of lemon, but I’m going into detail because it’s more important than usual.) Toast whomever you like when you sip this, but do me a favor and consider making it something or someone other than Mr. Capone. I’m going out on a limb here and expressing my vehement opposition to organized crime.
Very, very observant readers might note here that I’m going against my usual practice and actually suggesting you use only Templeton Rye in making this particular drink. Far be it from me to curtail experimentation, but I have to say that I actually tried this drink first with a different brand of rye, a fun-size bottle of Korbel I happened upon, and Cointreau in lieu of Grand Marnier. It was nasty.
Here’s where I have to thank my benefactors again who went well above and beyond the call of duty and, in response to some of my habitual whining, actually sent me some Grand Marnier (which is very tasty but not cheap, hence my whining) as well as some very quaffable Yellow Tail Sparkling White Wine. Sure, Australia is a long way from the Champagne region of France, but it did just fine.
While the Capone turned out very nicely using the more or less originally specified ingredients, there is some wiggle room here as far as your choice of bitters goes. Your standard classic Angostura works just fine here, but there was a slight aftertaste of the wrong kind of bitterness I wasn’t overly fond of. Using the kinder, gentler Peychaud’s bitters yielded a nice enough result, however. I also had decent luck with Regan’s Orange Bitters, which I think worked nicely with the Grand Marnier.
Still, for all of that, I’m so taken with Templeton Rye, it’s reputed evil origins notwithstanding, that I’m expecting even better results when I try it in something where it can really stand out on it’s own. I’ll be having that Templeton Old Fashioned I think. Right…about…now.
You all probably know the one-liner, developed by Groucho Marx and reiterated by Woody Allen in “Annie Hall,” about not wanting to belong to any club that would have the speaker for a member. At this point, I have to admit that I certainly don’t feel like a member of the Pegu Club whether or not they’d have me. Of course, as I’m not a Britisher hanging around Rangoon circa 1920-1930, I wouldn’t expect to be had.
You see, the Pegu Club Cocktail, which apparently was favored by English imperialists messing about in Burma, aka Myanmar, has defeated me. I’ve tried it in a number of permutations and none seem to work. Sure, I still don’t have as much time at present as I’d like to experiment, but no amount of adjusting the proportions of ingredients made this thing come together for me and I have a feeling I could work with it for an entire month and not have much more luck. I’ll give you some leeway and maybe you’ll do better. It’s not like there’s anything wrong with the ingredients separately.
Combines ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour into a chilled cocktail shaker. I’d suggest you toast Aung San Suu Kyi but, in my opinion, she deserves a better balanced drink.
Do I sound bitter? Well, after finding myself underwhelmed by The Maiden’s Prayer a couple of weeks back, I’m just starting to wonder how debilitating Project Empty My Liquor Cabinet Pre Moving is going to continue to be. Well, the good news is that it will be over soon. Drink of the Week Central looks to be moving from Northwest Orange County to the central San Fernando Valley community of Van Nuys within a matter of weeks. Huzzah.
Nevertheless, I will offer one suggestion should you be curious to try this one for yourself: be darn sure not to forget your bitters. As it is, the orange liqueur or the lime juice has a tendency to completely dominate this drink depending on your proportions and never in a particularly good way, no matter what my choice of liqueur seemed to be. (I didn’t, however, try Grand Marnier, so who knows.) Without bitters, as my old buddy Kevin learned one Sunday recently, this can be on freakin’ syrupy drink if you lean on the liqueurish side of the spectrum. Serves me right for effectively celebrating British adventurism so close to the 4th of July.
I guess that’s it. I wonder if any great cocktails were invented in Van Nuys. No doubt we’ll be finding out the answer to that one together.