The Gingerman

Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband

Cocktail inspiration can come from that cool new bottle of bitters at the liquor store, a request from a friend, or a competition. Other times it's from a cookie that you hid from yourself  in the back of a kitchen cabinet months before...

Many of your may remember the Drink our Booze-fest that Rose and I held for our NYC friends at the end of July. Late that very night, the Gingerman was born. While searching the kitchen for mixers, I discovered this little guy hiding behind a box of evaporated milk. (Don't ask me why we had a two-pound box of evaporated milk). He was just the right muse for my bourbon-soaked brain, and though I have no recollection of the creative process as it actually took place, the result was good. At least I must have thought it was good because I took pictures of it and even texted myself the recipe --

Sean Lorre show details Jul 24
1 1/4 gin
3/4 lic 43
3 dashes whiskey barrel aged bitters
1/2 ginger beer (reeds)
-- Sent from my Palm

With this trail of documentation, I later attempted to recreate the Gingerman. Turns out, it's good! The Licor 43, bitters and ginger beer trifecta produced the spice and sweetness that you associate with a gingerbread cookie, while the gin and lime provided the right balance that kept the drink from becoming syrupy and unpalatable.

The Gingerman

1 1/4 ounce Bulldog Gin

3/4 ounce Licor 43

3 dashes Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters

Ginger beer, to taste

Lime wedge, to garnish

Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in gin, Licor 43 and bitters and mix briefly. Pour in ginger beer to fill or less for a stronger drink. Garnish with lime wedge.

Tasting Notes

I used Bulldog the second time I made this; who knows what I used that first time when I was drunk. But I think just about any mid-level gin --Tanqueray, Bombay, Beefeater -- would do.

Also note that my text said "1/2 ginger beer," I wasn't sure whether I meant that as a half-ounce or half the bottle. We tried both and found that either proportion worked, just a matter of if you like your drinks tall or short.

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Little Beers

I've been commuting all week to Battery Park City (which I call Faketown, because it's like a squeaky-clean, shooting-a-movie-in-Vancouver-and-calling-it-Manhattan bizarro world) to see my dog. The dog's staying with friends while Sean and I look after two other dogs who once belonged to Sean's father and now need new homes. Steve and Demian, our Faketown-living, dogsitting friends, love making cocktails as much as we do. They are particularly fond of drinks with ribald names (The Sandy Vagina, The Butterface, The Big Red Gay; I am literally retyping these off a chalkboard in their apartment), drinks that taste like edible things (the PB&J), and trompe-l'oeil drinks, like Little Beers.

You can serve these in shot glasses or some such thimbleware at your Super Bowl party, ask your friends if they'd like a sample-sized sip of this delectably creamy, new lager you found, and should some suspiciously request clarification of just what it is, you may innocently and honestly respond, "Oh, they're just little beers."

Little Beers

About 1 ounce Licor 43

About 1/4 ounce light cream or half-and-half

Pour Licor 43 into a shot glass so that the glass is about three-quarters full. Top off with light cream or half-and-half to the brim.

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You Call It! #1

Ah, Fridays at five. If ever a quittin’ time cried out for a cocktail of its very own, you are said time. Regrettably, once another endless week wends its way to you, rarely am I of sober-enough mind to do you justice.

Yours should be the crowning achievement of my five days’ labor -- I, Charlotte! My magnum opus, thee! Alas, by the time your sweet siren of surrender sounds... yeah, see, I haven’t even got enough of the witty wordplay left in me to finish my lede, let alone actually, like, name you.

So here’s how we'll roll on Fridays. I’ll offer up one of my cocktail creations as per yoozh, but as far as what to call it -- as Otis once sang, I’m depending on you, dear blog followers. (Some of you aren’t my relatives, right?) In other words, I’d like you to name that drink. Title that tipple! Christen that cocktail! Whatever the opposite of Alcohols Anonymous would be! (Again, bad wordplay.)

Our inaugural intoxicant is a recipe I jotted down at least a couple years ago; I’m guessing it dates back to my days working at The Royale. I’ve always thought of it as tasting like the color brown, in a good way. I recently came up with the ground ginger part, which adds some nice dimension and, coupled with the apple, lets you believe at least a teeny bit that you’re doing something healthful for yourself. Perhaps this goes without saying, but it’s best to save the apple for the end so that a) it soaks up the potion's flavor, and b) you don’t look like a no-manners nincompoop picking your garnish straight out of your drink.

Please take a read and leave behind (in the comments below) your ideas for what to call it. Until this blog starts raking in five two figures, your reward will simply be your name in lights HTML -- and, natch, my undying admiration.

You Call It #1

2 ounces Bulleit

1 ounce Licor 43

½ ounce Patron XO Cafe

Round apple slice and ground ginger, to garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in all liquid ingredients. Cap, shake vigorously and pour into a cocktail glass. Garnish by cutting a round apple slice, sprinkling liberally with ground ginger and dropping into drink.

(P.S. My first go at making this for the photo shoot, my shaker exploded. Fridays are definitely rough around here.)

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The Autumn in New York (aka Harley's Harvest)

Contrary to 100% of this blog’s content heretofore, there are plenty of things I’m up for discussing besides weddings. For example, Calvados, which I was lucky enough to try for the first time on its home turf about 13 years ago at an inn in Normandy. I remember a dining room resplendent with golden amber tones, although that may have just been the view down my nose into the bottom of my snifter. In fact, considering I can’t remember much else about that night, let’s go with that.

So anyway, back to weddings. One of my most favorite things to do, as perhaps you’ve already gleaned, is write a cocktail recipe. I love it so much that I’ll even craft a cocktail I have little interest in drinking. Last fall, my friend Harley asked me to write an appletini recipe for her brother’s nuptials. (Google docs is suggesting I correct “appletini.” First choice: Appleton. I hear ya, Google docs.)

What the bride and groom wanted was an appletini bearing autumnal colors, rather than the Jolly Rancher/Marvin the Martian’s helmet tinge of Sour Apple Pucker Schnapps. Now, if it weren’t for this guy I went to high school with, I’d know even less than the next-to-nothing I do know about appletinis. And I don’t mean to come off as cocktail-snobby by saying that. Were I a few years younger and/or born a few years later, I could see how an appletini would’ve made it into my repertoire. Like back in the mid-late 90s, when I would rock a SoCo and 7 and pretend I was the Second Coming of Janis Joplin. I could see that girl fancying one.

Burnishing the appletini, in color and content, couldn’t entail much more than just futzing with apple-flavored vodka and Mott's, right? Right -- so I wrote a recipe that was probably way too involved for the unsuspecting bartenders at Harley’s brother’s wedding. (Hired help aside, Harley claims the drink fared well with the crowd in attendance, as well as the color scheme of the reception.)

Fall came 'round again and I found myself craving a cocktail to embrace the season, a drink in which you smell the curbside piles of leaves and hear the crunch of woolen fibers as you gather your sweater closer to you. That's when I remembered my old acquaintance, Calvados, and reimagined my appletini recipe to suit its richer body and more fiery belly.

The Autumn in New York (aka Harley’s Harvest)

2 ounces Busnel Fine Calvados

2 ounces Martinelli’s Gold Medal Sparkling Cider

½ ounce Licor 43

½ ounce cranberry juice cocktail

A dash or two of Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters

Brown sugar and cinnamon, for the rim

To make the rim:

I make my own brown sugar by combining granulated sugar and molasses. Usually I start with ¼ cup of sugar and a tablespoon of molasses in a small mixing bowl, kneading it with a fork until it’s well distributed and adding more molasses until it’s at the depth of color I like.

Even though you’re starting with molasses, your brown sugar shouldn’t wind up sticky; keep kneading if it’s still got that tar-like tackiness to it. You don’t want big clumps of brown sugar mucking up the look of your cocktail.

Pour brown sugar onto a saucer, enough to cover the top of the dish, and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. Rim a cocktail glass with a cut lemon, then dip the rim in your brown sugar-cinnamon mixture. Put aside while you make your cocktail.

To make the cocktail:

Pour all liquid ingredients into a shaker or mixing glass, along with a few ice cubes to chill to your taste. (I like this drink just south of room temperature.) Stir well with a cocktail spoon. Pour into rimmed cocktail glass.

Tasting Notes:

Once I find some/remember to pick some up, I’ll see how this recipe goes with Doc’s Draft Hard Cider (or another hard cider of your suggestion?) and post an update.

Suggestions of other kinds of Calvados to try? Please leave 'em in the comments.

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