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November, 2014

  1. Really, Mr. Boston? #1

    November 26, 2014 by Russ

    To celebrate the imminent arrival of our newest cocktail book, Death & Co. (from the NYC bar of the same name), your intrepid and occasionally lazy writers here at Root & Glass have chosen to start a new regular feature.  One that looks back at another book on our shelf and decides to mock it shamelessly.  You know… for the kids!

    But I want to make it clear now, we are not trying to disrespect this book.  It does serve as a reliable benchmark for some fairly arcane information.  In the opening chapters, one can easily find information about unit conversions, illustrated and named glassware, and equivalent measures for 19th-Century quantifications (I have this page bookmarked; how am I supposed to remember what a pony-glass is, or how many bottles of wine a Rehoboam is?).  The copy we have was a thoughtful gift from two dear friends, so no, we bear this book no ill will.  However, there are some *very* mockable parts to it.

    The guidelines for these posts are quite simple.  We will be temporarily ignoring all of the classics, forgotten gems, and newer curiosities that Mr. Boston faithfully chronicles in order to scrutinize a claim made right on the front cover:

    A lot better than the Mr. Akron book. That's just a collection of sad, black and white photos of dead shopping malls.

    Sounds like a lot, right?

    Wow, I mean, with 1,500 recipes that’s gotta have it all!  After all, these must be things that the ‘Master Mixologist” has to need!  Well, it sure does, and this series of posts will be highlighting some of the recipes that made me stop reading and exclaim, often audibly, “Really, Mr. Boston?  Is THAT how we’re filling this list of 1,500?”

    To kick it off, I bring you the ‘recipe’ that spawned the idea for this series.  Picture it in your mind: a fresh, new, first-day-on-the-job young bartender, standing tall at the local aspiring cocktail bar, suddenly facing the frightening wall of public demands.  All of that training and advance studying fly out of their brains at the first non-bottled request from the thirsty face of a shouting customer.  In a blind panic, they reach for the trusty old copy of Mr. Boston that is safely camped out under the bar and flip to refresh their memory without giving away the impression that they have no idea what words just entered their ears.  They turn the pages in a mounting frenzy until they reach their goal, and they read:

    "Oh, THREE ice cubes!  I always forget that part!"

    To be attempted by Master Mixologists only, please.

    Then they calmly close the book, place it back on the shelf, and raise their arm in a sudden, involuntary upward swipe that ends with the heel of their hand connecting to their forehead with a resounding SMACK.

    Really, Mr. Boston?  You counted this one?  You thought, perhaps, that your all-encompassing volume just wouldn’t be complete without this one?  That it needed to be preserved, in case the terms ‘on the rocks’ got a reader wondering if it supposed to be granite or marble?  UGH.

  2. Ferrari, continued

    November 17, 2014 by Russ

    This will just be a quick after-post (post-post?) on the delicious drink I wrote about last time.  I successfully killed off that bottle of Dolin dry vermouth by making yet another Ferrari, and side-by-siding it against the same drink make with the new Ransom dry vermouth.  OH MY YES.

    This Ransom vermouth is something else.  Making this drink with a fresh bottle of Ransom was night and day against that poor old Dolin.  Don’t get me wrong, Dolin makes a perfectly good vermouth, and I consider their dry to be well above average… but there is no comparison.  Ransom has just deepened the crush that I already have on all their products (thus far).

    Also, if I may toot my own horn, look how little pith is on the back of that twist! YEAH.

    To the left is our Neat Ice Kit, which is why the ice in the glass is oh-so-hard to see! Yes, being an Ice Nerd is a post for another day…

    Made with a standard dry vermouth, the Ferrari attempts to make peace, no, screw that, it DOES makes peace between the slight bitterness and light body of the vermouth and the cloying sweetness of  a really good amaretto, moderated by the always-wise and sublime lemon twist.  With this new hotness, however, these opposing elements no longer must do battle and strive for harmony.  The amaretto and the vermouth lock eyes, share a long smouldering look, and embrace each other with a relentless and heated makeout.  The botanicals jump right to the front for a drink with surprising depth and complexity.  The lemon peel, modestly working its magic in a separate show atop the drink, now blends in harmoniously with the profile of the vermouth, and change this drink from an unexpectedly pleasant drink to an outright surprise.

    Never, never, never underestimate the value of a direct, scientific experiment via the change in only one variable.  This recipe is a keeper.

  3. Vroom vroom!

    November 13, 2014 by Russ

    While a good friend was over, trying to save this heap of a computer from eating itself (I totally blame this jumble of wires and defective drives on the lack of posting, by the way), I was flipping through the ol’ Mr. Boston’s recipe book, looking for something new.  Since I’m telling you this story, you can probably already tell that I found it.

    I was trying to use up our existing bottle of Dolin dry vermouth in order to give me an excuse to open the new dry vermouth by Ransom Spirits that we procured (thanks, Morganelli’s Party Store!) and am super-excited about.  We got to try a lil’ sample of it on our summer roadtrip, in Portland, where there is a store called Meadow that primarily sells chocolate, salt, and bitters.  I know, I know, it was amazing.  The best part?  They have samples available of most of their items!  So we fell in love with Ransom’s dry vermouth, came home and asked nicely, and Morganelli’s came through in a big way with the dry AND the sweet by Ransom!  If the sweet is anything like Whipper Snapper and their Old Tom gin, I have every confidence that it is also top-notch.

    So, in comes Mr. Boston and the something new.  I trip across a recipe that uses dry vermouth, is simple, new, and unexpected.  On paper, the Ferrari doesn’t come across as a particularly good drink.  I was especially skeptical, since I am not a fan of the bitter component of vermouth in general.  With the what-the-Hades attitude that usually precedes a revelation, I threw one together and was mildly stunned at the outcome.

    A surprisingly tasty, and simple, combination of sweet and bitter. DON'T skip the garnish!
    Recipe type: Cordials
    • 1 oz. Amaretto
    • 2 oz. Dry vermouth
    1. Mix over ice in an old-fashioned glass and stir. Squeeze a lemon twist over it, run the twist around the rim of the glass, and drop it in.

    I used Luxardo amaretto, because I am completely in love with it.  It ends up being a refreshing and sweet drink, with the best qualities of each ingredient complimenting the other.  The 1:2 ratio ends up a little sweeter than Elyn prefers, but my excellent tech-saavy buddy and I found it delicious.  Absolutely do not neglect that lemon twist; in fact, make it an extra-robust one.  Those lemon oils really bring it all together.