Thursday, December 31, 2009

(dr)Ink Gorilla: 5 Things I Drank.

Continuing from the previous post, (and with all the similar caveats), here are 5 memorable drinks I enjoyed in 2009.

Blood and Sand Cocktail (Absinthe Brasserie and Bar in San Francisco)

Likely named for the Rudolph Valentino movie about bullfighters, this drink is one of my favorites, though with Scotch as its base spirit, it's an unusual one. Scotch, Orange Juice, Cherry Heering, Sweet Vermouth.

This was my birthday cocktail this year, and we had a fabulous meal at Absinthe following our drinks.

For those adventurous souls who'd like to try it out, here's the recipe.

Fernet Cocktail (for Mixology Mondays)

This is a cocktail of my own devising, my entry into Mixology Mondays "Amaro" theme a few months back. I don't include it here so much for the taste and enjoyment of the cocktail (my feelings are still mixed on using Fernet Branca as an ingredient) but for the process of developing it. I had a blast choosing ingredients, juggling proportions, and in general playing alchemist to find the perfect concoction.

Octomore Whisky from Bruichladdich

Thanks to being a member of a very active whisky-tasting club, I have had the privilege of trying a range of spirits this year, with an emphasis on single-malt scotch. Octomore is billed as one of the peatiest, smokiest beasts around, and it does not fail to deliver. I'm a big fan of the Islay malts, with their strong peat and smoke components, so it was love at first sip with this one.

Sazerac Rye 18-year old

Named as the world's top whisky by renowned whisky authority Jim Murray (beating out Ardbeg Supernova for the top spot, no less!) this is super smooth stuff, with the pleasant notes of peppery sharpness you expect from rye. Rye seems to be making a comeback -- for many years it's been eclipsed by its cousin bourbon.

Sazerac Cocktail (Rob Roy, Seattle)

I wish that Anu and Zane Apte's Rob Roy in Seattle was in my neighborhood. In Seattle over the weekend for a class, I slipped into Rob Roy late on a Sunday night and was immediately made right at home by Anu's warm welcome. She mixed me a Sazerac, a classic New Orleans cocktail that's hard to find, and even harder to find done right. Anu's Sazerac was mellow, spicy, and redolent of New Orleans' old-world charm. Believe me, I was sorely tempted to stay at Rob Roy until closing and then just head right for the airport for my 5 a.m. flight.

A Few more for the Road: 
Ardbeg Supernova (Scotch), Zubrowka-Champagne Cocktail (from our Uzbeki Feast, thanks Chuck!), Vesper Martinis (for our Casino Royale-themed holiday party).

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