Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bloody Maria Mix

For some reason, it took me years to figure out I like a Bloody Maria about ten times better than the vodka version. I can’t imagine why it didn’t occur to me sooner. Tequila naturally pairs with vegetables, and I’m a big fan of savory notes in beverages.

Beverage, ice, double rocks glass, cocktal onion, lime wheel, cocktail pick, straw

Bloody Maria Mix
  • 32 oz tomato juice
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbs cacao
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground true cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
Gradually incorporate dry ingredients with a little of the tomato juice at a time until smooth enough to stir with the remaining liquid. Add lime and garlic. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

My preferred tomato juice, Knudsen, has some lemon in it to begin with, so you may want to add more lime for snap. For the cacao, it’s worth finding the dark, smoky, complex Valrhona. And I’m thinking a half teaspoon of cloves wouldn’t hurt a thing.

Reposado tequila is nice with this. But it’s a grownup drink on its own without the spirits, so if you have a Virgin Maria in your party, she won’t feel left out.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Oakland Crush

Oakland Crush is a neighborhood wine shop that focuses on small-production, independently owned wineries that follow sustainable practices.”

Non-corporate wine, impeccably presented, affordably priced. Buy a bottle to take away or drink there. Beautiful space: simple, clean, bright, practical, elegant. Very refined sensibility. Nice folks, too. Wine is alive.

glass of red wine, wine bottle, watter glass, steel bar

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mister Minneola

Yet another of my attempts to find something useful to do with seasonal produce besides cutting the stuff into wedges, this has some Bronx inspiration, though it feels more integrated and modern than most of my ventures into Bronx Cocktail territory. The dash of Laphroaig adds a little depth without peating it up much.


Mister Minneola
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz orange liqueur
  • 1/2 oz tangelo juice
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • dash Laphroaig
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Good Luck Happiness

It’s one of my favorite times of year: the season when all the interesting citrus comes in. I never really know what to do with it all since I’m not the sort of cook that does a lot of sweet dishes, and end up defaulting to drink recipes. Blood orange is an especially nice ingredient to work with. It behaves a little more like red grapefruit than orange in cocktails.

This recipe calls for both fresh blood orange juice and Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur. It was really coincidence that I ended up buying a bottle of Solerno pretty much at the same time as the fruit. I went to the store for some Combier, but they were out. The Solerno vaguely appealed, so on impulse, I decided it was coming home with me. Tasty product, pretty package.

cocktail, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur bottle, blood orange

Good Luck Happiness
  • 2 oz calvados
  • 1/2 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
  • 1 oz blood orange juice (half a fruit)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 5-6 mint leaves
Break the mint leaves in half and drop them into the tin. Combine remaining ingredients and ice cubes, shake well. Strain into a double old fashioned; add fresh ice. Garnish with a blood orange half-wheel and mint sprig.

This one’s easy drinking but with plenty of character and snap from the calvados base—an inspired thought. I thought about going slightly more tart, but like the balance as it is. The mint is pretty subtle, a little twinkle here and there.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Solar Radio

This is an original recipe I blogged for a Mixology Monday that called for a favorite niche spirit. I went with kirsch, a classic eau-de-vie made from cherries, and accented it with another niche item, dry sherry, which seems under-appreciated in my home country of the United States.

For those who haven’t had much experience with dry sherries, they have a distinctive pistachio and green apple aroma which comes from a compound called acetaldehyde, the result of oxidization in the presence of a layer of special yeasts referred to as the flor.

Dry sherries don’t hold well once opened, and should be consumed quickly—within a day or so for best flavor.


Solar Radio
  • 2 oz kirsch
  • 1 oz dry sherry (anything labelled fino, manzanilla or amontillado)
  • 1 – 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Amarena or brandied cherry, garnish
Stir kirsch, sherry and bitters with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add cherry garnish.

This is a dry, aromatic cocktail that would be suitable before dinner or for other Martini-type situations.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Still Sour After All These Years

As threatened, here is the first of the my-favorite-things posts, a Whiskey Sour. I’m making this drink with brown sugar lately—I dunno, it seems cozier that way. And I’ve been using an extra half ounce of whiskey just because it suddenly seems a little light without it. Somewhere there’s a compromise between snap and punch, and I go back and forth. The Whiskey Sour is very accommodating.

Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour
  • 2 – 2 1/2 oz whiskey (rye is nice)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp brown sugar
Stir sugar in lemon juice to dissolve a bit. Add spirits and ice; shake well. Strain into a chilled glass with a short stem.

This is a 19th-century drink, and one that hasn’t changed much. Happily, it’s one that seems to transcend its abuses too, for the most part, though context is everything. Once upon a time, I knew a mad old rouĂ© of the Raoul Duke type, friend of a roommate, who mixed up Whiskey Sours at home in pint glasses with packaged sour mix and plenty of ice. When you got to the end of one, there was another. While I tended to view his cocktailing (and everything else) with a skeptical eye, the bottomless bucket o’ sour was a thing of wonder.

The above recipe works fine as a rocks drink in an Old Fashioned glass. Go with the heavier and sweeter proportions suggested. And some sort of garnish is nice for a sense of occasion, but totally dispensable.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Where on earth is he?!

OK—so I’ve been less than prolific here lately. [Sound of wind whistling as tumbleweeds roll by.] I still enjoy writing this blog, as well as making and photographing cocktails, but some career stuff has demanded my attention of late.

And the needs and desires behind this blog when it started in January of 2010 have changed as well. I was first drawn to cocktails because I could see that they offered a whole category of gracious living that, by and large, people didn’t seem to know about anymore, something that had coherent systems and language, and complex relationships with society. The drinks in the bar books that were presented as old standards weren’t standard anymore, and the new things seemed dumbed down, badly made and generally impoverished. I didn’t know how a drink was supposed to taste and had trouble learning how to find out. These were supposed to be good drinks. Where did they go?

Coincidentally, I started to get curious about fancy drinks at the time when the cocktail was once again garnering the attention it deserved thanks to bartenders, chefs and writers who saw the same possibilities I did. I started reading and mixing. I sought out bars. And I decided to throw out everything I had ever heard about beverage. Anything was allowed.

This blog has documented my process of discovery. It has led to refinements of my palate, which in turn has led to a greater curiosity about taste. Eventually it led to an interest in other aspects of beverage and of hospitality in general, changing my professional trajectory as well.

At the moment, I don’t have a lot of time for Fogged In Lounge, though, or a lot of new ideas for it because I’m thinking about other things. And that’s OK. In the short time since I started this blog, drinks in general have become better. It’s much easier to buy a good drink.

But after all this time, it seems sort of a pity to mothball the thing. Where do I go from here?

From time to time, I plan to revisit some drinks I’ve made in the last four years that I think worth a second look. Many of them probably could benefit from refinement. (I’m sure I’ve posted things I wouldn’t drink again, too. We’ll leave those.)

So stay tuned. I should be able to post again shortly, and maybe with a better drink.

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