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 roué 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.

cocktail

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Black Jack David

Several cocktails had denuded an orange of all its peel and it was time to squeeze before it went bad. I could’ve made a Bronx or a Ward Eight but kept thinking about the allspice dram from the previous post. Here it is with rye and rum, a beautiful combination.

cocktail, stem glass with a film of frost, faceted stem, neutral background

Black Jack David
  • 1 1/2 rye (Rittenhouse)
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151
  • 3/4 oz orange juice
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz cherry brandy (Heering)
  • 1/4 oz allspice dram
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
ROWEN, FOGGED IN LOUNGE

Rich, spicy and fruity without being heavy or very sweet. Nice with last night’s summer fog.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cerrito Cocktail

This is a gin sour I’ve been kicking around with a friend. The combination of maraschino and allspice isn’t one I immediately think of so I’m glad for the inspiration. Here’s my current variation.

cocktail, bar, evening garden in background 
Cerrito Cocktail
  • 2 oz gin (Junípero)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz maraschino
  • 1/2 oz triple sec (Combier)
  • 1 dash allspice dram
  • 1 dash absinthe
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Orange twist.
ROWEN, FOGGED IN LOUNGE

The twist disappeared in the drink I photographed but it’s in there.

I’m always at a loss to describe the profile of maraschino. It has a bitter almond component but it’s more complex than that, drier than most cherry flavors and floral at the same time. And in this drink it seems to shimmer with the dashes of allspice and absinthe. The orange twist is the perfect top note. It points up the triple sec and helps bring the flavors together.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Norway by Way of Portland: Two Krogstad Cocktails

I wish more choices in aquavit were available locally in San Francisco but I’m happy to enjoy Krogstad. It works in places where I’d reach for gin, but Krogstad is earthier, a thing of pleasant malty bitterness like horehound candy. I particularly like the star anise.

cocktail

Lagoon of the Moon
  • 1 1/2 oz aquavit (Krogstad)
  • 3/4 oz Meyer lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1 dash absinthe
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
ROWEN, FOGGED IN LOUNGE

Since I had the Krogstad out, I thought I’d try an aquavit Negroni. You see various iterations of this idea on the web with the bitter component substituted. Mr. Lauer over at Tempered Spirits has a nice looking one, the Norwegian Sunset.

Anyway, here goes a basic solution.

cocktail

Aquavit Negroni
  • 1 1/2 oz aquavit (Krogstad)
  • 1 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1 1/2 sweet vermouth
Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned. Fresh ice cubes to fill. Orange twist.

Friday, May 23, 2014

More Rooting Around

I’ve been experimenting with Root, the highbrow root beer spirit from Art in the Age. This round focuses on rum and its natural accompaniments: lime, brown sugar, absinthe—all of which go so well with Root too. I busted out the Lemon Hart 151 for this. You definitely could use the regular strength but like Mae West said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

cocktail

Back to the Swamp
  • 1 oz Lemon Hart 151-proof Demerara rum
  • 1 oz Root
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • 1 dash Jerry Thomas’ Decanter Bitters
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
Stir brown sugar in lime juice until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and ice; shake well. Strain into an old fashioned and add fresh ice cubes. Mint sprig.
ROWEN, FOGGED IN LOUNGE

Rich and earthy with flavors of molasses and herbs. Remember to spank that mint.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sarsparilla Whiskers

I finally broke down and bought Root by Art of the Age. A fan of root beer as a kid, I thought Root looked delicious, but I didn’t really have an idea for it. Each time, I just smiled at it and remembered a camping trip in my early 20s with some friends and a bottle of schnapps.

Root isn’t much like root beer schnapps. For one thing, it’s much, much drier. And it’s the real deal: thirteen botanicals including the cane sugar, illustrated beautifully on the back label. And it is indeed delicious, calling to mind other herbal blockbusters like absinthe and Fernet Branca. I thought right away of a rye cocktail.

cocktail

Sarsparilla Whiskers
  • 2 oz rye (Dickel)
  • 3/4 oz Root
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • 1 dash Bittercube Jamaica Bitters #2
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.
ROWEN, FOGGED IN LOUNGE

People seem to feel strongly one way or the other about herbal digestifs. Root beer is polarizing as well. (The English people I’ve asked don’t seem to care for it. “Almost spat it out.” Maybe you have to be born in North America.)
 
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