Saturday, January 22, 2011

Elevator Operator

The inspiration for this cocktail comes from a great bottle of handmade ouzo from my friend Debbie. It had been sitting in my bottom drawer at work with another Greek-themed liqueur, Persephonia (guess what flavor), waiting for an evening when I didn’t have to lug something else home too. Now that her package has arrived safely at the Lounge, it seems a pity not to have brought it back sooner. Both spirits are soft, graceful, complex. I particularly like the vanilla note that emerges on the finish of the ouzo.

Elevator Operator
  • 1 1/2 oz gin (Junípero)
  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth (Dolin)
  • 1/4 oz ouzo
  • 1 dash orange bitters (Fee Bros)
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The housemate opined that this is Martini-like but richer, which it is. The slight haze from the louching of the ouzo reminds me of antique silver.

Very warm thanks to Debbie for her amazing booze. Now I get to come up with a cocktail for the other bottle of stuff.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gibson with Scrappy’s Celery Bitters

A fun product appeared in one of my favorite package stores: Scrappy’s Bitters. I was intrigued by the celery one, as I had been playing with the idea of making a batch of my own. The retail price at my downtown place was decidedly steep at $17.99—you can get a decent 750-ml bottle of spirits for that kind of money. But they must’ve figured cocktail nerds like me would buy it, and of course I did. Shucks—I’m just a fool for celery.

The odd thing about celery bitters is that it had been a defunct product used in cocktails of a bygone era, and we don’t know much about it or how it was used, but cocktailians today are eager to revive it. It just sounds like such a cool idea for savory and dry cocktails.

For my first Scrappy’s experiment, I went with one of my favorite Martini variations, the Gibson. The way Aunt Mary made one, the Gibson had no bitters, but I don’t think she would’ve objected to a hint of celery. She liked her vegetables.

Gibson with Celery Bitters
  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 1 dash celery bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Pickled onion.

One dash is enough. It’s nice stuff with good celery seed flavor but two dashes and a very dry cocktail like the Gibson starts to lose focus. The celery is best here as a subtle, dry, green note on the finish. Scrappy’s is more to my taste than the Bitter Truth Celery Bitters, which is very different in character—more like lemon verbena perhaps, and too pervasive for my taste.

Special thanks to my friends Flynn and Richard for their awesome pickled onions. I took them from a jar of pickled green beans they gave me. I hope to use one of the beans in a Bloody Mary post with the celery bitters if I can stop myself from eating them all.
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