There is “The Martini” and then there are martinis and, quite often the latter has little or no resemblance to the original. The classic Gin Martini, made of gin and dry vermouth, will always remain a classic and a favorite of many. There is much debate among connoisseurs as to the ratio of the ingredients (vermouth to gin), style of gin, ice level, shaken versus stirred, and garnish that is best, but most will agree that the gin-vermouth combination is one of the classiest and best cocktails ever created.
Gin has a long and eventful history, but most people aren't familiar with all the great gins being produced around the world. Most are familar with Beefeater, Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, and maybe Gordon's, but what about all those craft gins available on the market today. What is the difference between Dutch-style gin and London-dry gin? What countries produce gin?
(All photos not credited courtesy of Square One Organic and Del Maguey). Some recipes adapted by Michael Nagy.
Square One Organic Spirits, LLC – Novato, California
Square One, a pioneer in organic spirits, uses 100% organic Montana rye and pure water from the aquifer originating from the Teton Mountains in Wyoming. The bottle labels are made from a blend of bamboo, sugarcane and cotton, which are also organic.
In celebrating "National Cognac Day", here is a Cognac primer. Cognac is synonymous with "fancy," something rich folks sip after dinner in a snifter. Do most people know its French? What kind of spirit is it actually? Brandy, perhaps. What do all those acronyms XO and VSOP mean? Yes, it refers to the age of the cognac, but a little more complicated.
The classic Hemingway Daiquiri is my "Cocktail of the Week" and great for sipping in the summer months. Enjoy the different takes on this classic libation. Also, because I was in the daiquiri 'spirit', I included a great You Tube video from my friend and colleague, Marsha Meyer, on making a proper Daiquiri - check it out along with the classic recipe. BTW, this Daiquiri is not the frozen kind.
As with most infamous classic cocktails, there are many theories as to the origin of the “Manhattan”. By definition and in the truest sense, the Manhattan is a splendid, well-balanced cocktail. The warmth and full-body character of the whiskey, the sweetness and complexity of the vermouth, and the bitters to balance everything out is perfection in a glass.
In celebrating "World Whiskey Day", here are my top whiskies from around the world in no particular order. This is not an exhaustive list by any means - there are just too many good ones, but I tried to span the globe to feature whiskey from many different regions and countries. Whether you are a bourbon, scotch, single malt, Irish, Canadian, rye, or white rye fan, there is a little something for everybody here. There are many states in the U.S. producing some great whiskies that are pretty well unknown. In some cases, I listed tasting notes for most of the whiskies.
Now that "World Cocktail Week" is winding down I give you one of my favorite cocktails for "World Cocktail Day". This is also my "Cocktail of the Week". As an added bonus, since I'm in the 'cocktail spirit', I offer you another splendid cocktail that has stood the test of time and consumed by many at my events and when I created it for the summer menu at an upscale Martini Bar & Cocktail Lounge in downtown Harrisburg in 2012. As always, enjoy and libate in moderation.
In celebrating “World Cocktail Week” from May 6-13, this third episode of cocktails from around the globe focuses on Spanish and Mediterranean cocktails leading up to “World Cocktail Day” on the 13th. This week was selected for the prestigious holiday because it marks the first time the word ‘cocktail’ was published back in 1806. The definition appeared in “The Balance and Columbian Repository” and read, “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters." I can drink to that!
Spain and the Mediterranean.