Ali G's Profile

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Glencairn glass for bourbon?

I can count on one hand how many other glasses I have used for bourbon since buying my first Glencairn. I love it and recently bought a couple for a family member to go along with the liquor.

Dec 17, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Looking for recipes to make boozy gifts for Christmas

I make an Irish Cream every year that goes over very well. Similar to CaptCrunch's recipe, but mine calls for eggs. I've made it "low fat/ lower cal" but subbing in egg beaters and non-fat cream. We drink it at Christmas over ice. Make the base and add the whiskey to taste. I find something like Segrams 7 or Canadian Club works well, so it's not technically "Irish" Cream. Can also make some eggnog.

Fresh cherries are not in season, but search the boards for homemade bourbon or brandied cherries. I have some in the fridge that kick the ass of the neon jars. I've also added some dried cherries to see how they hold up and I like them. Decent texture for a Manhattan. I've heard quality frozen cherries could be used as well.

Not a drink, but it calls for booze, homemade vanilla extract. I made some for my wife and it came out great. This benefits from time, so not sure it would be optimal by Christmas. You can cut the vanilla beans into small pieces and soak them in vodka. Give a shake every day. Cool gift would be to fill a mason jar with all the dry ingredients for chocolate chip cookies and include a small bottle of the vanilla with instructions to add eggs and milk.

Nov 28, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

3-4 bourbons as a gift

Most of the suggestions from Twitter are going to be tough to find. The Parker's Heritage sold out in under an hour at my local store and the Four Roses seems to be lumped in with the Pappy and BTAC lotteries at many places.

One suggestion I see a lot is to find what someone likes already and get one of the next tier offerings from that distiller or NDP. For example, he likes Elijah Craig, so maybe you can find one of the barrel proof bottles. I happen to be drinking #6 as I type. These also seem to go very fast. I tried the 23 year at a tasting recently, but it's going for $180. There is also a

sku and scuba have some good suggestions with the Four Roses (small batch or single barrel) and the Wellers for a wheat option. I can't find a Weller 12 to save my life, but I was able to find the Antique 107 which was bottled for one of the liquor stores close by. Depending on your budget, I think Garrison Brothers out of Texas is a wheated bourbon. Had a small taste and found it very unique. Goes for around $80.

For a rye, I really like the Double Rye by High West. Most of my experience with Rye is in cocktails and I typically use Rittenhouse or Old Overholt.

I wish my wife was posting on forums for ideas! I'm making a small wishlist for Christmas myself.

Nov 28, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Cider fermenting in the fridge...

Thanks. I don't want to toss it out...I was kinda hoping for it to ferment a bit. We don't drink a ton of cider, but the orchard only had gallon jugs during our PYO day with the kids.

I'll rack it over to a growler just to remove the sediment. I have many airlocks from brewing beer and making wine. I've actually made hard cider and apple wine a few times, but we just dont go through it enough so I stick to beer and red wine.

Nov 19, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Cider fermenting in the fridge...

This might be better posted on the beer forum, but I know some of the folks on the Spirits board make beer, cider, infusions, etc, so I'm posting here.

I have some unpasteurized cider in the fridge that I was drinking by itself or with some rye added. Well, it's been pushed to the back and neglected and I noticed the container was about to pop the other day. I gave it a taste and it's definitely on it's way to becoming hard cider. There is a lot of sediment on the bottom and some got dislodged while taking a swig. How do people deal with cider that's fermenting? I know many people seek the unpasteurized stuff just to let it fizz a bit, but how long is it OK to keep? Will it start to go to vinegar eventually? Should I "rack" it off the sediment?

The obvious answer is to start drinking it faster, which I plan to do, but just wondering how long it typically lasts before getting funky.

Nov 18, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Anyone have a good recipe for apple cider sangria?

I don't have a recipe, but we were at a party recently where they served an apple cider sangria in a big chilled dispenser. This one used a white wine and caramel apple vodka with diced apples floating on top. I had a small taste and thought it was good, just not my thing - I'm more of a cider & rum/rye person. It was very popular though. Crazy how many flavored vodkas are out there now. This may also have been cut with some cider or apple juice, but the wine and vodka were a definite.

Nov 17, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Whiskey gift for a beginner?

The rocks glasses are a good idea. I thought of that after posting about how he still likes some ice. I'm really loving my glencairns so I'm biased. I'll definitely check out the rocks as well. I could use some "normal" sized glasses myself. Mine are all oversized.

Oct 27, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Whiskey gift for a beginner?

Thanks for all the suggestions. We were actually going to a large whiskey tasting at a local liquor store recently but plans got cancelled. I was hoping to see if he leaned toward Scotch or bourbon. I'll see him soon and try to feel him out. I know everyone's tastes are different, but I always leaned towards the sweeter bourbon and Irish whiskeys and kind of assumed he might as well. Balvenie DW is the bottle I am using to spark my interest in Scotch, but it usually gets passed by for my Wild Turkey or Four Roses.

The Weller is a great suggestion but I can't even find any around here for myself. I think too many people are calling it Pappy Lite and its getting scooped up.

Oct 27, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Whiskey gift for a beginner?

I have a 30th birthday coming up for a family member who is starting to get into whiskey a bit. I thought it would be nice to get him a couple of glencairn glasses a decent bottle of whiskey as a gift. Nothing over the top expensive. He is at a point where he still likes a couple of ice cubes to chill and dilute, but will skip the mixers. His job has him out schmoozing on an expense account, so I think he's trying to expand his palette to fit in with the execs who sip scotch and bourbon.

I tend to favor bourbon over scotch, so my mind goes to some of the easy drinking mid-shelf bottles...Four Roses small batch, Knob Creek, Eagle Rare 10, or maybe Elijah Craig. These are all about $25 and under and I enjoy them.

Any suggestions for a new whiskey drinker? Would you go for a scotch instead? Nothing too smokey or complex. Maybe Balvenie Double Wood, Old Pulteney, Highland Park 12, Macallen 12, etc?

Oct 26, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

ISO Lemon Hart 151 rum

I bought a bottle at Martignetti's a couple of month's ago.

Oct 16, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

What's the peatiest, smokiest scotch?

I was at a similar tasting recently and agree that the Port Charlotte and Octomore were, to my tastes, close in smoke character. Too much for me. It just overloads the senses and I can't make anything else out. Glad we tasted the Black Art first. I'm too cheap to drop over $250 on a bottle though.

Maybe some day this love affair people have with peat will grow on me like aggressively hopped IPAs have over the years. For now, I'll stick with bourbon.

Oct 10, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Whiskies for Fall

Green Spot has been on my wish list for a while. I saw it recently and thought, that can't be the real stuff, they don't export to the US. Guess that changed.

How do you folks like it compared to Redbreast? Most of the reviews I've read are mixed. People either think it's great or too light and kind of boring. I really like the Redbreast 12 and can find it in the mid $40's. Green Spot seems to be a few bucks higher. Wonder if any bars in the Boston area have it stocked so I can taste first.

Oct 09, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Whiskies for Fall

I agree with the Redbreast recommendation. Jameson on the rocks or neat was my drink of choice for a long time, then I had Redbreast and it quickly became my favorite Irish whiskey. One of these day's I'll pick up the cask strength version. For something less expensive than Redbreast, but similar to Jameson, you could try Powers. It's very popular in Ireland.

I do not care for peat. I attended a Bruichladdich tasting recently and tried the Octomore. Holy crap. It was like drinking a campfire. The only scotch I have at the moment is Balvenie Double Wood 12 yr which is really enjoyable and no smoke.

Lately I have been in a bourbon mood. As the weather started to cool down, I began making Manhattans and Old Fashioneds with Rittenhouse Rye, but now I just prefer to sip some bourbon neat. I finished my Eagle Rare 10 and now bounce between Four Roses Small Batch and Wild Turkey 101. I have to say, Four Roses is incredible on the nose. Next purchase will be some kind of wheater...I'm thinking Weller or Larceny. I'd like to explore the style since I'm unfamiliar with it and compare to the bourbons with rye. I love this time of year!

Oct 07, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Some recent Merrimack Valley eats / lunch

Update - I stopped in to Nhu Y last week and the woman there said they no longer make sandwiches. :(

She was rolling some egg rolls and they still had a small covered pan of them on the counter like most places, but it looks like Hong Cuc and Yummy Express are the places to go now. I had struck out the last few times I went there, so it seemed like the writing was on the wall (guy didn't deliver bread today, wife is traveling and she makes the fillings, etc). Oh well, I enjoyed them while it lasted.

Oct 06, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Fresh grape juice for making wine??

Absolutely. I'm going to let it age a bit, but I alwasys sample some around the holidays. Luckily I don't have a very refined palate, so as long as it makes decent table wine I'll be happy.

Oct 04, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area
1

Fresh grape juice for making wine??

Well, we will see how this goes. I picked up a bucket of Cabernet juice from Wine Grapes NE. This seemed like the best option since all of the buckets were on pallets in a cooler. Other vendors had them sitting outside. However, my juice is measuring at about 1.068 SG and fizzy, so fermentation has clearly started. The bucket was hissing the whole way home.

I pitched my starter on top anyway and will add some nutrient later in the week. Maybe it will take over. I'll do MLF and add some oak after it ferments out and hope for the best.

Oct 04, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Fresh grape juice for making wine??

I saw that Beer and Wine Hobby was offering a crushing service this year. I don't own a press myself. We usually get a small group of guys together and buy grapes one weekend, crush and set aside in a barrel to start fermentation. The guy who owns the house has the job of pushing down the cap every day. Week or so later we all take turns pressing our batch and take away the juice in carboys or demijohns to finish fermenting in your own basement.

I'm trying to go easy this year and scale down, so I think I'll pick up 1-2 buckets of juice (thinking Cab Sav). Wine Grapes has the buckets for $50. I'll plan to poke around early on Saturday and see what's available. I know the best results come from getting some fermentation on the skins, but we'll see how it goes. I'll probably pitch my own yeast from BW Hobby, do MLF, and maybe add some oak chips and hope for the best. If it's no good, there is always next year to go back to grapes!

Sep 30, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Fresh grape juice for making wine??

itaunas,thanks for all the info. I got swamped at the office so I'll call tomorrow.

I think I've purchased grapes at Wine Grapes NE in the past but didn't recognize the name. It was the only place that listed brix and had cases of grapes in large walk in coolers. This will be the first time I try juice. Just don't have the time for grapes.

The other place I've purchased from has a large Latino guy who tells all the workers what to do and an older Italian guy who collects the payment. Not sure how else to describe it, but its the first stop every year. They were selling some barrels last time too.

I was hoping some would offer the must with the juice. I'm doing a small amount this year. Enough to pass on a few bottles to family and friends and the rest for table wine, so its not the end of the world if I just get juice. Ive had good success with barbera grapes and planned to buy that juice. Any idea on prices? Two years ago there was a big jump on grape prices. Not much under $35 a case and many over $40. Didn't catch the juice prices.

Sep 26, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Sazerac - Absinthe rinse substitute?

I made a Sazerac using Becherovka for the rinse. No anise flavor or aroma, but I thought it made a very good drink. I'm terrible at describing the scents and flavors I get from liquor and wine, but I guess I'd say there was a gingerbread type thing going on in here. Maybe not a true Sazerac, but seems to fit in with the Fall. As soon as I can find inexpensive Absinthe or Herbsaint (or small bottles), I'll compare. Might have to make another tonight.

Sep 26, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Fresh grape juice for making wine??

Thanks, I'll give them a call this afternoon.

Do you have any experience with this company? Decent quality juice?

Sep 26, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Sazerac - Absinthe rinse substitute?

I assume I could adjust the sugar in the cocktail to offset the added sweetness, but would the amount on the glass really add much?

I'll make one with the becherovka tonight and report back.

Sep 25, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Sazerac - Absinthe rinse substitute?

I was wondering about Sambuca. I can't stand the stuff, but have a bottle of the white and black that I keep around for guests. I've only had absinthe years ago in Prague and didn't care for it, so I couldn't remember the dominant flavors. Listerene comes to mind. It's also been at least a year since I had a Sazerac. I assume since it's just a rinse of the glass that the absinthe is there more for bouquet than taste? My wife might have a bottle of Anisette kicking around for baking as well.

Sep 25, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Sazerac - Absinthe rinse substitute?

Now that the weather is cooling down, I've been playing around with bourbon and rye, mostly making Old Fashioned's and Manhattans and drinking neat. I want to make a Sazerac and finally found some Peychaud's bitters. However, I don't have absinthe and don't really want to go buy a bottle for a rinse. The last two liquor stores did not have any nips. I remember when absinthe became legal again in the US, it seemed like every store carried nips of Absente at the register for $1.

I do have Becherovka that I brought back from Prague about 10yrs ago. I've never bothered to drink it, but know it's an herbal liquor. Is there any similarity between this and Absinthe? Do you think it would work as a rinse or do the two smell very different? The only other herbal/bitter liquor I have is Campari, but that seems to be heavy on the citrus.

Sep 25, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Fresh grape juice for making wine??

Does anyone have a local source for fresh grape juice? I know the home brew place in Woburn gets grapes and juice, but I was looking for other options. I've purchased grapes in Chelsea in the past and American Wine Grape usually sells the 6.5 gallon buckets of juice as well. Looks like they are closed. Some of the other guys in that area might sell juice too, but I don't know the names and want to confirm they have it before driving over. The place we usually get the grapes seems like they operate out of a few trailers. Not sure they have a phone number.

Sep 25, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Drink / liquor prices not advertized at the bar

Haha, not bad enough for that. Maybe a trial separation. She orders the Kettle One and club soda, but if I'm getting the drinks, it's a vodka soda. I wait to see if she can tell the difference.

Sep 23, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Fred's Franks- New home in Medford- NOW OPEN !!!

Great news! Thanks for the update. The Wakefield location was convenient from work, but Medford isn't too much further. I agree it's terrible how Wakefield "clarified" their law to basically single out one guy trying to earn a living.

Sep 23, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area

Drink / liquor prices not advertized at the bar

There are definitely some in the Boston area with printed and online spirits lists. These are places that typically have strong cocktail programs and a large range of bourbons or scotch to choose from. It seems like the majority of places only advertise their specialty cocktails. My wife is notorious for requesting a "premium" vodka when mixing it with soda and lime or god forbid, olive brine in a dirty martini. Putting aside the fact that these additions kill any noticeable differences (I don't think there is much difference between vodka anyway), it can make a $7 highball into an $11 drink at some places. I'd like to know that difference before ordering.

Sep 23, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Drink / liquor prices not advertized at the bar

I've noticed that many bars & restaurants will have a drink menu that lists their beer, wine, and house cocktails along with prices, but very few seem to have a spirits list. There are times I might want a whiskey neat, or specify a particular spirit in my cocktail or highball, but I have no idea what I'm going to pay for it. Asking how much each spirit costs is kind of aggravating (to me and the bartender I'm sure).

Any thoughts on why prices are not listed? Do you ask how much a glass of that Pierre Ferrand costs before ordering? I can't imagine liquor prices fluctuate so much that an establishment couldn't provide a menu. I was at a bar recently that had over 100 whiskeys at very reasonable prices. I asked about one particular scotch I had wanted to try, but didn't see on the menu. The bartender said it had just come in and poured me a dram. I was a bit shocked when I got the bill and saw it was almost double the price of others with a similar retail bottle price. My fault for not asking.

Sep 22, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Recipe for Excellent Cocktail Cherries

That's an interesting read. I have 3 jars in my fridge now loosely following Striper's recipe .I left out some of the spice since I was looking for something a bit more mellow. Two jars contain the tart cherries I picked up which I think were too soft for this process. The third has the remaining Bing cherries I had kicking around (sorry kids, Dad needs them for Manhattans). I also found some dried cherries that I tossed into each jar as an experiment to see how they would do.

I found that straight booze strips the color from the cherries. I didn't make the tea or add cherry juice, so that probably takes care of the color bleaching out. Mine is more of a simple syrup, but not a 1:1 like JMF suggested. I'm more booze heavy, but of course, I didn't take notes so I don't recall the measurements.

What I found was that about a week in the liquid the cherries still tasted very boozy. However, after 2-3 weeks something magical happened. The liquid took on the cherry flavor, the booze mellowed, and the cherries are awesome! I might have to keep myself from drinking the syrup. The dried cherries and the Bings are delicious, but very different size and texture. I just added more of the dried to the drink to compensate. I'll tast one of the sour cherries later to see how those held up. I can see this becoming something I make every summer now so I'm stocked for winter.

Sep 15, 2014
Ali G in Spirits

Big Joe's Depot - Wilmington

Thought I'd give a little shout out to Big Joe's. I've been brown bagging it lately to cut down on spending and calories, but needed lunch the other day and wanted to try something new. I had heard good reviews from coworkers a while back when the original Big Joe owned the place. Big Joe was a former professional wrestler and was known to speak his mind with no filter. Joe passed away and the place is under new ownership. The new owner is very friendly and asked how I heard of them.

They have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Several subs offered all at $7. The owner is Portuguese and has some of the favorites at dinner (pork w/ clams, cod & potatoes, kale soup, etc). I've only gone for subs a couple of times, but they have been very good. For my chicken parm, I watched him take out a fresh piece of chicken breast, slice it thin, bread and fry it while the sauce was simmering in a second pan. Maybe I'm just use to places dropping a pre-breaded cutlet into a deep fryer, but I was impressed how everything was prepared fresh. I had the house made meatballs another time and these were also great. Looking forward to some Kale soup now that it's getting cold.

The place is sort of hidden next to the Wilmington Commuter Rail station right at the bridge. Can be tough taking a left into the lot, but good food from friendly owners, so it's worth it.

Sep 15, 2014
Ali G in Greater Boston Area