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What Is Your Opinion Of This Manhattan Cocktail Variation?

Greetings nickls:

I didn't actually eat the star anise. Instead, I just licked and nibbled at the outside of it a few times to scrape off some of its flavor onto my tongue. It had been years since I had tasted a star anise.

The Manhattans you described sound good. I have always preferred an orange twist in a Manhattan to a cherry. But the one I had last night, served with neither a cherry nor an orange twist, is my new favorite Manhattan variation so far.

Apr 09, 2015
PontiusPalate in Spirits

What Is Your Opinion Of This Manhattan Cocktail Variation?

Greetings Kimfair1:

Many thanks for your reply and compliment.

I didn't know what Ango was either. I copied the description of this cocktail from the complimentary menu they gave me to take home.

I am now guessing that Ango is "short" for Angostura Bitters and that it was combined somehow with the Coffee Chocolate Pecan Bitters.

The anise was an actual star anise garnish, which I found very enjoyable. It packed a lot of flavor.

Thanks again for your reply.

Apr 09, 2015
PontiusPalate in Spirits

What Is Your Opinion Of This Manhattan Cocktail Variation?

THE MORNINGSTAR: This cocktail was described by my bartender tonight as a "twist" on the classic Manhattan cocktail. The description on its menu reads as follows:

"Eagle Rare Whiskey/Frangelico/Sweet Vermouth/Ango/Anise/Coffee Chocolate Pecan Bitters."

It came served in a coupe cocktail glass chilled with liquid nitrogen. One thing that really stood out for me was the star anise garnish, which made for a delightful nibble both during and after my drink was consumed.

What do you think? For whatever it may be worth, this is the best tasting variation of the Manhattan I have ever tried to date.

I would also like to add that this bar serves a superb classic gin martini. The one thing that immediately struck me the most was the chill of the martini glass.

My bartender informed me that all of their martini glasses are chilled with liquid nitrogen. I believe this is a first for our local bar scene here in Norfolk, Virginia.

This is also the only local bar I've found that stocks and uses Angnostura Orange Bitters. There are a few other bars here in Norfolk which purport to prepare their own "in house" orange bitters.

Unfortunately, they all fail miserably in comparison to the Angnostura brand. These "house" brands of orange bitters are always overly sweet and exert an unfortunate dye effect of turning the color of your martini into an unappetizing bright orange hue.

I didn't even have to tell my bartender to prepare my martini stirred and not shaken. He knew better and even appeared to be insulted that I brought it up.

This is in sharp contrast to the many bartenders in my area who have never even heard of a martini prepared stirred, instead of shaken.

This commentary is coming from a guy who used to sing the praises last year of a Hendricks Gin cucumber martini, shaken and not stirred. I now cringe at the very sound of a martini that is shaken and the taste of the cucumber flavored turpentine that I now derive from Hendricks.

I like to think that I've come a long way since then.

Some of you guys helped in leading me to the light back then.

For those of you who did so, I want to say THANK YOU!

In conclusion, the cocktail scene here in Norfolk, Virginia, appears to be breaking new ground and making substantial progress.

Cheers!

PP

Apr 08, 2015
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Am I the only one who doesn't brunch?

I'm not a brunch person either. For one thing, I am not a daytime drinker. If I get buzzed on alcohol in the daytime, it throws me off. I would rather be at the YMCA burning off some of the calories I consumed the night before. I prefer to wait until the evening and my final meal of the day if I am going to drink. I've also never been a fan of Bloody Marys or Mimosas. Instead, I'm a martini guy. I like one before dinner and one more during dinner. I also stick to a 2-hour time window for drinking. Usually, I don't drink before 8 p.m. and never after 10 p.m. I also like a separate breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I enjoy a light breakfast, and my favorite lunch is a steaming hot bowl of Pho.

Jan 11, 2015
PontiusPalate in General Topics

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I recently bought 4 of the same Nick and Nora glasses described above. As a result, they have become my favorite martini glasses.

These glasses are a perfect fit for what is now my favorite martini, which is the Vesper. My recipe is as follows:

2.25 oz. of Plymouth Gin
0.75 oz. of Belvedere Vodka
0.75 oz. of Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano
Two dashes of Angnostura Orange Bitters
A twist of orange peel

After giving the ingredients a 30 to 40 second stir and strain the mixture into the glass (which I remove from my freezer), there is just enough room for the orange peel, and the drink still does not slosh over the top. These glasses also do a nice job in maintaining the chill of the drink.

Dec 30, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits
1

Best Pairing for a Gin Martini.

Speaking of Cocchi Americano...........I now prefer this to Lillet Blanc when making a Vesper martini at home. I still like the Lillet Blanc, but I now give Cocchi Americano the edge.

PP

Dec 30, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Belvedere vodka signs James Bond deal

Alessandro Palazzi, who is the bar manager at the Dukes Hotel in London, likes another brand of Polish vodka for his Vesper martinis. The brand he uses in the following video is Potocki. I find his recipe in this video, which he created as a tribute to Ian Fleming, to be most fascinating.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLZUZ...

PP

Dec 25, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Best Pairing for a Gin Martini.

I enjoy a gin martini before dinner and another one during dinner. Last night I indulged in a fantastic Steak Au Poivre at my favorite restaurant with my two gin martinis. My favorite bar snack to go with my first martini are those spicy wasabi peas.

PP

Dec 25, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

I made a Vesper last night and, for the first time, used an orange peel garnish as shown in the video above. I found that the essence of the orange peel helped to capture and reinforce the orange citrus notes in the Lillet Blanc. I also found that it eliminated any "clash" I previously tasted from the combination of the gin and the vodka. Overall, I found that the orange peel worked much better for me than the lemon peel.

I didn't freeze the spirits as shown. I am inclined to believe this is unnecessary. Instead, I stirred it as I would a regular martini. Overall, this was the best Vesper I've made yet.

PP

Oct 11, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Proper martini glasses

I've only been making my own martinis for about a week now. The smallest martini glasses I have been able to find in a store were some 6-ounce glasses at a local Pottery Barn.

So far my favorite martini recipe is 3.5 ounces of gin and 0.5 ounce of vermouth and 2 dashes with orange bitters. The additional water caused by the dilution from stirring is causing the total liquid to come not too far below the brim of the glass.

The 6-ounce glass is working out nicely so far. I am not getting that room temperature effect toward the bottom.

If I find some 5-ounce martini glasses, I will buy a couple of them.

PP

Oct 03, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

I have only just begun to make my own homemade cocktails a week ago. Last night I made my first homemade Vesper cocktail using the following ingredients:

3 ounces of Plymouth Gin
1 ounce of Belvedere Vodka
0.5 ounce of Lillet Blanc
2 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters
A lemon twist for a garnish
Stirred and not shaken

This was my first Vesper cocktail ever. I have never ordered one in a bar.

My impression?

I thought the gin and the vodka clashed a bit too much. The vodka seemed to have a subtractive and diminishing effect upon the taste of the gin.

Maybe I should try to make one using Allessandro Palazzi's method at the Duke Bar by freezing both the gin and vodka and using an orange peel garnish.

In any event, based upon my first experience with the Vesper cocktail, I prefer the classic gin martinis I have made so far, using 3.5 ounces of Plymouth Gin, 0.5 ounce of Noilly Prat Vermouth, 2 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters, and a lemon peel garnish. This martini fits nicely in the 6-ounce glasses I bought recently at the Pottery Barn.

PP

Oct 03, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

Many thanks for the clarification. Before I posted the above, I took a quick look at Wikipedia and read that alcohol does freeze.

What it didn't see it say is that alcohol does not freeze to a solid state. Maybe I didn't read far or closely enough. I have always assumed that any liquid which is frozen is frozen to a solid state.

Thanks again!

PP

Oct 03, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

I am totally confused as to how he accomplishes the freezing process. How exactly does he freeze the gin and vodka to the point that they still pour freely from their bottles?

Does he freeze them solid first and them let them thaw until they are pourable?

Or does he freeze them just until and before they begin to solidify and are still pourable? If so, then how long would it take a bottle of gin or vodka to reach this state in the average home freezer?

Does the freezing of the spirits somehow mimic the effect of diluting them via stirring?

PP

Oct 02, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

The following video provides an even more detailed depiction of Allessandro Palazzi's rendition of the Vesper Cocktail, as it is prepared and served at the Dukes Hotel in London:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLZUZV...

If you note the recipe etched on the screen at the 4:42 mark of the video, you will see that both the Gin and the Vodka are identified as "Frozen."

Very interesting.

PP

Oct 01, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I was able to buy two 6-ounce martini glasses at a local Pottery Barn two days ago.

I've been experimenting a lot lately with my desired martini to vermouth ratios. At the present time, my favorite is a 7 to 1 ratio with 3.5 ounces of gin and 0.5 ounces of vermouth, along with two dashes of orange bitters.

I made a martini with the above proportions last night. After stirring the orange bitters, gin, and the vermouth in the mixing glass with ice for about 30 seconds, and then straining it into the 6-ounce glass with a julep strainer, I found that the total mixture came fairly close to the brim. The extra liquid, of course, came from the melted ice from the stirring process.

I also bought two 8-ounce martini glasses as well, which I think I will save for when I make my first Vesper cocktail.

In any event, my 6-ounce martini glass worked out just fine for the martini I made last night as described.

PP

Oct 01, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I have been searching the Amazon web site for some martini glasses which might qualify as being of true and traditional "mini" size.

The vast majority of the martini glasses they offer are described as containing a volume of 8 ounces or larger. I even found a set which was described as containing a volume of 12 ounces for each glass.

The smallest martini glasses I could find on Amazon were these:

http://www.amazon.com/Riedel-Vinum-Ma...

These glasses are described as containing a capacity of 4 5/8 ounces.

Would you consider the size of these glasses to be acceptable for the accommodation of the traditional martinis you prefer?

PP

Sep 29, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I am thinking about going to this bar on Wednesday evening. If I do, I will try to find out one of their recipes for a cocktail or martini served in a 7.5 ounce glass.

PP

Sep 29, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

One rationale I have heard in favor of the mini-martini glass sizes is that they retain the chill of the spirits for a longer period of time. It has been argued that martinis served in the larger glasses tend to reach room temperature toward the end, which many drinkers find unappetizing. But I guess that this would also depend upon how fast you drink them.

Sep 29, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

I was just wondering if you or anybody else had any comments in regard to the bartender's technique and how you think you "might" like this cocktail accordingly.

I was especially intrigued by his technique of merely adding the ingredients into the glass without stirring or shaking.

I also found the use of the orange peel garnish interesting and unusual.

PP

Sep 28, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

The following article appeared in our Sunday paper today:

http://hamptonroads.com/2014/09/219s-...

The author of this article was investigating the claims she heard that the particular bar program cited was truly promoting the tiny cocktail trend in America.

As it turned out, the "mini martini" she ordered turned out to be 7.5 ounces in size.

Apparently, their bar program made a previous effort to prepare 3.5 ounce cocktails without much success. Too many of their patrons were chugging them down like "shooters." Having visited many of our local bars and observing many of their patrons, this comes as no surprise to me.

A quote from the article: "I probe further and Charlie reveals the tale of a trend gone awry. After the mini list debuted, he says, bartenders raced to keep up with demand for the 3.5-ounce drinks. Workers were in the weeds. Stemware shattered. Hard-core tipplers took to quaffing mini-martinis like shooters, rather than civilized sippers. And so, the mini went the way of the 9-inch dinner plate."

Indeed, the vast majority of our local bar programs serve their martinis in the larger glasses. Personally, I don't see how a bar program which serves martinis in 3.5 ounce glasses can be competitive with the other bar programs in our area which serve much larger sized martinis.

Is there really a tiny cocktail trend occurring now in America? If so, it doesn't seem to be taking off in our area.

PP

Sep 28, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

What do you all think of this fellow's rendition of the Vesper Martini, as prepared at the Dukes Hotel in London:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsjExE...

This one is neither shaken nor stirred. The bartender, whose name appears to be Allesandro from the comments, merely pours all of the ingredients into a chilled martini glas. He adds bitters and uses an orange peel garnish instead of a lemon one.

PP

Sep 27, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

For those of you who enjoy the Vesper cocktail, which was made famous by the James Bond novel, Casino Royale (1953), do you have a favorite recipe?

Personally, I've never had one. But I am looking forward to trying one soon with the new bar equipment I have just ordered and received.

I have also just ordered and received Jim Meehan's book: "The PDT Cocktail Book." His recipe is as follows:

2.25 ounces of Plymouth Gin
0.75 ounces of Belvedere Vodka
0.5 ounces of Lillet Blanc
Stirred instead of shaken and garnished with a lemon twist.

Another recipe I found on the internet calls for 3 ounces of Gordon's gin (which I believe was Bond's brand), 1 ounce of Belvedere Vodka, and 0.5 ounces of Lillet Blanc. Garnished with a lemon twist.

Another recipe I found calls for 3 ounces of Tanqueray gin, 1 ounce of Stolichnaya Blue Label 100 proof vodka, 0.5 ounces of Lillet Blanc, and 2 dashes or orange bitters. Garnished with a lemon twist.

Is it true that the formula for Gordon's gin has changed since 1953, and this might be the reason why it may no longer be the preferred gin for the Vesper cocktail?

I have also become a fan of orange bitters in my martinis, so much so that I now take a bottle of Angostura orange bitters with me to any bar I go to that doesn't stock any kind of orange bitters at all. I then hand the bottle to the bartender and instruct him/her to add two dashes to the mixing glass for my martini. I think this is giving me the reputation of an eccentric, but so be it.

If you like the Vesper cocktail, what are your preferred brands of gin and vodka?

What is your opinion of the addition of orange bitters in a Vesper cocktail?

PP

Sep 18, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Chilling A Martini Glass

The Big Crunch,

Many thanks for the information above. I am glad to hear that at least a few of our local bartenders are doing it right.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a bar in my area that uses a glass chiller as you have described.

I have just ordered Jim Meehan's PDT Cocktail book.

PP

Sep 07, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Stirring Martinis

I recently had a martini that was neither shaken nor stirred. Instead, the bartender merely swirled it around in the shaker with a slow clockwise motion with his hand. He did this for about 30 seconds.

The end result was a martini with a clarity and texture very similar to that of a stirred martini. In fact, I couldn't tell the difference.

Then again, it has only been within the past few weeks since I became converted to stirred martinis over shaken martinis.

PP

Sep 07, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Chilling A Martini Glass

Last night I went to a bar and ordered a gin martini with 2.5 ounces of gin, 0.5 ounces of vermouth, 2 dashes of orange bitters, prepared stirred for 30 seconds, and with a twist of lemon.

I expected the bartender to throw me out after making such a detailed request. Our local bartenders are not accustomed to this sort of thing.

To my surprise, the bartender was very friendly and willing to make this martini for me. As I watched him make it, I made the following observation.

When he chilled the martini glass, he filled it full of ice cubes. But then he did something I had never seen before. He filled it full of water.

It is my guess that he thought that adding water to the ice in the martini glass would chill the glass faster. When he ready to pour the mixture of the gin, vermouth, and the orange bitters into the martini glass, he threw out both the ice and the water.

Did the bartender make a mistake by adding water to the ice in the martini glass in an attempt to chill it? This is not the way that Jim Meehan does it in the video I recently watched.

PP

Sep 01, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

I would like to thank you all once again for the leads and suggestions you provided in regard to the development of a beginner's cocktail kit.

I did follow the suggestion for investigating a local restaurant supply store. We have a small one in my area, and I was able to buy the following:

A set of jiggers
A Hawthorne strainer
A Boston shaker
A muddler
Two pint size mixing glasses

I still need to get the following:

A cocktail stirring spoon
A mint julep strainer, like the kind that Jim Meehan used in the video I recently posted in the other thread I started in regard to the stirring of martinis.

Neither of the above were available at our local restaurant supply store.

Hopefully, I will have my cocktail kit completed soon, so that I can start to practice making some of my own cocktails and martinis.

If I can learn how to make a decent martini and Manhattan by the end of the year, I will be very pleased.

Thanks again!

PP

Aug 31, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Stirring Martinis

Hello zin1953,

I believe he described the martini he was making in the video as one he would make for himself. This is what caused me to wonder if he really does like orange bitters in his own martinis.

If he does like orange bitters in his martinis, but did not include them in this particular martini for whatever reason, it is my guess that he would put them in the mixing glass first, then the vermouth, the gin, and finally the ice, in that order.

Does this guess sound correct?

By the way, I had a stirred Bombay gin martini with orange bitters the other night that was great. I am now sold on orange bitters in my martinis from now on.

I am also now off the Hendrick's.

PP

Aug 30, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Stirring Martinis

I have just found the following video that features Jim Meehan, a bartender whose name seems to be highly regarded here, preparing a classic gin martini.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVLycg...

As you can see, he adds the vermouth and then the gin into the chilled mixing glass before adding the ice.

I like the way he explains his rationale for performing each step.

One more question. I noticed that he did not add any orange bitters to his martini.

Does this mean that he is not a fan of orange bitters in a martini?

PP

Aug 30, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

The Big Crunch,

Many thanks for the tip on the Oxo vegetable peeler. I don't have one at the moment. If Oxo makes it, I am sure it will serve me well when it comes to cutting the lemon twists for my martinis.
PP

Aug 28, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Pho vs. Ramen [moved from L.A. board]

I don't think so.

Overall, I like pho better, regardless of the price.

Maybe it's because I have been eating pho a lot longer than ramen.

In all fairness, I probably need to eat ramen a little longer to see if I am able to develop more of a taste for it.

PP

Aug 28, 2014
PontiusPalate in General Topics