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Shaken or stirred?

If the bartender can't/won't stir your drink, and you want it stirred, why not do it yourself? Order a Ketel One on the rocks, with a twist (and here I'm curious--when they don't have the spoon, do they still have the cocktail onions?), and an empty glass (cocktail if they have them, I suppose, but again . . .); if you really want to make a production out of it, ask for a glass full of ice. Stir the drink yourself, ask the barkeep to dump the ice if you requested it, strain (use your finger), and enjoy. You may hear some grumbling from the beer-drinkers; but, then again, someone might buy you another round just to watch you do it again.

May 01, 2007
olfashiond in Spirits

Jack Daniel's is not Bourbon.

Yes, we all understand the distinction (but thank you for putting the designation in capital letters—that really helps). The question is whether the distinction matters: whether, as zin1953 said much earlier, the distinction is one that makes no difference. My suspicion is that it makes no difference when it comes to flavor: that is, that there is no distinctive difference between a Tennessee whiskey and a bourbon—that whatever difference there exists, it is indistinguishable from the kind of difference you will find between any two bourbons, or between JD and Dickel. If you can’t characterize the difference, then it is, essentially, a distinction that makes no difference.

Certainly you can insist that the distinction in production methods is one that matters, but, if you do, then what are you really arguing for? Would any true connoisseur claim to prefer cognac not because of its distinctive flavor, but because of where it is made? (Yes, I know that in the case of cognac, where it is made has been established to be a significant factor in how it tastes; but that has not been established with respect to Tennessee whiskey.) If you prefer to distinguish between spirits based on point of origin rather than on flavor, then what is your rationale?

I can see that this truly matters to a lot of people, so I don’t presume to say that the point-of-origin distinction is unimportant; but I don’t understand the thinking, and I’d like to. But please don’t anyone post another description of how the stuff is made. I really don’t care.

Mar 28, 2007
olfashiond in Spirits

Jack Daniel's is not Bourbon.

Now, this thread has turned into something interesting. In the first place, everyone seems to agree that the distinction (i.e., between bourbon and Tennessee whiskey) is meaningful, although there seems to be some uncertainty, even now, as to precisely what qualities define the difference. Tennessee whiskey surely tastes different from bourbon; but, then again (as at least 2 posts here acknowledge), Dickel does not taste the same as JD; which raises the obvious, but nevetheless as yet unanswered question: do bourbons (and, for that matter, Tennessee whiskeys) taste more like each other than they do the whiskeys in the other category? If so, then what is the nature of the distinction that defines the category (according to taste, I mean, not according to method of production)? If not, then what--apart from marketing, of course--is the purpose of the distinction?

Clearly, the only responsible way of approaching this problem is for all truly interested parties to arrange whiskey tastings to compare, contrast, and report back here.

Mar 19, 2007
olfashiond in Spirits

drinking bourbon

Well, once you eliminate fruity/mixed drinks, you aren't left with much--which is good, because it makes your decision easy. Start with Knob Creek, neat or rocks, however you like it; if you're making a night of it, switch to Jim Beam/Jack Daniels after you've realized you can't feel your nose anymore.

Mar 16, 2007
olfashiond in Spirits

drinking bourbon

If by "classy" you mean it comes in a cocktail glass, then a Manhattan really is the answer (unless you feel like teaching the bartender to make a Ward 8). More "manly" (and just good sense if you are drinking a top-shelf bourbon) is neat/rocks. And, while there's nothing wrong with a good highball, mixing your bourbon with more than an equal volume of anything fizzy or fruity is strictly middle-class (there--I said it).

Mar 16, 2007
olfashiond in Spirits

Rye

Are you serious? If so, why rye? And are you suggesting mixing anything that's 18 years old with cranberry juice and peach schnapps?

Sep 16, 2006
olfashiond in Spirits

Park Slope FOOD COOP? Experiences?

Go ahead and join. Either you'll love it, or you'll get a good story out of it; but there's no way to know what it's like until you've experienced the thing in all curious complexity. I couldn't stand the place myself, for variety of reasons that I won't mention here. Love it or hate it, you won't be the same person afterward.

Sep 06, 2006
olfashiond in Outer Boroughs

Eeek! Mouse-proofing my pantry?

I don't know what they make the stuff from where you are, but here that poison is blood thinner; the mouse's internal organs leak blood until it dies, and it will smell pretty bad for a while if you don't find it (which you can't, often, because they die in spaces where you can't get at them).

Sep 06, 2006
olfashiond in Not About Food

Martini is a martini is a martini

Before I begin, I just want to say that I'm not trying to cause trouble, and I hope that replies to this post (if any) won't simply be declarations in favor of one side of this issue.

The issue seems to have begun with a curious confusion of mixology with glassware. For some people (even people who understand the difference, as a recent post makes clear), a cocktail glass is **really** a martini glass. It's not hard to see how that came to be, given the ubiquity of the martini as the drink of fashionable trendsetters from Nick Charles to James Bond. Most people who've seen these movies would never buy glasses made especially for drinking cocktails, so what else would they call that funny-looking glass?

This raises a not-so-interesting question for me: does the difference matter? The answer is, obviously, only to some people; which raises an interesting question: what's the difference between the people for whom it matters, and those for whom it doesn't? If you you've never heard that the glass that a martini is traditionally served in has a name of its own, then clearly you aren't qualified to speak to the issue; but if you're aware of the distinction, what determines whether you choose to recognize it?

I don't see any need to get upset about this--Nick Charles would no doubt have sniffed at the idea of a "vodka martini," but I can't see him getting worked up about it. It just makes me wonder, and I wonder what other people think.

Aug 17, 2006
olfashiond in Spirits

What foods go well with scotch?

Breath mints.

Aug 15, 2006
olfashiond in Spirits

The Best Brunch In Manhattan?

The best brunch restaurant in Manhattan: (a) is within 2 blocks of wherever you live; (b) does not entail waiting longer than it takes to scan the front page of the newspaper; (c) does not include "your choice" of screwdriver/bloody mary/bellini in the price; (d) hires waitstaff who do not take it as a personal affront if you are still sleepy/hung over/both; (e) has tables big enough for you to actually read the paper you were scanning while you waited, if it should happen that the rest of your party is similarly still sleepy/hung over/both. The food? Eh . . . it's eggs or pancakes, or sandwiches. Anything fancier and you're asking for trouble.

Aug 02, 2006
olfashiond in Manhattan

Quality of Liquor to use in mixed drinks

I agree that it depends on what you're making.

First rule: don't mix with anything that you wouldn't be able to enjoy with nothing more than some ice. If you wouldn't drink Absolut without the juice, then I'd say, don't bother with it at all.

Second rule: if the ratio of mixer to spirits is 1:1 or higher, and I have a choice as to liquor, then I see no point in using the better liquor (e.g., I wouldn't drown an ounce of Grey Goose in six ounces of orange juice).

Third rule: psychology is everything where taste is concerned. If you think that quality liquor is better, then it will be. Have you tried asking someone else to make the vodka/pomegranate juice concoction without telling you what they used?

Aug 02, 2006
olfashiond in Spirits

Help! Non-Drinker Needs to Buy Good Scotch!

One option, if you're buying for a confirmed Scotch drinker, might be to go with something unexpected, yet in the neighborhood; say, a Japanese whisky (e.g., Suntory Yamazaki 12 yr.). That way you're less likely either to duplicate or to guess badly, and you have a better chance of getting a real surprise reaction. (Caveat: a CONFIRMED Scotch drinker may not be amused . . .)

Aug 02, 2006
olfashiond in Spirits

Casual Dining (Pizza, Burgers, Cantelopes) NYC

The Luger burger is good, but only served at lunch; for which--and I may be mistaken, I've never tried reserving for lunch--I don't think you need to reserve 2 months in advance. Anyway, if you're staying in Manhattan, I think there are lots of better lunch options. There's a recent long post about burgers in the city; there will always be disagreement, but anything that appears on several people's top lists should serve your purpose. Katz's is also a good lunch option (although I'm not sure I understand the previous poster's remark about the glass of water and the eyes darting). I don't think any NY pizza rates as destination chow, unless you've never had anything but chain glop--in which case the distinction between Lomaardi's/Grimaldi's/John's/Arturo's might not matter much.

And don't rule out French--I can't imagine any meat 'n' potatoes country boy who'd turn up his nose at steak frites.

Amazing NY chow is always a bit of a risk. I can see how sushi would be right out, but you might want to try at least one place that's out of his comfort zone (e.g., Indian, Thai); if he likes it, he'll thank you; if not, no serious harm done, and you might still get a good story out of it.

Finally: yeah, what about the cantaloupes?

Jul 15, 2006
olfashiond in Manhattan

Fabulous Cocktails

How about the Brandy Library? Also, maybe the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central; it's touristy, but your guest is a tourist, right?

Jul 08, 2006
olfashiond in Manhattan

What to have with BBQ? [Moved from Spirits and Wine boards]

How would Grandma feel about Southern Comfort? I can't stand the stuff myself, but it's sweet, and significantly lower proof than bourbon or Tennessee whiskey, which really are the only spirits that I can imagine drinking with barbecue.

Jul 08, 2006
olfashiond in General Topics

What to make with leftover dark rum?

Try a dark 'n stormy. It's dark rum with ginger beer--not ginger ale--which keeps the sweetness from becoming cloying. There's a Bermudan brand that is the "official" mixer for a Gosling's dark 'n stormy, but I forget the name.

Jul 08, 2006
olfashiond in Spirits