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The Big Crunch's Profile

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Punt E Mes?

A Negroni without Campari isn't really a Negroni. And I know this is a sore subject, but I find absolutely nothing sour about a standard Negroni, nor do I find there to be anything sour in the flavor profile of Campari, gin, or sweet vermouth.

Punt E Mes?

Do they usually go together? I think bittersweet is pretty common, but bitter and sour seems less common.

Jul 31, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Punt E Mes?

Same here. Punt e Mes sour? No, not at all. It does not taste like lemons. It is sweet with a dry, bitter aftertaste. I also wouldn't call such a statement presumptuous...even wikipedia describes it that way.

Same goes with most bitters. They almost never taste sour - just a mix of sweetness, the main component flavor, underlying herbal notes, and bitter...hence the name, bitters.

Jul 31, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Pear Liqueur?

At a certain point, when the home bar reaches a certain size, you start looking to acquire some seriously lesser used things, and pear liqueur has been one I've meant to add for a while. I'd always meant to pick up a bottle of Belle de Brillet, but I just noticed this afternoon that one of my local stores has a Rothman and Winter pear liqueur at around half the price. Has anyone tried it? For those in the know (Yarm?, JMF?) do you have any particular preferences in pear liqueurs? I've been happy with R&W's apricot and creme de violete and almost bought the bottle as an impulse buy but thought I'd see if anyone on the Chowhound board had any thoughts. I figure since it will get such little use, and thus will likely be my only bottle of pear liqueur, I should make the purchase count :)

Jul 15, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Gin tasting help please

The thing is, you have different styles of gin, so if you want to compare the same style by different producers then you have that route, or you could compare three different styles. For London Dry, the taste difference might be too subtle if you're dealing with a crowd that doesn't normally like gin. Maybe you could go with Beefeater, Hendricks, and Plymouth; or perhaps Beefeater (London Dry), Bluecoat (American dry), and Hayman's (Old Tom style).

Jul 15, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Vermouth in a gin martini

Agreed. Dolin dry on the rocks with a twist of lemon is a wonderful low-alcohol aperitif. If you don't like it, then fine, but as far as it being categorically vile, well, millions of people will disagree with you on that one ;)

Also, why are people bringing up Carpano? Sure, it's good, but it's an Italian vermouth. Put it with gin and you're getting closer to a Martinez and farther from a Martini.

Jul 06, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Best ways to use St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur

The Vieux Mot (from the PDT Cocktail book)

1 1⁄2 oz Gin, Plymouth (but Boodles also works fine)
1⁄2 oz Elderflower liqueur, St. Germain
3⁄4 oz Lemon juice
1⁄2 oz Simple syrup

Combine, shake, strain, serve in chilled coupe, no garnish.

Jul 06, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Ruan Thai: Thai Smackdown

Wow. I didn't know the simple act of voicing an opinion could incite such snark. If you really must know, I did a Google search on Ruan Thai and found this thread. I clicked on it and read through with some interest before making a casual contribution. I wasn't aware I was engaging in such an antagonistic act. If threads are supposed to be closed after a set number of years then I think the administrators should consider doing that, otherwise, I like to think the conversation is indefinitely open.

Ruan Thai: Thai Smackdown

THIS!! Seriously, y'all do know there is more to Thai food than scorching heat, right? If you order a dish and it isn't screaming hot, then that might be because the dish is not SUPPOSED to be screaming hot. The central guiding philosophy behind Thai cuisine is balance, and while there are certainly some hot dishes, that results in a lot of dishes that seek equal ground between sweet, salty, sour, and spicy. If you want the dish hotter, then do what a Thai person would do and use the condiments on the table to achieve greater heat, or just ask for the dish to be prepared extra spicy. However, don't assume it's a weakness of the kitchen, or some bias against you being a non-Asian, that resulted in you receiving a Thai dish that wasn't sweat-inducingly hot and spicy.

Cork Wine Bar - Washington D.C.

It's just been there s long that people forget about it, or at least the folks who simply come to the neighborhood to try the newest restaurants, which is completely understandable considering how many keep coming. I think it's a bit like Bar Pilar, which is also fantastic, but often overlooked by people who don't live in the neighborhood. Aslo, the mackeral and fried caperswith the staek both sound new to me - we've not been in about a year, so maybe it's time to go back.

Should vermouth be refrigerated after opening?

I know some others may disagree, but I've been refrigerating and vacu-vining vermouth for years and it does a wonderful job of really extending the shelf life.

Jun 14, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

The best barbecue joints in the D.C. area, ranked

Chopped Pork Sandwich -

1. Black Hog in Frederick. BTW, Black Hog is one of the only places outside of eastern NC where I can find the coleslaw I grew up with. This whole notion, which seems so common around DC, of pouring vinegar on some shredded cabbage and calling it "Carolina style" cole slaw is something I never encountered in 21 years living in NC.

2. Rocklands in Arlington is damn good and a great value as well.

3. Kangaroo Boxing Club

Baby Back Ribs - Fat Pete's

Brisket -

1. DC Smokehouse
2. Hill Country
3. Fat Pete's

Beef Ribs

1. Hill Country

Smoked duck

1. Kangaroo Boxing Club (but they sell out so quickly when it's on the menu that it's best to never assume it will be available)

Lastly, I'd just like to say how happy I am that the BBQ game has really been raised in recent years in the region. It will never be a BBQ mecca, but compared to when I moved up here in 2001, DC's current BBQ scene is terrific.

Mexican BBQ Chicken

Bad food science. If you're using a marinade with a lot of acidity, especially from citrus juice, and you soak chicken in it for a long time (say, more than a few hours) then you're going to end up chemically cooking your chicken, sort've like how ceviche is prerpared. The result is chicken that, when cooked, is unpleasantly dry and tough on the outside with a more mealy consistency on the inside. My guess is they never even tested this recipe.

May 29, 2015
The Big Crunch in Recipes

Luxardo Maraschino cherries not at all worth the price

But what if you want a cocktail? I mean, I love good bourbon, but I also love cocktails, and I don't think the pleasure of the former by itself should mean I can't use it to make tasty drinks.

Mar 14, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Barrel-aged cocktails

I agree completely.

Mar 09, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Which amaro for cocktails?

I don't know...I really like the saffron aspects in it, though, yeah...it doesn't get used all that often.

Feb 23, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Grey goose and Kirkland Signature brand vodka the same?!

Isn't vodka made from corn just white dog whiskey?

Feb 23, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Grey goose and Kirkland Signature brand vodka the same?!

"Vodka from a pot still (the same sort used for Cognac and Scotch whisky) will contain some of the delicate aromatics, congeners, and flavor elements of the crop from which it was produced"

That assumes, of course, that there actually are "delicate aromatics, congeners, and flavor elements of the crop from which it was produced" ;)

Feb 23, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

St Germain HELP please

Maybe there was some leakage of the St. Germain under the cap. That stuff is sugary enough that if it leaked and condensed, it could provide some serious glue-like resistance.

Feb 23, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Help me make a simple/tasty MEZCAL cocktail!

Damn...that looks interesting. I will definitely be making that in the near future.

Feb 23, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

how do these gins compare flavor-wise?

For a NEW gin drinker... Hmmm... Okay, there are two routes here, with one being going for the most traditional and juniper heavy and the other being, go for the lighter, sweeter, more citrusy gin. New Amsterdam is definitely in the latter while Gordon's is about as traditional a London Dry as you'll find. I'd go with Broker's first, since I love it, and it's cheap, and plentiful in my parts, but my next pick would be Gordon's, followed by Burnett's. Of course my favorite is Boodles, which is a great value, a classic London Dry, and probably doesn't use any nuts, but I'm just guessing about the last part so check for yourself.

Feb 23, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

The Long Island? Cocktail or Not?

"C'mon! It tastes like ice tea! :D"

That is alway what I find most amazing about the damn things...even when you roughly approximate the ratios, it still does taste like iced tea with lots of lemon. Granted, it tastes like the kind of iced tea you make from powder, or you buy pre-made (and NOT like the true sweetened iced tea I grew up on in eastern NC), but...yeah...it is nuts how such an oddball assortment of ingredients come together.

Feb 23, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

The Long Island? Cocktail or Not?

Yeah, but a lot of places basically do roughly 1 oz. or more of the white liquors, a slosh of triple sec, enough sour mix to almost reach the top, and a squirt of cola. In that case you're looking at 4 shots of 80 proof at least. I vaguely remember serving those things in pint glasses, so it could have been even more liquor when I made them...what can I say, I bartended at lousy bars in the mid-'90s and all the fruity shooters and high alcohol/high sugar long drinks were what I was taught to make :(

Feb 23, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

About passion fruit syrup and juice...

I was wondering if anyone with greater tiki knowledge could help me out. Many recipes, notably Hurricane and Zombie recipes, call for passion fruit juice, passion fruit syrup, or passion fruit nectar. My assumption is that the nectar/syrup is basically condensed and sweetened passion fruit juice. I can't find any nectar/syrup in DC so I'd have to order it, and I do know the BG Reynolds product is supposed to be good. I also don't think I could make any from scratch using real passion fruits since I've rarely seen them anywhere, including Whole Foods and numerous ethnic markets. However, there is a Brazilian market in Wheaton that carries passion fruit juice. So, would it be fair to assume that I could just make a 1:1 simple syrup with passion fruit juice and thus replicate passion fruit nectar/syrup?

Feb 13, 2015
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Your Favorite Ethnic Dives in DC Area?

Are you sure about that? I have two bottles and make Pisco Sours fairly frequently, and though I bought my bottles in MoCo, I'm pretty sure I've seen multiple bottles at Batch 13. I'm also fairly certain I've had pisco sours at several places in DC, including Ocopa and Rhumba Cafe (where I also had my first Mojito about a decade ago). Oh, and Rasika also has had pisco drinks on their menu for at least a couple of years.

Free Pour Vs. Jigger Method

You know, I could do a decent job at pour counts, but even so, there is no way I could nail something like 2.25 ounces every time nor would I be able to consistently hit a quarter ounce (the pour is almost always heavy when it comes to smaller measures). Truth be told .75 ounces is also tough to nail and tends to go heavy. Of course, none of this matters that much if you're making overly sweet shooters or pouring highballs, but if you're making something like, oh, a Last Word or an Autumn Sweater (are you going to free pour the maple syrup), and you're off by even the slightest, you end up with a really unbalanced drink. I tend to think that people who knock jiggers have very little experience making drinks more complex than a rum and coke or a vodka "martini" with no vermouth. I know some people will disagree with me on this and also agree that a good bartender will be flawless in his pour count for any measure thrown at him, but I disagree. One insures consistency the other opens the door for any numbers of small but impactful variations. It's the equivalent of saying a good baker doesn't need measuring spoons or measuring cups and can eyeball, precisely and consistently, ingredients every time.

now what whiskey cocktails do i need to try...

Amaro Nonino is pretty unique, IMO, but also really pricey. The base-liqueur is higher end, aged grappa, and the result is a somewhat rich, round, and brandy-ish mouthfeel and taste. It's also 70 proof (more than twice the Ramazotti or Averna) which seems like it would make a rather rough Manhattan.

Dec 20, 2014
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Rum that you can sip??

Ha! I have a glencairn in front of me right now with a nice dram of Zacapa 23 and a touch of water. It is perfection on this cold and windy night in DC. Looking over my bar, I had my choice of a few dozen Scotches and bourbons, but I'll take a fine rum over them most any time.

I've never drank that far up the FDC line, but despite its praise as a great bargain, I think the 7 year old is actually pretty bad.

Speaking of Zacapa, one ot's distant cousins, Boltran Solera 1893 is incredible, and for my money might actually be a bit better.

Dec 10, 2014
The Big Crunch in Spirits

Duke's Grocery in DC - Report

Well, in some sense it's a different class of burger. Shake Shack, for me, is the perfection of the simple fast food style burger. BGR is in that category of larger and supposedly fancier burgers. Duke's is obviously in that realm as well.

Duke's Grocery in DC - Report

The burger is $4.99, which is all I ever get. I suppose if you chow down on 1500 calories worth of fried food and sweet things there you could run up quite a tab, but I always limit myself to just the burger.