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Friday, March 23, 2012

Classic cocktails for your Mad Men premiere party

As Salt Lake City Mad Men fans plan the cocktail menus for their Sunday evening Mad Men premiere parties, they are probably feverishly searching the internet for authentic cocktail recipes from the sixties.  The first item of good news for these prospective viewers is that most of the cocktails being consumed on Mad Men did not originate in the sixties, they are well-known classics that have been around a lot longer than 50 years. 

Once you have the names of these cocktails, you should have no trouble finding recipes on the web or ingredients in your local Utah State Liquor Store and grocery.  Better yet, the recipes for a half dozen Mad Men favorites may be found on this blog, so no searching is required.  First, though, a word of advice: the quantity of alcohol consumed in a typical Mad Men drinking session is far more than what is required to get you legally (and even physically) intoxicated.  Enjoy a cocktail or two, but don’t try to emulate the Mad Men.  Always drink responsibly…

The Old Fashioned is Don Draper’s favorite, especially as made by his daughter Sally.  Don likes dark liquors, and prefers his Old Fashioneds made with Rye.  The good news for you is that you can make an Old Fashioned with just about any good liquor you have.    The Old Fashioned just needs liquor, bitters, sweet (usually sugar), and ice, and the liquor can be Rye, Bourbon, Brandy, or even Rum. 

The Manhattan is a true American original, and may be mixed with either Bourbon or Rye.  Lately, my favorite Manhattan is made with Bulleit® Rye and Cocchi Apertivo Americano®, the closest thing to Kina Lillet that is currently available (try it in a Vesper Martini).  Be careful though, these are so good they can be addicting.  Best when served with a custom cocktail cherry rather than a neon red one from the grocery store.

Speaking of Martinis, the Mad Men are known for the sixties classic “three Martini lunch,” and for that you need Martinis.  The Classic Martini must be made with Gin (not even Vodka drinkers will dispute that).  Ever since Dale DeGrof used Plymouth® Gin to make me a Martini at Portland Cocktail Week, I’ve been growing partial to that Plymouth Martinis, although Hendrick’s® and Bombay Sapphire® both make great Martinis.  On the other hand, Mad Man and Vodka lover Roger Sterling enjoys Gibsons.  To make a Gibson, garnish your Martini with four or five cocktail onions.

The Gimlet is a very simple drink: Gin + sweetened lime juice = Gimlet.  A Gimlet familiaris is made with Gin, originally this was probably bathtub gin due to the cocktail’s birth during the roaring twenties.  Vodka Gimlets are also a popular cocktail, so take your pick.  Finally, there’s something about the White Russian that just sounds cold; it reminds people of those snowy winter scenes in Doctor Zhivago.  White Russians seem to be more popular with the Mad Women, but they are a pretty good cocktail when you’re looking for something sweeter.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some delicious cocktails

Your St. Patrick’s Day (SPD) celebration doesn’t have to be an orgy of drinking and partying (as much fun as that can be).  Salt Lake City’s Irish population (and those who wish they were) will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a parade today and a dinner or a party tonight.  Green drinks are something of a fad on SPD, so here are some food-coloring-free green cocktail recipes that you and your friends will enjoy. 

The Irish Lady is a great champagne cocktail for St. Paddy’s Day.  When served in a flute, this cocktail will remind you of a slender, red-headed colleen dressed in a pale green gown.  Exquisite.  Another champagne cocktail, the Shamrock Champagne, is best when served in a champagne flute. You will enjoy the transparent green appearance of this simple mix of Midori® melon liqueur and champagne.

If you really want a green beer cocktail, try an Irish Moon.  It gets its name from the Blue Moon ale; just think of the moon rising over County Tipperary, where the Mixologist’s Irish ancestors came from. 

My first original St. Patrick’s Day cocktail was the O'jito, a Gaelicized descendant of the Mojito.  It requires mint, which has the added advantage of being green, to acknowledge its Mojito ancestry.    You should enjoy this concoction of mint, Baileys® Irish Cream, and Amaretto.  If Irish Cream is your favorite St. Paddy’s Day beverage, you should try an Amaretto Irish Cream

If you’re looking for something a little more traditional (and dryer), why not try an Emerald.  Think of it as a Manhattan made with Irish Whiskey: Whiskey, Vermouth, and Bitters is all you need.  Make it (and drink it) pretty much the same way.  If you would like to check out these cocktails, here’s an Examiner slideshow
Beannachtai ná Fhéile Pádraig!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Try an Amaretto Irish Cream to cap your St. Patrick’s Day celebration

Yes, it’s time for St. Patrick’s Day and the Salt Lake City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  This year the parade, sponsored by the Hibernian Society of Utah, kicks off Saturday at 10:00 AM at 200 North and 400 West and ends up at The Gateway shopping center about 45 minutes later.  Let’s hope the weather cooperates.  That’s a mite early for the type of liquid celebration that Utah cocktailians enjoy, but eventually cocktail hour and the time for an evening of celebrations will arrive.

Those in the know will avoid green beer for other libations this St. Patrick’s Day.  These posts contain a lot of great ideas for St. Paddy’s Day cocktails, but there’s always room for one more.  This year the Utah Mixologist recommends a cocktail that is simple, but delicious.  The ingredients, Amaretto Irish Cream, are revealed in the name, and (as you may have guessed) it is a little sweet, so if you prefer your cocktails more on the dry side, try making an Emerald.  Amaretto, although it gets its flavor from apricot pits, seems to taste like almonds, so it goes well with the hints of chocolate in the Irish Cream.

Amaretto Irish Cream
  • 1 ½ oz Irish Cream
  • 1 ½ oz Amaretto

Pre-chill an Old Fashioned glass.  Pour ingredients into a shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Shake well, fill the glass about ¾ full of ice and strain the shaker into the glass.  Serve with an Irish toast: Beannachtai ná Fhéile Pádraig!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Looking for a great new twist on the Margarita? Try the Tuacarita

After blogging the Tuaca Tropical Margarita for National Margarita Day, the Utah Mixologist decided to experiment with another Tuaca based cocktail.  The original recipe for the Tuacarita called for “Sweet and Sour Mix.”  As always, you should avoid commercial mixes and go fresh to keep you cocktails tasting great.  Luckily, sweet and sour mix is easy to make, it’s just equal parts of lemon juice, lime juice, sugar, and water.  If you have any simple syrup, you can replace the equal parts of sugar and water with slightly more simple syrup.  If you do a little math, you can understand how the proportions for lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup were derived for the recipe below. You will notice that the amount of Triple Sec is lower than expected in a Margarita-style drink.  That’s because Tuaca already was a citrus flavor component, and you don’t want to overdo it.  (To find out more about Tuaca, click on the link above for the Tuaca Tropical Margarita.)

The Utah Mixologist must admit that he feared this cocktail would be too sweet.  It turned out to be almost perfectly balanced and was delicious.  If you prefer your cocktails a little tarter, cut back on the simple syrup a bit.  As for me, I will soon be serving Tuacaritas on Fajita nights.  Salt Lake City cocktailians know that Tuaca® Liqueur (CS# 077786) is available in Utah, as is Tequila Herradura® Blanco (CS# 003655, on sale in March 2012).  Both are in general distribution and should be available in most state liquor stores.  If you need to pick one (or both) up, you should call ahead if your local Utah State Liquor Store is a small one.  If you’re running low on Triple Sec, try Gran Gala® Orange Liqueur (marked down this month 14% to $19).

  • 1 oz Tuaca® Liqueur
  • 1 oz Herradura® Blanco Tequila
  • ¼ oz Triple Sec
  • ¾ oz Lemon juice
  • ¾ oz Lime juice
  • 1 oz Simple syrup
  • 1 Lemon wedge

Add liquid ingredients to a shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Squeeze the lemon wedge into the shaker and drop it in. Shake vigorously and strain into a salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – March 2012

When Utahans walk into the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores this month they will be pleased to see that the number of marked down items has increased from January and February lows into the “above average” range.  The number of items on SPA (Special Price Adjustment) rose from around 250 last month to over 350, so sale tags are more in evidence than they have been in the last couple of months.  Cocktailians who have been waiting to stock their bars will see that the time has come.  Quite a few quality cocktail ingredients are available this month, so dust off your shaker and get ready to mix some great cocktails.

First, though, some exciting news.  As the Utah Mixologist was making his pre-publication visit to his local state store, he spotted some Bulleit® 95 Rye Whiskey (CS# 027025, $25).  Not only is this new Rye a welcome addition to the rather short list of Ryes available in Utah, but it has been well-reviewed and rated as a good value.  Sadly, I must go out and won’t be able to try it until much later in the evening.

St. Patrick’s Day falls in March, and the UDABC has answered the call with a selection of Irish Whiskies. Prices on Bushmill’s®, John Power®, and Michael Collins® have all been reduced around 10% to fall in the $20-24 range.  There is also a variety of brands and sizes of Irish Cream Liqueurs for the less hard-core drinkers. This month you might want to stock up on your favorite Liqueurs.  Two varieties of Kahlua Coffee Liqueur® ($17 and $19) are on SPA, along with Liqueurs like Hpnotique® ($20) and Frangelico® ($22), and a favorite Triple Sec substitute that works well in Margaritas: Gran Gala® Orange Liqueur (14% to $19).
If you enjoy Bourbons, selections this month range from Jack Daniels® Black Label (down 9% to $20) to Blanton® Single Barrel (down 4% to $46).  If you want to make a very good Manhattan, or perhaps a Boulevardier, try some Woodford Reserve® or Knob Creek®, both marked down to $30.  There are a couple of good, blended Scotch Whiskies marked down, too, so if you’re looking for something to put into your Bobby Burns you can get some Chivas Regal® ($30) or a large (1750 ml.) bottle of Dewars® White Label for $46.

If you need some Dry Gin, bottles from Tanqueray® and Brokers® are marked down $2 and Beefeaters® is marked down $3 this month.  Try these in a Classic Martini.  My favorite “economy Gin”, New Amsterdam® (CS# 031475), is marked down 15% from $15 to $13 (try it in a Tom Collins).  If you have an open bottle of sparkling wine but you’re in the mood for something a little stronger than a Champagne cocktail, try a French 75 – a reliable champagne (and gin) cocktail that is sure to have just the kick you need.  If you like Vodka Martinis, Teton Glacier® is marked down 14% to $19 this month.

If you like Appleton Estate® Rums, you will like the Rum deals this month.  Appleton Estate V/X Rum® (a blend of 15 Rums aged 5 to 10 years) is marked down 15% to $17 this month, try it in a Rum Old Fashioned. If you like dark Rums, Mount Gay Eclipse® Barbados Rum is marked down over 15% to $15.  The UDABC didn’t forget about you Tequila lovers, either.  There are 19 Tequilas on SPA with plenty of Platas and Reposados.  My favorites range from El Jimador® through Sauza Hornitos® to Herradura®; leave your credit card at home... it’s Margarita time.

As to any other sale or clearance items, if you see anything at your local state store that other cocktailians might enjoy, post a response to this article.  See the following list “Suggested by the author” for information on how to use the Utah DABC website.  You can check out what else is on sale (e.g. the wines etc.) by clicking through to the “SPA Product List” to open a price book in PDF format that shows all of the markdowns for the current month.