The Science of the Salty Dog

Categories: Last Call

salty-dog-grence.jpg
JK Grence

The other day when I was behind the stick, one of my guests ordered a drink that I haven't made in a while, a Salty Dog. It's one of those basic drinks that you learn early on as a bartender, then almost never make because hardly anybody orders them anymore.

It's a variation on the Greyhound, a highball consisting of nothing more than vodka and grapefruit juice. The ingredient that turns a Greyhound into a Salty Dog is easy enough to figure out: salt. Specifically, it gets salt on the rim of the glass, just like on a Margarita.

More »

How to Make Brain Hemorrhage Shots for Your Halloween Party

Categories: Last Call

brain-hemorrhage-shot-grence.jpg
JK Grence
Eww, gross! (But that's the point.)

In last week's Last Call, I got to show off a punch recipe with a sanguine hue. It's great for just about any variety of Halloween party you can imagine, especially one that leans more toward the sophisticated end of the Halloween party spectrum.

However, there's a lot of fun to be had in silly, kitschy Halloween parties. You know the kind. People dress up as lascivious versions of... well, pretty much anything you can imagine. And there's probably going to be lots of shots.


More »

How to Make Halloween Black Currant Blood Punch

Categories: Last Call

halloween-blood-punch-grence.jpg
JK Grence
Oooh, spooky.

I'm more than a little excited that Halloween is almost here. Part of my excitement is that Halloween parties can be some of the most enjoyable soirées of the year. The mix of spooky kitsch and childhood nostalgia is irresistible.

Of course, now that we're grown-ups, our Halloween parties are a little more fun thanks to the addition of spooky cocktails. But there's a problem with a lot of Halloween cocktail recipes.

They suck.


More »

Give the French 75 Cocktail a Tropical Twist with a Colonel's Big Opu

Categories: Last Call

colonels-big-opu-grence.jpg
JK Grence

I find the classic French 75 a perenially enjoyable cocktail. It's a simple but elegant affair of champagne spiked with gin and a splash of lemon. It's sort of a Tom Collins with an extra kick.

See also: The French 75: Not French, But It's So Good, Who Cares?

While the French 75's simplicity is part of its allure, it's also its Achilles heel. It's almost a little too simple. What can you do to dust off the old French 75 to breathe in some new life but keep its elegant character?


More »

Jazz Up Brunch with New Orleans Milk Punch

Categories: Last Call

milk-punch-grence.jpg
JK Grence
Good morning!

Can I declare patio brunch season open? I'm excited enough about the change in seasons that this night owl bartender is almost willing to get out of bed before noon.

Almost.

My favorite part of brunch is, of course, the accompanying cocktails. After all, without them, brunch is just a late breakfast, right?

More »

How to Make Computer-Created Ivorian Bourbon Punch

Categories: Last Call

ivorian-bourbon-punch-grence.jpg
JK Grence

There's a decent chance you're familiar with Watson, IBM's artificial intelligence computing project. Its most noteworthy public appearance was a few years ago on the classic quiz show Jeopardy!, where it beat the tar out of the game's two best human players.

More recently, the team of people in charge of Watson have turned to culinary pursuits. At SXSW in Austin, IBM ran a food truck with Watson as the executive chef.

To get Watson to come up with a dish, Watson's handlers enter three things in something of a game of culinary Mad Libs. They give Watson a region of the world, a feature ingredient, and a type of dish.


More »

How to Make an Old-Fashioned Cocktail the Right (and Only) Way

Categories: Last Call

old-fashioned-cocktail-grence.jpg
JK Grence
Note the lack of fruit chunks floating around in the drink.
Of all of the truly classic cocktails available to the modern drinker, few are as venerable as the Old-Fashioned. The drink itself is close to 200 years old. Back then, if you wanted one, you would ask the barkeep for a whisky cocktail.

Back then, the term "cocktail" had a much more specific meaning than it does today. A cocktail was a drink consisting of spirits, bitters, sugar, and a little bit of water. It's sort of like how a martini was once a drink with gin, vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters, but these days includes any stiff drink served straight up in a martini glass.

More »

Rooh Afza: My New Favorite Bar Ingredient

Categories: Last Call

roohafza-grence.jpg
JK Grence

When I need some kitchen or bar inspiration, one of my favorite things to do is head to an international grocery store. With such a dazzling array of unusual ingredients at my beck and call, I'm sure to find something to kick myself out of whatever rut I might be in.

One particular ingredient that I recently found is Rooh Afza. It's a beverage syrup that comes from India and Pakistan. The flavor is distinctly floral, specifically a very sweet rose flavor.


More »

How to Make Batidas, Brazilian Spiked Fruit Shakes

Categories: Last Call

batida-cocktail-grence.jpg
JK Grence
If you want to sound Brazilian, call a passionfruit batida "Batida de Maracujá".
Brazil has some noteworthy exports. There are those who consider its soccer team one of the finest things to come out of Brazil. Others will argue for the tendency of comely Brazilian women to use something resembling a length of unwaxed dental floss as swimwear.

However, since this is the Last Call column, you can keep Pelé and the bikinis.

The most popular cocktail by far to come out of Brazil is the caipirinha, a simple mix of lime, sugar, and cachaça, rum's less-refined South American cousin. There's another cachaça-based cocktail that's possibly even more delicious than caipirinhas, the batida.


More »

How to Make a Doctor Funk Cocktail (The Right and Proper Way)

Categories: Last Call

doctor-funk-cocktail-grence.jpg
JK Grence

Some of my cocktailian brethren and I were recently bemoaning the lack of authenticity in some cocktails. Take the Manhattan, for example. Long ago, it was a 50/50 mix of rye whiskey and sweet vermouth, with a couple of dashes of orange bitters. Over time, the cocktail has evolved (or in this case, arguably devolved) into rye whiskey with barely any vermouth, bitters only if you're lucky, and a dose of maraschino cherry syrup. I'll pass on the latter version, thank you very much.

See Also: How to Make the Best Manhattan Cocktail

The situation gets even worse when you get into my specialty, tropical drinks. It seems the modus operandi of many tiki bar menus is to come up with a drink that involves lots of rum and fruit juice, then slap a name from an old tiki bar menu on it. Given the fiercely secretive nature of old-time tiki bartenders, it's not surprising that this is the rule rather than the exception.


More »

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...