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

Categories: Last Call

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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?


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Jazz Up Brunch with New Orleans Milk Punch

Categories: Last Call

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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?

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How to Make Computer-Created Ivorian Bourbon Punch

Categories: Last Call

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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.


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

Categories: Last Call

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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.

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Rooh Afza: My New Favorite Bar Ingredient

Categories: Last Call

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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.


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How to Make Batidas, Brazilian Spiked Fruit Shakes

Categories: Last Call

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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.


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

Categories: Last Call

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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.


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How to Make a Scofflaw Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

It is often said that rules are made to be broken. Some rules seem more breakable than others.

For example, I'm pretty sure that the speed limit on the Scottsdale leg of Loop 101 is but a mere suggestion. And I have an inkling that not all of the, ahem, herbal medicine prescribed these days isn't strictly used for its written purpose.

Through American history, one of the most noteworthy times that rules were broken left and right was during Prohibition. Even though the manufacture of alcohol was illegal, it didn't stop much of society from getting a drink.


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How to Make a Samoan Fogcutter Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence
The drink tastes better when sipped through a bendy straw. Trust me.
It amuses me to no end to watch local news outlets treat summer in Phoenix like a newsworthy event. The Sonoran Desert gets hot in July? The hell you say!

Give me something else to think about besides an oppressive climate. Give me a tropical cocktail by a pool surrounded by tiki torches. Better, give me something tangy so I don't feel leaden and languid after just one too-sweet umbrella drink. Give me a Samoan Fogcutter.

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How to Make the Very Vintage Flip Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

I've long been amused by people's culinary prejudices. Earlier this week, I had a discussion of the finer points of using raw egg in cocktails. As it so often happens, the people who hadn't experienced egg-inclusive cocktails met the idea with a revulsed shudder.

As anyone who has experienced a well-made Ramos Gin Fizz can attest, egg white in a drink has an almost magical effect. It makes a drink a little thicker than your average cocktail, giving a lush, velvety texture.

See Also: Great Drinks Take (More) Time: The Ramos Gin Fizz

While egg white is drinks has become an easy sell in most any cocktail lounge worth its shakers, the poor yolks get short shrift. I think it may have something to do with that infamous scene in the movie Rocky.


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