Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cocktails At My Mother's House: Part One

This will (hopefully, assuming I can sustain an idea for more than a few impetuous moments) be a recurring feature on Le Mixuer.

Most weekends, me and the boy they call Sharky head over to Bainbridge Island to spend Saturday evening at Mom Mixeur's home. Relaxation, swimming, trips to the playground, afternoon trips home by Papa Mixeur, and general gaiety and frivolity ensue.

Mom is primarily a sipper of white wine, but she does keep a tidy little stock of spirits on hand for guests. For instance, there must always be a smidge of bourbon and dollop of sweet vermouth around so friend Pipper can build a rocks Manhattan if the inspiration strikes.

I have, on occasion, been known to rummage around the cabinet myself, and see what I can come up with. It presents a challenge, not having all the spoils of home such as a wide variety of ingredients and tools. I'm hoping that writing about my experiments will make them more systematic , and as a result something unique and desirable will emerge.

So, let's start with the basics, and what I came up with during our last visit to Mom Mixeur's...

The First principal to understand is that we are not working with top shelf ingredients. For instance, we have Gilbey's gin and Lejon dry vermouth. Obviously, if I were to make a martini with these ingredients it would be rather harsh. So rather than scheming to bring out the flavors of the spirit, we're looking to fold them in and smooth them over.

There was a bit of Cointreau left, old bottle of Angostura, half a lemon, and some farm fresh strawberries from Sakuma Farms right on Bainbridge Island. Consequently, we end up with this:

Sakuma Scraper

2 oz Gilbey's gin
1 oz Lejon dry vermouth
1 oz Cointreau
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 large strawberry
dash Angostura bitters

quarter strawberry, muddle with bitters
add rest of ingredients and ice
shake and double strain into cocktail glass

A lemon twist would probably be nice in this drink, but I'd already juiced the 1/2 lemon I had, so short of dropping the ravaged shell into the drink it was going to have to be had as is. It was not terribly complex, but light and refreshing.

The name comes from the aforementioned Sakuma farms (the Sakuma family have been growing strawberries and other fruits on Bainbridge Island for 100 years, minus the 4 years of 1941-1945, when the US government placed them in a concentration camp), and also is a nod to J. Summers' Sky Scraper cocktail. The Sky Scraper is more or less the same ingredients, except with grenadine instead of a strawberry.

We'll be back next week, so perhaps something will come of it. My mother reads this blog, so let's hope she doesn't go out and buy anything fancy and make things too easy for me (OK mom?).

Le Livre de Visage

The Book of Faces, or Facebook, now has a Le Mixeur group. I'm not sure why. All the other bloggers were doing it, and I can ill afford a facebook gap. But it will surely be fun to see a few of the people who read this blog to proclaim themselves as fans, rather than anonymous numbers on google analytics.

To join the group, head over to:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seattle-WA/Le-Mixeur/19959038010?ref=s

Friday, July 25, 2008

MxMo NOLA: Cuttin To The Booze



I foresaw the interest in New Orleans-style drinks that would accompany the pilgrimage to NOLA for TotC back in April, and created a drink for the occasion. Little did I know (or ever dare to dream) that it would end up a Mixology Monday topic!

Jamie Boudreau has been inflicting - er, I mean imparting - a series of lectures unto me lately on the merits of brevity and "cuttin' to the booze," so cut I shall. However, if you want to read a story about how this drink came to be (astral projection version), visit the original post on a little ditty I like to call The Tall Acadian.


THE TALL ACADIAN

1 large strawberry, halved
sprig of rosemary
6 mint leaves
1 1/2 oz rye
1 oz Benedictine
1/2 oz lime
1/4 oz Absinthe
4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

Muddle the strawberries, rosemary well.
Add mint and bitters and muddle gently.
Add remaining ingredients plus ice, shake.
Strain into highball glass filled with crushed ice.
Stir, top with splash of soda.
Garnish with halved strawberry and an orange twist.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The End Of The Affair

The Munat Bros. are nothing if not the sad, pathetic losers hanging out, drink in hand, long after everyone else has called it a night, swaying to the beat of some non-existent music, calling out, "where'd everybody go man? Party's just gettin' started dude!"

So it makes perfect sense that we'd still be in New Orleans for a day and a half after everyone else had retreated to their home environs, eager to resume normal lives and pretend like it all never happened. (In a way, isn't Tales of the Cocktail a little like "The Breakfast Club?" Lots of people from different walks of life are thrown together into an unusual situation, wherein the normal social barriers lose their relevance, everyone loses their shit for a while, then goes their separate ways as Simple Minds wonder if they'll call each other's name as they walk on by).

If nothing else, simple minds is a common theme in both.

But here's some thoughts from our little extra wind-down time in NOLA.

The Jimani is a trove of goodness. We went there three times, and each time there were new people working, and each time they were friendly and fun. The food was simple, cheap, and good. And with all due respect to all the talented mixolobartendergists who worked so hard to provide so many lovely drinks for so many, my favorite imbibing experience of the week may have been the afternoon bottle of Red Stripe I had at Jimani with my red beans and rice ($6). It was such a perfect refreshment on a sunny NOLA afternoon, and had me recalling the Deep Puddle Dynamics' line, "I drink a bottle of red stripe, to get my head right."

Alex and Jenn, bartenders at the Bourbon House, are totally badass, not to mention hella frikkin balls to the wall awesome. Throw yourself at the mercy of Alex for a bourbon recommendation, and he will steer you some place lovely named Pritchard's. If you're liking your glass of Thomas Handy he'll explain to you why you might also like the Vintage Rye. He'll preach to you in convincing detail why the Hirsch 16 year is better than their 20 year. He'll curse to high hell if you've already tried what he recommends.

Once you are settled in with something heavenly, he'll regale you with tales of how his favorite bars should make a practice of selling sunglasses so he has some line of defense when stumbling out of them in the morning, or how he was arrested traveling the two blocks home from his favorite watering hole because he was attempting to make the trip riding solo in a shopping cart.

Let's face it, the guy is part LeNell Smothers, part Hunter S. Thompson.

Oh wait, LeNell Smothers is kind of part Hunter S. Thompson already. Guess I'll have to work on that analogy.

As for Jenn, well she's just totally badass not to mention hella frikkin balls to the wall awesome.

Once all the Tales people have left, New Orleans is a strange place, and the Carousel Bar even stranger. The loudest man I have ever met came in on Monday night. He was from Texas. Just signed a deal with Microsoft and he and his wife are moving to Redmond, WA. Redmond is 17 miles from my home in Seattle, and I am worried he might keep me awake at night.

I fell in love in New Orleans. Unfortunately, it was with Noah's Mill bourbon rather than some actual human. Then again, Noah's Mill bourbon is something I could probably stay together with for the rest of my life. In fact, I would offically like to announce my Noah's Mill whoredom. Somebody please give me some more.

And finally, let me emphasize how much I loved New Orleans. Such a beautiful city, so full of vibrant things, both ugly and beautiful, but all very much alive. I recall a moment when my long time and dear friend Chris, a New Orleans resident, hopped into a cab with us to head out to dinner. Suddenly, I felt as though we were in some carribean colony , characters in a Graham Greene novel, racing off to some meeting with our envoy, soaking in all the beauties of life and at the same time embroiled fully in all it's contemptible corruption and sorrow. You know, like Our Man in Havana feeling the Power and the Glory.

Then I got a grip on myself. But Graham Green never did, god bless his soul.

"Reality in our century is not something to be faced."

-Our Man in Havana

"Oh, no. Martyrs are not like me. They don't think all the time—if I had drunk more brandy I shouldn't be so afraid."

- The Power and the Glory

Good night folks. We'll see you back in New Orleans next year (but hopefully our next post will be sometime before then)

Le Gra,
T.Mixeur

Re-post of the Review of the Preview of the Whiskey Thing


This post was accidentally deleted. Hey, things happen when you're at Tales of the Cocktail.


Every good preview deserves an equally good review, so after attending Essential Guide to American Whiskey with LeNell Smothers and Gary Regan, it seems appropriate to reflect back on my original sneak peek of the event, and see how close I came to getting it right. As the three of you who read the thing may recall, it included a list of what to expect and what not to expect…

DO NOT expect: to be entertained by the wit and banter of the presenters as you sample various whiskeys and learn to make cocktails out of them.

This prediction turned out to be absolutely correct. We were certainly entertained by the presenters, but more by their mordacity and persiflage than their wit and banter. And we didn’t sample various whiskeys; we horked’em down. And perhaps we did learn to make a cocktail with them, but by then we had all horked down five whiskeys, so who will actually remember what we learned?

DO expect: lewd and indecent sexual acts performed under at least one of the conference tables.

This turned out to be an incorrect prediction. Oh, there were sexual acts being performed under the tables, but none of them were indecent. In fact, they were quite decent indeed, thank you very much.

DO NOT expect: a guided tasting of three bourbons, one wheat whiskey, and one rye, plus use of another wheat whiskey in self-creating a certain beloved mixed drink.

This also was an incorrect prediction, as it turns out we did have a guided tasting of the above whiskeys. However, the surprising element was that it was actually the audience guiding the presenters, rather than the other way around. Members of the crowd called out descriptors for each one, which were gratefully lapped up by Gary and LeNell. Eventually, we grew suspicious that this whole thing was merely a ruse to get us to offer up our best ideas so the presenters could steal them and use them as their own in future conferences or books. When confronted on it, Gary admitted that he’d actually only had whiskey once, years ago, and that he “frankly couldn’t stand the stuff.”

(Authors’ note: that last part was a lie.)

DO expect: excessive peer pressure, applied by the presenters, to shoot copious quantities of straight rye until certain erogenous areas of the body have their interests piqued, as the presenters leer.

This was more or less correct. The peer pressure was more passive aggressive than I had anticipated. Gary merely suggested shooting all five whiskeys as an alternative approach to the event, then coyly let it lie. Over the course of the seminar one could witness various audience members starting to quiver, then convulse, then suddenly lunge for the glasses in front of them and start guzzling whiskey as their embarrassed friends attempted to restrain them. All the while, Gary was throwing his head back, cackling maniacally.

(Author’s note: again the last part kind of got away from me.)

As for erogenous zones, Gary did ask LeNell if he could lick his whiskey off of her nipples, and after some thought she agreed, but it went no further than that. She later retorted by asking Gary if he would stir her Old Fashioned with his penis. Gary seemed noncommittal about that one.

(Author’s note: this part is true)

DO NOT expect: a spirited and informative discussion on the history of American whiskeys – including bourbon, rye, wheat, and corn – from its earliest days to modern experimental techniques.

OK OK! I can’t keep joking around anymore! Yes, it was a spirited and informative discussion on all things whiskey. It was made to be fully interactive from the start, which allowed many individuals to join the discussion, including Toby Maloney, Stephen Beaumont, and Sammy Ross. It was entertaining, educational, and altogether stimulating, spiced up with the occasional penis joke.

There, I said it. God do I feel dirty.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Self Promotions and Night's Description

As I sat more or less comfortably among the rows of the Vieux Carre room’s denizens, watching Robert Hess, Paul Clarke, Erik Ellestad, and some Canadian media whore named Boudreau talk about homemade cocktail ingredients, I started to think to myself: “Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a book featuring drink recipe contributions from each of these panelists, and also including recipes for some of their own homemade ingredients? And wouldn’t it be even more splendid if among these recipes were ingredients being discussed at this very seminar, including Boudreau’s Berry Shrub and Amer Boudreau? And wouldn’t it be just too good to be true if such a book also contained contributions from 22 other top bartenders and mixologists, with homemade ingredients brazenly flaunted throughout? And wouldn’t it just be the crowning jewel on this already impressive throne if this book were available for absolutely no charge?”

That’s what I was thinking.

Then I looked down at my briefcase and realized I had about 100 copies of this book by my feet. Then I recalled that we published it.

C.Mixeur is afraid of some things, like walking more than three blocks, trees, nature, and nuclear holocaust. But one thing he is not afraid of is disrupting Paul Clarke when Paul’s trying to lead a seminar. So up to the front of the room he marched, a brief whisper ensued, and moments later Paul very nicely sicked his groupies upon us, depleting our book stock. We later handed the rest of them out at the close of the Spirit Awards (neither of us are afraid to crash a party either). If you are one of the unlucky few to not have received one this week, track us down and we will get one to you (and we are not afraid to utilize the postal service either).

Yes, this is shameless self-promotion. I, you see, am an American Media Whore, far more pernicious than the Canadian breed.

Allow me to close with a brief capsule review of the rest of the day, in a manner I think best captures the experience.

Cochon for dinner, catfish yum, Noah’s Mill Bourbon bigger yum. Back to Monteleone, people returning from Tiki party with coconut heads, people with Sonnema baseball hats, baseball hats now on coconut heads. Over to Arnaud’s French 75 bar, tasty sazerac in a frosty mug, who are these people? I thought you brought them. Why are they sitting with us? Oh they’re gone. To the Casino, peek in the awards, everyone’s drunk, half of them on stage, Dale DeGroff accepting an award, here they all come, give them books. Back out to casino, band starts playing, a few people dance, follow them to exit, more people dance, bartenders from Milk and Honey fight over who gets to hold their award. Over to Giovani’s for midnight breakfast, huge crowd squeezing into narrow door, are you on the guest list? If not just push your way in the list is crumpled up and no one is sober enough to read it anyway. Inside Giovani’s, very hot, soaked with sweat, sausage eating weather, 12 different stations making cocktails, 1 of each for me please. Out the door, New Orleans heat cool in comparison, back to Monteleone, even cooler, Carousel Bar, Gwydion Stone emerges, unmarked bottle, pours a little, it’s Marteau and it’s so wonderful. C.Mixeur struts around lobby, stops at each person - Stephan and Alex from Bitter Truth, LeNell, etc. - guess what I’VE got, wanna try? T.Mixeur follows him like puppy dog, wanting more. Time to head to bed, text message, Absinthe House is hopping, to hell with bed, to Absinthe House, Pacific NW confab on the corner, award winners laughing, losers weeping, big giant beautiful mess.

Home. Sleep. One more day. God help us all.

Flowing Bowl: A Recap of the Precap

What was left of the crowd (this is to mean what tattered remains remained of those who had not yet departed New Orleans, so in a sense to mean what was left of what was left of the crowd...I've lost you haven't I) showed up this "morning" (yes, 12:30pm is definitely morning, in fact early morning) to hunch over a big bowl (hey Ted, can you write more than three words without going to parentheses?).

I can and I will.

Not to worry, the bowl we refer to is actually a punch bowl, and it was filled with beautiful, cold, light and soothing punch. And I think some guys talked in the front of the room too. Not sure.

In actuality, I'm assuming this event has already been efficiently chronicled by some more organized and diligent blogger than myself. But seeing as this was one of the events I previewed and I have decided on my own that I should provide a reflection on those same events, I will contribute what I am best at contributing: random observations and irresponsible skewing of reality.

I'm happy to say that the tip I gave to David Wondrich, and wrote about in the preview of the Flowing Bowl, regarding the use of washing machines in making punch, made it into the presentation. In David's version of the story, it was not me, but rather the Queen of England who told him about this technique. He claimed to have done some research on it since, and found that the use of washing machines as punch makers originated in the late 1950s in Rockford, Illinois. As is always the case with drink history, the records are conflicting and murky, but they're pretty sure it was started by a guy named "Steve."

(Author's note: you're on your own to figure out what's true and what I'm making up this time. I'm not going to help you anymore and frankly I don't even know myself).

To set the record straight, here are the instructions on how to use a washing machine to make punch. It is a simple four step process.

  1. Set the machine to the agitation cycle, before the spin cycle but after the wash cycle. You don't want to have the wash cycle because then it will be watering down your hooch, and you don't want spin cycle because it will suck down all your hooch. These are both things you do not want to happen to your hooch. I wonder if I can figure out a way to use the word "hooch" one more time. There we go. If you are uncertain as to where to place the dial so it will not be pouring water into the machine, grab a pick, go out to your yard, dig in the yard until you find your water main and take that bad boy out. Now your hooch is safe.
  2. Now that you have your machine prepped, get all your ingredients ready, whatever they may be.
  3. At this point, it is absolutely essential that you reconsider what you are doing. Think about it. You are about to pour liquids that you intend to drink later into a fucking washing machine. Seriously dude. What the hell were you thinking? Go get a big salad bowl or something. Call someone to come fix your water main. Tell them to bring some beer.

And it's as simple as that!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Small Beautiful Rum-Flooded Palace


Today was a proud and joyous day for the Munat Bros., as we ushered double top-secret brother David Thompson into the fold. David swigged from many a gallon jug of rum with Chesterfield Browne when both were young’uns in Barbados. And David currently has an occasional seat at the dinner table with his boyhood acquaintance, the Prime Minister of Barbardos. The Prime Minister’s name? David Thompson. Yes, that is correct, they are both named David Thompson. David promises us he will use his personal sway with the PM to ensure many new falernums will wash upon our shores soon.

(Author’s note: David promised no such thing and is currently napping so cannot defend himself from this slander)

So where to take the newly arrived, “Lonely Voice of Reason” of Munat Bros, Inc? Why it just so happens there were tastings of both Cruzan and Rhum Clement on the mezzanine level. We started with the Cruzan room, and found the humble servant pouring for the masses was none other than Wayne Curtis. In case no one believed it was him, he had his book there with him. He also had a series of 250mL bottles filled with the various incarnations rum assumes before it actually becomes rum. This was a very fun idea. However, I may now always associate Cruzan Single Barrel with the scent of fusel oil, which began to permeate the room after repeated sniffs by the curious little tasters. There was another bottle that we weren’t sure what it was, and Wayne simply told us that if we saw it tip over to run like hell.

We then weaved our way over to the Clement tasting, which was a whirlwind. Two white rums, along with the VSOP, the XO, the Cuvee Homere, and the Creole Shrubb were quickly poured and consumed. I mean quickly. The presenter moved from one to the other like an auctioneer, pouring each one directly into the little plastic cups in our grubby little hands, and each one needed to be finished in order to be ready for the next, lest you miss out on one and tumble from the merry go round.

Careening away from that table, we found ourselves face to face with a row of bartenders mixing drinks with the various products. One featured a rum and the shrubb mixed with Nocello. After sipping this, David looked at the drink as if he were thinking what sort of thrashing one might receive if they served someone a rum drink with walnut liqueur in it in Barbados. At all the drink stations were tubs of beautiful, baseball-sized globes of ice, which would be cracked up fresh for each drink.

All this led to David and I needing a little break, so we slipped away into the elevator. As the doors were about to close, Gary Regan wisped in through the crack. I introduced myself as the person who did the Tales Blog preview of Essential Guide to American Whiskeys, and he promptly punched me in the ear.

(Author’s note: No, he didn’t)

And the day is just beginning…

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tales of the Cocktail, Day One: Faulkner, Warlocks, and the Bionic Woman

"It's a shame that the only thing a man can do for eight hours a day is work. He can't eat for eight hours; he can't drink for eight hours; he can't make love for eight hours. The only thing a man can do for eight hours is work."

-William Faulkner

Clearly, William Faulkner never went to Tales of the Cocktail. And for those of us who have proven him wrong on at least two of these counts (and if you have achieved the rare trifecta then hats off to you, tiger), we will make it a point to sneer condescendingly when ever we pass the Faulkner Suite of the Hotel Monteleone.

Since arriving in New Orleans late last night the Brothers Munat (also known as the Bee Emms), have enjoyed their first experience at the Monteleone's Carousel Bar (where festival-goers achieved the rare feat of finishing off the bar's entire stock of Rye Whiskey), The Old Absinthe House, and...some other place.

At the Old Absinthe House, the water flows like absinthe, the absinthe flows like... absinthe. The beer? That flows like absinthe too, and so does the whiskey. The gin kind of flows like absinthe, but the vodka just flows like vodka.

The bartender at OAH poured us many a glass of Kubler and La Fee, and while doing this seemed to allow his mind to wander from time to time, forgetting that there was still high proof liquor being poured. Fortunately, he had thought ahead enough to use glasses roughly the size of a coffee pot, so there was no spilling.

As he ensured our demise, he chatted amiably with us, telling us how much he enjoys when it's that time again for Tales of the Cocktail, and how we are his favorite customers he gets all year. He then moved down the bar, to the Scandinavian Warlocks named Thoth and Grobbendonk, and told them how much he looks forward to the Sorcerer's Ball, and how they are his favorite customers he gets all year.

(editor's note: The Old Absinthe House is a fine establishment and does not serve Warlocks)

Today saw the beginning of the festival itself. Entering any of the rooms in which a Tales event is happening is somewhat like being born: you travel in relative silence and calm down a corridor, when suddenly an enormous bowl of light, sound, and smell opens before you, overwhelming the senses and leaving you screaming with fear (OK, maybe not quite, but screaming a little inside). However, as things become more focused the central nervous system adapts, and the sweet comfort of a fine elixir seems to say,"it's nice here in this world...why not stay a while?"

We took in the Toast to Tales for a bit, and "heard" Senator Edwin Murray's speech, which according to my notes went something like this: "hrmm-hm, hurra hurra hum, rim rem rom...SAZERAC!"

And the crowd went ballistic. Seriously. They did. Maybe they were better able to hear the part leading up to SAZERAC! than I. But my feeling is that screaming SAZERAC! in a crowded room at Tales is something akin to screaming fire in a crowded theater. We still await ruling by the supreme court as to whether or not screaming SAZERAC! at Tales is constitutionally protected speech.

A bit later I attended the reception for the blog-force, during which time I was reminded of the film "Barton Fink" in which Fink asks a film producer where he can find a writer to work with. The producer's response: "Christ, throw a rock in here and you'll hit one! And do me a favor Fink? Throw it hard."

We were served a selection of cachaca cocktails using Cabana, with it's fearless creator Monty circulating amongst us to chat. There was briefly food available, unfortunately C.Mixeur, as he is wont to do, reached the serving table first, and the rest of us were left to fight over three olives and the tail of a shrimp. Apart from that, it was a very enjoyable chance to meet our peers and something of a shock to me to learn that a few of them actually read this here blog.

This event seamlessly morphed into a Sloe Gin tasting around the corner, featuring one gentlemen who, needing quickly to procure some more lemon juice, squeezed an uncut lemon until it exploded and juice oozed from it. This brought back childhood memories of the opening to "The Bionic Woman" when she crushed a tennis ball in her hand. Suddenly I realized Tales was indeed a place where fiction becomes reality...even really bad fiction.

A few moments later the same gentlemen smacked his cocktail shaker to break the seal, and instead shattered the glass and sprayed himself with Sloe Gin. This illustrated why, in all the years it aired, not once did the Bionic Woman host a cocktail party. The tasting was capped off by a very nice woman appearing out of thin air and offering me a box that I thought was filled with a bottle of Plymouth Sloe Gin, but turned out to be a Plymouth Gin Tip Jar Clocktower. How many times must I be burned by this ploy before I learn my lesson?

By the way, I intend to have Paul Clarke sign the Tip Jar Clocktower and auction it on ebay. Stay tuned.

Time for more living and less writing. Tales waits for no man.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Going to New Orleans...

Just had to write that to make it seem more real.

Sorry...nothing more to report...carry on...as you were.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

La côte gauche

Left Coast Libations has gone to press.

According to C.Mixeur, the woman at the printers exclaimed "Did you do this yourself? This is very impressive!"

This could mean one of two things: either she was a discerning studier of fine publishing work and was genuinely impressed by the quality of our craftsmanship, or; she had already sized up C.Mixeur as a complete incompetent boob and was shocked to realize he could put two words together, let alone design the layout of a booklet. C. did not specify whether or not she was patting him on the head as she praised him.

Since last mention of Left Coast Libations on this site, we have accumulated a few more figures of repute. Two of these fine young gents hail from the provincial mecca of Vancouver, British Columbia. Having played hundreds of games of Risk as children, we are ecstatic over the strategical implications of having BC represented. We now feel confident that the Munat Bros will soon successfully occupy Idaho and Alberta.

Thanks, therefore, are owed to Josh Pape of Chambar and David Wolowidnyk of West for joining in our gay little romp. Welcome to the terrordome, boys.

Also entering into the fray, having just awoken from some extended benzedrine binge in the Sierra del Ajusco-Chichinauhtzin, was our good friend Keith Waldbauer (he claimed our emails had gone into his junk folder...we know better).

And apparently there was some sort of night-long, drunken, semi-sadomasochistic experience in which C.Mixeur was able to extract recipes from Jay Kuehner at Sambar right here in Seattle. I do not know the details of this incident, apart from receiving some text messages from C.Mixeur with many misspellings and punctuation errors, along with some references to Guantanamo Bay.

(Editors Note: Duggan McDonell responded after the deadline, clearly recovering from a peyote binge in Coahuila, also claiming email issues as the root of his lack of previous involvement. The Munat Bros have already plotted their revenge. At the Boca Loca Cachaca rooftop pool party during Tales of the Cocktail, as Duggan is lounging in the pool whilst being interviewed by Food and Wine Magazine, C.Mixeur will perform a "cannonball" upon his head.)

At this point, we offer what they call a "teaser" of Left Coast Libations. Specifically, here is the introduction scripted by yours truly, T.Mixeur.


In 1989 my father and mother moved from Connecticut to the Seattle, Washington, area.

My father's older brother, Stan, who resided in Vermont, nearly disowned him for this transgression.

In a letter declaring his intention not to attend my parents’ 20th wedding anniversary in Seattle, Stan decried my father's betrayal-ridden decision to abandon “the cradle of American Culture and the birthplace of the Revolution” for the loathsome Left Coast, which he described as “the bastion of every tawdry, tinseled, and tasteless crackpot creation of the past 100 years.”

Dear reader, nearly twenty years later, it is with great pleasure that we present to you the Crackpot Creations of the Tawdry, the Tinseled, and the Tasteless from our beloved Left Coast.

Contrary to popular perception, “American Culture” is not a misnomer. But contrary to Uncle Stan's position, it is a culture that, in fact, has many cradles. Here on the Left Coast, where the population boom occurred and is occurring during our lifetimes, we witness daily the insidious homogenization of our surroundings. And it could be in reaction to this seemingly culture-crushing wave of modernity that the mixologists and craft distillers of our part of the world have come to pursue such dedication to their craft.

It is a craft that eschews the mass-produced in favor of the homemade, from scratch, and small batch. It is a craft that studies, heralds, and preserves traditional methods dating back hundreds of years. At the same time, it is a craft that cherishes the use of local products and community-building that, while often perceived to be recent additions to the collective consciousness, are actually ancient values being resuscitated after centuries in the doldrums.

Our Left Coast community is far from an exclusive club. In fact, it is one that warmly opens its arms and welcomes anyone who expresses love and passion for this craft. Contained within this simple book are original cocktail inventions of many of the West's most inspired, skilled, and respected mixologists. They have provided these recipes for one simple reason: we asked them to. None of them have been paid or promised extravagant favors. They choose to participate both to affirm their place in a community over which they feel great pride, and to share what they have learned and accomplished.

The rights and credit for the recipes within belong to the contributors. However, reproduction, replication, and variations are not only permitted but encouraged. We ask that upon serving one to your loved ones or patrons (or both at the same time), you be sure to mention what virtuoso first ushered this delectable concoction into the world.

In addition to the private proclamations of gratitude we have already bestowed upon the contributors, we would like to offer a public thank you for their generosity. We hope their participation in this project was enjoyable and will serve them well in some capacity at some point in time.

As for those of you on the receiving end, we hope you find this useful and inspiring.

Ted Munat
Munat Bros.
Seattle

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Sing Sling Sang a-ding-dang-doo

It's the 4th of July. Sounds like a fine day to make a pitcher of sangria. A bit late in the game to start planning and letting one sit and still having time to swallow it down today, so never mind actually.

One of the fine beverages available at the last Le Mixeur was a version of the Singapore Sling published by Dale DeGroff in "The Craft of the Cocktail," which can be made by the batch. This is a most handy thing when slinging many slings, especially a sling sing with cherries and everything!

(editor's note: the spirit of Theodore Giesel has taken possession of this blog. Please bear with us for a moment while we attempt to correct the problem...thank you.)

The recipe and method for Monsieur DeGroff's "Big Thing of Sing Sling" is as follows...

12 oz gin
4 oz Cherry Heering
2 oz Cointreau
2 oz Benedictine
4 to 8 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 ounces fresh lime

mix all of these together, then combine 3 oz mix with 3 oz pineapple juice, shake over ice, strain into ice-filled highball glass, and garnish with orange slice and cherry.

No grenadine?
Say that's a queer thing!
We've got Heering Benedictine but no Grenadine!
That's a very funny way to sling a thing of sing sling!

(editor's note: knock it off)

We went through many Singapore Slings at Le Mixeur, but still ended up with approximately a quart of leftover premix. I invited a few coworkers over the following week to try to finish it off. Unfortunately they turned out to be a bunch of pink-livered sissy boys (and girls), and only had a few before departing.

So now what to do? Well, as you may recall, this post began with certain mention of...go ahead and scroll back up to remind yourself, I'll wait...SANGRIA! Good work!

When Le Mixeur began, many a guest would arrive with bottle of wine as offering to us in exchange for our hosting. Eventually these guests became more consciously aware of the large jar filled with cash on the bar in front of us, and deduced from our subtle body language towards said jar that we were capitalist swines who mock such communal practices as bartering.

They stopped bringing wine and started bringing their wallets. And this was good. But truth be told I miss the free wine. Quite a little stockpile had built up at one time, but most have mysteriously vanished. Probably kids from the neighborhood or something. Who knows?

But I did have a lonely bottle of Smoking Loon Syrah, which seemed like the perfect wine to experiment with rather than drink. So I whooped me up some Sangria using the Sing Sling premix as a base as opposed to brandy. I call it my Sing Sling Sang.

SING SLING SANG

16 oz authentic Dale Degroff recipe Sing Sling premix
6 oz pineapple juice
4 oz lime
4 oz lemon
750 mL Syrah
2 peaches
1 lemon
1 orange
6 tiny apricots (I mean tiny...like golf-balls they were)

combine the fluids in a pitcher and stir
cut peaches and apricots into wedges, and orange and lemon into thin slices, and add to the mix
refrigerate and let sit for about 12 hours
pour over ice and top with a small amount of sparkling water

I don't recall exactly how long I waited, but since I was not going to be consuming this all at once I eventually strained out the fruit and stored the Sangria in a mason jar. I garnished with fresh fruit when serving it after that.

It came out very nice. The citrus and bitters created a dry finish that kept things from being too syrupy. Adding the sparkling water can be done to taste. I found that without it the drink was too sweet, but more than just a splash or two and it quickly started to taste like, well, watery wine.

Fondest tidings to you all on this holiday weekend.

And if anyone knows of somewhere where I can live in Seattle after the end of this month, please let me know. I find making and drinking Sing Sling Sang is far less enjoyable when undertaken under a highway overpass or in the back seat of an abandoned vehicle. But then I'm known to be a snob.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Left Coast Libations, Carkeek Club

The Munat Bros are creating a cocktail booklet entitled Left Coast Libations (LCL) for distribution to good people bearing media credentials at this year's Tales of the Cocktail. LCL is a compilation of recipes from many of the finest mixologists on the west coast. In fact, what the hell, let's list every last man jack of them (or every last woman Jacqueline of them)

{editor's note: there are obtuse references to Dr. Strangelove occurring with this blog, please stand by while we correct the problem...thank you}

Robert Hess
Andrew Friedman
Maria Hunt
Anita and Cameron Crotty
Erik Ellestad
Daniel Shoemaker
Jeffrey Morgenthaler
Lance Mayhew
Marco Dionysos
Marleigh Riggins
Blair Reynolds
Jamie Boudreau
Paul Clarke
Jimmy Patrick
Kelley Swenson
Ted Munat
Casey Robison
Kevin Diedrich
Ryan Fitzgerald
Gwydion Stone
Joel Baker
Murray Stenson

Putting this together has taken up much of the cocktail allotted time T.Mixeur has to spare, which explains the absence of posts on this blog for the past 15 days.

On the bright side, it was on the 15th day that C.Mixeur got around to reading T.Mixeur's last post, so we can be assured that the elder Munat Bro is up to date.

Now that my role has been more or less completed in the creation of this booklet and it has been turned over to C.Mixeur's capable hands (god help us all), I have the opportunity to share a few little morsels of some note. In fact, I predict the readers of Le Mixeur will bear witness to 3-4 posts over the coming days.

We'll start with the one most related to Left Coast Libations. Being editor and co-publisher of this tome, I took the liberty of including one of my own creations, the Fihimafihi. Principal to this cocktail is homemade rosemary gin, and I have another little trick I like to play with this elixir. It's not quite ready for the bright lights of Left Coast Libations, but certainly it's worthy of mentioning in this god forsaken space.

The Clover Club has been chronicled by Paul Clarke and ruminated upon by Cameron and Anita Crotty (all of whom are featured in LCL...getting the connection here?). David Wondrich reflects upon it in his book, "Imbibe" (and reports on William Butler Yeats' love of the drink, stating that it may have convinced him the center will hold...for more information on Yeats and the hold of centers scroll down to the very end of Le Mixeur's previous post...see how this is all coming together yet?).

It's a lovely drink that can be enjoyed by both women and evolved men who fear not the social stigmas of sipping on something pink-like.

Anita and Cameron's report on the Clover Club

1-1/2 oz gin
3/4 oz lemon juice (some say lime)
1/4 to 1/2 oz raspberry syrup (or grenadine)
white of 1 egg

Shake all ingredients with ice for at least a minute until very well chilled. If desired, strain into a measuring cup or a second shaker can, and buzz with a stick blender for 10 seconds to create a denser froth. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Paul's report on the Clover Club

1 1/2 ounces gin
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 dashes real grenadine (to taste)
1 egg white (1 egg white will suffice for two drinks)

Add ice and shake with studied firmness for at least 10 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a stern glower.

Jerry Thomas Via David Wondrich speaks of Clover Club

Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 spoon [1/8 oz] sugar
1/2 pony [2 tsp] raspberry [i.e. syrup]
1/4 pony [1/4 oz] white of egg
1 jigger [2 oz] gin

Shake well. Strain.

I, being inspired by reflections on my rosemary gin, the reports of Paul, Anita, and Cameron, and Dave Wondrich's interpretations of Jerry Thomas' scrawls, decided to use it to create a variation on the Clover Club. I am calling it the Carkeek Club. Carkeek Park is a city park near my home with access to the Puget Sound coast, as well as many forest paths. In one very special spot where forest meets coast, there is a little clearing. We have deduced that at one point there must have been a home here, because unlike the rest of the terrain it is filled with non-native plants, including a thriving bush of rosemary. It was from this bush that I harvested the rosemary to make my last batch of rosemary gin (which sadly has departed this mortal coil).

I felt the rosemary gin was a little soft to carry the full burden of this drink, so having proven before that it pairs nicely with Pisco, I injected a bit of this as well.

Carkeek Club

1 ½
oz rosemary gin
½ oz Capel Pisco
¾ oz lemon
½ oz raspberry syrup
½ egg white

dry shake all ingredients
add ice, shake for 20 seconds
strain into cocktail glass (although come to think of it I really like it in a coupe)


Having included Pisco at this point, I also experimented with turning this into a Clover Club/Pisco Sour combo by placing a few drops of Angostura bitters on top of the froth and giving it a little swirl. That seemed to work quite nicely thank you. But as I mentioned, my well of rosemary gin dried up, and before I had the opportunity to try it a second time with the bitters to confirm my experience.

And now, in the interest of encouraging the reader to make rosemary gin and then make this drink and try it with the bitters on top and get back to me on how it tastes so I don't have to go hiking up through Carkeek Park to pick rosemary and make more of this stuff (deep breath)...here is an exclusive sneak preview of Left Coast Libations, specifically my recipe for rosemary gin.

Thank you.

ROSEMARY GIN

This is basically the recipe for Rosemary Vodka described in Nick Mautone's “Raising the Bar,” except with gin.


Place 4 branches of rosemary, each about 6 inches in length, into a 32 oz mason jar. Add 2 oz boiling water, close jar, shake, and let stand for 10 minutes until the rosemary gets bright green and you can't stand to watch the poor little fellas suffer like that anymore. Open the jar, pour in about 4 ounces of ice cold water, listen for the sound of the rosemary saying "ahhhhh" then add 3 ounces dry vermouth and 1 ½ ounces Pernod. Pour the gin in until the jar is filled to about an inch from the top. Close the jar again and shake. You may need to throw your head back and cackle maniacally at this point, in order to get the desired shaking action. Steep in a cool spot for 48 hours, then remove the rosemary. I have always used Broker's gin for this recipe, and it seems to work nicely for this purpose.


Now all of you get out there and BE somebody!!