Categories
Links

Wednesday Link-O-Rama

This is the first in what will hopefully be a weekly feature: a round-up of links to some of the most interesting content around the web.

  • In honor of Repeal Day, Gary Regan shares his recipe for the Scofflaw cocktail, a variation on the Manhattan. A simple drink, but sounds like a tasty one. (Maybe I'll make one of these later.)
  • New Booze: Camper English's new blog about new booze, over on Shakestir.com. Camper knows his spirits, so this should be interesting.
  • Darcy O'Neil's Bitters Database: a collection of recipes for making a few dozen types of bitters. I've done just a little bit of experimentation with making my own ingredients, but maybe I'll try some more. I'm not sure I'd start with bitters, though.
  • An interesting recipe for an Appletini. I bet this would taste good, but it sounds like a lot of trouble.
  • Simon Difford gives Tanqueray Sterling Vodka a score of 4.5 out of 5. I'm a great admirer of their Gin, but I've never tried the Vodka.
  • Imbibe Magazine's recipe for Cozy Pomegranate Cider: naughty or nice? I'm not sure. Would red wine and apple cider go together? My initial reaction is that it sounds gross. But I'm not much of a red wine fan.
  • Matt "Rum Dood" Robold reviews Santa Teresa Claro rum and compares it favorably to Cuban rums (which, of course, we can't legally buy here in the U.S.). He recommends using the Claro in the classic Cuban cocktails like the Daiquiri and Mojito.
  • Watch Robert Hess on the Cocktail Spirit show you how to make a Spencer Cocktail, which includes Gin and Apricot Brandy. That sounds like it has potential.
  • One from the archives: Eric Felten musing on the Rock and Rye. (The Rye is Rye Whiskey, the Rock is Rock Candy.) I wish he were still writing regularly on spirits for the Journal.

That's it until next week. If you come across anything you think I should share, drop me an email.

Categories
History Miscellaneous

Drinking during Prohibition

Yesterday (December 5) was the 78th anniversary of the end of Prohibition, the thirteen-year Dark Age in which it was illegal to produce or sell alcoholic beverages in the United States. (Interestingly enough, it was not illegal to consume alcohol.)

December 5th is celebrated in many of the nation's bars as Repeal Day, one of those rare occasions when drinkers and constitutionalists both have something to salute. (The 18th and 21st amendments, which respectively began and ended Prohibition, were a triumph of the spirit of popular, progressive government in action. Sure, it led to misery, violence and the rise of organized crime — but nobody ever said democracy ain't messy.)

Prohibition is often viewed as something of a romantic time in drinking culture, despite the hardships that its official illegality created. Speakeasies were roaring, flappers were flapping, bootleggers (like Joe Kennedy) were making fortunes, and drinking (ironically) became a popular public pastime.

But what did people actually drink during Prohibition? There's where the romanticism quickly fades. As bartender and author Gary Regan explains, it was a depressing time for those who enjoyed a good drink.

If you desire a real speakeasy tipple, you can have either a glass of Champagne or a whiskey-and-ginger-ale highball. That’s about it. All that talk of the fabulous cocktails made in the midst of Prohibition in order to mask the flavors of badly made alcohol is wrong. When your drinking experience is an illegal one, you just want to get down to drinking.

That whiskey they were drinking wasn't the good stuff either. It was poor quality Canadian rye smuggled over the border. In certain parts of the country (Florida, for example) where rum-running was feasible, it was possible to get some lousy Caribbean rum. And in the big Eastern cities English gin was occasionally available. But there were no fancy cocktails to be had. Even a decent Martini was impossible. As a a wag once said, "Nobody bootlegs vermouth."

So the next time you enjoy a well-mixed cocktail or a bottle of fine spirits, remind yourself: where drinking is concerned, we've never had it so good.

Categories
Gifts Rum Tiki

Holiday Gift Guide: Rum

Over on Liquor.com, Julie Reiner, owner of New York's famed Tiki Bar Lani Kai, shares her holiday gift suggestions for the rum lover in your life.

Her picks:

  • El Dorado 15 Year Old
  • Mount Gay Extra Old
  • Rhum J.M. White
  • Ron Zacapa XO
  • Santa Teresa 1796

 

Rum_gifts

I have four of these five rums in my cabinet, although the only one I've tried so far is the Mount Gay. Mount Gay Extra Old is an excellent sipping rum, dry and spicy. Not only is this a good pick for rum drinkers, but it would also make a great gift for someone who usually drinks whisky. (It's always struck me as the most whisky-like of the finer rums.)

I haven't opened my bottle of El Dorado 15 yet, but their 12-year-old rum is one of my favorites: smooth, sweet and delicious. El Dorado makes excellent rums.

All in all, some excellent suggestions.

Categories
Drink Recipes Rum

Recipe: Coquito (Puerto Rican “Egg Nog”)

Want to try something new for your holiday libation this year? Mix up a batch of Coquito! This is the traditional Puerto Rican version of Egg Nog, and it's muy delicioso.

 

Coquito (Puerto Rican “Egg Nog”)

1 can Coconut Milk
1 can Evaporated Milk
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (minus 2 ounces)
6 Egg Yolks
1 ½ Cups Rum
½ teaspoon Cinnamon, plus more for Garnish

Whisk or blend together the egg yolks and rum until well beaten.* Add equal amounts of the three milks, plus the cinnamon, and mix until combined.

Pour into glass bottles with stoppers and refrigerate. It should keep for at least a week. (And probably much longer.)

Sprinkle with freshly-ground cinnamon before serving.

Adapted from a recipe by author Sarah McCoy (handed down from her abuelita, Maria Esparra Norat).

*There is always some risk to consuming raw eggs. However, the risk is very small, and combining them with the alcohol in this fashion makes it even smaller.

 

This Coquito is very easy to make and delicious. I whipped mine up in the blender — the only drawback was that it was more liquid than the carafe could hold, so I had to do it in batches. Next time I'd probably do it in a bowl with the mixer.

You should probably make this with a Puerto Rican rum, just to be authentic. Either white or gold would work, although I think white is more traditional. I'm not a fan of Bacardi (the most common Puerto Rican rum), but you could try Don Q or Ron del Barrilito.

There are endless variations you can make with this same basic recipe. You could add nutmeg, vanilla, banana, more rum, whatever you like.

¡Salud, amor y pesetas!