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Monday, January 14, 2008

Fancy holiday hootch

One of the many great things that happened over the holidays is that the Mrs. and I decided to get all hotsy-totsy with the cocktails. With the acquisition of Three Olives chocolate vodka (thank you, Cousin Jim) and some beautiful French brandy-soaked cherries, and restocking some of the regular items in our liquor cabinet, we were able to partake of some truly tasty holiday spirits. My ancestors, who were known to be big on this sort of thing, would have been proud.

Here was the menu. I think I had one of nearly each of these over the past month:

Raspberry truffle. Three Olives chocolate vodka and Chambord raspberry liqueur. Forrest Gump never had it so good.

Butterfly kiss. Stoli Vanil, Frangelico, and a cinnamon stick.

Brown butterfly. Same, but with the chocolate vodka instead of the Vanil.

Moth. Same, but with half Vanil and half chocolate vodka.

Brandy Manhattan. Fundador, sweet and (hint of) dry vermouth, real cherry juice, brandy-soaked cherries.

Whisky Manhattan. Ditto, but Maker's Mark or Wild Turkey Rye subbed for the Fundador.

Suburban. Rye, dark rum, port, orange bitters.

Brandy Alexander. Brandy, creme de cacao, whipping cream.

Alexander's sister. Gin, white creme de menthe, whipping cream.

And always, a bottle of Gloria Ferrer (the blanc de blanc is even better than the brut) in the fridge for when guests walk through the door.

Still pending is our sampling of the forbidden fruit: absinthe. The legality of this beverage is quite the gray area at the moment, but through some excellent family connections, we were able to score an unlabeled bottle of the stuff, and it's just a matter of time before we pull the cork and give it a try. If I cut off my ear and scan it onto this blog, you'll know what happened.

Next year: grasshopppers!

Comments (7)

Those drinks look great! Except... the suburban. It's truly an affront against humanity to desecrate port by mixing it with anything. It's like wrapping your christmas presents in a Miro.

If you're putting rye and dark rum in the same glass, you already have issues.

From what I've read, Absinthe is now definitely legal, provided the amount of the active ingredient that gives the "buzz", Thujone, is below a certain threshold. I was lucky enough to attend an Absinthe New Year's Eve party here in PDX, and they sure had some high-quality spirits. It was quite a night...one drink served up was called a "Lucid Dream."

As far as gray areas go, well, for years now people have been importing the high-Thujone stuff from Europe themselves or by mail, and customs doesn't seem to really care one way or the other. Methinks they have bigger fish to fry.

This stuff is supposed to be some of the best...a friend brought me a bottle back from the Czech Republic a few years ago, and it was indeed nice:


Cheers !

Great drink stash you have Jack me boy!
I was able several years ago, while on a cruise, smuggle a bottle of "The Green Fairy" from St. Martins (French Side)
When I arrived in San Juan, customs asked anything to declare, my reply was a sly no!
On my monthly trips to Portland, I import several bottles of "Everclear" 190 proof, to my friends in "Stumptown" as they love to make cherry bombs with that baned in several states.
How? I just check them in my luggage.
I found a great aluminum case lined with fitted foam.
So, it's Everclear Westbound and Columbia Crest Eastbound as I chant to myself the song "The Smugglers Blues" as I board my Continental flight back to ERW.
Bt the way Jack, I was also in the Big Apple on Jan. 2, noshing on a Patty Melt at Lindys near the New York Hilton $18.99 and coffee was $4.99 and the food sucked!
Oh how I yearn for the "Old" Roses on NW 23rd.

I've been looking to pick up a bottle of absinthe here locally since trying the stuff in London last fall. I heard that a new place on NW Lovejoy called Pearl Specialty Market & Spirits now carries it. I went down there over the weekend and they carry something similar but it's not the real deal. It's the toned-down "absenthe" that was legal prior to the Feds loosening the restrictions surrounding absinthe a few weeks ago.

According to the clerk I spoke with, there's a Portland company called House Spirits that's producing a full-fledge absinthe but it won't be ready until sometime in late spring. There's other companies around the country doing the same but it'll be another six weeks or so before their witches brews are ready to ship. Stay tuned. When absinthe, even if it isn't as powerful as the stuff in Europe, starts showing up in bars and liquor shops around town I'm sure it's going to be a big deal.

Those cocktails look great, but the Manhattan is missing a key ingredient... a dash (or two) of Angostura bitters... a necessary feature in a well-stocked liquor cabinet. And try Corner Creek whisky once you've finished your Makers Mark, or ask the liquor store guys about it... it's comparable (or lower) cost and has a richer flavor.

Absente is not absinthe. There is "absinthe" now being sold in the United States that has almost undetectable levels of thujone. Lucid is one of such brands, Hangar One in SF makes another and I understand Integrity Spirits in Portland will be releasing one soon.

That said, if you want a bottle of the real deal, you still have to go to europe, or at least here www.eabsinthe.com May I recommend La Fee for those interested.

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