coctails

Fall in Love with…The Red Velvet Cocktail!

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Yeah, yeah, Valentine’s Day is in a few days and it’s totally a silly Hallmark holiday and LOVE should not be relegated to commercialization and candy hearts…but c’mon! I’m a sucker for that crap! Look at this pretty cocktail that I named The Red Velvet because it’s red and velvety and tastes like a bunch of ripe, luscious berries made sweet sweet love to a smooth as heck whiskey. The egg white gives it that velvety mouthfeel and the generous amount of lemon juice lends a tartness to counteract some of the sweet.

Speaking of sweet…I have just come to the end of my new favorite grenadine from Sonoma Syrup Co., which worked beautifully in this cocktail. I usually like to make by own but because I’ve been so busy recently that hasn’t really been an option. And this Pomegranate Syrup may just be better than anything I’ve ever made. It’s incredibly thick and concentrated and deeply flavored. Also great in non-alcoholic drinks, btw.

Whether you are coupled up or flying solo for this Valentine’s Day, I think we can all agree that a sumptuous cocktail that is essentially a sexy make-out sesh with a bunch of boozy berries, should be in all of our hands.

Red Velvet
2 ounces Bourbon
3/4 ounce Chambord
1 ounce Lemon Juice
1/2 ounce Grenadine
Egg White
Garnish: edible flowers or berries

Shake all the ingredients without ice first to emulsify the egg white and integrate all the ingredients. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with edible flowers or berries.

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BBAF Podcast Episode 5: Absinthe with Ted Breaux

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On this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast we’re talking about one of the most misunderstood elixirs ever created and consumed – The Green Fairy, La Fée Verte, Absinthe! The social lubricant of choice for 19th century bohemians, artists and creatives – said to have aided their creativity and yet, driven them mad. It has been made all the more mysterious by a worldwide ban of the stuff for nearly 100 years. The ban was lifted in the states almost eleven years ago now, but a lot of misunderstandings still surround this spirit.

Most likely, you’ve heard the dark stories…about how “real” absinthe will make you hallucinate, turn you violent and drive you mad if you have too much. But what is the real story of absinthe? Can we get an authentic version in the states? And why was it banned for so long if it is truly harmless? Hopefully we’ll be clearing all that up over the course of this podcast.

My guest Ted Breaux is a researcher, scientist, artisan distiller, and leading authority on absinthe. He created Lucid Absinthe Supérieure – the first genuine absinthe made with real Grande Wormwood to be legally available in the United States, and he had a major role in overturning the ban in America eleven years ago. He’ll be talking about how he first got interested in absinthe, was the first person to disprove any claims that absinthe was dangerous, and how he helped to overturn the ban.

Kellfire Desmond Bray, absinthe educator and co-host of a monthly absinthe celebration and awareness party in New York City called The Green Fairy at the Red Room, will be joining us towards the end of this episode to describe the Continental Pour – the proper way to consume this boozy elixir.

Listen to Episode 5: Absinthe with Ted Breaux” – me

According to Bray and Breaux, you don’t really need the sugar. However, the traditional French Method does involve diluting sugar in the glass to sweeten it up a bit. This ritual is such a lovely one, I thought I’d share that as well.

This is what you’ll need to prepare absinthe using the traditional French Method:

  • Bottle of genuine absinthe
  • An absinthe spoon – a flat, perforated spoon or even a large fork can work!
  • Sugar cube
  • Tall glass, large enough for 6 ounces
  • Carafe of ice water

Absinthe photos by Rose Callahan Aug 2015
Absinthe photos by Rose Callahan Aug 2015

  • Pour about one ounce of absinthe into the glass
  • Place a sugar cube on an absinthe spoon and lay the spoon across the rim of the glass
  • Slowly pour the very cold water over the sugar and saturate it
  • Wait a moment for the sugar to dissolve a bit
  • As the water dilutes the spirit, the botanical oils are released, herbal aromas “bloom” and the clear green liquid turns cloudy, a result that is called the “louche”
  • Continue to slowly pour the water over the sugar until you have poured in about 5 ounces and the sugar is mostly dissolved
  • Allow the louche to rest, and then stir in the remaining undissolved sugar

All absinthe photos by Rose Callahan, of the Dandy Portrait fame, and our photography partner on the Bartender Style series.

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BBaF Podcast Episode 4: The Dark Ages of Cocktails

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Soooo, my life has clearly been taken over by this weekly podcast and I PROMISE to post other content on the blog besides these podcast posts, buuuut in the meantime…It’s FriYAY! And that means there’s another Bit by a Fox Podcast heading right towards your earholes! I hope you’re having as much fun as I am. If you ARE, then please write a snappy review, give it all the stars, and share with your frennnz. Self producing is a hustle!

This week we’re talking about The Dark Ages of Cocktails – that ill-fated time period between the late 1960s all the way through the late 1990s. When people happily drank garbage drinks like the ones pictured below.

Since launching the podcast, we’ve already talked a lot about the craft cocktail resurgence over the last 20 years, and we’ve touched on what it was like to come out of the sour-mix-drenched 90s where vodka was king and everyone’s palates were deadened by preservatives and sugar. But how did we get there in the first place?

In this week’s podcast, I go all the way back to prohibition and the following years that made it possible for drinks with names like Sex on the Beach, The Fuzzy Navel and Slippery Nipple to…become a thing. Hoo boy, it was a sexy and gross time.

Listen to Episode 4: The Dark Ages of Cocktails” – me

For this episode, I thought I’d feature a cocktail that has a special place in my heart. One of the first drinks I’d order on the regular when I first started drinking cocktails, and at the time, was never NOT made with sour mix: The Amaretto Sour. But I wanted to share a better version – with fresh juice and more of a kick. This creation is from Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the famed Portland, Oregon bartender of Clyde Common and Pepe Le Moko. Jeffrey is considered to be one of the best bartenders out there, and I love the fact that he has made it a point these last few years to bring back the cocktails from the dark ages and improve upon them. I love his explanation for this version of his Amaretto Sour.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Amaretto Sour
1½ oz amaretto
¾ oz cask-proof bourbon
1 oz lemon juice
1 tsp. 2:1 simple syrup
½ oz egg white, beaten

Dry shake ingredients to combine, then shake well with cracked ice. Strain over fresh ice in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon peel and brandied cherries, if desired.

The post BBaF Podcast Episode 4: The Dark Ages of Cocktails appeared first on Bit By a Fox.

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BBaF Podcast Episode 3: Regarding Cocktails with Georgette Moger-Petraske

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I’m really excited for you all to listen to this week’s episode of the Bit by a Fox podcast. It’s a special one. I spoke with my friend and author, and someone who has seen first hand the bloom of the cocktail movement in New York City and internationally, Georgette Moger-Petraske. Georgette is also the widow of the late Sasha Pestraske, the legendary bartender who opened a little speakeasy cocktail bar in the lower east side of Manhattan about 18 years ago called Milk & Honey. Sasha and his bar are really responsible for much of what we’ve come to know about modern day craft cocktails. Milk & Honey has been called one of this century’s most influential drinking dens. Sasha was extremely well regarded as a leader in the industry until his untimely death in 2015. He was 42.

Georgette and Sasha had only been married for a few months at the time of his death – interrupting their life together as well the cocktail book they were to create together. Only a brief outline existed when Georgette made the decision to write what was to be Sasha’s first cocktail book, Regarding Cocktails. I wanted to talk to Georgette about her story, how she met Sasha, her husband’s legacy, his iconic bar Milk & Honey, and how Regarding Cocktails is a tribute to him as a man and also a love letter to all he contributed to the cocktail world.

Listen to Episode 3: Regarding Cocktails with Georgette Moger-Petraske

A girl and her book. Georgette and Regarding Cocktails outside Paris bookstore La Belle Hortense. (taken by moi)

Recent photos from Paris Cocktail Week taken by Philippe Levy.

We ended our episode this week with the Gin & It cocktail, a favorite of the couple’s – so much so it was passed out in mini mason jars at their wedding.

Gin & It – served up in a coupe glass
2 oz Gin
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
garnish: lemon twist

Stir the gin and vermouth in an ice-filled mixing glass until sufficiently chilled. Strain into an chilled coupe glass. Twist the lemon peel over the glass to extract the oils. Then garnish the drink with the twist.

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BBaF Podcast #2: The Gin & Tonic with Camper English

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How is it Friday already?! This week has sped by at such an unusually fast clip that it’s already time for another Bit by a Fox Podcast! Can you believe it?? The 30-ish minutes you never knew you needed so desperately in your life! This week is a treat. Boozy journalist, mad scientist and all around cocktail nerd, Camper English has joined us to talk all things Gin & Tonic.


His recent book Tonic Water: AKA G&T WTF dives into this surprisingly fascinating subject with equal parts intense research, fun facts, and silly doodles. Over the course of our half hour conversation we discuss the medicinal roots of tonic and its ties to malaria, how the combo of gin and tonic came to be, and what country is the largest consumer of gin in the world (hint: it’s not in the UK).

Listen to this week’s episode: #2: The Gin & Tonic with Camper English ↓


With each episode we’ll include a cocktail recipe at the end. This week was clearly the Gin & Tonic, so I made one of my favorite versions – a 1:2 ratio of Beefeater London Dry Gin and Bitter Lemon Fever Tree Tonic, with a generous squeeze of lime. Check out the recipe below.

Gin & Tonic – served in a highball glass with ice
3 ounces of Beefeater London Dry Gin
4 ounces of Fever Tree Tonic Water (Bitter Lemon Tonic)
3 lime wedges

Fill your highball with ice. Add the gin & squeeze two limes for a little juice before plopping them in the glass. Then add tonic and give it a good stir. You can garnish with a lime wedge or an orange to bring out the Seville oranges in the Beefeater Gin.

The post BBaF Podcast #2: The Gin & Tonic with Camper English appeared first on Bit By a Fox.

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The Bit by a Fox Podcast Launches with Episode 1: Intro & The Old Fashioned

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Drumroll please! Get ready to listen to the dulcet tones of someone attempting to avoid the dreaded vocal fry as much as possible…because Bit by a Fox is now a weekly podcast!

It’s true! As an extension of this boozy blog, I’ll be giving you all a weekly dose of audio realness. This has been a long time coming and we are SO stoked to finally get this baby out there. “We” meaning me and my producing partner, Anna Tivell, who is also editor, engineer and all around badass. She makes me sound so much better than IRL! It’s like she’s Facetuned my voice and I never want to speak in real life again.

Why a podcast? The thing about this subject matter is that it’s so rich. The history and culture of drinking lends itself so well to the storytelling medium that podcasts have become. We have a lot of exciting episodes in the works, including interviews with some of my favorites in the cocktail and spirits industry. It’ll be a little mix of history, alchemy and geekdom. And FUN, of course! This inaugural episode is short and sweet, an intro to me and the show.

Listen to Episode 1: Intro & The Old Fashioned” – me

I’ll be posting the episode link and info here every Friday along with a cocktail recipe that is featured at the end of each episode.

For our first end-of-episode cocktail, I thought it only fitting to feature the OG of classic cocktails, The Old Fashioned. See below for my recipe and then listen to the podcast! Give it a million stars and rave reviews and tell your friends and post to all the social medias!

Old Fashioned – served in a rocks glass
2 oz rye or bourbon
Angostura bitters
1 sugar cube or teaspoon of loose sugar or ¼ oz of simple syrup
club soda

Place the sugar cube in rocks glass, add 3-4 dashes of bitters and a splash of club soda. Muddle to assimilate into the liquids. Add a large ice-cube or a couple smaller ones. Pour in whiskey. Stir until well mixed and chilled. Garnish with an orange peel, a lemon peel, or if you’re old school, an orange wheel and cherry.

The post The Bit by a Fox Podcast Launches with Episode 1: Intro & The Old Fashioned appeared first on Bit By a Fox.

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From Crémant to Cava to…Champagne. Sparkling Wines to Ring in the New Year!

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Can you believe it? We are just days away from the year coming to a close and a fresh new one beginning. Such a great time to create a clean slate! Begin anew! And mix things up a little! I thought this New Year’s post should follow suit!

While I love, love, LOVE creating sparkling cocktails for a New Year’s celebration, and I’ve made a few in the past for this here blog, we all know that when the clock strikes midnight, most people turn to the bubbly stuff all on its own. This year I decided to focus on those bottles that will be the most bang for your buck – those that look festive and taste special, but won’t break the bank, especially if you want to get multiple bottles for you and your guests.

My picks range from the number one selling Prosecco in Italy priced around $15, to an award-winning Blanc de Blanc Champagne priced under $50, to a Spanish Cava made in the traditional Champagne style that you won’t believe is under $15.

The sparkling wine category has grown steadily year after year, especially in the U.S. almost primarily due to the Prosecco trend. It has nearly eclipsed Champagne in recent years. Clever marketing and the lower price point has been key, of course. And while there has been a glut of questionable quality Proseccos that have flooded the market, there are still many brands that have been able to rival Champagne in taste.

Out of the five featured sparklers featured here, I’ve included two Proseccos. They are both from the same producer – Valdo, crafted in the heart of Prosecco–Valdobbiadene, are both made from 100% Glera grapes, and are priced similarly – around $15. But each one has a slightly different appeal. The Valdo Brut Prosecco DOC is the number one Prosecco consumed in Italy and it is pretty clear why. It goes down incredibly easy; It is slightly drier and has a touch higher alcohol content than the Valdo Oro Puro Prosecco DOCG – the fruitier and toastier of the two. The Oro Puro is aged a bit longer in the bottle and delivers a more complex profile than its modest price might suggest. The fat, elegant shape of the bottle also gives it a little more gravitas than the Brut. Spring for both and serve the Brut with food and then graduate to the Oro Puro to toast afterwards.

If you want to go French but would like to explore something other than traditional Champagne, a good quality Crémant may be just what you’re looking for. It is made using a second fermentation method like Champagne, but is not from the Champagne region. There is more freedom in terms of what grapes to use for Crémant, but they still adhere to fairly strict guidelines during production. The “Côté Mas” Crémant de Limoux Brut St. Hilaire from Languedoc in southwest France is the kind of bottle that Champagne producers don’t want you to know about. In fact, the Limoux appellation has been producing sparkling wines even longer than the Champagne region, having produced the first sparkling wine on record. The Côté Mas has silkier and more delicate bubbles than a traditional Champagne. Citrus, honey and stone fruit come through reflecting the dominant grapes of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. This delicious sparkler is just under $15 a bottle and your guests will never be the wiser.

Spanish Cava has long been known as the poor man’s Champagne substitute. (Prosecco has since taken that title but they somehow have made it sexier!) While Cava production has increased over the years, it still does not get the love it deserves. This is by far the most bang for your buck that you’re going to get. The Paul Cheneau line, produced in the Penedès region, takes a lot of influence from the French style and is made in a classic Champagne method but using Spanish grape varietals. The result is a lively and fresh, almost floral quality. The lengthy age comes through in a silky mouthfeel and a nice round finish. At about $14 a bottle this may be one of the best deals in the bunch.

Of course a list of sparklers to ring in the new year would not be complete without mentioning a Champers. Almost all Champagnes are made with a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, but Blanc de Blancs are made entirely from white grapes. It may not be traditional exactly, but it happens to be my Champagne of choice!

Because Blanc de Blanc is made with only white grapes, it tends to be a little more austere and crisp and have a little more minerality than most other Champagnes. But André Jacquart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Brut Experience goes in a different direction. It is lush and rich, heavier than you’d think when just using 100% Chardonnay grapes. The minerality is still there and it even has a touch of green apple but the depth of flavor and complexity in this Blanc de Blanc belies its single grape. Consistently rated in the top percentage of wines in the world, the $50 per bottle price tag seems like a steal.

Whatever you pick to toast the new year, I hope you get your hands on some if not all of these bottles at some point. With these prices, you can do your own taste test and see which ones are your faves. Because there is always an excuse to pop open a bottle of bubbly!

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A Special Whiskey for a Thanksgiving Cocktail: Remus Repeal Reserve Bourbon & the Old Pal

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It’s here – my most favorite time of year! We get to surround ourselves with loved ones, think about all the things we are grateful for, and eat our weight in mashed potatoes! Wheeee! What more could you want? Well, booze of course, duh. Don’t worry your sweet potato head about it. I gotchoo, boo.

I always tend to think this special occasion is deserving of a special cocktail. I mean, what kind of cocktail blogger would I be if I didn’t think you should go big or go home for your signature Turkey Day cocktail?! Let’s bring in the big guns…

Just look at that sexy mofo. Beautiful Art Deco cuts and curves and swerves, and inside that beauty is an exquisite high rye bourbon blend of aged reserves to match. Style & substance – my favorite combo. Swoon-worthy on many levels.


As of last Monday – the birthdate of legendary “King of the Bootleggers,” George Remus – the American distilling powerhouse, MGP Ingredients has added a limited release, premium bourbon, Remus Repeal Reserve Bourbon to its expanding spirits portfolio. MGP, a historic 170-year-old distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, (that I was lucky enough to visit recently!) is known for producing quality juice for some of the top whiskey brands in the country. They have only recently dipped their toes into producing their own line of products. And they’re taking their time to get it right. For their first reserve bourbon, the talented distillery team at MGP has chosen to use high rye bourbons from 2005 and 2006 to create a spicy, complex whiskey that will have you wondering if it’s an aged rye or unusual bourbon. Perfect for an Old Pal cocktail!

A close relative of the Negroni and Boulevardier, as it’s usually made with equal parts spirit, Campari and vermouth, the Old Pal, unfortunately, is often forgotten about. It was first published in 1922 – at the height of George Remus’ fame – in Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails written by Harry MacElhone of the famed Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. I can’t help but think that if old George Remus actually drank (that’s right, he was a teetotaler!), this might be one of his favorite cocktails!

Aside from wanting to share this oft forgotten about cocktail, I also want to note how the Old Pal is the PERFECT spirit forward cocktail that you’ll need to whet your whistle with before that bird comes out, during the feast and after, with dessert. Remus Reserve holds up to the bold personality of Campari, and the blend of dry vermouth makes it less sweet than a Boulevardier. Upping the amount of whiskey versus using equal parts makes this cocktail really let the whiskey shine. So, grab that special bottle and make this classic cocktail for a memorable day of thanks, indeed!

Old Pal
1 1/2 oz Rye or Bourbon – Remus Repeal Reserve recommended!
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
Garnish: Lemon Peel

Place all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel.


Remus Repeal Reserve will be available in select markets across the country, rolled out in a series of events leading up to Repeal Day, December 5, commemorating the end of Prohibition.

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