Kickstarter: The Drinking Jacket by Zane Lamprey

Posted: 19th December 2014 by Cocktail Alchemist in Uncategorized

The Drinking Jacket

One of my personal drinking heroes is Zane Lamprey.  He somehow got a major network like Spike to pay for him to travel the world drinking and exploring drinking culture with a stuffed monkey.  For those not familiar he’s the star of the show Three Sheets which aired on either Spike or the travel channel briefly a few years ago.  More recently he ran a successful kickstarter to fund a drinking series “Chug” which I have not had a chance to watch but dearly want to.

His current project is a jacket built for the drinker, starring everything from a beer koozie pocket to a bottle opener zipper pull.

The jacket is $85 normally but looks to be pretty well built with many fine features even if you don’t need it for a night of heavy drinking.

The campaign has only about 72 hours left on it so I encourage you to decide quickly before you have to pay retail for it.

Stocking Your Bar Part 2: Basics

Posted: 17th December 2014 by Cocktail Alchemist in Feature
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wpid-received_817805461613150.jpegFor my previous ramblings on how to stock your bar check HERE.

A long running argument among my friends is what actually constitutes a cocktail.  The line has been fairly drawn by me at three ingredients and by at least one of my more vocal companions at two.  Under his rule the rum & coke would qualify as a cocktail but under mine the screwdriver would not.  The bar has not been solidified but is constantly in flux.  What remains is that when you boil most cocktails down they are a mixture of a high proof spirit, some lower proof liquor or liqueur and a syrup, juice or soda.

This means that after you have found your base spirit the next portion of the process is finding your mixers.  Because the liqueur section is slightly more difficult and sometimes unnecessary (re: screwdriver, rum and coke, Jack and Ginger) the form of your basic fillers becomes a more important portion of keeping a well stocked bar.

 

Sodas

To start with I want to tackle sodas.  The single most vile and beautiful thing that you can add to your drink is in the form of sugar and carbonated water.  Just like with a base spirit the end result all depends on quality and what you’re willing to put into making your drink.  For the most simple drinks a mini-fridge full of small cans of major label sodas is more than enough.  The smaller size means that you can make one or two drinks without having to worry that an entire 2 liter bottle is going to go to waste before you can get to the rest of it.

If you want to upgrade a step from there, the number of premium bottled sodas has exploded in recent years with everything from Reeds premium ginger beer to high quality organic tonic waters like Q Tonic.  Keeping a six pack or two on hand is easy and fun.

On a half step laterally is the soda stream fountain.  I was given one of these as a gift and can say with authority that it pays for itself in fridge space and flexibility.  The reason this is a half step is that many of the syrups available are made with basic low cost ingredients and not more flavorful premium items.   If you own a soda stream you can take the next step by having the ability to make your own sodas from syrup concentrates which obviates the problems inherent in the store bought syrups.  This also allows you to make things that are not as common in store bought syrups such as porter syrup, Ginger Syrup and Tonic Syrup.

 Syrups

A syrup is generally a high sugar liquid.  The sugar content can come from anything be it honey, agave nectar, or fructose from fruit juice.  These are generally non-alcoholic and are added like a concentrate in small amounts.  Some well known ones include Grenadine (pomegranate syrup), chocolate syrup, Orzha (Almond Syrup), and Simple Syrup which is just sugar water.  Syrups are painfully easy to buy.  Torrani has made a line of both full sugar and sugar free syrups for years with a flavor line that runs into the dozens.  A quick trip to Cash and Carry shows 2-3 other semi-generic brands with similar offerings.

Syrups are also hellishly simple to make, with the verity of sweeteners available in bulk you could quite easily make a dragonfruit and saffron syrup with an agave nectar base if your tastes ran that direction.  With a minor addition of an ounce or two of vodka the syrups will keep in the fridge for weeks.

Sourmix2Juices

Fruit juices are one of *the* most common additives to cocktails.  Starting with Lemon and lime juices and following onward to orange, pineapple, grapefruit and from there to non-citrus juices like apple or cranberry.  Much like the sodas there are ample retail options for many of these juices, but fresh juices are often best where possible and so having limes or lemons to squeeze yourself is great.  Oranges are a bit more difficult as the juices can be bitter without any outward sign, this is why it is best to get oranges in season and to test them before you run an entire pitcher of juice.

Having a selection of fresh juices on hand is key to flavorful cocktails.

Gracious Thanks to Diana C. for the bar photo at the head of this post.

Adventures in Marketing Copy

Posted: 10th December 2014 by Cocktail Alchemist in Around the Web
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questionbottleThere are times where you will be wandering the aisle at the liquor store, surfing a distillery online or even just checking out the back of a bottle to see what the deal is with this spirit.  When you see a small block of text on the shelf it’s called a Talker and generally praises the quality and purity of the spirit.

For Example: (I found this one on DrinkupNy.com)

“This Vodka is produced from white winter wheat sourced directly from local farmers in the Western Rockies of Canada. After distillation, the spirit was shipped to the Distillery in California where it was cut down to proof with pristine water from a well in Mendocino County. Light bodied with a silky mouth feel, the Vodka is perfect for mixing, with subtle notes of grain, mineral and spice.”

Translation: We bought a tote of 190 proof vodka from our distributor and then cut it down to bottle proof with filtered tap water.  It tastes like wheat vodka.

This kind of thing happens all the time in distilling.  Lots of producers buy their base product from elsewhere or use someone else’s still to get the job done.  It’s not a sin, it’s just how the business operates when you can’t get the approval for a bigger still from the government or your current still can’t produce enough to fill your demand.   I know of a number of companies that hardly own any equipment at all.  Imbue Vermouth for example does not own a still, a vineyard, or a bottling plant but still manages to make a very compelling product that requires both wine, brandy and a significant amount of herbal infusion.

It’s not a big deal when someone does it, it’s when they feel the need to use a lot of adspeak to cover their process that things start to get murky for me.  This could have been their marketing guy, the ad man at drinkupny.com or anyone in between, but someone thought enough of their process to polish it a bit and put it out there like they were cutting the wheat by hand.

 

Cinnamon Whiskey Comparison

Posted: 4th December 2014 by Cocktail Alchemist in liquor review
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085

The popularity of Fireball shots at bars prompted a friend to ask, “why in the world do people drink this stuff?”  Having not really tried much of it myself I found the question a valid one and sought to get some answers.

To that end I purchased 50ml size bottles of Sinfire, Fireball and Jack Daniels Fire in an effort to compare some of the offerings.

A little bit about each.  Fireball is the original of the three, while there may be other whiskys with cinnamon flavor fireball is by far the most well known and most widely consumed.  Fireball as a brand dates back to 2006 when the Sazerac company rebranded their Dr. McGillicuddy’s Fireball Whisky.  The product had been in production since the 1980s but with the rebranding came an increase in distribution beyond its native Canada.  Bottled at 33% ABV it is actually the lowest alcohol content of the three but only by a small margin. It is billed as a Whisky with natural cinnamon flavor.

Sinfire is produced by the Oregon based Hood River Distillers who also make Pendleton Whiskey, Lucid Absinthe, the Monarch brands of liquors and HRD vodka.  HRD is perhaps best known for producing a somewhat rotgut level cheap vodka sold in large plastic bottles. Having just driven by their plant in Hood River Oregon I can say that the place is somewhat forbidding and is perhaps the largest or second largest distillery in the state.  Having not had a chance to visit Bend Distilling I can’t really compare but they are far larger than any of the craft distillers in Portland.  HRD and Sazerac actually got into a legal scuffle over the branding on their bottles.  Sazerac filed suit when sinfire was about to go on sale in Kentucky stating that the tradedress of the bottles was too similar and was likely to cause confusion in the marketplace.  As you can see from the photo above they were quite similar.  Sinfire has since changed to a black label with different styling.  If this was the result of the suit or some form of gentlemen’s agreement isn’t publicly known but the change was made.  Sinfire is bottled at 35% ABV and is billed as a Whiskey with Cinnamon Flavor.

Jack Daniels Fire was a limited release in Oregon, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.  It has since expanded to Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, South Carolina, and Texas with plans to serve the entire country by spring 2015.  So if you can’t find it in your area yet, wait another three months and check again.  Like Sinfire it is bottled at 35% ABV but is labeled as Tennessee whiskey blended with a cinnamon liqueur.  Further research shows that they use standard Jack Daniels no. 7.  This means that in general the Jack fire is mixed with a bourbon rather than just a whiskey and that the cinnamon flavor could be far more complex than just a cinnamon additive.

All of this in mind, I sat down with two friends to compare the various merits of the three.

Fireball -

Much like their possible namesake, the atomic fireball, this whiskey has a very distinct flavor akin to a handful of red hots.  The sugar content and artificial nature of the cinnamon are apparent from the first taste and linger long after you swallow.  The so called natural flavor is something of a joke as anyone with an ounce of experience with actual cinnamon sticks could hardly identify what is presented here.  As a “dare” shot I’m sure this will persist for a long time but there isn’t anything to recommend this beyond that.

Sinfire -

Of the three of us who sat down to taste this, one selected this as their favorite.  The flavor is much more mellow than fireball, and despite the slightly higher alcohol content it does not burn any harder.  The whiskey is prominent and similar in taste to the canadian style whiskey used in pendleton.  I can’t say that the cinnamon flavor is much more natural but it is considerably less harsh than fireball.

Jack Fire -

By far the best liked of the three options presented.  Jack Fire presents the best whiskey flavor of all three and the cinnamon flavor is less artificial than the other two as well.  Jack Daniels is a well presented whiskey and Jack Fire does credit to the brand.

Acknowledgements

Big thanks to my two co-testers Jess Hartly and Chano

New Social Media Features

Posted: 7th September 2014 by Cocktail Alchemist in Uncategorized

Just checking out some of the new social media features of my wordpress blog.  Come check out some new article I’m writing!drink photos 211

Great America Faux Moonshine

Posted: 7th September 2014 by Cocktail Alchemist in liquor review, Rants
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IMG_20140613_153856The current craze in general spirits is whiskey. Very few people will dispute that vodka has gone the way of the 90’s and whiskey has become the
current potable of choice among the intelligentsia. This has led to a number of things, among them whiskey bars, whiskey podcasts, a slew of
small batch artisanal whiskey distillers and lastly a sideline in whiskey that almost no one could have predicted.

At the same time that whiskey was making the rounds of the finer bars and restaurants, popular culture latched onto the trailer park as the
spawning ground for the next spate of reality televisio
n. Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo and a number of other shows all attempt to capitalize on
the american appetite for low rent southern style culture.

Somehow the two areas have come together and prompted the return to popularity of moonshine alongside its more refined barrel aged brother bourbon
and cousin Scotch.

For those living under an IKEA ROKROK for the last few decades moonshine is functionally a type of whiskey in that it is an alcohol derived
primarily from grain and made largely in the united states. The more technical definition is a spirit made from ~80% corn and traditionally
bottled at the same proof it leaves the still which can be anywhere from 80-150. Methods exist to produce a product of even higher proof but
they often involve the addition of adulterants not fit for human consumption.

Moonshine gets its grandeur from the history of independent folk living the free life and dodging the man to make their outlaw whiskey.

To sum up, moonshine is generally:
1. Corn based
2. High Proof
3. Made Independent of the legal system

The third we can forgive as everyone wants to make a profit and it is far easier to get national distribution when you don’t have to haul your
product in the back of a race car to avoid the cops.

The number of legal moonshines on the market has spiked in recent years and more and more are seen every day. The most prominent of these is
Midnight Moon but other brands such as Firefly or Ole Smokey are making their bid for shelf space. Many if not all of them are sold in a faux
backwoods style so that the bottles appear to be mason jars with wide mouth openings.

IMG_20140613_153904On a recent trip to the grocery store, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the distressed wood display case of what appeared at first glance to be a rack of Midnight Moon. You can see from the photos my confusion. The labels share the same hipster artisanal black and white style labeling and the again faux mason jar container, but on closer inspection you will note the name Great America.

This my dear reader is a moonshine malt beverage as envisioned by the marketing department. It has no corn, isn’t high-proof and is coming in under the 15% wire so that they can make it into grocery stores which is about as far from bootleg as you’re likely to get.

Bottled at a beastly 28 proof and sold in flavors such as “Apple” Pie, Carolina Clear, and peach for the un-princely sum of $5.99 per 23 fl oz. Compare this to any other malt beverage which runs 7.99 for a 6 pack of 12 oz bottles.

I selected the “apple” pie flavor as I presumed it would be the least inedible. I was mistaken. This brew like most malt beverages has a slight metallic flavor followed immediately by a kind of sour sweetness. If there were any actual apple involved in this process it must have died of embarrassment.

Further drinking is not rewarded. It’s just as bad on the third sip as it is on the first. If it were even slightly more palatable the prospect
of 22 further ounces of this product might be worthwhile but from the rim of my wide mouth jar all I see is a river of pain.

I detest this product, both for what it seems to embody as well as for the poor execution. In an attempt to salvage my purchase I attempted to make cocktails with it. I was partially successful, actual apple juice seems to mitigate the flavor problems somewhat but I cannot recommend
this either as a base or as a mixer as it provides nothing in either capacity that couldn’t be better served by another product.

Lastly, there is a sort of mock cinnamon that floats in suspension in the apple pie flavor and while I had my jar stored on its side the cinnamon
appeared to settle into a slimy brown line on the bottom (side) of the jar. At first I took this for mold but after dumping the jar realized
that it was simply sediment. If this was real cinnamon I could expect a similar result as ground cinnamon is amazingly hydrophobic but I’m
almost positive that it was something else which just leaves me feeling slightly creeped out at having consumed it in the first place.

Knowing most of the readers of my blog are unlikely to purchase malt beverages in any form means that my recommendation against this product
isn’t entirely necessary but I put this out there for the general populace to avoid Great America’s Faux moonshines where-ever possible.

Derailer Cocktail

Posted: 8th August 2014 by Cocktail Alchemist in Drink Review, Recipe

Credit for this drink goes directly to Podnah’s Pit where it was created and where I and the Hop Boxer found it.

First of the basic recipe.

1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 oz Creme de Cassis
0.5 oz Lime Juice
4 oz Ginger Beer

As presented you want to put your lime, jameson and cassis in your shaker, strain into your highball or collins glass and then top with ginger beer.

Not terribly complicated, it follows the standard 2/1/1 format for most “classic” cocktails.

This drink comes into the category of Buck Cocktails or Mules which are really just spirit + citrus + ginger beer.

I’ve gone over some Options for what to use as your ginger beer selection.

There are any number of fine bottled options, find one that has the amount of bite you enjoy and stick with it.  I’m fine with Cock n’ Bull but if Bundaberg is around in the store I’ll snag a 4 pack of that as it’s a nice midpoint between Cock n’ Bull and Reeds.

If you want to use Ginger Syrup I have found that a dilution of about 4 to 1 is pretty standard so 1 oz syrup to 4 oz club soda.  You can play with that if you want but it comes out pretty strong otherwise and you don’t really want the sugar in the syrup to overshadow the cassis.

Some notes about the drink itself:

I don’t personally think that the brand of whiskey involved makes much of a difference here but I think type plays a role.  Jameson is an Irish Whiskey which is going to be very different in flavor profile than say a Bourbon or a Tennessee Whiskey like Jack Daniels.  Scotch is wasted in this drink so don’t bother with anything there.  I think part of the draw on Jameson is that it lacks many of the smokey characteristics of some other whiskey and is smooth enough to work well in the drink.   Additionally it’s one of the few Irish whiskey’s you’re likely to find in a smaller bar.

For those not familiar with Creme de Cassis it is a liqueur flavored with black currants.  This is a fruit not many people have any experience with as they haven’t been actively cultivated in the US for several decades.  Their commercial cultivation was banned in the 1900’s and that ban has only slowly been lifted by a few US states, Oregon among them.  So the liqueur is a bit more common in Europe and is generally imported.  Locally Clear Creek makes a very lovely Cassis Liqueur which runs about $22.50 for a 375ml.  I’ve seen them in a number of liquor stores around the area so they aren’t hard to find they’re just not always in the same spot as the Creme de Cassis which you can generally find in fifths for $9-13.  The major differences in the two are usually sweetness and tartness.  The price on clear creek’s Cassis is higher but it is worth it for having a non-artificial taste and a very natural tartness.

One last deviation from the norm, I concocted a version I call the light-railer which swaps the Jameson and Cassis for Eastside Distilling Marionberry Whiskey.  It loses a bit of the tartness but the flavor profile of Eastside’s whiskey stands up a bit better in the cocktail and you get a much clearer whiskey flavor without a lot of extra oak barrel getting into the drink.

Make Your Own: Limoncello

Posted: 10th March 2014 by Cocktail Alchemist in Make Your Own
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IMG_20131206_092742The first thing you need to know about limoncello is that it is delicious.  If you’re a fan of citrus vodka this is just the thing to move you away from the processed stuff and into a new section.  The next thing to know is that it’s even better when you make it yourself.

Classic limoncello uses a special lemon from Italy as the base, which given the season and location means I’ll have to improvise.

So I dug around a bit and came up with the following plan.

1. Buy Everclear

This was an interesting trip in itself as I had not seen it on shelves in any of the liquor stores I frequent.  A chance comment by a patron during a tasting I was doing led me to discover that they actually keep it behind the counter or in the back rather than on the shelf.  I’m not clear on how many brands they offer but when I went the option was simply Everclear, I went with the jug rather than the 750ml as I didn’t want to run out and had a lot of things to make with this.  I’m still not clear if Everclear is considered a brand or a type but the results are pretty much the same 95% alcohol.

2. Select Fruits

Having not done this before I took a trip to the Sheridan fruit Company where I knew I could obtain any number of items.  I bought about 5 regular California lemons and because they had them 10 Meyer Lemons.  I also bought a small container of dried bing cherries as I intended to make a cherrycello and the fresh ones were out of season.

Sideline- Meyer Lemons: For those not familiar, and judging from conversations I’ve had with people since I started this project in November that’s quite a few, a Meyer lemon is a verity of citrus that originated in China and was brought to this country by Frank Meyer in 1908.  It is smaller, sweeter and softer than the lemons you may be used to, and has a fragrant, thin zest.  The pith is a bit thicker but this isn’t really a problem.

3. Peel

Not a simple matter, the rind of a lemon has two parts, the zest and the pith.  Pith is the bitter white part of the rind and zest is the mostly clear yellow part.  In my case a simple potato peeler let me take off nice long strips with very little pith.  I followed this with a simple scraping on the back of the strips with a paring knife.  The meyer lemons took a bit more effort as their zest is thinner and the pith thicker but it is still soft and takes little effort.  Some people will suggest using a rasp or microplane to zest the lemon, this is not a bad idea as it gives you more surface area during the extraction process but it means you have to strain the limoncello afterwards to get out all the little shreds.  I’m ambivalent at this point but read on and decide after a couple more steps.

4. Containers

I made a fairly big error when I started this process.  I didn’t have a container in mind before I began.  Neither for the finished product nor for the extraction.  I thought that using spare empty bottles from my alcohol collection would be fine and up to a point it was.
extracts  The mason jar contains my somewhat abortive attempt to make cherrycello, the volstead vodka bottle my regular lemons and the bullett rye my meyer lemons.  Now getting the peel into the bottle was not a problem.  Getting the peel back out afterwards involved improvising a hook from a bent coathanger.  The mason jar was much more forgiving and I recommend having a selection of them where possible both for working and for the finished product storage.  You can decant into the fancy bottles when you’re done.

 

 5. Conversion

When I started this I had no idea what the final flavor would be like.  I’ve had good and bad limoncello before both store bought and homemade so there was really no one basis for comparison.  The two bottles above are still 95% alcohol and after about 4-5 days they had extracted enough of the lemon oils to turn a healthy yellow.  Now that I had the base of my limoncello I needed to make it drinkable.  You can start this process with vodka if you want.  Vodka, unlike everclear is usually bottled at 80 to 100 proof, the everclear was 190 proof.  As a liqueur limoncello is generally bottled at about 25-37% alcohol if you get the traditional stuff.  So starting with vodka you only need to add about half as much simple syrup as you have alcohol.  When you start with everclear you need to add twice as much simple syrup as you have alcohol.  I used this measure and brought my limoncello from 95% to about 32%.  Since I started with almost two full fifths that means I had about 3 times as much finished product.

6. Blending

For future reference I think I’m going to stick with only Meyer lemons.  The result of the pure meyer bottle was much more pleasing on the tongue than the regular lemons.  There was a bitterness involved that just wouldn’t go away no matter how thin I made the result.  Because I had so much of both types I resolved to blend the two and get something reasonable so that I could use up the less workable regular lemon liquor.  I was blending all of this in the kitchen at my mother’s house as I like their counter space and using my mother for tasting notes since neither of my roommates drink right now.  I wasn’t entirely sure what proof I wanted to put the final bottles so this is the point where I played with dilution and with pairing the two kinds of lemon.  Ideally you’re looking for something that has all of the lemon flavor without being cloying, bitter, sour or oily.  It’s a delicate balance and shifting the mix from 2:1 to 1.75:1 has some profound impact on the result.  Eventually I settled on a mix of 75% Regular Lemon to 25% Meyer.  This was the opposite of my original thought on how it would go but with feedback the results were undeniably better.  It also left me with almost half a bottle of meyer liquor that I could turn into crema.

Limon side

This was the finished blend.  I weighed out the proportions by taking the total amount of regular liquor that I had dividing that by 3 and adding the result in meyer liquor.  Once I had the total I had to weigh out the sugar and water and put in twice as much as the weight of the raw limoncello.  The picture doesn’t do the jar justice, when finished I had about 8 cups of liquid.  You can see the separation at the bottom where I haven’t stirred the whole thing.

The finished product was allowed to rest and blend for a few days before going into their presentation bottles.  I picked up little 8 oz bottles from Kitchen Kaboodle and printed my own labels.  They weren’t fancy but they were easy to manage and you can stick them on with a glue stick.  Add a little ribbon and a funny tag and you’ve got your own branded bottles for a little over 3 bucks each.

As a final note, when you’re bottling your product I recommend putting it into a slightly smaller container with a spout.  Pouring is an inexact science even at the best of times and going from a wide mouth mason jar to a tiny neck bottle is unnecessary when you can portion things out into a measuring cup or gravy boat first to reduce spillage.

 

Understanding the Tequila NOM

Posted: 8th February 2014 by Cocktail Alchemist in Around the Web, Tech
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sparkledonkeyNow a lot of the internet might be thinking that I’ve somehow come up with a great new baked treat that incorporates tasty tequila, this is sadly not the case.  (But would make for another great post).  The NOM or Norma Oficial Mexicana is the standard that regulates the production of tequila in Mexico.  By law and tradition Tequila is a distilled agave spirit made in the city of Tequila in the Mexican state of Jalisco, pronounced (Hal-is-co).  The law was eventually expanded to allow any distiller in the state of Jalisco to call their spirit tequlia, and even after that some parts of the neighboring states of  Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

As you can see it’s an oddly shaped little state with protrusions and that kinda pitchfork looking section on top.

Much like the French  appellation d’origine contrôlée restricts what you can call Champagne, Bordeaux and Roquefort, the NOM limits tequlia’s to this region and imposes other standards on the production.  It isn’t a mark of quality it simply assures that you’ve bought something that was actually produced in mexico and is what you could consider “legit” tequila as opposed to a knockoff.  If you check a bottle of tequlia you’ll usually find the NOM as a 4 digit number on the back.

Much like any distillery the ones in mexico aren’t always brand specific.  The distillery can manufacture tequila for a number of different labels at different times of year.  You can actually look up the distillery online via http://www.tequila.net/nom-database.html This handy database lists all of the official NOM distilleries and which labels they bottle.  Handy in an argument if you’re trying to prove that 1800 is better than Jose Cuervo. (Fun fact if you look up NOM 1122 you’ll find that they both come out of the same still.)

There are a lot of other agave spirits from Mezcal to Bacanora each with their own regional history.

My own personal favorite Sparkle Donkey comes from a distillery called Destiladora del Valle de Tequila NOM 1438.  Some other brands from that same still include apocalypto tequila , Uno Mas and Verde Green an Organic Kosher tequila.  I’m not entirely sure what you’d need to do to have a Kosher Tequila but I applaud them for trying.

Grain and Gristle

Posted: 8th November 2013 by Cocktail Alchemist in Bar Review
Tags: ,

Tucked into a quiet and mostly residential neighborhood on NE Prescott is a wonderful example of the modern Portland bar.  I went early in the day for a little afternoon food excursion with the HopBoxer.

The atmosphere is very clean and has a focus on wood grains and fresh artwork.  The live edge bar was interesting to see.

 

Their cocktail selection was wider than I’ve seen at a number of more complex places and they did something with their menu that I had not seen before.  I typically enjoy going places where there are dozens of bottles on the shelf.  It provides enough selection that you have a reasonable idea that the bartender will know what they’re doing.  Grain and Gristle had only a few bottles in evidence but every one of them seemed selected specifically to fill a role.

A quick look at their cocktail menu shows you that they’re fans of the classics but in such a way that they can showcase local distilleries, rare finds and creative uses of flavor.

All of their cocktails on the list wgng bottle listere $8 which was easy on the wallet.  I didn’t get a chance to try the gristle portion of the name but we did order soup, pickles and olives.  Each of them house made and excellent.  I’ve not had pickle plates many places but the inclusion of apple, garlic and possibly pear were all interesting ways to spice things up between cocktails.

It’s a little out of my way, but given their proximity to a pok pok location it may be worth another trip out that way.