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Mr. Arkadin

Spirits

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There are a lot of votes in this thread for liquor served neat, but for those who do mix cocktails, any favorite concoctions? My wife and I are trying to get a list of some good refreshing summer cocktails to try.

Mint juleps and whiskey sours are standards for summertime in the Pair household. Super refreshing. Often I don't feel like bothering with a mint julep so whiskey sours are more frequent. Maybe it's just easier to keep lemon around than mint.

I adore absinthe year round, but especially in the summer with properly mega-chilled water. I find I'm usually alone in this. Anybody else into absinthe? Absinthe and chartreuse; I absolutely love them both. Absinthe and chartreuse are constantly neck-in-neck for my very favorite drink.

I make a drink involving absinthe, chartreuse and gin (plus some other secret ingredients) that is very aromatic, and not for the faint of heart. I typically only allow a guest one glass - one is plenty. I'm not about to be responsible for somebody getting smashed, it can definitely sneak up on a person.

Sailor Jerry's spiced rum over ice and/or with Cherry Coke is pretty tasty in the summer as well.

I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer ...Orval. Any trappist will do, but Orval is king.

Edited by Pair

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There are a lot of votes in this thread for liquor served neat, but for those who do mix cocktails, any favorite concoctions? My wife and I are trying to get a list of some good refreshing summer cocktails to try.

I like a couple of gin-based drinks, but old stand-bys — gimlets and gin bucks. The later is very refreshing, especially during the summer.

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Best heavily-peated Scotch I’ve had is the Lagavullin 16 yr. (Imagine what a bottle of antiseptic nectar-of-the-gods might have tasted like before The Fall.)

Fixed.

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They had Karmeliet Tripel

Hooray!

which I tried

Hooray!

and [it] was extraordinary.

Hooray!

I'm going to have to find a way to purchase more for home consumption.

Hooray!

Hopefully the sample you got was fairly fresh. That's always a risk with overseas specialty beers. Though from your reaction to it, it sounds like it was fresh enough.

It makes me feel as though I'm drinking a billowed cloud kissed by heaven's sun.

When people ask me what my favorite beer is, I say it's impossible to choose, and that so much depends on my mood. When they force me into a response, usually rephrasing the question as the hypothetical "what if you could only have ONE beer for the rest of your life?", eventually 'Karmeliet' is the answer I provide. I hold no certainty that this is the correct answer (for I do not think there is a correct answer to that evil question), but then again, I haven't yet been able to prove it is the wrong answer.

If you truly enjoyed it enough to purchase more and more, you might try picking up a bottle of the Westmalle Tripel as well. It runs in the same vein (hence the style monikor), different by nuances. I prefer the gentler smoothness of Karmeliet, but the Westmalle is considered the quintessential Tripel, the one that started it all, so it's kind of required-tasting for the student of Belgian beer.

Anyway, sorry for the sidetrack. Back to liquor now. Unfortunately I've already revealed the fact that I don't do mixed drinks but for the margarita and G & T, so I will share some details on that.

My margarita:

4 parts blanco tequilla (reposado)

2 parts fresh lime juice

2 parts tripel triple sec or cointreau [edited: see what you made me do!]

1 part bar syrup

dash lemon juice

Shake over ice. Serve in a tom collins glass.

Edited by Judo Chop

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Pair, as a fan of mint juleps, you might like a drink I'm planning to serve the next time we have friends over on a warm evening. It's called Bees' Knees:

1 part honey

1 part lemon juice

1 part water

2 parts gin

Shaken over ice and served as cold as possible (I keep my gin in the freezer)

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1. Pimms

1 bottle of Pimms

1 bottle of sparkling lemonade (snag one of the French brands that are common in upscale US grocers)

1 cucumber, sliced

2 limes, sliced

2 lemons, sliced

Let the fruit and veg steep in a bottle of Pimms. When ready to serve, add ice and the bottle of sparkling lemonade.

Options: You can substitute oranges for the lemon/lime combo. Some add strawberries. Some substitute ginger ale for sparkling lemonade

This is a brilliant spring/summer bevvie. If your guests have never had it before, introduce them. The botanicals lend ensuing conversation a whimsical vibe.

2. Gin

For the gin drinkers in this thread, have you explored all the Oregon distillers that are become popular this far east? Many of them have strong evergreen notes, which make them very sippable at arctic cold temps. I also muddle a glass with all kinds of herbs on my deck, lemon verbena particularly good with one of these distillers. The break from coriander/botanical is nice every now and then.

3. Vis-a-vis the bourbon/single malt discussion above. I don't really care what I am drinking as long as I get strong hints of the organic elements that were part of the distilling process. I like to get a sense of the mineral content of the water, hints of the storage process, lingering botanical/starchy whatnots, and above all: dirt. I like a little earth left on my palate.

Edited by M. Leary

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For the gin drinkers in this thread, have you explored all the Oregon distillers that are become popular this far east? Many of them have strong evergreen notes, which make them very sippable at arctic cold temps. I also muddle a glass with all kinds of herbs on my deck, lemon verbena particularly good with one of these distillers. The break from coriander/botanical is nice every now and then.

Tell me more, Michael. Tell me more.

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I'm having a group get-together tonight at which everyone brings a bottle of something to share. I'd like to bring pear brandy but haven't found it in the past at my local ABC stores in Virginia. Does anyone else drink -- I'm not sure what it's called, "fruit brandy," for lack of a more specific term? I was embarrassed to discover that I loved pear brandy a few years ago, and I sent a question to the Washington Post's spirits columist (yes, there's a devoted biweekly -- maybe weekly? -- column in the Post) asking if I should be embarrassed, thinking I might be drinking the equivalent of wine coolers. No, it turns out pear brandy, which has a fancy French name I can't remember, is highly regarded. I'm not sure other "flavers" of brandy are held in high esteem, though.

I think I paid $40 for the pear brandy I bought a few years ago. This explains why I haven't had any since. Are there cheaper varities of fruit brandies that you all would recommend?

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I think I paid $40 for the pear brandy I bought a few years ago. This explains why I haven't had any since. Are there cheaper varities of fruit brandies that you all would recommend?

You can always make your own, Christian. Yes, yes you can.

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I think I paid $40 for the pear brandy I bought a few years ago. This explains why I haven't had any since. Are there cheaper varities of fruit brandies that you all would recommend?

You can always make your own, Christian. Yes, yes you can.

There's a thought.

Looks like the gang has requested some port, so I'll go with the ol' fallback choice.

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Sarah bought a bottle of Absolut vodka recently for a recipe. She used two tablespoons. Now the bottle sits in our cabinet. I'm thinking I'll drink it, but slowly. Thing is, I have no idea what to do with the stuff, other than to drink it straight or mix it with orange juice. (We have no bar, no standard mixers that might see as part of someone's liquor cabinet.) I have Friday-night get together at which I'm supposed to bring something to drink. I think I'll bring the vodka. Should I bring something else for people to mix.

Sorry to be so dense about this stuff. I really have no idea how to consume vodka.

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With a match.

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As I mentioned earlier, I've been experimenting with gin martini recipes all summer. Christian, maybe you could do the same with your vodka. I prefer them as cold as possible, so I'd recommend storing your Absolut in the freezer.

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I had my first martini ever -- two of 'em, to be exact -- last week in Asheville, N.C. These were "dirty" martinis. Why "dirty"? I have no idea. Each came with three olives. The olives were stuffed with blue cheese. That's why I chose that particular martini (twice).

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I had my first martini ever -- two of 'em, to be exact -- last week in Asheville, N.C. These were "dirty" martinis. Why "dirty"? I have no idea. Each came with three olives. The olives were stuffed with blue cheese. That's why I chose that particular martini (twice).

A "dirty" martini involves pouring some of the brine from the olives in with the liquor (usually gin) and dry vermouth. But vodka martinis are fine.

I like my vodka served straight on the rocks (I picked up a bottle of Grey Goose for my birthday), but a couple of other classic mixed drinks for vodka are the White Russian (popularized by THE BIG LEBOWSKI) - vodka, coffee liquor, and cream over ice - and I believe you Americans enjoy the Bloody Mary - vodka and tomato juice. In Canada we prefer the Caesar - vodka, clamato juice, Worchestershire sauce, hot sauce (or horseradish), and a slice of lime served in a high ball glass with ice and rimmed with seasoning salt. It's a delicious daytime drink.

Edited by Anders

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Anders FTW! Thanks!

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My wife and I spent the past several days in Kentucky visiting bourbon distilleries. I liked bourbon before, but boy do I love it now.

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I'll be acquiring some Kentucky bourbon shortly.

Meanwhile, thanks to Anders' suggestion, I brought the ingredients for white Russians to my get-together (forgot the ice, though). They were a hit! I had a couple of them, which means I had four shots of vodka in relatively short order. The liquor didn't hit me the way it normally would. I'm wondering if the cream mitigates the impact of the alcohol, slows down its effect.

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Meanwhile, thanks to Anders' suggestion, I brought the ingredients for white Russians to my get-together (forgot the ice, though). They were a hit! I had a couple of them, which means I had four shots of vodka in relatively short order. The liquor didn't hit me the way it normally would. I'm wondering if the cream mitigates the impact of the alcohol, slows down its effect.

Good deal, Christian! I've been making White Russians a good deal lately, with my homemade coffee liqueur (pat on back). On our bourbon tour, we tried Rain vodka (made by the folks at the Buffalo Trace bourbon distillery) and liked it a lot. Might have to pick some of that up!

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Buffalo Trace! That's the bourbon I have "on order" with a friend.

I used Kahlua for my "coffee liquer." Is that considered acceptable? And what about the lack of ice?

Edited by Christian

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Buffalo Trace! That's the bourbon I have "on order" with a friend.

I used Kahlua for my "coffee liquer." Is that considered acceptable? And what about the lack of ice?

Kahlua is pretty much the standard coffee liquor in most places, so no worries there. Lack of ice usually makes the alcohol taste come through stronger. (And your drinks don't stay cold as long in the summer heat). Can't have enough ice. Unless you are sipping fine scotchs or whiskys, ice is a must in the future, but I'm glad to hear the drinks were a hit.

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I'm continually disappointed that it's impossible to find Four Roses bourbon in Pennsylvania. I really loved the Four Roses distillery when we visited it in July — the Spanish mission-style buildings, the small-scale operation, and the bourbon itself. I guess PA liquor stores USED to carry Four Roses, even up 'til earlier this year, but have never restocked. I know the distillery has had a rocky history, so that might have given it a bad name in customers' minds (thus leading to poor sales). Sigh.

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I have had very limited experience with Scotch, perhaps only having a airplane bottle of Johnny Walker red label several years ago. But under the influence of Tony Woodlief's short story, "Elective", in a recent Image Journal, I purchased a bottle of 13 year Glenburgie single malt. It was delicious. Is it typical to finish an entire bottle at one sitting?

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You guys spend way too much on vodka. Eric Felton once had a spirits column in WSJ where he posed the proposition that the difference between bottom and top shelf is filtering. Therefore, Britta could make crap taste like $30. I put it to the test when my store got a liquor license. It works. Running Mohawk (the best super cheap vodka I've tried this on in Detroit) 4 times presents a nice result. 10 times? I call it "Kennidov". Impresses the hell out of anyone who's tried it. I've done the same with Luksisskova (sp?), a low priced potato vodka. Same result. My first attempt was with Heaven Hill and it worked with that too, but Mohawk here is better. Kamchattka, Five O'clock, whatever. It'll work. Heh, I store the stuff in an Old Grandad 114 bottle.

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Wow. Rich, that is fascinating. If I'm not careful, I might get inspired.

These days, under budget pressures, we're a one-bottle-at-a-time house. Buffalo Trace has become "the usual" (although I have a slight preference for Woodford Reserve or Singleton 12 Year) and we make a bottle last a month between the two of us. Feels like stretching the word "moderation" to a painful extreme. Builds character, I guess.

Edited by Overstreet

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