Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Party Tricks Part 4 - BACARDÍ Rum Old Fashioned Caramels

There are good hostesses, and there are great hostesses. The great hostesses are always 5 steps ahead, have everything planned (including an extra dish for when something goes tragically wrong), and they've even planned out late night nibbles for when their guests get home.

For the last post of my party-tricks series with BACARDÍ I wanted to share the most gorgeous recipe for rummy caramels, an easy take away that will undoubtedly impress your guests as they head out the door.

I’ve adapted this from the recipe originally created by Le Cordon Bleu, but put a little cocktail spin on it with a few dashes of Bitterman’s Mole Bitters, just like my favorite recipe for a Rum Old Fashioned.

Extra bonus points for the hostess who sends their guests home with a recipe for a Rum Old Fashioned, maybe a nip or two of BACARDÍ 8.

Bacardi Rum Old Fashioned Caramels
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu

2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup + 1 Tablespoon BACARDÍ Gold Rum
1 Pinch Maldon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 Teaspoon Bittermans Mole Bitters
Maldon Salt for Garnish

Pre-oil a baking dish with olive oil or Pam cooking spray. In a saucepan combine sugar, cream, butter and 1/2 Cup of Rum. Cook on medium-high until the butter is melted, and bring to a boil. Slightly reduce the heat, and stir until the mixture reaches the temperature of 245 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, add 1 Tablespoon of BACARDÍ Gold, mole bitters, and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the pan, sprinkle generously with Maldon salt and let cool. Let chill for 90 minutes, remove from the pan, and slice into 1 inch squares. Wrap with squares of wax paper.

And, because I know you want it - my favorite recipe for a rummy old fashioned:

BACARDÍ 8 Rum Old Fashioned

2 oz BACARDÍ 8
1/2 oz Demerara Syrup (1:1)
3 Dashes Mole Bitters
Orange Slice

Muddle bitters and sugar in a cocktail glass with an orange slice, add rum, stir, and add a large ice cube. Garnish with a fresh orange slice.

Want more?

Part 1 - BACARDÍ Sexy Coladas created by Daniele Dalla Pola of Nu Bar Lounge
Part 2 - BACARDÍ Pineapple Pearl Daiquiris
Part 3 - BACARDÍ Old Cuban Coupe Stack


Styling Notes
Glasses - Parched Penguin
Slate Cheese Board

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bacardi for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Visit Sponsors Site

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Party Tricks Part 3 - BACARDÍ Old Cuban Coupe Stack!

For my third Party Tricks post for BACARDÍ, I want to share one of my all-time-favorite party tricks, and I'm so excited I almost can't stand it...

Ok, I know I've mentioned the Coupe Stack before, but this is the first time I've attempted to Coupe Stack a cocktail! Let's just say this is the first in a series called: Will it Coupe Stack? 

Today we are Coupe Stacking the BACARDÍ Old Cuban, a wonderfully festive cocktail created by owner Audrey Sanders (the Libation Goddess) when she was behind the stick at New York's Pegu Club (Note: Pegu Club is one of New York's loveliest bars, go there and imbibe gorgeously). The cocktail is made with BACARDÍ Gold rum, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, champagne, and garnished with fresh mint. This cocktail is a hybrid of a mojito and a champagne cocktail, and truth be told, my preferred variation of a champagne cocktail! I've modified the original recipe to prepare 6 cocktails at once, because there are 6 glasses in the Coupe Stack.

If you're a real die hard, you would muddle the mint and sugar, and shake with the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup before adding it to your pitcher. BUT I'm a busy woman (read, lazy) and I dumped all the ingredients into the pitcher sans muddling, and I'm pleased to report that the final product was delicious. I topped off the mixture with about 1/3 of a bottle of Champagne (12 oz to be exact).

Then the fun part! Stack up your Coupe Stack and start pouring! There is an amazing moment of suspense when the first glass starts to fill up, and then...it trickles over the side to fill up the next glass. What theater! Behold:

Garnish with a few sprigs of mint in each glass, et voilà!

I love the idea of making a Coupe Stack cocktail before a dinner party, a festive way to kick off your party with class and flair.

So will it Coupe Stack? Damn right it will coupe stack!

Coupe Stack BACARDÍ Old Cuban
Adapted from The Original Recipe by Audrey Saunders 

9 oz BACARDÍ Gold (Or BACARDÍ 8)
4.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
6 oz 1:1 Simple Syrup
6 dashes Angostura
12 oz Dry Champagne or Sparkling White Wine, Chilled
Pack of Fresh Mint

In a cocktail tin, muddle mint and sugar, add ice, and shake half of the lime, simple syrup, and rum. Pour into a pitcher, and prepare the second batch. Add 12 oz of your favorite bottle of bubbles, and stir. Stack up your coupe stack, and carefully pour the cocktail from your pitcher into the top glass of the stack. Keep pouring until all of the glasses are filled. Garnish each glass with a few sprigs of mint, and enjoy!

Want more BACARDÍ? Me too!

Check out my other Party Tricks stories for BACARDÍ:

Part 1 - The Sexy Colada by Daniele Dalla Pola >>
Part 2 - BACARDÍ Pineapple Daiquiris


Styling Notes
Coupes - Coupestack
Tray - Vintage
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bacardi for IZEA.  All opinions are 100% mine. 
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.
Visit Sponsors Site

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Gastronomista - Best Bottles of 2015 - A Recap

2015 was an incredible year for your girl here at Gastronomista.  This year Gastronomista WON the Saveur Award for People’s Choice Best Cocktail Blog, a goal that I have been after since I started this boozy project.  During 2015 I traveled to the ends of the earth, went on wild adventures, met amazing people from Anthony Bourdain to Ellie Goulding, attended the kind of parties that little girls dream of, broke bread with some of my favorite people in the whole world, and most importantly, drank some amazing liquids.  I don’t know how I ever got this lucky, but as 2015 comes to a close, I’m feeling incredibly blessed.

To all of you reading this, thank you for supporting Gastronomista, thank you for supporting me.  Each and every one of your clicks, likes, and comments keep me focused in the pursuit of drinking exquisitely each and every day.

So without further ado, here’s my round up of the best things I drank all year, in no particular order:

gastronomista best bottles of 2015 01 01

1.     Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque 2007 – I was lucky enough to taste this gorgeous ambrosia at a gorgeous lunch hosted at the Baccarat Hotel here in New York City.  It is a gorgeous champagne that is has a light and fruity nose of pear and apple tart with a touch of pineapple.  On the tongue this amazing wine has flavors of red berries, lemon brioche, a touch of spiciness, and a lovely creamy finish with just a touch of salty minerality.

2.    Dom Pérignon 2005 was a true pleasure to taste, especially since it is so unbelievably sold out and impossible to find.  On the nose it is yeasty, with flavors of fresh pineapple, tropical fruits, and lemon-lime.  On the palate it is wonderfully effervescent with a dominant flavor of creamy pineapple tart – the piquant flavors of the tropical fruits mixed with a lovely creaminess and a nutty pastry crust.  Exquisite.

3.    This fall I tasted what is arguably the best dessert wine on the planet – Château d'Yquem 1996 Vintage, and what an incredible dessert wine it is.  The nose is heavily perfumed with flavors of orange flower water, honey, and sweet Riesling.  On the palate the wine is viscous but silky and smooth, with the sweetness of fresh honeysuckle, mandarin oranges, and a bright lime flavor that keeps you coming back for more.  What an incredible treat to be able to taste such an iconic bottle of wine.

4.    The Old Overholt 1909 was perhaps the rarest and most highly coveted spirit I tasted all year.  The whisky came from the wine cellar of Richard Mellon Scaife and was sold by Christies wine to much success.  The first sale had impressive results, a case of 12 liter bottles selling for up to $14,000.  Fortunately, I had a privilege to taste it, not only neat, but served in classic cocktails.  It was impressive how delicious this rye whiskey is after so many years, woodsy with flavors of cedar, spicy apples, and a slight ginger.  Even better than the 1909 Vintage on its own was the Old Overholt Old Fashioned prepared with Gum Syrup and just a few dashes of Brokers Bitters.

5.    Another highlight of the year was when I was invited to Dufftown, Scotland to be part of the selection committee for the to 1978 cask of Glenfiddich be sold in the United States.  It was an incredible experience to play “master distiller” for the day, learn about the core Glenfiddich flavor range, and what expert distillers are looking for when they select rare releases.  The result?  Cask No. 28121 - an incredible bottle of scotch with flavors of mandarin orange, creamy chocolate tart, toasted almonds, green apple, with a peppery chocolate mint finish.

   Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was a game changing bottle for the category of Canadian Whisky, a bottle that is beginning to change people’s opinions about what Canadian Whisky is capable of.   I really love this whisky.  Neat, no water.  It’s perfect just as it is.

7.    In May of 2015 I was invited to France for the 300 year anniversary of Martell cognac, an unbelievable few days where I toured the distillery, shared a gorgeous meal in the Jules Verne with friends, and had a seat at the epic black tie celebration held at Versailles.  It was a memorable evening that included a private tour of the palace, a flyover by the French Airforce, and an artistically choreographed meal created by Chef Paul Pairet.  The evening culminated with a pour of the Martell Premier Voyage cognac created for the 300 year anniversary.  The final blend is a combination of cognacs made using the same growers as the original cognac created in the 1730’s and then aged in the wood from a 300 year old tree.  The nose was exquisite and complex with notes of honeysuckle, candied orange, black currant, apple, pear, and red fruits.  On the palate this rare cognac has flavors of gingerbread, dried apricots, raisins, and toasted almonds.

8.    This year Glenmorangie released their rare and incredibly delightful 1969 Vintage.  It’s a gorgeous dram with a nose that is light and almost grassy.  It has a nice sweet saltiness to it with bright lemon, apricot and almonds.  On the palate this whiskey has flavors of bitter ale, dried apricots, cereal, cocao, with a nice chocolate brioche flavor to it.

This year I was also introduced to Parce Rum, made in Colombia and aged in charred American Oak barrels.  The 12 year is especially amazing – velvety, sweet and complex with flavors of cocoa, tobacco, dried tropical fruits, mocha, and toasted macadamia nuts.  Keep your eyes peeled for this new release, it is wonderfully delicious for sipping.

10.    Perhaps the trip that I was most pleasantly surprised by was my visit to Jacob’s Creek in Australia.  I didn’t know what to expect, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to taste such a diverse range of styles of wine.  One of the bottles that really surprised me was the 1963 Tawny Port, because who expects vintage port in the middle of Australia?  I sure didn’t.  The wine is lovely, sweet with flavors of raisin, Christmas cake, and baked figs.

11.    After making my own Auchentoshan whisky glass, I was offered a taste of the rare 1979 Vintage, an Oloroso sherry cask finished scotch that is bold and not for the faint of heart.  It’s a dram that has a lot of spice, bruleed orange, plum, black fruit, chocolate, tobacco, pepper, and anise.

12.    This year Beam Suntory released a non age statement blended whisky called Hibiki Harmony, a lovely and floral whisky with flavors of light toffee, rose, honey, and apricots.  On the palate this whiskey is creamy, and tastes slightly green, with honey, apricot, mint, and just a touch of smokiness from the smoked malt whiskey.  The care and discipline that goes into a Hibiki blend is astounding, there are 5 different kinds of whiskeys that are blended, all of which are incredible on their own.  I truly believe that the master distiller at Hibiki is the best whisky blender in the world, a man who understands the delicacy and subtlety required to bring out the subtle flavors in this dram.  It is exquisite by itself or served in a Hibiki Shiso Julep!

13.    Delon Tequila, owned by Diageo and Sean Combs aka P. Diddy, is a surprising tequila to me.  While part of me wants really hard to disregard it based on its celebrity affiliations, it’s damn good tequila.  I also have to give Mr. Combs credit, the bottles are gorgeous and packaged beautifully, all details that he was heavily involved in.  Most importantly, the liquid on the inside is really delicious, especially the more aged tequilas.  My favorite in the collection is the Diamante, a Joven style tequila made from highlands agave.  It has a nose of agave and freshly cut herbs with a touch of vanilla.  The palate is spicy yet smooth, with flavors of cinnamon, fresh agave, light oak, caramel, finishing with a nice minerality from the agave fields.

14.    Last but not least is the Bowmore Mizunara Cask release, a really cool collaboration between Suntory and Bowmore.  It works like this – Suntory is the only company allowed to harvest wood from the Mizunara forests which are owned by the University of Tokyo.  The casks (which are notoriously the most expensive and least efficient casks used to make whisky) are then sent to Bowmore and filled with the Islay scotch that is between 15-20 years old, which are then left to age in the weather beaten warehouses at Bowmore.  The result is a scotch that is east meeting west in a glass: the nose is sweet and welcoming with flavors of white peach, white pepper, salt, honey, and a light flavor of green bell pepper.  On the palate it is creamy with Bowmore’s signature salty, smoky brininess, white peaches, grilled pineapple, cedar, green bell pepper, and a savory finish of paprika and a rich deeply caramelized finish.

 Love my Boozy Adventures?

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Party Tricks Part 2 - BACARDÍ Pineapple Pearl Daiquiris

Next up in my four-part series with BACARDÍ I'm sharing a recipe for a Pineapple Pearl Daiquiri, served with a bit of flair. This cocktail is a rift on a classic Daiquiri, but is prepared with homemade Pineapple Infused BACARDÍ Superior instead of regular white rum.

Daiquiris are a classic cocktail often associated with Ernest Hemingway, who notoriously drank them in mass volume. In subsequent years, the daiquiri has devolved into a store bought saccharine sweet mix, usually in faux flavors of strawberry and banana and consumed poolside.

Do not fear fellow imbibers, there are better (and healthier!) ways to bring fruit into your cocktails - actual fruit! It is painfully simple - fill a bottle with your fruit of choice (in this case, pineapple), fill with rum, let sit for a few days, and presto - flavored rum (sans chemicals and artificial flavoring!)

The Daiquiri is an equally simple recipe - rum, lime, simple syrup, shaken and enjoyed. It's perfect for brutally hot days when you're craving something piquant and refreshing, or on drab snowy days when you desperately need to mentally transport yourself to a tropical island.

Speaking of the tropics, I always like to add a little flair to my drinks, and nothing does it quite like a fresh orchid. I've been playing around with freezing things in ice lately, and I thought frozen Orchid Ice Spheres would be a perfect addition to this Tropical Daiquiri, in this case the Pearl. (Again, this is really simple, but looks really fancy). Most flower stores carry stems of orchids for pretty cheap - place one flower in a sphere ice mold and freeze.

Even though this cocktail looks really fancy, your guest don't have to know just how easy it is - we will just keep it as our secret (you're welcome).

Pineapple Pearl Daiquiri
Adapted by Gastronomista

2 oz Pineapple Infused BACARDÍ Superior Rum
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
¾ oz 1:1 Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a large cocktail coupe with an Orchid Ice Sphere.

Pineapple Infused Rum

2 Cups BACARDÍ Superior Rum
½ Fresh Pineapple Sliced
Add rum and sliced pineapple to a non-reactive container such as a flip-top glass bottle. Let sit for 2-3 days, strain and keep for 1-2 months.

Pro Tip: Slice the pineapple thin enough to it is easy to get in (and out) of the bottle. You will thank me when it comes time to clean out the bottle.

Orchid Ice Sphere
Place a fresh orchid into an ice sphere mold. Fill with water, and freeze for 1-2 days.

Making these at home? Tag me and BACARDÍ in your photos, we would love to see them!

Want more BACARDÍ? Me too!

Check out Part 1 - The Sexy Colada by Daniele Dalla Pola >>


Styling Notes
Coupes - Riedel Veritas Coupes
Gold Japanese Seamless Jigger - Parched Penguin
Gold Baron Strainer - Parched Penguin
Silver Trays & Vase - Vintage

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BACARDÍ. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.
Visit Sponsors Site

Gift Guide 2015 - Rye!

What a year for rye whiskey - Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was named whiskey of the year (for 2016) by Jim Murray of The Whiskey Bible, more and more distilleries are releasing amazing rye marks (I'm looking at you Russell's Reserve Rye Single Barrel), and experimental products like Alberta Rye Dark Batch are introducing new flavors to the American market - Rye and Sherry - together, forever.

One thing is clear, Rye is no longer an "old-school" spirit.  It is bold, sweet, flavor forward, and without a doubt, forward thinking.  The secret is out, and here are some of my favorites I tasted this year.
1.  When I traveled to Canada earlier this year, I tasted Canadian Club 100% Rye and was blown away.  I brought back a bottle through customs and the customs agent flat out laughed at the fact that I was bringing Canadian Club into the grand old U S of A, but really the joke was on him.  This stuff is delicious - its made from a single grain rye, aged for 7 years, and for $25 is a steal.  Expect notes of black cherry, brûléed orange, maple pie, black pepper and toasted oak.  Sadly, it's only available in Canada, so I recommend that you start begging your Canadian friends to bring it back for you.

2.  Next up is a bottle I've been obsessing over for a long time - Alberta Rye Dark Batch, known as Dark Horse in Canada, a whisky that won a Double Gold Medal at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.  This whisky is a blend of 12 year old Rye, 6 year old rye, Bourbon and Sherry utilizing Canada's 9.09% rule, making a wonderfully fruity spirit great for sipping and even better for mixing.  It makes a magnificent Toronto Cocktail, and for the price it's easy to have it stocked in your home bar all the time.  $35

3.   High West Distillery has been making some really great Rye whiskeys for years including the Rendezvous Rye and the Double Rye, but their Midwinter's Night's Dram is a limited edition release that is something really special.  It starts with the 6 year old Rendezvous Rye and a 16 year old Rye, which are then blended and finished in French oak barrels previously used to age Port.  This full bodied whiskey has bold flavors of vanilla, plums, raisins, cinnamon, and baking spices.  This is a perfect rye for the holiday season, or any winter's night..if you can find it.  $80  

4. At the 2014 Canadian Whisky Awards hosted in Victoria Canada, the award for Excellence Innovation (as well as a Gold Medal) went to Masterson's 10-Year-Old Rye, a whisky that has since been close to impossible to find.  It's made with 100% Rye grown entirely in the Pacific Northwest.  Masterson's mills and mashes their grains, and then ferments the grains with dry yeast, creating a completely unique flavor profile for the whisky which is floral, woodsy, sweet, with a pleasant spiciness and a touch of cinnamon.  Get it where you can find it!  $80

5.  I'm a bit biased with this one, but I love Russells Reserve (I'm still waiting for my invitation to be officially adopted by the Russell family).  But I obsess over anything pulled by Jimmy Russell and released as a Single Barrel, and it is no different with the newly released (and freshly re-branded) Russells Reserve Single Barrel Rye.   I first tasted this release at Tales of the Cocktail and was completely blown away, it has a silky mouth feel, with fruity flavors of brûléed orange and apricot jam, with baking spices, subtle mint, and a warming spicy finish.  Must. Guzzle.  $70

6.   New York Distilling Rock and Rye is another discovery from this year's Tales of Cocktail, a lovely "bottled cocktail" of sorts, wonderfully drinkable for the laziest of cocktail connoisseurs.  It is a mix of rye whiskey, rock candy, sour cherries, citrus, and cinnamon that is spicy and sweet, and will have you coming back for more.  $32

7.  Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye has been kicking up quite a bit of dust in the last couple of months after being named Whiskey of the Year by Jim Murray.  The rumbles came loud and clear through the spirits world....wha?!?  But those of us who had tasted the stuff knew why - because it's amazing whisky!  It's bold in all the right ways, spicy with flavors of sweet apples, caramel, baking spices, and a lovely creaminess that makes it perfect for sipping.  $50

8.  Few Rye Whiskey is another exciting craft release, of a relatively younger rye of 4 years.  It's spicy, with creamy flavors of butterscotch, toasted straw, cinnamon, honey, eucalyptus, tarragon, apples, and cinnamon.  $74

9.  Wild Turkey Forgiven is a blend of six year old Bourbon and four year old Rye whiskey, originally a mistake made by a Wild Turkey employee in the distillery.  Fortunately for said Wild Turkey employee, Eddie Russell tasted the accidental blend and liked it so much he wanted to bring it to the market, and we can all thank him for that.  Forgiven is spicy and sweet, with rye flavor and the sweet baking spices from the bourbon.  It's great for cocktails and for sipping, an exciting addition to any liquor cabinet.  $56

10.   Another new Rye released in 2015 is the Woodford Reserve Rye Whiskey, aged for a minimum of four years, and has a floral and apple forward nose.  On the palate it is spicy, with flavors of vanilla, apple, toasted straw, gingerbread, baking spices, dried cherry, and toasted almonds.  For Woodford fans the Rye will be a welcome addition, a lovely whiskey that is enjoyable for any occasion.  $50

11.  Another of my favorite Rye Whiskeys I've tasted as of late is Ryemageddon American Rye Whiskey by Corsair Distillery out of Nashville.  The whiskey is made from locally sourced malted rye grain and 20% un-malted chocolate rye grain, copper pot distilled in small batches, and then aged for just one year in 15 gallon American Oak barrels.  The final result is spicy, with flavors of chocolate, baking spices, orange marmalade, vanilla, and loads of black pepper.  It's a big whiskey that has lead the charge in the Rye Renaissance, and continues to be an exciting and forward thinking bottle of whiskey!  $64

Want more? 

Check out Davin de Kerommeaux's book Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Gentleman's Cure with Daneson Toothpicks

It is time that you take your toothpick game to the next level, and Daneson is here to help you do it.

I enjoy a good toothpick after a meal, but I honestly had no idea just how delightful a toothpick can be until I tried Daneson toothpicks!  The Daneson picks are made from Norther White Birch, are packaged gorgeously in handsome glass tubes, and come in wonderful flavors such as Lemon Ginger, Mint, Cinnamint, and even Single Malt and Bourbon.

But we are here for cocktails, aren't we?  I have created a cocktail for Daneson inspired by their gorgeous toothpicks - specifically the Lemon Ginger flavor.

When presented with this challenge I immediately thought of the classic drink the Penicillin, a refreshing but boozy tipple made with blended scotch, fresh lemon, honey syrup, and a float on top of super-peaty Islay scotch.  But, when I opened up the pack of Daneson picks I understood that the flavors on the picks themselves are light and refreshing, and need not be lost under a cloud of peat.

So I decided to go with tequila for the base spirit, a float of ginger liqueur, and a honey syrup made with chili infused honey to give the cocktail a bit of kick without affecting the nose of the drink.  I garnished the drink with a slice of candied ginger (always my favorite part of a Penicillin), a lemon peel with charred edges, and two of those handsome picks to hold the garnish out of the drink.

The best part?  The Daneson picks extend the pleasure of the drink even longer - the refreshing flavors of lemon and ginger are embedded on the pick, a subtle but lasting memory of the tipple itself.

A Gentleman's Cure
Created by Gastronomista

2 oz Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Spicy Honey Syrup (1:1)
1/4 oz Ginger Liqueur such as Barrow's Intense
3 slices Fresh Ginger

In a cocktail tin muddle the fresh ginger with the honey syrup and lemon juice.  Add tequila and shake with ice.  Strain into a low ball glass with a large ice cube.  Using the back of a bar spoon, float the ginger liqueur on the top of the drink.

For the Garnish:  Peel a lemon twist, and gently char the edges with a lit match.  Stack with a slice of candied ginger and gently pierce with a Daneson Toothpick.  Add a second toothpick at approximately the distance as the rim of your glass, and slide onto the edge of the glass, careful to keep the garnish out of the drink.

Want more?  So do I.

Order your Daneson Toothpicks HERE.

Pro Move: The Two-Finger Leather Case made with heavily tanned cow hide. >>

Styling Notes
Low Ball Tumblers - Baccarat Harmonie Tumbler No.4 
Gold Shizuku Tear Drop Spoon - Parched Penguin
Trays - Vintage

Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. 

Gastronomista Boozer's Survival Guide

The onslaught holiday parties are upon us, which means so are holiday hangovers and catatonic fatigue.  And when you're tired you could be at the best party in the whole world and all you'll want is to be horizontal on your sofa with a pizza.  Wah-wuh.

Fearless imbibers, today I bring you the Gastronomista Boozer's Survival Guide, full of my Booze-Blogger-Tested drinking strategies, products, and hangover tips to help you feel fresh(ish) and ready to take on another party!

gastronomista booze bloggers survival guide

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gastronomista x Classic Specs Collaboration

As the most loyal of Gastronomista readers know, I find inspiration for my drinks pretty much anywhere....but sometimes I get a challenge!  Last month, Classic Specs reached out to me to create two cocktails inspired by their glasses frame colors Whisky Crystal and Dark & Stormy.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hibiki Shiso Julep

When I first heard that Beam Suntory was releasing a non-age statement Hibiki named Hibiki Harmony, I was really excited about it.  Hibiki is in my mind, one of the best blended whiskys on the planet - and I was really excited to taste the new release.

I had the privilege of tasting the Hibiki Harmony this summer, and let me tell you it is really delicious.  Its floral with a touch of woodsy peat, honey, brûléed orange, Japanese oak, and fresh stone fruits. 

Along with the press release came a plug or two for the Hibiki Highball - Suntory's signature cocktail that allows the whisky to breathe and makes each distinct flavor more apparent.  It is also a cocktail that respects the whisky.  But I wanted to try something else - a Julep.

The Julep is a wonderfully delightful cocktail that is really simple and allows the base spirit to shine.  But a Hibiki Julep with mint?  Heavens no.  This Julep would be made with Shiso leaves, the bright green leaves you sometimes see served with your sushi or with the veggies at a Korean restaurant. 

And....I got busy and this cocktail never happened.

But since then Suntory's ambassador Gardner Dunn served a Shiso Hibiki Julep at Tales of the Cocktail, and there have been a few other historic references of Shiso Juleps.  None the less, I like to stick to the basics, so this recipe is only herb, sugar, spirit, just like the classic julep recipe.

It's a bit of a tricky cocktail because too much water will dilute the whisky too much, and will make you lose the sweet shiso magic at the bottom of the cup.  The solution?  Don't add too much ice, or wrap your julep cups to help insulate them a bit.  The herbal, slightly minty flavor of the shiso pairs gorgeously with the Hibiki, making this my new preferred julep. 

Hibiki Shiso Julep
Created by Zac Stevens

3 oz Hibiki Harmony
4 Shiso Leaves
2 Barspoons Cane Sugar
Crushed Ice

Muddle sugar with 3 shiso leaves until macerated.  Add 2 oz of Hibiki Harmony, stir, and add 1/2 cup of crushed ice.   Top with 1 more oz of whisky, stir, and add more crushed ice.  Garnish with a whole Shiso leaf.


Styling Notes
Silver Plated Julep Cup - Cocktail Kingdom
Tray - Vintage
Crescent Brass Bottle Opener - Futagami

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Glass Blowing with Auchentoshan


I was recently invited to a really fun event with Auchentoshan scotch where we made our own whiskey glasses.  Glass blowing can be a terrifying venture especially to novices, but do not fret dear readers, we were guided by the friendly staff at Urban Glass here in Brooklyn.

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