Pisco Party

I am fortunate to be a member of the Seattle LUPEC chapter.  Being a member of this organization affords me certain opportunities, such as attending LUPEC 301: Introduction to Pisco taught by Professor Kuehner.  Up until this event, I had not tried Pisco; I just hadn’t yet added it to the bar.  So it was with great anticipation that I attended the pisco tutorial.  My fellow LUPEC comrade, C. Randall of Cocktail Quest fame takes better notes than I and is a serious student of booze and cocktail history.  I will not go into detail here on the history of pisco or the details of producing this beverage; instead, I want you to go here for the deets.

For the purposes of what I want to discuss, I will provide that pisco is a grape brandy and can be of Chilean or Peruvian origin and dates back to a really long time ago; 1500ish. The LUPEC event was sponsored by Piscologia, a Peruvian Pisco and all of the Piscologia pisco cocktails crafted by Prof. Kuehner were brilliant.  Again, take a detour here to read about more about pisco and pisco cocktails.

As you can imagine, I promptly visited my local liquor store for my very own bottle of Piscologia and have enjoyed several Piso cocktails since that LUPEC event.  To commemorate National Pisco Sour Day, I will offer up my version of the classic Pisco Sour, which is really B.T. Parson’s version from his wonderful book, Bitters (in which I continue to be completely infatuated).

Happy Pisco Sour Day!

Pisco Sour

  • 60 ml pisco (Piscologia)
  • 30 ml lime juice
  • 15 ml simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Angostura and Amargo Chuncho Bitters for garnish

Dry shake all ingredients except bitters.
Add ice and shake again.
Double strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with both Angostura and Amargo bitters by dropping onto egg white foam and using a toothpick to swirl.

Pisco Sour photo courtesy of Sugar Sand Photography!

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Bitters Bandwagon

I am infatuated with my new book Bitters; “A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All” by Brad T. Parsons.  Thanks to Tom Douglas’ Cookbook social, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Parsons.  (I missed the wicked Bitters event at the Book Larder. Booo).  He was lovely.  He signed my book.  I’m not entirely sure what he wrote, but that matters not.

Mr. Parsons’ book is really a joy to read.  There is an excellent section on making your own bitters, followed by cocktail recipes, both classic and contemporary.  He ends with a “Bitters in the Kitchen” section…brilliant.  As much as the book is a fun read, it is also a visual amusement park with beautiful photography by Ed Anderson.

The diversity and breadth of the cocktail bitters available today is impressive and somewhat overwhelming.  It’s really just fun to collect and try them.  And my recent shopping trip to Dandelion Botanicals means I’m throwing my hat into the bitters ring.  Get ready peeps, I’ll be asking you to try some of my concoctions.

Meanwhile, we’re mixing a couple of autumnal cocktails featuring both bitters and bitter liqueurs.  First off the bench is the Autumn Sweater, a cocktail featured in Bitters and even more recently by Sonja Groset, who also provides more detail on Italian amari.

The Autumn Sweater is a rye-based drink with heavy use of the Italian bitter liqueurs Averna and Amaro Nonino.  This drink is finished with both maple bitters and orange bitters.  The flavor profile is perfect for wintery, cold weather.  Close your eyes and imagine a big, comfortable club chair in front of a roaring fireplace, snow falling outside like it was just the other day during Seattle Snowpocalypse, and you are holding in your hand a weighty rocks glass filled with the warm, cozy Autumn Sweater.  That’s what I’m talking about.

Autumn Sweater (as described in Bitters)

  • 30ml Rye (Michter’s)
  • 15ml Averna
  • 15ml Amaro Nonino
  • 15ml maple syrup
  • 1 dash Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters (Regans #6)

Stir → Strain into a rocks glass with one big ice cube/sphere.

Garnish with clove-studded orange peel.  Add another log to the fire.

A tasty cocktail that I often make for CR is the Filibuster.  I discovered this cocktail in another book that I’m particularly fond of; Left Coast Libations by Ted Munat.  The Filibuster is also a rye based drink with maple syrup and Angostura Bitters.  I enjoy the challenge of making the Filibuster because to successfully pull off the visual appeal “you must become the master of the egg whites.”  This is a good drink.  Period.

 

Filibuster

  • 45ml Rye (Old Overholt)
  • 22ml lemon juice
  • 15ml grade B maple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • Angostura bitters, for garnish

Dry shake like hell.

Add ice and shake like hell again.

Double strain into chilled glass.

Garnish with Angostura bitters.  Make like a Seattle-hipster-barista and fancify the Angostura drops.  Try not to down the drink in record time.

>Mixing the Museum – The Bamboo Cocktail

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As work and life (too much of the former; the latter all good, more please) happen and diversions occur (one of which was an awesome trip to some of the best cocktail bars in DC – we’ll read about that in a future post), we are still slowly making our way through the Mixing the Museum exercise. Turning the page from The Barcardi Cocktail, we come to The Bamboo.  Again, a cocktail that is novel to me, reinforcing my justification for our mock Julie/Julia blogging.  

Though originating in Japan, The Bamboo cocktail is credited to a German gentleman, Mr. Louis Eppinger, who managed the luxurious Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan in the 1890’s.  In the late 1800’s this elegant hotel, a playground for affluent Westerners, opened in Yokohama, a major trading center of the time.  Yokohama was one of the first major port cities in Japan, and is today, Japan’s second largest city.  Because of its prominence in foreign and Western trading, the city quickly became home to many foreigners and was influenced heavily by those from Great Britain, Germany, and America.  Mr. Louis Eppinger likely created the Bamboo cocktail to cater to his Western clientele.  Except for originating in Japan and the distinctive botanical name, there is nothing very Japanese about the cocktail.  

Unfortunately much of Yokohama and the Grand Hotel was destroyed by a large earthquake in September 1923.  The earthquake and Tsunami that devastated Japan in March 2011 was Northeast of Yokohama, and thus little damage occurred there.   

The Bamboo
1 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
1 oz. Lustau Dry Amontillado sherry
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Orange Bitters (Regans #6)
Stir and strain into a vintage cocktail glass. 
We garnished ours with an olive.

So mix it, drink it, enjoy it.