Guide to Man’s Drinks: The Fitzgerald

Spring is here, somewhat… the temperatures are still cool but the days are sunny and reach tepid plateaus of warmth cajoling flowers to unfurl to take in every gram of heated sunshine.

IT is not, however, warm enough for an Aperol or a crisp Gin Tonic, instead the shy warmth of a Spring afternoon necessitates something inbetween; an elixir that is at once refreshing and yet with enough depth to take off the errant chill brought on by the still lingering crispness in the air

So the gentleman is left wondering; what shall I drink? This is not Scotch weather and while a light Rye may suffice, and truthfully it is always Bourbon weather, one needs something a little different to sip on in the late afternoon when the gentlemen has perhaps finished working in the yard or maintaining his home. These times require something altogether different.

It is with this in mind we would like to introduce The Fitzgerald.

The Drink

The Drink

 

Quite simply it is a “Gin sour” [see here for our whiskey sour], made with sugar syrup, gin, and Angostura bitters (skip the egg-whites). At first glance this may seem like a Gimlet, except that a Gimlet must be made with lime-juice, and for purists Lime cordial (as in Rose’s Lime) and no bitters.

We like it because it’s refreshing and the bitters keep it from being to unsubstancive adding a nice layer of mystery and vim.

Gin_sour_rect540

The Fitzgeraldmakes 1 cocktail

            • 2 oz gin
            • .75 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
            • .75 oz simple syrup
            • 2 dashes angostura bitters

 

Combine all ingredients into a shaker, add ice, shake; strain into a cocktail glass. Enjoy. No fuss, no nonsense, and a grown-ass-man drink to boot.

 

TGG Primer on The Fitzgerald:

–      Always use a chilled shaker, fill with ice and discard.

–      Build drink in an empty shaker; i.e. one without ice or the gentleman will risk watering down his drink.

–      Many great bitters exist; try cinnamon bitters, orange bitters, or even some that may echo the flavors of the gin (citrus, anise, et al.)

–      We love Hendricks but it proves to be to floral; stick with what we dub ‘Decanter Standards’ –i.e. those ‘standby’s’ kept in an undecorated decanter on top of the bar: Beefeater, Tanqueray, or Brokers.

 

For more classic Gin drinks visit our friends at TheKitchn here.

Guide to Man’s Drinks: Hirsch Selection “Small Batch Reserve”

Guide to Men’s Drinks brings you our newest feature : “What We’re Drinking Now” (WDN)…

FROM the folks at Anchor Distilling this Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a mellow and beautiful rendition of America’s quintessential spirit.

 

The critics, ever so quick to want notoriety for their cleverness seem non-plussed but we here at TGG happen to love it.  According to their own assessment this little whiskey is chock-full of “bakery shop tastes (prune Danish, raspberry-filled cookie, strawberry)…” and while all that may seem precious they couldn’t be, well, righter. Sweet and mellow this is a good Bourbon to leisurely sip before the sunset…

The Drink

 

What to drink it with? Big ole chunk of ice and our favorite glasses here

http://www.anchordistilling.com/spirits/hirsch-small-batch-reserve-kentucky-straight-bourbon-whiskey

Manual to Man’s Drinks: The Aperol Spritz

Originally published in 2012 the Aperol spritz is barely becoming cool with the Manhattan cognoscenti and still a few years away from hipster hell… get to know it and love it;

THE Young / Modern Gentleman proves his savvy by simple and cunning ways; an area that is most associated with a Gentleman’s ability is the wet-bar. Every Gentleman should have one or two things on his sleeve that make him standout from his peers.  We present the aperitif; a light and refreshing mid-afternoon drink meant to titillate the palate and make everyone… well, happy.

The Drink

The Equipment:

  • Rocks Glass
  • Ice
  • Orange Wedge/ Slice

The Stuff:

  • Aperol (website here)
  • Prosecco or other sparkling wine
  • Soda water

The Drink:

  • Fill rocks glass with ice pour about 2.5oz of Aperol, a splash of soda and top the rest with prosecco or other sparkling wine (Cava works well too).
  • Garnish with orange slice.
  • Lay back and enjoy.

The Stuff

Manual to Man’s Drinks (for the Holidays)

THE Young / Modern Gentleman proves his savvy by simple and cunning ways; an area that is most associated with a Gentleman’s ability is the wet-bar. Every Gentleman should have one or two things on his sleeve that make him standout from his peers. In this Holiday Season we present three drinks which all Gentlemen should know for this holiday season:

The Coconut Eggnog

  • 8oz/1Cup Evaporated Milk
  • 8oz Coconut Cream (sweetened coconut cream/ Coco Lopez)
  • 8oz Coconut Milk
  • 4 oz Sugar
  • 1 bottle/750ml White Rum (Bacardi, Palo Viejo etc)
  • 6 egg Yolks
  • 3 pinches of ground Cinnamon
    • Mix in a blender and blend for 1 minute on high, make in batches I necessary. Cool and enjoy. (will last several weeks).

The Hard Mulled Cider

  • 1 part Apple Cider/ Fresh Apple Juice
  • ½ Part Bourbon
  • ½ C / 4 oz Brown Sugar
  • 2 Cloves, Star Anise, 2 Ginger slices 2 Cinnamon sticks
    • In a Sauce pan combine all (except Bourbon) and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Fish out the solids and add the Bourbon. Keep warm and serve in mugs.

The Mint Hot Chocolate Cup

  • 1 quart / 4 cups / 32oz Milk or half and half
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate (Valrhona or Sharffenberger)
  • 6 oz Mint Schnapps
  • 3 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
    • Heat 8oz of the milk/half and half in small sauce pan in low heat and add chocolate, stir until all melted; Do not boil. Add the rest of the milk and stir.
    • Take six mugs and pour the liqueurs (schanps and Godiva) into each and pour the hot chocolate into each.
    • Top with freshly whipped cream and crushed candy canes (hint, break them up, put into zip-loc bags and go to town with the back of a wooden spoon on them).

Guide to Man’s Drinks: Amber Spritz

The Young / Modern Gentleman proves his savvy by simple and cunning ways; an area that is most associated with a Gentleman’s ability is the wet-bar.

EVERY Gentleman should have one or two things on his sleeve that make him standout from his peers.

A spirit oft-overlooked in the world of cocktail, perhaps because of its much-earned pedigree as a reflective drink rather than one that is mixed in a cocktail; is Cognac.

Cognac, the venerable brandy from the a region in France of the same name, is made from wine (often a still white wine coaxed from Europe’s work-horse grape Folle-Blanche or, in Italy, Trebbiano), but what truly gives Cognac its character is wood/oak ageing. As it matures the brandy smoothes and develops in complexity.  XO Cognac, the highest denomination (which stands for “Extra Old”) is most definitely to be drunk neat. However other styles of Cognac such as VS and VSOP, in order of age (“Very Special” and “Very Special Old and Pale” respectively), lend themselves to a cocktail.

The Standards...

Substitute a VS Cognac in lieu of a Rye in a Manhattan and top it off with an Orange rind (instead of a cherry) for a sophisticated drink during cool nights.

Cognac also pairs wonderfully with Ginger, and here, becomes a spicy background to a wonderful “Amber Spritz

The Drink...

 

The Equipment:

  • Rocks Glass
  • Stirrer

The Stuff:

  • Cognac VS or VSOP
  • Ice
  • Candied Ginger Slice
  • Orange Peel

The Drink:

  • Fill rocks glass with ice.
  • Add 1 shot of Cognac (or two should the occasion call for it)
  • Add the Orange Peel and Ginger slice.
  • Top off with soda…
  • Stir
  • Enjoy…

 

Manual to Man’s Drinks: The Whiskey Sour

THE Young / Modern Gentleman proves his savvy by simple and cunning ways; an area that is most associated with a Gentleman’s ability is the wet-bar. Every Gentleman should have one or two things on his sleeve that make him standout from his peers.

We present a cocktail oft overlooked by contemporary aficionados of cocktails: The Whiskey Sour. Though popular in the eighties the Whiskey Sour became mired in the misunderstanding between its popularization and incarnation in versions with cheap liquor and sticky sweet corn-syrup-laden sour mix. A true whiskey sour is refreshing (from the citrus), robust (the whiskey), ethereal (the egg whites) and downright delicious. Perfect for the evenings some time after dinner and before bed.

The Drink

The Equipment:

  • Rocks Glass (some prefer it strained in a cocktail lass—your call)
  • Shaker
  • Ice
  • Maraschino Cherry (if you like)

The Stuff:

  • Whiskey, Rye preferably (Bourbon works fine too)
  • Lime Juice
  • Simple Syrup (50/50 white sugar and water, shake, let stand for an hour)
  • Egg White (optional)

The Drink:

  • In Shaker: 2oz (2 shots) of whiskey, half-shot lime juice, half-shot simple sugar and egg white. A
  • Add ice- shake the hell out of it.
  • Pour in rocks glass with ice.
  • Garnish with cherry.
  • Lay back and enjoy.

Guide to Man’s Drink (Summer 2010): The (Charbay) Screwdriver

Get screwed…

The world first heard of the ‘screwdriver’ in a 1949 Times article claiming Turkish and American engineers would concoct orange juice and vodka cocktails in their office with only their screwdrivers to stir the drink. Todays rendition hasn’t changed much it is, in effect, and will always be vodka and orange juice; but we suggest you step it up a bit. Ditch the Stoli and the overpriced Vodkas and reach for some hand-crafted Vodkas: TGG Recommends Tito’s Handmade Vodka (here) and our friends at Charbay (here); their clear Vodka is superb but here we take the screwdriver and give it a bit of an upgrade.

The Drink

The Equipment:

  • Highball Glass
  • Orange Wedge/ Slice

The Stuff:

  • Charbay Blood Orange Vodka (or any clear vodka- forget the artificially flavored Stoli…)
  • Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

The Drink:

  • Fill highball glass with ice pour one part vodka, two parts juice, stir.
  • Garnish with orange slice.
  • Lay back and enjoy.

Natural Fruit-extracted and hand-crafted vodkas...

Bordeaux 2009: Vintage Round-up

1 of several…

Wine

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend what is colloquially known as “En Primeur” week in Bordeaux. This is essentially a week where Bordeaux chateau throw their cellar doors open to importers and journalists from throughout the world and offer them a “sneak peak” of the vintage—years before its actually released.

Hundreds taste the wines, dozens write them up. Slowly the chateau release their prices to merchants who, in-turn, forward them to importers and down the line until they reach your friendly neighborhood wine store who then may call you breathlessly to tell you that “… Chateau Haut-Brion just released their prices; and it’s a steal… only 500.00 euros a bottle…” You pay upfront as does the store, merchant and upward through the chain. The wine, still in barrel, won’t be bottled for another year. In fact you won’t see it for about three to four years—but the point is that by the time you receive the actual bottle (or it arrives at your local wine shop) it may well be worth over 600-700Euros making you a nice profit, should you choose to sell it. The wine, in theory, should appreciate in value as the years and decades pass (in relation to the longevity of the vintage, the reputation of the Chateau to make age worthy wines and the auction index on that particular vintage/property).

This is the futures game and, should you have some cash in the bank, a good guide and a great vintage on your hands, you could stand to make some money (or buy some really nice wines…).

So- we have a guide: yours truly, and we have a plan:  We will present to you some of the outstaidn Chateaux of the 2009 vintage.

Bordeaux 2009: The gist

Without boring you we can tell you this: 2009 was an outstanding vintage (the eminent Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker both hailing it as better than the 2005!)

Well is it? I’m not sure or, should I say, not totally convinced.

The Bordelaise have been hit hard by the Great Recession and need a blockbuster badly—their lust for it was palpable. Just as obvious was their enthusiasm to keep spreading the idea of 2009’s God-given superiority to anything that has come before it.

It so happens that back in 2006 I attended the futures week and tasted the nascent 2005’s first hand and I can draw some comparisons.

2005 vs 2009

  • 2005 was consistently-great; everyone, everywhere in Bordeaux made great wine. 2009 is far more inconsistent—some appellations doing better than others while in some the differences between the “well heeled estates” and the “petit chateau” was huge.
  • 2005’s were dreamy on the onset; bright red fruit with a perfectly seamless balance between tannin and acid. 2009’s are more monolithic. HUGE tannin levels, these are furious wines which when great are amazing—and they know it.
  • 2009 brings with it lower overall alcohol levels in-keeping with global trends.
  • 2005 was released in the middle of a spending orgy while the 2009’s come out in the midst of the check-book dark-ages. What does that mean? They’ll be relatively more affordable and can, in theory, appreciate at a steeper climb over the years. The ’05 vintage was so top-heavy that not only have they lost a bit of their value but also they are largely unsellable.
  • 2009 is good, damn good, but unlike 2005 you need to be careful where and what you buy.

Bordeaux 2009 Vintage Roundup: Appellation Sensations

The Place

An appellation is a legally defined wine growing region with a specific climate, soil type, and geographical boundary which endows its wines with characteristic unique to it. For more.

Bordeaux is one of the world’s most famous wine regions and is located in western France in the Aquitaine region on the banks of the Gironde. The “right bank” refers to the wine regions found on the right of the Gironde (Pommerol and St. Emilion amongst the most prominent) while the Left Bank contains the much for familiar appellations of St. Estephe, Paulliac, Margaux and Sauternes amongst others).

2009 will prove in the annals of history to be a breakthrough for Bordeaux; both in terms of hype and in terms of what is ultimately a reconciliation with what has been a dour global economy. This is not lost on the Bordelaise and they have been quick, energetic and unrealities in proselytizing the idea that 2009 may well top any vintage in the last century.

It’s good. 2009, in fact, was great. Some wines reaching a monumental elegance balanced with a power seen nowhere in 2005. But, it’s a gilded boulevard with potholes. Unlike the evenly-high quality of the 2005s, ’09 delivers nothing short of magic but not consistently throughout.

2009 Performance by Appellation: (a snap shot)

  • Moulis, Listrac, Cotes-de-Bourg: Great and amazing values. Comparable to ‘off’ years these wines are generous, balanced and delicious.
  • Margaux: a minefield if any. Some guys created magic (Margaux, d’Issan, Rauzan-Segla) while others were stalwartly disappointing making backwards wines with little character.
  • Haut-Medoc: overall very good (La Lagune, La Tour Carnet), some dogs.
  • St. Julien: Overall great and consistent.
  • Paulliac: a bit spotty but for the most part fabulous.
  • St. Estephe: Monumental, huge wines with power and grace unlike anything I have ever seen
  • Graves: Overall very good whites with wispy red-berry reds
  • Pessac-Leognan: Very, very good in both red and white; very consistent.
  • Pommerol: Overall good, not great—but when very good, they’re amazing.
  • St. Emilion: Very inconsistent. Clay-rich valley floor vineyards made uninspired and muddled reds (Cheval-Blanc amongst them) while the vineyards on limestone soils created wines of amplitude and sophistication (a stellar Chateau Ausone as a result).
  • Sauternes (and Barsac): fantastic!