Most people who go to Tales of the Cocktail know that nearly a week of excess and debauchery with your fellow spirits minded and swilling friends is plenty of fun for anyone. I am apparently not that smart. I decided that two days before I went in to New Orleans for Tales 2010 I would have the brilliant idea of going to Houston and see some friends and visit Anvil Bar & Refuge. After all, what better way to get ready for all that excess than with a few extra nights of excess?
I had been wanting to visit Anvil ever since my friend Chuck Taggart waxed poetic about it. I then got to meet one of the owners and the mastermind behind the bar Bobby Heugel and one of his extraordinary bartenders Mindy Kucan. That pretty much sealed the deal, I had to go as soon as possible. As I sat there one evening booking my travel plans for Tales I realized that I would have to change airplanes in Houston anyways. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for an extra drink or 20, off to Houston I went.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I love rum. I mean, I really love rum. I also love Tiki. Not as much as some of the tiki nuts out there, but I do enjoy my tiki a lot. I love the kitsch, the toys, the crazy glassware, the funky clothes, and the crazy over the top drinks. On top of all of that, is the reliance and enthusiasm for rum that comes with it. One of the latest temples of rum and tiki opened in the last year in San Francisco. Smuggler’s Cove is a wonderful dark cave of rum and libations, tucked behind an unassuming door, walking in the door is like stepping into some wild idealization of a fevered rum dream, and rum there is.
I love it when a new product comes to market and it’s good. I mean, isn’t it great when you can just say nice things about something. There’s no need to equivocate about whether or not you would recommend it or buy it, you can just say yes. A few weeks ago Stephan Berg and Alex Hauck from The Bitter Truth stopped by Seattle on the last stop of their weeks long trek across the USA. As part of that road show we were able to sample their new Creole Bitters which will soon be available here.
Filed under Booze, cocktails
Mixology Monday XLVII: Punch. Probably my favourite category of drink around. Sometime I’ll go on and on about it. This month though, it’s our theme and hosted by Mike over at Hobson’s Choice.
Ti Punch. Very rarely have two words ever affected my life so much. It was the final push to send me down the flume of rum geekery. At the Rum, Ron, Rhum panel during Tales of the Cocktail 2008 Ben Jones from Rhum Clement stood up and presented this little thing, its simplicity accenting the spirit and providing the perfect little wake up nip I needed.
You could argue that it’s not a really a punch, it definitely doesn’t follow the classic two of sour, one of sweet, three of strong, four of weak cantrip, but stuff it. It says punch in the name and that’s good enough for me. Besides, it’s one of my favourite drinks and that goes a long way in my book. Classically originating from the French dominated islands of the Caribbean, it serves as an ideal foil for the notes that are associated with rhum agricole.
Things we take for granted, there are a lot of them. Some you use or encounter often, others you don’t even notice intersecting with your life. The familiar becomes comfortable, it’s there, you don’t really give it a second thought for itself. It’s always there, ready and predictable, available at a moments notice. Take the Ramos Gin Fizz, how many of us who drink and/or make one regularly really think about it other than, it is tasty, it is cool, and it can take a long time to make? Don’t lie, seriously, who out there really sits down and thinks about it except as something you need to learn to make if you are serious about booze and cocktails. I’m not talking variations on a theme, not a new twist, but thinking about the original, what it entails, how to make the best one you possibly can.
I was in New Orleans last week, birthplace of the Ramos and the city where Chris McMillian tends bar. He’s a bit larger than life, for a guy like me, it’s like Thor decided to hand out the mead himself in Vallhalla one night. I don’t mean that to kiss his ass, enough people kiss his ass, or try to at any rate. I mean, he’s a presence behind the bar, a font of experience and knowledge that few of us will ever get a chance to accumulate. It takes a lot of years behind the stick to achieve his level of gravitas and also his level of humility. The Ramos is his drink as much as the Last Word belongs to Murray Stenson, or the cheeseburger belongs to In-N-Out, they didn’t invent these things, they just keep them alive as a living thing and make them as best as they can.