Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Pendleton Cocktail

Memorial day is this Monday and if you're wondering what cocktails to serve at you're barbecue why not try  a refreshing drink called the Pendleton. It's not just a woolen jacket the Beach Boys wore on their album covers but a new, light and refreshing creation I came up with last week made in the old style as a result of a cocktail contest I was in.

It came about last Monday night at the Orange County Bartenders Cabinet meeting in Seal Beach at 320 Main where several of us bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts gather once a month to educate consumers and bartenders about using fresh ingredients and quality spirits for better tasting cocktails. There were two representatives from Infinium Spirits that were introducing some of the product line and part of the fun that night was to have a contest between the bartenders to craft his or her own specialty drink using the manufactures spirits and mixers.

Being a gin man I used the Bafferts Gin that is very tasty without a lot of flavor of the botanicals. Also since we live in the land of sunshine I decided to use fresh squeezed orange and lemon juices along with a little Cointreau and the result was eye opening. We also had to come up with a name for it so my friend Mark Barclay and I happen to be wearing Pendleton's that night and decided that's what it will be called. Sadly I didn't win the contest but you and you're guests will think it's a winner, try it and let me know what you think.


John Apodaca

The Pendleton Cocktail 

1 1/2 oz of Gin
1/2 oz of fresh squeezed orange Juice
1/2 oz of fresh squeezed lemon Juice
1/2 oz of Cointreau

Shake very hard and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Manhattan

The Manhattan complements the name it shares with the island. This cocktail was invented at New Yorks's Manhattan Club at the end of the nineteenth century and is a drink mad with whiskey rather than clear spirits. Two stories of it's origin are as follows:

Jenny Jerome Churchill threw a party at th club to celebrate Samuel Tilden's successful run for governor in 1874 another is that years later it was made for a Supreme Court Justice name Traux. Two problems with the stories is that Jenny was in England giving birth to her son Sir Winston Churchill and there has never been a Supreme Court Justice named Traux.

No matter which story is true, one thing is it's a tasty cocktail when using top shelf spirits such as Michters bourbon with Carpano Antica vermouth and a couple dashes of Angostura bitters and garnish with a Marasche Cherry from Italy. You can buy most of these ingredients in Hi-Times Cellar in Costa Mesa if you're in Southern CA or check on line where you purchase these.

The Manhattan

1 1/2 oz of Bourbon such as Michters or Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz sweet vermouth Carpano Antica

Shake ingredients very hard and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a Marasche cherry.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nothing more standard than a Gimlet

If ever there was a drink that is so standard that even the most novice bartender could not mess up would be the Gimlet. Author Raymond Chandler mentions it in his book, the Last Goodbye as charterer Detective Philip Marlowe has one in the bar but wants it with bitters.

This concoction is made up of gin and and Roses lime juice. Yes you heard me say Roses rather than fresh squeezed lime juice. It's makes for a sweeter drink than tartness that could bring this brand of martini and could be palatable for non real martini drinkers. My personal tastes are to add a few dashes of real lime juice so it's not too sweet or another bent on the drink is adding Saint Germain but then it becomes a French Gimlet.

The drink was has several accounts of it's origin, one is that a British surgeon named Sir Thomas D. Gimlette came up with the ideas after joining the royal navy in 1879. He suggested that the men on board should take this drink for medicinal purposes, thus the name Gimlet.  Another origin of the drink is that it's named after a corkscrew- like tool that that was sent with lime juice containers to British colonies during the late eighteenth century. Like the Martini, we may not know where, when, and who really invented it but it's great conversation over a drink. Ask you're bartender to make one for you or try it at home.

The Gimlet

1 1/2 oz top shelf gin
1/2 oz Roses lime juice

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Ill's of sweet and sour mix

The reason a lot of people do not appreciate a classic cocktail in most establishments is more than likely it was made poorly with a sweet and sour mix rather than fresh squeezed fruit. This mix is nothing but high fructose syrup with artificial lemon lime flavoring, and preservatives which is not healthy. So if this is so bad, why to most "bartenders" insist on using sweet and sour mix?

Using sour mix can be mandated by management or the inexperienced  bartender might give you the "deer in the headlights stare" and have no answer because they don't know any better. Sweet and sour mix is cheap, keeps well and is a short cut rather than using fresh ingredients and it doesn't make good bartending . It also alters the taste of the cocktail so that most patrons will think they don't like a certain drink rather than the bartender taking an extra few minutes to squeeze fresh lemon or lime juice.

If you look in older bartender books from the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries such as Old Mr. Bostons guide 1935, The Savoy Cocktail book or Patrick Gavin Duffy, it always states, use an ounce of either fresh lemon or lime juices. A well crafted drink need not be complicated but fresh ingredients are always required. Next time you're at restaurant or bar insist that the bartender use fresh ingredients as opposed to sweet and sour.


John Apodaca

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Call to Independence from bad bartending

A Pamphlet entitled Common Sense by Thomas Paine was written almost five months prior to the American colonies declaring their independence from England on January 10, 1776. It presented a strong argument to the colonists why they should gain independence from British rule.

I'm calling all bartenders that are under the tyranny of bad bartending methods to declare their independence from the old system and return to a long forgotten craft of good preparation, using only top shelf spirits, excellent mixers and basic shaking and drink building skills. Forget what you learned in bartending schools and from another co-worker, remember error begets error. I found an article in the Savoy Cocktail Book with some hint's for the young bartender just starting out.

1.  Ice is nearly always an absolute essential for any Cocktail.

2.  Never use the same ice twice.

3.  Remember that the ingredients mix better in a shaker rather larger than is necessary
     to contain them.

4.  Shake the shaker as hard as you can: don't just rock it, you are trying to wake it
     up, not send it to sleep!

5.  If possible, ice your glasses before using them.
6.  Drink your Cocktail as soon as possible. Harry Craddock was once asked what
     was the best way to drink a Cocktail; "Quickly, replied that great man, "while it's laughing at you!

If bartenders at most corporate chain restaurants, hotel bars and even dive bars would practice these few principles along with what I mentioned, the pallets of the patrons of these establishments would rejoice.


John Apodaca

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ward Eight Cocktail

If ever there was cocktail with interesting history it has to be Ward Eight. The drink was named after Martin Lomasney a teetotaler who ran for the Massachusetts Senate in 1898 and a group of  his friends would gather at the Locke-Ober Cafe near the State Senate house asked the bartender to create a new drink in his honor. Bartender Tom Hussion is said to have put together whiskey lemon juice, orange juice and grenadine, naming it a Ward Eight after the old West End Boston neighborhood where Lomansney was the representative.

It turns out there is some controversy if Lomansney ran for a seat in 1898 or 1896 and when the drink first appeared. Not only didn't Lomasney drink but he didn't frequent the Locke-Ober Cafe and it turns out he was part of the temperance movement that led to prohibition. I've had this drink at the Copa D' Oro in Santa Monica and at 320 Main in Seal Beach and am very pleased with it's refreshing and smooth taste. If you're in either of those places be sure to try it or make it at home and let me know what you think.


John Apodaca

Ward Eight

2 oz of Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 oz grenadine

Shake all ingredients very hard for 20 - 30 seconds then strain into a chilled 4 oz cocktail glass.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Godfather of cocktails The Martini

This is John Apodaca with Daddy-O's Martinis. There are many stories of how, when, where and why the Martini came into being and some will fight tooth an nail to defend one particular version. One account is that famous barman Jerry Thomas of the San Francisco's Occidental hotel mixed it for a gold miner on this way to the nearby town of Martinez in 1887 and called it the Martinez. Another story is that is was invented in the town of Martinez CA around the same time by bartender Richelieu. We here that it was invented by Martini di Arma di Traggi a bartender at New Yorks Knickerbocker Hotel. Even the British claim fame to it stating it was named after the Martini and Henry  rifle used by the Brithish army from 1871 - 1891. The world may really never know the true story but why waist time trying to figure it out and not have a drink.

The current Martini that's being served is a far cry from the original concoction that bartenders in the 1880s were serving. Early recipes called for Old Tom Gin which tends to be a sweeter spirit, rather than dryer versions. The older ingredients also where a one to one ratio of gin to vermouth along with syrup, maraschino or orange curacao and a some dashes of lemon. By the 1900s the drink was becoming well established and sweeteners were omitted and replaced by dry gin, vermouth and bitters.

The drink was popularized by over the years even during world wars one and two, prohibition and even Franklin Roosevelt drank it in the White House with some olive juice to celebrate the repeal of the 18th amendment. In the movie series the Thin man with William Powell and Myrna Loy they brought class and sophistication to the cocktail with scenes with the two at hight society cocktail parties and the character Nick showing the bartenders how to shake the drink to the tempo of certain music. The 1950s brought on the famous three martini lunches for business man even an add in the New York Times for a sales manager stated, " Intangible experience, must be able to move effectively at top management level and understand Big Business problems. Should be able to handle twelve martinis.  At the same time the martini became dryer with less vermouth and by the 1960s vodka was introduced with the James Bond series along with product placement of Smirnoff as the new standard and at times the bartender would only look at the vermouth.

Since the revival of classic cocktails and a few eager bartenders that desire craftsmanship over the mediocre the Martini has made a comeback they way it used to be made, wetter with more vermouth shaken inside it and served with ice chips. I personally prefer it made 1 1 /2 oz of top shelf gin, and 3/4 oz of dry vermouth with a dash of orange bitters. Try it at home or it home and tell me how you like it.


John Apodaca

Classic Martini

1 1/2 oz of Bombay Sapphire gin
3/4 oz of dry vermouth
1 dash of orange bitters (Regan's or Fee Bros)

Shake all ingredients together very hard for about 30 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with olives.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Old Fashioned a national institution

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. One of my favorite classic cocktails of mine and has been honored in music and movies is the Old Fashioned. It was invented around 1900 at the Pendennis Club in Louisville Kentucky by Colonel James E. Pepper ( a Kentucky distiller of bourbon) and the bartender. It was once referred to as a "palate-paralyzer" by bartender David Embury and has a song in it's honor Make it another old fashioned please by Cole Porter. It's also mentioned in a scene of the movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World were Jim Backus plays a rich lush with a twin-engine plane.  Mickey Rooney and Buddy Hackett convince him to fly them to a buried treasure. Backus asks Mickey Rooney while flying the plane to make him an Old Fashioned and after having two of them tells the other two characters to fly the plane because he's going to make an old fashioned the old fashioned way that dear old dad used to make them. Mickey Rooney says, "what if something should happen and Backus tells them, what could happen with an Old Fashioned?

I've done research on this cocktail and have made it and after several trials along with tastings at home and at some of my favorite drinking establishments have found a delicious balance. It's build in an old fashioned or double rocks glass without muddling fruit. Some recipes call for muddling orange and maraschino cherries with sugar, bitters and water. I find it become too sweet but after tasting it at Seven Grand in Downtown Los Angeles and 320 in Seal Beach, I found the taste was just right and the only fruit in it was a flamed orange peal. I followed this method at home and found that's the only way to enjoy it. Give it a try or go to bar that serves up vintage style cocktails this way. Let me know how you liked it.


John Apodaca

The Old Fashioned

1 1/2 oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey ( Rittenhouse Rye or Buffalo Trace )
2 - 4 Dashes of Angostura bitters
1 Sugar cube
1 Splash of soda water
Flamed orange peel

Place the sugar cube at the bottom of an old fashioned or double rocks glass. Soak the sugar with 2 - 4 dashes of Angostura bitters and add a splash of soda water and muddle (crush) the ingredients until dissolved with a muddling stick or with the back of a bar spoon. Add the whiskey, slice an orange  peel very thinly
(about 2 inches long), light a match hold it underneath the peel with a back and fourth motion for a few seconds, turn it over and do the same for a few seconds while holding it over the glass. Pinch the peel while still holding the lighted match it to release oils, you should see a spark from the release of the oils. Put out the flame and wipe the rim of the glass along with the peel and place it in the glass and enjoy the drink.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Grandson of a bootlegger

This is John Apodaca from Daddy-O's Martinis. Not too many people know this about me but I'm the grandson of a bootlegger. Yes you heard it right, when I was a kid I would hear my mother, some of her sisters and brothers tell stories at family get together's about their father who was a bootlegger. His name was Frank Jaramillo, he and my grandmother Lorensa  (Laura) had 10 children that survived and he worked for Santa Fe Railroad in Albuquerque New Mexico. Back in the 1930s and 40s they were poor like a lot of people in those days and lived in a small three room adobe style home without running water. The railroad didn't pay that well so Frank had to do something to provide for the family and made his own whiskey and beer and stored it in a cellar,  ready sell it to those in need for a bit of libation to forget their depression and war time blues. I don't know too much history about his side business but he did manufacture it at home with a still.

In honor of my bottler heritage, here's a cocktail worth trying called what else but the Prohibition.

Prohibition Cocktail

1/2 Gin (top shelf)
1/2 Lilllet Blanc
2 Dashes fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Dash Apricot Brandy

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sqeeze Lemon Peel over top.