Thursday, November 25, 2010

TOM AND JERRY is not just a cartoon!

At one time was as much a part of American holiday celebrations as mistletoe and roasting chestnuts. In 1880’s Manhattan fashionable bars would place an ornate punchbowl in the middle of the bar containing the Tom and Jerry “batter”. The Brass Rail bar in Port Huron, Michigan, has kept the Tom and Jerry tradition alive since it’s opening in 1937.  They start serving it the week before Thanksgiving and continue until New Year’s Eve.

The drink derives its name from the two rambunctious protagonists of the hugely popular English novel  
“Life in London” (1821), and not from Jerry Thomas, as he would have everyone believe.  The book inspired a number items named after the characters, but mostly Tom and Jerry was used to describe things drink related.  This a delicious hot drink that deserves to be served not only during winter holidays, but throughout the entire fall and winter seasons.

God bless and Cheers,

John Apodaca 

½ cup batter (see below)
1oz brandy
1oz rum
Hot water

Ladle batter into a heated mug.  Pour in liquor and then fill with boiling hot water.  Top with grated nutmeg.  Let cool enough to be drinkable, and serve with a spoon for stirring. Tom and Jerry Batter (serves 8)

4 eggs, separated
Cream of Tartar
¾ cup powdered sugar

Whip egg whites with a sprinkle of cream of tartar until they are stiff.  Fold in ¾ cup powdered sugar and the egg yolks.  Mix until the batter is light and frothy.

Gingerbread Manhattan

Something I'm thankful for is the discovery of the Gingerbread Manhattan. It was an idea of Matt Parkinson of Viand restaurant in Chicago because the establishment was using gingerbread syrup for some of it's coffee drinks. Matt decided try switching out the sweet vermouth for the syrup and low and behold, the drink was born. It's great to have this as one of you're holiday drinks and it's really easy to make.

God bless and Cheers,

John Apodaca

Gingerbread Manhattan 

3 oz of Bourbon ( Buffalo Trace)
1/2 oz of gingerbread syrup ( Torani brand )
1 dash of Angostura bitters
Marasca cherry from Italy (Luxardo)
Crystallized ginger

Combine bourbon, gingerbread syrup and angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Marasca Cherry and crystallized ginger on a toothpick. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Truth about bitters

Bitters Make Better

Fri, Nov 12, 2010
Photo by Jeff Harris

Enliven almost any cocktail with a modern twist on an ancient recipe.

by Wayne Curtis
Bitters are back, and it’s about time. Originally used as a stomach tonic, bitters made the leap to recreational beverages a couple of centuries ago when tipplers realized that just a few drops made a merely potable liquor far more interesting. Then came Prohibition, and bitters all but disappeared.
With the advent of the cocktail revival, though, small-batch producers started ginning up an array of bitters. (They’re made by infusing sharp-tasting roots and barks, along with spices, citrus peels, and other exotica, in alcohol.) Doubt their effectiveness? Mix up two Manhattans; add bitters to one, taste, and you’ll never go back. Below are the best examples we’ve found — but first, a few drinks that allow this elixir to shine.
Kirk Estopinal of Cure in New Orleans pops off the shaker top on his bottle of Angostura for this surprisingly refreshing bitters-based concoction.
1-1/2 oz Angostura bitters
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 egg white
Shake in cocktail shaker (without ice) until frothy, then add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into cocktail glass. Serve up.
Cocktail guru Jonathan Pogash pours this vintage drink for the Empire Room at New York’s Empire State Building.
1 tsp absinthe
1-1/4 oz rye whiskey
1-1/4 oz sweet vermouth
Dash of Boker’s Bitters
Dash of Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters
Rinse glass with teaspoon of absinthe. Stir remaining ingredients with cracked ice in a stirring glass, then strain into absinthe-rinsed glass. Garnish with long lemon peel.
Celery bitters and tequila know how to work together, as Phil Ward of Mayahuel in New York proves in this complex cocktail.
2 oz white tequila
1 oz dry vermouth
3/4 oz freshly squeezed
lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz green Chartreuse
Dash of celery bitters
Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a celery stick.
Photo by Michael Pirrocco

Best Bitters: The Short List

From blueberry to the classic dried orange peel, there’s a flavor for everyone.
Sweetgrass Bitter Blueberry
Made from blueberry wine, these bitters are intense yet round and supple. Use for a more tart taste ($8;
Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters
Fee’s richly aromatic bitters are aged in used bourbon casks. Perfect for an old-fashioned ($15;

The Bitter Truth Celery Bitters

Of any celery-based bitters, these have the biggest flavor. Try in place of celery salt in a Bloody Mary ($16;
Boker’s Bitters
These cardamom-based bitters appeared in 1828 but vanished with Prohibition. In 2009 an entrepreneur reverse-engineered them to bring them back ($20;
Angostura Orange Bitters
A few drops of orange bitters can make a shy drink stand up and croon. This makes for a fine Angostura sour (see above) ($11;
Watch video of Jonathan Pogash concocting three tasty cocktails using bitters
This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Men’s Journal.
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