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Category Archives: cocktail

Gin Glorious Gin And Pimiento Cheese & Lobster Potato Chips!

http://riverandrailrestaurant.com

I have a new appreciation for gin. Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager, River and Rail Restaurant introduced us to the nuances of gin in his Cocktails 101 Class earlier this month. Here’s some fun facts about gin from class:

The word Gin comes from the word Genever which in Dutch means juniper.  The English shortened it Geneva which lead to the term “Gin”. 

Gin was first produced by the Dutch in Holland where the term “Dutch Courage” comes from.   Dutch mercenaries hired out by the English would consume vast amounts of Gin which made them more aggressive in battle.

I usually prefer vodka in my martinis, but I found Plymouth Gin to be delightful in this River and Rail Martini.  It was made with Plymouth Gin. Plymouth Gin is produced at a single distillery in Plymouth, England at the Blackfriars Distillery. It has somewhat more earthy flavors and typically not as juniper flavor.  (That is probably why I liked it so much. I appreciate the juniper in Gin, but it is a bit “flowery” for my taste.)

Plymouth Gin

gin martini

Shane rubbed lemon peel around the rim of the martini glass and then he rubbed the peel on the stem of the glass.  He explained that the scent of the lemon will adhere to your fingers. People naturally wave their fingers in front of their face when they are talking and having a good time so the lemon will permeate the air and enhance the lemony cocktail experience.   Love this!

The River and Rail Martini is very simply gin, vermouth and orange bitters, with a lemon peel garnish.  Shane explained that the garnishes he puts on cocktails always have a purpose, they are not just there for looks.

Shane explained to us that when olives are served in a martini they should have an odd number – one or three. Having an even number of garnishes in a cocktail is considered bad luck.

Shane invented the “Pink Panther” cocktail that is served at River and Rail.  Broker’s Gin, Capalletti Aperitivo, Lillet Blanc, Lemon, Peychaud’s Bitters. Peychaud’s is a key ingredient in the Sazerac® Cocktail, with light notes of cherry, nutmeg, and clove.

bitters r and rbitters hell firebitters

We had fun asking Shane questions about the bitters that were lined up on the bar.  One that was completely new to me was the ‘Elemakule Tiki” bitters.  Here’s what Bitterman’s says about these bitters on its website:  A taste of the islands. We recommend adding a dash to libations served in shrunken heads, volcanoes and miniature ceramic Moai.  Cinnamon and Allspice with a strong cast of supporting spice flavors.

Shane said that they use the Hellfire Bitters  (Habanero Shrub) in their Michelada Spicy Margarita and when a guest wants a spicy Bloody Mary.

Pimiento Chips

Lillie’s Q Pimiento Cheese Potato Chips

Seriously GOOD kettle cooked potato chips.  Jalapeno powder and paprika add a zesty zing to the pimiento cheese flavor in these chips.  The Lillie’s Q chips are based on Lillie’s Q sauces and rubs:  Carolina Dirt, Sea Salt and Black Pepper, Hot Pepper Vinegar, and Original.  I found these at our local Fresh Market.

lobster chips

Here’s some fun chips that I found at Tinnell’s Finer Foods in Roanoke, Virginia (also available on-line for a limited time).  They do have a subtle lobster taste and here’s a link to a fun review of these chips from the Junk Food Guy:

http://www.junkfoodguy.com/2017/08/14/lobsterutz/#sthash.s2rZ5qQR.dpbs

Happy Friday!

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Bartender My Drink Is On Fire! Fun Facts About Vodka

Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager, River and Rail Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, presented “Cocktails 101” on Sunday evening.

r and r shane lightr and r char citrus

One of my favorite parts of the class was when Shane set the citrus peel garnish for the Cosmopolitan on fire. He explained that he always has a purpose for the garnish, it is not just for looks.  Lighting the citrus peel caramelized the citrus oil and gave the drink a tiny bit of a smokey aroma.

Celebrity Mixologist Cheryl Cook invented the Cosmopolitan Cocktail in 1985 at the Strand Restaurant in South Beach.

cosmo r and r

The River and Rail Cosmopolitan

For each cocktail:

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

3/4 ounce Cointreau

3/4 ounce cranberry juice

1 1/2 ounce vodka

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish:  Caramelized citrus strip

vodka

Deep Eddy is River and Rail Restaurant’s house vodka. Corn based vodka from Austin Texas. Any infused vodkas that River and Rail serves will be infused in-house at the River and Rail bar…such as their basil infused Luksusowa vodka in their Something About Mary Lennox cocktail.

http://riverandrailrestaurant.com/menus

Some fun facts about vodka from Shane’s class:

Shane recommends starting with the least expensive ingredient in a cocktail first. If you mess up at the beginning you can throw it out and start again without throwing out expensive ingredients.

Vodka, the word, appears to be a Russian diminutive of a Polish phrase, woda zycia, which means “water of life”.

Vodka really gained its momentum with the marketing strategy from John Martin of Smirnoff with the slogan “Smirnoff…it’ll leave you breathless”. 

By the 1950’s vodka was roaring into popularity with the addition of Bloody Mary’s, Screwdrivers and of course the Three Martini Lunch.

By 1967 vodka surpassed Gin as the highest seller of white spirits in the US and by 1976 vodka was the number one purchased spirit overall. Vodka still remains the most popularly consumed and purchased spirit in the US.

Match these vodka slogans to the vodka they represent: (answers at the bottom of this post)

Slogans:

  1. The world’s best tasting vodka.
  2. The greatest name in Vodka.
  3. As you like it.
  4. Pure Perfection.
  5. Unleash the Raspberry!
  6. The Purest Expression of Vodka
  7. Outrageously Smooth

Vodkas:

A.  Blavod black vodka  B.Boru  C. Romanov  D.   Smirnoff  E.  Absolut Raspberri  F. Grey Goose  G. Stolichnaya

ham biscuit river and railsnack plate r and r

We always know the bar snacks will be delicious at River and Rail (country ham biscuit with whole grain mustard, Gryere cheese, house-made Asiago crackers, homemade pickled green beans and carrots.  I am especially partial to the country ham biscuits with whole grain mustard.

blood orange liquer

I have a new favorite liqueur:  Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur… made with Sicilian Sanguinello blood oranges. Add a splash or two to sparkling wine or try these lovely cocktials:

chilledmagazine.com/solerno-blood-orange-liqueur-cocktails

Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017 we celebrated the Eclipse of the Sun in style!

Answers to quiz:  1. F. – 2. D.-  3. C. – 4. D. – 5. E. 6. B. – 7. A.

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The Sparkling Maraschino Cherry “Cobbler” ~ The Drink of 1928!

The Sparkling Maraschino Cherry “Cobbler”

One of my favorite books is “The Bon Vivant’s Companion or How To Mix Drinks” by Professor Jerry Thomas, Formerly Principal Bartender at the Metropolitan Hotel, New York, and at the Planters’ House, St. Louis. This book was published in 1928.

This book bubbles over with fun…lovely cocktails that have all but disappeared from our 21st century cocktail lexicon as well as our palates…juleps, flips, fizzes, shrubs, daisies, toddies and YES COBBLERS!!!

As the weather gets warmer and Spring is getting ready to SPRING…I am falling in love with Cobblers:

Like the julep, this delicious potation is an American invention, although it is now a favorite in all warm climates.  The cobbler does not require much skill in compounding, but to make it acceptable to the eye, as well as to the palate, it is necessary to display some taste in ornamenting the glass after the beverage is made. (source:  “The Bon Vivant’s Companion”)

 Champagne Cobbler!

Up to 2 or 3 days prior to making the cobbler:  Place 12 frozen dark sweet cherries in 1/4 cup Maraschino Cherry Liqueur in a covered container in the refrigerator.  (Use pitted fresh sweet cherries when in season.)

For the cocktail:

In a martini glass combine 1 teaspoon Maraschino Cherry Liqueur and 1/2 teaspoon Triple Sec. Stir lightly to combine.  Add a few crushed ice cubes. Pour sparkling wine (or champagne) over the liqueur. Garnish with Maraschino Liqueur soaked cherries and a few fresh blackberries.  

Traditionally the Cobbler is served in a tumbler with shaved ice and sipped through a straw. Here’s “The Bon Vivant’s Companion” recipe for Champagne Cobbler:

Champagne Cobbler

One bottle of wine to four large bar glasses

 One tablespoon of sugar

One piece each of orange and lemon peel

Fill the tumbler one-third full with shaved ice, and fill balance with wine; ornament in a tasty manner with berries in season.  This beverage should be sipped through a straw.

 

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Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Cherry in bottle

Fabulously quick way to pit cherries…Remove stem from fresh cherry.  Place cherry on top of the opening of an empty wine bottle, stem side down.  Take a chop stick and poke a hole through the cherry knocking the cherry pit into the empty bottle.

cherries

cherries1

cherries-outside

Homemade Maraschino Cherries

Homemade Maraschino Cherries are yummy and boozy with fresh cherry flavor,  just not as colorful as the bright red ones we purchase in the grocery store. Delicious addition to bourbon cocktails…here’s a link to lots of Maraschino Cherry cocktails.  I will plop a couple in a glass of bubbly Cava: http://www.barnonedrinks.com/drinks/by_ingredient/m/maraschino-liqueur-9.html

  • 1 pound sweet Bing cherries, washed and pitted
  • 1/4 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped, pod and seeds reserved
  • 1/2  cup maraschino liqueur
  1.  Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place pitted cherries on a baking sheet. Bake cherries in preheated oven for 2 hours. Increase oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sprinkle the cherries with a little bit of fine granulated sugar.  Bake the cherries for 1 and 3/4 hours more.
  2. Place sugar, water, vanilla bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the maraschino liqueur to the syrup and stir to combine.
  3. Place cherries in a 1-quart glass container with a tight-fitting lid and place the vanilla bean pod in the center. Pour the maraschino syrup over the cherries, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

cherries-on-baking-sheet

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