Rock & Rye

A Drink On The Rocks…..


May 2011

May Bar Update

Here’s some shots of the bar progressing. The tile backsplash is installed and grouted. The draft system is all installed and working to perfection. My only problem seems to be brewing enough beer to have 2 beers on tap at once.

I still need a couple more glass racks for my ever growing collection of glassware, and a fridge for all my extra ingredients!




Vintage Cocktails #63: The Liberal

I’m not sure exactly where this next cocktail received its name from, but it is delicious none the less. Coming into print in the very early 1900’s, this is a great variation on a Manhattan, packing in a little extra flavor and bitterness courtesy of some Torani Amer. The higher proof boubon also helps to keep the flavors nice and balanced. Cheers!

The Liberal
3/4 oz 120-proof Bourbon
3/4 oz Italian Vermouth
3 dashes Torani Amer
1 dash Orange Bitters

Vintage Cocktails #62: Soyer au Champagne

This next cocktail wins the award for most random combination of ingredients. It is billed as a dessert drink and it fits the bill perfectly. Sweet and creamy, this drink is masterfully blended to create a complex, flavorful cocktail that really hits the spot. Try it, and I think you’ll agree. Cheers!

Soyer au Champagne
2 dashes Maraschino
2 dashes Brandy
2 dashes Grand Marnier
2 dashes Pineapple Juice
1 scoop Vanilla Ice Cream

Vintage Cocktails #61: The Widow’s Kiss

This next drink is an interesting one. Using an Apple Brandy as the base and pairing it with an equal amount of complex herbal liqueurs, one would think that this cocktail would be a jolt of over-stimulation. This is thankfully not the case, as the combination seems to balance itself out nicely, creating a drink that is rich, earthy and complex, without being overly sweet. My personal preference would be to up the base spirit by a tad, but it is excellent just as it is. A perfect cocktail for after dinner while sitting in overstuffed chairs with friends. Cheers!

The Widow’s Kiss
1 1/2 oz Calvados
3/4 oz Chartreuse
3/4 oz Benedictine
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Beer of the Week: Duvel Belgian Golden Ale

While I was at Costco a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a 750ml bottle of Duvel as I’d been wanting to try it for a while and the Costco price was too tempting to pass up.

Duvel is a highly rated Belgian Strong Pale Ale coming out of the Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat brewery in Belgium. It is a hefty 8.5% ABV and comes in both a single individual size and a large 750ml bottle. This beer looks like a crystal clear golden pilsner with a huge white head. It is massively carbonated, and the effervescence seems to last forever. The aromas of the Duvel are definitely Belgian. You can smell the yeast, along with honey, fruit, some floral aromas and a hint of peppery spiciness. As noted before, this is a highly carbonated beer that dances in the mouth. It is light, but much drier than many Belgians with a slightly bitter finish. There are flavors of good pilsner malt, spice, and some fruity esters. Different than many other Belgian ales, but worth seeking out. Duvel breaks the mold. and comes away with a fantastic beer that is worth every penny. Cheers!


Vintage Cocktails #60: Knickerbocker à la Monsieur

So it’s been over a month since I’ve actually written about a cocktail. I don’t really know what my lack of motivation has been, but to be honest I haven’t really been up for making cocktails in the last month or so. I’ve had a lot going on both in my work and personal life, and when you are busy it is so much easier to just grab a beer and go. However, I’m back in the saddle and ready to go.

Our next entry in the vintage cocktail series is one with (to borrow a phrase) a long name and amazing results. A fabulous blend of rum, fruits, and ice, this is a cocktail for the summer. It is light and refreshing, sweet, but not too sweet, and when you are finished the drink, you have the wonderful fruits in season to partake of. Cheers!

Knickerbocker à la Monsieur
2 oz Virgin Islands Rum
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice
Orange Wheel
Pineapple Slice
Garnish with seasonal fruit

Beer of the Week: Unibroue Raftman

Back in March when I was up in Vancouver for Tales of the Cocktail On Tour, I made a point to stop in at several of BC’s liquor stores to see what I could find that is not locally available to me. In addition to several bottles of liquor, I picked up a couple of beers that are not available in the US, including Unibroue’s Raftman.

This beer is billed as being brewed from peat-smoked whisky malt, and the comparison is undeniable. It pours a golden amber color with a moderate haze and a thick head that recedes to a gentle lacing. The aromas are woody, gently smoked malt, with hints of vanilla, yeast, and apricots. It has an amazingly smooth mouthfeel, with great, crisp flavors of toffee sweetness, peppery spiciness, and a hint of yeast. At only 15 IBU’s the hop flavors are very lights, but appear at the end of the swallow and provide a great dry finish. This beer is quite different than the majority of Unibroue’s offerings, and at 5.5% abv, makes a great session beer.

Raftman is only available in Canada, which is a shame because I really enjoyed it, and would probably drink it on a regular basis if it were available. Definitely worth picking up if you come across it. Cheers!


Practical Stir Plate Applications

Following up on my post on how to build your own Stir Plate, lets talk a bit about how this can be used in the home.

The most common use of a stir plate in the home is by homebrewers. Homebrewers use a stir plate to propagate healthy yeast. With a yeast starter, the stir plate keeps the yeast in suspension and does not allow the yeast to settle. It also continually adds oxygen to the yeast starter. This helps keep the yeast growing and reproducing. As long as there is oxygen in the yeast starter, the yeast will reproduce. This increases the number of healthy yeast cells, which in turn allows for a faster, more healthy fermentation.

For the cocktail enthusiast, there are also some applications. The first and easiest application is a syrup. Simple syrup can be made both by a hot process, (water is heated and sugar is mixed in until dissolved) or a cold process (water and sugar are not heated, but shaken or stirred until dissolved. I am not going to get into the scientific debate on hot process vs cold process, but I am going to show you an easy way to make cold process simple syrup using a Stir Plate.

First measure out your ingredients. I store my syrup in empty 750ml bottles, so lets go with 350ml of both sugar and water. Add your water to your mixing container and drop in your stir bar. Turn on your stir plate and slowly pour in the sugar. Now just sit back and wait until all the sugar is dissolved into the water. When the sugar is all dissolved, pour the syrup into your bottle and you are done!

Another great technique that takes advantage of a stir plate is the making of flavored “caviar”, or flavor pearls. Almost anything can be made into caviar and it makes a super cool and fun way to add garnish and flavors to your cocktails. You can check out a video of Jamie Boudreau making some Cointreau Pearls here!

So there are a few ideas to help get you started. In reality, almost anything that requires stirring can be mixed on a stir plate. And not that I would recommend this as a credible technique, but just for fun, I have mixed up a cocktail using a stir plate as well 😉 Let me know what fun and creative ideas you have for using your stir plate.

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