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Rock & Rye

A Drink On The Rocks…..

Month

August 2011

Drink at Canon: Whiskey and Bitters Emporium

Outside of the box. That is the goal for Jamie Boudreau and his soon to be open bar, Canon. Last night my wife and I had the opportunity to make the journey down to Seattle for a sneak peak of this “destined for renown” establishment.

Immediately upon walking through the doors we were greeted by the intimate, angostura stained bar; the lower half wrapped with pages from Harry Johnson’s Bartenders Manual. The back bar is a beautiful array of liquor and glassware, interspersed with vintage cocktail paraphernalia, including a glistening champagne saber. The sight is impressive, but according to Boudreau, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Eventually the shelving will stretch around the entire room, adding to the already impressive collection of spirits.

We were seated and served a delicious punch and given the opportunity to soak in the scene further. Later Boudreau wowed our taste buds with his current iteration of the Canon cocktail: whiskey, cognac and sweet vermouth, topped with a cassis foam and a stenciled canon of bitters.

Boudreau shared that Canon will run computer free, excepting the credit card machine, with all sales run through a vintage cash register once owned by Charles Wrigley, Jr. of Chicago, Illinois. Stepping further outside of the box, Canon’s drink program will include table side punch service, personal bottled cocktails, and a hardbound cocktail menu comprised of around 100 cocktails, with a small selection of rotating specials that will be indicated by a bookmark in the menu.

Beyond fine cocktails and the obligatory beer and wine, Canon will offer a rotating menu of food for sharing – always served with the utmost attention to detail in even quantities, to better facilitate sharing among a group and avoiding the need for a knife. If the preview was any indication, the food will be just as good as the drink.

In just those few evening hours, it was apparent, though still a work in progress, Jamie Boudreau has achieved his goal. Welcome to the outside of the box.

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Beer of the Week: 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood

Billed as a Belgian style dark ale, this beer from 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, CA, is dark and spicy while still retaining the traditional Belgian style. Brewed with a blend of traditional malts and hops, flavored with candi sugar, cinnamon and vanilla bean, then aged on a bed of dried figs and oak chips, this beer is an excellent example of new world meets old school.

Poured from a 12 oz can into my tulip glass, this beer is dark and hazy. I was actually surprised at the lack of clarity in this commercially produced beer, but appearance aside, it is excellent. On the nose you get great flavors of molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, dates, cherries, bananas, and chocolate. On the tongue the flavors are even better, with complex fig, vanilla, malt and wood flavors being expertly balanced by the hops and belgian yeast strain. And despite the 8.3% abv of the beer, the alcohol remains muted as it should be. Overall, I highly recommend this beer, especially if you are a fan of belgian style ales, but are looking for something a little different. Cheers!

[rating:4/5]

Vintage Cocktails #70: Lucien Gaudin Cocktail

Named after the 1920’s Olympic gold medal winning fencer, this cocktail is a true prohibition era libation.

Lucien Gaudin Cocktail
1 oz Gin
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth

Vintage Cocktails #69: The Pendennis Cocktail

Named after the club of the same name in Louisville, Kentucky, 1881, this cocktail is one that can brighten your day. A tantalizing blend of gin, apricot brandy, bitters and lime; this drink has layers of complexity while still remaining bright. No one flavor emerges as the clear leader, but instead they all sit together in a harmonious balance. Cheers!

The Pendennis Cocktail
2 oz Gin
1 oz Apricot Brandy
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
3/4 oz Lime Juice

MxMo LX: Come to Your Senses!

It’s time for Mixology Monday again and this month is hosted by the 12 Bottle Bar. His challenge this month is to feature a drink that excites another sense besides taste.

During the summer months, as the summer heat picks up, it’s always nice to have a cool refreshing drink to sit on the back porch and chill out with. And what better cocktail to epitomize the quintessential summer drink than the gin and tonic. Introduced to the world by the British occupying the hot and humid subcontinent of India, this is the perfect drink to ward off the heat of the summer.

Now while the traditional gin and tonic is cool and refreshing, there is really nothing to excite the senses. Our solution to this particular quandary came to me by way of one of the bartenders at the Bayou Oster Bar here in town. Infusing cascade hops into our spirit gives us both an added flavor dimension as well as some great aromas. Pairing this with a good visual presentation yielded a drink that engages the eyes, the nose, and also tastes excellent. For this particular drink we chose to use Dry Fly gin, as both hops and mint are included in the botanicals. So without further ado, we present to you the Hoptonic. Cheers!

Hoptonic
1 3/4 oz Hop infused Dry Fly Gin
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Lime Juice
3 oz Tonic Water
Mint & Lime Garnish

Vintage Cocktails #68: The Golden Dawn or The Aunt Emily?

Named after the forgettable Rogers and Hammerstein opretta, our next drink was reportedly created by Thomas Buttery, head barman of London’s Berkeley Hotel, and has the distinction of being named the “World Finest Cocktail” in a contest in 1930. However, there is some confusion about the recipe for this drink. The Golden Dawn has two different published versions. The proportions for the drink as printed in the Cafe Royal Cocktail (1937) and UKBG Guide to Drinks (1953) state equal parts calvados, gin, orange juice, and apricot brandy. The version as printed in The New York Times and The Times (London) is slightly different, calling for larger amounts of the calvados and gin, while decreasing the orange juice and the apricot brandy. To make things even more intriguing, Charles Baker, in Jigger, Beaker and Glass (1939), lists an identical cocktail featuring equal parts calvados, gin, orange juice, and apricot brandy. Baker notes that this drink (The Aunt Emily) was the creation of Sloppy Joe, in Havana, Cuba.

Either way, this cocktail was lost to the ages of time. Which is a pity, as it is a fairly decent drink. Fruity, while still being fairly dry and sophisticated, this is one drink that stands miles above the sugar filled fruitini’s that are being served in many bars today. If only more people would turn to drinks such as these instead of vodka based alcopops.

Golden Dawn
3/4 oz Calvados
3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Apry
3/4 oz Orange Juice
Grenadine

Vintage Cocktails #67: The Calvados Cocktail

First appearing in print in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), this next cocktail bucks the trend of many prohibition era cocktails by being bright, lively and fresh. And while at first it seems to be a fairly simple cocktail, the addition of a whopping 3/4 oz of bitters quickly takes simple out of the equation.

Utilizing Calvados as a base spirit, this drink is light and refreshing without being overly sweet. The extra helping of bitters actually work splendidly, creating a fantastic balance. Cheers!

The Calvados Cocktail
1 1/2 oz Calvados
1 1/2 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Orange Bitters

Spirits Review: Dry Fly Washington Bourbon

Dry Fly is a distillery that seems to be bound and determined to push the envelope while still retaining the highest standards possible. Every product they have released has been distilled to a fantastic level of quality, while breaking out of the molds that most seem bound and determined to stay in. They have a vodka that is not flavorless, a gin that includes hops and apple in the botanicals, and a whiskey made from winter wheat.

This last weekend marked the Seattle release of Dry Fly’s newest product, a 101 proof Bourbon distilled from corn, unmalted wheat, and barley, and as luck would have it, I happened to be driving though Seattle right as it went on sale. Unfortunately for those who were not in Seattle or Spokane for the releases, all 480 bottles were sold within hours, and I am told that the next release is not until late next year. But, back to the bourbon.

This is not your average bourbon, perhaps having more in common with your great-great-grandpappy’s bourbon. Aged for only three years, this golden liquid is bold and in your face. The aromas are packed with spices and a faint oakiness. On the tongue, you get big sweet flavors of caramel and vanilla, the alcohol hiding in the fringes, despite the hefty proof. The flavors fade out with a long spicy finish laced with cinnamon and oak. All in all, a fantastic bourbon that will only continue to improve with age. Cheers to Don, Kent, Patrick, and the whole Dry Fly family for another fantastic product!

***Update***
Today the first bottle of Dry Fly Bourbon ever produced, sold at an eBay charity auction benefiting the Spokane chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities for $2650!

[rating:4.5/5]

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