Thursday, October 28, 2010

What We're Drinking: Satan's Whiskers for All Hallows Eve

When I read about the Satan's Whiskers in Harry Craddock's legendary Savoy Cocktail Book
(1930) several years ago I thought what a perfect drink for Halloween. For one it has a friggin' great  name. Second, it is orange in color, and third, the proportions are equal parts which are very easy to remember.

To the purist, it is a fancy version of the Bronx cocktail with orange curacao and orange bitters. To the layman, it is an orange flavored cocktail reminiscent of a vintage New York City street drink called the  Orange Julius - only spiked. Ice cold and potent, perfect for the fires of hell.

There are two variations of the Satan's Whiskers: "Curled" and "Straight."Real aficionados actually bother to ask for one or the other. The Curled calls for a curacao like a Cointreau or Combier Liquer d'Orange, straight is higher end with Grand Marnier.  Contrary to what you might think, the Curled version is my favorite iteration. It is lighter than the "Straight" which means I can have more than one of these bad boys.

Satan's Whiskers (Curled)
Satan's Whiskers

1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz sweet vermouth 
1/2 oz fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/2 oz Cointreau (for Curled) or Grand Marnier (for Straight)
1 dash of Fee Brothers West Indian orange bitters
1 dash Regan's Orange bitters

Tools: Cocktail Shaker, Hawthorne Strainer, Jigger, Swiss Peeler

Method: Combine ingredients in mixing tin, add ice and shake fr 10-15 seconds, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with orange twist. We recommend a clean crisp London Dry gin like Plymouth for this libation. Hendricks also works very well.

Where to get it: Louis 649 in NYC or Clover Club on Brooklyn

- Fredo

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Destinations: Halloween Eve 2010

There are plenty of "lounge" worthy events this Halloween weekend. However, we suggest you head on over to these jazz age themed masquerades from our friends Michael Arenella in Brooklyn and Wit's End in Manhattan.

The Halloween Eve Masquerade
The Green Building (450 Union Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)
Saturday, October 30th, 2010
9:00PM - late.
$20 Advance (available here )
$25 Door

Michael Arenella & His Hot Dreamland Eight the night before Halloween, and rub elbows with other glamourous ghouls...

At Brooklyn's most enchanting little speakeasy, the Green Building, a 19th-century warehouse nestled along the banks of the Gowanus Canal, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

We are pleased to present a hauntingly swell cast of characters for the night's entertainment:

- The Minsky Sisters - world renowned '20s tap duo
- Grace Gotham - burlesque sensation
- Special musical guests Drew Nugent & The Mindnight Society
Plus -
- Plenty of room to dance on our real-wood Dreamland Dance Floor
- Cocktails served by expert mixologist Fredo from Loungerati and Henry Lopez of Court & Spark
- Costume contests
- A tasty variety of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and treats will be available if you're feeling peckish.
- Exotic pumpkin and gourd exhibiton.
- And more to be announced!

Michael Arenella & His Hot Dreamland Eight will rouse up the ghosts of yore while you dance and drink up your tinctures pure.

This event will sell out - be sure to get your tickets today at!

Wit's End Presents: 2nd Annual Black Cat Masquerade
Flute bar (205 W54th Street, NY, NY)
October 30th 7:30pm - midnight

Join Wit's End and the Dorothy Parker Society for the hottest, spookiest, and jazziest Hallowe'en celebration you can handle! Hallowe'en is our favorite holiday of the year, and to celebrate, we bring you the hot jazz stylings of NYC favorites THE HOT SARDINES!!

-FREE Dance Lesson : 830pm, band 9pm
-Vintage Cocktail Menu
-Win Fabulous Prizes Playing our Vintage Hallowe'en Games!

In addition to this fabulous lineup, the Black Cat Masquerade is also the launch party for the third issue of Zelda : The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau!! ( Every guest at the Masquerade will receive a FREE copy of Issue 3, as well as other lovely gift bag goodies to be announced! The first 50 people to arrive will receive a FULL SIZED eyeshadow from our friends at Sweet Libertine Cosmetics! ( ALSO! While they last, our gift bags will include a FREE pass to the November 13/14th Pier Antiques Show/Fashion Alley (a $15 value!) - find out more at !

DRESS CODE : Vintage/vintage-style evening attire 1910s-1940s; black tie is encouraged. Vintage style Hallowe'en costumes welcome, and masks are encouraged for all guests!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Destinations: The Mad Men Finale Parties Oct 17th

The fourth season of AMC's  acclaimed Mad Men comes to an end Sunday October 17th. It has been a harrowing season at the Sterling Cooper Draper Price advertising agency.  We have witnessed Don Draper's roller coaster ride in a bottle of Canadian Club that even included a "Lost Weekend", SCDP's reversal of fortune with the loss of Lucky Strike, and the ascension of the new Mad generation - Pete Campbell and Peggy Olson. All while the nation and society goes through the radical changes of the 1960s. On that note, we are eagerly awaiting what Matthiew Weiner has in store of us in tonight's Finale.  To get in the Mad Mood, make a prty out of it. We recommend the following parties at New York establishments where the show's fictional characters would surely be regulars.

21 Club - "Mad Men Finale" viewing party - our man Grumpy Old Hepcat found this gem of an event at a venerable old haunt of  Gotham high society that Roger Sterling would have dined at weekly. Chase Sapphire is also hosting an open bar for their members. Thankfully, jackets are still required for Gentlemen at Upstairs section of the landmark restaurant. (21 Club - 21 West 52nd Street, NYC, NY)

Oak Room Bar at the Plaza Hotel -  Hi-Ball Cocktail Party has been a Mad Men viewing destination since the season opener in July. Party goers show up clad in early sixties suits and cocktail dresses. Period cocktails such as the Greyhound and a Whiskey Buck variation called the Ginger Whiskey complete the theme. But be prepared to pay 21st century prices for your libations! (Oak Room, 10 Central Park South, NYC, NY)

The lists some  alternatives if you don't have the scratch to hang at "21" or the Oak Room.

If you are staying home, we suggest the following true 1960s classic cocktails.  These libations are relatively easy to execute and use less than five ingredients.

Old Fashioned
2 oz of Rye (Old Overholt or Wild Turkey)
1-2 tsp of simple syrup or sugar cube
1-2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Orange peel

Tools: Bar glass (or pint glass), bar spoon,  jigger, cocktail glass, swiss peeler.

Muddle the bitters and sugar cube (or simple syrup) in a mixing glass, add rye, then add ice and stir the mixture until well chilled. Strain into an Old Fashioned or Hi-ball glass, garnish with orange peel.

"CC" Manhattan
2 oz Canadian Club Rye Whiskey
1 oz Dolin sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry (I suggest Luxardo brand or a brandied cherry)

Tools: Bar glass (or pint glass), bar spoon,  jigger, cocktail glass.

Combine rye, sweet vermouth, and bitters in mixing glass. Add plenty of ice, then stir using a bar spoon until  chilled (about 15-20 seconds). Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the cherry.

The Gimlet (Vodka or Gin)
2 oz Vodka (Smirnoff or Stolichnaya) or Gin (Beefeater)
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
bar spoon of simple syrup

Tools: Cocktail shaker, bar spoon,  jigger, cocktail glass.

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake rigorously for 10-12 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lime wedge. I do not favor using Rose's sweetened lime juice because it is artificially flavored. So, I add a bar spoon of simple syrup to the fresh lime juice.

The Daiquiri
2 oz light rum (Bacardi or Don Q)
1 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz fresh lime juice

Tools: Cocktail Shaker, jigger, cocktail glass.

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker, add cracked ice, and shake hard until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge.

Mad Men Finale on AMC, Sunday October 17th, 10pm EST.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Barfly's Beat: The Anvil Bar & Refuge

Houston is not exactly known for it's artisanal cocktails, it is more of a beer and a shot kind of town. Well, now Texas' largest city has a bona fide cocktail destination, the Anvil Bar & Refuge.  Anvil specializes in pre-Prohibition cocktails made with fresh ingredients (juices, fruits, etc), kold-draft ice, infused spirits, but shys away from the typical speak easy formula. It is a more egalitarian setting that gets the drinks right but checks exclusivity at the door. Recently, it was voted # 15 on GQ's Top 25 Cocktail Bars in America list. Loungerati's barfly correspondent and gal about town Zoe, happened to be in town and made a beeline for the "Anvil."

Zoe's report
My friend and I arrived early enough to get a seat at the fairly large L-shaped bar. The back bar was well stocked with top brands and we liked the exposed brick. The place was not exactly cozy as some of the New York style lounges. The rock music was blaring, the wooden bar chairs a bit stiff, and the clientele seemed to be an even mix of drinks aficionados and an affluent crowd ordering vodka tonics. Don't get me wrong, there was a fun vibe in the air. Four bartenders worked the long bar, answering patrons questions, taking orders, and meticulously crafting cocktails. They had no problem making vodka tonics or whatever the customers ordered, but did try to offer alternatives to broaden their horizons.

I ordered an Eastside cocktail, which is a cousin of the Southside with the addition of muddled cucumber. My friend had a frothy Pisco sour.  The cocktails were well balanced and perfectly executed. I really enjoyed the addition of cucumber to  the Southside formula, obviously Hendrick's is the natural choice of gin in this drink. Quality bar, attentive knowledgeable staff, well made cocktails, and a relaxed Texas atmosphere. What more can you ask for? Ok, maybe turn down the music a bit!

Some background from the bar's website.
"Anvil is located in a Bridgestone-Firestone tire store built in the late 1950’s. Designed and remodeled by the partners, the finished space reflects the same respect for history, elegant simplicity, and raw ingredients as the cocktails that are served there. The building was completely gutted, revealing original brick walls, high ceilings and industrial duct work, all of which remain untouched. Reclaimed materials and locally salvaged artifacts were discovered at antique stores and thrift shops and then retooled to craft the bar, shelving and tables. The result is a modern industrial design softened by the rich, recycled natural materials that furnish Anvil. Even the glassware is vintage, reminiscent of grandmother’s fancy glasses, all unearthed at small local stores."
East Side Cocktail
2 oz of Hendrick's gin
1 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
8 mint leaves
2 slices cucumber

Tools: cocktail shaker or mixing tins, muddler, strainer, jigger, and ice cubes.

Gently muddle the mint and cucumber in the mixing tin, add liquid ingredients, ice, and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float thin slice of Cucumber as a garnish.
Their food and cocktail menu, includes 100 drinks you try before you die! They have 100 beers, with a dozen on tap and a constantly changing menu of small and large plates. Finally, a worthy cocktail destination with something for everyone in Houston!
Beers on Tap at the Anvil
Anvil Bar & Refuge
1424 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77006-2617
Phone: (713) 523-1622

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What We're Drinking: Do the Dutch with Bols Genever cocktails

The recipe for Bols Genever (the preeminent brand of Holland Gin) was created in 1820. Lucas Bols, the Dutch producer of Bols Genever, which has been distilling spirits since 1575 launched the modern version of this product in 2008. Since it's launch, Bols Genever has one numerous awards and has been adopted by mixologists from coast to coast. It is particular popular in punches and recreated of 19th century cocktails a la Jerry Thomas.

Bols Genever is made by triple distilling 50% malt wine and neutral grain spirits, then infusing juniper and natural flavors. It has a robust flavor profile with the malt and juniper balancing each other. It does not taste London dry gin, which should be pointed out to people who "hate gin." In fact, Holland gin is reminiscent of a whiskey and is delicious neat, in sours, or mixed drinks.

According to spirits historian David Wondrich's book Imbibe!, Holland Gin, or Genever, was the only variation of gin that Americans drank  or even knew for most of the 19th century. Six times as much Holland gin was imported than it's British cousin. It was only in the period leading up to the fin de siecle that London Dry Gin became the predominant juniper based spirit. So one can surmise that the Martini's ancestor, the Martinez was actually made with Holland gin. This version of the Martinez was first mixed for me by barkeeper Nate Dumas, who worked at Clover Club in Brooklyn:
The Martinez
1 oz Bols Genever 
2 oz Carpano Antica Formula vermouth
1 tsp of Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1 dash of Bitter Truth "Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter" Bitters

Tools: Bar glass, bar spoon, strainer, jigger, swiss peeler, and ice cubes

Combine ingredients in bar glass, add ice, stir 20-30 seconds until chilled. Strain into cocktail glass, and garnish with lemon peel.
Below are some basic Bols Genever cocktails to get you started. They are sorted by the experience of the drinker.

Novice: Never had Holland Gin before? Unsure how to drink it? Start off easy with a mixed drink like a John Collins, which is the original ancestor of the Tom Collins.
John Collins
2 oz Bols Genever
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Soda water

Tools: Mixing tin, Hawthorne strainer, jigger, Collins glass, and ice cubes

Combine all ingredients except soda water in mixing tins, add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain over ice cubes into a Collins glass, top off with soda water. Garnish with lemon wedge.
Where to get it: White Star (21 Essex Street, NY, NY 10002)

Veteran: This recipe by provided to me by Frank Cisneros, Bols Genever Brand Ambassador and bartender at Dram Bar in Brooklyn. If you enjoy Old Fashioneds, you should be ordering this libation. 
Improved Holland Gin Cocktail  
2 oz Bols Genever
1/8 tsp Absinthe (I used Herbsaint)
1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1/4 oz simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters 

Tools: Bar glass, bar spoon, strainer, jigger, swiss peeler, and ice cubes

Combine ingredients in bar glass, add good solid ice and stir until well chilled. Strain the mixture over a 2 " square ice cube in a frosted old fashioned glass. Garnish with fresh lemon peel.
Where to get it: Dram (177 S. 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11211)

Lounger: Fitzgerald suit - check. Pocket square in perfect Presidential - check. cuff links showing ... just enough - check. Lounging against the bar and want to change up the usual - check out this sublime variation of a gin sour which was the signature drink of the old New York Holland House bar.
Holland House Cocktail
1 3/4 oz of Bols Genever
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
3/4 oz Noilly Pratt dry vermouth

Tools: Mixing tins, Hawthorne strainer, Fine strainer, jigger, bar spoon, swiss peeler, and ice cubes

Combine ingredients in mixing tins and add ice, shake rigorously for 10-12 seconds until well chilled, double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel - releasing the citrus oils over the drink before adding to the mix.
Where to get it: Louis 649 (649 East 6th Street, NY, NY 10009)

Professional: At this point you are well acquainted with Holland gin cocktails and use it in punches, Martinez cocktails, etc. You like the stuff so much that you are going back to basics, imbibing it neat in a Dutch tulip glass, with a beer chaser. In Dutch, this tradition is known as the Kopstootje (or mini-headbutt). David Wondrich's Esquire article explains how to execute it in five easy steps:
1. Put tulip glass on the table.
2. Pour a small glass (6 to 8 oz) of beer (a pilsner like Grolsch should due) and put it near the tulip glass.
3. Pour chilled genever carefully into tulip glass until it's so full that the top bulges.
4. Bending from the waist, take the first, generous sip of the genever.
5. Straighten up and have a sip of the beer.
Where to get it: Dram, find Frank, he'll head butt you.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apologies I've Been Moonlighting

Apologies that I have been remiss in my Loungerati posting. I have been guest blogging the Happy Hour column at foodie website Umamimart for the past two weeks. Here links to my two articles:

The Bensonhurst Cocktail

Paper Plane Cocktail

This month I will be sampling Bols Genever, Averna, and Barenjager liqueurs in my cocktails among many others.