Post by Warren Bobrow

Did it take a trip to Santa Fe to learn to love Tequila? Yes it did. Instead of a morning Mimosa at brunch, the drink of choice will now be a freshly juiced lime, woven carefully with excellent Tequila. Why Tequila? Well, the flavor of the West is that of the Agave. There is nothing quite like the bracing acidity of citrus first thing in the morning,

Tequila is the product of the Mexican people.  It speaks clearly of the arid nature of the land, the concentrated flavors of the agave fruit and the passion of the cask that gently ages the spirit, sometimes for months on end.

Tequila comes in several varieties:  Blancos, Reposados and Anejos.

Blanco is also known as silver, white or plata.  These are the “moonshine” of the Tequila world.

Reposados are aged on oak for a minimum of 60 days.  Reposados are nutty, earthy and tinged with flavors of wood smoke, sage brush and citrus fruits.

Anejos are aged on oak for a minimum of 1 year.  Anejos are more expensive than Blanco because of the time they rest in the cask.  It takes time and therefore expense to age these emotional spirits.

What would you say if I told you that Arrogante Anejo is aged for a minimum of 18 months in cask? Would you be intrigued?  I am.  This is Tequila on steroids.  More akin to a fine sipping bourbon than a fire driven shot, Arrogante is just too easy to drink.  And there is the rub.  Good luck finding it!

And if you need more encouragement to the quality of this highly expressive spirit, just ask Anthony Dias Blue.  He awarded the Anejo 93 points!  I’m not usually a point score guy though.  I think if you like something and you drink it, all the better.  Who really cares what someone else says.  At the end of the day, it’s about your pleasure.  Not someone who may have tasted 25 different varieties that day.  Can you say palate fatigue?  I sure can having judged sugar cane spirits at the Ministry of Rum.  But I digress.  I just love the expressive nature of Tequila and how it makes me feel inside.  Buzzed?  Certainly.  Trouble?  Perhaps.  Danger?  Absolutely.

But remember, this is not rock-gut Tequila from the years past.  This is highly expressive liquor worthy of your muster.  Try some in a snifter, without ice.  I prefer mine that way unless I’m weaving it into a cocktail.  Cocktail?  Did someone say drinks?????

My friend Eleanor Leger is making an absolutely GORGEOUS Apple based BITTER liquor that I just am gaga over.  Normally my go/to for bitter mixers is either Campari or Aperol.  The Bitter from Eden Ice Cider Company may well be the most intriguing and satisfying NEW flavor to hit the market in recent memory.

When I learned that apples are a major crop in New Mexico, it got my taste buds tingling.  Not just tingling, but down right salivating.  Apples are a favorite flavor of mine in cocktails.  I like mine cut into slices, then grilled over hard wood coals or seared in a cast iron pan.  This act of heating the crunchy fruit changes the way I think about apples.

Would I mix an apple based BITTER liquor with Tequila from Arrogante?

ABSOLUTELY!!!

But what about sheer flavor?  I add a bit of the Barr Hill Gin to this mix to add depth.  Sure there is enough potency from both the Arrogante and the Apple Bitter, but this gin- distilled with honey is just the thing for this cocktail.  I think you will concur.  This is not a mash-up of flavors- it is a carefully measured cup of love.

You know from my writing that ice is one of the most important ingredients in a mixed drink.  The ice to liquor level is essential to flavor and the character of the final product.  Ice is not only meant to melt, changing the profile of a drink, but it is also meant to cool a cocktail.  I’ve found that Mavea in Germany manufactures a water filtration pitcher worthy of your muster.  If you seek this magic in your glass of water, point your browser towards their lovely site, filled with interesting suggestions for the use of “Inspired Water” ice.  You might not agree with me on the method, but I will tell you straight out.  Inspired Water is water with a soul.  Can water have a soul?  I believe it can.  And this translates into the quality of the drinks that you make.

The Georgia O’Keefe Cocktail  Serves two parched seekers of flavor

Ingredients:
3 oz. Arrogante Anejo or your choice of super premium Tequila
1 oz. Barr Hill Gin (from Vermont)
2 oz. Eden Bitter or your choice of bitter liquor
3 oz. Freshly crushed apple juice, strained
6 drops exactly- Bitter End Memphis Barbeque Bitters
1 rosemary sprig
Ice made from the Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher, frozen with both lime and lemon zests (zest lemons and limes directly into an ice cube tray, then freeze as normal)

Preparation:
-To a Boston shaker turned upsides down, light the rosemary sprig on fire, letting the fragrant smoke fill the inside of the shaker
-Add the liquors and the apple juice in one side of the shaker.  In the other side of the shaker fill 3/4 with regular ice
-Shake hard for 20 seconds
-Add 2-3 large citrus infused MAVEA ice cubes to rocks glass
-Strain the expressive liquors into your short rocks glass with a coarse salt crusted rim
-Garnish with a small sprig of rosemary and 3 drops of the Memphis Barbeque Bitters over the top of this salty delight!
-Sip and dream of the desert!

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Post by Warren Bobrow

Ingredients
Tenneyson Absinthe (for the glass wash)
5 oz. (150 ml) Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
2 tablespoons (23 g) dark brown sugar simple syrup
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Vanilla Extract
5 oz. (150 ml) Milk
2 oz. (60 ml) Heavy Cream
Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters ice
(Note: I filter my water through a Mavea Inspired Water pitcher then drop the 6 drops of these expressive bitters right into the ice cube tray and then freeze as normal.)

Preparation (for 2 highly potent reminders of the night prior)
-Wash two Burgundy-style glasses with about a shot of Tenneyson Absinthe and ice/water to chill down and wash the glasses
-Pour out the wash (right into your mouth, why waste good liquor?) when glasses are nice and frosty
-This is a stirred drink so add to a beaker about 1/2 fill of regular ice

-Add:
Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
Vanilla Extract
Dark brown sugar simple syrup
Ice Cold Fresh Milk
Heavy Cream

-Stir to combine
-Add the Bitter End Mexican Mole’ infused ice cubes to each glass
-Pour the milk, cream and bourbon mixture over the ice
-Scrape some fresh nutmeg over the top and sip slowly (essential!)

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Post by Warren Bobrow

Martin Miller’s Gin is one of the most unexpected pleasures that has touched my lips in recent memory. Perhaps the method of blending the distillate from England with the purest water on earth has something to do with it? I think so. The water from Iceland is just so luscious that you cannot imagine drinking anything else so unadulterated.

Martin Miller’s is a super-premium gin distilled in England and blended with the world’s most pure source of water, Icelandic spring water. Six botanicals and three citrus fruits are used in the distillation process: juniper, cassia bark, coriander seed, angelica root, licorice root, florentine iris, Seville orange, lemon and lime. The botanicals and citrus fruits are distilled separately to create a fresh, clean taste that no other gin can match. The finished spirit is soft, citrusy, with juniper appearing on the mid-palate.

I’m sitting in front of the fireplace right now. Also in front of me are over twenty bottles of Artisanal gin. My new favorite is the London Dry from Martin Miller’s Gin. This is truly exotic stuff. Upon opening the handsome bottle I detect immediately the scent of cucumbers. Not just any cucumber but an especially aromatic variety. This gin doesn’t need to be mixed – it’s got all the stuffing right inside. I’m absolutely blown away by the softness of the nose – coupled with that unmistakable aroma of the cucumber. I got to thinking – when was the first time that I smelled this quality of gin?

Hendrick’s does a cucumber and rose scented gin that I like very much. This gin from Martin Miller is a very sophisticated and dare I say sensual slurp of liquid pleasure. The cucumber is right there in the foreground. You cannot miss it. I’m almost shocked by the depth of the vegetable aroma and flavor. White chocolate notes follow up immediately – then those little tobacco flowers that only bloom at night. Suddenly there is an attack of herbs and spices as they come quickly into view. I’m just blown away by the finish – it goes on and on and… on.

I thought I would introduce a new cocktail too. Gin and citrus come to mind. Charred grapefruit juice is in my view because for some reason when we need citrus the most it’s wintertime.

To make this cocktail you must be ready to take your palate to another place. In this case, the drink is Martini-like but not a Martini. Sure it has Vermouth, but Carpano Antica is sweet Vermouth. I like using it in this drink instead of using a dry; it has a more assertive, robust flavor.

There is the slightly crispy grapefruit bringing up the rear with a healthy burst of citrus and the burn from the char. The Bitter End Bitters are a spicy reminder that all bitters are not sweet. This cocktail requires something deeply grounding.

I love working with great ingredients and you should too, good ingredients just taste better!

The Fat Tuesday Gin Twist

Makes two invigorating cocktails.

Ingredients:
-2 oz. Martin Miller’s London Dry Gin
-1 oz. Carpano Antica
-3 oz. Grilled grapefruit juice (Heat a sauté pan and char chunks on all sides lightly, cool completely, then juice)
-Several cucumber chunks
-Several lime chunks
-Several slightly charred pink grapefruit chunks
-Fresh mint carefully picked over
-Excellent Seltzer water like Perrier Pink Grapefruit
-4 Drops Bitter End Thai Bitters
-Lemon zest infused Ice made with filtered water from a MAVEA “Inspired Water” Pitcher. (Essential)

With your Mavea pitcher – filter water, fill an ice cube tray, then zest a couple lemons over the tray. Freeze overnight. Use in all your cocktails.

Preparation:
1. Muddle a couple cucumber chunks with lime chunks and grilled grapefruit chunks until they are well mashed together, releasing their secrets – the citrus oils and liquefied juices.
2. Add 3 oz. grilled grapefruit juice and a few sprigs of fresh mint.
3. Continue to muddle.
4. Add the Martin Miller’s Gin.
5. Add the Carpano Antica.
6. Fill the shaker ¾ with ice and shake for exactly 13.5 seconds.
7. Place several lemon zest “Inspired Water” ice cubes into a Collins glass.
8. Double strain the Martin Miller’s Gin concoction over the top of the ice.
9. Splash a few hits of the Perrier Pink Grapefruit Sparkling water over the shaken liquors.
10. Drip exactly 4 drops of the Bitter End Bitters over the top.
11. Garnish with fresh mint and a cucumber wheel.

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Post by Warren Bobrow

I think one of the most lovely alcoholic flavors that I’ve ever tasted is the Orleans Apple Aperitif comes from my friend Eleanor Leger in Vermont. In fact between Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont, Barr Hill- also from from Vermont and Orleans apple aperitif, my taste buds have become completely in love with Vermont. Maybe I should visit? Is Vermont trying to tell me something?

One of my favorite cocktails is the Negroni. The recipe is simple. 1 part gin, 1 part Campari, 1 part sweet Vermouth. That’s it! I played around with the Negroni today and found that the Campari is lovely and the usual London Style gin is beguiling. What I didn’t expect is that in place of the Campari, I used the new Orleans Bitter. What is Orleans Bitter? It it a combination of flavors from sweet to tangy to bitter. The sweet comes from apple ice wine. The tangy from red currants and the bitter from dandelion, gentian and finally, angelica. All these bitter herbs and flowers come from Urban Moonshine (TM) also in… you guessed it… Burlington, Vermont.

I’m fortunate to have friends in Vermont. I’m sure if I did a taste tour of the state it would be a buzzy affair!

Today I played around with the classic cocktail known as the Negroni. Named after Count Negroni – who liked his cocktails bitter and strong, the Negroni is a combination of sweet, bitter and strong.

I have in front of my an additional ingredient. That is Tenneyson Absinthe. I did an Absinthe wash in my glass first. Not that there wouldn’t be enough alcohol. I’m buzzed just thinking of this combination. Be careful and you will be buzzed too. Find the ingredients, like the Orleans artisinal cider made with care by masitre liquoriste Deidre Heekin, the gin made by Death’s Door in Wisconsin and the Vermouth from Carpano Antica. Make some filtered water ice using Mavea “Inspired Water”…. Stir your cocktail, DO NOT SHAKE IT… (don’t make my mistake)

Find yourself a glass that you connect with and wash it with Tenneyson Absinthe. Fill it with good ice using your Mavea pitcher for filtration. It’s worth it to use the best materials to make the best ingredients. Your ice is very important. Don’t forget that.

Orleans Negroni(esque) Orleans, Death’s Door and Carpano Negroni

Ingredients:
2 oz. Orleans Bitter
2 oz. Death’s Door Gin
2 oz. Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
1 oz. Tenneyson Absinthe (the wash)
Mavea “Inspired Water” Ice

Preparation:
-To a mixing vessel add the liquors with a handful of regular ice
-Mix with a bar spoon to chill, not dilute!! (thank you to Chris James for giving me this ‘heads up’)
-Pre-cool your rocks glass with equal parts Tenneyson Absinthe and water, then let cool- pour into your mouth (why waste good stuff?)
-Pour with a Hawthorne Strainer into a Rocks glass with a couple cubes of your “Inspired-Mavea” Ice

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A recipe by Warren Bobrow

Winter’s really beginning to settle in and there’s only one good way to warm yourself up…With a mix of inspired water and Spodee!

The Charleston Twisted Fizz

Ingredients:
1/3 bottle of Spodee
3 oz maple syrup
2 oz bourbon whiskey
2 oz Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
6 drops Bitter End Mexican Mole’ Bitters
Hand cut Mavea “Inspired Water” ice in large hunks

Preparation:
-Combine all ingredients in a Boston shaker
-Shake for 20 or so seconds
-Strain into Collins glasses with the Mavea ice
-Check for taste, add the Perrier Sparkling Water, then if desired add a couple drops of the Bitter End Mexican Mole’ bitters to finish over the top of each drink

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Post by Warren Bobrow

I’ve discovered over the past year that better water is possible. How? With the Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher that’s how. But how can a plastic container with a filter really give better water? Don’t I have to boil it first?

No… You do not. What the Mavea system does, is it unlocks the potential for better drinking water! The filter is proprietary. I can’t tell you what’s inside. Let’s just say that it’s magic!

From the sleek design of the “Made in Germany” filtration system to the soft in the mouth-feel as it caresses your palate, the Mavea is a must have if you’re serious about your water.

I just got a bottle of Templeton Rye Whiskey. It says right on the label, The Good Stuff. Rumor has it that Al Capone had a few bottle of this whiskey smuggled into jail for his enjoyment. I tend to think this is so. Templeton is the good stuff. It’s like a liquid rye bread sandwich. In this case, the sandwich is corned beef, chopped chicken livers, Cole Slaw and Russian dressing. I’m fascinated by this sandwich and every time I enjoy one, all I can think about is Rye Whiskey!

Is there something about Rye Whiskey that just screams out for the saltiness of corned beef? Or the sweet, savory flavor of chopped chicken livers?

I’m going to have to test this theory soon.

Down in Newark, NJ is a most unconventional deli. The name is Hobby’s. It’s in the former Jewish Ghetto. Now it’s just the ghetto. You can visit in the daylight hours. Don’t go at night, they’re not open.

Plus, it’s just not safe to venture down here at night. There is no reason for you to go at night. Trust me.

Hobby’s is one of two remaining Jewish delis in Newark, NJ.

Sad really, but still delicious after all these years.

I go there and usually enjoy a Dr. Browns Cel-Ray soda. Do you think they would mind if I added some Templeton’s Rye Whiskey to my Dr. Brown’s Soda?

There is something to be said for enjoying a sandwich and a drink. Don’t you agree?

Templeton’s Rye Whiskey is gorgeous stuff. Fat in the mouth, a long- rich finish. Sharp and cinnamon stick shaved over the toasted grains in the mid-section. Can you tell I love it?

If you asked me, I’d make sure that the ice that I use was made using the Mavea pitcher. It’s that important!

A fast and easy cocktail for your Rye Whiskey…
“The Good Stuff” and Cel-Ray Soda from Dr. Brown’s

Ingredients:
-Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray
-Templeton Small Batch Rye
-Mavea “Inspired Water” Ice

Preparation:
-Place a couple of Mavea “inspired water” ice cubes in a glass
-Add 2 oz. Templeton’s Rye and 4 oz. Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda
-Drink to one of the best tasting sandwiches anywhere in the world

And if you are taking a drink, make sure that you’re enjoying Templeton Rye.

If you can get yourself this glass do so!

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Post by Warren Bobrow

There are a couple of marvelous products available that bring the early ages of cocktail creation back into the present day. These are the products named Snap and Root. Snap is a liquid driven ginger snap and Root is what Root Beer tasted like before they took all the fun out of it.

Both products are made using USDA Certified Organic ingredients. Root is made of anise, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, spearmint, lemon, smoked black tea, wintergreen, clove, orange, nutmeg, sugar cane and birch bark. Doesn’t that sound inviting? Snap is made of blackstrap molasses, clove, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, rooibos tea, vanilla and pure cane sugar. I’m getting thirsty just thinking of these delightful liqueurs in a cup of hot tea.

Fact is, I’ve had the most powerful cold for the past week. It just swept me off my feet. Suddenly I couldn’t taste anything and the cold sweat seemed to come out of every pore in my body. I couldn’t get warm and strong medicine was necessary. Please meet Root and Snap.

I’m the kind of person who would rather unlock the past through healing preparations rather than trot down to the doctor for drugs, so into the liquor cabinet I went. First the proper water needed to be boiled. If you live in the city, your water is pretty good. My water is sourced from a well and is packed with minerals that leave a green haze on almost everything, due to the acidity of the water interacting with the copper pipes. I think that the water in a cocktail is one of the most important ingredients. If your water tastes like chlorine, the entire drink will be ruined, no matter what you do! May I suggest using a Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher? This marvel of German engineering takes your formerly unpalatable water and turns it into a thing of rare beauty. My Mavea filter imparts a certain softness to each precious sip of water.

So, may I suggest boiling “Inspired Water” for your hot Toddy? I think you’ll be very pleased. Also, and no less important, may I suggest making a couple trays of ice with the Mavea water? They freeze nearly crystal clear. How is that for making a statement in your glass?

Root is an authentic recreation of the root teas of olden times. Folk medicine practitioners to heal all sorts of maladies in the body originally prescribed Root teas. I’m not saying that Root will heal my cold, but given the ingredients it couldn’t hurt. And with an alcohol content of 80 Proof, well, you know what that means… a nice fuzzy feeling. After all, part of getting sick is getting better. I tend to feel better after getting a bit fuzzy. At least it makes going to sleep easier. Easier sleep means less complaining.

Snap tastes like a German Gingersnap cookie – or in this case the Amish Lebkuchen. The healing ingredients like ginger and cinnamon put the kibosh on colds like nobody’s business. If you are thinking medicinal bitters, you’re more than half-way there.

Hot tea is the analgesic mixed with Root and Snap. If you want to make the drink a bit sweeter, may I suggest using pure cane sugar or raw honey? You’d never want to use a corn syrup sweetener on this mug full of healing. It would defeat the purpose!

Colonial Toddy

Ingredients:
-Hot Tea
-Snap
-Root
-Mavea Filtered Water
-The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
-Raw Honey or Pure Cane Sugar

Preparation:
-Preheat a stout mug with boiling hot water, and then pour out
-Add a tablespoon of Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
-Add 1 oz. Root
-Add 1 ½ oz. Snap
-Top with the hot tea (made with Mavea Filtered Water)
-Adjust sweetness to taste
-Add a pat of butter over the top if desired for a certain savory character

I’m going to tell myself to feel better with this hot toddy!

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