Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Daddy-O's Martinis Blog: The waning of wine in Los Angeles

Daddy-O's Martinis Blog: The waning of wine in Los Angeles: As more adults are enjoying such libations as side cars, juleps, and the carefully crafted drinks of local known mixologists, such as Tyler ...

The waning of wine in Los Angeles

As more adults are enjoying such libations as side cars, juleps, and the carefully crafted drinks of local known mixologists, such as Tyler Dow, Greg Bryson and Audrey Saunders wine sales continue to decrease in Los Angeles.  I see lots of wine bars but not filled with that many patrons. On the other hand, if I go to places such as Drago Centro, Historia Del Piccalo or Neat bar it's usually filled to capacity with customers desiring a great cocktail with several ingredients can be recreated,Wine however can not be reduplicated because of complexity of grape, region and temperature.

The trend for pre and prohibition style cocktails is steadily gaining momentum that wine sommeliers are going to have to make some changes at their own venues and add cocktails or fall to the wayside. Being a wine snob is no longer in vogue just like a vodka snob over 10 years ago. Make way, the rise of craft cocktail is not just a trend but like so many top chef style establishments, liquid cooking is here to stay.

Cheers and God bless,

John Apodaca

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Champagne Julep

When the clock strikes midnight and the glasses are raised to bring in the new year, what drink will you have to be toasting with?  Rather than than plain champagne, why not have the bartender make you a champagne julep.

The drink is a cousin of the traditional mint julep but with a bit of the bubbly to add flavor and make it more of a celebratory cocktail for new years and other occasions. Like with cooking, the quality of ingredients used can either make or break a drink. I strongly recommend using better grades of bourbon, such as Buffalo Trace, Wood ford reserve or Bullet along with champagne such as Moet or Veuve Clicquot.

This drink is a winner and I wish you and yours a very happy and prosperous new year.

God bless and cheers,

John Apodaca

Chamagne Julep

1 1/2 - 2 oz of Bourbon
1/2 oz simple syrup
5 - 7 mint leaves
Champagne ( dry)
mint sprig for garnish

Muddle mint leaves with simple syrup at the bottom of a julep cup or Collins glass.  Add bourbon, crushed ice and top off with champagne. Swizzle until glass or cup is frosted and garnish with a mint sprig.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sassafras Bar now open

I had the pleasure of going to a soft opening of Sassafras bar in Hollywood. As I walked in, it reminded me of being in New Orleans, very southern themed with sitting parlors, lamps with fringe, a taxidermist bear, worn walls and above the bar is a dry cleaning rack with barrel aged cocktails that rotates. I tried several of the house cocktails and if your a bourbon lover like me I do recommend the Sassafras Royal, Peppercorn Cobbler and the Toasted Pecan Julep for starters. 

Sassafras was started by the 1933 Group which also brought about Oldfields liquor room, Bigfoot lodge, Thirsty Crow to name a few. If your taste is for a good cocktail, without having to instruct a bartender how to make it this is the place for you and some friends to check out. If your not sure what to order, they have a menu you can choose from or they have build a buck which you choose your choice of spirit along with their housemade ginger beer. If you're hungry,  they have food such as jambalaya, Cajun cheese medallions with grilled jalapenos, and short-rib sliders marinated in coke.  If you're looking to get out and try someplace new, stop by Sassafras bar and bring someone with you. 

God bless and Cheers,

John Apodaca 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Manhattan Cocktail vs. the Manhattan

The Manhattan Cocktail that is being served today is quite a different recipe from its former glory days in the latter half of the nineteenth century.  The cocktail in it's original first appeared in books such as how to mix drinks as well as Harry Johnson's 1882 Bartenders Manual.  The forgotten recipe has a higher ratio of sweet vermouth than we know today along with orange Curacao, Boker's bitters and served straight up with a lemon twist.  Cherry's in Manhattans came much later as our cultural drinking habits changed.  

I've tried this version and prefer it much more than the contemporary Manhattan.  I've met others that said they've ordered Manhattans and thought they didn't like the drink but had they tried this cocktail they would have added it to their black book of favorite drinks.  I stress to use quality ingredients as opposed to what's less expensive otherwise you'll end up with drink that's not palatable. 

God bless and Cheers,

John Apodaca 

Manhattan Cocktail 

1 1/2 Rittenhouse 100-proof rye
1 3/4 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth 
1/2 oz  Orange Curacao 
Dash of Boker's bitters
Lemon Peel for Garnish

Place ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously and serve in a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon peal for garnish. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Charles Dickens was right when it comes to Punch!

Punches have made a big come back in the last few years within the craft cocktail movement.  These punches are not like the ones you may have saw your father and mother put together pouring various liquors in a punch bowl with some fruit and having guests flinch at every sip until they had so much of it didn't matter after a while.   

A lot of recipes can be found in the Book Punch by David Wondrich which I mentioned in an earlier article. I recently went on a punch crawl in Hollywood last Monday and visited four bars that had some great tasting concoctions made up by skilled bartenders. If your not sure about where to get some great tasting punches I suggest starting with the book Punch by David Wondrich and try the Charles Dickens punch which is a warm punch and is actually lit on fire at one point in order to caramelize the lemons.   

Dickens is a noted writer as well as connoisseur of punches and even mentions them in his books, especially in The Pickwick Papers. One of his recipes was later named after him in a letter he wrote to a Mrs. F ( Ameilia F. Austin Fillonau) in 1847.  I tried this when I had a cold and it really helped me to feel better.  

John Apodaca 

Charles Dickens Punch 

Recipe for 8 cups of punch:

Rinds of 3 lemons cut very thin (as little of the white pith on them as possible)
Juice of 3 lemons (the ones you took the rinds off of)
6 oz sugar (demerara preferable, but any will do)
16 oz medium bodied rum
10 oz cognac
40 oz boiling water

Add the lemon rinds, sugar, rum and cognac to a medium size pot.  Place pot on the stove and heat the mixture over low heat until warm, then turn off the burner.  Take a tablespoon full of the alcohol from the pot and light it.  If the alcohol is warm enough this should be easy, if too cool then it will take a few tries.  Once the spoon is lit, transfer it to the pot setting the mixture on fire.  This may take a few tries (it did for me).  Don't worry, the mixture won't explode - it should burn with a low blueish flame.  Leave the mixture lit for at least 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it heats evenly.  Extinguish the flame by putting the lid on the pot.  Pour in the lemon juice and boiling water and stir well.  Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir again before serving.  If the punch is still not sweet enough to your liking, add more sugar slowly so as not to over sweeten.  Keep the mixture warm throughout the evening over a low flame.  If planning on letting it simmer for a few hours, as during a dinner party, then remove half the lemon rinds before letting it simmer.  The rinds will start to make the punch bitter over time.  The remaining punch (if there is any) may be stored in the refrigerator and served over ice.   

Thursday, December 29, 2011

French 75 is a great way to ring in the New Year!

New years is just a few days away and many are wondering what types of drinks to serve.  Besides the usual glass of plain champagne why not put a new twist on it by serving the French 75 that will leave your guests craving for more.

The cocktail was named after the French 75 millimeter field gun of 1897 which became the main heavy artillery of world war I.  This recipe is  the more memorable of two different drinks using the same name and will be a hit at your New years eve party.

God bless and Cheers,

John Apodaca 

 French 75

2 oz of Gin 
1 oz of fresh lemon juice
2 tsp of powdered sugar

Shake all ingredients except the champagne in a cocktail shaker with ice and pour into a flute glass top with champagne and and stir gently. Garnish with a thin spiral of lemon peel.