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Martini Mod: The Alexandre.

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The Alexandre

If you know your martini lore, you know that circa 1906, a dash of orange bitters was part of the standard recipe of a classic 3:1 dry gin martini. I swapped the orange bitters today with a 1/4 ounce of Grand Marnier (French orange cognac liqueur) and it is fantastic. I call it the Alexandre, in honor of Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle. No olives needed in this recipe, though in a few days I’ll be trying the castelvetrano olive flamb√© recipe I found.

Raspberry Fizz.

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Still one of my favorite labors of love, cocktail-wise: A Raspberry Fizz, this time made with French Chambord topped with champagne. The lovely creaminess comes from a raw egg white that is separately dry shaken (no ice) with lemon juice and powdered sugar (to chemically cook) before being added to a Chambord-lined coup glass (my mod) and topped with champagne. Please note: if you’re not comfortable using raw eggs for cocktails, pasteurized egg whites (and yolks) can be found in any decent grocery store.

 

Gin Tasting Notes: Spirit Hound Distillers Gin

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Spirit Hound Distillers Gin

The next in my ongoing gin tasting series is Spirit Hound Distillers Gin, produced just down the road in Lyons, and comes recommended to me by at least two people. It’s produced with locally grown “juniper berries, anise, fennel, clove, and cinnamon.” However, the anise overpowers all else in this gin, so if you like anise, then I’ve got a gin for you. Strongly reminiscent of absinthe (but with none of the fun), it transforms a 4:1 clean martini into a taste close to Nyquil. Even the best vermouth cowers in the corner with this gin. If you prefer your martinis dirty, you’ll still grimace with every sip. So unless this gin proves awesome in my champagne cocktails, I’ll be assigning it to my emergency medical supplies as disinfectant.

TV Dinners.

Living off TV dinners and take-out for 3 days, I’m reminded of things I regularly forget:

1) Commercial food photography is amazing. The savory pictures on these TV dinner boxes are such a flaunt of truth in advertising laws that it’s breathtaking. Please come take my picture, too – if I look half as good as that picture of pot roast, I’ll be the talk of the town.

2) Home cooking is awesome, even if it is exhausting. When “I’ll just pour some gin into my leftover lemonade” becomes a better dinner option, you know you’ve been consuming some seriously shady shit.

You’re Doing it Wrong.

You’re Doing it Wrong.

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Well, golly! The elliptical cup holder perfectly fits a martini! Was I supposed to be looking at the display on this thing? Because that’s where my android TV keyboard goes. Those TV shows won’t watch themselves. I believe this whole setup is called “You’re doing it wrong.” Or right. I’m not sure.

Garlic Crusted Beef Cross Rib Roast.

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Garlic Crusted Roast Beast.

Roast beast, roast duck, gin cocktail… it’s working. Glad to be done cooking! Recipe: Beef roast, small or medium. Chop thyme and rosemary and add to 4 large cloves of crushed garlic. Mix with 4 tablespoons of fine sea salt and add olive oil to cover the mixture. Spread the whole goopy mess over your raw roast, all sides and bottom. Put in oven uncovered in a pan and roast on 425F for about 30 minutes, or until only the thickest part of the center is still tender (if you want some nice medium rare). I’d give you a thermometer reading, but I broke mine a long time ago.

Gin Tasting Notes: Hendrick’s Gin.

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Hendrick’s Gin, Scotland

It’s gin sampling day again, and I have finally acquired the top shelf gin, Hendrick’s, from Scotland (and now reason #479 to visit Scotland). This is the magnum opus of gins. With eleven botanicals, including an infusion of Bulgarian rose petals, it puts the army of gins I’ve tried to absolute shame. By itself in my glass, it’s a pure epiphany from the first drop, as in a what-have-I-been-drinking-before-this revelation. In a clean 4:1 martini, it’s genius; in a dirty martini, it’s brilliant. Usually strong personality gins make terrible martinis, but this is a remarkable exception. It’s Tchaikovksy’s 1st symphony.

As usual, the bottle of Noilly Pratt is there to remind any martini enthusiasts that if they’re still mixing martinis with Martini & Rossi vermouth, pour that crap down the drain, and get serious.