Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Henry Jones Sidecar

Laura was not only our hostess for the Sidecar Soiree, she made one of the evening's best drinks. Here's the way Laura described her sidecar, The Henry Jones: 
My drink was a decedent, feminine twist to the classic sidecar.  I wanted to evoke the warmth and the simplicity of the original, but add a creamy and seductive component.  The meringue topping's vanilla aroma gave the sidecar a new, soft, luxurious layer.  It's a familiar smell that beckons all around it to taste.  Much like a woman, it's hard to put your lips on it once.
The name, by the way comes from the father of Indiana Jones, who in the Last Crusade, rode around with Indiana in a sidecar.

Judges tasting notes for the Henry Jones include, "smooth", "cream and orange are classic", "nice classic with a flair", "great presentation", "enjoyed the way the citrus cut through the egg white", "the meringue topping is spectacular - the hint of vanilla at the end is great", and the quote that is certain to make it into the marketing collateral, "the alcoholics lemon meringue!"

1 oz Cognac
1 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 oz Pasteurized Egg Whites
1 tbs Powered Sugar
1/4 tsp Cream of Tarter
1/4 tsp Pure Vanilla Abstract


1. Fill a martini glass with ice, set aside.

2. Combine cognac, grand marnier and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 5-10 seconds.

3. In a separate chilled bowl, combine egg whites, powdered sugar, cream of tarter and vanilla. Whisk until frothy but still pourable.

4. Take reserved martini glass and dump out ice.
5. Fill empty glass with shaker contents.
6. Top drink with meringue topping.

This drink, particularly the topping, is incredibly tasty and easy to drink. So easy you'll want a few!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Ginger Sidecar

The Ginger Sidecar was the Society's Sidecar Soiree judges' choice.  I'd been seeing the Domaine de Canton in some of the better bars around DC for awhile, and after tasting it, I was hooked.  And, since Canton is cognac based, I thought it made for a great taste to build a sidecar around.  Balancing the ginger with citrus and sweet took a bit of experimentation, but this turned out to be a good drink and a frequent request of my guests.

Judges tasting notes for the Ginger Sidecar include, "delicious with a twist", "excellent presentation", "ginger was an excellent POP", "very smooth", "clean and crisp", "perfect for a beachside evening", and "the ginger is nice and subtle - not overpowering but enough to be interesting".

3/4 oz Cognac (I used Hennessy VSOP)
1 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton ginger infused cognac
1 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz blue curacao (see comments below)
3 good shakes of Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters
Brown sugar and white sugar rim
Zest of Lime, fresh ginger, and Candied Ginger to finish

1.  Fill a martini glass with ice to chill.

2.  Combine Cognac, Canton, lime juice, Blue Curacao, and Blood Orange Bitters in a shaker.
3.  Shake vigorously over ice for at least 20 seconds.
4.  Empty ice from martini glass and use fresh sliced ginger to wet the rim of the glass (instead of a lemon).  Rim the glass with brown sugar and white sugar mix.

5.  Add a thin slice of fresh ginger to the bottom of the glass.  Pour sidecar into glass.  Zest fresh lime onto mixture.

6.  Garnish with swizzle stick with candied ginger.

Now, here's the thing about the Ginger Sidecar....well, it uses Blue Curacao.  Aside from having the required orange flavor, I was really going for Presentation and Shizzle points with the blue cocktail.  If you have a blue event, it's a good way to go.  But honestly, it's a better drink if you use Patron Citronge instead of curacao.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Society #2: Sidecar Soirée Round-up

The second meeting of The Society took place on Friday, April 3rd at the Sherman Residence.  The Sidecar Soirée was a huge success.  Not only did we draw four more members, the drink itself offered so many opportunities for experimentation and....well, Shizzle, that the night was full of surprises and fun.

First, a note about The Rules.  Rule #1 in the Society Charter is the most poignant and the most important:
(1) There are no losers, for we will all be drinking.
This rule was in full force at the Sidecar Soirée, as the pictures show!  Everyone came out to make their best Sidecar, but the buzzy fun and joie de vivre of the event made everyone a winner.

The Sidecar Soirée yielded six amazing interpretations of the cocktail ranging from a purist Sidecar revival to extravagant modern interpretations. In all each of the six drinks were amazing and I expect to drink alot of Sidecars in the future.

Society #2 came with an awful lot of flair which, in Society terms, we refer to as Shizzle.  Although drink scoring is heavily weighted towards Taste (6 of 10 points) and Presentation (3 of 10), gaining that point for Shizzle is not only important to the overall score, it's also the most fun point to win.  Our newest members, Colleen, Ryan, Meredith, and Scott, not only made excellent Sidecars, their Shizzle set a high bar as you shall see as we post each drink over the coming weeks. 

So, without further ado, here are the drinks from Society #2: Sidecar Soirée as ranked by the judges:

Mixologist:  Bryan (with Sous Chef Louise)

Mixologist:  Laura

Drink: Sidecar Nouveau
Mixologist: Meredith and Scott

Drink: Patriot
Mixologist:  Colleen and Ryan

Drink: Fly Car
Mixologist:  Ellis and Zoe

Drink:   Classic Sidecar
Mixologist:  Michael

Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is what it looks like at the end of the night......  Good times!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A few thoughts about Shizzle

Shizzle is a fairly new concept in cocktail culture, but it is quickly spreading and is all the rage in Omaha, Waterloo, and even Tampa. Despite its recent popularity, it is not well understood among novices or pros. This short note is intended to clear up a few misconceptions about Shizzle so that we can all appreciate it better.

Shizzle is not about Taste.  Taste is all about the flavor, strength, spiciness, sweetness and overall yumminess of a drink.  This, of course, is the most important characteristic of a cocktail.

Shizzle is not about Presentation.  Presentation is all about how the drink looks in the glass, how it is garnished, its color, maybe even the way it is prepared and served.

No, Shizzle is something more.  It is about the completely unexpected. ALL good drinks should look nice and taste great.  A drink with Shizzle makes a sound.  Or it has flames shooting out.  It has a neon glow.  Or a fish swimming in it.  Something that goes well beyond anything you can reasonably expect.

And thus, Shizzle points are not gimme points.  They must be hard won points reserved for something spectacular.  If you've been there and done that before, there is no Shizzle.  If you can buy it in the liquor store, there is no Shizzle.  If, on the other hand, there's a smile that won't go away and if you can't stop saying, "Wow," we have found that most holy of all cocktail characteristics.....we have been served a bit of Shizzle.  Imbibe!!!