Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sunset Cocktail: The Van Damme

2 oz. Rittenhouse Rye
1/2 oz. Cynar
1/2 oz. Chartreuse
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into an Olde Fashioned Glass with a cube or 2 of Ice. Garnish with an Orange Twist.

Though taken from an entry on and described as "Spawned from a gentleman who loved bitter-heavy rye cocktails and anything with a bad ass name", the recipe actually called for Old Grand-Dad Bourbon instead of, well, a true Rye. The first one I made with a Bourbon (Michter's) but as some one who also really likes, well "bitter-heavy rye cocktails and anything with a bad ass name" I swapped out the Bourbon for a Rye on the second try.

I Imagine I'll make another once Jean Claude's new pilot show, “Jean-Claude Van Johnson” hits Amazon. From The Hollywood Reporter: "Jean-Claude Van Johnson will star Van Damme as a version of himself — a famous actor and martial-arts pro who comes out of retirement to resume his alter-ego: an undercover private contractor by the name of Jean-Claude Van Johnson." Though I have to say that the best bit mentioned so far was, from /Film: "Van Johnson finds himself out of his prime. He can’t do the splits to avoid getting hit with a metal pipe, he’s depressed by the family photos in the holiday cards he gets sent by Dolph Lundgren, and he’s just not the man he used to be."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Week 29: Valkyria [52 Whispers From The Muse]


Overall Rating: 3.5
Appearance: 3.5
Louche: 3.0
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 3.5
Finish: 3.5
Overall: 4.0

Style: Verte    
ABV: 68%
Country: Sweden          
Distillery: Sankta Annas Bränneri

Appearance: A natural, clear and light olive green.
Louche: Quick and heavy. Thickly formed and near opaque when completed ending in an unambiguous light green.
Aroma: Very Anise forward with a distinct following of Wormwood and Mint. Not overly complex but very nice with candy-like tones.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Heavy flavor, sweet and floral with that still forward Anise. Minty Wormwood follows behind as the drink passes over the tongue like silk. I'd probably have given it a solid 4.0 if it were a little more revealing.
Finish: A sweetness lingers with a lingering Anise and Wormwood. A significant numbing prickles the tastebuds.
Overall: This is a really good Absinthe. Maybe not as complex as some but more pleasant to drink than many others. A solid offering from Sweden. I also have their Barrel Aged Valkyria, Valkyria Midvinterblot, and their Ratatosk Apple and Cinnamon Liqueur. All of them are lovely.

Sankta Annas Bränneri is listed as the first legal Absinthe distillery in Sweden and their addition to the world of Absinthe is outstanding. While not traditionally associated with The Green Fairy, both Sankta Annas Bränneri and Svensk Absint (Grön and Vit Opal Absinthes) have hit the ground running with their offerings.

Valkyria is named of course after the Valkyries of Norse legend with the Swedish spelling. On a couple of personal levels it hits me in the feels with some pride and, especially with this spelling, some melancholy.

Sunset Cocktail: Black Mirror

Black Mirror
3/4 oz. Butterfly Boston Absinthe
3/4 oz. Averna Amaro Siciliano
3/4 oz. Gomme Syrup
1 splash Green Chartreuse
1 dash Hella Bitters Ginger Lemon
Sprig Chocolate Mint

Stir everything with ice and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a straw.

I've been meaning to back through my social media posts and transfer a bunch of old Sunset Cocktail pics here. Mostly I wanted to gather up any originals or variations of cocktails that I came up with myself but I'm sure many of these will just be pretty pictures. So, if you've seen some of these before, you're one of the 5 people that follow me elsewhere.

This is a filch of The Broken Mirror which was appealing on a ridiculously warm day (at least in New England) as I think it’s supposed to be made in a Collins full of ice. Unlike all of the other Averna Black cocktails, this one didn’t originally have a Vermouth to switch out. Instead, I swapped out the Lime Juice.

There is mention of another Black Mirror variation of the Broken Mirror that is quite different than either this or the original. Not sure where they were going with it but but if I recall, it was a very tiki-like tropical drink that looked disgustingly sweet.

I don’t remember if I ever made a regular Broken Mirror before this but I think I will soon just to see how all of the shiny ice bits look with the greenness of the ingredients. The Black Mirror is tasty but way sweeter than the name or the show it’s named after. If I was going to design a cocktail based on the themes of the show I think it would be a Negroni of Extra Bitterness, a Boulevardier of Deeper Astringency or an Eeyore’s Requiem of Acerbic Despair.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Week 28: Redux [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Overall Rating: 3.8
Appearance: 3.5
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 3.5
Finish: 3.5
Overall: 4.0
Style: Verte
ABV: 65%
Country: USA Distillery: Golden Moon Distillery
Appearance: Deep olive green, natural and clear.
Louche: Extremely dynamic, thick, slow and full... damn sexy. Aroma: This is how you want an absinthe to smell, A nice Wormwood with solid Fennel and Anise. Pleasantly perfumes the area of the pour which becomes a bit more subdued after louche. Flavor/Mouthfeel: Again, a fine example of a well made Absinthe. Well balanced with a full mouthfeel. Despite the very thick louche, the Anise isn't overbearing and it's sweetness is subdued. Finish: Really pleasant Absinthe. A bit of a numbing and a wee bit of burn but that would probably be pullled back with a heavier dilution than 2.5:1.
Overall: A surprisingly fresh Absinthe that reminds me of a non-funky Jade. Another positive Absinthe from the US.

This is a respectable drink that, were it more readily available here in MA, could easily be a goto Absinthe for daily drinking and cocktails. Redux has a well balanced profile that would mix well in many drinks, especially in drinks that you want to keep the sweetness down.

Drink Up NY has these fore a really decent price, at the time I'm writing this review, If you don't live in a puritanical state like MA that restricts the shipping of spirits from state to state, it's worth picking up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Week 27: Absinthe Eichelberger 68 Limitée [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Absinthe Eichelberger 68 Limitée
Overall Rating: 3.7
Appearance: 3.5
Louche: 4.0
Aroma: 3.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 3.5
Finish: 4.0
Overall: 4.0
Style: Verte
ABV: 68%
Country: Germany Distillery: Eichelberger
Appearance: A rich green and well clear enough. Louche: Builds slow and thick with nice dense clouds ending is a very light pale green. Aroma: Lightly perfume Anise and Fennel, not room filling but very pleasant. As water is added the Wormwood comes forward really driving up the expectation of a complex taste. Flavor/Mouthfeel: The initial sip is very nice, Dry Wormwood rolls over the tongue with a peppery following of the rest of the trinity with a pleasant balance. Finish: Eichelberger 68 leaves you with a lasting earthiness and lingering Wormwood. There is a mild Anise sweetness that holds in the aftertaste way at the back of the throat.
Overall: Definitely a unique and spicy Absinthe unlike most French or Swiss Absinthes while still being a good, true Absinthe. Eichelberger 68 has a strong and complex flavor, not sweet and not compromising. If there was ever an Absinthe I would consider using sugar with, it would be this one. I don't know if I'd recommend it for someone new to Absinthe unless their tastes already lean to the bitter.
Eichelberger has several other bottles available that I'm eventually going to have to try. Along with the 68 Limitée they have an 80 and an 83.2 Blanche (I have a bottle of the 83.2 I still have to crack open and taste), a 78 Verte, and a 60 Verte Bio which is apparently their first to be designated as organic. Luckily, even with the organic label, it doesn't seem to be any more expensive that the 68 Limitée, Of course, all of the number designations relate to their alcohol content but I honestly don't know how that relates to the individual recipies or flavor profiles of each bottle. I just may have to get them all to find out.

Eichelberger 68 Limitée is distilled in Bavaria which is best known for it's beer brewing and BMWs. This Absinthe started its life as a challenge on a Greman Absinthe forum from members who were unsatisfied with the state of German Absinthe at the time. According to online sources, about 15 home made Absinthes were entered and the winner was later scaled up and then made into commercial production to become Eichelberger 68 Limitée (1)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Progression of a Sunset

 Sipped slowly...

Monday, July 4, 2016

Week 25 and 26: La Maison Fontaine [52 Whispers From The Muse]

La Maison Fontaine Verte/Blanche
Overall Rating: 3.8/4.0
Appearance: 4.0/4.0
Louche: 3.5/4.0
Aroma: 3.5/4.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 3.5/3.5
Finish: 4.0/4.0
Overall: 4.0/4.0

Style: Verte/Blanche
ABV: 55%/56%

Country: France Distillery: Emile Pernot

Appearance: Both the Verte and the Blanche are perfectly bright and free of any sediment or unclarity. The verte has a rich color that luckily hasn't seemed to have faltered even in the clear glass bottle. According to my history, I bought these bottles about a year and a half ago so it's holding very well.
Louche: The Verte formed quickly and ended in a nice, thinner pale green. The Blanche rolled thickly as the water poured and it ended as a thick pearly white. I was hoping to catch some blues but the show was pretty even without any colors.
Aroma: Here is where these start to get much different, aside from just being green and clear. The Verte was very Wormwood forward which gained an earthiness after louche. The Blanche was much sweeter, with a strong Anise along side the Wormwood in front of a floral I'm not experienced enough to recognize. It's much more complex than the Verte but they're both quite pretty in their own ways.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: The Verte holds on to that prominent Wormwood from the aroma. It's dry but quite distinguished. The rest of the trinity follows with rooty undertones. The Blanche is quite different, not shockingly bold, but, like the aroma, more complex, sweeter and more balanced.
Finish: A mild but beautiful bitterness lingers with the Verte, almost drying out the slightly numbed tongue. It has a kind of elegance actually. Wormwood is the last you hold onto with the Blanche as well but it's more like the last car on a train rolling by than the disquieted ghost that forgoes paradise to haunt until it's issues are resolved like the Verte.
Overall: They are both perfectly beautiful Absinthes. I remember getting them a while ago, being perfectly happy with the Blanche and liking the Verte, though at the time I don't think I appreciated the less-sweetness of it that I appreciate now. That last bit is pretty evident seeing as the bottle of Verte is still quite full despite arriving 16 months ago. My tastes have changed a bit and I really appreciate its dryness now but they're still a bit off of the radar here and there are so many other brands I need to get before I replenish these.

I'm now halfway through the year of reviews since doubling up this week caught me up to the full half year of reviews.

Sunset Cocktail: Green Jenkin

3/4 oz. James E Pepper 1776 Rye
3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz. Butterfly Boston Absinthe
1 bsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Hella Bitters Lemon Ginger

Build all the ingredients to a rocks glass. Fill with ice and stir.

A little while ago I changed the title of my blog from “Random Obsessions” to “Green Jenkin”. Now, Green Jenkin consolidates three of my most prevalent obsessions that I can share in polite society: Absinthe, Rats, and the works of H.P. Lovecraft. This can expand to All Booze, Pets, and the entirety of Science Fiction and Horror. All that’s left out is my debilitating uniform fetish.

It just seemed right that it get’s it’s own drink though I'll refrain from adding it to my Mythos Absinthe Cocktail list as it's not a true Lovecraftian reference. The stipulations for making this drink were that it needed to be green, tasty and preferably served in a rocks glass since I've really only been using cocktail glasses recently.

The Green Jenkin is based on the Vieux Carre cocktail which is one of my all time favorites. I’ll be perfectly honest that I matched up everything purely on the idea that the drink would turn out a nice shade green but I have to say it’s got a dark complexity like any preternatural thing should.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Insomnia Cocktail

1 oz. James E Pepper 1776 Rye
1 oz. Averna Amaro Siciliano 
1 oz. Butterfly Boston Absinthe
1 bsp Gomme Syrup
2 dashes Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters

Stir first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Float bitters on top and breathe in the blessing of tranquility.

I figured it was about time my insomnia had a dedicated drink. Based on the apt named Brain Duster I, yet again, swapped the Vermouth with Averna and also re-introduced the Gomme Syrup from George J. Kappeler’s old Brain Duster recipe from the 1800s (but without changing the 1-1-1 ratio of a more recent version). 

This has a really lovely tried and true flavor and quite a kick. Rich, dark and spicy but never over the level of "too much of a good thing". It may do the trick to help shut the brain down from yet another extended bout of sleeplessness. I'm sure that using spirits that were a little lower in ABV (especially the Absinthe) this would be a much tamer and reasonable drink but as it is with 100 proof Rye and 130 proof Absinthe diluted only with Averna of about 60 proof (and a bit of chilling ice), I’m banking that this will numb the mind and let me dream.