Friday, April 14, 2017

Moving On...

So, the place I'm moving to is pretty big. Built in the late 1800's, it's somewhere between 1600 and 1800 square feet. It's in a part of Providence that is recovering from a pretty bad rep but I'm hopeful that I won't get murdered, robbed or vandalized anytime soon. After talking to my soon-to-be-new neighbors, even ones that have lived there through it's worst times, I've developed a good bit of confidence that it's not bad at all and has gotten even better in the last several years. Also, the property manager lives above me and has the place pretty well wired, our parking area is enclosed with motion sensing lights all around.

Let me show you the place. I'll be living on the second floor, you can enter through a tiny stairwell on the side. It's convenient but pretty cramped.

This opens up into the main Kitchen which, as you can see, is pretty spacious. The sink and cabinets are off to the side in a secondary Kitchen, which is a bit odd, but I'm sure I'll find a way to set things up for cooking.

 I'm excited to have a gas stove for once.

There really is quite a lot of space though I feel like I need to add counter space in here.

The bathroom is o.k., oddly shaped but I'm already used to how oddly this place is shaped. I didn't get a pic of it here, but after the sink is the shower, then a random cubby next to the toilet where the window is. Maybe I'll put something there to hold towels and shit.

I haven't had a chance to really test the water pressure and heat in a full shower yet but the test I was able to do seemed o.k. The landlord said that there has never been an issue with running out of hot water. Hopefully he's as trustworthy as he seems.

I'm going to have to remember to get some new bathroom rugs.
Then we get to the living room which is very open and way too well lit for my troglodyte self.

I'll probably put the TV in this room but, despite the space, there isn't really a good place for it. We'll see. I guess I could leave this room fairly open and move the entertainment somewhere else, but, again, I'm not sure.

One interesting thing in this room is the glassed closet. I really have to do something with it but I'm not quite sure what. This may be my In-The-Wall Cthulhu Shrine.

I'll also have to get some blinds for those tall side windows, which I like, but I like privacy more.

Then... we have the bedrooms... 

Bedroom #1, off of the Kitchen. It's not a huge space but I think I want to make it a guest room. I have an old Full Sized bed that will fit in there just fine. Otherwise, it will possibly end up as a new junk room which I want to avoid.

Bedroom #2, first one off of the Living Room, just past the Kitchen. This will probably be my actual Bedroom as long as the bed and dresser fit, which they should. It has a good sized closet with lots of shelves that will lead me to folding all of my clothes instead of hanging them which I prefer anyway.

Bedroom #3, next to Bedroom #2. This will probably be my Office. It's a little smaller than Bedroom #2 but bigger than Bedroom #1. It actually seems to have a bigger closet, which is great for the office and there is a view out to the Living Room.

Then we come to Bedroom #4. Now, I guess there is a chance that this will be my Master Bedroom. It was meant to be the Master Bedroom. Aside from the fact that this is the front-most room of the apartment where all of the light and noise will be, a Master Bedroom is not what I saw when this place caught my heart.

On the side of the room, next to the lovely Bay Windows is what could easily be described as a massive walk in closet. What I see... is a Home Bar.

Imagine it, shelves in the far wall as a bar back with a bar front partially placed in the entrance to the closet. Stools in front with a couple bistro tables, some couches, artwork on the walls, gentle music playing, and maybe some fake plants. Motherfucking Private Absinthe Club.

Now, I am a bit conscious about making a lot of noise here being in the middle floor between some med students and the property manager, so I can't go hog-wild with parties. I also just don't really have the money to make any of that bar happen yet as this move will tap me pretty dry for a while. It is, however a dream and a hope to set up a little quiet oasis to enjoy some cocktails with friends... as long as I don't get murdered living in the city.

This last pic is the main entrance, which opens up into the Living Room at the top of the stairs. I'm tempted to sculpt something to place on that little curved shelf to greet people that visit.

There is a lot to do and see in the area, many fantastic cocktail bars and speakeasy's, as well as a decent live venue within staggering distance. All I know for sure is that Craigslist and Uber will be very intimate in the near future.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: The Cocktail on National Cocktail Day.

Today on the 2017 Sunset Cocktail Calendar is National Cocktail Day. This post is a little different than previous ones as it showcases a bunch of drinks from the early days of Cocktails and this may be my last Sunset Cocktail post for a while. I'll be packing things up to move shortly and I don't know if the place I'll be moving to will even have a view at all.

Here are a few Cocktails from the very early days, based on my limited knowledge and meager Google-fu. Please feel free to add or elaborate any information that is relevant and correct me if I'm wrong. I'm often wrong.

We start with what many consider the original drink called the Cocktail. In the early 1800's, before the name "Cocktail" was used as a catch-all for mixed drinks in general, the drink just called the Cocktail was a mix of a Spirit, Sugar, and Bitters.

2 oz E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon
1 Sugar Cube 
2 dashes Angostura Bitters 

Place Sugar Cube in a Rocks glass, dash the Bitters onto the Cube and muddle until Sugar is dissolved. Add a few dashes of water as needed. Add the Bourbon and garnish with a bit of ground Nutmeg. 

Now the Cocktail could be made with any spirit, Whiskey, Brandy, Gin, etc., this one just happens to be a Whiskey Cocktail. If you used Brandy, it would, of course, be called a Brandy Cocktail. Eventually this, for all intents and purposes became The Old Fashioned, though perhaps someday I'll rant about how most bars here seem to load it up with fucking Seltzer. To spice things up, early bartenders started adding in new ingredients as they came into being. You could add a bit of Curaçao and your ordinary Cocktail becomes a Fancy Cocktail, again, with any spirit, making the Fancy Cocktail a mix of Spirit, Curaçao, Sugar and Bitters.

A slightly more evolved Cocktail than the Fancy Cocktail is The Improved Cocktail, adding some Maraschino Liqueur and a bit of beautiful Absinthe. This one here is the Improved Brandy Cocktail.

2 oz Copper & Kings American Brandy
1⁄2 oz Gomme Syrup
1/4 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Berg and Hauck Jerry Thomas Bitters
1 dash St. George Absinthe

Mix everything with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Lemon peel "The flavor is improved by moistening the edge of the cocktail glass with a piece of lemon".

The Improved Cocktail above has a bit of a different set of ratios than others from old cocktail books but it's pieced together from what I gleaned and what I like. That being said, my "1 dash" of Absinthe often is a generous splash. It seems to me that this is a proto-Sazerac and I often make this when I don't feel like going through the whole ritual of making a Sazerac.

There is some contention that there was a drink called The Cocktail before the above 1800's drink we all adore that was developed in the late 1700's. Again, my Google-fu is weak with this one but it was well worth making.

2 oz Leopold Bros. Navy Strength Gin
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1 dash Scrappy's Aromatic Bitters

Stir everything and strain into a chilled Rock's glass filled with ice. Garnish with an Orange peel and Candied Ginger.

The articles that I saw this referenced on all credit the 20 March 1798 edition of the London’s Morning Post and Gazetteer for printing the term "Cocktail" and Beefeater Gin and Aromatic Bitters used in the drink. I did not have any Beefeater products but luckily I already had Ginger Syrup and Candied Ginger which are 2 magnificently wonderful things I almost always have on hand.

I hope people enjoyed these Sunset Cocktail posts and I hope I'll be able to continue to post them in the future.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: The Irish Cocktail on St. Patrick's Day

2 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey
1/4 oz Butterfly Boston Absinthe
1/4 oz Cointreau
1 bsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 dash Hella Bitters Aromatic

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled Sherry glass. Garnish with a flamed Lemon twist and a Green Olive (or not).

Happy St. Patrick's Day, when Catholics celebrate his act of driving out the serpents of Ireland and the Pagans revile in the fact that those serpents were a metaphor for the pre-Christian culture that has now been lost by conversion despite some claims of an unbroken connection to the Old Ways. Put down your shitty green beers and lift up some Irish Whiskey, 'cuz in 'Murica (especially around Boston), "Everybody's Fahkin' Irish on St. Paddy's day, Kid!"

I think this drink is officially supposed to be made with Triple Sec which I didn't have on hand so I used Cointreau. I left off the olive as I didn't have any of those as well, nor do I like them very much. Lastly, what better Absinthe to use than one of my favorites in Butterfly Absinthe, which is a modern rendition of a classic pre-prohibition absinthe produced in Boston in the early 1900s, made by the good folks at Distillery Artémisia-Bugnon in the Val de Travers area of Switzerland...  where I must go to visit someday.

If you do supplement your St. Patrick's Day Whiskey with some beer, make sure it's good and poured well, especially if it's a Guinness.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Bloody Caesar on the Ides of March

1 tsp Celery Salt
1⁄2 tsp fresh-ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 oz Death's Door Vodka
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes Tabasco Sauce
4 oz Clamato Juice
1⁄2 Lime, in two wedges

Combine celery salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Wet the edge of a Collins glass and rim in the celery salt-pepper mixture. Fill the rimmed glass with ice, add Vodka, Worcestershire sauce, and Tobasco sauce. Top with Clamato. Gently squeeze the lime wedges into the glass, and garnish with celery and give a quick stir.

Caesar: The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Aye, Caesar, but not gone.
—Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1

What better way to acknowledge the Ides of March than with a Bloody Caesar. This very Canadian take on a Bloody Mary is often touted as the "Unofficial, Official Cocktail of Canada".

What distinguishes this from a Bloody Mary is the use of Clam Juice mixed with the Tomato. I've never really had a taste for Bloody Mary's and adding Clam Juice, while making it a little thinner, didn't really appeal to me any more. It comes out both briny and savory. I just don't get it but who am I to judge.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Insomnia for Daylight Savings Springing the Fuck Ahead

1 oz. Whistlepig 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 Old Fashioned glass. Float bitters on top and breathe in the blessing of tranquility.

The last thing I need is a forced loss of sleep on top of my already (un)natural lack of sleep. This is that time of year for the dreadfully unnecessary loss of an hour of sleep for Daylight Savings Time. I came up with this Insomnia Cocktail a little while ago as a variation of a Brain Duster and it is a potent fix for sleeplessness.

Hopefully I'll be sound asleep when the clocks roll ahead and I'll wake up in the morning when nature calls wondering why the Hell I slept in so late. Luckily our schedule at work shifted a little do I don't have to get up at any particular time, though, if all goes at it has been lately, I'm just hoping to actually get sleep.

I only now just realized I switched up the glass from a Coup to an Old Fashioned. Shit, these are the things that matter.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

No Sunset Cocktail but HAPPY ABSINTHE DAY!!!

Today on the 2017 Sunset Cocktails Calendar is National Absinthe Day as you may have guessed from my previous post. I was considering making a cocktail but I really just wanted to sit back, relax, and enjoy the Green Fairy in her intimate simpleness. Then my fucking mind was blown by L'Ancienne, yet again, I had to shoot pics, video, find music and write a whole goddanmed review.

Regardless, it was too chilly to also mess around with a sunset shot so now I can go back to just enjoying a nice drink. This pic was from last year from when I lost power for a month. It was fun.

My gods this is a fucking tasty obsession. Fun fact, an ancient word for lord, or often god, was "Baal", so  instead of saying "Oh, my gods" you could say "Oh, my Baals" Say it out loud, it's fun!

Week 46: L'Ancienne on National Absinthe Day [52 Whispers from the Muse]


Overall Rating: 4.8
Appearance: 4.5
Louche: 4.5
Aroma: 5.0
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 5.0
Finish: 5.0
Overall: 5.0

Style: Verte
ABV: 65%
Country: Czech Republic
Distillery: Zufanek

Appearance: A very bright and clear amber with a lean to a greenish tint.
Louche: Beautiful layers that build full but not too quickly. The final louche is thick without being too heavy.
Aroma: A full blossoming in the room when the bottle is opened. Just sitting in the glass for a bit it was distractingly alluring. Mildly perfumed with a rush of Wormwood, Anise and spice.
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Rich and spicy while also being completely well balanced. Anise is a bit forward but the Wormwood follows it quickly ending with a peppery tingling. You need to take another sip.
Finish: The flavor lingers for a good long time, it starts sweet and ends with a very pleasant bitterness and tongue numbing.
Overall: This... does not taste like a modern absinthe. I wish I had more experience with pre-ban Absinthes as this gives you the sense of age and perfected maturity.

When I mentioned above that the aroma was "distractingly alluring" it was when I was trying to set up the camera to do a short video. I kept stopping, closing my eyes, and just taking in the smells. it took me far too long to get things set up. I've only ever encountered this under one other circumstance but that would be waaay over my TMI threshold to explain.

I wasn't planning on doing a review on National Absinthe Day but I did want to bring out an extraordinary bottle that I was familiar enough with to just enjoy. I did plan on doing a string of the remaining Zufanek Absinthes that I have, so now seemed like a good a time as any.

This one bottle, while still more than half full, is a failure on my part on due vigilance. I bought it in 2011 or 12 but didn't pay any attention when it was mentioned that it wouldn't be made again. Usually that's my cue to have at least one extra bottle on hand... but I missed it... and there's no more to be found.

A post shared by Jeff Wells (@greenjenkin) on

Friday, March 3, 2017

Sunset Not-Really-a-Cocktail: Mulled Blood Mead on National Mulled Wine Day

1 Bottle of Mead
1 Blood Orange, sliced (+ some wheels for garnish in each glass)
2 Cinnamon sticks (+1 for garnish in each glass)
7 whole Cloves
7 whole Allspice Berries
3 whole Star Anise (+1 for garnish in each glass)
1 tsp nutmeg

Bring everything to a simmer for 20 minutes or so in a pot with a good lid on (do no boil!). Strain into something made of glass for serving or directly into cups/mugs/goblets. Garnish each cup/mug/goblet with a slice of Orange, a Cinnamon Stick, and a Star Anise.

Today for National Mulled Wine Day I decide to mull some unlabeled homebrewed Mead I have no idea where I got. There was a time in my earlier heathen days when Mead flowed like water, especially after my friends discovered and perfected their Mead brewing skills when commercial mead was scarce. No store bought brand would do after that point so the carboys emptied and filled in divinely blessed glory. It was the drink of choice for over drunken, viking revelry, but as age crept in, those sweet, syrupy hangovers got worse and worse. Don't get me wrong, I'll rarely turn down a draught or two but will certainly not guzzle it to the staggering excess of youth. It's best to keep that magical honey of the gods to more formal occasions, keep beer for socializing and hard liquor for abusing.

This recipe is mostly from the fun blog In the Kitchen with Harry Potter with some additions from an older Mulled Wine recipe I had kicking around. I reintroduced Star Anise and slice of Orange as a garnish from the old recipe which I thought looked pretty. I went with a Blood Orange because I get to use the word "Blood" in the drink. I guess you could further this along by using Viking's Blood Mead but it has nothing on a good homebrew and fuck you if you don't like Blood Oranges.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Peanut Butter Cup Cocktail on National Peanut Butter Lover's Day

1 1/2 oz Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur (divided)
1 oz Tia Maria Coffee Liqueur
1 oz Zufanek Orechovka (Hazelnut) Liqueur
2 tbsps Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter*
2 oz Almond Milk
Fox's U-bet Chocolate Syrup

Decorate the inside of the glass with a bit of Chocolate Syrup. Add some of the Godiva (1/2 to 3/4 oz, just enough to keep a nice dark layer) on the bottom of the glass and set aside. In a shaker, stir (yes, stir first) the rest of the alcohols with the Peanut Butter until the Peanut Butter blends in. Add the Milk with some ice and shake. Strain into the prepared glass, garnish with a peanut butter cup, and wallow in a decadent sugar crash.

For any who don't know me, I. Love. Peanut Butter. When I was a kid my father worked for what was then Best Foods and they made Skippy. I remember him coming home from work with boxes of unlabeled jars that I believe were part of taste screenings and experimental formulas. I felt like each jar was was a unique, special thing and that I was part of a small, select group of people privy to the secrets behind the great minds of Peanut Butter alchemy. To this day, it's the only brand I buy.

Hardest part was not fucking up the cup.
When I say I love peanut Butter, you should also know that this acute love is mirrored by an intense hate for bad Peanut Butter and fake Peanut Butter flavoring. Anything that isn't true, pure and real Peanut Butter is an affront to all that is good, aside from Reese's peanut Butter cups which are, in their own right, a gift from very wise and generous gods. Also, my grandparents lived in Hershey Pennsylvania so Reese's are as much an escape to care-free childlike state of being as Skippy.

With the hate of bad peanut Butter products also is the distaste for the misuse of Peanut Butter. Unfortunately that means I don't like Peanut Butter in Ice Cream or anything else other than on bread, apples and in Peanut Butter Cups. This drink would also qualify. The idea of this drink is horrifying, it's a pain in the ass to make (especially trying to not melt or mangle the peanut butter cup garnish), and it's sickeningly sweet. It took a bit of will to create but I did so to express my love and appreciation for the national holiday and fit it into yet another reason to make an odd drink.

I will probably never make it again, though, I must say that the second iteration I made (as above) was a bit better than the original I got it from. It seemed to resemble, though not well, a peanut butter cup a little more. All I did was change out the Creme de Cacao with Godiva (waaaaay better), add the layering (which may or may not have actually worked) and remove the rum (which I didn't really understand the need for). One last point in keeping with a rant about Margaritas the other day, I really do appreciate the original poster of this drink for not calling it a Peanut Butter Cup Martini.

* Life is too short for flavored vodka, fake maple syrup and bad peanut butter. That shitty, I'm-a-superior-hippy, organic, gotta-stir-it-every-hour-to-keep-it-homogeneous, shit in a jar is just as great a blasphemy as Teddy Bear Peanut Butter or some rancid Costco-ish brand. If you're not going to get a jar of divine Skippy, then for fuck's sake get Jif. If you are a completely cheap bastard, the only store brand worth eating is Wegman's. Wegman's Peanut Butter actually isn't really that bad at all.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Vieux Carre on Fat Tuesday, the Last Day of Marti Gras

3/4 oz Whistlepig Rye
3/4 oz Copper & Kings American Brandy
3/4 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
1 bsp Bénédictine 
1 dash Scrappy's Aromatic Bitters
1 dash Scrappy's Orleans bitters

Pour everything into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice and give it a good stir. Garnish with Lemon twist.

Traditionally this is made with Cognac but as cognac is just a specific type of fancy French Brandy, I wanted to try out how this new bottle of Copper & Kings American Brandy would work here. It worked well. As far as the very simple procedure, I've seen versions that are made in a mixing glass and strained into either a Cocktail glass or an Old Fashioned glass with ice as well as the simple method I have above. While this drink does do well with a little extra dilution, I liked the idea of keeping it all with one set of ice instead of mixed with some and then poured over new ice.

Today on the 2017 Sunset Cocktails Calendar is Fat Tuesday, the last day of Mardi Gras and the day before the start of Lent. I was trying to think of a good New Orleans drink to make I settled on This Vieux Carre named after the French Quarter. I half considered making a Hurricane but Hurricanes are harbingers of vomitous hangovers. So, while I'm stuck up here in cold, damp New England (despite this freakish February warm stretch), nowhere near Mardi Gras, and even though I'm no longer a good Catholic loading up before giving up some dear vice, I do plan on drinking this and eating a metric fuckton of Cajun Dirty Rice while listening to some good old New Orleans music with either some New Orlean Cottonmouth Kings....

or... Goatwhore!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Revolver on National Kahlua Day

2 oz Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch Bourbon
1/2 oz Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
2 dashes Scrappy's Orange Bitters

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled Cocktail Glass. Garnish with an Orange peel.

Today, February 27th, on our Sunset Cocktails Calendar is National Kahlua Day, so Happy, um, National Kahlua Day, I guess. Does this feel like a national observance for a brand made by the brand itself? Fuckit, there are plenty of wicked nice Kahlua drinks and I don't need an arm twist to make one.

I could have made a Black/White/Orange Russian (I don't think Red Russians have Coffee Liqueur) but I think I already mentioned that I don't really like them when I made the Orange Russian. I do, however, love bourbon so this seemed like a good idea. I was surprised that the Orange Bitters and peel didn't conflict with the Coffee Liqueur making it more like that fucking Tootsie Roll shot/Orange Russian. They actually complimented each other very well adding a full, citrus sweetness to the bourbon with an added richness from the Kahlua.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Pistachio Suissesse on World Pistachio Day

1 1⁄4 oz La Clandestine Absinthe
1⁄2 oz Pistachio Orgeat*
2 oz Almond Milk
1 Egg White
1 bsp White Creme de Menthe
6 oz Ice

Shake Absinthe, Orgeat, Milk and Egg White without ice until the Egg White blends in and froths nicely. Reshake with ice and double strain into a Highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a few drops of Orange Flower Water.

*Pistachio Orgeat (From Imbibe, sort of)
1 cups near-boiling water
2.5 oz. shelled, unsalted pistachios
3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 tbsp Gum Arabic/1/2 tbsp Xanthan gum (optional)**

(if using the gum mix) Heat 1/4 cup of the water to a near-boil, about 3 minutes. Put the gum powder in a glass or small jar, then slowly stir in the hot water. Stir together until all the powder is integrated. (Some small white clumps may remain.) Let this mixture sit for 2 to 3 hours. When it looks more like a gel, stir again to smooth out the mixture. (It's OK if there is a small layer of white foam.)

In a blender, combine the water and pistachios and blend on high for 2 full minutes—the longer you blend, the more refined your finished syrup will be. Fine-strain the nut mixture through a nut-milk bag into a glass jar. Add sugar and gum gel, if using and mix or blend until uniform. 

Today, February 26th, is World Pistachio Day. I was trying to figure out what in Satan's Hell I was going to make for this when I came across a Pistachio Orgeat recipe. I like regular Orgeat very much but never made it from scratch. This seemed to be as good a time as any. I did deviate from the recipe to make the Pistachio Orgeat quite a bit when it came to adding the various gums, resorting to how I add them when making regular Gomme Syrup.

When looking for Orgeat cocktails that I could try out this new Pistachio goodness I, of course, came across the classic and revered Absinthe Suissesse. I did actually use Dr. McGillicuddy's Mentholmint Liqueur as I didn't have actual Creme de Menthe and I didn't want to use Rumple Minze. I don't think I've ever even made an Absinthe Suissesse before which is criminal and clearly proves that I hate myself.

**The original recipe called for Ticaloid 210S which seems to be "a mixture of gum arabic, a fantastic emulsifier, derived from tree sap, and xantham gum. Gum arabic is great for cocktail applications because its emulsions don't break when they are suddenly diluted, and they are immune to temperature changes, acidity and alcohol. The xantham is a stabilizer, which protects the emulsion from separating. If you can't get TIcaloid 210S, you can substitute a mixture of powdered gum arabic and xantham gum in the ratio of nine to one." So I would just mix my own at 8/1 as the Orgeat recipe called for a little more Xantham to be added on top of was was already assumed in the Ticaloid 210S.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Weeks 44 and 45: Golan Heights Revisited [52 Whispers From The Muse]

Snow Fairy batch #5/Mon Jardin
Overall Rating: 3.7/3.7
Appearance: 4.0/4.0
Louche: 3.5/3.5
Aroma: 3.5/3.5
Flavor/Mouthfeel: 3.5/3.5
Finish: 3.5/4.0
Overall: 4.0/4.0

Style: Blanche
ABV: 53%/72%.
Country: Israel
Distillery: Golan Heights Distillery

Appearance: Both are perfectly clear with no sediment or discoloration.
Louche: Both louched well, clouding up easily. I'd say that it seemed that Snow Fairy filled out more quickly but on rewatching a poorly shot video that I'm not going to post, it may have been because the fountain drip on that side was way heavier.
Aroma: I opened the Snow Fairy first which immediately started to bloom. Opening the Mon Jardin only filled the room more fully with the unique scent of this Absinthe. Similar to batch #1 but definitely more forthcoming. 
Flavor/Mouthfeel: Very unique, significant floral and Anise without being sweet and Wormwood without being too bitter. Coriander is quite noticeable along with a significant Calamus. The Mon Jardin is bolder but that is to be expected with equal parts of water/absinthe between the 2. 
Finish: I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the slightly different flavor profile between these 2 as dilution greatly affects what flavors are brought out in an Absinthe. The lighter Snow Fairy is a bit more floral while the Mon Jardin has more bite and a bit of tongue numbing.
Overall: Definite, significant improvements from batch #1, more detailed and complex. Although the scores were quite similar, the edge, for me, goes to the Mon Jardin. I just tend to prefer higher proof blanches.

David Zibel of Golan Heights Distillery in Israel was gracious enough to send me an updated version of His Snow Fairy Absinthe Blanche as well as it's 72% AVB undiluted sister, Mon Jardin. While I did enjoy the originality of the first batch, it was very monochromatic. This updated version keeps the similarly unique flavor but with more complexity that you can now start sorting out a quick parade of flavors.

According to David, Snow Fairy and Mon Jardin consist of Artemisia Absinthium, Anise Seed, Fennel, Coriander, Lavender, Calamus, Elecampane Root, Sassafras, Cardamom, Chamomile, Angelica, and Star Anise. I'm not familiar with Elecampane Root at all or, I'm ashamed to admit, Sassafras outside of Yosemite Sam. I was really trying to find another brand this was similar to by aroma, but I really couldn't and that's certainly not a bad thing at all. I do like different.

I was hoping to get a good video in the snow but it was an unseasonably warm February week here in New England so I'll go with the pics I took when it did actually snow. I've been sitting on this review for too long waiting for the next snow and it's been a while since my last review. I was nine short of getting all 52 done last year but that's no reason to not keep going and then going past 52. There are so many more Absinthes to try and I already have over a dozen more bottles on hand, but more on that on National Absinthe Day...

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Rosemary Ginger Mezcal Margarita on National Margarita Day

2 oz Xicaru Silver Mezcal
1 oz Cointreau 1 oz Meyer Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Rosemary Ginger Simple Syrup*
2 dashes Hella Bitters Lemon Ginger

Start by drawing a Lemon wedge over the rim of a Cocktail glass (I don't have any actual Margarita glasses) and rim with salt. Then shake everything with ice and strain into the salt rimmed Cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of Rosemary.

*Rosemary Ginger Simple Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 ounce ginger, chopped
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary

Combine everything in a small sauce pan and heat to a near boil. Take off the heat and simmer for 30 minutes making sure the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool and strain into a clean, glass container you can keep in the fridge.

Following further along the 2017 Sunset Cocktails Calendar we see that today is National Margarita Day. While this syrup is rather tasty, and would probably also work well with Gin, I do hate Margaritas.

I must say, that if I did happen to like Margaritas I'd praise them for their immense variety and perceived versatility. Unfortunately those are some of the very reasons I hate them. People seem to throw whatever miscellaneous bar items or some fuckery of a fruit smoothy in a blender, add Tequila, then call it a Margarita. Even the one I got the idea for this one from with Tequila, Lime, Sugar and the snootiest of Sparkling Water(?!) completely leaves out the use of a lovely Triple Sec.

"A margarita is a cocktail consisting of triple sec, tequila and lime or lemon juice, often served with salt or sugar on the rim of the glass. The drink is served shaken with ice, blended with ice, or without ice."

Now I totally understand, love, advocate, and often make variations on cocktails. I'll even go so blasphemous as making a Rum Martini** as long as the rest of the drink actually still resembles a Martini, leaving the name 'RUM' Martini to signify the deviation. I did try to keep this particular variation fairly basic with the addition of the syrup and use of Mezcal (Tequila is a Mezcal and I just don't ever have any Tequila around). I guess I'm inconsistently picky but if you're going to just leave out important core shit, then just call it something else for Satan's sake.

 Maybe next year I'll try to come up with some kind of Absinthe Margarita I can tolerate.

** Though, I really gotta say, any Martini that doesn't have Gin in it should be subjected to stop and frisk before it's allowed into the general population. I did end up changing the name of my R'lyeh Rum Martini after a good, critical conversation and much mental shadowboxing as it contained neither Gin nor Vermouth.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: McKinley’s Delight for President's Day

3 oz. James E. Pepper 1776 Rye
1 oz. Dolin Rouge Vermouth
2 dashes Kirschwasser
1 dash St. George Absinthe

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass.

Happy President's Day for you all you here in the States. For all of you outside of the States, I hope our current political situation is providing you with some terrifying entertainment. This President's Day will be much happier with a few of our 25th president, William McKinley's favorite drinks. They are very, very strong drinks back from a time where our leaders weren't... who am I kidding, politicians have always been asshats and politics has always been a shitshow. Drink plenty, seek truth and bite deeply.

At first I figured on using and old, old name in Rye with a few measures of Old Overholt, but the recipe I found specifically called for 100 proof Rye, so I went with the ever more patriotic 1776 Rye from James E. Pepper. The recipe also called for Cherry Brandy in which I used Kirsch and, lastly, I figured I'd use a good ole 'Murican Absinthe for this patriotic day. I guessed a bit at the process and glass style for making this quite robust cocktail but it seemed to make sense.

I came across a fun article from the New York Post that I got this recipe from which relates the favorite drinks of all of our previous presidents from George Washington who, himself, owned a whiskey distillery (though he was known for enjoying a Port laced with Molasses more than Whiskey) to our most recent ex President Obama who had his own brewer with their own White House Honey Ale with honey from their own White House hives. It seems that very few presidents completely abstained from drinking, even Warren G. Harding sneaked a dram of whiskey while he was out golfing as president during prohibition.

Both Lincoln and Jimmy Carter rarely drank but they did so in polite social situations and good old George W did happen to quit after a unsurprisingly misspent youth. As far as I can gather, the only presidents that never drank are our 24th president, Benjamin Harrison, who "leaned more toward God than Demon Alcohol" and the 42nd, motherfucking Donald Trump. I don't trust a person who doesn't drink unless he's a recovering quitter.

Some wise words from our iconic 32nd president, FDR himself, that I strive to live by... “a gentleman learns his capacity and tries not to exceed it. If he must drink to excess, he does so when he has no call to be in touch with anyone else.” ... though I don't know too many of you that would ever refer to me as a gentleman and it could explain why I'm really bad at staying in touch with anyone.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Sunset Not-Really-a-Cocktail: National Drink Wine Day

6 oz Wine

Pour Wine in Wine glass. Drink Wine. Repeat. Wine.

Today on the 2017 Sunset Cocktails Calendar is National Drink Wine Day. Outside of an occasional Shiraz with some bloody, half raw side of beef, I don't really drink that much wine on its own. I'll have a Port, an Aromatized Wine or Vermouth in a cocktail but not much more than that outside of when I go visiting wineries.

Not much to say about wine, it's tasty with cheese and meat, it's fun to shop for fun labels, and it's supposedly good for your health in whatever that word "moderation" means. I did find a bottle of some type of Ravenswood wine in the kitchen for today, though it's been there so long that the label fell off. Luckily they had their branding on the cork or I wouldn't know what I was drinking.

In anticipation of national Drink Wine Day I did get a few bottles of really nice wine fromFranklin Hill Vineyards when I was down in NJ/PA last week but I left them all at the Pretty One's house. I'm just going to assume they're all empty by now, so, I leave you with a picture of the lovely Pretty One herself drinking wine as well as an interesting link about Wine and geography with a map. Wine.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Happy Valentines with a Reign in Blood

2 oz Xicaru Silver Mezcal
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Blood Orange Juice
1/4 oz Lime juice
2 dashes Scrappy's Chocolate bitters

Shake everything with ice and double strain into Old Fashioned glass. Fill with Ice and garnish with a Blood Orange Wheel.

What says I love you more than a pretty cocktail at sunset and Slayer?

While I did type the use of 1/4 oz of Lime juice in the ingredients I actually used Meyer Lemon juice as that's what I had on hand. And while I'm not very well versed in Mezcal, I feel that Meyer Lemons blend very well with the spirit. That could just be my limited experience and bias against limes.

This drink is actually pretty decent for a Kindred Cocktail submission. You wouldn't think it would all go together but the Mezcal smokiness contrasts with the sweet citrus in a pretty good way. I don't get much of the Chartreuse or Chocolate Bitters through but perhaps they are what it keeping the balance.

The beautiful thing about this is that it could really be either a nice Valentines cocktail or a vicious Anti-Valentines cocktail depending where you're coming from. I guess it could also be a vicious pro-Valentines cocktail if that's what you guys are into, I'm not here to judge.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Snowstorm Scotch: International Scotch Day

On a night like this you can hear old gods whisper...

This one didn't make the calendar as International Scotch Day on  February 10th is apparently a new thing. I was considering making a rare Scotch cocktail but I figured the spirit of the observance was to enjoy, well, the spirit on its own.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi'tippeny, we Fear nae evil;
Wi'usquabae, we'll face the devil!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: The Abolitionist’s Old Fashioned

2 oz Privateer True American Rum
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1 cube Sugar
2 dashes Hell Bitters Orange
Splash of Soda Water

Muddle Sugar Bitters and Soda Water in an Old Fashioned glass until they are beaten mercilessly. Fill with ice adding the Rum and Grand Marnier.

The original recipe called for Hurricane Rum (I figured another Massachusetts brand would do) and Napoleon Liqueur which could be considered similar enough to Grand Marnier for this purpose.

I can't believe I forgot to post this yesterday (guess I was too distracted by a new phone to finish the post). While February 6th doesn't mark any kind of drinking holiday per se, it does maek the anniversary of the 1858 brawl in the House of Representatives here in the good ol' U.S. of  'Murica. "The altercation began between Laurence Keitt of South Carolina and abolitionist Galusha Grow of Pennsylvania..." Those were the days, eh?

That being said, this particular cocktail was actually made in honor of a Congressional beatdown in 1856 of Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner (another abolitionist)at the hands of Sen. Preston Brooks of South Carolina further proving our politics have always been pretty well fucked.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Pisco Sour Day (Peru)

2 oz La Caravedo Pisco Puro Quebranta
1 oz Meyer Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Gomme Syrup
1 Egg White
2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake first four ingredients vigorously without ice until the Egg White is nice and frothy. Shake again with ice and double strain into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a few dashes of bitters in the foam.

To prove how dedicated I am to this I just got my first bottle of Pisco and sat outside in the February cold just to make the Peruvian National Pisco Sour Day. I don't even like sours, though, Meyer Lemons make sour drinks tolerable. I do, However,  love a good egg white drink.

I've never has Pisco before and in the sour it looses most of its character, as does just about anything in a sour. It's a clear Brandy usually made in Chile and Peru. I have no idea if this brand is a good representation of the style but it kinda reminds me of grappa. That being said, I'm not very well versed in grappa. I'll need to try this in something else.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: H.G. Wells on Science Fiction Day

2 oz Burnside Oregon Oaked Bourbon 
1 oz Dolin de Chambery Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Butterfly Absinthe
2 dashes Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters

Stir everything with ice and strain into an ice filled Old Fashioned Glass

Happy February 2nd, it's Science Fiction Day. It's also my mother's birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! Lastly, February 2nd is also Groundhog Day and that little bastard saw his shadow this morning predicting six more weeks of winter. #notmygroundhog

While Science Fiction Day itself isn't a drinking holiday, I see no reason why we can't toast to those visionaries of Science Fiction who have inspired us and challenged us to see things with new eyes. In this bleak political climate people are rushing to catch up on their favorite old time dystopian fiction. I personally haven't really liked much of the new dystopian fiction, especially the young adult subgenre as I feel as they're far less of a glimpse into possible, terrible futures and more about symbolically defying parental figures and dealing with hormones. How can you tell I'm getting old..?

Authors like Aldous Huxley, Ira Levin, Ray Bradbury, and George Orwell all gave us cautionary glimpses into the future with books like Brave new World, This Perfect Day, Fahrenheit 451, and Nineteen Eighty Four respectively, but H.G. Wells filled out that genre of admonitory projection and dystopian joy. Stories like The Time Machine, The Sleeper Wakes, The Shape of Things to Come tagged along with his  some good monstrous fun like War of the Worlds, The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, and The Island of Doctor Moreau which were also cautionary tales of progress, ethics and obsession.

H.G. was a forward thinker in the context of his day and he had a hell of a moustache. I hoped I could trace my family line to his but it doesn't seem to. I'm not related to either of the two master storytellers who separately made such an impact with War of the Worlds long before I was born, H.G. nor Orson... who spells his name wrong.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Brandy Alexander Day, January 31st

2 oz Maison Rouge Cognac
1 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1 oz Cream
dash Nutmeg garnish

Shake with Ice and strain into a chilled Cocktail glass. Garnish with Nutmeg.

For National Brandy Alexander Day I'm making the first Brandy Alexander I've ever made outside of Bartending School.This one was made with Almond Milk which did add a noticeable, but certainly not unpleasant flavor. It just didn't add the super richness actual cream would have. I didn't really mind that at all.

A sweet desert drink with a lot of flavor but it's perhaps lost on me. While I do love a nice piece of Chocolate, especially with Almonds, I've never really liked Chocolate alcoholic beverages. I even hate chocolate stouts. Maybe I'd like it better if I had a Dark Chocolate Liqueur.

One thing to take note of, I've added a Google Calendar for all of the Sunset Cocktail Holidays that you can check out on the side. Follow along and maybe you can see what's coming ahead if you weren't one of the 5 people who actually picked up a physical copy of The 2017 Sunset Cocktails Calendar. It's fun to fund fresh reasons to drink. As I look at it I seem to have missed Bubble Bath Day...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sunset Cocktail: Requiem for an Old Friend

1 1/2 oz Ardbeg Scotch
1/2 oz Fernet-Branca
1/2 oz Dolin Blanc
1/2 oz Dolin Rouge
1 dash Berg and Hauke's Jerry Thomas Bitters

Stir with ice and starin into an Old Fashoned Glass. Lament.

The original called for Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur with the option of subbing it with Fenret if it was unavailable. It was also supposed to be built in a glass full of ice instead of stirred but I posted on the way my beleaguered mind resorted to making it. I just needed a drink.

My Wacom Cintiq graphics Tablet died for good today. I'm at a loss as it was the most important piece of design kit I have. I'll look into getting it repaired or a replacement but I don't have the cash. Just about eveything I'm working on is going to have to go on hold for a while. I'm not happy but I can still make a nice drink.