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Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband.

Hello Readers! It’s been quite a while since I last guest posted. As a matter of fact exactly four months, or in other words one semester of grad school. To my dismay, my writing and research of late has more to do with the Blues Brothers, Randy Weston and Fred Astaire than bars and cocktails. OK, it’s not such a bad gig, but I did miss the rigorous mixological testing required to write a post!

Today I bring you the Blackbeard, a cocktail I’ve only found in one bar, once, more than fifteen years ago. Picture it if you will: My 21-year-old self, along with a certain friend I will only identify by his initials (TMO) are whiling the Spring 1997 semester away in London as part of the Syracuse University International Live Abroad and Pretend to Study Program. Spring break comes and we’re off to Edinburgh, Scotland to meet up with my friend Andy, a true Scotsman — gregarious, burly (former national U-19 rugby player), and generous to a fault — who I met while working as a camp counselor the year before.

After a long evening of carousing and paradin’ about the city, Andy suggests that we drive out to his hometown of Musselburgh for a nightcap at his local pub. TMO and I have never passed up a free drink in our lives, so we consent to the 10km trek in search of the perfect end to the evening. And found it we did! It was on this night that I was introduced to the Blackbeard, perhaps the most perfect last drink I’ve ever had.

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Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband.

Any good mixologist will tell you: The thing that makes a great cocktail stand apart from a good one is proportion. Yes, having quality product always helps, sometimes a lot. However, a strong case can be made that the true skill of a bartender/cocktail creator is in getting the ratio just right, turning average booze into a mouthwatering beverage. When Rose and I sit down to craft a new cocktail or to recreate something we had out at one of our favorite bars, we spend most of our time fussing over how much or this or that should be in the drink. It can often take us three, four or five tries to get it right. It’s hard work, really, but someone has to do it. And always remember, dear reader, that we do it for you… all for you!

All that being said, I’ve had a thing for equal proportions lately. Perhaps due to my summertime obsession with the Negroni*. When I came across this recipe for The Lamb'[s Club while thumbing through Mark Holcomb’s cocktail book library, I figured I’d give it a try.

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Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband.

While stocking up on booze in New Jersey over the holidays, this interesting little gem caught my eye…

I can’t say particularly what drew me to The Kraken, if it was my childhood love of the original The Clash of the Titans (1981), my college-age infatuation with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum (we all make mistakes), or the $15.99 price tag; perhaps all of the above. Whatever the attraction, we needed a dark rum and the Kraken seemed like a fun little toy to experiment with. It promised the type of dark, molasses-y qualities of Myers or Goslings Black Seal at half the price and with a hint of spice that can be quite lovely when not overdone. I’m looking at you, Cap’n…

After reading the label, checking out the website and tasting it, I have to admit, I’m still a little confused by this product. Although it’s not what you would consider a craft liquor — it contains caramel color and “natural flavors” — I found The Kraken rather enjoyable.  It has an interesting nose, similar to Captain Morgan but more subtle and complex. It has little of the depth I associate with black rum but is robust enough to hold up to most anything you want to throw at it — or more accurately, into it. It calls itself imported (via Jersey City, I might add…) but is bottled and, I guess, blended in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, which I imagine is across the border from Johnsburg, Illinois. But I digress…

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Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband.


I’m afraid that one of my oldest friends doesn’t like me much anymore. We used to be thick as thieves. We could really count on each other, you know? I’d sing his praises to anyone who would listen and in turn he’d lift my spirits, get me through tough times… hell, he even helped me meet my wife. But lately, things just haven’t been the same. Why, bourbon? Why have you turned on me?

See, used to be that I could drink bourbon all night and never have a problem. But lately, just a glass or two leaves me worse for wear the next day. This newfound shortcoming has left me in a predicament and wary of ordering my go-to drink, the Manhattan. Thankfully, I have a fallback… enter the Martinez!

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Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband

Cocktail inspiration can come from that cool new bottle of bitters at the liquor store, a request from a friend, or a competition. Other times it’s from a cookie that you hid from yourself  in the back of a kitchen cabinet months before…

Many of your may remember the Drink our Booze-fest that Rose and I held for our NYC friends at the end of July. Late that very night, the Gingerman was born. While searching the kitchen for mixers, I discovered this little guy hiding behind a box of evaporated milk. (Don’t ask me why we had a two-pound box of evaporated milk). He was just the right muse for my bourbon-soaked brain, and though I have no recollection of the creative process as it actually took place, the result was good. At least I must have thought it was good because I took pictures of it and even texted myself the recipe –

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Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband

Yesterday Rose mentioned our pre-moving“Drink Us Out of House and Homeland” party, which left us depleted of booze but rife with empty bottles and hangover headaches. Among the copious, and at times senseless, consumption (see our friend Jason mistreat a bottle of Michter’s below), a few cocktails were born. As our liquor levels ran lower and lower, our need to innovate grew higher and higher. But perhaps my favorite creation of the night was not a particular drink, but a certain game I invented, Box of Mystery.

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Guest post by the PhoBlograpHusband

 

I started my bartending career in the year Y2K. It was a simpler time. Terms like hanging chads and homeland security were yet un-thought of. We were all just thankful that the computers didn’t rise up and take over the world the night of Dec. 31st 1999. And thanks to a fictional woman named Carrie Bradshaw, every real woman with HBO — or a subscription to TV guide magazine for that matter  — was drinking Cosmopolitans. Hell, the bar I worked at even had a Two Dollar Cosmo Tuesday nights! If ever there was a recipe for disaster it was Two Dollar Cosmo Tuesdays, both for the work it took me to churn those pink, syrupy-citrus concoctions out and the bad ideas that they caused. Plus, I can’t imagine the hangover from a night of cheap Cosmos… they never showed that part on Sex in the City (not that I would know… really!).

But I digress. This post is about the Cosmo’s slightly more mature Swedish cousin, the Metropolitan. The Metro, made with Absolut Kurant instead of Citron, never quite rose to cocktail mainstream mania, but for a time in the late -90s and early -00s it served as a refreshing alternative. I have a theory that the evil geniuses at Absolut invented the Metro specifically to ride on the coattails of the Cosmo Craze and sell more of its (at the time) flagship product. I can’t prove this. I can find no documentary evidence (at least none that a thirty second scan of Google search results yields), but I believe it to be true. What I do know for sure is that shortly after I started bartending, my cooler, proto-hipster, counter-culture-type customers started asking for the Metro. Coincidence?

The other thing I know for sure is that the Metropolitan, when made right, is a damn good drink. The almost-earthy quality of black currant balances out the citrus of orange liqueur and lime, giving the Metro a depth that is sorely lacking in the Cosmo’s one note flavor profile.

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Guest post by the PhoBlograpHusband

Seriously, summer!?! Three days of suck-it-Trebeck humidity and thunderstorms, capped off by a 67-degree Friday and foggy in the middle of the day, that’s your idea of a grand entrance? Rose and and I have been looking forward to debuting these fantastic-for-summer, mouthwatering concoctions for months and this is what you give us?

(Yes, we’re bitching about the weather two days in a row, but it has really sucked…)

So long as you allow me a half-hour of relative sunlight on Saturday mornings so I can hit the farmer’s market in peace, I won’t let you spoil my fun. The Strawberry-Basil-Grappa Thing is perhaps the perfect seasonal cocktail for the first week of summer, when farmer’s-market strawberries and basil are at their ripest and most abundant.

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ZOMG guysies, I am still funking SmAsHed! from Wills’ bachelor party last night. Srsly, it was off da royal chizzy!!! Total bach-analia, yo!

OK, so, of course it started out totes norms and civil and whatnot, ‘cuz good, ol’ Droopy-Faced McPrincenstein was trying to prove he could still hang with the boyz and all, and I think he was getting a little wack on the stripper talking about how he wanted to be her tampon and stuff.

But finally he split, so then we were all like, “Yo, bust out dem Crack Babies!” I mean, ain’t no way we  throwin’ a stag party for  my dawg Wills and not do major shottage of Crack Babies. They’re his fave choice for getting royally f’ed up!


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And now for something completely self-glorifying!

In between blog posts here, I (and society at large) force myself to actually write for money. Sometimes, it’s actually even fun! Like when I spent the bulk of 2010 happily employed as “Fairy GodWriter” to entrepreneur and SavvyAuntie.com founder Melanie Notkin during the researching, writing and editing of her first book, Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide For Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers and All Women Who Love Kids — a book which, ahem, happens to come out today.

Is the book awesome? Yes, it is, in that even if you have no interest in changing poopy diapers, it will make you believe that changing a poopy diaper would actually be fun. Is the book not just Auntie-savvy, but cocktail-savvy? Indeed, it is that, too, as it contains a pair of cocktail recipes courtesy of yours truly, perfectly geared to the woman who loves afternoon outings with someone else’s little ones as much as she cherishes the well-earned cocktail she treats herself to once she’s back home in her un-babyproofed lair.

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