Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sips & Pics, 2015

Cocktails created by Jay Crabb for Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. Photography by Josh Gruetzmacher.  Pictures shot on location at our venue Beaulieu Garden in Napa, California and the Paula LeDuc Fine Catering headquarters in Emeryville, California during the Spring and Summer of 2015.

Sip. Savor. Repeat.

Cheers!

A Spirituous Occasion:  VS Cognac, Jamaican Rum, East India Solera Sherry, house-made "trifecta spice blend" cordial, aromatic bitters, amarena cherries


The Gold Standard:  amontillado sherry, baby golden beet juice, heirloom tomato syrup, fresh lemon, pimenton spice mix rim


Coco Sofisticado: rum blend, house-made coconut cream and pineapple cordial, fresh lime and orange juices, spiced bitters, nutmeg 


Il Nostro Sour: slivovitz, rhum agricole, apricot, lime, egg white, house-made aromatic bitters, edible flower petals


Apple Celery Julep: house-made celery cordial, Akvavit, fresh lemon juice, German apple liqueur, crushed ice, lemon thyme


The Best Man:  rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, amaro, maraschino liqueur, house-made orange bitters, amarena cherry; served on an ice sphere

Garden Gimlet:  Beaulieu Gardens fresh garden herb blend, local gin, house-made lime cordial



Blueberry Sonata: gin, lemon, fresh blueberries, topped with blueberry-sage foam


Gustoso Bevanada: pisco quebranta, aperol, fresh red bell pepper juice, basil, salt, lemon

La Pina en Fuego: tequila blanco, carmelized pineapple, cilantro, lime, spicy mixed chili tincture


Il Cetriolo Amaro: beet-stained cucumbers, ginger beer, averna amaro, pimms liqueur, fresh lemon juice, california bay laurel

Daiquiri:  aged rum, fresh lime juice, cane syrup



Paloma Picante:  carbonated cocktail with mezcal, aromatized wine, hot pepper blend, orange blossom honey, fresh pink grapefruit juice, lime, and black lava salt


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Feels Like The Holidays!

It's been Fall for a good month and a half now, but it hasn't felt much like it in the Bay Area.  After being out and about this weekend, it's finally beginning to feel like Autumn.  It even felt like (dare I say it) the Holiday season was amongst us.  But what can I say?  I love the Holidays!  I cherish this time of the year.  The cooler weather, the falling leaves, the rain (being in the midst of a long, never-ending drought, I vaguely remember what water falling from the sky is like).  And of course...the cocktails.  I was surprised to see one of my favorite Autumn/Winter cocktails on the menu at one my favorite East Bay restaurants yesterday.

I had the perfect meal at the Ramen Shop in Oakland last night, and enjoyed a wonderful pre-dinner Pan American Clipper.  Crisp and refreshing with aromas of baked apple, flavors of pomegranate, balanced acidity, and a tinge of botanical complexity from the absinthe...it's truly Fall in a glass.  The Pan Am Clipper--a venerable drink that spent far too long in the "lost and forgotten" category-- has been a favorite of mine for many years.  Back when I was behind the bar, the Pan Am always found a place on my Fall or Winter cocktail menus.  It dates back to at least 1939, when it appeared in Charles H. Baker's The Gentleman's Companion.

Let's raise a glass to the Holidays, and to enjoying lots of good times with family and friends,


Pan Am Clipper
glass - coupe
method - shake and fine-strain
garnish - lime twist
1.75 oz. apple brandy (Lairds Straight Apple Brandy is fantastic)
.5 oz (plus one full bar spoon) of fresh lime juice
.5 oz. home-made pomegranate grenadine*
3 dashes Absinthe
1 dash baked apple bitters (optional...I prefer it)

* I make grenadine using POM brand pomegranate juice, pomegranate molases, orange flower water, and sugar.  

Another seasonal favorite of mine is the Cranberry Arbuste.  It's a super simple 3-ingredient cocktail packed full of flavor.  You can use apple brandy or bourbon.  Both work quite well.  This cocktail calls for a shrub (also known as drinking vinegars): at their most basic, a simple mixture of fresh fruit, vinegar, and sugar,  Think tangy, refreshing, and oh-so delicious.  The shrub in this particular cocktail spices things up for the holidays with fresh cranberries, gravenstein apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, star anise, orange peels, and allspice.



Cranberry Arbuste
glass - nick & nora
method - shake and fine-strain
garnish - orange peel with a small sprig of rosemary inside the peel
1.75 oz. apple brandy or bourbon
.75 oz. spiced cranberry shrub
.25 oz. frsh lemon juice

Cheers!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Garden Cup

I love the combination of celery and apple...they have such an affinity for each other!  Here, both flavors combine in a fun and unique gin-based cocktail that's perfect for summer.  Cheers!


Garden Cup
glass - small footed glass
method - shake and strain
garnish - 2 very thin granny smith apple slices (use a meat slicer) folded in half and placed on each side of the julep cup so they are just above the rim; 1 large sprig of slapped lemon thyme.  Too much work?  The tip of a celery stalk with those beautiful leaves works just fine!

Beefeater Gin
Berentzen German Apple Liqueur
celery cordial*
lemon juice
several dashes of verjus**

*Celery Cordial:  a combination of fresh celery juice, celery seed, sugar, water, a pinch of salt, akvavit

**Verjus:  check out this great article for some awesome verjus cocktail applications and ideas


The Gold Standard Cocktail

Golden beets, heirloom tomato, sherry?  Let's make a drink!

This low ABV cocktail goes by the name of the Gold Standard, and features Amontillado Sherry, raw golden beet juice, an heirloom tomato water simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice.  It's shaken with ice until well chilled, and then strained into a chilled cocktail glass with a Pimenton spice mix on the rim.  It's a crisp, savory, immensely drinkable low-alcohol cocktail crafted in the culinary style (food pairings abound). Cheers!

The Gold Standard
glass - chilled cocktail glass; pimenton spice mix on the rim*
method - shake and fine-strain
garnish - none

Amontillado Sherry
raw, baby golden beet juice
golden heirloom tomato water simple syrup (1:1  sugar to tomato water)
fresh lemon juice
pinch of sea salt

*Pimenton Spice Mix for rim

toasted, sliced almonds

black peppercorns

Spanish Pimenton or smoked paprika

coarse sea salt

Using a spice grinder, pulse almonds and peppercorns a few times. Add pimenton and salt. Pulse to desired texture. The almonds should be ground fine, but not powdery; you want them to retain some texture.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The 3-Ingredient Challenge

I make a lot of culinary-inspired, produce-driven cocktails, and I enjoy drinking them too.  They certainly have their place on a balanced cocktail menu, especially here in the Bay Area where we have access to such a vast array of fresh ingredients.  But I'm a bigger fan of simple, delicious, spirit-driven libations.  Even better if it's a 3-ingredient production.  I'm also a proponent of batching cocktails for service in a busy bar/restaurant setting, and cocktails like this are a breeze to batch ahead of time.  You grab one bottle, measure out 2.5 ounces of the batched drink, stir, strain, garnish, done!  It's a win/win for both the bartender and the guest.

Developed by Kansas City bartender Ryan Maybee, the Pendergast (named after the 1920's and '30s Kansas City political boss) has quickly become a contemporary classic.  Simple, sophisticated, delicious.

Pendergast
glass - chilled rocks glass
method - stir and strain
garnish - lemon or orange twist

1.5 oz. Bourbon*
.75 oz. Punt e Mes
.25 oz. Benedictine
1 healthy dash of Angostura bitters

*for this particular cocktail, I prefer a bolder, spicier bourbon, so I reach for one with a higher rye content and elevated proof: Old Grand Dad 100 proof.  The Old Grand Dad (part of the Jim Beam portfolio) also happens to come in at a nice price, perfect for mixing. 

Originally found in the Savoy Cocktail Book, the Opera cocktail is one of those lost and forgotten classics that doesn't get much attention these days.  Using a Navy Strength gin and being generous with the bitters brings to life this forgotten gem; certainly worthy of a place on more cocktail menus.   
 
Opera
glass - coupe
method - stir and strain
garnish - oil from an orange or lemon peel; discard the peel

1.75 oz. Navy Strength Gin
.5 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
.25 oz.  Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 healthy dashes orange bitters

 
What about a citrus-driven 3-ingredient cocktail?  Here's a recipe for the classic Daiquiri, one of my all-time favorites:

Daiquiri
glass -coupe
method - shake & fine-strain
garnish - thin lime wheel

2.5 oz. Banks 5 Island Rum
.75 oz. lime juice
.5 oz. rich simple syrup (2:1, sugar to water)

Cheers!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Little Funk Is A-OK

Jamaican rums are known for their funk.  We're talking about big, bold flavors, the result of special and unique yeast strains, longer fermentation periods that incorporate dunder (yeast-rich foam leftovers from a previous batch of rum), and in many cases, the use of retorts (copper vessels attached to the pot still that contain the leftover high and low wines from a previous distillation, creating additional flavor compounds). Each of these elements contribute to rich, ester-laden rums that truly sing when mixed in a cocktail. 

Jamaican rums are actually classified by their ester levels (esters are volatile/acetic compounds that can lend fruity notes to a spirit), and they basically break down into these 4 levels:

- Low ester rums are called Common Cleans.  Think delicate and slightly floral.  

- Plummers have a bit more going on.  Now we're getting into light tropical fruit aromas and flavors,

- Wedderburn are fuller, with deeper fruit, more body, and increased pungency and lift.

- At the top of the scale lies Continental Flavored, also known as High Ester.  When sipped neat, these rums are the most pungent, the most powerful.  Some would even say it reminds them of nail polish remover.  Sound appealing?  Don't be scared.  Because when diluted with a little water, or properly mixed in a balanced cocktail, that nose-burning intensity is replaced with concentrated aromas of pineapple and very ripe banana.  

So what kind of a cocktail lets these high ester rums shine?  I'm currently serving the Bebita Caribe in the home bar: a blend of Appleton VX and Smith and Cross rums, St Liz Allspice Dram, fresh lime juice, house-made raw ginger solution, and home-made ginger beer.  Funky tropical fruit and baking spices, citrus, and a little fizz from the ginger beer combine in this bold yet refreshing rum cocktail.  Cheers!






Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Cocktail and The Bar

The Cocktail:  "It should stimulate the mind as well as the appetite. The well made cocktail is one of the most gracious of drinks. It pleases the senses. The shared delight of those who partake in common of this refreshing nectar breaks the ice of formal reserve. Taut nerves relax, taut muscles relax, tired eyes brighten, tongues loosen, friendships deepen, the whole world becomes a better place in which to live.”
- The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. (1948) David A. Embury

The Bar:  It fosters a convivial community of compatriots…camaraderie with the staff and fellow regulars.  A great bar gives you a sense of belonging; it welcomes you with open arms and becomes an integral part of the neighborhood.  A great bar has the ability to become that "third place" or "third space."  It's not work and it's not home, bur rather that all important social space that's important for a civil society, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of "sense of place."
Cheers!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rum For Everyone

6500 San Pablo
glass - coupe
method - shake and fine-strain
garnish - long lime twist wrapped around a skewered, marinated pineapple chunk

1.25 oz. Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey
.25 oz. Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum
.5 oz. Trader Vic's Macadamia Nut Liqueur
.75 oz. fresh lime juice
.75 oz. Pineapple Gum Syrup
2 healthy dashes Angostura bitters

Cheers to you Mr. Bergeron, cheers to you.


Minimum Order
glass - large rocks glass; hand-carved ice ball
method - stir and strain
garnish - brandied cherry
 
1.5 oz. Banks 7 Island Rum
.5 oz. dry Amontillado sherry
.5 oz. home-made grapefruit cordial
1 dash Angostura bitters
Stir well with ice
Strain over hand-carved ice ball in large rocks glass
Express oils from grapefruit peel over drink; discard peel
Brandied cherry for garnish

Rum is commonly thought of as the spirit of choice for fruity, juice-laced tropical cocktails.  But I'll let you in on a little secret:  rum shines in spirit-forward libations.  Think outside of the box, and next time you're reaching for that bottle of rye whiskey or gin to act as the base in your spirit-driven creation, stop, think about how a rum might work in that cocktail, and then give it a try.  Whether a bone-dry white rum (Brugal is a favorite), a rich and layered aged rum (Zacapa is beautiful) or a grassy, funky Rhum Agricole (yes, some of them are over the top, but the brand Batiste is quite mixable), there's a lot to choose from in the world of rum.

Happy mixing.  Cheers!  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Oaxacan Monk























Oaxacan Monk
glass - chilled cocktail glass
method - dry shake; shake & fine-strain
garnish - orange peel

1.25 oz. Cimmaron Tequila Blanco
.25 oz. Don Amado Anejo Mezcal
.5 oz. Aperol
.5 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
.25 oz. chili-citrus syrup
.5 oz. Egg White
Dry shake for 30 seconds
Add ice
Shake again for 10 seconds, fine-strain into a cocktail glass coated with oil from a large grapefruit peel.  Discard the GF peel.  Garnish with an orange peel.

What a wonderful, delightful cocktail. Lots of ingredients, so I recommend batching the alcoholic ingredients in advance so you're not reaching for so many bottles when making these.*  Everything works quite well together, resulting in a balanced, delicious cocktail. The blanco tequila sets the stage; the dash of mezcal adds a subtle smokey quality that stands up strong to the delicate herbaceous qualities of the seductively sweet Yellow Chartreuse, and the semi-bitter notes of Aperol. The lime/orange juice combo gives it some nice (and needed) acidity, while the grapefruit and orange peel oils round everything out in perfect harmony. And the egg white? It lends texture. A beautiful, airy quality, as only egg white in a cocktail can do. The Oaxacan Monk is my new favorite.

Sip, savor, repeat.  Cheers!

* a note on batching in a bar/restaurant setting:  when I had this cocktail on a menu, we batched all of the alcoholic ingredients (tequila, mezcal, aperol, chartreuse) ahead of time, enough to make 50 cocktails.  This was done in a large plastic bin, whisked together to blend all of the ingredients, and then poured into 750ml bottles.  We also had small squeeze bottles in the well containing equal parts lime and orange juice.  So when the bartender got a call for this cocktail, he reached for the bottle containing the OJ/Lime blend, measuring out 1 oz.  He then added the syrup and egg white from their respective bottles in the well, ending with a 2.5 ounce pour from the bottle containing the batched alcoholic ingredients.  We turned this into a cocktail where the bartender only had to pick up 4 bottles instead of 8.  Not bad!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Chamomile and Coconut

After enjoying a few Bees Knees cocktails (2 oz. gin, 3/4 honey syrup, 3/4 oz. lemon juice, shaken with ice and served up in a chilled cocktail glass) I began playing around with those same ratios, but subbing ingredients.  Just another case of experimenting and playing with new & different flavor combinations.  I made a very basic coconut simple syrup on the stove using shredded coconut, sugar and water.  Instead of gin, I used Novo Fogo Cachaca, but I think a mixable Rhum Agricole, perhaps a brand like Batiste, could work just as well.  I mixed these with lemon juice, and a tasty new cocktail was born.  I wanted to add another layer of flavor to the mix, but was trying to keep the cocktail at 3 ingredients.  So I heated up my coconut simple syrup, added two chamomile tea bags to it, and let it steep for about 10 minutes.  Chamomile and Coconut?  I remembered eating a chamomile/coconut pana cotta years ago, and those flavors worked quite well together in that dessert.  Would it work in a crisp, citrus-driven cocktail?  It works!  Enjoyable?  Very much so, but probably not a "mass appeal" cocktail, but you never know.  The funky, floral, and grassy notes in Cachaca paired nicely with the chamomile.  The fresh sugarcane notes present in the Cachaca works in harmony with coconut, creating a new, unique flavor profile.  A healthy dose of fresh lemon juice adds the needed acidity, lending balance and crispness to the drink. 

I'm also playing around with a chai-coconut syrup, mixed into a cocktail with bourbon!

Chamomile & Coconut
glass - chilled coupe
method - shake and fine-strain
garnish - lemon wheel

1.5 oz. Cachaca or Rhum Agricole Blanc*
.75oz. - 1 oz. coconut/chamomile syrup**
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice***
Shake with ice
Fine-strain into chilled coupe glass
Garnish with the lemon wheel & serve
Sip, savor, repeat

* 2 ounces of Cachaca dominated the cocktail and threw off its balance, while 1.5 ounces worked out much better

**I prefer .75 oz of syrup, but 1 oz. of syrup might be preferred.  It's easy enough to adjust the sour-to-sweet balance of this drink based on your guests taste preferences

***I haven't tried it, but I'm curious how this tastes with lime juice instead of lemon

Cheers!
    

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bold Flavors & Drinkability

I'm a big fan of bold flavors, and when crafting cocktails, the ultimate goal is "how can I make these bold flavors accessible and enjoyable for my clientele?"  Drinkability: it's a buzz word that's thrown around a lot lately, but at the end of the day, that's exactly what we want.  I always ask myself  "would I order a second one?"  You can have a complex cocktail that's full of bold, interesting, unique flavors, but is also immensely drinkable.

A couple of bold flavors that I love are buddhas hand citrus, basil, and balsamic vinegar.  In a cocktail, Hangar 1 Buddha's Hand Citron Vodka fits the bill.  To this we add orgeat (a delicious almond syrup), and Small Hands Foods in Berkeley makes a stellar one.  Fresh lime juice, basil, and a touch of pineapple and egg white round out the cocktail.  We shake without ice, the egg white lending a frothy, silky texture to the drink.  We shake again with ice to chill and add a little dilution, and strain the drink into a chilled Coupe glass.  Balsamic comes into play in the form of a balsamic reduction, and this is drizzled into the foamy, creamy surface of the cocktail. 


I'm also a big fan of Green Chartreuse.  Love the stuff.  It's my "stranded on an island with only one thing to drink" drink.  Green Chartreuse is bold, herbaceous, certainly complex.  And it loves pineapple.  It has an affinity for that appealing tropical fruit, and in a cocktail, it's a match made in heaven.  Here's a spicy, rye whiskey-based cocktail calling for both:

Happily Stranded
1.5 oz. Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey
.5 oz. Green Chartreuse
.75 oz. Small Hands Foods Pineapple Gum Syrup
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
20 drops of house-made Calabrian Tincture
Shake well with ice
Fine-strain into a frozen Coupe glass
Garnish with a lemon peel

    

The Spice Trade
Banana, curry, chartreuse?  Yes please!  Indian flavors abound in this culinary-inspired creation
House-made Banana Infused Rye Whiskey
Green Chartreuse
House-made "Curried" simple syrup
Lemon Juice
Shake well with ice
Fine-strain into a chilled rocks glass, no ice
no garnish

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Is That Beer In My Cocktail? Yes It Is!

Beer in a cocktail?  Absolutely.  Using beer as as cocktail ingredient can add unique textures, flavors and aromas to a drink.  Here are three recent additions to the beer cocktail portfolio.  These came about after recently hosting a Meet The Brewer event at BUILD Pizzeria Roma with the fine folks from Bison Brewing Company.  The Hop Blossom and Saison Sour use small amounts of beer as a modifier in the drink, instead of beer being the main, base ingredient:

Hop Blossom
.5 oz. Spiced Hibiscus Syrup*
.75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 dashes of Tropical Bitters**
Shake well with ice
Fine-strain into a rocks glass over new ice
Top with 2 ounces of a hop-forward beer (I prefer Union Jack IPA, but for a different yet equally delicious flavor profile, try Bison Brewings Hop Harvest Ale, which is made with Oakland-grown hops)
Stir lightly to incorporate beer into the drink
Express the oil from 1 large grapefruit peel over the completed drink; discard the peel
Grate fresh cinnamon on top
Garnish with an orchid

* Spiced Hibiscus Syrup:  home-made syrup using dried hibiscus, cinnamon, star anise, sugar, water
**Tropical Bitters:  home-made, using lemon and grapefruit peels; blend of house spices (includes allspice, hibiscus, cinnamon)

The double dry hopping that Union Jack IPA undergoes compliments the spiced hibiscus syrup and grapefruit oil.  The bittersweet balance of orange, lemon, pear and honey found in Cocchi Americano Aperitivo works in perfect harmony with the tropical bitters.  A healthy dose of acidity from the fresh lemon juice balances the cocktail out, while a dash of fresh grated cinnamon on top ties it all together. 



Gingerbread Flip

We also featured our take on the Bison Brewing Gingerbread Flip*. This was our fun, delicious, crowd pleaser beer cocktail.  Think rich and creamy--almost like dessert in a glass--perfect for those cold Winter nights.  El Dorado spiced rum, Bison Gingerbread Ale, raw ginger juice, a bit of Martinique cane syrup, a whole egg, nutmeg and cinnamon.  What's not to like?!!?  *Read more about Flip cocktails and their history in a great article here.




Saison Sour
 1.25 oz. St. George Botanivore Gin
.5 oz. Tea Syrup*
.75 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 large basil leaves
.5 oz. egg white
Dry shake
Add ice, shake well
Add 2 oz. Bison Honey Basil Ale to mixing tin
Swirl gently to incorporate beer into the mix
Fine-strain into a chilled Coupe glass
Basil leaf garnish

Wow, interesting color! This was our "experimental" cocktail.  Hey, we always have to try some new & different flavor combinations and ingredients!   Floral aromas; frothy & silky mouth feel; pleasantly bold, sour and herbaceous on the palate (mmmm....fresh basil and gin); subtle tea & honey on the crisp, dry finish, with those classic Saison beer notes present throughout. 


Sip, savor, repeat.  Cheers!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fall Cocktails @ BUILD Pizzeria Roma (UPDATED for Winter, 12/29)

It's that time of year, folks!  Sure, it's still sunny every day with no rain in sight, but there is that crisp and distinctive chill in the air. That's right my friends...it's Autumn Winter!  Here's the new cocktail list over at BUILD Pizzeria Roma, updated for Fall Winter.  Word is that the beer list will see some new additions in the draught beer department over the next few weeks as well. Sip, savor, repeat. Cheers!


COCKTAILS
cocktails at BUILD utilize artisanal spirits, fresh juices, hand-crafted bitters, and several unique house-made ingredients.  sip, savor, repeat

Crisp & Refreshing 
citrus-driven & market-fresh

Winter In Rome - pisco italia & apple brandy, honey, campari, grapefruit & lemon juices, fresh rosemary, egg white, dusted with cinnamon; served "up"

Pompelmo Piquante - tequila, a touch of heat from our house-made calabrian tincture, aperol, grapefruit & lime juices, pineapple syrup, black lava & chipotle salt rim; served "up"

Cosa Bella - a blend of platinum & vanilla rums, lime juice, fresh mint, tropical bitters; served "up"

Il Nostro Sour -  plum & apricot brandies, pisco acholado, lime juice, egg white, barrel-aged bitters; served "up"

Coco Sofisticada - a blend of jamaican & nicaraguan rums, house-made coconut cream, fresh lime and orange juices, pineapple, tropical bitters, nutmeg and cinnamon; served tall and "on-the-rocks"

Tazza di Pimms - pimms liqueur, muddled cucumber, gin, amaro, lemon, fizz; served tall and "on-the-rocks"

Moroccan Nights - mandarin blossom vodka, cardamom bitters, tea syrup, pomegranate & lime juices; served "up"
  
Angry Mule - vodka, raw ginger juice, lime juice, allspice, nutmeg, autumn bitters, fizz; served "on-the-rocks" in a copper mug
 

Stagioni
featured seasonal drink, changes frequently
Egg Nog - house-made eggnog crafted with local brandy, aged rum, fresh eggs and cream, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon

Spirituous LIbations
spirit-forward cocktails

Point & A Half – navy strength gin, punt e mes, benedictine, orange bitters; served “up" or on a hand-carved ice ball

Sweet Old Man - a blend of rye and bourbon whiskies, amaro, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, house-blended bitters; served "up" or on a hand-carved ice ball

Scottish Folk Hero - blended scotch & a whisper of smokey islay scotch, barolo chinato & sweet vermouth, grapefruit & orange oils; served "up" or on a hand-carved ice ball

Rosita - reposado tequila, dry and sweet vermouths, campari, aztec chocolate bitters; served "up" or on a hand-carved ice ball


Roadblock Friendly
refreshing non-alcoholic libations.  alcohol-free, guaranteed!

Zenzero - fresh ginger and lemon juices, house-made tea syrup, fresh muddled orange and mint, seltzer; served tall and "on-the-rocks"

Sorrento - orgeat, lime, pineapple and basil, egg white, drizzle of balsamic reduction; served "up"



COMING SOON!  BUILD's Hot Banana Buttered Rum and Winter Toddy, early in January

Featured Beers:  Bison Organic Gingerbread Ale and Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge!'


Saturday, October 12, 2013

An Apple A Day...


Here are three Autumn cocktails that call for that wonderful American spirit, Lairds Apple Brandy:

A simple classic for Fall:

Jack Rose
2.5 oz. Lairds 100 Proof Apple Brandy
.5 oz. Home-made Grenadine*
.75 oz. Lemon Juice or Lime Juice (I prefer lemon)
Shake well with ice
Fine-strain into chilled coupe glass
Long lemon twist and a skewered brandied cherry for garnish

* I utilize a combination cold-method/hot-method system for making my grenadine.  I use pomegranate juice, orange flower water, pomegranate molasses, and sugar.  With the addition of a little vanilla extract at the end, this is one delicious home-made grenadine!

An here's two Autumn originals:

The 1698 
Lairds 100 Proof Apple Brandy
Dolin Dry Vermouth
Raw ginger juice
Fresh orange and lemon juices
House-made tea syrup
Fresh mint leaves
Served "up" in a chilled coupe glass

Winter in Rome
1/2 of a sprig fresh rosemary  (remove the needles from stem, throw away stem)
.75 oz. Lairds 100 proof apple brandy
.5 oz. Oro Pisco Italia
.5 oz. Campari
.5 oz. Spiced Honey syrup (2:1, honey to water ratio for syrup)
.75 oz. Grapefruit Juice
.5 oz. Lemon Juice
.5 oz. Egg White
Dry shake for 15 seconds
Add ice; shake and fine-strain into a chilled coupe glass
Squeeze an orange peel over drink to express the oils; discard the peel
Add a generous amount of freshly grated cinnamon on top of the drink
Garnish with 1/4 of a fresh rosemary sprig, centered in middle of the drink

In 1698, Alexander Laird--a County Fife Scotsman--emigrated from Scotland to America aboard the ship the Caledonia, accompanied by his sons Thomas and William. William settled in Monmouth County, New Jersey. While in Scotland it is believed that William was involved in the production of Scotch. Thus upon his arrival to America, he applied his skills to the most abundant natural resource available in this area of the New World…apples.  He began production of AppleJack for his own use, as well as his friends and neighbors.  For over 300 years, the art of producing Apple Brandy has been passed down through generations of the Laird Family. Laird was America's first commercial distillery with License #1.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New & Noteworthy Boozey Things

Some new things over @ BUILD Pizzeria Romathe fun new bar/restaurant project I've been working on in downtown Berkeley the past few months:
Note: anything highlighted in red throughout this blog links to other sites, providing more information on those particular products/subjects.  Simply click on those items to learn more about them!

Happy Hour Aperitivos 
(Monday through Friday, 4pm to 6pm)

Perfect Start - Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Bitter Truth orange bitters, seltzer, amarena cherry

Ciao Bella - Cocchi Americano, Small Hands Foods pineapple gum syrup, Scrappy's grapefruit bitters, grapefruit and lemon oil, La Marca Prosecco


Omnipresente (our house Negroni) - Navy Strength gin, Gran Classico & Campari, a blend of vermouths


BUILD's $7 Attitude Adjustment - a tallboy can of Legit Lager served with a shot of Fernet or the "Noci Shooter" (our orange & walnut "Manhattan Shooter" consisting of bourbon, Nocino walnut liqueur, Cointreau orange liqueur, and a blend of house bitters)


And over on the regular cocktail menu...

Pompelmo Piquante - El Distilador Tequila Blanco, Aperol, our house-made Calabrian tincture (a maceration of alcohol with hot calabrese peppers & citrus peel), fresh ruby red grapefruit and lime juices, gum syrup, black lava salt rim


Fig Thyme - fresh black mission figs muddled with thyme, fresh lemon juice, Pampero Aniversario rum, Luxardo Amaretto, local B&E Bourbon and pear brandy from St.George Spirits


In the non-alcoholic libations range, we have the Zenzero (raw ginger juice, tea syrup, fresh lemon and orange juices, mint, seltzer water), and the Sorrento (orgeat syrup, fresh lime and pineapple juices, basil, seltzer).  


We've also been playing around and experimenting, getting ready for fall (things like apples and pears, pancetta fat-washed spirits, a new bloody mary recipe, tempus fugit creme de cacao, Calvados), and we've been tasting some new amari as possible additions to our Amaro shelf.  Here's to Fall...CHEERS!