Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn Cocktail Classics Tasting




On Saturday afternoon October 23, 2010, I attended an autumn cocktail classics tasting at Union Square Wines & Spirits and wound up having a fabulous time learning new cocktail recipes that I’d like to share with you …


To start off, have you ever watched the show “Entourage” on HBO?  If not, you’re really missing some very interesting and entertaining television.  But besides that, let’s talk cocktails for a moment, shall we?  If you in fact are an “Entourage” fan, then you likely know about the tequila called Avion, which has a silver (un-aged), reposado (aged up to six months) and añejo (aged up to two years), all of which are 80 proof (or 40% alcohol, if you prefer).  If you’re a Scotch or whiskey drinker, then I will definitely recommend Avion’s añejo, which was tasted neat (but could also be enjoyed with a slight bit of ice).  Due to its aging, it’s got an outstanding kick to it and if you’re a fan of Patron, this one is definitely something that you need to try. 


While the reposado might be the choice for mixing margaritas, the one with the best cocktail was the silver, with something called the The Autumn Apple, which contains 2 ounces of the tequila, squeeze of a quarter lemon, half an ounce of agave nectar, an ounce of apple juice and a cinnamon stick.  I have to tell you that this particular cocktail was amazing and that the key to it is the cinnamon stick, because when you sniff it, the stick greatly enhances the flavor of the cocktail itself. 



Without a doubt, Domaine de Canton’s French Ginger Liqueur was – and has been, throughout the past few years – my favorite.  Is it merely a coincidence that it’s been marketed by the brother of the guy who makes St.-Germain?  Probably not – because just as St-G is such a distinctive liqueur for spring/summer cocktails, Domaine de Canton is the same for fall/winter mixes, as well.  Simply put, this is something you absolutely must try in your mixology arsenal if you haven’t done so already, because it will stand out so prominently that people will promptly wonder why they haven’t tasted this before (which, coincidentally, might be the exact same reaction to sampling St-G for the first time as well – but please done get me started on that one … at least not yet, anyway … ).  For some really amazing recipes with this outstanding cold-weather liqueur, then by all means, hurry up and click here


By now, some of you might get the distinct impression that I’ve completely abandoned my fellow Scotch lovers – but you’d be so wrong!  While I generally prefer to enjoy my Scotch on its own – whether neat or with a bit or water or a single ice cube – we have one here that makes an excellent chilly-weather cocktail.  First of all, there’s a product named The Spice King by Wemyss Vintage Malts – an 8 year old 80 proof Scotch, it was served in a cocktail called The Not So Rusty Nail.  With a mix of Drambuie, an orange slice and just a splash of soda (preferably Perrier, if you can!), this is an incredibly aromatic concoction that will help you forget the fact that summer is long gone. 


Finally – and of course, I save this for last because (heaven help me) I do so love the smoky Scotches, there’s Wemyss' The Peat Chimney.  Also an 8 year old, this one is a blended malt that was served in something deservedly called The Smokey Pear because it accentuates both the smokiness of this peaty Scotch as well as enhancing its pear notes.  Made with 3 parts Peat Chimney, 1 part pear liqueur, 1 part fresh lemon juice and a slight squeeze of honey, The Smokey Pear is a cocktail that’s sure to please as a digestif on a chilly autumn night.