Tag - Gin

1
Christmas Gifts All My Readers Should Ask For
2
Why the Hell Are These Men Smiling?
3
In Other News, Robert De Niro Has But the Most Tangential Acquaintance With What the F**k a Martini Is
4
Gin-sperimentation: Caorunn Scottish Gin

Christmas Gifts All My Readers Should Ask For

Tanqueray No.10 Imperial Shaker by Jason Crawley
It’s that time of year again. Time to consider gifts to give to your loved ones, and gifts to ask for from your loved ones. And of course, booze-centric gifts are always in order. The first time I bought booze in my life was a case of wine for my dad, to go with the wine-rack I got him for Christmas. Of course, I was seventeen at the time, but since it was a gift, the guy sold me it anyway. In fact, he suggested it. A different time….

Anyway, via the master-link-baiters at Gizmodo, the crazed maniacs at Needless Markup Neiman Marcus have unleashed their annual Christmas gift guide. As usual, it contains a number of fantasmic gifts in the booze-related vein. Things like a golden top hat champagne bucket, or their hand-blown glass ice bucket with a brass top shaped like an acorn by Oscar de la Renta. There is the Coravin wine vampire thingy that I posted about when it came out. (Due credit to Neiman Marcus, they only want one dollar more than Amazon.) There is even a Burberry dinner jacket in the catalog that I’d give up Bombay Sapphire for.

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I’d give up gin entirely to have his hair….

There is also a Waterford Crystal caviar and vodka chilling set that ought to tempt the most high-end of boozehounds for the bargain-basement price of $3,500 dollars.
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It ought to be the top tempter, but it is not. And it also really a bargain-basement priced item, compared to the mack daddy of this year’s catalog (if you don’t count the Maserati or the amphibious jet skis): The Tanqueray No. Ten Imperial Shaker, by Jason Crawley, as pictured atop this post. This gorgeous beast is about 280 pounds of cast iron, brass, and silver. It stands about the height of Gaz Regan, and works four Tanqueray No. Ten-inspired shakers at once, in an up and down motion (no… just, no) and an elliptical motion that is gorgeous. It makes the Waterford set seem inexpensive by ringing up an order of magnitude higher at $35,000, even. They have the good graces not to try the $34,599, “See? It’s inexpensive!” trick, though, so kudos again.
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In addition to the machine, you also get four cases of Tanq Ten, which they are alleging is a year’s supply, and a private cocktail education class for you and nineteen of your ginniest friends with Rachel Ford (seen here operating the Imperial Shaker).

At any rate, there is s magnificent video from Neiman-Marcus that I can’t figure out how to embed, so until I find such a version, you’ll have to hit this link to watch it. and here it is:

Tanqueray Imperial Shaker from Pulse-Plus on Vimeo.

I want to open up a bar, just to build it around one of these…. That said, it has it’s important limitations. Despite being a Tanqueray No. 10-branded device, linked to a gin made for Martinis, you don’t shake Martinis. It shouldn’t be used for Martinis. More importantly, do not even think about popping a Manhattan into any of those lovely stainless steel shakers. I’ll cut you.

Why the Hell Are These Men Smiling?

Question of the day: What in God’s name is making these men smile?

Pictured is a bunch of men pouring out huge bottles of bootleg spirits into the gutter in 1931. Awful as bathtub gin was during Prohibition, the glee at so much hooch going down the drain seems… strange.

They are smiling so much because they already poured the gin into another tank. I’m guessing this is water they are pouring out.

That makes a certain amount of sense. Even today, you can’t capture smells in a picture.

In Other News, Robert De Niro Has But the Most Tangential Acquaintance With What the F**k a Martini Is

From the instructions he sends out to you just in case he decides to attend your party: Gin, chilled glass, small pour size. Check, check, check. That last item is especially well put (read the New York Post’s article).
So far so good. He sounds like a reasonable man here. Why am I getting so hot under the collar?

Shake for 45 seconds…!
Muddled cucumber…?
“No vermouth necessary.”?!?!

Tangential. At. Best.
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Yes, I’m talkin’ to you, Bob. It might be a fine drink, whatever it is, but show some respect in the future. I don’t want to hear you taking the name of the Gospel of Gin in vain again.
(Thanks to @Teekeemon for his alertly twigging me to this cultural travesty.)

Gin-sperimentation: Caorunn Scottish Gin


It’s pronounced “ka-roon“. Caorunn is a new gin from that hot bed of white liquor production… Scotland? Produced at the Balmenach whisky distillery in the Speyside region, Caorunn is a small-batch gin with a uniquely Scottish character, a gorgeous bottle, and fascinating flavors. Given the nature of this blog and my own significantly Scot heritage, I am compelled at this point to ask Mike Myers for his opinion on Scottish gin:

Caorunn does not distill its base grain neutral spirit at Balmenach, since pot-distilled barley is not exactly a great base for gin. The Scot element comes from the water (of course) and the unique blend of botanicals, including five unusual ones which they identify as “Celtic botanicals“. Heather, Dandelion, and Bog Myrtle all are sharply evocative of Highland landscapes. Coul Blush Apples are an early 19th century hybrid, recently rediscovered. The final element is Rowan Berry, which the maker describes as “the very soul of Caorunn.” Rowan berries are traditionally used in a variety of Celtic herbal medicines, and seen as a powerful source of mystical good fortune. Also, they are popular eating and commonly used to make or flavor brandies, though I’ve never seen such here in the US.
The traditional botanicals are juniper, coriander, angelica, cassia, and lemon and orange peels.

The infusion of the alcohol into gin is what is performed at Balmenach and is performed in the above pictured 1920’s made copper berry chamber. The botanicals are spread out on the wide trays you see, then the chamber is filled with the alcohol vapor over a long period to infuse them into the gin. This contraption was originally designed for extracting essential oils used in the manufacture of perfume. It is a pretty uncommon device for distilling gin.

The spirit resulting from these unique as the processes and ingredients is pretty special in its own right. Caorunn is bright and very clean in flavor, and has for me the rather odd effect of smelling lightly sweet while tasting fairly dry. The apple in particular seems evident in the nose and less so in the mouth. It is certainly no Tanqueray, but I think it is closer in character to a London Dry than it is to the hard to define “New American” gins.

I like this gin. A lot. But it is not a gin you can deploy indiscriminately in all cocktails. Its real strength is in combination with other herbal flavors. To that end it is a simply magnificent Martini gin. It is difficult to describe why this gin goes so very, very well with vermouth, but it does. I don’t go with the whole olive thing, so I cannot attest to how things will go if you like to dirty up the waters. On their extensive and beautifully illustrated recipe page, they recommend garnishing a martini with a slice of apple, which I have not tried, but will next time I get my hands on some really good ones.

I’m into my second bottle of Caorunn, largely because it’s about the only thing I’m making Martinis with any more. When I find a particular brand that seems perfect in a particular drink I make regularly, I tend to just dedicate it to that particular purpose. But of course, as with all gins I had to try Caorunn in the Greatest Cocktail Ever Mixed™. I actually tried this first, and it almost made me give up on Caorunn from the start. I think the product has a Kryptonite, and it is indeed green: The Lime. There is some chemical interaction happening between the two that triggers a very slight but notable acridity in the mix. If you peruse the brand’s recipe page, you won’t see lime listed at all in the excellent Search by Ingredient feature.

So, no Pegus, no Rickeys, no lime with your Caorunn. It seems to go quite nicely with other citruses, however, and some whose taste I trust say it works particularly well with grapefruit. Rather than get frustrated with this weirdness, I just chalk it up to the marvelous opportunity for experimentation cocktails offer.

Caorunn is not yet available all over the US, so I am happy indeed that Ohio is among the first states where it is distributed. I’m guessing that it will be appearing in lots more markets before too long, so if it isn’t in your local store right now, keep looking. In the meantime, it is available from several online retailers such as DrinkupNY.

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