For those of you who live in states like New York or California or Denver, you are fortunate enough to be able to buy your booze in a “free market” environment. Michigan, unfortunately, is a “control state,” which means that all the liquor has to be sold by the manufacturer to the state, who then marks it up and sells it to the bars, party stores, etc. It’s some bullshit law that dates back to prohibition, and needless to say, inherently inhibits the spirits that are sold in the state, and increases their price point to boot. And it also means, as a licensee, we cannot sell spirits that are not sold thru the state (I think technically it’s considered bootlegging). So when you’re reading thru the bloggs about all the sexy new liquors and liqueurs that the kids are using (Bols Genever, Battavia Arrack, etc., etc.,), rest assured that they are beyond our reach, and that Michigan will therefore always reside in the dark taint of the mixology world.
So let me be the first to say how very “fucking jazzed up” I am that the Haus Alpenz wine based liqueur portfolio is now on sale here. It’s only stuff under 20% abv, but we’ll take it. With any luck, we’ll get the rest of the portfolio in the state next year, so we can really “run with the dick punchers,” as the kids say.
So yeah, we’re going heavy with that shit on my new menu. Can you blame us?
The Historic Brownfield Project
1.5 oz. Wild Turkey Rye
.5 oz. Cynar
.5 oz. Cardamaro
3 dash Root Beer Bitters
This bastard tastes like a bitter little dirt sandwich, in all the right ways. The root beer bitts really make the whole thing work, and if you squeeze a lemon peel over top, well, then you’re doing God’s work.
Here’s a tip: if you don’t like mezcal, just give it up. Just give up on life, cause you’ve already fucking lost. It’s way, way up there with the best stuff I’ve ever put in my mouth. And everybody that knows anybody that knows anything about cocktails knows that single village mezcal is the thing to be getting woooorsted on these days. To that end, my freaks, I give you the Gun Show…
The Gun Show
1 oz. Vida Mezcal
1 oz. Elijah Craig 12 Year Bourbon
.375 oz. Chestnut Syrup
a few dashes orange bitters
Build in glass, add ice, stir, represent.
There are some drinks out there, like the Last Word, that combine extremely different flavors with complete success. I don’t hesitate to say this is one of those drinks. Instant fucking classic… Assuming you like extremely smokey, bitter, citrusy stuff. If not, this drink probably isn’t for you. Or whatever. The important thing is, I probably went through about ten variations of this drink, until I came up with this one, and now, honestly, I can say the world is a little better because of it.
Famous Last Words
.75 oz. Laphroaig
.75 oz. Aperol
.75 oz. Bonal
.75 oz. Lemon
Shake, double strain into a coupe.
John Lennon once famously said, “I’m an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I’ll bring you something out of it.” Well, I’m like that, but with Laphroaig. What can I say? It’s my muse, my inspiration, and my life partner. So this one here, well, it’s gonna be huge… arguably bigger than Jebus himself.
Where There’s Smoke…
1.5 oz. Blended Scotch (I like White Horse here)
.5 oz. Grade C Maple Syrup
.5 oz. Lemon Juice
Shake, double strain into a rocks glass. Add a few ounces of Laphroaig foam*, and a dash of cayenne pepper over top.
*To make Laphroaig foam, combine five ounces of the balls, plus two of water and three of simple, and four egg whites in an iSi prof-whip canister. Chill and shake before use.
Since the start we’ve had an old fashioned on our menu. First it was the Autumn Old Fashioned (wild turkey rye, apple cider reduction, ango), and then it was the Blackfoot Old Fashioned (riverboat rye, grade C maple syrup, blackfoot bitters, flamed orange peel). And these have been consistently our best seller. Maybe because they’re always the cheapest drink on the menu at $7 – but maybe also because people still enjoy simple, complimentary flavors without all the hoopla.
The concept for this drink actually came to me in the middle of the night. Not really in a dream, cause only pussies dream, so let’s say… in a whiskey induced hallucination.
The Johnny Rottenseed (Old Fashioned)
2 oz. Laird’s Bonded Applejack
.5 oz. Coca Cola Syrup*
Dash house orange bitters
Build this in the glass, add a few large cubes, and give it a stir. Let those cubes dilute a bit, since we’re dealing with 100* goods here, and then add a few more cubes. We use large cubes from our Kold Draft, but you can use whatever the fuck you want, my homey.
*Reduce Mexican coke down to about 25% of it’s original volume to make the syrup. It’s pretty rad stuff.
Tomorrow’s drink: Where There’s Smoke…
Here’s a great one from Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks… classic Gin punch on a single plan.
3 oz. Gin
.75 oz. Raspberry Syrup
.75 oz. Lemon Juice
.25 oz. Maraschino
.25 oz. Orange Juice
.25 oz. Pineapple Juice
Combine all ingridients, shake over cracked ice, pour unstrained into a small bar glass (12 oz. ish), top with crushed ice and decorate with fruits in season. Imbibe with a bad as hells two part brass strainer straw that you made. Or not.
I modified this one a bit, but within reason. Original recipe calls for both raspberry syrup and sugar, which was too sweet and the raspberry got lost. Also, it read like a slice of orange and pineapple were supposed to be shaken, but it didn’t really work for me. Instead I added a dash of each juice pre-shake, and it works.
It’s been a pretty hectic couple weeks for me. I’ve admittedly been slacking on my blog posts, but I’ve got a few days off here and I’m going to take some pics, make some drinks, and just fucking chillax for a hot second.
A few of us placed an order with Drink Up, and among my purchases was a bottle of Allspice Dram. If you’ve never had this shit, let me tell you it’s fucking amazing. The allspice flavor is extremely intense, and it’s a great ingredient in just about any tiki style drink. It tastes like what I think Angostura bitters would taste like if it was made into a liqueur.
So, shooting from the hip, I threw some in a Cuba Libre. The results were nothing short of amazing. I mean it. And I don’t even like Cuba Libres. Until now. Until this.
2 oz. Dark Rum
.25 oz. Allspice Dram
.25 oz. Lime
Build in glass, pack with crushed ice, top with MexiCoke.
On my first pass I went .5 oz. Allspice and it sorta took over the joint. Cutting it in half works better – still very present, but not overpowering. Throw some ango bitters up in there too, while you’re at it. And the Mexican Coke is a classy move, if you can find it. They sell it at the market down the street here, but I’ve never seen it outside Detroit.
If you didn’t make it to Home Slice on Friday night, you were clearly doing something that sucked. It was a stone jam. A rad bash. A shit show, in the best possible way.
Tons of great Detroit food companies were there, Slow’s, Porktown Sausage Project, Brother Nature, etc., all showing off their wares and donating a portion of their sales to the museum. I was fortunate enough to get to run the bar (as The Sugar House) and put together the cocktail menu. Fortunately my buds Evan and Todd were willing to help out – I would have been boned otherwise. Here’s what we were mixing:
The Archbishop is a traditional “mulled wine,” made with claret, mixed with spices, orange peel and sugar. The recipe comes from Jerry Thomas’ 1887 book, “How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion.” Slightly sweet, with strong notes of orange, clove and cinnamon… served warm, a perfect fall drink.
Autumn Old Fashioned
Franklin Cider Mill cider is reduced down to syrup, paired with Angostura bitters and Rye whiskey, served over ice. Our seasonal variation on the venerable classic, this true cocktail is tart, slightly sweet and nutty.
This classic Champagne cocktail is made with cognac, bitters and sugar, and topped off with sparkling brut, served in a champagne glass. A balance of sweet and dry, with hints of spice and a citrus nose.
The Cherry Bounce, as detailed by Lord Kendal Banning in his publication from 1784, “The Squire’s Recipes,” is a mixture of whiskey, cognac, cherries, almonds and spices which have been macerated for “three fortnights.” Slightly dry, extremely complex, and quite potent. Simply served over ice.
From Trader Vic’s Illustrated Guide to Bartending (1947), the origins of this mysterious drink are unclear but it’s fantastic flavor is anything but. Aged rum, Italian vermouth, lime juice and bitters, shaken, and served down.
Gin Gin Mule
Created by Audrey Sanders at the Pegu Club in New York, this variation on the Moscow Mule is an instant classic. The botanicals of the gin are complemented by the mint and ginger flavors, while the soda makes this a light, yet complex beverage.
Here’s a shot of the syrups, juices and the Cherry Bounce…
I made 96 oz. of cider reduction, simple syrup and ginger & black peppercorn syrup. Evan and I squeezed 4000 ml of lime juice, and I made 5000 ml of Cherry Bounce, which sat about six weeks. The biggest seller was the Gin Gin Mule – we used up all the ginger syrup, so we must have made about 128 of them. The Autumn Old Fashioned was a close second, I am thinking we made about 90 of those, and somewhere around 70 of the Fig Leaf and Cherry Bounce. Probably 50 or so Champagne Cocktails, and maybe 30 Archbishops… it comes out to about 438 drinks, over five hours. As I said, a total shit show. If you’re local to Detroit, we’ve got an article coming out in the Metro Times, with a few shots from the event. Stay tuned.
1.5 oz. Cruzan Black Strap Rum
.75 oz. Tawny Port
.25 oz. Creme de Cacao
.25 oz. Carpano Antica
Mix, pour over a large cube. Sip slowly.