Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Little Things

On the 24th of April my clavicle broked and subsequently underwent this procedure. That was the bad news. The good news is that since that time I’ve been able to indulge much, much more than customary during these summer months when the usual has had me training for xyz event. Up through last week, call it 7 weeks since the mishap, I won’t lie to you…you mean too much to me…the weekly consumption skyrocketed. Yes, my essentially forced idleness has played a large role in the increase, but also playing a part are my new favorite little things.

The last visit for me to The Grove Hotel was in June of 2012. Clich√© but…”so choice”. Work brought me there only to strike out. At joints such as these a strikeout is less painful. I and my fellow GTB’rs have a nose for the hotel bar. After my din din, that is exactly where I ended up sampling the different cocktails constructed by the enthusiastic bartenders. It was there that I had the best Old Fashioned ever. No joke. Next time you’re there go ahead and order one. But what put it over the top wasn’t the type of whiskey chosen (Woodford) or the orange twist set afire ever so briefly to extract a bit of the oil to enrich the concoction, and it wasn’t even the homemade bitters. No, ‘twas none of those things old chap! Can you guess what it was? It was the glass. The second I picked up that glass I knew that I’d never drink out of another glass again once three full years went by. Many times have I imagined that glassware since. Many time have I said, “I’m gonna find out where the hell they get those glasses and order some myself.” Until one month ago, it was all talk. Until one month ago. Sitting on my couch one Saturday mid-morning a few weeks into my period of slothdom, the image appeared and the brain took over. You need to order these glasses Dan. Call the hotel, get one of those limey’s on the phone and find out who makes ‘em. Do it and do it right now or it will be another 2 years before you have the inclination. So it was done and they were ordered a few minutes later on Amazon.

The picture doesn’t help much does it? Kind of a letdown no? Sorry. This my friends is the Luigi Bormioli Veronese Double Old Fashioned Glass – 11.5 oz. Not pictured is the 8.75 oz. Whisky Rocks glass. It looks exactly the same. Just smaller. We were way overdue on glassware. I’ve had the same stuff since the late ‘90’s – heavy, big, unwieldy, and tired. It was time to start anew. Having these in the cupboard now cause me to think about them nightly on my commute home, sitting there in the dark, empty and upside down, lonely and scared and screaming to be turned around and filled with something, something smoky or of barrel-aged, brown or clear, they don’t care. They just want to be held, used, adored. Who doesn’t? At $40.00 per half dozen they were much less expensive than what I was expecting. And that’s a good thing! Why are they special? They may not be special to you at all. In fact, if you order 1 (I think you can do that), you should have low expectations. I had none when I picked up my first in that bar outside of London. From the picture you can see for yourself that the glass is oval, kind of. The bottom is oval – let’s say the bottom 1/3rd. The top is round. It’s the damndest thing I tell ya. The ovality (new word coined here) at the bottom makes for a level of comfort not experienced before in the handling of a mere cocktail glass. It just fits right into your palm. Sure, the standard cocktail glass lift & sip isn’t so strenuous and uncomfortable that you say to yourself, “Man, I sure wish this was a different shape,” that is until you’ve taken a pull out of the Veronese.

A couple weeks prior to trying to create a pothole in a St. Petersburg road with my right shoulder, unsuccessfully, a riding buddy who also favors drinking was trying to explain to me a pre-made mixer that he pairs with his bourbon. What’s it called I asked? Bittermilk he responded. Bitter what? Bittermilk bitch, he said. It's a small little shop up in Charleston that has created a handful of different pre-made mixers each with its own distinct flavah. Oh. Ok. Bittermilk. What a great name for a mixer. He said we’d get together in the coming weeks to sip on it. Well it never happened, but a few days after my surgery a package was delivered to the house containing two of Bittermilk’s products - #3 Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour and #1 Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned. It was from my pal. Thanks pal. (As an aside, just last night this same fella came looking for money for a cause - the event is a 200-mile Bourbon Trail Run for the cause "Casa For Children". Anyone feelin frisky?)
The box was opened with curiosity, and the bottles more so. I immediately went to the website to check out the recipes. Chosen was the Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned which is simply 4 parts Rye or Bourbon and 1 part Bittermilk #1. Easy peezy and very good. Don’t feel like sippin straight whiskey but also not in the mood to go through the requirements of making a great Old Fashioned from scratch that let's face it, will probably suck? This is your ticket. I go both routes – sometimes Rye, sometimes Bourbon. Also exceptional is the Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour: 1 part Rye or Bourbon and 1 part Bittermilk #3. (For the whiskey drinkers, I suggest a ratio closer to 2:1; for the beer & wine folk stick with the 1:1)

No. 3: We've revived this old classic by smoking honey over bourbon barrel staves. Bitter orange peel and lemon make for a slightly tart and smoky cocktail. Honey adds a nice frothy head when shaken vigorously. Mixes best with bourbon but swap it out for tequila to make a slightly smoky Honey Margarita. Shake equal parts Bittermilk No.3 + Whiskey with heavy amounts of ice. Ingredients: Organic Lemon Juice, Water, Bourbon Barrel Smoked Organic Honey, Organic Cane Sugar, Orange Oleo Saccharum (Organic Orange Peel, Organic Cane Sugar)

Now that sounds pretty appeeling does it not? 

In the 2 months since being introduced, we've (mostly me) have gone through 4 different bottles and then some. Heavily weighted have been the bourbon & rye drinks including the aforementioned and the Old Fashioned Rouge - 4:1 Rye to #4 New Orleans Style Old Fashioned Rouge. A couple of tequila based have proven to whet the whistle as well - 1:1 Tequila to #3 is the "La Cabra". Translation: Umm...Wild Goat? Another is the "Handsome Devil" - 3:2 Tequila to #5. Five btw is the Charred Grapefruit Tonic with Bulls Bay Sea Salt. How's that sound? Pretty damn refreshing if you ask me. This week I aim to sample the rum based stuff. See website for more details and be the cool guy or gal at your next soiree to break out the Bittermilk. 

To cap it off, or to round it out I should say…Ice balls.  Balls. Of ice. In this case slightly larger than a golf ball. 

No explanation necessary. Fairly sure that a couple of you have adopted this practice already. Mix the ingredients of your next delight into an ice-filled mixer (regular refrigerator made ice - don't waste ice balls on the shaker), shake it and do so hard, and strain into your new Bormiolo Veronese atop a big ball of ice. Or get crazy and go with two balls. Just think of Danimal when you do. 



26 comments:

Dave said...

rob jumped out of a plane! danimal has a bunch of cool drink ideas! i need to catch up with g:tb, end of school year stuff, but now summer dave will be in full commenting force from here on in . . . and maybe i'll even write a post.

TR said...

After I pulled out my ice balls for a scotch for the first time, I knew there was no turning back.

zman said...

This post motivates me to buy more and drink more. Nicely done.

Danimal said...

Get after it.

TR said...

Bunch of teetotalers around here, I guess.

zman said...

Not so! I plan to make a dent in what's left of a fifth of Bulleit bourbon tonight as I watch the Arranged reunion with zwoman.

Danimal said...

Just made a Rumbustion with some Ronnie Z. Pretty good. Would make for a nice after dinner drink(s)

Z, I went through a bottle of Bulleit Rye recently. I'm a fan of their stuff.

TR said...

I too love the Bulleit, but I think that overall I prefer scotch b/c it's less sweet.

zman said...

I hear their rye is better than their bourbon, and their bourbon's pretty tasty.

Dave said...

wow. i keep vowing to drink more liquor, but it's so complicated. beer is so easy, but now it's summer so i can experiment. i will follow the directions.

Jono Jono said...

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rob said...

dave, i shall bring you some of loudoun county's finest rye for your obft drinking pleasure.

TR said...

Little known fact: Jono Jono wrote Iko Iko.

T.J. said...

currently in Miami, downtown at the Intercontinental for work. hit me up with Miami suggestions, GTBers
/south beach, feelin' the heat

Shlara said...

Teej--Go to La Sandwicherie on 14th St.
And I like The Betsy for drinks

Squeaky said...

Danimal, spent a couple of minutes on Amazon and have a bottle of #5 on the way. Perfect timing coming off antibiotics after a few weeks.

Danimal said...

So if heading down to south beach this eve Teej, I'd definitely stroll Lincoln Ave which is a few blocks west of the beach...LOTS to see there, plus many a bar/restaurant to dip into.
And on South Beach itself, same deal...just stroll. You need to have a couple at the Clevelander. Clevelander btw is just 100 yards or so from Versace's mansion. If you can get in there do it. Not sure what it is these days but it was a private club/restaurant/bar.
The Delano hotel bar (out back by the pool). Don't forget your wallet.
And if still down there later in the eve, peek your head into Mango's down on the main drag just a bit south of the Clevelander. That's right up your alley. Not really but worth spectating for a dance or two.

zman said...

The Lincoln Avenue Stroll is always a good time. Joke for at most two.

Dave said...

rye sounds like something that gives you a bad hangover, but-- like the guys in stripes-- i'm willing to learn!

can't believe clarence the grammar nazi has chimed in on sod . . .

Mark said...

I second the Clevelander and Delans bar suggestions. They're a little South Beach cliche but nice atmosphere for a drink.

Restaurants: Midtown Chinese and Sakaya (same owner/chef, Richard Hales. Yardbird.

mr kq said...

Had a Bullet bourbon drink today at happy hour. I'm a hipster.

TR said...

You forgot the "i", KQ. No hipster for you!

rob said...

delano has an 'eyes wide shut' sorta vibe. if you're into that kind of thing.

mr kq said...

That was autocorrect! I had it in there but most likely in the wrong spot. That sounded dirty.

zman said...

GTB is rockin today.

Mark said...

Unedited NBA Draft post (will be edited at some point) is now up.