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Check Out this Bacon Cocktail


January 17, 2010 Posted by | bacon cocktail, bartending, how to video, mixology | Leave a comment

Watch The Master At Work…Dale Degroff

January 15, 2010 Posted by | Dale Degroff, how to video, mixology | Leave a comment

Watch The Master At Work..Dale Degroff

January 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ginger Syrup Recipe – Imbibe Magazine

Ginger Syrup Recipe – Imbibe Magazine

Ginger Syrup
“This syrup from Betty Fraser and Denise DeCarlo, owners of Grub in Hollywood, Calif., is fantastic in cocktails, such as the Sleepyhead, but it also makes an out-of-this-world ginger ale. To make ginger ale, simply fill an ice-filled glass a third of the way with the syrup, top with soda water and a squeeze of lime, stir and enjoy.
2 cups unpeeled, washed, fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 cups sugar
6 cups water
Process ginger chunks in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. Place in a large stock pot. Add sugar and water to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for one hour until a rich syrup is created. Strain the syrup twice through cheese cloth or a sieve into a large jar or bottle. Refrigerate.
Betty Fraser and Denise DeCarlo, Grub, Hollywood, Calif.”

January 15, 2010 Posted by | food, ginger, mixer, syrup | Leave a comment

Homemade Pickling Spice – Imbibe Magazine

Homemade Pickling Spice – Imbibe Magazine

“Homemade Pickling Spice
Pickled onions and green beans made from scratch taste worlds better than they’re store-bought counterparts, but the key is to use the perfect combo of pickling spices for your favorite veggie garnishes. Fortunately, crafting your own pucker-y spice blend is simple—especially with this recipe from Linda Ziedrich’s revised edition of The Joy of Pickling (Harvard Common Press 2009). Turning things up a notch with a little kick of cinnamon and dried hot peppers, this mix is a great match for “In a Pickle,” our easy instructions on making cocktail onions at home, in the January/February 2010 issue of the magazine.
One 4-inch cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
6 Mediterranean bay leaves, torn into small pieces
6 small dried hot peppers, such as japonés or de árbol, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. whole yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
2 tsp. whole allspice berries
1 tsp. whole cloves
2 tsp. whole coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. blade (unground) mace
1 Tbsp. dill seeds
Combine all of the ingredients in a small jar. Mix thoroughly before measuring. If the spices are fresh to start and you keep the jar tightly capped in a cool, dark place, the mixture should keep well for at least one year.”

January 15, 2010 Posted by | garnish, herbs | Leave a comment

How Scotch Whisky is Made…

How Whisky is made

“Scotch Malt Whisky is made in pot stills from just water, barley and yeast. It is a complicated procedure but basically the traditional method is as follows.

Barley is steeped in water for two or three days, which causes it to start germinating when it is then spread on a maltings floor. Heat is given off and the barley is regularly turned with wooden paddles called shiels to enable even development. Starch in the barley grains turns to sugar over about 12 days, at which time germination is stopped by drying in a kiln. Usually part at least of the drying is by peat-fuelled fires, the smoke from which imparts smoky, peaty aroma and flavour to the malt and the final whisky. This is called peat reek and can be light or very heavy according to the chosen style. However, one distillery, Glengoyne, closes off the kiln-smoke from the malt so that no smokiness goes into the whisky.
The dried malt is ground into grist and mashed (mixed) together with hot water to make a sugar-rich liquid called wort. It is drawn off and the solids left behind are collected for use as cattle feed. (Quite a few distillery herds have won Supreme Championships at Smithfield over the years.) The wort has yeast added to it, which then ferments over two days into a weak ale called wash.
Most pot-still whisky is distilled twice so stills tend to be grouped in pairs comprising a wash still and a spirit still. There are a few distilleries where a third still is used either to allow more complicated production methods (e.g. Springbank) or for triple distillation (e.g. Auchentoshan). With double-distillation, the wash is loaded into the wash still which is heated (sometimes with a naked coal or gas flame, usually these days with internal steam pipes) to slow boiling. Alcohol vapours boil off, pass over the still’s swan-neck and condense (rarely now in a ‘worm’ immersed in cold water, usually in a modern condenser) to a liquid, called low wines. The low wines are then loaded into the spirit still and distilled a second time.

As the distillate begins to run off, the early part is unwholesome and steered to a side tank by the stillman watching the liquid pass through the spirit safe. At the right moment, he diverts the flow and collects the next part of the run in the main container which is called the spirit receiver.
The stillman must continue to watch because while the liquid runs off the still, its alcoholic strength gradually drops. When a fixed strength is reached the flow is once again turned away to the side tank until it peters out, almost as water. The ‘middle cut’ – the ‘heart’ of the run that was collected in the spirit receiver – is the clean, wholesome distillate which goes on to become whisky. Nothing is wasted. The foreshots and feints that were collected separately are added to the next batch of low wines and distilled with them.
Scotch Grain Whisky is made in continuous stills from assorted unmalted cereals and a proportion of malted barley. The unmalted grains are cooked so that the starch cells burst open. When they are mixed with the malted barley to make a mash, the starch turns to sugar and a wort is created as with malt whisky production.
The fermented wash is fed in a constant flow to a patent still which completes both the evaporation and condensation processes within its analyser and rectifier columns. As long as wash is fed in, spirit comes out at the other end. The grain spirit is produced at much higher strength, making it smooth in texture but faint in both flavour and aroma.
Both malt and grain whisky must age in oak casks for a legal minimum of three years, but in fact most ages for much longer. The majority of single malts mature for between eight and 16 years, and 12 years is widely used as the bottling age for both malts and good de luxe blends. If an age is declared on a label it refers to the youngest whisky blended or vatted in the bottle.
During ageing, whisky loses its youthful fieriness and takes on flavours and aromas from the cask. Vanilla and a pleasant oakiness are two such, and, if the cask has previously held sherry, sweetness, toffee and sherry flavours may also come through. With a range of characteristics on call, the best whiskies achieve a balance of mellowness, complexity and completeness that is most attractive.
Blended Scotch assembles the best degrees of whisky’s richness, flavour, aroma, texture, mellowness and strength without the more daunting extremes of pungency, concentration, high strength, ultra-smokiness or blandness. Blended Scotch has nothing in common with, say, blended wine or blended whiskey from other countries where something acceptable is made out of constituents that are unbalanced or flawed. Most of the whiskies used in blended Scotch are available as self whiskies in their own right. Good blends have from 45% to 60% malt content and the skills needed to assemble perhaps 45 different whiskies to make a single consistent blend are considerable.
Original article from

Don’t like to read…Watch this (not responsible for the music!):

December 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Bourbon Is Made a Little History.

December 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pappy Van Winkle 20yr VS. Pappy Van Winkle 23yr

Bandit Review:
   It is not often that I am left speechless….enough said!


This is the only 23 year old Kentucky Bourbon sold in the country today. There are only 3,000 bottles of this very rare 23 year old bourbon. It takes generations of distilling know-how to produce a rare, well-aged bourbon like this. Only the most careful and expensive distilling method can be used to create a whiskey as special as this one.

These barrels were carefully placed in the heart of the warehouse to receive the most benefit from the variable Kentucky seasons. Each season, the whiskey passes through the thin, caramel layer of the charred white oak barrels, picking up an enormous amount of color and flavor.

This fine old whiskey should be enjoyed neat or over ice. “Pappy” used to say, “why ship water all over the country.” In keeping with his theory and practice, Julian Van Winkle has chosen to offer this whiskey at a higher than usual 95.6 proof. This higher proof allows all the incredible flavors to come out with each tasting. This truly is an older and wiser “Pappy.””
Bandit Review:

 I recommend drinking this Pappy before the 23 year so you will be able to enjoy this one for all it has to offer. This Pappy although sophisticated is very light on the palate and rich with the Carmel goodness of any great bourbon. There is an earthy corn character to this one that can catch one off guard. A pleasure to drink and not completely overshadowed by his big brother the 23 year old. Cognac not needed for an enjoyable cigar after a great meal, Pappy is all you will need!
“This is the #1 Rated Bourbon Whiskey in the World
Rated 99 out of 100 by the World’s Spirits Championships

The ‘Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve’ is aged an unheard of 20 years, and bottled at 90.4 proof. This whiskey is wonderfully smooth and rich. No other bourbon today can stand 20 years of aging, but this bourbon does it with style. ‘Pappy Van Winkle’ was a true character. This bourbon, like ‘Pappy’, is full of the character that makes it a very special whiskey. It, too, has been put in a class of a fine after dinner cognac. “

December 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

John Powers

Bandit Review:  I was extremely surprised to find that it is really hard to find a review of Powers Irish whiskey. I think that this shows how over looked this whiskey is in the states and most of the world outside of Ireland. Usually, when you type most popular whiskeys into Google you are over whelmed with information, not the case for this great Irish whiskey. This whiskey is a personal favorite of mine and I often drink Powers when I am in Ireland or a good Pub. Powers has a great light spicy aroma with light honey notes. It is easy to drink straight or over the rocks. The price point on this bottle makes it affordable for everyone. One of my favorite cocktails with this whiskey is a “Powers Sour” made by fellow Bar Bandit, Trevor Easter of de Vere’s Irish Pub.
      Powers pours a pale golden color. Powers is aged around 7 years (this is blended so there is no set age) in oak casks, so the whiskey does not inherit a lot of color from the wood like other whiskeys. This Irish whiskey undergoes triple distillation, so the whiskey is very clear and pure.

     There is no smoky aroma as Irish Whiskey dries its blend of malted and unmalted barley in closed kilns. Irish whiskey is considered smoother and lighter than other types of whiskey because of this process. The barley and grainy aromas are present as there is little to cover their notes. Powers blends traditional pot still whisky with grain whiskey, so you will nose and taste a variety of grains.

     When poured over rocks, the first sip or two are very pleasant and rich. The spicy flavor will overcome you first and then that will give way to a honey-like sweetness. Powers is more complex than what I consider to be its closest spirit, Jameson. Both are sweeter and smoother than most Scotch, however, Powers is does not give way to the mellow flavors initially. That is why I enjoy Powers more.

     I found that adding enough ice to just chill the whiskey slightly was the best method. A couple cubes that dissolve quickly did not lower the 40% ABV too greatly, but it did help release a little more of the fruity sweetness and aroma.

     Powers will linger with you lightly and not as strongly as you are used to with Scotch. You feel the Powers working, but there is not much to note on your palate a short time after your sip”

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, john powers, mixology, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, tequila, whiskey, whisky | Leave a comment

John Powers, An Over looked Irish Whiskey In the United States.

The Power's John Lane Distillery in 1886 - Click for larger size imageThe John’s Lane Distillery, founded in the year 1791 by James Power, an inn keeper from Dublin, was quite possibly the most beautiful, efficient and perfect distillery visited by Alfred Barnard in 1886 –maybe explaining why he devoted a full 6 pages in his book to it, more than for any other distillery in Ireland.  This great power house of Irish distiling started life on a very small scale – it was a tiny distillery producing 6,000 gallons, situated behind James Powers’ public house, from where mail coaches heading west out of Dublin would begin their journey. It did not stay small for long, and expanded rapidly after the 1823 Excise Act, which changed the limitations and taxations previously imposed on distillers.  James Power’s son, John, acquired a 500-gallon still and by 1833 they were producing 300,000 gallons a year.  They did extensive rebuilding and expanded hugely in 1871 and when Alfred Barnard made his famous visit, output was at an impressive 900,000 gallons per year, slightly less than what the Jameson Distillery was producing.  

Engine Room No.5 with its double faced clock - Click for larger size imageThe building was an ultra modern efficient complex, covering six-and-a-quarter acres of ground and offices, all the way from Thomas Street to the Quays by the river Liffey.   There were open staircases throughout the five grain floors. These floors were beautifully clean and well ventilated and contained most of the time over 3,000 tonnes of grain. The kilns were 57 feet by 30 feet, with open groined roofs, lined with wood and stained oak, making them look like small English parish churches.  The Mill room produced 1,500 barrels every twenty-four hours. The Still House was a noble looking building, containing five pot stills in 1886 and six by the turn of the century, the largest being the two Wash Stills, each holding 25,000 gallons.  Powers produced triple distilled pot still whiskey, made from a mixture of malted and unmalted barley, with a small proportion of wheat or oats added, as was the custom in Ireland at the time.  This new spirit would be put into casks and into any of the 17 warehouses which could hold up to 12,000 casks at any one time.  The Distillery also had splendid outlying bonded warehouses under Westland Row Railway Station and under the South City Markets, which brought the total warehousing capacity to 40,000 casks.  Barnard was particularly impressed by the warehouses underneath the new City Markets, with brick arches, supported on rolled iron beams and perfectly ventilated by large windows, the temperature being carefully monitored in both summer and winter. 

The Powers were noted breeders of shire horses and in the premises in Thomas Street there were large stables and even a “horse hospital” for any horses who fell ill. There were also engineering shops, sawmills, carpenters, coppersmiths and fitters and the distillery employed 275 men.  Barnard noted interestingly that the water used in the Distillery was principally from the river Vartry and that some of the old fashioned customers sent two empty casks with their order – one to be filled with Powers’ whiskey, the other to be filled with water from the Vartry, in order to reduce their whiskey with same water as had been used in the making of the spirit.

The Distillery had its own fire department, manned day and night by a team of 8 men and the alarms were connected through the exchange to the city Fire Brigade.  In case of fire, the water supply was destined to come from the Vartry, the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal and the distillery had its own stationary horizontal double-acting fire engine, capable of throwing 800 gallons of water per minute through eight lines of hose to a height of 150 feet.

The beam engine inside Engine Room No.5 - Click for larger size imageIn 1866, John Power & Son began bottling their own whiskey, which was unheard of before in Ireland, as it was usually sold in the cask.  The gold label was entrusted on the bottle and it was from this that the whiskey got its name “Powers Gold Label”.  As the distillery and the brand grew, so did the stature of the family – John Power first was made High Sheriff of Dublin, then knighted in 1841 – after which the firm traded as Sir John Powers & Son – and it was he who laid the foundation stone to the O’Connell Monument in Dublin in 1854.  The last member of the family to serve on the Board was Sir Thomas Talbot Power who died in 1936.  The Powers distillery was a founding member of the Irish Distillers Group and ownership of the company remained in the family until 1966.  John’s Lane Distillery installed a column still in 1961, which they used primarily for the production of gin and vodka, but which was also used to experiment with producing grain whiskey for blending.  They were instrumental in persuading the Irish Distillers Group to move from focusing on pot still whiskeys to blended whiskeys. The distillery finally closed its doors in 1974 when the Irish Distillers Group decided to move all its production, including that of Powers Whiskey, to the Midleton Distillery, where Powers whiskey is still distilled today.  Interestingly, the stillhouse in the new distillery in Midleton with its interconnecting pot stills and column stills was modelled mainly on that of John’s Lane.

So what has become of the distillery itself? Most of it, unfortunately has been demolished, some of it even before the closure and the move to Midleton. In 1980 Ireland’s National College of Art and Design bought most of the site and the Counting House, a magnificent building on Thomas Street which was used as offices, Distiller’s residence, still stands today. The Great Still House with its five pot stills that gleamed “like burnished gold” has unfortunately vanished, but three pot stills were spared and can still be seen today, outdoors, green with time and neglect. Part of the original Kiln building is still distinguishable from its circular shape and houses the College’s library upstairs.  Two of the original five Engine Houses have survived, the most notable being Engine House No.5 with its beam engine of 250 horse power manufactured by Turnbull, Grant and Jack of Glasgow in 1886.  The double faced clock, admired by Barnard, set in the wall of the Engine House can still be seen today.  Only the smaller of the original two chimney stacks has survived (95ft), the taller stack which stood at 120ft having been demolished for safety and insurance reasons, shortly after the College acquired the site.

Fortunately, the vestiges of the John’s Lane Powers Distillery today are now protected structures, so they are likely to remain as a testament to this once great distillery.  The College of Art and Design is not open to visitors as such, however, they are most amiable, and will accommodate anyone who wants to come in to see what is left of the distillery.  If you are a big Powers whiskey fan, you may want to take this short pilgrimage to the spiritual home of your favourite whiskey, especially if you are visiting The Old Jameson Distillery, as the two are only about a 30 minute walk from each other.  Call into reception at the college from the Thomas Street entrance, and explain that you would like to see the pot stills and old distillery.  The Engine Room is not open for viewing, but you can wander at your ease in the grounds of the College where you can admire the stills, chimney stack and remaining architecture.”
John’s Lane Distillery – Thomas Street, Dublin 8

Tel. +353 01 6364291 (National College of Art and Design reception)gn reception)

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Bars, bartending, beer, bourbon, culture, drinks, drunk, gin, mixology, powers whiskey, pub, rum, sacramento, saloon, scotch, tequila, whiskey, whisky | Leave a comment