Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is Grey Goose's Goose Cooked?

Looks like the "Grey Goose Effect" might hopefully be wearing off, due unfortunately, to the current economic situation:

According to an article I came across today in the Hartford Business Journal Online Vodka trends are beginning to reflect the recession.

"Make mine a Vodka martini, but hold the Grey Goose.
Even liquor gets impacted by the economy with consumers searching out the best values when they head to their local liquor stores. That's why importers and distributors are targeting the retail market with super-premium vodkas at popular prices.
Case in point would be Wodka, a Polish vodka imported by Panache Imports of Brooklyn and distributed in Connecticut by Ace Distributing, a seven-year-old Plainvile company.
Panache president James Dale likes to brag that the days of people paying too much for overpriced Grey Goose that costs "for $50 a liter are over." His Wodka vodka costs about $13 a liter."
Later the article goes on to say that "people are sick of overpaying", us consumers can only hope that we will at least benefit from a new trend: quality spirits for a normal price.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cachaca Review: Ypioca Ouro and Cachaca 61

Today we are going to review two different kinds of Cachaca. Not only are they from different brands but they are different styles. One being gold, or ouro in Portuguese, which is usually aged. The other is Silver or Prata, usually, but not always, un-aged. Both are industrial brands. Gold Cachaca is more for sipping and silver is usually used in caipirinhas and Batidas.

We'll start with the Prata: Cachaca 61 is produced by Missiato in São Paulo, Brazil. Cachaca 61 should not be confused with Cachaca 51. Both are named after the year of the brands origin. 61 is 40% abv.

It is crystal clear, absolutely no color.  This one has a sweet but strong smell of alcohol, grapes and figs and bit dusty.  Its initial taste is slightly lost by the "heat" of the alcohol, powdered sugar followed by pepper.

Score: 79

Now let's move on to the Ypioca Ouro (ee-pee-oka) is produced by the Ypioca group in Ceará, Brazil. According to the label Ypioca ouro has been aged for two years. Ypioca is 39% abv.

Pale, faded gold. In the aroma the alcohol is not as overpowering as the 61. Sweet grape aroma, banana and rosted nuts, praliné. Soft, gentle, caramel, praliné, fruits with a hint of pepper lingering on the tongue.

Score: 89

Now I truly understand why ouro is mainly for sipping and prata for mixing. Although I have tried both sipping the prata and mixing the ouro, the prata is a bit too rough and hot to be sipped where as the ouro is understated when mixed into a caipirinha.

Either way if you are a fan of Rhum Agricole, Daiquiris, Mojitos etc... you should give Cachaca a try by sipping an ouro or with some prata in a caipirinha or batida.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cocktail: The Stork Club

I assume that this cocktail, like its cousin who we reviewed earlier this week, The Pegu Club, was named after the club it was created in: The Stork Club. This cocktail is almost identical to The Pegu, except this one has some orange juice in it, the gin and cointreau are scaled back a bit and it is garnished with an orange twist instead of lime. I give you the Stork Club courtesy of Robert Hess:

The Stork Club

1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 oz Orange Juice
1/4 Lime Juice
1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Very refreshing like The Pegu Club.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Video: Drinking and Driving Don't Mix!

In my previous post, The Pegu Club Cocktail, I mentioned the renowned mixologist Salvator Calabrese, which reminded me of a funny commercial involving him making a cocktail while being driven by Formula 1 racer Michael Schumacher.

Here it is! Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pegu Club Cocktail

Recently I stocked up on fresh limes and I have been trying to find new ways to use them in cocktails, like we did last week here at Keep Your Spirits Up with the Caipirinha. Usually, when I find a new ingredient that I am interested in using in a cocktail, be it a spirit, fruit or anything else, I search for recipes by ingredient in one of three places:
After Plugging in lime I came across the usual suspects: The Margarita, The Daiquiri, Kamikaze, etc...   Then one of them caught my eye... The Pegu Club Cocktail.

The Pegu Club Cocktail

The reason that the Pegu stood out for me is because in addition to lime juice it contains two ingredients which I really enjoy together: Gin and Cointreau (swappable w/ Triple sec & Curacao). In the past here at keep your spirits up we have wrote about at least two other cocktails which use those two ingredients: The Corpse Reviver #2 & The Jasmine Cocktail, both of which I recommend my readers and fellow cocktail enthusiasts try.

The Pegu Club Cocktail was invented at The Pegu Club (no, really?!), a Victorian style Gentlemen's club in Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar). You know, where Rambo 4 takes place and kills half the country. This club was created for British Army officers and civilians after the British annexation of Burma in 1885 and was one of the most renowned clubs in Southeast Asia mentioned by Rudyard Kipling in his novels. There are many different recipes for this cocktail but below I am providing you with Robert Hess' recipe. 

 The Pegu Club Cocktail
2 ounces of gin
3/4 ounce of orange curaçao (or Triple Sec)
1/2 ounce of lime juice
dash of Angostura Bitters
(dash of orange bitters)

Stir with Ice. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist.

According to Hess if you don't have one of the bitters you can still make this cocktail but he himself feels that it will be lacking. I only used Angostura bitters because I do not have orange bitters at the moment.

People have claimed that this cocktail's taste is reminiscent of that of grapefruit juice, I am not sure if that is how I would put it. I felt that The Jasmine Cocktail tasted a lot closer to grapefruit juice. The Pegu was sweet, sour  and bitter all at once. It is an excellent thirst quencher for hot or warm nights. Make sure to give this one a try.


Monday, October 18, 2010

What's Your Recipe for Homemade Baileys?

Recently I had a wonderful homebrew of Baileys Irish Cream. Some searching brought up this recipe from Chowhound. It looks pretty good, and I think I'll give it a try.

For those that know and enjoy Baileys, what's your favorite homebrew recipe?

Missing: The Worlds Oldest Whisky

I was pondering yesterdays article about the worlds most expensive whisky when I came across another interesting article.

According to the Luxist, the worlds oldest whisky, a 70 year old malt bottled by Gordon and MacPhail from the Mortlach Distillery in Dufftown has disappeared at the Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival. 

This 70 year old whisky was bottled in very limited quantities. A 700 ml bottle fetched about $16,000 and there were also a few 200 ml sample bottles which were going for around $6,000 a piece.

The Importer, Symposion International, thinks that it was stolen towards the end of the show and is asking for help tracking it down. We wish them good luck in finding it.

I wonder what all these 60 and 70 year old spirits taste like?! They better be really darn good but even so $16,000-$160,000 a bottle is just insane. You'd have to be out of your mind or just have so much spare cash just lying around... *sigh*.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

The most expensive whisky in the world?

According to the National Post, Dalmore has just sold two bottles of its Trinitas 64 year old whisky for £100,000 (or in US Dollars ~$160,000) per bottle. These are supposedly the first bottles of whisky to be sold for six figures. One bottle was sold to someone in the US and the other to someone in the UK, the third and last bottle will be sold at a whisky show in London in October.

The distillery claims that if this whisky were to be sold by the glass it would go for about $32,000. Plus, if you do buy this whisky you get a cabinet with documents that prove the stuff is real as well as a lock and key so your friends can't down the stuff when you let your guard down to go to the bathroom.

Man oh man! That better be some damn good whisky, cause if it isn't it just proves the Grey Goose Effect to the X power.

Bottoms up!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Weekend Cocktail: The Caipirinha

Last time we left off we had spoken about Cachaca. The most famous cocktail which utilizes Cachaça and happens to be the national cocktail of Brazil is the "Caipirinha". This cocktail is a good gateway drink to experience Cachaça, which may be hard to find, but, if you can get your hands on some Cachaca all you need is sugar, a lime, some ice, a low-ball glass & a muddler.

There are tons of recipes out there in regard to the proportions so I would like to share two which I have tried and enjoyed.

The first is from a book my wife got me as a birthday present, it is called "Classic Cocktails" by  Salvatore Calabrese ("The Maestro"), who claims to be "one of the worlds leading bartenders".

Salvatore Calabrese's Caipirinha:
  • 50 ml Cachaça
  • 1 small fresh lime
  • 1 1/2 spoons of powdered sugar (I used granulated)
Carefully wash the lime and remove the tips from the top and bottom, to remove some of the pith. Cut the lime in to wedges (going from top to bottom). Place the lime wedges and sugar in a low ball cup and muddle the lime so the juice comes out and mixes with the sugar until it is dissolved. Add the Cachaca and Ice (I like to crush my ice cubes) and stir. Place a straw in it and your ready to go.

 According to "Drink Boy" Robert Hess:
  • 2 ounces of Cachaça
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Half of a whole lime quartered
Same as above but stir after adding the Cachaca and stir again after adding the ice.

Additionally, according to Hess: "if Cachaca is unavailable in your are you can substitute it with a good white rum".  I dunno about this, with out Cachaca its not really a Caipirinha, more like a Daiquiri. Maybe if you use a rhum agricole like we spoke about in last post it would be some what closer. Still... Rum and Cachaca are different, the later is aguardente, not rum.
After discovering this cocktail courtesy of my wife it has really grown on me.  Recently my wife went out with my sister and ordered a Caipirinha. Either the bartender botched it or had some other recipe that was the the equivalent of Winston Churchill's "dry Martini", where he waved a bottle of vermouth over the glass of gin, just substitute the gin with Cachaca.

I really recommend the Caipirinha to anyone who wants to experiment with Cachaca or who are fans of Mojitos, Daiquiries and rum to give this one a try.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fun with Cachaca and the Caipirinha Cocktail Part 1

 Hi folks! We are back and gonna be better than evah!

Between papers for college and university plus work it has been very hard to post. Now things are getting back to normal at KYSU so we hope all you loyal fans (if there are any ;)  will continue to follow us here

We have not touched on the subject of cocktails for a while on this blog. The last one I reviewed was "The Corpse Reviver". Since I have been away I have been trying some different cocktails which I hope to add soon.

Most recently I fell back in love with the "Caipirinha" after finding Limes in the neighborhood grocery store. Unfortunately by me Limes and good Cachaça  are hard to come by. About two years ago I picked up a bottle of Cachaça  61 and tried making a Caipirinha with lemons... just plain wrong. Occasionally I would have some Cachaça & Coke, but as far as sipping goes 61 is an industrial Cachaca and just doesn't cut it. Although it does make a decent Caipirinha.

Some background on Cachaça for those who are not familiar


Picture by Phil Gomes @ cachacagora


Cachaça is the Brazilian equivalent of a rhum agricole. Both of which are made out of fermented sugar cane juice as opposed to molasses, such as rums like Bacardi and Captain Morgan are made.

On a brief side note, recently I had an encounter with rhum agricole thanks to my father and enjoyed it thoroughly. I tasted La Favorite blanc, which is bottled at 50% abv, good for mixing and vieux (aged rhum) 40% abv , and good for sipping. rhum agricole is usually, but not always, made in the French West Indies with La Favorite being made in Martinique.

Which reminds me...

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But back to our issue at hand...Cachaca... Also known as "aguardente de cana" or fire water is produced primarily in Brazil. According to USA TODAY "396 million gallons are consumed in Brazil annually". There are two types of Cachaca: artisanal and industrial as well as Silver (Prata) and Gold (Ouro) the difference has to do with the barrels and aging. Some of the well known industrial brands include: Ypioca (which we plan to review in the near future), Pitu, Cachaca 61 and the famous Cachaca 51 that most are familiar with due to their large market share. These industrial Cachacas are generally more for mixing in Caipirinhas and Batidas and less for sipping, although I have heard that Ypioca Ouro is sip-able. There are many artisanal/premium brands like Leblon, Cuca Fresca, etc... but the ones I'd really like to taste are the home made specialties.

My friend, Marcio from Rio de Janeiro, wants to invite me to try some hand made Cachaca he brought back from a four day trip out to the sticks in the country side of Brazil where the Cachaca is supposedly the best. He's really my kinda guy, I mean four days for some killer Cachaca... Awesome!

Tune in next time for Part 2 "The Caipirinha"...

It's good to be back :)