No I Did Not Mean That

Software that offers suggestions for what you meant to type when you key it incorrectly is useful. It is notably less effective when you enter a perfectly good word and the program offers up a non-existent word.

In the example below, I was looking for software with the word “President”; the App Store’s suggestion was curious – fortunately it used my actual typing to find apps and did not take its own suggestion.

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Published in: on 28 April, 2013 at 19:50  Leave a Comment  

Congress Solves a Problem

Anyone who has ever flown has almost certainly suffered from a delay. The are so many possible causes; weather, mechanical problems, and staffing shortages to name just three. After all these years of putting up with delays, the New York Times headline writer tells us that the was a simple solution that has just been enacted.

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Published in: on 27 April, 2013 at 9:59  Leave a Comment  

Going Dutch

There are so many adjectives and nouns in the language, that naming cocktails should offer boundless opportunities for fresh names. Yet there seem to be certain names that crop up over and over for very different drinks. One such example was my tipple for Monday. I made a Flying Dutchman.

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The recipe I used called for the following:
1.5 oz Bols Genever
0.75 oz Yellow Chartreuse
0.75 oz Benedictine
0.75 oz Lemon juice.

My half lemon was slightly less than the requested quantity, so the drink was probably a bit sweeter than intended, but still delightful. The Bols Genever is made like a traditional Dutch Gin, drier, more subtle than modern versions and that helped offset the sweet herbal notes of the two liqueurs.

Searching for Flying Dutchman recipes, reveals very different drinks.
2 oz Gin
1 tsp Triple Sec
(which sounds way too sweet and too much like drinking neat Gin)

5 parts Gin
1 part Vermouth
1 dash Orange Curaçao
(A Martini, with Curaçao in place of bitters, or the previous recipe but with Vermouth depending on your point of view)

2 ounces orange gin
1/4th an orange, juiced (about 3/4 ounce)
1/4th a lemon, juiced (about 1/2 ounce)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
(Very different from the previous variations, and dependent on a flavoured Gin that I have not seen in stores)

2½ fl oz Bols Genever
¼ fl oz Cointreau triple sec
2 dash Orange bitters
¾ fl oz Chilled mineral water
(Back to the same Dutch style Gin, uses Triple Sec as did a couple of previous drinks, but the mineral water adds a further twist)

This does suggest that I could have a Flying Dutchman every night for a week and drink something each time; although they do all at least share a Gin base.

Published in: on 22 April, 2013 at 18:07  Leave a Comment  

A Pomegranate By Any Other Name

My last post described my efforts to make Grenadine. On Thursday night, I used that homemade syrup in the previously mentioned Scofflaw.

The difference was immense, in place of the sickly sweet taste, there was a tart, fruity flavour. Even though I used the exact same balance of ingredients as in my previous attempt, this was a different and vastly better drink. The darker colour of the real juice also made for a more visually appealing concoction.

The rest of the Rose’s will go down the drain and only homemade Grenadine for my cocktails from now on in.

Published in: on 19 April, 2013 at 6:00  Comments (1)  

Keeping it Real

Earlier in the year, I made a Scofflaw, a cocktail named for those people who flouted Prohibition in the US. The name is great, as is the origin story of the drink. The taste was decidedly less impressive; with the grenadine syrup covering everything in a artificial sweetness.

More recently I read an article about Grenadine Syrup and found that it should be made from Pomegranate and sugar. The ingredients on the label of my bottle read as follows:

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE, SODIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVATIVE), RED 40, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, BLUE 1

A longer list that the suggested recipe, buy yet neither of the needed ingredients are actually present. Therefore, on Wednesday night, I made my own grenadine. I took a bottle of pure Pomegranate juice and heated it until its volume was halved. I then added an equal volume of sugar , stirred until it dissolved. I allowed the syrup to cool and added a shot of vodka to help preserve the syrup, poured into a bottle and refrigerated. A taste of the result suggested a vast improvement.

Tomorrow night, I shall need to try the homemade syrup in a new Scofflaw.

Published in: on 18 April, 2013 at 6:00  Leave a Comment  
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Tax Time

Monday was 15 April, Tax Day here in the US. It is the deadline for filing your returns for the previous year. To mark the occasion, I have drunk 1794 on a couple of evenings this week. The drink is named for The Whiskey Rebellion, an event in early US history, where farmers revolted against tax imposed on the booze they distilled and used for trade. The government response to the insurrection marked the first and only occasion that the sitting President of the US led troops in the field.

The cocktail is, obviously, Whiskey based. I used Rye, which is closer to the type of drink made in the eighteenth century; Bourbon becoming popular only in more recent times.

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1 1/2 oz Rye (Rittenhouse 100)
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth

Stir with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass.

The main attraction of this drink is the balance. Campari can often overpower other ingredients, but here you can taste it and the whiskey, both of which are complemented by the sweetness in the vermouth.

Published in: on 17 April, 2013 at 19:47  Leave a Comment  

Out of Order

It is not required to use punctuation on signs. If you do choose to do so, be careful in their use.

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The full-stop at the end of the conditional clause means that the second statement is not bound to the condition. In the event of a fire you should use the staircase, but you should not use the elevator with or without the fire. That being the case the entire apparatus seems redundant.

Being a good rule following Brit, I did I was told and, despite no apparent sign of flames or smoke, I walked up the staircase.

Published in: on 15 April, 2013 at 19:09  Leave a Comment  

More Monks

Thursday night saw a return to drinks whose name drew on the monk connections of Benedictine.

The first was called Benediction and is made with equal measures of

Brandy
Benedictine
Green Chartreuse
Lemon Juice

Despite the similarity with the weekend’s Elder Monk, the flavour of this had the Chartreuse as the most evident influence. The recipe also called for it to be made straight in a cocktail glass, whilst the previous recipe was over ice.

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The drink looks a little lost in the glass as I scaled this back from 3/4 oz. of each component to 1/2 oz.

The second drink was called a Kentucky Monastery. Anytime that one sees Kentucky in a cocktail name you can be sure that Bourbon is involved.

1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
3/4 oz. Benedictine
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

The recipe explicitly called for Bulleit Bourbon, which as chance would have it was the brand that I had in stock. It also called for Cranberry Bitters, which I lacked. I substituted Peychaud’s bitter, with no idea how they might compare to the Cranberry bitters. This drink felt well balanced, the herbs from the Benedictine were apparent alongside the Bourbon and the sweetness offset by the lemon juice.

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Published in: on 5 April, 2013 at 5:51  Comments (1)  

Baseball Tradition

On Monday I went to Oakland to see the A’s first game of the season.

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This was the fourth consecutive year that I have gone to see Opening Day.

This was the fourth consecutive year that I saw the A’s play the Seattle Mariners on Opening Day.

This was the fourth consecutive year that I saw Felix Hernández go to the mound as the Mariners’ starting pitcher on Opening Day.

This was the fourth consecutive year that I saw the A’s lose on Opening Day.

This last tradition should be placed into perspective; there are fans who have been seeing A’s lose Opening Day games for longer than I have. The A’s 2013 defeat set a new American League of nine consecutive opening day reversals. The last time that Oakland won on Opening Day was 2004.

Published in: on 4 April, 2013 at 19:59  Leave a Comment  

Fluid Ounces

Growing up in the seventies in the UK left me handling two different set of measures for liquid. At school we were taught about litres. Our milk was delivered in pints and our petrol was sold in gallons. To this day, beer is sold in pints. Petrol is now sold in litres, but fuel economy is quoted in miles per gallon.

Here in the US, metric measurements are rarely used. Volume is pints and gallons; although the US gallon is smaller than the Imperial gallon. Most of the sources I have for cocktails are American, so the recipes do not use millilitres. Instead they refer to ounces, a shorthand for fluid ounces. The measuring glass and jigger that I own have no metric marks, so even if I have a recipe that is in millilitres or centilitres I need to convert.

In the UK, most bars serve 25ml as a single measure. This is significantly less than 1 US fluid ounce. In the US spirits tend to be measured less precisely, but a shot here is 1.5oz, or about 45ml. Any British drinker should be aware that a single drink in the US will have nearly twice the spirit measure of a pub drink in Blighty.

Published in: on 2 April, 2013 at 6:00  Leave a Comment