• Mixology Monday C Cocktail: The Hoffman House

    DSC_0372Wow, 100 Mixology Mondays. In this day and age of instant online popularity and even faster irrelevance, a hundred of anything seems significant. And one hundred global online cocktail parties is even more outstanding….it seems good booze has some real staying power in popular culture. And that’s a good thing, as we cocktail-loving folk are always trying to keep both the grumpy teetotalers and Fireball-drinking, whipped cream vodka chugging heathen at bay…..just kidding (not really).

    mxmologoThe other special thing about Mixology Monday C is that our founder, Paul Clarke of the Cocktail Chronicles blog, and now the truly awesome book, may join us once again. Pretty cool. And we have to thank both Paul and Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut for keeping the party going- they truly are key players in the modern cocktail renaissance. Again, pretty cool.

    Seeing as how we have a bit of a milestone MxMo, Fred Yarm is hosting, and he looks to Paul’s new book for inspiration. And we think they found the perfect theme of “elegance”. Here is the summary:

    But what does Mixology Monday “Cocktail Chronicles” mean? I figured that we should look to Paul’s magnum opus and digest the theme of it all — what is timeless (or potentially timeless) and elegant in its simplicity. Paul commented in his interview, “[it]’s wonderful to see that level of creativity but simplicity is going to be the glue that continues to hold interest in the cocktail together. The moment that we make cocktails too difficult or too inaccessible to the average guest, the average consumer, then we start losing people.” Paul does support a minor tweak of a major classic as well as dusting off a lesser known vintage recipe like the Creole Contentment; in addition, proto-classics like the Chartreuse Swizzle and the Penicillin intrigue him for their potential to be remembered twenty years from now. Moreover, he is a big fan of the story when there is one whether about a somewhat novel ingredient like a quinquina, the bartender making it, or the history behind a cocktail or the bar from which it originated. Indeed, I quoted Paul as saying, “If I write about these and manage to make them boring, then I have done an incredible disservice. So I feel an incredible obligation not only to the drinks themselves, but to the bartenders who created them, and also to the heritage oSo for this theme, channel your inner Paul Clarke. Think about simplicity, elegance, and timelessness to the point that you would not feel strange about drinking and writing about this at MxMo M.f cocktail writing to try to elevate it.”

    So for this theme, channel your inner Paul Clarke. Think about simplicity, elegance, and timelessness to the point that you would not feel strange about drinking and writing about this at MxMo M.

    We couldn’t pick a better theme, although this one made us a bit sad. Why? Because we immediately knew exactly what cocktail we would feature, the Hoffman House. If stranded on a desert island with only one cocktail choice, this would be it. Yes, we thought (and perhaps drank) long and hard looking at other choices, but there was never really any doubt. 

    DSC_0349In case you are unfamiliar, the Hoffman House is a classic Martini variant named after one of the best of New York’s cocktail palaces of the late 19th / early 20th centuries. It is truly a simple and elegant creation. 2 parts Plymouth gin, 1 part dry vermouth, 2 dashes orange bitters and a lemon twist. Serve up. Act like Nick and Nora Charles. Repeat. Act like their dog Asta. Repeat….um, well, maybe not.

    DSC_0351Too much vermouth you say? Hogwash. Try it with good, fresh vermouth and you will never go back to “dry” Martinis.  Prefer olives? Nope, with orange bitters you need a lemon twist- and you will be stunned at the brightness of the citrus and herbal flavors.

    DSC_0356The only change we suggest you try is going away from 82-proof Plymouth and to a London Dry gin of 94 proof for a big, clean kick. We like Brokers or Beefeater (USA version) here, but the clean (almost soft) Plymouth is still delightful. And if you make a pitcher of Martinis, the Hoffman House with Plymouth is a true crowd pleaser…just make sure your guests know about Uber, this drink goes down way too easy. 

    Oh, and did we note The Hoffman House is just beautiful to look at? Again, simplicity and elegance often lead to true beauty.

    DSC_0365So thanks again to Paul and Fred for creating and hosting another MxMo. Let’s hope we do see MxMo M….

    The Hoffman House Cocktail:

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. Plymouth gin (or a crisp London Dry gin like Brokers or Beefeater)
    • 1 oz. Dry Vermouth (Dolin)
    • 2 dashes orange bitters (Regan’s)
    • Lemon twist

    Assemble:

    1. Place all liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until very well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupé. Give the lemon peel a very good twist over the cocktail and add to the drink. Serve.

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  • The Best Corn Ever: Bacon Fat Corn-On-The-Cob

    corn1If you live in the States, pretty much wherever you are, there should be some rockin’ corn on the cob available (if not, bummer, sorry dude). And while there is nothing wrong with the traditional version of corn, butter, salt and pepper, it is always good to experiment. And sometimes those experiments pay off. This is one of those times. (There are also those “other” times, but we choose not to blog about those….)

    corn6cornBeyond the normal corn on the cob recipes, we often like what is called “Mexican Corn” where you add some mayo, spices, and/or cheese to your corn on the cob. You might even grill the corn for more smoky flavor. All good, but a bit of a pain in the a$$ “complicated”. On the other hand, we figured that simplicity may be the answer. Why not take the basic ingredients and substitute a few favorites? And when we think of favorites, we think bacon fat…bacon is the 8th wonder of the world, after all. Out goes the butter, in goes the bacon fat.

    corn5Yes, it may seem wrong to use bacon fat directly on fresh corn on the cob, but we use it all the time in cut corn preparations, so why not? And since we were adding some nice smoky flavor, we decided to double-down and substitute smoked paprika for black pepper. We kept the salt. Salt, there is no substitute.

    corn2How did it turn out? Well, “you had us a bacon fat”. We loved it, the boys loved it and there was no extra effort. Boil water, cook corn, apply bacon fat, add seasoning, consume, repeat. And the taste was as expected, sweet and salty with an extra layer of deep smoky flavor. And that smoky flavor comes without using a grill for cooking the corn. Nice.

    corn4So, will we always do “bacon fat corn on the cob”? No, we still like butter as well. But this is already a standard here at the farm, we suggest you give it a try. Besides, it is a good excuse to cook up some bacon…

    Bacon Fat Corn-On-The Cob:

    Notes: No notes. Go make some bacon and save that fat! And if you want to chop that bacon real fine and roll the corn in it, that won’t suck either.

    Ingredients:

    • 6 ears fresh corn on the cob, shucked
    • 3 tablespoons bacon fat
    • Kosher salt
    • Smoked paprika

    Assemble:

    1. Fill a large pot with water, place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. When boiling, add the corn and cook for 3 minutes. Remove corn from the water and set on a large plate or baking sheet.
    2. While the corn is still very warm, drizzle each ear of corn with about 1/2 tablespoon of the bacon fat (rub it in as needed). Season lightly with salt and smoked paprika. Leave out extra salt and paprika to allow your guest to adjust seasoning to taste. Serve.