How to Stock Your Bar

Aside from booze blogs, web comics, regular comics, and as many books as we can get our hands on, we (specifically Matt) like to read certain menswear blogs. In particular we recommend An Affordable Wardrobe and Put This On, which inspired our video segments. One of the common questions addressed on menswear blogs is how to build a wardrobe and not surprisingly, the process is very similar to stocking your bar.

This is our collection a year ago. Much like a child, it has only gotten larger and more expensive since then.

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Film Fridays: The Cremator and Slivovitz

We’ve made an effort with our Film Friday selections to choose films that, while they may not have played at your local multiplex, are still well-known enough that you’d have the opportunity to see them. But this week we’re veering well off the beaten trail and going straight to the Czech New Wave. Until reading about this film, I didn’t even know there was a Czech New Wave. But for those adventurous cinephiles who admire the work of Godard, Fellini, and Argento, The Cremator is absolutely worth seeing if you can track it down.

The Cremator (1969)

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Swan Song

The Swan Song is a simple, tasty drink good for any time of day or night. The flavor is fruity and woody, but strong enough to ward off any suspicions that you might be sipping a “girly drink.” When mixing the Swan Song, we used an armagnac for our brandy. Just as cognac is brandy produced within the Cognac region of France (and according to certain legal standards) armagnac is brandy from the Armagnac region. The better your ingredients, the better your cocktail, and the Swan Song doesn’t disappoint.

1 part brandy

1 part applejack

1 part orange juice

a dash of grenadine

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Swan Song

Film Fridays: Keoki Coffee and Cigarettes

Before I took up booze writing my literary efforts were directed towards the more legitimate field of semi-professional online film criticism. ‘Legitimate’ is a relative term, of course. At my cinematic height I wrote for four different film websites, and specialized in horror cinema. I had just graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Studies and figured that writing about film was the only thing I was qualified to do professionally. (My full-time A/V job notwithstanding.) But eventually I started doing the math and found that I was spending more money on movie tickets than I was making from the reviews.

Soon after this revelation I turned to the far more fruitful field of drinking a bunch of booze and not getting paid anything to write about it. And here we are. But occasionally I get the urge to take up film writing again, and thus I conceived of Film Fridays. Continue reading

New Years Eve 2011: French 75

Well Christmas is over and we’ve said farewell to Egg Nog for another year (officially anyway). Now it’s time to move on to the next major drinking holiday: New Year’s Eve! For our party this year, we’re moving beyond the traditional to something a bit more exciting. We’ve invited each of our guests to bring the cheapest bottle of champagne or sparkling white wine that they can find, and we’ll use them to mix three different champagne-based cocktails. This is a fantastic way to drink well on New Year’s without breaking the bank on a $50 bottle of bubbly.

We’ll post one cocktail per day leading up to New Year’s Eve, so check back often!

Today’s cocktail is the ever-classic French 75, named after an artillery gun used by the French army in World War One. The traditional recipe calls for lime juice, but we think it works much better with lemon. You can also substitute brandy or cognac for the gin to make this a French 76.

A French 75 can also be served on the rocks in a highball glass

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Canfield Killer Egg Nog

This recipe, passed down by my father from a former co-worker, is a departure from the more traditional egg nogs we’ve posted recently. Alton Brown’s recipe is the more traditional egg nog, Trader Vic takes nog back to the basics, but Canfield Killer Nog is like the Epic Meal Time variation of egg nog. Even more so because to get this recipe down to a reasonable size – this one makes about a half gallon pitcher – I had to quarter the original measurements. Whereas previous recipes called for about 3 oz of booze per pitcher of nog, this recipe is around one third whiskey, brandy, and rum.

We’ll be enjoying our own batch of Canfield Killer Egg Nog at the Carrick family Christmas gathering. Check out our facebook page for photos!

5                           eggs

1/2 cup                 sugar

1 cup                     whiskey

1/2 cup                 brandy

1/2 cup                 rum

1 cup                     light cream

2 cups                   milk

Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a large mixing bowl. We won’t be using the whites, so save those for an egg white omelet or some other irrelevant foolishness. Beat the yolks until they’re light in color and consistency. While still beating, slowly add the sugar, cream, milk, and booze one at a time. Transfer to a pitcher or punch bowl and chill. This is an egg nog that benefits from aging, which rounds the flavor and smooths the texture. You should make this nog at least a few hours before serving, but you can let it age for several weeks so long as it’s refrigerated. According to Linda Canfield, “The longer it sits, the better it tastes.”

Trader Vic’s Single-Serving Brandy Egg Nog

As we’ve mentioned before, there are a lot of egg nog recipes out there. Each of them is a little different with variations in seasoning, booze, ratios, etc. But the basic elements of egg nog – egg, milk, sugar, and booze – are present in all of them. Trader Vic’s invaluable compendium, the Bartender’s Guide, lists nine different egg nog recipes. I’ve chosen this recipe, listed in the guide as Brandy Egg Nog #1, because it’s the most basic (and because most of his other recipes include Madeira, which we didn’t have on hand). In fact, this is about the simplest egg nog recipe I’ve ever found. There’s no separating eggs, no electric mixers, no cooking. And unlike most other recipes that yield a pitcher of nog, Trader Vic mixes one drink at a time.

Trader Vic's Single-Serving Egg Nog

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Alton Brown’s Egg Nog

One of my favorite episodes of Alton Brown’s unique cooking show Good Eats is season 9 episode 13, in which he explores egg nog and the bourbon that he puts in it. [You can find it on YouTube: Part 1 and Part 2] Now, there are a lot of egg nog recipes out there, and we’ll cover a few of them leading up to the holiday, but for my money, this is one of the best.

Granted, this recipe is a lot of work compared to most everything else we post here on IPTB, but egg nog’s a party drink and this will yield enough boozed-up nog for around 6 generous servings. That’s a whole pitcher of this holiday treat that’ll make you think twice about serving store-bought nog ever again. Continue reading

Give Thanks with Gløgg!

Last week we posted the extremely delicious and seasonal Bourbon Apple Cobbler, suggesting that it’s a great cocktail to serve alongside turkey and stuffing. And it is! But in our house apartment we’re going to be trying something a little different this year. Being the renowned boozological experts that we are, we thought we’d tackle something a bit more unique, a bit more challenging, a bit more flammable.

As if the large type above hadn’t already given it away, we will be making Gløgg, a warm spiced punch which traces its origin back to Nordic winter and autumn festivities. Like many traditional tipples, recipes vary. This is also true of punches in general, so it’s not surprising to find a vast array of Gløggular instructions on the web and in books. We’ve opted for the recipe found in our handy booze bible The Bar Guide, primarily because I get to light it on fire.

As an added bonus, we’ll be posting photos on our Facebook page. So go ‘Like’ us on Facebook, and if you’re lucky you may get to see me with half my beard singed off.

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Applejack

When we discuss classic cocktails (or classic anything, really), heritage is a notion that is usually at the fore. What makes something classic, after all, is its ability to endure and affect society. When it comes to spirits, the top spot for American heritage is often attributed to bourbon, though we’ve discussed in the past that this is a post-prohibition phenomenon. Before prohibition all but wiped out the American liquor industry, rye whiskey was king. But before farmers and frontiersmen were able to turn wilderness into arable fields for grain, early American colonists drank applejack. Continue reading