Category Archives: cocktails

Room Service Martinis for Courtney Love. What Could Go Wrong?

This falls into the “odd encounterss with celebs” category.

Here is Courtney Love

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A bit of background

She rose to prominence as the frontwoman of the alternative rock band Hole, which she formed in 1989. Love has drawn public attention for her uninhibited live performances and confrontational lyrics, as well as her highly publicized personal life following her marriage to Kurt Cobain.

She went on from that to cross over into film. And so of course, she would stay at the LanesboroughHotel when visiting London.

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Here is an image of the Library Bar at the Lanesborough

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Grunge meets stiff upper lip?

And, as you might expect, delivering martinis to her room could be dangerous.

The phone rings

“Can I have a martini? I really fancy a martini, will you bring it up?”

Enjoy the rest of the story!

New York Dining: Making a Fuss over Negronis

I am a negroni man from way back  More recently, I became an apostate, substituting aperol for compari. It was just easier on the tunny.

And then came the negroni fad. You heard hipsters swearing up an down that life was not worth living without a negroni in hand. And bartenders everywhere knew the recipe. BTW, I am still baffled how the bartender at the Americano hotel in Chelsea did not know how to make an Americano cocktail – but that is another, if related story.

So where to go for a great Negroni in New York? Anywhere. But some bars are more negoni friendly than others. Grub Street offers its top picks. Cafe Dante in the Village gets the top pick

There are a number of variables by which a Negroni can be improved or degraded, starting with the choice of gin and vermouth. (Campari is nonnegotiable.) There’s the matter of proportions; some go heavier on the gin. Do you serve it up or on the rocks? If the latter, there’s the quality of ice to be considered. Finally, there’s temperature. Nothing can kill a Negroni like the absence of an appropriate chill. Dante gets everything right. It ought to. The bar — formerly Caffe Dante, a storied Village coffee house — has fashioned itself an Italianate aperitivo-style bar. There’s a whole page of Negroni variations. The standard, served on tap, is spot on. It’s 1 ounce Bombay Sapphire, three-fourths ounce Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth, and three-fourths ounce Campari. Served with a few cubes, it arrives strong, stiff, and very cold. It’s best to order it at night, when it’ll be served by a proper bartender, rather than a waiter doing double duty.

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The more interesting concoction, methinks, came from Amor y Amargo

As a cocktail bar that specializes in all things bitter, the Negroni is one of Amor y Amargo’s signature drinks. I’ve always thought the forthright London-dry gin Beefeater the best choice for a Negroni and, as it’s the only gin this bar carries, that is what’s used. The vermouth is the equally broad-shouldered Carpano Antica. The drink is given a brief stir, so it comes at you with some teeth. How strong it is depends on the server. Chief barkeep Sother Teague goes heavy on the gin, pouring 2 ounces to 1 ounce each of vermouth and Campari. (He also throws in a couple dashes of Angostura bitters, a radical touch.) His lieutenant, Lindsay Matteson, takes it down to an ounce. Both versions are good — but you get more bang for your buck with Teague’s spec.

Bottoms up! Here’s to your monkey’s uncle!

Quaffing a Perfect Pint in Dingle

Some places are perfect just the way they are. You feel that perfection when you hope that they never change, You feel that your grandchildren might enjoy them just the way your grandparents might have done.

Could it be that the pubs are Dingle are one of those places? This article says “yes“. And it says yes, I think, in a persuasive way.

There are thousands of pubs across Ireland that date back to the 1800s. 50 of them are in the town of Dingle, population: 2,000. And while I’m here on assignment about how well these people eat, I can’t stop thinking about how well they drink, too, and how—considering there’s practically a pub on every corner in Ireland—Dingle’s bars keep drawing visitors from hours away.

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Tiny Bars in Manhattan: Amor Y Amargo

Manhattan is such a scene. So many people jostling, racing, schmoozing, and boozing! That is just the reality of that place. Which is why, when I visit, I crave small and intimate places.  Places where I feel like I have escaped the hurly burly bustle rustle not to mention the tussle.

There is no shortage, my friend! If you are in the East Village, one of them that deserves your attention is Amor Y Amargo on East 6th street. It is tiny and it is dedicated to bitters.

That might sound a bit restrictive, but take my word fo rit. You will have a blast!

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There are a few other cool spots nearby.

And, you might want to carry forward your newfound love of Alpine spirits by stocking up your home bar. No problem! Saveur offers you a nice selection.

This might get you in the mood

At Manhattan’s Amor & Amargo, an intimate bar that prides itself on its range of bitter liquids, Novasalus is the bitterest potion in the collection, according to Amor & Amargo beverage director Sother Teague. Like Zirbenz, it’s made from pine but instead is sweetened with pine sap. “Sweetened” is perhaps not the best word, since pine sap, unlike maple, is not particularly sweet. The resulting liquid is famously bitter.

“It’s got some peppery notes, some citrus notes, and of course those pine notes,” Teague says. “You can feel it on your lips. It’s sticky and lip-smacking. That’s from the pine note that comes on the back behind those flavor notes, and then it is lingeringly bitter. It stays with you.” As powerful as it is, Teague only uses Novasalus sparingly, noting that even a quarter of an ounce will alter a drink dramatically.


A Peek at Some Irish Whiskeys

It is March, and we draw near to that day when everyone is Irish for a day – St. Patties day. It is a great day to get out of the metropolitan area, wherever that may be, in order to avoid those who choose to over´do it.

But if you are a more discriminating sort of bloke, you might want to check out Eric Asimov’s selections of fine Irish whiskeys – he agrees on the quality of my favorite – Conomara.

Yes, my blood pressure is high, but I will be taking a sip on that day!