Monday, September 23, 2013

Smoke Tincture

What makes a cocktail distinct is its ability to have different aromas co-mingle without stepping on each other's toes.

In a Manhattan you have the spice from the Rye that is complemented by the bitterness of the vermouth and topped by either the syrupy sweetness of the cherry or the freshness of a citrus peel. In a Sazerac you have two distinct liquors with arguably opposite flavors--Rye and Absinthe--that somehow manage to beautifully cohabitate in the glass.

Usually, the aromas are inherent to the ingredients you're mixing into the cocktail, but often they're added in more artificial ways like garnishes (cherries or citrus peels or candied ginger), or flavored simple syrups (which impart a flavor and sweetness at the same time). Another way to include a separate aromatic layer is with a tincture. Elana, from Stir and Strain, describes a tincture:

"Well, I read a bit for this post and pretty much what it came down to is that a tincture is the essence of the ingredient you steep in a neutral grain alcohol. It can be used in small amounts by itself, or added with more ingredients for compounds like bitters. Because it is steeped in a high proof alcohol, you don’t shoot it back in a giant gulp. It would also probably taste awful. With an infusion, you are also extracting the essence of what you are putting into the alcohol, but it is co-mingling with the base spirit for a new combined flavor. You might see sour cherry bourbon, lemon lavender gin, something along those lines."

She went with Smoke as an aroma, for Mixology Monday's theme, to complement a Boulevardier Cocktail. 

"For this particular use of smoke in a cocktail, I didn’t want the drink to continue to be steeped in smoke. What I wanted here was for the initial smell to be a deep, meaty smoke aroma, and then when tasted, you were only getting the cocktail. This beautiful smoky aroma would make the drink a surprise for the person drinking it, hopefully a pleasant shock. The aroma would then dissipate as one continued to finish the drink. I chose a Boulevardier to accompany the smoke aroma."

Usually when we think of smoky drinks our mind goes to Scotch, which, if from the Islay region, has a distinct smokey, "peaty" aroma, that comes from when the barley is toasted using smoke from burning ocean peat. In the case of Scotch, the smoky flavor is imparted long before the distillation process. However, sometimes a smoke flavor is added afterward, as more of a finishers. I've had smoked bourbons where there already distilled and aged bourbon is smoked (usually with mesquite). 

The flavor is much less subtle than in Scotch and it kind of tastes like you're drinking a glass of bourbon while standing next to a barbecue. 

A tincture, on the other hand, is added to the cocktail as one of several  components, rather than integrated directly with the primary liquor, which allows the aroma to comfortably exist alongside the flavors of the drink. The tincture doesn't overpower the taste of the cocktail itself, as it's more of a perfume than an ingredient. The initial smell of the smoke layers on another dimension for the palate, but ultimately the flavor of the cocktail remains unchanged. 

Lapsang Souchong Tincture
From Stir and Strain
1/2 cup grain alcohol (I have 151 proof everclear)
1/4 cup Lapsang Souchong Loose Tea
Combine the two ingredients in an airtight glass container. Let sit for two weeks in a cool, dark place. Gently shaking every few days. After two weeks, strain with a fine mesh strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth. You want to make sure you are getting all the tiny bits of tea out. If you still see residue, strain an additional time. Store in a dropper bottle.
Lapsang Souchong tea has a heavy smoke aroma. When you open the box it’s like getting hit with a face full of wood smoke. As a tincture, the essence gets meatier (as in smoked meat).
Being so easy to make, it seems silly not to experiment with different kinds to jazz up future home bar creations! I for one, being a lifelong fan of Lapsang Souchong tea, cannot wait to try this. 
For the Boulevardier Cocktail recipe, using the smoke tincture, visit Stir and Strain

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy Hour at American Whiskey

{Buffalo Trace Manhattan}

Last Monday, Women Who Whiskey had an impromptu Happy Hour at American Whiskey, a brand new Whiskey bar that just opened in Chelsea. 

We were very pleasantly surprised by the bar, which sported an impressive whiskey list--available in 1 oz and 2 oz pours, in case you want just a taste, or want to design your own flight!--as well as an innovative cocktail menu. 

I started with a Manhattan, as usual, which was made with Buffalo Trace and an orange peel, instead of the traditional cherry. It was delightful, and I was quite enamored with it, as you can see from my lipstick!

The bartenders were unbelievably friendly and attentive, which made the whole experience much more enjoyable. 

Tony, who tended to us for most of the evening, was on cloud nine, after having just that day proposed to his girlfriend (she said yes!). His giddiness infected everyone at the bar with good spirits. 

And I may have even recruited Margaret, the lady bartender, to join Women Who Whiskey! 

We had solid showing of ladies--all eager to catch up with each other after busy summers--and we even had a guest appearance by some of the gentleman from Gents Among Men, who stopped by to discuss an upcoming event we're planning together! 

{Amanda's beautiful Old Fashioned}
{Alexa, Mary, and Kim--all in teal!}
{Danielle and Megan}
{Julia and Amanda}
{Samantha's amazing new iphone case}
{Julia and Samantha--in white lace!}
{Alexa, Samantha, Amanda, and Zara}
{Old Forester 100 Proof Bourbon, neat}
{Amanda and Julia}
American Whiskey definitely became an instant favorite of Women Who Whiskey!

Do yourself a favor and go have a drink there, asap.

American Whiskey
247 West 30th Street 
(between 7th and 8th Ave)


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New Women Who Whiskey Facebook Page!

Check out, and like, the new Women Who Whiskey Facebook Page to stay up to date on future events! 

We'll also be posting cocktail recipes, talking about new whiskeys, recommending whiskey bars, and generally immersing ourselves in wonderful whiskey news! 

Come join in the fun! 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Women Who Whiskey Go Back to the Barge!

Our Second Annual Women Who Whiskey: Nautical Edition in June was such a success that we rallied an even bigger group to head Back to the Barge at the end of August! 

On a gorgeous late summer evening, just in time for Friday happy hour, we boarded the launch and headed back to our favorite floating establishment, the Honorable William Wall Barge. 

We had a sizable group, including a number of our of preferred gentlemen guests, and a few new lady members! 

It happened to be on the same day as a celebratory event for that summer's graduating class of junior sailing instructors--many of whom were foreign--so the barge was overrun with tan, sun-streaked, rowdy 20-year-old Irish lads. They were incredibly charming, and unfortunately, incredibly young.

But we managed to entertain ourselves, drinking, chatting, laughing, eating (this time we had the foresight to bring food!), and once again we watched a spectacular sunset descend over the Hudson River. 

It was the perfect way to bid adieu to the hot days of summer, drink in hand. 

When Kim wears heels it makes no difference that I am--she's still a foot taller! 
Wine before whiskey!
The bevy of boys behind Kim. 
Pastels over Brooklyn.

Our gentlemen guests! 

It was so windy and our hair was everywhere! 

But we managed to snap at least one photo where the wind wasn't whipping my hair everywhere!

Jon and Amanda
Paige and Kim
Basking in the setting sun.
A bouquet of bright colors!

Anthony and Jason, looking dapper
Shannon, looking magestic
The jade girls! 
Amanda and Jon
Amanda's homemade Spanish Tortilla at the end of the night was a godsend
Paige, Kim, and Julia
There was just too much fun to be had!
The moon rising over Manhattan. 
We're all looking forward immensely to next summer, when we'll get to go back to the barge once more.

Sweet on Vermouth

"Start with a Negroni, sure. Easy, delicious, classic. Or perhaps a Manhattan—all you need is rye and some Angostura, plus your bottle of vermouth. But if you get bored with those basics, it's time to explore what else you can make with sweet vermouth..." says Maggie Hoffman, of Serious Eats.

{Dreams Never End}
What can you make with Sweet Vermouth? Plenty of delicious cocktails, most of which use ingredients you probably already have in your bar! 
Vermouth Cocktail
  • 2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes maraschino liqueur (or curacao or Grand Marnier)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1-2 dashes simple syrup, to taste
  • Twist of lemon peel, for garnish

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well until chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel over drink and use as garnish.
  • 1 ounce bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Garnish: orange twist or cherry
Pour ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with cracked ice. Stir well for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry or a twist of orange peel.
  • 1 ounce Laird's Applejack
  • 3/4 ounce Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce Plymouth Sloe Gin
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
Stir applejack, sweet vermouth, sloe gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe.
Check out Serious Eats 10 Cocktails to Make with Sweet Vermouth for more ideas!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Save the Date: Women Who Whiskey Happy Hour @ American Whiskey!

You're cordially invited to an impromptu Women Who Whiskey Happy Hour at a new whiskey bar in Chelsea!

What: Happy Hour! 
When: Monday, September 16, 6:30 - 9:00 pm
Where: American Whiskey, 247 W 30th St (between 7th Ave & 8th Ave) 
Why: To unwind on a Monday evening and catch up with your favorite whiskey-drinking ladies! 

Please email to RSVP:

247 W. 30th Street
New York City, New York 10001

Looking forward to seeing you there!