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Thursday, 21 June 2012 08:22

Dale DeGroff on Wine Cocktails

Famed man-about-the-bar Dale DeGroff joins us on the 6/21/12 installment of Happy Hour to talk wine-based cocktails (SiriusXM's Stars Too, channel 104, from 7-8 pn ET). Below, some recipes, including a few DeGroff originals:

(This classic recipe can be traced back to 1862 when it first appeared in the Bon Vivant Companion.)
Angostura Bitters soaked Sugar cube
Place a small Sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne glass. Add two dashes of Angostura Bitters and fill the glass with champagne.  This drink is sometimes garnished with a Lemon Zest.
Variation: For a stronger drink, add a float of Cognac or Grand Marnier.

.25 oz Cassis
4 oz Dry White Wine
Pour a glass of white wine. And slowly pour in the crème de cassis Sometimes garnished with Lemon Zest.

4 oz Champagne
.25 oz Cassis (for royale) / Framboise Liqueur (for imperial)
Pour Cassis or Framboise Liqueur in the bottom of a champagne glass and fill with champagne.  Sometimes garnished with a Lemon Zest.

Dale says: "Kir is a cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis topped up with white wine. Originally the wine was of aligoté, a lesser white grape of Burgundy, and a white Burgundy (which is usually chardonnay-based), such as Chablis, is often preferred. It is named after Félix Kir (1876 - 1968), mayor of Dijon in Burgundy, who as a pioneer of the twinning movement in the aftermath of the Second World War popularized the drink by offering it at receptions to visiting delegations. Besides treating his international guests well, he was also promoting two vital economic products of the region. Following the commercial development of crème de cassis in 1841 the cocktail became a popular regional café drink under the name of blanc-cass, but has since become inextricably linked internationally with the name of Mayor Kir."

The following are DeGroff originals:

Published in Cocktails
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 14:28

A Round of Liquored-up Lyrics

Great music, and tasty adult beverages to go along with it. Can't think of a much better way to wind down at the end of a long week. So here you have it:

“So I’ll get some Montecristo, and we can all go see the band. Well I may not be a looker, yeah, but I’ll help you any way I can.”
— “The Gutterati?” by The Fratellis

Montecristo Ginger Mojito
1.5 oz Montecristo Spiced Rum
1.5 oz fresh lime juice
.5 oz ginger ale
6 mint leaves
3 slivers fresh ginger
Muddle mint, lime juice, and ginger in tall glass. Add rum and crushed ice, then shake. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with mint sprig and candied ginger slice.

“I come home last night full a fifth of Old Crow. You said you goin' to your ma's, but where the hell did you go?”
— “Gin Soaked Boy” by Tom Waits

Old Crow Old-fashioned
3oz Old Crow bourbon
3 dashes bitters
1⁄2tsp sugar syrup
Splash water
Half an orange wheel
Maraschino cherry
Muddle the sugar, water, bitters, orange and cherry, lightly bruising the fruit. Fill a highball glass with ice cubes and add bourbon.

Published in Cocktails
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 10:30

How to Drink Like a Man

I once knew a guy from South Philly named Denny Capriotti. He was a former Golden Gloves boxing champ turned, ahem, "collection agent." Everybody called him Knuckles. There were two certainties whenever you hit the town with Knuckles and his crew: 1) You were gonna get drunk, and 2) you were gonna get into a brawl. Sometimes we were the ones savagely beaten, but most of the time—due in large part to Knuckles’s proficiency in the sweet science—the other guys got the worst of it.

I lost touch with Knuckles in my early 20s, around the time I realized my future lay in rearranging words, not faces. To this day, though, I still credit him with teaching me some extremely valuable lessons. He gave me pearls of wisdom like “never take a swing at someone when you're wearing a nice watch." He'd had too many bands break on him and wanted to spare me the pain. Another of his: "Never go bowling in shorts." This one I can't explain, but I know instinctively that it's true. And Knuckles gave me one more rule that has become one of the primary guiding principles of my close personal relationship with alcohol. To wit: "Drink like a fucking man, man!"

As it turns out, though, this extremely simple rule is not always so simple to follow. Where exactly do you draw the line when it comes to separating manly from metrosexual? Or separating metrosexual from something you might see Steven Cojocaru sipping at a Gaultier show after-party during Fashion Week? (And believe me we know, if you’re the sort who might actually be at a Gaultier after-party during Fashion Week, then you don’t need us to tell you how to drink.)
Published in The Imbiber Blog
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 13:45

A Titillating Libation Tour of Louisville

As far as strip club names go, however, PT’s Showclub is pretty run of the mill. Certainly nowhere near as clever as Chix on Dix (located on Dix St. in Detroit) or Boobie Bungalow in Elkton, Tennessee. According to one of PT’s more heavily tattooed and surgically enhanced employees — I believe she’s called Mercedes or Porsche or some other luxury vehicle — the joint’s initials denote the two things for which it is best known, and I’m pretty darn positive she wasn’t talking about peeing and tippling.

PT’s was the naked nightcap to an evening spent exploring the burgeoning Louisville cocktail scene with Josh Durr of, who proved to be an extremely capable tour guide. By that I mean he drove and paid for most of our drinks. I encountered that sort of Southern hospitality all over Louisville, and it was almost enough to make me forgive Kentucky for Rand Paul. Almost.

First stop was the Old Seelbach Bar in the Seelbach Hotel, famous for an eponymous cocktail comprised of bourbon, Cointreau, bitters and Champagne. This truly legendary watering hole was frequented by F. Scott Fitzgerald and, indeed, many of the regulars appeared to be Fitz’s contemporaries. Take the guy I met who’d done a tour of duty in Africa during World War II.

“One time while on a mission, a lion jumped out and went ‘ROAR.’ I shit myself,” he said, clearly ashamed.

I tried to reassure him that it was understandable; that a lion would have scared the crap out of me, too.

“No,” he said. “I mean I shit myself just now, when I went ROAR.”


Published in The Imbiber Blog
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 10:26

The Imbiber Show Does Drinking Games

This installment of the Imbiber Show finds Dan and Stretch debating the pros and cons of drinking games. Everything from beer pong to asshole to film and TV-based contests are covered. We even invented a new boozy challenge called the Early Times Game. Speaking of which...

We sample two new bourbons on the show: Early Times 354 and Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr. Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey from Buffalo Trace.

Early Times Distillery’s federal permit, No. 354, is the longest held in Kentucky, and the latest entry to the portfolio pays homage to the brand's rich bourbon heritage. It's a lively spirit that tastes of spice, caramel and vanilla, with dried fruit notes and corn in the finish. And at $16 a bottle, you can't beat the value.

The Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon is the first of several new E.H. Taylor, Jr. whiskeys to be released by Buffalo Trace over the next few years. Each offering will showcase a vintage label and canister, reminiscent of bottles made nearly one hundred years ago by the man who introduced the first climate controlled aging warehouses, used a patented sour mash technique, and fought for the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. It's a bold whiskey teeming with character. Perfect for after dinner while winding down with a stogie. Retails for $70 a bottle.

Published in Podcasts
Monday, 04 October 2010 12:26

A Wild Whiskey Sour recipe

I've always been a fan of whiskey sours. Something about ordering one always made me feel like a tough guy. Of course, I'm not. Tough, that is. But there's a thin line that separates being a certain way from feeling a certain way, and I've found that line is easily blurred by copius amounts of alcohol. So I drink whiskey sours, and feel like Charles Bronson.

Recently tried a sour made with Wild Turkey Bourbon, at 101 proof. The higher alcohol content delivered a deeper, richer flavor that stood up to the citrus and sweetness of the honey. Try one. You'll like it. Or my name isn't Charles Bronson.

The Whiskey Sour 101
1 1/2 ounces Wild Turkey Bourbon
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce honey
1 fresh cherry
1 ounce Wild Turkey American Honey
Dollop of egg white

Slice cherry from top to bottom five times around pit, and soak in a cup of Wild Turkey American Honey. Combine Wild Turkey Bourbon, grapefruit juice, lime juice and honey in a cocktail shaker.  Froth egg white and add a dollop to the mixture.  Shake and serve over ice.  Garnish with Wild Turkey American Honey-soaked cherry.

Published in Drink of the Day