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November 12, 2015 |

Defined: Cocktail

What is a cocktail? I thought this would be easy, it’s any drink found on the happy hour menu for cocktail hour. A mixed drink with a kick… right, guys? ...guys?

No! The history is a lot more complex and flavorful, with a little bit of in-fighting between America and England.  The origins of the word are legends, even where the term comes from has 5 different stories. It could come from horseracing, French word for an egg cup, or even that a rooster’s tail was used to stir a Bittered Sling.#

The term today has come to mean any mixed drink, but back in the day, it referred to a specific recipe. It lived in the world of punches, sours, slings and other varieties of alcoholic libations. In the May 13th edition of the 1806 newspaper, Balance and Columbian Repository, the editor defined a cocktail as: “a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind – sugar, water, and bitters.” In my research, I learned that any time NVD refers to a cocktail, we are heralding the original meaning and it must include bitters.

So I decided to make a cocktail as a part of my research but there's no official name, the working title is Autumn Harvest. 

1.5 oz NVD Brandy Cordial
.75 oz NVD Apple Brandy
.5 oz Liber & Co. Grenadine
2 dashes Lemon bitters
 
Shake vigorously with ice in a cocktail shaker, strain into a glass, and put the two dashes of lemon bitters to float on top. 

What is missing from the picture?

Bitters of course! 

 

 I purchased the Berg & Haucks travel set because it offers a wide variety which adds versatility to any self-proclaimed cocktail aficionado. 

It comes with aromatic (think Angostura, but something unique), celery, orange, lemon, and creole bitters (think Peyshauds, but all natural).

So now, we (NVD) have the largest selection of bitters in the USA, and maybe the world, and the options are endless! Mix up me hearties!


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

#For more information, feel free to visit this site with some more fun facts about the cocktail: Today I Found Out

Time Posted: Nov 12, 2015 at 3:30 PM Permalink to Defined: Cocktail Permalink Comments for Defined: Cocktail Comments (1)
Aaron Lahey
 
October 15, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Happy Spooky Spirited Halloween!

Hello Booze Log Readers!

It's been a while. I'm back, for one night only, to talk a little bit about Halloween; as well as the spooky cocktails this holiday inspired me to create.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. There's a natural creativity to it, between carving jack o lanterns, making haunted houses, and carefully crafting your costume. It's like the arts and crafts fair of holidays. 

For the last few years now this creatively charged holiday has compelled me to make creepy cocktails, inspired by things that go bump in the night.

Nightmare on Ginn Street

I recently watched Wes Craven's slasher classic for the first time, far overdue I may add. The goofy, yet still terrifying Freddy Krueger is more than deserving of a creepy cocktail namesake. 

The main color palette for the drink is green and red, reminiscent of Freddy's grubby sweater. The float of bitters mottles the foam on the top of the drink, making it look like burnt skin. Despite the intimidating visage, this drink is wonderfully refreshing. Full of spices from the Old Hollywood Ginn, with a strong raspberry note, dry botanicals, and more than a touch of rich Cocoa, this is a perfect cocktail for a warm fall night.

Nightmare on Ginn Street

2 oz Napa Valley Distillery - Old Hollywood Ginn
.5 oz Premium Dry Vermouth
.5 oz Small Hands Foods - Raspberry Gum Syrup
8 Drops Napa Valley Bitters - Antique Chocolate Bitters
Lime Wheel

Pour .25 oz Raspberry Gum Syrup into the bottom of a chilled cocktail glass. Add all other ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake hard with ice. Strain into glass. 

Garnish with a lime wheel and 4 additional drops of Antique Chocolate Bitters.


Tower of Terror

Ever since Napa Valley Distillery released the Grand California, something about it reminded me of being a kid and going to Disney's California Adventure theme park. Everyone knows the best ride in the park is the Twilight Zone's Tower of Terror, a creepy 1930's hotel, with quite the drop.

These memories are what inspired the Tower of Terror cocktail. A southern Californian play on a Moscow Mule, replacing vodka with 80 proof Orange Brandy and adding some south of the border kick with tamarind chili lime bitters. The look of the drink, from the Colin's glass to the cherry on top, is supposed to be reminiscent of an Art Deco hotel.

Tower of Terror

1.5 oz Napa Valley Distillery - Grand California
1/2 Lime, juiced 
6 oz Ginger Beer (or 1 oz. Pickett's #1 Ginger Beer Syrup, Medium Spicy & 5 oz soda water) 
8 drops Napa Valley Bitters - Tamarind Lime Chili Bitters
Fresh Orange Peel 

Fill Collins glass with ice. Add the Grand California first, then lime juice, topping with Ginger Beer. (If using Pickett's #1 Syrup and soda water together mix in a separate glass before adding to the cocktail). 

Garnish with flamed orange twist and float bitters on top.

 

I hope you enjoy these eerie libations as much as I enjoyed creating them. They are alive...ALIVE I SAY!!!

Until next time,
Your ever humble, mad mixologist

Aaron Lahey


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Time Posted: Oct 15, 2015 at 2:40 PM Permalink to Happy Spooky Spirited Halloween! Permalink Comments for Happy Spooky Spirited Halloween! Comments (16)
 
September 17, 2015 |

The Vesper

Whoop whoop! We've been scrambling to get your club shipment out in a timely manner and haven't had much time to focus on blogs, but I do have a tale of the city to share today.

We went to the city a couple weekends ago, a glorified stay-cation if you will. We scooted around SF and finished up at the Top of the Mark. If you have never been, I highly recommend it. You have a 360 view of the city from this beautiful lounge. Casual dress is ok, but we had packed a couple items to freshen ourselves up from the Scoots' (rentable scooters) helmets.

After pretty much redressing out of the trunk of our car, our friends and us headed to the International Mark Hopkins Hotel. There was a line for the elevator, as usual. It's worth it! We quickly sped our way to the top, and stepped out. The setting sun was shining its rays across the entire room, and we were able to get a window seat. Had we arrived 30 minutes later, we would have been lucky just to get a seat. Our wonderful waiter named Jim took great care of us, listened to our questions, and fulfilled our orders swiftly and expertly. They have a cocktail menu miles long, but for a type of place to sip a drink in the city, the prices are very competitive.

I ordered a 'Vesper'. When your drink comes out and it's clear, you just know it's dangerous. But, it was exactly what I was craving, refreshing and crisp after a long day in the winds and hills.

The Vesper is named after the love interest of the famous 007 agent, James Bond. He created the drink in the 1953 novel Casino Royale.

"A dry martini," Bond said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet."
"Oui, monsieur."
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet.
Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
"Certainly, monsieur." The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
"Gosh, that's certainly a drink," said Leiter.
Bond laughed. "When I'm...er...concentrating," he explained, "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name."
—Ian Fleming, Casino Royale, Chapter 7, "Rouge et Noir

Bond said after taking a long sip, “Excellent .... but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better.” I am sure he would think of it being made exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc grapes would be the only way to drink it.

*spoiler alert* He never again consumes the drink after the death of the namesake.

I have since looked up the official recipe and was thrilled to find out we can make a Napa Valley Vesper.

NVD Vesper:

3 part Old Hollywood Ginn
1 part Napa Reserve Neutral Brandy
half measure equal parts NVD Meyer Lemon Variety and Lillet Blonde

Shake with ice until cold, then strain and pour. Garnish with a lemon peel. Enjoy!*

Until next time,

Amanda

PS: Want to watch that scene? Click here. 

 

 


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

Time Posted: Sep 17, 2015 at 11:30 PM Permalink to The Vesper Permalink Comments for The Vesper Comments (3)
Aaron Lahey
 
June 10, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Witch Doctor Wednesdays

Hello Booze Log Readers!

Welcome to the inaugural Witch Doctor Wednesday blog post, where I will explore alcohol’s history and use as a medicine*.

Today's post was inspired by the release of our Brandy Mint Julep Cocktail, which I found out, through accidental experimentation, to have some healing qualities. Hot toddies are a category of cocktail that actually predate the cocktail. They are defined as a mix of spirituous liquor, sugar (or honey), spices/herbs, and hot water. The hot water actually vaporizes the alcohol, which can clear up congestion in the sinuses and lungs. Alcohol is also a mild anesthetic, so it can sooth a sore or scratchy throat. All of the earliest preparations of alcohol like this were medicinally intended. If you do have a sore or dry throat, adding a small amount, maybe half an ounce, of Brandy Mint Julep Cocktail to hot water and lemon, should really help it feel better. I know it has for me.

Hot Mint Toddy
1oz NVD Brandy Mint Julep Cocktail
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 Cinnamon Stick
7oz Hot Water

Makes one 8oz cocktail.

Until next time,
Your friendly, neighborhood witch doctor,
Aaron Lahey


*Note: This is not intended to cure, treat, or prevent any disease. The FDA has not endorsed the statements here*

Time Posted: Jun 10, 2015 at 5:10 PM Permalink to Witch Doctor Wednesdays Permalink Comments for Witch Doctor Wednesdays Comments (441)
Aaron Lahey
 
May 28, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Thirsty Thursday: The Cherry Lime Gimlet

Hello Booze Log Readers,

Today, I am mixing up a cocktail inspired by two other classics: The Gin Gimlet, and The Cherry Lime Rickey. Both of these drinks were extremely popular from the 20's straight through to the late 50's. Gin Rickey's are ordered by Gatsby in Fitzgerald's classic, and many know the gimlet as Betty Draper's (Mad Men) poison of choice. The Cherry Lime Rickey was a popular soda fountain drink around the same time, using sweet cherry syrup for a refreshing summer pop. Cherry season is still in full swing here in Northern California, and with the hot days driving me for a refresher, I've looked to these classic summer cocktails for inspiration. The result? The Cherry Lime Gimlet. Shaken hard and strained, like a gimlet, this drink looks beautiful in your fanciest cocktail glass.

The Cherry Lime Gimlet
2oz Napa Valley Distillery Cherry Brandy
0.75oz El Guapo Lime Cordial Syrup
0.25oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
2 dashes Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake hard until shaker frosts. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wheel and Luxardo Maraschino Cherry.

Until next time,
Your ever humble, antiquated mixologist,
Aaron Lahey

 


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

 

Time Posted: May 28, 2015 at 11:50 AM Permalink to Thirsty Thursday: The Cherry Lime Gimlet Permalink Comments for Thirsty Thursday: The Cherry Lime Gimlet Comments (6)
Aaron Lahey
 
May 7, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Thirsty Thursday: The Cherry Sling

Not a Cocktail...

Here in Napa Valley the first fresh cherries have hit the farmer's markets; and to me, that's something worth celebrating. And Napa Valley Distillery has the perfect spirit for all your cherry based cocktails, our Cherry Brandy. This spirit is one of my favorites for mixing in cocktails, because it simultaneously functions as a whiskey and a brandy. You get the soft, fresh fruit note from the cherry, as well as a sharp, dry, peppery oak from the whiskey barrels it was aged in. The drink I am going to share with you today features this distinctive brandy, and falls into a category that actually predates the cocktail: The Sling.

Before the Cocktail
Many assume that a cocktail refers to any mixed drink, and in many places today the two are indeed synonymous. However, once upon a time, a cocktail had a very specific definition, and was just one more in a long line of mixed drink categories. The original definition of a cocktail is a mix of spirituous liqueur with water, sugar, and bitters. Stirred or shaken with ice and strained into a cocktail glass, with a fresh fruit garnish. Other mixed drink categories at the time included The Smash, The Punch, The Julep, The Sling, The Sour, The Fizz, The Flip, The Crusta and many more. Eventually all these families of drinks would fall under the blanket term "cocktail."

For your edification, here are the old definitions for some of these mixed drink families:
-Julep: Alcohol, sugar, water, and sometimes fresh fruit/herbs served in a julep cup with crushed or shaved ice.
-Smash: Like a Julep, but not particularly in a julep cup, and with only shaved ice.
-Punch: Alcohol, fresh fruit juice, and other mixers, normally served in a large bowl for entertaining.
-Sour: Liquor, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener, sometimes with an egg white.
-Fizz: Alcohol, sugar, and soda water. The soda water makes it a fizz.
-Flip: Has an egg in it.
-Crusta: Has a sugar rim.

What is a Sling then?
A Sling is simply a mix of liquor, water, and sugar, served hot or cold, strained into a glass. Truly the most basic of mixed drinks. I have found very few true Slings that I like. Usually combining sugar and alcohol without bitters produces a drink that cloys at the throat, like cough syrup. The bitters are an integral part to the balance of the cocktail. There are, of course, exceptions.

Sour Cherry Syrup
The syrup I use in this drink makes all the difference. It has a real tart note that offsets the sweetness and provides balance without the use of bitters. The brand I used was D'Arbo, an Austrian company famous for their preserves. Their sour cherry syrup is the best I've found. Our sister store, Napastak, carries it here in the Oxbow Marketplace. If you can't find that, a 50/50 mix of Tait Farms Sour Cherry Shrub and Luxardo Maraschino Syrup makes a good substitute.

The Cherry Sling
1.5oz Napa Valley Distillery Cherry Brandy
1.5oz D'Arbo Sour Cherry Syrup
Fresh cherry, stem on, for garnish

Shake hard in a cocktail shaker with ice until shaker is frosty. Strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh cherry. Give to your Mother this Sunday. She deserves it. Makes one 3oz cocktail.

Until next time,
Your ever humble, antiquated mixologist,
Aaron Lahey

Time Posted: May 7, 2015 at 4:23 PM Permalink to Thirsty Thursday: The Cherry Sling Permalink Comments for Thirsty Thursday: The Cherry Sling Comments (1)
Aaron Lahey
 
April 30, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Thirsty Thursday: The Real California Mint Julep

We have a very special weekend coming up Booze Log Readers: The Kentucky Derby! What is the Kentucky Derby without its ubiquitous cocktail, the Mint Julep? It's just another horse race. This iconic libation became the official drink of Churchill Downs in 1938, when they started selling it in commemorative Julep cups.

Although synonymous with Kentucky know, the Mint Julep was originally associated with Virginia. Originally described in 1803 as "a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians in the morning." These Virginia Juleps were thought to use brandy, rum, or rye as their "spirituous liquor," not Bourbon at all! In fact, in Jerry Thomas's 1887 edition of his bartending guide, he includes several recipes for mint juleps, none of which call for whiskey. However, in my humble opinion, no matter the cocktails origin, if you are drinking one for derby, it better have Kentucky bourbon in it.

The Real California Mint Julep is a play on Jerry Thomas' The Real Georgia Mint Julep, which uses cognac and peach brandy as its base spirits. I really liked the idea of pairing the mint and a stone fruit flavor like peach. I also like how different regions have taken this simple drink and modified it to express local character. I am going to attempt to do the same here, using a fuzzy stone fruit native to California: the apricot. Instead of simple syrup I add a bit of black-strap molasses. This drink is, after all, for the racetrack; and molasses always reminds me of the stables.

Alright, I can tell you are chomping at the bit. Here's the Recipe:

The Real California Mint Julep
2 oz Kentucky Straight Bourbon
1 oz Napa Valley Distillery Apricot Brandy
1 oz Napa Valley Distillery Grand California
1 heaping barspoon Luxardo Apry Apricot preserves, or other high quality apricot jam
1 small barspoon black-strap molasses
6 large fresh mint leaves
More fresh mint to garnish

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint with the apricot preserves and molasses. Add spirits, stir well with a bar spoon, making sure to scrape the sides of the shaker. In a julep cup or highball glass, fill to over the edge of the glass with crushed or shaved ice*. Strain the contents of the shaker over the crushed ice, through a fine sieve. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs. Watch a horse race. Repeat. Makes one 8 oz cocktail.

*All juleps will have crushed or shaved ice, that is what makes them a julep.

Enjoy the Derby everyone! Until next week!
Your ever humble, equestrian barman,
Aaron Lahey

Time Posted: Apr 30, 2015 at 11:00 AM Permalink to Thirsty Thursday: The Real California Mint Julep Permalink Comments for Thirsty Thursday: The Real California Mint Julep Comments (30)
Aaron Lahey
 
April 16, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Old World Gin and Tonic

Good afternoon readers! With the sun shining and summer fast approaching, I thought it was time to talk a bit about everyone's favorite summertime libation: the gin and tonic. The G&T is as ubiquitous as the PB&J, perfect partners never far from each other. That being said, both gin and tonic have gone through some pretty major changes since the drinks inception in 18th century British Colonial India. There, members of the British Army would mix their bitter malaria medication (quinine) with their ration of gin, sugar, lime, and soda, to make the medicine go down easier.

*For more information about tonic, what it is, and its history as both flavoring and medicine, please refer to this previous post* Many modern gin & tonic's fall flat. Instead of naturally extracted quinine from Cinchona bark, most modern bottled tonic has a chemical aftertaste. Mix this with the sharp juniper astringency of a lot of common London dry style gins and you end up with something that tastes more cleaning product than cocktail.  My solution is to go back to this cocktail's roots. Using a heaver bodied, naturally sweeter gin like NVD's Old Hollywood Ginn or a Genever smooths the bite of the quinine, and gives a spicy backbone to the drink. Replacing the bottled tonic water with tonic syrup and soda adds the slight interplay of sweet and sour that so many modern G&T's lack, as well as getting the true earthy flavor of cinchona. Most gins before the advent of modern transportation were transported and stored in oak barrels. This gave old gins an aged note from the dry oak that is totally absent from most modern gin. Nappy Valley Bitters Toasted Oak bitters brings that oak back to your finished cocktail. One spritz on top and it’s like you pulled the drink straight from the barrel. A lime wheel to garnish of course, and you have what, is in my humble opinion, a perfect G&T.

Old World Ginn & Tonic
1.5 oz NVD Old Hollywood Ginn
1.5 oz C&B Old Fashioned Quinine Tonic
3 oz soda water
1 spritz Napa Valley Bitters Toasted Oak Bitters
Lime wheel, for garnish

Add the gin and tonic syrup to a highball glass filled with ice. Top with soda water. Stir gently with a bar spoon. Spray Toasted Oak bitters on top and garnish with a lime wheel. Makes one 6oz cocktail.

Until next time,
Your ever humble, old fashioned mixologist,
Aaron Lahey

Want to order your own Old World Ginn & Tonic kit? Check this out!

Time Posted: Apr 16, 2015 at 4:20 PM Permalink to Old World Gin and Tonic Permalink Comments for Old World Gin and Tonic Comments (67)
Aaron Lahey
 
March 26, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

The Ramos Fizz: Tips & Tricks

Welcome to Part 2 of our foray into the Ramos Gin Fizz. The Ramos Fizz is not just a notoriously laborious cocktail, it is also a notoriously difficult one to get right. For such a seemingly innocuous set of ingredients, there is a ton of bartending technique that goes into it. I'm going to use this opportunity to share some do's and don’ts with the Ramos, as well as egg white drinks in general. Did you miss Part 1? No worries, accress it here.

Here Are Some Tricks To Getting A Nice, Thick Egg White Foam With The Least Amount Of Shaking

  • Have everything ready to go before you start shaking. Have your glass, garnish, etc. all ready and next to you. You want to immediately pour the cocktail after shaking.
  • Citrus juice, alcohol, cream, and sugar will all help to emulsify an egg white foam.
  • Always do a "double shake." Shake the ingredients first without ice, and then again with ice. The egg will begin to whip much easier closer to room temperature.
  • Replace simple syrup with gum syrup. The gum Arabic in gum syrup does an incredible job at thickening and stabilizing an egg white foam. This also cuts down on shake time, saving your arms. At least 0.25 oz gum goes in every one of my egg white drinks. Try one of these gum syrups from Small Hands Foods or Liber & Co.

Here Are Some Tips Specifically For The Ramos Fizz

  • Make sure you hold on to the top and bottom of the shaker firmly. The combination of heavy cream and egg white in this drink make for a lot of expansion in a short time. Expansion in a confined space results in a rapid increase in pressure, and I have seen the top of a shaker get launched across a bar with so much force that they had to scrub Ramos Fizz off the ceiling that night.
  • Do not substitute cream for low fat milk. The fat in the cream helps stop the alcohol and citrus juice from curdling the dairy.
  • Mix up the direction of your shake several times during the course of shaking. This will increase agitation and the overall stability of the foam.
  • Some bartenders say to add the soda to the glass and top with the cocktail. Others say to pour the cocktail in the glass and top with soda. The former method leads to a uniform texture from top to bottom of the glass. The latter will cause a distinct break between foam and drink. *see the photo for an example*

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Foam easily breaks: Did not shake long enough
  • Top of the shaker sticks: Run only the top of the shaker under hot water until it loosens.
  • Watery cocktail: Didn't add enough ice to the shaker before shaking.

I hope these tips help, and will take away some of the apprehensions surrounding egg white cocktails. Check back tomorrow for a few of my favorite twists on the Ramos!

Your ever humble, tricky mixologist,
Aaron Lahey


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

**Napa Valley Distillery suggests using caution when consuming raw eggs due to the slight risk of food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend that you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Time Posted: Mar 26, 2015 at 1:53 PM Permalink to The Ramos Fizz: Tips & Tricks Permalink Comments for The Ramos Fizz: Tips & Tricks Comments (12)
Aaron Lahey
 
March 24, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

The Classic Ramos Fizz & A Defense of Eggs

Hello there drinkers! Today I want to talk about a classic and very famous cocktail that has all but disappeared from modern bar menus: The Ramos Gin Fizz. This will be part one of a three part post about this drink. Today, we will learn about the history of the drink, provide the classic recipe, and defend an oft maligned cocktail ingredient. Check back tomorrow for tips, tricks, and troubleshooting, and on Thursday for several of my favorite variations!

A Brief History
The Ramos Gin Fizz was invented by Henry C. Ramos in 1888 at his New Orleans bar, The Imperial Cabinet Saloon. To make a Ramos Fizz, you mix Gin, cream, lemon juice, lime juice, gomme/gum syrup, an egg white, and orange flower water, and shake hard for an absurd 12 minutes, before pouring it over soda water. The result is a light, bright drink with a texture like no other. At the height of this drink’s popularity, Henry Ramos would sometimes have over 20 "shaker boys," behind the bar, just to shake up his "New Orleans" Fizz's for eagerly awaiting guests. It is said that even with all this dedicated staff, Ramos still had trouble keeping up with demand. His fizz was simply too labor intensive, and overall time consuming for a busy bar to handle. For these reasons, outside of a few historic hotel bars in New Orleans, you will be hard pressed to find a Ramos Fizz on a bar menu. Also, if you ever want to ruin a bartender’s night, order a Ramos Fizz just before closing time. All jokes aside, this cocktail, done right, is transcendent. It is indicative of its era, when people were still willing to wait for something to be made well. It's a drink that says, "If you can't wait 15 minutes, you don't deserve me," and there's something I kind of like about that.

The Classic Recipe Ramos Fizz
2 oz NVD Old Hollywood Ginn
1 oz heavy cream
1 oz gum syrup (Small Hands Foods or Liber & Co) or simple syrup (Sonoma Syrup Co)
.5 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 egg white**
3 dashes (18-24 drops) orange flower water (Fee Brothers)
1 drop vanilla extract (De La Rosa) *this is under some debate by New Orleans bartenders, but I like it*
1-2 oz soda water

Add first seven ingredients to a dry cocktail shaker, and shake hard for one minute. Add half a cup of ice, and continue shaking at least 3 minutes, or up to the original 12 (you might need to grab some friends for shaker relay). Strain into a Collins glass, and top with soda. Finish with a gentle stir and the single drop of vanilla. Garnish with a lime twist. Makes one 12-14 oz cocktail.

In Defense of Eggs**
Eggs do amazing things to cocktails. However, for the majority of the public, the idea of putting raw egg into their beverage is nauseating at best, and could even be dangerous! Right? Wrong. A thousand times wrong. First let me debunk the health concerns. Yes, uncooked eggs, in very rare instances, can transfer salmonella. How this works is salmonella from the chicken coop gets onto the outside of the egg. When you take that egg and crack it, the inside of the egg comes into contact with the outside, possibly transferring the salmonella to your egg white. Because that egg white doesn't get cooked, you could get sick. But you could have gotten just as sick by licking the shell. So, all you have to do to eliminate the chance of getting sick from raw eggs, is quickly rinse the shell with warm water before cracking.

But won't it make my drink all slimy, you ask? Absolutely not. In fact, raw eggs don't have a whole lot of flavor, so the only real reason to put them in a drink is to change and improve the texture. Not to make it slimy. That would be awful. Egg whites and egg yolks do different things to cocktails, just like in cooking or baking. Some drinks will call just for the egg white, some others just for the yolk, and others still for the whole egg. Egg white proteins like to stick to each other. So when you shake them or whip them up, they create a lattice, like a net, that traps air bubbles. This is what makes a soufflé rise, and those peaks on your meringue stiff. In fact, for an egg white cocktail, you are basically making a soft meringue in your shaker. The proteins in the egg yolk don't like to stick to each other. They like to spread out and emulsify into the drink. So adding an egg yolk will give your drink a silky, rich, heaver texture, akin to adding gum syrup. Adding the whole egg will, you guessed it, do a bit of both. You will get more body in the base of your drink, as well as a light foam on top.

If this little manifesto for eggs seems unwarranted, let me say this. The majority of professional bars now use dehydrated egg white powder in their cocktails, solely because of negative reactions from customers to seeing fresh eggs cracked behind a bar. Egg white powder can clump, is much more expensive, and can alter the proportions of classic cocktails. Love the egg, the real egg, and it will love you back.

Good luck and happy shaking! If you run into any troubles making this notoriously finicky cocktail, check back tomorrow for Tips, Tricks, and Troubleshooting. Until then...

Your ever humble "shakerboy"
Aaron Lahey


*Napa Valley Distillery always recommends drinking responsibly.

**Napa Valley Distillery suggests using caution when consuming raw eggs due to the slight risk of food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend that you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Time Posted: Mar 24, 2015 at 3:34 PM Permalink to The Classic Ramos Fizz & A Defense of Eggs Permalink Comments for The Classic Ramos Fizz & A Defense of Eggs Comments (90)