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Welcome to Our B(ooze) Log

 
September 9, 2016 |

September 2016 | NVD G&T

 

 

 

 

 
September 9, 2016 |

September 2016 | Negroni Squared

 

 

 

 

 
 
September 9, 2016 |

September 2016 | Lucy in the Sky

 

 

 

 

Time Posted: Sep 9, 2016 at 4:09 PM
 
March 3, 2016 |

Rayo de Sol

Rayo de Sol

Ingredients - Makes one 5 oz cocktail

2 oz NVD Old Hollywood Ginn
1 oz NVD Grand California*
.75 Fresh lemon juice
.25 Fresh lime juice
1 oz Bang Candy Peach Basil Nectar*
2 dashes Berg & Hauck Celery Bitters

Preparation:

Shake all ingredients vigorously over ice. Strain. Garnish with fresh lime zest.

Enjoy and repeat responsibly

*Ingredients included in the June 2015 Bar Club Package
Recipe created by Napa Valley Distillery resident mixologist Aaron Lahey

Time Posted: Mar 3, 2016 at 3:00 PM
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
 
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
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
Aaron Lahey
 
March 27, 2015 | Aaron Lahey

Two Variations On The Classic Gin Fizz

Welcome back to the final post on our second favorite New Orleans cocktail! The Ramos Fizz is one of those drinks you can judge a good bartender by, and every good bartender I know has their own variation on a Ramos. The way they make their Ramos Fizz says a lot about their perspective and approach as a bartender, and there are as many variations on this cocktail as there are bartenders mixing it. Here are a few variations I have found over the years that I really like. click to find Part 1 & Part 2

Kipper's Breakfast Gin Fizz
This is the first Ramos Fizz I ever made. Kipper was a regular of mine at my first bartending gig out in Occidental, and every Sunday he would come in and order one of these, the way his Dad used to make Sunday mornings. There are a couple of huge differences between this drink and the original. Firstly, this is a blended drink, not shaken at all. This makes it a lot easier on the bartender. Secondly, it seems like it’s made from things you would have lying around after an American breakfast. Orange juice instead of lemon and lime, maple syrup instead of gum or simple syrup, half and half instead of cream, and a whole egg instead of just the white. This makes a sweeter drink, reminiscent of an orange creamcicle. It is imperative that this drink be garnished with freshly grated nutmeg; at least according to Kip.

2 oz NVD Old Hollywood Ginn
1 oz half and half
1 oz orange juice
1 oz maple syrup
1 whole egg*
3 dashes (18-24 drops) orange flower water (Fee Brothers)
freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup ice

Add all ingredients but nutmeg to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into Collins glass. Garnish with orange twist and nutmeg and serve. Makes one 12-14 oz cocktail.

Apricot Brandy FizzTwo Variations On The Classic Gin Fizz
This is one of mine. A modern, dressed up version of the original Ramos with Apricot Eau de Vie, blood orange, almond milk and vanilla. If you can find "barista series" almond milk, it makes a better foam. This cocktail has a decidedly Tiki drink quality to it, which I see no problem with. The NVD Apricot Brandy plays up the floral element always present in the Ramos, but is balanced by a spicy complexity missing from the original. Sometimes new is good!

1 oz NVD Old Hollywood Ginn
1 oz NVD Apricot Brandy
1 oz unsweetened almond milk
0.5 oz blood orange juice
0.5 oz lemon juice
1 oz gum syrup (Small Hands Foods or Liber & Co) or simple syrup (Sonoma Syrup Co)
3-4 drops vanilla extract (De La Rosa)
1 egg white*
3 dashes (18-24 drops) orange flower water (Fee Brothers)
1 dash (6-8 drops) Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters
soda water
lemon wheel, orange twist, and lemon flavor pearls for garnish

Add all ingredients but bitters and soda and shake like a traditional Ramos Fizz. Pour into Collins glass, top with soda, and finish with bitters and garnish. Makes one 12-14 oz cocktail.

Well that's all for today folks. Happy shaking!
Your ever humble, foamy 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 27, 2015 at 1:04 PM
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
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