Satin's Whiskers and Alice Mine Cocktails

OK, so my resolution to post regularly 2015 got sidetracked.  Let's try this again:

Last week I tried two recipes from Internet Cocktail Database, "Satin's Whiskers" (which I wonder if it's a typo for "Satan's Whiskers") and "Alice Mine Cocktail".  The major common ingredient is Grand Marnier.

Both are mixed with ice in a cocktail glass and strained.  SW calls for 1 part each gin, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, OJ, and 1/2 parts GM and orange bitters.  This wasn't bad, it wasn't overly orangey, though I was out of OJ and used pink grapefruit juice.  I'm not sure the sweet vermouth added much, it tends to overwhelm other flavors.

I wasn't crazy about the Alice Mine, it had a bitterness or some off-putting taste that didn't appeal to me.  It calls for 1 part GM, 3/4 part gin, 1/2 part dry vermouth, 1/4 part sweet vermouth, an regular bitters.  Just not my thing.

Boubonella and Skyscraper

No picture today, I drank them too fast.

The bourbonella came up when I hit Surprise Me at the Cocktail Database.  It's basically a perfect Manhattan:  1/2 bourbon, 1/4 French vermouth, 1/4 orange curacao, and a dash of grenadine.  Stir with ice and strain.

And it tasted like a Manhattan.  Not a bad quick drink, a little sweet, it would have benefited from a cherry or slice or orange.

A similar drink is the Skyscraper: dash of bitters, 1/8 lemon juice, 1/8 orange curacao, 1/8 grenadine, 3/8 dry gin (I had Bombay), and 1/4 French vermouth.  Shake with ice and strain.

This was lighter than the bourbonella and I liked it a little better because the lemon cut the sweetness.  No added fruit needed.

Bacardi Highballs

So we're back.  After ... too long.

I'm going back to reviewing cocktails primarily with the occasional wine review thrown in when I drink something new and different.  I just couldn't guzzle wine fast enough to make reviewing it worthwhile.

So, for now, I'm hitting the Random Recipe link at Internet Cocktail Database and playing around with what comes up.  Today is the Bacardi Highball, basically ginger ale, rum, and a slice or twist of lemon on ice.  I don't have Bacardi so I started with Tommy Bahama White.

I should start by saying that rum isn't my favorite spirit; give me gin any day.  The Tommy Bahama version seemed bland and without much flavor.  It might have worked better with lime than lemon (something that could be said about all these).

Next up, I used Rhum Agricole.  This one had a pronounced rum flavor, with more sugar cane to it.  It was notably sweeter than Tommy Bahama, though there was an unidentified note that turned me off a bit, it tasted more "rummy" in the sense that I don't care for.  I jotted down for this one that it likely would have been better without the lemon.

Third, 21-year-old Rhum Demerara.  The drink had a darker color from the rum, again more of a cane sugar/molasses flavor.  It also had more of ... I wouldn't call it spiciness, but definitely more flavor notes.  This was my favorite.  (My fine taste reflected in the 21-year-old stuff ... )

Last, Rhum Barbancourt, 4 years old.  This fell in the middle of the spectrum, not as bland as the version with TB, but without the molasses notes of the other two.  A subtle cocktail, good for sipping while waiting for someone.

2007 Kaiken Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon

My first cabernet sauvignon of the season is a 2007 Kaiken from the Mendoza region of Argentina that ran me about $13.

Since this is the first one I don't have much to compare it to other than to say it has a lot more body than the pinots I drank last winter and was much more velvety on the tongue.  I will say it didn't overnight well.  I went to drink a 3rd glass the next day and it was just on the verge of being undrinkable so I tossed the rest.

A nice wine in general though to drink with a filet mignon.

2008 Vega del Castillo Grenacha/Grenache

So I started my fall red wines with a 2008 Vega del Castillo granacha/grenache from Navarre that ran me about $6.59

Since this is my first grenache of the season I don't have much to compare it to.  It seemed similar to pinot noirs but more interesting, not as bland as I found most of those.  Very berry, maybe some subtle spice.  The label says notes of violets (I didn't catch that) and black pepper (maybe) and "rich black fruit flavours" (like ... blackberry? plum? what?).

A nice wine at a good price, a good choice to grab if you're grilling steaks.

2010 Clarksburg Toolbox and 2011 King Estate Pinot Gris

For my last two pinot gris of the summer (actually Clarksburg calls theirs pinot grigio), one from Napa and one from the Lorane Valley, southeast of Eugene, Oregon.

(the usual picture, which I was too lazy to take this time, goes here)

So the Clarksburg is your Get You Where You Want to To pinot grigio, inexpensive (under $10), a little on the sweet side.  Screw top to make the drinking go quicker.  I didn't mind it but I didn't drink it all either.

The King Estate from Oregon ran me close to $18 and was very nice, a good blend of acidity and various notes.

So this wraps up my spring and summer of pinot gris/grigios and Gewurtzes.  To sum up, I'd way that PGs aren't my favorite whites but they're not my least favorite either.  I drank cheap ones and I drank expensive ones, and in general they don't have enough oomph for me.  Gewurtzes seem like variations on a riesling theme.  I didn't find any that were funky or overly spicy, which is what Gewurtz tends to be known, or infamous, for.  Except for the one a week ago with a lemony sheen that was distinctive, most of them seemed pretty close to riesling to my taste buds.

After much deliberation I've decided for the fall and winter to drink cabernet sauvignon and grenache.  I've had the occasional cab over the years but don't know the grape well at all.  My original thought was to pair that with Italian reds, but then grenache popped into my head.  And then, I was checking out at the Liquee Mart today, there was a bottle of grenache sitting on the counter next to the cash register.  It was a sign.  So that's what we have to look forward to for the next six months.

2010 Oregon Brandborg Gewurtz

A slight delay from my last posting because I only opened 1 bottle of wine, a pinot gris that I ultimately decided had started going bad, like a Pinot Walter White.

The last few nights I had a 2010 Brandborg gewurtz from Oregon's Umpqua Valley that ran me about $16.

I like this.  It isn't a quasi-riesling like so many gewurtzes I've drunk this summer.  It had a nice lemony/citrusy sheen to it on the first night that I opened it. (Which unfortunately didn't last after a night in the fridge.)

I can see this going very well with seafood, especially highly seasoned dishes.