Forget the Tom Collins, try a Carlos Danger

Untitled-1There are so many things that come to mind when one hears the name "Anthony Weiner" -- liar, pervert, disgraced (except in his own mind) congressman ... and former college roomate of Jon Stewart, for what that's worth.

During some of his self-exposing sexting, Weiner used the name “Carlos Danger.”

I know, it's pathetic. But, we might as well have more fun with the whole situation than he is having.

A bistro called Buttermilk Channel, located at 524 Court Street in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens neighborhood, is. It has come up with a new cocktail called, what else?, a Carlos Danger.

“We were messing around with cocktails," manager Richard Murphy told WCBS 880. "We had some mezcal laying around, so we designed a mescal cocktail. It’s fruity, it’s juicy, it’s kind of dangerous. And, the Carlos Danger name stuck.

“People like it. They have a chuckle, and then they try it and realize it’s a really good cocktail. So it’s been going pretty well for us.” he said. (He also said he plans to vote for Weiner in the mayoral election in which it has become increasingly shown that many New Yorkers don't care about a candidate's character.)  


2 ounces mezcal 
½ ounce grapefruit juice 
½ ounce honey syrup 
½ ounce fresh lime juice 

Combine all ingredients but the Campari, shake vigorously in a shaker with fresh ice cubes. Serve with grapefruit juice and a sugared rim, with a small float of Campari for color.


The Bloody Mary can carry a heavy load

A San Francisco Bloody Mary
San Francisco has always had a strong claim to being the center of the cocktail universe, especially if that universe exists between the Pacific Ocean and the Mississippi River.

So, it is no wonder that we keep seeing über imaginative concoctions popping up there all the time.

At the right is the latest wild version of the humble Bloody Mary, this one from Cafe 21.

Count the garnishes:

  • Lobster
  • Lemon
  • Celery
  • Cocktail onion
  • Cherry pepper
  • Red bell pepper ring
  • Mushroom
  • Olive
  • Herb sprig

Most reliable accounts tell us the drink itself was originated in Paris in the 1920s by bartender Fernand Petiot, although it began as just tomato juice with a shot of vodka and called the Red Snapper. After he moved to the U.S., he perfected the drink by adding dashes of both Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.

Not to be outdone by any West Coast cocktailery, the Edison Hotel in New York City -- located at 228 West 47th Street between 8th and Broadway -- has its own excellent portfolio of imaginative Bloody Marys:
  • The Classic (Polish vodka, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, tomato juice and hot sauce, garnished with a celery stick).
  • The Caesar (like The Classic except this is the Canadian version, so Clamato juice is used instead of tomato juice).
  • Con Sangre (tomato juice, tequila or mezcal, habañero hot sauce, garnished with a pickled carrot).
  • The Andrew Jackson (White Rye whiskey, smoked paprika, tomato juice, garnished with hot salami and olives).
  • The Colonial (tomato juice, gin, sriracha hot chile sauce and basil, garnished with cucumber).
  • The Rum House (tomato juice, white Haitian rum, ginger, allspice and a pickled pepper; garnished with a piece of candied ginger).

    I'd go on, but I'm suddenly very thirsty.

Apparently he's not yet rich enough

Travolta hard at work.
From E! News

Has someone been testing the product?

John Travolta looked in his element Wednesday, gleefully cutting a rug on the Rio de Janeiro set of a commercial he was shooting for a Brazilian rum maker.

Barefoot on the beach and wearing striped lounging pants and a black T-shirt, the smiling Oscar-nominated actor showed off his dance moves for the camera.

And while those moves weren't quite the caliber of the ones that launched his career in "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease," Travolta seemed to be having a ball.

The 59-year-old "Killing Season" star also was photographed  kicking around a soccer ball around with the trio of hunky surfers who costarred with him in the ad's beach scene. The ab-tastic gents appear to get a quick dance lesson from the Hollywood legend in the ad as well.

Travolta was also spotted on a street corner in Rio earlier in the day sharing camera time with a lovely young lady.

So, while this commercial may be specifically for Brazilian television, we can only hope that it makes its way online -- it looks kinda awesome!


Elmer T. Lee, bourbon icon, dead at 93

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Elmer T. Lee
Elmer T. Lee, 93, the iconic master distiller whose name graces one of the bourbons made at Buffalo Trace, died Tuesday after a brief illness.

He was a pioneer in making single-barrel bourbons, and brought his first -- Blanton's -- to market in 1984. He retired in 1985, but was convinced to return to work as brand ambassador and master distiller emeritus for Buffalo Trace.

"We have lost a wonderful friend today, and he will be missed terribly," said Mark Brown, president and CEO of Sazerac, parent company of Buffalo Trace.

"In the world of making really fine whiskey, the role of master distiller is pivotal, but Elmer's meaning to those he met, came to know, and worked with closely extended far beyond that of a master distiller," Brown said.

"Elmer defined, in the simplest terms, what it means to be a great American: hard working, self-made, courageous, honest, kind, humble and humorous."

Lee was born in 1919 on a tobacco farm near Peaks Mill, Franklin County, KY. During World War II he served as a radar bombardier on a B-29, flying missions against Japan through 1945. In 1946, he was honorably discharged and returned home to study engineering at the University of Kentucky, where he graduated with honors in 1949.

In September 1949, Lee began working in the engineering department of the George T. Stagg Distillery in Frankfort. By 1966, he became plant superintendent, then plant manager in 1969. In 1984, he introduced Blanton's, the world's first single-barrel bourbon.

Lee was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2001, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Whisky Advocate magazine in 2002, and a Lifetime Achievement Award and Hall of Fame induction from Whisky Magazine in 2012.

RI approves in-store liquor tastings

PROVIDENCE, RI -- Another blue law bites the dust.

Rhode Island on Tuesday became the 11th state since 2009 to legalize spirits tastings at liquor stores, when Governor Lincoln D. Chaffee signed legislation into law. That brings to 38 the number of states allowing such activity.
“States across the country are updating their liquor laws to reflect modern convenience and demand,” said Jay Hibbard, vice president at the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS). “Spirits tastings are a responsible marketing tool that generates revenue for the state by boosting consumer interest in premium products. We applaud Governor Chafee for signing this bill which benefits consumers, small businesses and the State Treasury.”

The joint file bill (Senate Bill 477/House Bill 5795) gives adult consumers the opportunity to sample spirits during a controlled, pre-planned tasting event -- allowing up to two quarter-ounce samples of up to two products at any one tasting event. The bill passed the Senate by a 37-0 vote and the House by 72-0.


Gin, flavored vodka added to Prairie portfolio

Phillips Distilling Company, which has made a very good organic vodka for a number of years, has added two new products to its portfolio.

The Minneapolis company on Monday unveiled a gin and a cucumber-flavored vodka to its Prairie Organic spirits portfolio. The suggested retail price for both new products is $19.99 for a 750-ml bottle.

In 2008, Phillips partnered with a co-op of more than 900 Minnesota farmers, who are all stakeholders in the Prairie Organic brand, to create the line.

“The purpose of our farmer-owned distillery is to utilize sustainable production to handcraft superior organic spirits domestically and support Minnesota’s agricultural economy,” Pedro Caceres, Phillips president and CEO, said in a statement.

Phillips produces more than 70 different brands, including UV Vodka, Revel Stoke Spiced Whisky, and SourPuss Liqueurs. Last fall, Phillips introduced its UV Vodka line of flavored vodkas in Spain, its first venture into Europe. More recently it debuted a candy bar-flavored vodka in its dessert-flavored category.

Sugar-, gluten-free vodka expands lineup

Devotion Vodka, the New Jersey distiller, this week introduced a line of domestic vodkas it claims is the "first full line of sugar-free and gluten-free flavored vodkas."

The four-year-old company already had Blood Orange, Black and Blue and The Perfect Cosmo flavors. On Monday, it unveiled its Wild Cherry and Coconut flavored vodkas.

Devotion teamed up with Allen Flavors, maker of Arizona Iced Tea, to develop a process to eliminate sugars as a flavoring agent in its vodkas.

The expansion of its line of 100% corn-based vodkas is being termed "a major breakthrough for a small company like Devotion, which is battling the marketing muscle of the global brands for shelf space," according to Drew Adelman, Devotion Spirits founder and CEO.

“There continues to be a shift in consumer priorities, and products that maintain gluten-free and sugar-free attributes have become very popular across many categories. Other flavored vodkas are packed with sugars, while our innovative flavoring process was developed with the image-conscious adult in mind.”

The Devotion products carry a suggested retail price of $19.99 for the 750ml bottle. Just ignore any of its posters that feature the simpleton from "Jersey Shore" called "The Situation."

Angel's Envy: First the spirit, then the distillery

Lincoln Henderson at the announcement.
In a bit of reverse engineering, Angel's Share Brands LLC -- which already sells its Angel's Envy bourbon in nearly 30 states -- plans to build its own distillery.

The company, headed by Wes Henderson, on Tuesday announced a $12 million project that would convert a century-old building in downtown Louisville, KY, into a distillery and visitors' center.

"We're going to come up with some really neat stuff as soon as we get the distillery operating," said Lincoln Henderson, the brand's master distiller who came out of retirement four years ago to help his son, Wes, create the brand.

The new distillery is expected to begin production in December 2014, opposite the city's minor league baseball stadium.

Angel's Envy bourbon is aged in white oak barrels, as required by statute, for four to six years, then is finished by aging in used port casks for several months. Its rye whiskey ages for at least six years in oak barrels before finishing in Caribbean rum casks for up to 18 months.

The Angel's Share -- the name comes from the traditional reference to the amount of whiskey that evaporates in the aging process -- project is just the latest in Louisville.

Michter's Distillery, a maker of premium bourbon and rye, is in the process of transforming another historic building into a distillery that will offer tours and tastings. It is targeting a spring 2014 opening.

And, Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc., which makes Evan Williams bourbon, plans to open a small downtown distillery, open to tours and tastings.

Buffalo Trace unveils 'Experimental Collection'

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There is much more to a good whiskey than simply its bottled alcohol percentage.

Buffalo Trace Distillery is going beyond the usual debate over whether it is preferable to have a higher entry proof, especially for wheated-recipe bourbons, or use a lower entry proof to produce a mellower finish.

Its latest Experimental Collection, released Tuesday, release is the result of four of the experiments coming off the still at a consistent 130 proof, but put into the barrel for aging using four different entry proofs. All of the barrels then were aged together for 11 years, 7 months and bottled at 90 proof (45% abv). Here are the details, as supplied by Buffalo Trace:  

Wheat 125 – At 125 proof, this was the highest entry proof used, which also resulted in a high evaporation rate of 71% in the 11-plus years it was in the barrel. The high entry proof of this wheat recipe bourbon resulted in a well-rounded flavor with the taste being a balance of cooked berries mingled with sweet honey and slight hints of spicy cloves and pepper.  

Wheat 115 – This wheated recipe bourbon was put into the barrel at 115 proof and lost the highest percentage due to evaporation, at 73%. Tasting notes for this bourbon say it is a well-balanced spirit, which was rated the best tasting by the quality analysis team at Buffalo Trace. The upfront taste is sweet and fruity, with buttery toffee notes that follow. A dry oaky finish completes the taste.  

Wheat 105 – At an entry proof of 105, the angels were particularity generous with their share, taking the lowest amount of all four experiments with a rate of 62%. The 105 entry proof produced a bourbon that is a nice balance of sweet caramel, vanilla, and dry oakiness.  

Wheat 90 – At an entry point of 90, this bourbon had a 64% evaporation rate as it aged alongside the other four experimental wheat barrels in Warehouse K. The result was a bourbon with more wood characters and slight sweet notes. It is mellow with hints of cedar and other wood flavors.

“This was an interesting experiment for us to conduct, and by keeping all of the variables consistent such as the proof off the still, aging time and placement next to each other in the warehouse, we were able to focus just on the entry proof into the barrel and see how it affected taste and evaporation rate,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller.

“We were pleased that what we consider the ideal entry proof for a wheated bourbon, at 114 proof, was pretty close in proof to what we evaluated to also taste the best in this experiment – which was the 115 proof experiment. It was gratifying to see that we have been on the right track this whole time with our entry proof for our wheated recipe bourbons. Another point of interest is the higher entry proofs, the higher the evaporation rates, which is something we’ve always suspected but now know for a fact.”

The wheated-recipe barrels are part of the more than 1,500 experimental barrels of whiskey aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace Distillery, located in Frankfort, Franklin County, KY.

Some examples of these experiments include unique mash bills, type of wood and barrel toasting levels. To further increase the scope, flexibility and range of the experimental program, an entire microdistillery, named The Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. “OFC” Micro Distillery, complete with cookers, fermenting tanks, and a state-of-the-art micro still has been constructed within the main distillery.

The latest Experimental Collection will be packaged in 375ml bottles, 12 to a case, with three bottles of each entry proof in a case. Each label will include all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskeys will retail for approximately $46.35 each and should be available in the next few weeks.