Sunday, June 11, 2017

Kill Devil 17 Rum


Roughly two and a half years ago, we were happy as a clam in the FWL that the Cuban Embargo was lifted on limited amounts of alcohol. Immediately, we grabbed bottles of classic Havana Club and one of my favorite rums ever, Santiago de Cuba. This Christmas, I snared a bottle of Kill Devil 17 Year for Cindy, our third and maybe last bottle of Cuban rum for sometime. This week, President Trump plans to limit American freedoms in regards to Cuba for no known reason other than because Obama relaxed the embargo. No matter what you think of President Trump, and we don’t get too much into politics here in the FWL, the only thing that Trump has accomplished thus far is to attempt to erase Obama’s legacy through executive order, even if it means that you do the most unAmerican thing you can- attack the American freedom to drink. I am hoping like hell that Trump leaves the cigar and rum provisions alone, otherwise, true blue Lizards of the Lounge will remember the slight. Any changes we hear about, we will throw it in the comments of this article below.

In the meantime, here’s a rum that you may stand to lose in the re-embargo- the Kill Devil 17 Year (actually you probably won’t be able to find our 1998 expression, period, because the bottles of its single cask are sold out, but the 1999 expression is still around). Distilled in Sancti Spiritus Distillery in Cuba, the Kill Devil 17 pours out straw in color and delivers a nose-worth of vanilla and black pepper. It’s a hefty 92 proof, so it’s a bit hot to drink straight, but its long, slightly tobacco finish can withstand a splash of water. We mixed ours with Montenegro to a welcome effect, though a myriad of amari would let this dry Cuban sing.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Summer Morning

If there is a neglected liquor on the shelves of the Firewater Lounge, it’s vodka. Since most Wisconsin vodkas have consisted of artificial fruit flavor, synthetic dyes, and isopropyl alcohol (take your dad’s dusty bottle of Mohawk lime vodka, for instance). Since we solely use vodka to drink straight (like Zubrowka) or heighten the alcohol percentage in a drink here, we tend to only sparingly use high-quality vodkas that taste as clean as possible.

This summer season, however, started with a flavored vodka kick. We had been drinking grapefruit crema in the spring, but since we don’t have a ready supply of Tattersall liquors in southern Wisconsin yet, we switched to Deep Eddy grapefruit vodka. Combining 7up with Deep Eddy grapefuit makes for fine, quick 1-to-1 summer fare. If you are up for experimenting with Deep Eddy for bunch or tiki, let us suggest the following recipe:

Summer Morning Cocktail
Holly’s Original

2 ounces dark rum (we used Plantation)
1 ½ ounces triple sec
1 ounce Deep Eddy grapefruit vodka
3 ounces orange-mango juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
Splash freshly-squeezed lime juice
3 heavy dashes Angostura bitters

Shake all ingredients well in an iced shaker. Strain into summer stemware. Garnish with lime twist or spanked mint leaves or both.

Monday, May 22, 2017

10 Rules of Martinis

I was a child of the ‘80s. Thank God I was not old enough to drink. For some reason, America completely lost their memory of their traditional cocktail heritage and fell into a dark age of domestic beers and fruit ‘martinis’; essentially anything in a cocktail glass was a ‘martini.’ Ugh. Mercifully, we have returned from that miserable era to a more sophisticated time. However, some bars still have a ‘-tini’ section on their menus- mostly fruity or chocolate undrinkable nightmares. So let the FWL educate you on that most wonderful American invention this side of the light bulb: The Martini.

One - There is no fruit juice, chocolate, coffee, syrup, or even bitters in a martini. Yes, that’s right, the martini may be presented in a cocktail glass, but, unlike its close relative the Martinez (gin, vermouth, maraschino, bitters), the martini itself is not a cocktail. In its true form it only has two ingredients: 5 to 1, gin to French (dry) vermouth. (Classically, the ratio is 6 to 1, however most bartenders prefer to give modern palates a bit of a gin break).

Two - There are only two exceptions to the two ingredient rule. An olive wash in the cocktail glass prior to the alcohol strained into it. This is known as a Dirty Martini due to the briny olive tint to the drink. (For God’s sake, don’t pour olive brine into an already made martini!) A smoky scotch wash (like Laphroaig or Ardbeg) is also a classic touch; this is known as a Burnt Martini.