Sunday, March 28, 2010

Welcome to The Firewater Lounge

In a response to our bar book, Stiff had made a request that I simply couldn’t refuse- list the top 30 essential liquors you need to have in your bar. Believe it or not, it actually was easier than I thought. I stuck to three rules: 1) The average Joe should be able to purchase the booze without taking a second mortgage out on the house, 2) Beer, wine, and champagne are not liquors, 3) Versatility matters.

Now, in teaser style, we are going to give you the first three liquors in this post and then unveil them a liquor at a time until we get to thirty! Each post we’ll give you a new drink that can be made from the growing list of liquors. So empty the change from your couch cushions, get to Woodman’s, and buy…

#1) Gordon’s gin- Bombay or Tanqueray may be your faves out there, but for half the price, Gordon’s can’t be beat! Besides, it is 007’s gin of choice, so who can argue? We at the Firewater Lounge are never without Gordon’s for our martinis, tonics, and trapdoors.

#2) Ketel One Citroen- Ketel One has always been one of our favorite mid-range vodkas, but they outdid themselves when they added their citroen to the market. Much less metallic than Absolut Citron, Ketel One’s version is much more versatile than its rival. It’s now a staple here at the Firewater Lounge- I just got down to a 1/3 of a liter and went right out and bought another 1.75!

#3) Vermouth- Absolutely critical for most classic drinks, including the immortal martini. You should arm your bar with both sweet (rosso) and dry varieties.

O.K., now with a recipe…Stiff also asked for martinis, so let’s start there. One of the most interesting martinis is the Vesper, one of James Bond’s most anal drink demands from the novels. Not only does he ask for Gordon’s, but he also berates his server for using potato vodka rather than grain vodka. He would name this drink for his first love, Vesper Lynd.

For our treatment, we will use Gordon’s and Ketel One Citroen, a 100% grain vodka (wheat). Instead of Lillet, we will use traditional dry vermouth with a dash of Angostura. Since we do not need Bond’s lemon garnish because we have its hint in the citroen, I elected to get dirty with this Vesper and add olives. The result is a sophisticated and lively inaugural libation for the Firewater Lounge!

Dirty Vesper Martini
3 measures of Gordon's gin
1 measure of Ketel One Citroen
1/2 measure of dry vermouth
1/4 measure of olive juice
Dash of Angostura bitters
Olive or lemon garnish


  1. Awesome! Great idea on presenting. Can't wait to do some shopping!

  2. Can you elaborate on vermouth at all? There are many out there with Rosso being the most readily available of course.

    If you want this one extra dry, add the vermouth to the glass, swirl, then dump it out. If you want it even drier, simply set the vermouth bottle next to the shaker.

  3. Sure, instead of 'Rosso', I think you mean Martini & Rossi...'Rosso' just means 'red' referring to sweet vermouth- the bane of Stoefflers! For the Dirty Vesper, I'd use Noilly Prat. Nice and delicate, nice and dry. Wisconsin usually carries 'Stock' vermouth at most liquor stores.

    I like your dry recipes... How about the romantic driest martini...simply whisper 'vermouth' over the cocktail glass...

  4. This would take some effort, but how about a section with a catalog of the bottles of the Firewater Lounge

  5. I've wasted no time. Went to the grocery store after work and picked me up a bottle of Grey Goose Le Citron! It was on sale and the resulting price was only $2 more than the Kettle One Citroen. I've got Gallo Vermouth (dry and sweet) on hand which is readily available in our local groceries. Being a gin fan, I keep several on hand, currently--Tanqeuray, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray No. 10, Death's Door, and Bombay Dry. I'd like to add some Hendrick's in the near future. It is reveled as a bargain higher end gin. By far my favorite "everyday" gin is the Bombay Dry, and it can be found for reasonable price around $15-18 here in AZ.

    So I mixed up the Dirty Vesper as prescribed substituting the Bombay Dry and Goose Le Citron and garnished with two blue cheese stuffed olives. I'm sipping bliss right now. I believe you are a genius Holly. The lemon in the Le Citron is perfectly balanced by the saltiness of the olive juice. Dirty is the only way to treat this Vesper!

    Yes, we can buy liquor at the grocery stores in Arizona! Except on Sunday before 10am when everyone is in church (or something), you can purchase alcohol. Utah is quite far away however. Hmm.

    As a tasting note, I'll add that the Grey Goose Le Citron is very fragrant, lots of lemon on the palate. I don't detect any stony or metallic flavors. A winner in my book!

  6. All of this talk about booze is making me thirsty. The only booze I can get here is Kuwaiti Toilet Water Rum.