Taking stock Tuesday, Feb 28 2012 

Former Kansas Attorney General Vern Miller, taking stock of a whole lot of confiscated booze.

Booze inventory: done.

I thought about taking a picture of the impressive overload in the basement, but…it’s not very pretty. (It will be, someday.) For now, here’s the digital version.


Cocktail Club catch-up: Bitters Bonanza Monday, Feb 27 2012 

I’m still playing catch up with posting Central Park Cocktail Club meetings that fell between the cracks on this here blog, which was sadly neglected most of last year. (Sorry, blog!)

bitters bonanza (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

Last February, for instance, I was all about bitters, researching a related story that ran in the Chicago Tribune. Truth be told, I went a little nuts. This photo documents all the bitters I amassed in the name of research. Anyone who owns bitters and uses them knows that a little goes a long way, so needless to say, I’m good for awhile.

My related cocktail club presentation went way back to bitters’ roots: the nearly simultaneous development of the Angostura and Peychaud’s brands in the 1830s, on up through the naval tradition of drinking pink gin.

Here’s the recipe, if you can call it that:

Pink Gin
1 part Plymouth gin (1 poured 2-3 ounces)
Angostura bitters (for rinsing glass)
Lemon rind garnish

Rinse a cold glass in Angostura bitters (4-5 drops should do it), fill with gin, garnish with lemon rind & serve sans ice, as the sailors would do.

In Fluxus We Trust Saturday, Feb 25 2012 

Update: My cocktails created for the Flux Film Matinee screening went off without a hitch!

If you recall, my task was to create a cocktail or two that would complement a fluxus-themed film screening. The lovely & inspiring Tricia Van Eck of 6018 North (which will someday soon be an incredible non-profit gallery/event space, btw; right now it’s all bare studs & open floor plan & awesomeness) was game to go along with my  plan of serving drinks sans any physical/visual clue of what they might taste like.

(How very Flux.)

I wound up creating two drinks for Tricia to serve: one on the savory side, and one sweeter. My goal was to have both drinks be entirely clear in color, served with no garnish, as the Flux aren’t big on fluff. I pulled all my favorite clear spirits out to play around with, and ended up with the following:

fluxus cocktail

As you can see, this looks exactly like a glass of water (or is it??)…which was exactly the point.

Here’s what I made:

Fluxus Cocktail I: sweet
1 1/2 ounces gin (I used Farmer’s Organic, as it’s super-dry & not too fragrant)
1/2 ounce Esprit de June liqueur (we later replaced the June with St-Germain as June was in low supply)
Top with tonic water

Fluxus Cocktail II: savory
1 1/2 ounces cucumber vodka (I used Effen Cucumber)
1/2 ounce dry vermouth (I used Noilly Prat)
Top with soda water
Add 2-3 drops mint bitters (I used Fee Bros.)

Build each cocktail in a mixing glass with ice, combining two spirits. Stir briefly, then pour into simple water glass. Top with mixer; for savory, add mint bitters. Serve without revealing what’s in the glass.

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