Friday, March 27, 2009

Two of a kind...

So I've been playing around this afternoon and finally came up with some drinks for Sundays dinner.
It's kinda tough doing pairings, especially when dealing with complex dishes. I always find it difficult to balance the cocktail against the dish, with out one sort of taking the lead.
A pairing should be just that, a pair. They make sense together, and bring out some qualities in one another. Put a big drink next to a svelte dish, however and it just looks fat.
Not that each cocktail needs to be menu-bound or even menu-worthy, but each needs to stand alone as complete. (I doubt any of these would make it onto our list.)
That being said, it is a nice excercise in restraint and focus, yeilding some surprising flavor combinations that I would like to explore further. (wish I'd brought my camera today)
1. Honey and hot mustard. I was really just fooling around with this, finding it perhaps a bit campy for my taste, but I was pleasantly surprised at the balance of sweet and astringency, with a light, spicy, but not hot finish. The mustard really cleaned up the palate, making it quite food friendly. I plan to pair this with a pork belly, crawfish, uni, and ramen dish in a very simple pork stock, so I mixed it with some Dickel 12 yr whiskey and a little dash of bitters for a little cinnamon note. Result: A somewhat rich, sweetish, nutty old fashioned that mimicks the sweet, fattiness of the food while helping to cut it. I'm gonna have to put the mustard through some other trials, or find some similiar products to toy with.
2. Sometimes I find myself starting with a taste or ingredient and trying to put it back together from it's parts. I wanted an earthy berry or tart melon flavor for a cocktail, but nothing turning me on. Answer: I mixed a little Clear Creek Framboise (for the earthy funk), with some California port (for a little body, and some bright berry fruit), dash of grapefruit (for a touch of bitterness and tartness), and a little sugar to sweeten it up. It was showing pretty well, my little franken-fruit. To help lighten it and give a little more acid, just a shot of sparkling wine. It's a nice drink, kind of big and floral nose, but dry. Probably the toughest pairing, with yellowtail two ways, asparagus, eggs, avocado. Definitely turned on by the framboise/port combination. I think more and more how to smuggle a little earthiness into a cocktail without being bottom heavy.

The others are pretty simple, yet effective little haiku's:
Mezcal, ginger, lime with Abalone yakatori
Aquavit, maraschino, sweet vermouth, lemon, tea with Squid stuffed with blood sausage.
Chilled shot of Jewel of Russia vodka with the tiniest drip of hibiscus and rose water alongside Pt. Reyes oysters and caviar.

It's nice to play and ponder.... but alas, back to work. Hope to see you Sunday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In the pipe.....

So we've been awful busy lately, doing some spring cleaning (mostly removing pesky graffiti from the bathrooms and other such tasks), and planning for some fun stuff.

First of all, THIS SUNDAY, MARCH 29th:

Another Sunday Supper at Alembic featuring local seafood paired with cocktails (stay with this blog to watch me fumble trying to put those together over the next few days).

On the plate, we will have Mendocino sea urchin, Monterrey squid and sardines, Point Reyes oysters, Sacramento caviar, Santa Cruz abalone. It's going to be fantastic.

Might also want to save the date for a special event at the Red Vic next door....

On April 7th, starting at 6pm, there will be a fund raiser for Pie Ranch, who are helping with our garden. Magnolia beer, Alembic snacks will be served and there will be a screening of the documentary King Corn. Come by, have some food, drinks, get a peek at the garden. It's for a good cause.

Check out to find out more about the organization.

Also of note, come check out some new arrivals on our whiskey shelf...

We've got Michter's 25 year old bourbon and rye in, a bunch of Willet single barrel selections, a full, albeit limited, selection of Van Winkle labels back in, the ever elusive Old Portrero 18th century and straight rye bottlings. And last, but possibly most exciting, a very limited release of some Stranahan's Colorado malt whiskey. We split a barrel with D&M liquors of the Grand Mesa, aged two years in heavily charred, new American oak, and finished for 8 months in used French oak wine barrels. Big and delicious. Get it while it lasts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Look out, this Sunday, it's back!

Swimming in the Savoy, with your trusted lifegaurds Daniel and Erik.

March 22nd, 3pm till........

Sunday, March 1, 2009

New stuff in the barrel.....

In addition to our abnormally large selection of barrel aged offerings, we're growing herbs and vegetables as well! Super excited about this, keep you posted on what is growing and how it lands on the plate and in the glass.