After a brief hiatus, I've been posting information about new spirits products (and sometimes new distribution of existing products) to ShakeStir.com. You can read all of the posts by following the New Booze tag.
You no longer need to login to ShakeStir to read them either, which makes things a little easier.
Over the past month, New Booze annoucements have included:
The Balvenie Tun 1401, Batch 9
Korbel 12 Brandy
Blue Hanger Scotch Whisky
Yamazaki 25-Year, Glen Grant Five Decades,
Hakushu Heavily Peated Whiskies
Alibi American Whiskey
Eastside Distilling Holiday Liqueurs
Powers Signature Release
Crave Chocolate Truffle Liqueur
Barenjager Honey & Tea and Barenjager Honey
This is the booze that's showed up on my doorstep this week- some of it is new; some of it has been around for a 150 years or so. What looks good?
Braulio, Amaro Dell'Erborista, Caliche Rum, Charbay S Hop Whiskey, Wild Turkey Spiced, Mezcal Marca Negra Tobala and Espadin, Charbay Hop Whiskey Release III, Averna, Charbay R5 Whiskey, Charbay Distillers' Port, Chabary Still House Port.
The press preview for TBD, the forthcoming restaurant from the neighboring AQ in San Francisco (in order to find the website it was fun to Google "tbd aq sf") is Thursday, but I got a chance to get a sneak peak at the cocktails from bar manager Timothy Zohn.
As you can see, the place is not quiiiite finished yet, so we actually met over at AQ.
Zohn is reliquishing his job at AQ and taking over at TBD, with a short cocktail menu created with just a beer and wine license. Zohn says that he is trying not to over-emphasize cocktails at the restaurant: the goal is not to have people drinking them all through dinner and not having to endure loud shaker noises through their meal.
He calls the cocktails "loopholes" as they fit through the loopholes that makes fortified wines legal to sell as with a beer/wine license. The first drink he made for us is a great example of that:
Nogroni - One ounce each of Peychaud's bitters, juniper-infused Tio Pepe sherry, and Put e Mes. This drink will be on draught after they get up and running.
Beergarita - With lager beer (most likely Tecate), lime, simple syrup, and Regan's orange bitters infused with burnt orange and burnt leaves, this is like a non-spicy Michelada. Really refreshing and easy to drink.
San Francisco Egg Cream - Cream sherry, chocolate sauce, milk, Fee's Old Fashioned bitters, grated nutmeg. Delicious! Maybe save it for dessert.
Porter Old-Fashioned - Anderson Valley Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter, bitters, sugar, lemon twist. Dark, twisted, bitter, hearty. The amaro of beer cocktails.
Churchill's Bane - A version of this drink has been on the menu since AQ opened. They keep reimagining it for each season. This version contains juniper-infused Dolin blanc, Imbue Bittersweet vermouth, orange bitters, and juniper tincture.
In the future they'll have:
Imbue vermouth on tap- the only place in SF to have that
The NoGroni on tap
Soft-serve ice cream that changes every day or two
Beer and non-alcoholic floats that will use the ice cream
All drinks will be $10
Plus, all the wood is cooked over an open fire.
Plus, there's a full liquor license next door at AQ if you want to hit the hard stuff.
If you're using barrels or wood chips to make barrel-aged cocktails, be aware that they can develop 246-TCA, better known as "cork taint."
Cork taint doesn't only come from corks, it turns out; it can come from barrels. One way that it forms (in part) is when chlorine bleach is used to clean corks (or barrels).
Wikipedia says, "Chlorinated phenols can form chemically when hypochlorous acid (HOCl-, one of the active forms of chlorine) or chlorine radicals come in contact with wood (untreated, such as barrels or pallets.) The use of chlorine or other halogen-based sanitizing agents is being phased out of the wine industry in favor of peroxide or peracetic acid preparations."
Much tap water contains chlorine or chloramine, so don't clean out your barrels with untreated tap water.
Depending on whether your water is treated with chlorine or chloramine you may take a different approach to getting rid of that in the water (as opposed to buying gallons and gallons of distilled water). Chlorine and chloramine require different filters or amount of time boiling the water or time to leave it to fizz off.
A little bit of research gives widely different answers as to how long you'd have to boil water to eliminate chloramine (that's what's in San Francisco's drinking water). The answers are everywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to 2 days of boiling. Carbon filters also remove chloramine, but they have to be really good/fresh filters. Some detailed information from a brewing perspective is here.
This was first brought to my attention by Carl Sutton of Sutton Cellars. I asked him what a good cleaner for barrels would be and he recommended Proxycarb. Some research tells me that has the same active ingredient (Sodium Percarbonate) as OxyClean (though I don't know if OxyClean is food-safe so you should probably buy it from a wine/beer store).
Have fun with your barrel aged cocktails, and remember to avoid chlorine when cleaning them out.
Pavan Liqueur has extended the submission deadline for The Pavan Sangria Challenge to October 25th. The Pavan Sangria Challenge invites bartenders from around the country to showcase their talents by creating original Pavan sangria recipes inspired by the dream escape destination of their choice. The winner will be rewarded with the ultimate prize of a dream trip for two anywhere in the world!
The Pavan sangria creations will be judged on quality and taste, visual presentation, creativity and representation of dream destination. To enter, bartenders submit their original sangria recipes to pavan-sangria.com by October 25th for a chance to be selected as a semifinalist. Visit the website for the official rules.
I will be helping to judge the San Francisco semifinals at El Techo de Lolinda in the Mission.
The semifinal judging in San Francisco runs from 6-9PM on November 11. The event is open to the public and the bartenders will batch up sangria for us all to try.
To see all the semifinal events and other dates for the contest, keep reading.
Camper English is a cocktails and spirits writer for publications including Saveur (Contributing Drinks Editor), FSR Magazine (Spirits Editor), Whisky Advocate, Details.com, PopSci.com, Mixology, Drinks International, and many more. Learn about Camper and Alcademics, or read clips of his published work.