The Old-Fashioned is the quintessential classic cocktail. In the title of his new book devoted to its history, New York Times drinks writer Robert Simonson calls it the “world’s first classic cocktail.”
But classic shouldn’t be confused with unchanging. As Simonson makes clear in his well-researched and thoroughly enjoyable “The Old-Fashioned,” the drink was pretty much designed to be customized.
And not only by savvy barkeeps with access to coriander syrup and specific Aquavits, although their contributions to the Old-Fashioned canon are included in a lengthy compendium of recipes, old and new (yes, Wisconsin’s famed brandy Old-Fashioned merits a page.) The Old-Fashioned is a chance for cocktailians who’ve fallen into the habit of ceding spirit decisions to the experts to have a say about what’s in their glasses. Continue reading
If a houseguest asks for a brown liquor cocktail, odds are he or she will be satisfied with a whiskey sour, Manhattan or Old Fashioned – assuming it’s well-made.
For hosts and hostesses looking to brush up on their mixing skills, Edmund’s Oast next week is offering a “Cocktail Tasting and Educational Class,” at which participants will learn how to make the three classic whiskey drinks.
The Apr. 22 class costs $35, and starts at 6 p.m. Reservations are available through Edmund’s Oast’s website.
Victor Social Club, the new watering hole next door to the new Michael’s.
While the menu at the forthcoming Michael’s on the Alley skews High Steakhouse Classical, meaty developments from the century’s first decade haven’t been lost on head chef Aaron Lemieux: When the restaurant opens next Wednesday, diners will be able to saturate their steaks with house-cured bacon butter, or pair them with truffle fries and lobster mac-and-cheese.
More interesting, though, are the nods to current trends: Michael’s — one of three new John Street restaurants from Holy City Hospitality – is offering a side dish of cauliflower gratin and a horseradish beetroot crust for folks who are serious about wanting their beef cooked pink.
Other menu options include oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, bone marrow, beef tartare, crab gratinee and a pair of salads prepared tableside. The steak selection features a ribeye, tenderloin, Kansas City strip and petite filet; prime rib is identified as “our signature entrée.” (Prices have not yet been determined.) Continue reading
Around Charleston, it’s easier to find persimmons on a tree than on a cocktail menu, but ICEBOX’s Boris Van Dyck recently came up with a drink which he believes could boost the fruit’s popularity with bartenders.
After receiving 300 pounds of overripe persimmons from GrowFood Carolina, Van Dyck cooked the fruit with sugar and spices; the strained syrup became the base of a drinking vinegar which he mixed with Striped Pig vodka for a Tuesday night meeting of the Charleston Bridal Association.
Event planner Mitchell Crosby described the drink as “epic.”
“I think I’m the only person who ever served them persimmons,” says Van Dyck, who’s planning to put the drink on draft for a GrowFood Carolina event tonight. Continue reading
Drinking and driving may not mix, but High Wire Distilling Co. has come up with a lovely way to make cocktails compatible with biking and walking: The Charleston distillery next week is hosting a spirits launch party to benefit Friends of the Lowcountry Lowline, a greenway advocacy group.
The event at Warehouse runs from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 20. Attendees will be treated to cocktails featuring High Wire’s gin, vodka and silver rum in return for a suggested $5 donation.
Prohibition last Friday stationed an exuberant black-vested jazz combo in its doorway in a bid to lure customers to the new 1920s-themed cocktail den, which recently took over the upper King Street space previously occupied by Mercury Bar. But at least in the early evening, the room beyond the tooting musicians looked relatively staid, raising the question of whether the speakeasy trend is played out.
Probably not, says cocktail writer Jeff Berry. As the world’s foremost expert on tiki history, Berry is a scholar of themed bar culture. According to Berry, the current celebration of illicit watering holes isn’t the drinking nation’s first dalliance with the decade.
“The first Roaring Twenties revival was in the 1960s, when bars and restaurants themed themselves like speakeasies, played Dixieland Jazz, and dressed waiters in shirt garters and straw hats,” Berry says. “They had names like Sneeky Pete’s or Rod’s 1920s Roadhouse. The trend lasted about eight years, with a final shot in the arm when the Robert Redford version of The Great Gatsby hit movie screens.” Continue reading
My recent post about the difficulties of finding bubble tea in downtown Charleston drew plenty of sympathetic e-mails from fellow boba tea drinkers. But my latest correspondent had a lead on where to find a quality version of the souped-up beverage: “Summerville, of all places,” she writes.
According to Phillis Mair, Single Smile Cafe is serving bubble tea with all the fixings: “They have popping beads, jelly and traditional chewy tapioca,” she reports.
Mair and her husband started searching for bubble tea after first trying the drink in Atlanta, and the Singe Smile version so satisfies their cravings that they’ll now plan day trips around a boba run.
Since the Single Smile tip’s just a few hours old, I haven’t yet had the chance to make good on it. But I’d love to know if other boba fans are equally smitten with what’s served at Single Smile. In the meantime, I was thrilled this weekend to discover that McCrady’s makes a cocktail with St. Germain boba: The gin drink‘s a tad pricier than the average tea shop slurp, but it’s marvelous.
This may count as second-run news, but for someone who’s previously lived in two other cities with a Cinebarre and never been able to enjoy a martini at the movies, it’s a big deal to discover the Mt. Pleasant location now offers liquor drinks.
The Asheville-based dinner-and-a-movie chain last month underscored the “bar” in Cinebarre by adding spirits to its beverage service. Previously, the theater served margaritas and other pseudo-mixed drinks made with wine.
The new cocktail menu features 16 drinks, priced at $9-$10, including a Charleston Tea made with sweet tea vodka and a Dark & Stormy finished with fresh lime. There’s also a line-up of “grown-up milkshakes” blended with vodka.
But Steve Jobs, the subject of the critically-derided biopic now playing on one of Cinebarre’s 11 screens, probably wouldn’t have ordered any of the above: He liked non-alcoholic grape juice.
Three downtown restaurants are adding Sunday brunch to their schedules, bringing more biscuits and Bloodys to an already busy morning.
Of the newcomers, The Vendue Inn was first out of the gate with its “brunch basket” program, which premiered this past weekend. As the name implies, Vendue’s Rooftop Bar brunch is a picnicky affair, in which guests can purchase a bottle of bubbly and a basket of snacks for $40. The baskets are sized for two, and designed around a culinary theme, such as The Pacific, Paris or Tuscany: Menu items include cured salmon, Boursin cheese and dried figs. Baskets are available from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
On Sept. 1, Republic Garden & Lounge will join the brunch crowd with its “light, healthy approach,” writes spokesperson Grace Newland. Executive chef Benjamin Harris’ definition of “light” isn’t exactly egg whites and grapefruit segments, though: The menu features honey biscuits with salt butter; housemade pork belly rillettes; duck prosciutto and crème fraîche scrambled eggs. But there’s coconut water in the ReHydrator cocktail, made with cucumber vodka, St. Germain and lemon. Other quaffable options include frozen Mimosas with various floaters and a smoothie of Bols Yogurt liqueur, orange juice and gin. Brunch is served from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Finally, Warehouse is readying to roll out its brunch service on the same Sunday. Although the menu hasn’t yet been released, it’s likely the eggs and cheeses on the bar menu will be reconfigured in morning-appropriate ways. But the specials aren’t exclusively for early risers: Brunch starts at 11 a.m. and runs through 11 p.m., so night owls can have hash with their highballs.