8 August 2017

“You call that running?”

During the 5 mile run in Alpharetta Greenway, I came across this deer who refused to be scared by human beings. I was running with my head down. At one point, I look up and there it was – staring at me. Normally, a few steps later as I approach towards them, they run away. But this one just kept looking at me – perhaps laughing at my pathetic speed.

I knew if I stopped to take a picture, she would bolt. So, awkwardly, I fished the phone out of my pocket while running at the same time and then looking back took a couple of quick snapshots. The picture quality, as a result, was nothing to write home about. I am still marveling at how fearless (or trusting) the deer was.

8 August 2017

From the bartender’s corner – Bees Knees

This is a cocktail from the Prohibition era. Gin was made in all sorts of spurious ways. The cover up from the smell and taste, often honey and lemon juice was added. And then called Bees Knees – what is a Prohibition era slang for “The Best”. I tried with more authentic gin – The Botanist and used Barenjager honey liqueur with fresh lemon juice.

6 August 2017

From the bartender’s corner – The Tuxedo #2

Even if you are not a big fan of martini, chances are you will like this cocktail. The ingredients include gin (I am experimenting with The Botanist), Dry Vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur, Orange bitters and Absinthe. The Absinthe is not mixed with the ingredients – rather used to rinse the inside of the martini glass (and then the excess is thrown away). Garnish with a cherry to keep the theme of Maraschino liqueur.

The result is a big mixture of aniseed and cherry in the nose with the juniper mostly in the length.

6 August 2017

From the bartender’s corner – Gin #17: The Botanist

This is another great gin from an unlikely place – Scotland! I was surprised long time back to find that Hendricks was from Scotland. You usually do not mentally map cucumbers (Hendrick’s key feature) to Scotland.

This is another of those anomalies. Right off the mainland of Scotland on the west side is a bunch of islands called the Inner Hebrides islands. One of the bigger islands there – if not the biggest – is the Islay. This island, along with the neighboring island of Jura, is particularly known for their famous whiskies.

Well, Botanist 22 is made in the Bruichladdich distillery in the island of Islay.

A few distinctive features of this gin:

First the distillation process is very very slow. When I was visited some distilleries in Oregon making American Style Gin, I saw the distillation processes for gins taking about 5-6 hours. This one takes 17 hours!! The pot is affectionately referred to as “Ugly Betty”! Apparently, it looks like “an oversized, upside down dustbin made of copper”. It was originally designed in 1955 and primarily for the purpose of making whiskey!

The gin has 31 individual ingredients. 22 of them – including the staple juniper is local from the island. The “22” marked in the bottle refers to those local ingredients.

The nose this gin is very floral and you should be able to sense the juniper. The palate is rather mellow but picks up on warmth and citrusy notes if you let it settle for a few seconds. The length (finish) is distinctly spicy.

I also tried this gin with some Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water later in the evening. My personal opinion is the tonic water overwhelms this particular gin. If you care about the complexities and feel everything that is going on, stay with the gin and a king ice. If you just are looking for a good G&T, go ahead with the Fever Tree.

5 August 2017

How did that come around? – “Lion’s share”

While trying to learn about the phrase, I learnt something that surprised me – we actually use the phrase in an incorrect way! We always think of this phrase as “majority share” or a “large proportion”. However, this is not how it was meant to be.

The origins of this phrase goes back to Aesop’s fables. While there are various versions of it – they all lead to the same thing – after the lion and two of his subjects (the animals vary in different versions and in certain versions there are three other animals who accompany him) got all the kill from their hunting session, the lion did the sharing of the food by essentially staking claim to the entire food collection – in parts by logic, in parts by power and in parts by instilling fear. For example, in the more popular and the oldest version, the lion claimed the first one-third since he was the king, the second thirds was to be assigned to him by the other two since he was a partner and the last third would be his since bodily harm would come to anybody who touched it.

The moral of the story was that partnership between two that vary immensely in power is never going to be trustworthy.

Therefore a “lion’s share” is actually meant to say “the whole of it”.

I have not been able to figure out yet, how the modern day version of “a majority share” came about.

4 August 2017

From the bartender’s corner – Akori London Fog

Last Sunday, I wanted to try out one last cocktail with the Akori gin. Back in March, I had liked a London Fog that I had made with the Ophir gin. To keep up the Oriental angle, tried a London Fog (with the Akori gin). The results were very different. I did not like the cocktail much at all. Also, I had used the “pour on crushed ice” style that certain mixologists had suggested. Realized that I am not a big fan of that style at all.

In any case, if you wish to try this at home, this is a rather simple concoction of gin and Pastis (or alternately Absinthe). The aniseed overwhelmed the nose and length. The palette was very flat (and I think that is what turned me off).