Originally Posted by Rambo
Guess who found Fever Tree Tonic Water? This guy! Also snagged their club soda and ginger ale. Figured what the fuck. OK, so I need a Creme de Cacao - do I go white or dark? Does brand matter with this stuff or is it all the same? The brand that I got my Creme de Violette from makes a CdC for $20. Everything else is around $8. Also, need a Cognac. I assume V.S. is good enough for mixing, right? If so, what brand should I go with for something on the cheap? Remy Martin or Hennessy? Remember, I'm never going to drink this shit straight for as long as I live.
Nice. I think you'll really enjoy Fever-Tree's sodas. The ginger is good; I've never tried the club soda and would be interested in what you think -- couldn't imagine what the differences might be.
Originally Posted by cptjeff
In terms of color, the difference is food coloring. In terms of price, the difference is a well crafted spirit that can be enjoyed on its own or a watered down version with less alcohol and a more straightforward, less complex flavor meant to be used as a mixer. Select the one appropriate to your needs. Same with most of those liquors. Yes, you could buy cointreau, but the subtitles that make it much nicer are probably going to be lost in cocktails for most palettes. Probably better to just go with something a little cheaper. But never, never, go bottom shelf if there's something reasonable in the middle. Mr. Boston does not make anything worth purchasing, unless you're buying vodka as a solvent. No, you don't need a cognac. You need a brandy. Cognac carries a premium becuase of the name, and shipping costs. Get an American brandy instead. For half the price of a crappy French VS, you can get a VSOP made from equally crappy grapes and aged longer. Yes, crappy grapes. Brandy came about because one region of France had shitty grapes, and thus shitty wine. When it was reduced for transport to save money in getting crappy wine to the dutch, the dutch noticed a big improvement and basically told the french to keep sending the burnt wine (brandewijn in dutch) instead, they liked it much better. It's cheap wine, distilled and aged. Especally in terms of mixing, that can happen just as well in the US as in France with stuff from California. The really nice cognacs and brandies will be made with nicer wine, with a perfect profile for distilling and aging, but you're not buying to sip out those subtle variations. And nice brandy is quite good straight. For mixing, I think Huntsman recommends Christian Brothers. I tend to recommend E&J's VSOP. Either way. But American brandy is perfectly suitable and doesn't carry the upcharge based on a name.
Haha, I endorse this post! Well, 99% of it, anyway. The gist, of course is that there are subtleties to spirits and mixers that are lost when you mix them with other ingredients -- a fine example is cogna/brandy, where precisely the notes that make expensive bottles expensive are just the notes you lose in a cocktail. Oh, and my favorite bar uses E&J VSOP as their mixing brandy, so that is a fine suggestion from jeff. The real question, and one you'll have to decide for your own palate, is what level of spirit/mixer you feel adds to your cocktail and which ones are being lost in the mix -- for me, Creme de Cacao is a pretty much bottom-end thing. I use the clear in my 20th Centuries and such, and pretty much (incorrectly) use Kahlua whenever dark CdC is called for. The only thing I try to do with all my mixers is be sure they are only naturally-flavored -- but that is a philosophical choice I make as much as anything else. Where I don't go cheap is with the Curacao/Triple Sec -- even in cocktails, I find Cointreau noticeably better, especially in simpler or cleaner drinks like the White Lady (a gin-based Sidecar), and so use it exclusively. But you need to taste and decide -- I wish I could go the other way as Cointreau is expensive, even when I buy it in big 1L bottles!
Originally Posted by Rambo
For the people recommending Vya and CA - neither are available down here. Mostly NP, M&R, and some other brand. Hunts - I snagged some of your Fabbri cherries. You better go clear out William Sonoma. Despite being tagged $24 they rang up $28. I got the lady to give me the one jar but she went and changed the tags after that. That Alabazam of yours - do I shake or stir that? Ice, no ice, etc.? What type of glass do you recommend for it?
Glad you found some cherries. I really enjoy them -- I should try the Luxardo some time, but I'm fine for now with these, plus I can just go to WS and grab them, which is nice. As for the Alabazam: Pretty much the guideline for the Shake/Stir debate is that coctails which contain a juice of any sort should be shaken. If all spirits, they should be stirred - to retain the silken weight of the spirits absent aeration and tiny ice shards. Some swear, say, by shaken Manhattans and Martinis, which I find awful. ~ H