St. Louis Sorghum Whiskey

Earlier this month, local distiller Still 630 released his new whiskey made of sorghum. Still 630 is one man, David Weglarz, and what a guy he is. Single-handedly running his distillery and making sure his whiskeys (ryes “Rally Point” and “Maple Sunset”, as well as white dog “Big Jake”) and rum (“Soulard Island Rum”) are available at nearly every respectable drinking establishment and spirits shop in St. Louis, Mr. Weglarz is one of the hardest working people I know.

Distilling his first-class spirits in a modestly small building (a former Hardee’s) in the heart of our city on 4th Street, just a stone’s throw from Busch Stadium, Still 630 is quintessentially St. Louis. I believe that Mr. Weglarz is as honored to have his spirits embraced and enjoyed by so many St. Louisans, just as much as so many St. Louisans are proud to consider his spirits our own.

So I, being such a big fan of this local distillery, didn’t have to think twice about heading down to the distillery the morning after first hearing of his latest product, “S.S. Sorghum” whiskey. When I think of sorghum, I think of a type of molasses because of some syrups I’ve purchased in old-fashioned Americana-type shops, but although I find science fascinating, I’m terrible at knowing anything about it and/or anything earth or plant-related. (I feel proud that I can identify a Bradford Pear or an Oklahoma Redbud tree, and that’s about the extent of my botany knowledge.) So I really didn’t even know what sorghum really is, but Wikipedia tells me it’s a type of grass maybe? Who knows?

But I know that Dave made a whiskey out of it, so I headed downtown first thing in the afternoon. In fact, my little man and I found ourselves in the position to purchase the very first bottle of this new whiskey (see picture)! Obviously that’s a photo of a proud dad and son.

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This is good drink, and a nice something that’s unique to add to one’s home bar. Below is the official tasting notes on the back of the bottle, and in my humble opinion it reminds me of a slightly rum-ish bourbon. Very interesting flavor and very good.

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To enjoy the full flavor of the sorghum whiskey, I’ve been enjoying it so far simply in an Old-fashioned cocktail…

2.25oz Still 630 “S.S. Sorghum” whiskey
1/4oz simple syrup
1/2oz water
2d Angostura bitters
Served over ice, with a lemon twist

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“S.S. Sorghum” can be purchased at the distillery on 4th Street. Learn more about Still 630 here.

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Cocktail hour across Missouri

Cocktail hour across Missouri, with a “Show Me Cocktail”, a Scientist McGee original drink created as an homage to the 2014 Major League Baseball postseason featuring the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. A good time for baseball in Missouri, the “Show Me State”.

3/4oz rye whiskey
3/4oz apple brandy
3/4oz Swedish Punsch
1/4oz pear liqueur
2d Boker’s @adamsbitters

Stir with ice and serve up.

This drink’s split base spirit was directly influenced by the drinks of Death & Co. in New York City, as I was immersed at that time in their wonderful new book.

Furthermore, to truly pay homage to Missouri, I recommend mixing this drink with some rye whiskey that is distilled and bottled within the borders of our state, or better yet still, within the confines of one of these two fine cities – St. Louis or Kansas City.

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Happy Holidays from Scientist McGee! (2012 SMcG Cocktail Book)

Happy holidays, everyone!  Tis the season to raise a glass and toast our friends and loved ones!

My gift to you, to help with your toasts, is a new & improved 2012 edition of the “Scientist McGee Annual Cocktail Book”.  Last January, I posted the very first edition of the collected recipes from the Scientist McGee blog. That edition collected nearly every recipe I had posted over the lifespan of the SMcG blog, with just a couple awful drinks removed to spare your taste buds.  This new & improved 2012 edition includes those same recipes with another year’s worth on top of it.  Plus a revised table of contents with a special “key” noting particular ingredients with “big personalities”, such as Chartreuse, Campari, absinthe and creme de violette.  Basically “supporting actors” that can “steal the scene”, and for which some folks may not be particularly huge fans of (although others may “stand in line to get a ticket just to see this over-the-top supporting actor”).  I figured these ingredients warrant a heads-up or a come hither note for my readers and imbibers.  Once again, the “book” is posted in two parts that can be downloaded and printed, and then put together to create the finished product.

Download the book here:

Scientist McGee’s Cocktail Menu – 2012 Edition COVER &TABLE OF CONTENTS & THE BASICS

Scientist McGee’s Cocktail Menu – 2012 Edition THE DRINKS AND BOOKSHELF

The “Scientist McGee’s Annual Cocktail Book: 2012 Edition” also features some “last minute cocktails”, just in time for pressing.  These 6 new drinks are featured below and showcase some new ingredients for my home bar – swedish punsch, orgeat, Plymouth Gin and IMG_2785Fernet Branca.  The latest 2 cocktails, the Hanky Panky and the Wellington, came from a brand new cocktail book, hot off the presses a couple of weeks ago, called “Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”.  This book was written by Matt Seiter, a high school buddy of mine and all-around good guy, who happens to be the bar manager of Sanctuaria.  Sanctuaria is a tapas and cocktail bar in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis, MO.  This book is the tale of that bar and its cocktail club, and features the recipe of every single drink on the cocktail club menu – all 150 of them!  It features the story behind each of the 70 original drink creations along with beautiful photos of each drink.  I definitely and highly recommend picking up a copy at http://www.sanctuariastl.com .  I guarantee that there will be many, many drinks from this book that will grace the future pages of this here blog, and I look forward to drinking each and everyone of them!

So I hope some of you enjoy the drinks – Happy holidays, and thanks to all of you who enjoy reading this blog, enjoy following my day-to-day imbibing on Twitter (@ScientistMcGee), and enjoyed some glassware from the “Scientist McGee’s Cocktail Glass Emporium” (http://www.etsy.com/shop/scientistmcgee) – it’s been quite a busy and fun year!

IMG_2646“The Hesitation”

This is a very good drink.  This was the first drink I tried my new bottle of swedish punsch out with.  I wanted to really taste the swedish punsch when I tried it for the first time, so I chose this very simple drink that’s equal parts rye and punsch.  This recipe makes for a rich, fragrant, slightly sweetened rye whiskey drink.  Very good.

Equal parts…

Rye whiskey

Swedish punsch

Stir well with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

“Have a Heart Cocktail”IMG_2500

This drink wasn’t anything super unique or magnificent, but very good for what it is… which is a very good sour. It has a little bit of something special with the complexity of the Swedish punsch.

1.5 oz. gin

3/4 oz. Swedish punsch

3/4 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. grenadine

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lime

(“Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails”)

IMG_2522“Hoop La!” Cocktail

This is a good, easy-goin’ sour.  It’s nothing that special either, but it’s good nonetheless.  I like the gentler side of the Lillet and triple sec, against the strength of the brandy and lemon.

Equal parts…

brandy

Lillet Blanc

triple sec

lemon juice

Shake well and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(“Savoy Cocktail Book”)

“Trinidad Sour”

Now here’s a VERY SPECIAL sour!  What a unique and delicious drink!  My friend Jack recommended this drink to me when I put a plea out for suggestions for a pre-Thanksgiving stay-at-home cocktail.  His recommendation prompted me to go to the store the next day or so and pick up my first bottle of orgeat (an almond cordial syrup).  This drink is amazing.  This drink is thick and creamy, frothy in fact! IMG_2632 This is a tough drink to describe for me.  I had never had Angostura bitters in this large of quantity before.  Plus it was my first taste of orgeat too.  So two “firsts”, I guess.  This drink is like a typical cocktail turned on its head… Instead of the bitters and the syrup adding the finishing touches, the rye whiskey adds the finishing touch on a drink featuring a full ounce of Angostura bitters.  Don’t worry folks, it’s not actually that bitter of a drink either…  It actually reminds me a lot of a “Blood & Sand”, oddly enough.  You all owe it to yourself to try this drink.  Thanks Jack, for the gift of the “Trinidad Sour”.

1 oz. Angostura bitters

1 oz. orgeat

3/4 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. rye whiskey

Shake well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

“Hanky Panky”IMG_2797

This was the first drink I made at home from Matt Seiter’s “Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”, and it was very interesting and really good.  The gin and sweet vermouth alone would be too sweet, shallow and light, but the Fernet Branca grabs them both and pulls ’em back down, keeping them grounded.  The Fernet comes in at the end and is a bitter bite that pulls the gin and vermouth back to reality, and rounds the drink out.

1.5 oz. Plymouth gin

1.5 oz. Italian vermouth

1/4 oz. Fernet Branca

Stir well with ice and then strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

garnish with lemon

(“Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”)

“Wellington”

This drink is really good… a really interesting sour with the mellow Swedish punsch ending that lingers.  I love the very small amount of Heering.  Actually, I think this drink really has the perfect balance of all the ingredients in the right proportions.  Really damn good!

IMG_28041.5 oz. gin

1/2 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. Swedish punsch

1/4 oz. Cherry Heering

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

garnish with a lime

(“Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars”)


A Crisp Chill in the Air

Summer’s winding down and there’s now a nice, crisp chill in the air during the evening time.  Pretty soon, it’ll be chilly or cold enough to warrant some drinks to really warm the soul.  But for now, it’s nice to savor the last few chances we have to enjoy the remnants of summertime.  Summertime’s a magical time with long, bright evenings and lots going on around the city.  That’s why September-October’s the best time in St. Louis… You get to savor the final fleeting moments of summer, while also enjoying a nice, chilly breeze in the evening time.  A perfect balance between the fun summer and the cold winter.

So while an almost unbearably cold time of the year is right around the corner, and soon I’ll be reaching for some cozy whiskey and scotch drinks inside the heated home… For now, I’m enjoying holding on to summer and being on the back porch for as long as I can.

That’s why you’ll only find one “sneak peek” at winter drinks in this post (the Brigadier).  For the most part, the drinks featured in this latest post are about as summery as you can get – The Americano, Planter’s Punch (meaning an actual punch shared by friends on a good ole St. Louis back porch Labor Day barbeque), and the Ramos Fizz.  It really doesn’t get much more summery than these cocktails.  And it really doesn’t get much better in general, no matter what time of the year, than these 3 cocktails.  So shake and stir ’em up while you can, because winter’s almost here, and pretty soon we’ll all be sitting on our couches wrapped up in sweatshirts, wrapping our hands around some hot toddies or maybe a Brigadier.

“Americano”

What a tasty drink!  Here’s a drink that’s light & refreshing, while still definitely tasting like an adult beverage with its dryness.  It’s nice and bittersweet, but not quite so bitter as a “Negroni”.  This is definitely a back porch cooler.

1.5 oz. Campari

1.5 oz. sweet vermouth

3 oz. club soda

1 orange slice for garnish

Pour into an ice-filled highball glass and stir, topping with club soda.

(“The Essential Cocktail”)

 

“Ramos Fizz”

Also known as the “New Orleans Fizz”, this amazing drink dates back to 1888.  It was invented by its namesake, Henry Ramos, and I must say it’s a pretty decadent drink!  It’s decadent in its appearance, it’s decadent in its taste and it’s decadent in its preparation. This drink calls for 2 things I’ve never used in a cocktail before – 1. orange flower water, and 2. an egg.  While using egg whites in cocktails is not uncommon, this is the first time I’ve gotten around to actually using them myself.  (I must admit, I was kind of intimidated by the thought of it, but that’s all behind me now.)  Since we’re using egg white to add body to the drink, we need to shake it with all our might… much longer than a regular cocktail.  Some recipes say “shake it long & hard”, some say “shake it viciously”, some say “shake it for at least one minute, preferably two”.  Like I said, I was a little weary of drinking raw egg, so I shook it intensely for about a minute and a half.  I shook it so long that my hands were frozen and arms quite tired by the time I was done.  A tip for next time would be to wrap a towel around the shaker before beginning.  Also, I’ve read some where that one should not be so weary of the raw egg in cocktails because the alcohol, and the citric acid of lemon/lime called for in many drinks, diminishes the chances of salmonella.  Anyways, enough about the egg… this drink is quite a drink!  It’s a fantastic decadent drink!  It’s thick & creamy, sweet & citrus-y!  You feel like you’re on top of the world when you’re drinking one of these fellas!  I highly recommend treating yourself to one of these.  I just wouldn’t recommend mixing it up when you have multiple guests, unless you lift lots of weights and have very strong arms to handle the amount of shaking needed for multiple drinks of these.

1.5 oz. gin

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. lime juice

1.5 oz. simple syrup

3/4 egg white

2 oz. heavy cream

2 dashes orange-flower water

club soda

Shake vigorously for 1.5-2 minutes, and then pour in to a highball glass with no ice. Top with club soda.

 

“Planter’s Punch”

I finally bought my first punch bowl set!  I’ve wanted one for quite some time, and a Labor Day barbeque seemed to be just the justification I needed to track one down.  To break in my new punch bowl, I turned to one of the most famous punches, a classic rum punch called “Planter’s Punch”.  I’m especially partial to the Planter’s Punch because one of the legends of its origin points to the early twentieth century in St. Louis.  Many people think the punch was created at the Planter’s Hotel in St. Louis in the early 1900’s.  Others think it was created by actual planters in Jamaica much earlier.  Who knows for sure… I’m content to compromise and hypothesize that perhaps it was originally created by actual planters in Jamaica, and then later popularized in the U.S. at the Planter’s Hotel in St. Louis.  That’s good enough for me!

Anyways, it’s a really good drink.  Good enough that I could see myself enjoying a whole punch bowl to myself if need be.  So I mixed up a batch to bring to our friends’ home, transporting it in a plastic pitcher, and planning to take a photo once I assembled the punch at their home… but it slipped my mind!  So unfortunately, I’m sad to say that I do not have a photo of my very first punch.  I do however have a picture of the making of the punch, the packaging of the punch and a picture of my new punch bowl set, along with a picture of a Planter’s Punch solo-style in a highball glass.  So below, for the mathematically challenged, I’ve listed two separate recipes – 1. a recipe for a single-serving drink, and 2. a multiplied recipe suitable for an 80 oz. punch bowl.

Now since this was my first attempt at a punch, and I was also transporting it to a location in which I wasn’t sure of the set up, I did something I’m not sure I needed to do… Instead of just mixing all the ingredients together in the bowl and then adding a big ice chunk, I shook two servings in a shaker to get the right proportion of water added to the drink from the ice, and then poured them in to the jug.  I did this 6 times I think.  This way, I knew that whatever the circumstances turned out to be, the drink would taste just right.  I’m not sure if this was totally necessary, but it turned out well, so it was worth the extra work of shaking.  Again, I guess the theme of this blog post is being exhausted from shaking so long.

Single serving:

1 oz. dark rum

1 oz. light rum

2 oz. orange juice

2 oz. pineapple juice

1/2 oz. lime juice

1/4 oz. simple syrup

1 maraschino cherry or orange slice for garnish

Shake well and strain in to an ice-filled highball glass.

Punch bowl:

11 oz. dark rum

11 oz. light rum

22 oz. orange juice

22 oz. pineapple juice

5.5 oz. lime juice

2.75 oz. simple syrup

Orange and lime slices for garnish

Totals 74.25 ounces, plus the water added from shaking with ice (or an ice chunk added later).


“Brigadier”

And last but not least, the sign of winter coming…  The nice, crisp chill in the air that’s such a relief from the hot summer right now will soon turn to blustery, cold winds and ice storms.  Let us be prepared – Stock up your cupboards with hot cocoa, whiskey, scotch and Chartreuse!

The final drink of this post is definitely a warmer-upper on a cold winter night.  Not only will the hot cocoa warm you up, but there’s quite a kick right away that’ll heat you up…  The Chartreuse hits you right away with quite a hot & spicy note, and then fades away in to a dark, rich cherry-chocolate flavor with the Cherry Heering and hot cocoa.  This is definitely a drink that’ll keep you company when you’re staying inside to escape the assault of the cold.

1 oz. green Chartreuse

1 oz. Cherry Heering

4 oz. hot cocoa

Stir and enjoy.

(created by San Francisco bartender, Neyah White)