The new Black Glove and fancy garnishes

black-glove Today’s Wall Street Journal includes a story on fancy and functional cocktail garnishes. I’m flattered that they chose to include a cocktail recipe from Metrovino, the Black Glove:

It’s not the ebony color that surprises drinkers most when they order a Black Glove cocktail at Metrovino in Portland, Ore. It’s the curious frill straddling its rim. The garnish, a preserved green walnut wrapped in a strip of orange peel, embodies the flavors of the cocktail—the sweetness of rum, nuttiness of nocino (a green walnut liqueur) and sharpness of bitters—in one bite. “The walnuts bring out the flavor of the nocino and add a texture like chewy candy,” said the Black Glove’s creator, Jacob Grier.

I posted about this drink once before, but for the article I adapted the recipe to work with commercially available ingredients. The nocino made by Todd Steele, the owner of Metrovino, is drier and spicier than what’s commercially available. I changed the rum selection, altered the proportions, and added a dash of bitters, and I have to say I’m very happy with the results. If you wanted to try this drink at home, make it this way:

2 oz aged rum (Gosling’s Black Seal)
1 oz sweet vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 oz nocino (Nux Alpina)
1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with orange peel and preserved green walnut. You can buy the walnuts from Harvest Song here.

Read the whole article for more garnish ideas, including a beer cocktail garnished with speck.

[Photo by F. Martin Ramin for the Wall Street Journal, styling by Anne Cardenas.]

Esquire interview and MurrayAid

This week I’m interviewed in Esquire. Sadly I wasn’t able to steer the conversation to the merits of corduroy or libertarianism, but it was it a was a fun interview nonetheless.

At the end of the interview I mention the Last Word cocktail and the Seattle bartender who revived it, Murray Stenson. Murray is a legendary bartender who is currently unable to work due to a heart ailment. People around the world are hosting events to raise money for him. To donate or to find an event in your area, please visit MurrayAid.org.

Midnight Shift

Midnight Shift cocktail on my rooftop.

It’s been a while since I posted a “brown, bitter, and stirred” cocktail (as my friend Lindsey likes to order them). It’s also been a while since I made a new cocktail with Novo Fogo cachaça. The Midnight Shift addresses both of those oversights:

1 1/2 oz Novo Fogo Gold Cachaça
3/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz Galliano L’Autentico
2 dashes mole bitters
1 dash absinthe
orange peel, for garnish

Give all the ingredients a good long stir with ice and strain onto a big frozen cube, if you have one handy. Otherwise serve it on your normal rocks. And don’t omit the orange peel. Like Jeff Lebowski’s rug, the citrus oil really ties everything together.

Speaking of Novo Fogo, the other purpose of this post is to inform you that Novo Fogo founder Dragos Axinte and Los Angeles bartender Jaymee Mandeville of Drago Centro will be guest bartending at Metrovino on October 22 as part of Novo Fogo’s “Bars on Fire” series. Come by from 5-8 pm to welcome them to Portland and enjoy creative cachaça cocktails.

Come to RAW Artists in Portland

If you’re in Portland, you’ve had all summer to watch magic for free at First Thursdays and Last Thursdays. Now my frequent performing Grey Lerner and I are taking the show indoors. Good news: Indoors there’s a full bar! Bad news: Now you’ve gotta buy tickets. Fortunately tickets are only 10 bucks for a full night of entertainment that includes music, art, photography, fashion, and entertainment from an eclectic group of local creative talent. Plus you’ll be helping out your friends, as this is a great professional opportunity for us. We’d love to have your support at the October showcase and we each need to sell a few tickets. The show is October 18 from 8 pm to midnight at the Bossanova Ballroom in Portland, Oregon.

Tickets can be purchased from Grey here and from me here.

In the note below, Grey explains what this is all about, as does the video above. We hope to see you at Bossanova in a couple weeks!

To all my Friends,

I’ve got a great opportunity for some publicity, and I would sure appreciate your help. Publicity for what!? For my ongoing career as a magician!

A national organization called Raw ‘Natural Born Artists’ hosts a night of Art, Music, Fashion, and Performance Art once a month here is Portland at the BossaNova Club.

The venue is a great chance for some publicity and experience. I’m obliged to sell tickets to the show (no free lunch…damn), and they are $10 bucks each. I would greatly appreciate it if you’d support me and my artistic endeavors!

Please click away on the link to my Rawartists.org page. Once there you can choose (if you’d be so cool) to purchase a ticket to the show. The essentials are taken care of: There’s a bar, there’ll be art, music, and interesting people. I would love to do some magic for you.

My buddy Jacob Grier and I will be wowing the crowd with close up and stand up magic to mystify and astonish. We were performing street magic at a local street fair here in town when the Raw talent scout ‘found us’. Perhaps this’ll be our next big break. Please try and make it to the party, and we’ll try to blow your mind.

If buying a ticket isn’t in the cards (oy!) then maybe you’d take a quick sec to click on the link anyway and continue clicking on the “Vote Now” button above the picture of me (everything is a competition). If I win, I’ll share the million dollar prize with you!

Love,
Grey

LightBlack Magic

What I’ve been drinking

varnelli

Plantation 3 Stars — A blend of rum from Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad, 3 Stars is the first white rum from Plantation. It’s blended with three-year aged rum from Trinidad that has been carbon filtered to remove color, unaged rum from Jamaica and Barbados, and a bit of twelve-year aged rum from Jamaica. I love the funkiness, the hogo, of this blend. It’s nothing approaching Smith and Cross levels, but it has much more character than your average white rum. I tried it in side-by-side Daiquiris with a more neutral white rum and the 3 Stars made a much more interesting drink. At a suggested retail price of $24.99 per liter, there’s no excuse not to buy it.

Sound Spirits Old Tom — Described by the distillery as having “less juniper, but more spice than our Ebb+Flow Gin.” The gin is rested on charred oak chips which give it a little color. It makes a very nice Martinez. As far as I know distribution is currently limited to the Pacific Northwest, but it’s worth picking up if you can find it.

Varnelli L’Anice Secco Speciale — I haven’t tried anything quite like this before. As the name implies, this is a dry spirit flavored with aniseed. It has the big flavor of sambuca without the sweetness. I like it a lot. So far I’m only sipping it neat, but in the right cocktail I’m sure it could work wonders.

Fever Tree — Fever Tree recently sent along nearly their entire line of sodas. Their tonic is very good. It has notes of citrus, a balanced sweetness, and is approachable while still offering real quinine flavor. It does very well in a Gin and Tonic with London dry. Their “naturally light” was less appealing to me and dominated by the gin; it improved with a squeeze of lime. I very much liked their new Mediterranean tonic, which manages to be both floral and assertively flavorful.

Perhaps my favorite of the bunch was the Bitter Lemon. It has cocktail potential, but it’s also delicious on its own. Finally, the ginger ale and ginger beer were both very good. The latter was a bit spicier, but both are a giant step above most commonly found ginger ales. The ginger beer goes great in a Dark ‘n Stormy (and yes, I did have Gosling’s on hand for the rum!). Overall, the Fever Tree line is strong and you really can’t go wrong with them.