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Irish Car Bomb

by Brendan G December 6th, 2013| Bomb Shot, Cocktails
whisky n creamThe bomb shot, or depth charge, has come a long way since the days of the classic Boilermaker. The Boilermaker is simply a shot of whiskey and a beer. You take the shot glass, of the whiskey of your choice, and drop it into the beer. (The dropping is the bomb part.) Then it's time to drink or chug. It's a little bit of a show actually. Drinks foam up, they get messy and they change colors. It may be the most social of all cocktails. A crowd gathers to see this new concoction that is made when the
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El Jimador Reposado

by Jason Lightner December 3rd, 2013| Liquor
margarita flyoverA little over a year ago we took a peek at the youngest of the El Jimador group of mid-grade tequilas. During the previous year, this was done in an attempt to stave off the impending doom of frost, biting cold, and all things peppermint which were sure to come. This year, however, we're simply resigned to the fact that we'll be under a constant assault from peppermint-flavored everything, horribly cold temperatures made worse by an unforgiving wind-chill, and crumbling city infrastructure. It's time to drink, and drink hard.

I managed to pick up this bottle of El
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Bourbon Manhattan

by Brendan G November 27th, 2013| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
BourbonThis week I thought I would write about a timeless and traditional cocktail, as opposed to the newer, flavored and trendy drinks I've been talking about of late. As far as I'm concerned there are only three cocktails that have truly stood the test of time. A cocktail never goes away, but by standing the test of time I mean, that you would be just as likely to see one of these drinks served in a bar or restaurant 100 years ago, as you would today. The Dry Martini, Old Fashioned, and Manhattan are the classics. They feature simple
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Firefly Cider

by Brendan G November 20th, 2013| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
firefly cider ingredientsOver the last few weeks, I've been writing about many of the new and different cocktails that are being made by using flavored vodkas. Besides a wide variety of fruit flavors now being produced, there are other areas to explore as well. There are candy flavors like red licorice, gummi, bubble gum, cotton candy or even glazed doughnut. Coffee flavored vodkas have also been popular for some time now, excellent for use in making espresso martinis. But another flavored vodka has emerged as a favorite, for either drinking straight, with a splash of water, or in cocktail form.

Firefly Sweet
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Ilegal Mezcal Reposado

by Jason Lightner November 19th, 2013| Liquor
oaxacaWhile imbibing and engaging in witty banter at a new local favorite of mine, an opportunity arose which I couldn't possibly afford to pass up. We've taken a look at both Ilegal Mezcal Joven and Ilegal Mezcal Añejo, but we hadn't yet had the chance to try out the middle child of the Ilegal family, Ilegal Mezcal Reposado.

For the uninitiated, Mezcal as a spirit is a close relative of tequila. Like tequila, it’s distilled from the roasted husks of a native plant; in Mezcal’s case it’s the maguey plant (a form of agave in itself). Mezcal is
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Sugar or Salt

by Dennis Mayer November 14th, 2013| Ask the Bartender
margarita pdMost margaritas can have a salt rim.  However, some restaurants offer a sugar rim on some of their margaritas.  If I'm making margaritas at home, how do I decide what type of rim to use?

That's almost entirely a question of personal taste, which is why your server would have offered you the choice. I'd say have whichever rim you want and call it a day, but that'd be a bit too easy.

Traditionally, the salt rim is the way to go. Salt and tequila are seen as flavors
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Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila Silver

by Jason Lightner November 12th, 2013| Liquor
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are times when one has to choose between doing what's expected, and doing what's needed. Sometimes that choice can be difficult. Oftentimes that choice can be painful. In nearly every instance, making the choice between what's expected and what is needed, is what makes us who we are.

We could go down the list of reasons why Jose Cuervo is the least-favorable tequila maker in the world, according to a 2013 survey done of all the men in my household over the age of thirty, but it might be best to attempt to discuss the actual merits of
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Fireball Pie

by Brendan G November 6th, 2013| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
Fireball4One of the more popular liqueurs on the market right now has to be Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. The spelling Whisky denotes the country of origin: Canada, Scotland, and Japan use the rare spelling. The rest of the world uses the spelling Whiskey for product labels and descriptions. Now that we have that cleared up, Fireball is a cinnamon flavored whisky based product from Canada. Many describe the taste as being similar to the Atomic Fireball candy, or Big Red chewing gum, followed by the slow burn of a whisky. It is also quite similar to another cinnamon flavored liqueur,
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Don Julio Añejo

by Jason Lightner November 5th, 2013| Liquor
mexican exteriorIt's a scary thought, and I'm afraid to admit it, but I think I might have a new favorite spirit on my hands. Tequila has handily and decisively taken over the liquor cabinet, leaving scotch in the dust as I haven't touched a dram in what seems like an eternity. I'd be sad about the lack of whiskey in my life if it weren't for the fact that I'm having way too much fun with tequila at the present time. I think it might be the versatility. The simple fact that tequila is great for sipping, mixing, and shooting
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As It Relates to Liquor and Cheesesteaks

by Jason Lightner October 29th, 2013| Liquor
sandwich n soupJust a few short moments ago I returned from a trip to one of my favorite spots in which to grab a cheesesteak in sunny Philadelphia — Chubby's Steaks on Henry Avenue. I couldn't even count the number of times I've visited this location; their steaks are cooked well, they've got a great beer selection, and even have Yuengling Lager on draft.

As I mentioned, I'm a frequent flyer at this place, but I've never taken the time to really examine their liquor selection. As it turns out, Chubby's has a wide variety of spirits and cordials behind the
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Coconut Rum

by Dennis Mayer October 24th, 2013| Ask the Bartender
coconutI'm trying to make summer last a little longer by serving tropical-style coconut drinks.  I always have used coconut rum, but I was wondering if it would be better to use plain rum and coconut water or coconut milk or some other coconut ingredient.

Almost certainly. Coconut rum, for the most part, is an inferior product, rendered with natural and artificial flavors. The most popular on the market, Malibu, is also a fairly weak product for the money you're paying, clocking in at 21 percent alcohol by volume (as compared to 40 percent and up for a normal rum.) Others
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Highland Margarita

by Brendan G October 23rd, 2013| Cocktails, Margaritas
DrambuieThis week's cocktail comes about from a conversation I had with a customer, about a bottle that is considered a must have behind the bar. Drambuie is perhaps the least used bottle in my bar and I expect in many others around the world. Yet somehow it remains on the list of essential bar stock. The drink most often associated with Drambuie would have to be the Rusty Nail. It may have been a popular drink once, but I can count on one hand the number of Rusty Nails I have had to make in the past 20 years
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