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quick shots

This past weekend we threw a tremendous party at the Prince of Cups’ residence. To call it a “weekend” is a misnomer, as we began last Thursday and ended last night. Don Red, contributor to this blog, issued a challenge to me, which was delivered verbally by QXZ, another contributor: to live-blog from the bar. This was, unfortunately, impossible. It will have to wait until that far-future date when the boston shaker is a blogject. However, over the course of the heavy assault on sleep and livers, I was able to taste a few interesting libations.

five soldiers

First, nothing that is news to me and really is something you’ve all heard before: the Aviation Cocktail with Aviation Gin is damn near the best cocktail in the world. The predominant flavors of juniper and corriander, the secondary flavors of cardamom, lavender, anise, citrus peel all create a perfect foundation for this exceptional drink.

Our good friend (and supporter of this blog) Roninspoon requested that we obtain a bottle of Blanton’s Bourbon. One of our other friends and supporters, Willrad, described this as “the Holy Hand-Grenade of Bourbon”. At Eleventh Avenue Liquors (SE 11th & Hawthorne), one of the owners noted “we bought the whole barrel” and pointed at the end-dump of cases of Blanton’s and, yes, a barrel. This was an incredible bourbon, wonderful taste of toffee and fire, a smooth finish, perfect for drinking straight.

Another friend brought a bottle of Strega. Jes5199 had recently spent an evening drinking with Crux, a guided tour through some of the bitters and digistifs that he ennumerated in his post from last month. A yellow liquor with piney and honey aroma, similar to the yellow Chartreuse. I am looking forward to brightening these overcast autumn days with the Strega and rum drink that Robert Hess gives, with a nice dose of history in his brief on this fine liquor.

A new friend brought a bottle of Rogue Hazelnut Rum. It tastes of toasted hazelnuts with hints of vanilla and orange. It has that same tannin note that Rogue’s Hazelnut Stout displays, that dry coat. I’m wondering how to use it properly in a drink, but I sense that it would make a great caramel flambé over a bread puddling or ice cream or to douse a creme brulé.

Another good friend brought a bottle of Jon, Mark & Robbo’s the Rich Spicy One. This is a blended scotch that is interesting, perhaps the least peaty scotch I’ve had. The peat flavors sit under a warm malty cinnamon and clove combination. Remind me to do a smokey martini with this, maybe even a fig leaf.

On Monday night the stragglers from the weekend went for dinner at Lompoc’s Fifth Quadrant brewpub and desert at Pix Patisserie. Following on a rumor I’d heard from the matron at Eleventh Avenue Liquors, I sought their bottle of Chartreuse Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé. All of us shared a brandy snifter of this sublime liqueur. It is smoother than the standard green, and words they do escape.