Viewing entries tagged
cocktails

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Lewis Bag

Before the days of 'pebble' or 'nugget' ice (those perfect little pellets you see in cocktails that once called for crushed ice) there was... well, actual crushed ice. 

Today, we're taking it back to to the 19th century where the Lewis Bag was a staple in almost every cocktail bar. It's a sturdy canvas bag with an accompanying wooden mallet. You fill the bag with cubes of ice and wack the hell out of it with the mallet until you've achieved your desired size and consistency of crushed ice. 

The canvas bag has advantages of both durability and water absorption, leaving you with relatively dry crushed ice for your cocktails. Over do it with the mallet and you'll probably end up with shaved ice, but with a little practice you'll be making proper juleps, cobblers, and swizzles in no time. 

While the Lewis Bag is rarely used in modern cocktail bars because it isn't totally efficient for large volume drink preparation, it's perfect for the home bartender looking to make exceptional 'crushed ice' style cocktails at home. 

Given our affinity for tiki drinks, we grabbed our new Bull in China Lewis Bag and made ourselves a Mai Tai. Recipe below!

MAI TAI

3/4 oz lime juice

3/8 oz orgeat 

3/8 oz curacao

1 oz jamaican rum

1 oz agricole rhum 

Combine ingredients in a small shaking tin. Dry shake, transfer into a tiki mug (or double rocks glass), and mound with crushed ice. Garnish excessively and enjoy! 

*Adapted from a recipe by Trader Vic 

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PISCOLOGÍA

Whenever I score a new bottle of booze, I always start with a couple of classics to see how an unfamiliar brand holds up in a few familiar cocktails. When this bottle of Piscología arrived, I knew the first two cocktails I had to try were the timeless Pisco Sour and San Francisco staple, Pisco Punch. 

In short, Pisco is Peruvian grape brandy (although it can also be from Chile, but we'll save that for another day). Pisco is a wonderfully versatile spirit and we love Piscología for its floral nose and tropical finish -- think ripe banana and pecan. 

In his 1951 book, The South American Gentleman's Companion, Charles H. Baker begins his chapter on the Pisco Sour by stating, "Now for the Internationally famous Pisco Brandy Sour, which is by long odds South America's most famous and original mixed drink and founded on Pisco Brandy from Peru."

He goes on to share his recipe for the iconic drink and even mentions "spotting the foamy surface [of the cocktail] with 5 - 7 drops of Angostura bitters, which was the finishing touch put-on by the talented bar-maestro of the wonderful and luxurious Lima Country Club."

We're shaking our go-to adaptation of the recipe below! 

PISCO SOUR

  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 oz lemon & lime juice (combined)
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz Piscologia 

*Combine ingredients in a shaking tin. Dry shake (without ice), add ice, shake and strain into a chilled sour glass. Garnish with 5 drops of Angostura bitters.

Pisco had made it's way to San Francisco by the 1849 Gold Rush, largely by South American trade ships. Duncan Nicol, owner of the Bank Exchange & Billiard Saloon in San Francisco, is credited as the creator of the famous Pisco Punch. Unfortunately the Bank Exchange closed in 1919 due to Prohibition and Nicols is said to have taken the original recipe to his grave.

To this day, like many of the classics, it's a largely debated drink, and while we're not giving out our house recipe for this one, the original is said to have consisted of Pisco brandy, pineapple, lime, sugar, gum arabic, and distilled water. The punch was so strong that one writer of the day wrote “it tastes like lemonade but comes back with the kick of a roped steer.” Good luck! 

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