Vintage Cocktails #46: The Scofflaw Cocktail

scoff·law (skflô, skôf-) n.
One who habitually violates the law or fails to answer court summonses.

While the term was originally coined to describe those who, despite the law, could not give up their precious drinks and the company that accompanied them, it was soon turned into the name of an outstanding cocktail created at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. Harry was an American bartender who, during prohibition, took control of his career and moved across the pond to Europe, where he eventually started his own bar. Many great cocktails were created in Europe during prohibition, but perhaps none were so ironically named as this one. Cheers!

The Scofflaw
1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey
1 oz Dry Vermouth
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Grenadine

Vintage Cocktails #45: The Diki-Diki Cocktail

Reportedly created by bartender Robert Vermiere in 1922, this cocktail’s namesake may be a famous 1920′s circus midget. I’m not really sure why one would name a drink after a midget, but hats off to him for creating this drink as it is wonderful. A simple blend of apple brandy, rum based liqueur, and grapefruit, this drink has both me and my wife longing for the summer. I chose a ruby grapefruit for this drink as it is lighter and sparkles more than white grapefruit. Cheers!

Diki-Diki Cocktail
1 1/2 oz Calvados
1/2 oz Swedish Punsch
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice

Spirit Reviews: Ron Zacapa Centenario

Ron Zacapa Centenario is considered by many to be the best rum in the world. With a Beverage Tasting Institute high score of 98, it is one of the highest ranking rums in the world. After winning the International Rum Festival’s top honor five years in a row, it was retired from competition and now serves as a benchmark by which other rums are judged.

Zacapa rum is produced in the mountainous region of Guatemala. Distilled from the first pressings of sugarcane, the rum is then aged using the Solera process at an altitude of a mile and a half above sea level. The Solera process has been used for centuries by wine makers to achieve a consistent product from year to year. How this system works is that barrels from one year are stacked upon barrels from the preceding year. At bottling time, a percentage of liquid is drawn off from the oldest barrels on the bottom. Then they are refilled from barrels one year newer, up to the top of the stack, where unaged rum is added. This allows the rum to be blended several times and aged in different types of barrels. Lastly, the oldest barrel in a 23 barrel stack will have rum far older than 23 years as the bottom barrels are never fully emptied. As a result of using this process, Ron Zacapa rum is actually a blend of rums from 6-23 years of age, blended for consistency. So lets get on to the rum!

Ron Zacapa pours a rich, coppery brown, with legs that cling to the glass. It has such a soft nose for such a well aged rum. There are no funky aromas, but instead gentle molasses, sweet honey and vanilla, with some slight citrus notes to round it out. The flavors are so deep and complex that I could actually just smell this rum forever, but it’s in the glass, so I best proceed.

This rum is super complex with tons of flavors going at it. The first sip is rich caramel, toasted nuts and very mild oak flavors. As it goes down your throat you get a taste of butterscotch, some spicy notes, and just a hint of coffee. Zacapa rum has a very light texture, which is interesting for a rum of its vintage. While I am a fan of it, some feel that this rum is far too sweet.

All in all, I would have to agree that this is perhaps the best rum in the world. While I have by no means tried all the rums out there, of all the widely available rums this is by far the best. Although it really is best served neat, I would also recommend this for some simple, understated cocktails where the rum takes the center focus. At under $50 a bottle, you should do yourself a favor and make this a rum to have. Your tastebuds will surely thank you. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★★★

Beer of the Week: Chimay Grand Reserve

Continuing with my belgian beer theme, this week we are sampling Chimay Grand Reserve.

The Chimay Brewery is a Trappist brewery founded in 1862, at the Scourmont Abbey in Chimay, Belgium. A Trappist brewery, is a brewery that produces beer brewed by or under the supervision of Trappist monks, and the purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit. Although there are around 175 Trappist monasteries, there are only 7 that produce beer (six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands). The Chimay brewery produces three widely distributed ales and a patersbier exclusively for the monks. All of their beers are made from water, malted barley, wheat starch, sugar, hop extract and yeast. Malt extract may be used in their darker beers for coloring.

Chimay Grand Reserve is a belgian dark strong ale with a complex malty sweetness. There are aromas of dark cherries, with no noticeable hop aroma. The beer pours a very dark copper brown color with a huge, dense, tan-colored head. The beer is refermented in the bottle and is fairly hazy due to the presence of the yeast. It has malty, dry flavor with almost no hop bitterness for a beer of this strength with the alcohol content providing some of the balance to the malt. High carbonation helps to add to the smooth mouthfeel that goes down smoothly. At 9% abv, this is a dark, very rich, complex, Belgian ale. One of the best examples of a Belgian dark strong ale. Highly Recommended. Cheers!

Rating: ★★★★½

Beer Cocktails: The Dupont

My next beer cocktail is taken from the brilliant mind of Jamie Boudreau. The beer in this cocktail is actually a beer reduction turned into a liqueur with the addition of sugar and neutral grain spirits. You can find the recipe for Jamie’s beer liqueur on his site.

Dupont Cocktail
2 oz Rye Whiskey
¾ oz Campari
½ oz Beer liqueur

stir and strain into cocktail glass.

This is a great cocktail! The bitterness of the Campari and sweetness of the beer liqueur balance each other out well, while still letting the backbone of the rye whiskey come through. I would bump the rye up by half an ounce for my own tastes, but I’m still getting used to the strong flavors of the Campari. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Cheers!