Friday, March 31st, 2006
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Man, there are few things out there more polarizing to people than creamy drinks. And it’s funny, you know, because I think it’s a pretty universal thing that our mouths just water at the sight of a creamy cocktail. Look at a properly made Ramos Gin Fizz. Or a White Russian. Or Egg Nog. How delicious do they look?
But then there’s this guilty feeling that I think kicks in for most people, where it’s like, “I can’t justify drinking something that contains a bunch of fucking cream.” And I get it, I totally do. Personally, I also try to save up those points and spend them during the holidays.
But there’s no getting around the delicious factor. So what about alternatives? I like almond milk in my coffee. I even make my own at home. But one creamy substitute that I can’t live without in my life is horchata. See the previous post for more on that. Anyway, as someone who has been making drinks for almost half of his life at this point, I had to try making something with horchata.
My partner in crime at Clyde Common is a gentleman named Benjamin Amberg. But we all call him (among other things), simply Banjo. Banjo and I have a great way of working on cocktails together. It’s very collaborative, and nobody gets too attached to an idea if a better one comes along. (I wrote more about this process for Playboy, check it out)
And so it happened that we started working on our new horchata cocktail. And, of course, we broke out all of the typical formulas that we’d both seen on menus before: aged rum and horchata; aged tequila and horchata; variations on a White Russian with horchata instead of cream. And none of them were working, and we were about to scrap the whole idea.
But then we had a thought: what if instead of a flabby, creamy drink, we did something more bright and citrusy? We certainly hadn’t seen that done before, and we know rice milk isn’t going to curdle the way cream would. And suddenly, within minutes, we’d assembled what is quickly becoming one of our most popular new drinks, the Southbound Suarez. Named after our favorite song on our least favorite Led Zeppelin album, I like to think the same stands of a reminder of just how tough this one was to create.
1½ oz. reposado tequila
½ oz. agave syrup
½ oz. lime juice
1 tsp. Becherovka
1½ oz horchata
Combine ingredients with ice cubes and shake until cold. Strain over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
A side project, an experiment or just a simple curiosity that turned into a delicious phenomenon that we're still serving to much delight at our bar, barrel aged cocktails explore the gentle manipulation of a drink's flavors over time. This post details the inspiration, the history and the methods behind my barrel aged cocktails.
My problem with homemade tonic water has always been a flavor profile that was too esoteric for the general audience. This recipe takes some of the positive qualities people have come to understand from commercial tonic water and updated them with fresh ingredients.
Turned off by the glop you find in the grocery store, and unable to endure another long egg and cream whipping session, I set out to build an egg nog recipe from the ground up that retained the character of the orginal formula, was easy to make in a few minutes at home or at the bar, and tasted absolutely delicious. See if you agree with the result.
One question I'm often asked is "Do you have any drink-related book recommendations?" Well, funny you should ask, I've compiled a list of the ten books every professional bartender or home mixologist should own. I keep every one of these close at hand and have read most of them several times. I suggest you do the same.
The problem with living in Oregon is the absence of little wooden shacks by the sea that sell cases of fresh ginger beer stacked on back porches. But with some readily-available ingredients, a recipe I've been revising for several years - and a few free minutes - I can easily transport myself to a little fishing boat on the ocean as I sip a Dark and Stormy made with fresh, house-made ginger beer.
It's always mojito season somewhere, so this advice is timely in your area about half the year. Wether you're making them or simply enjoying them, this advice will help you look like a pro in no time at all.
The flavors of the Richmond Gimlet are imbued with sunshine. Fresh mint mingling with the herbaceousness of gin and the tartness of lime have made this drink a Eugene classic for many years now.
You'll get a lot of snarky advice on this site about how to make a proper drink, but if you ever need to know what not to do, this is the video for you.
Not to be confused with the Spanish wine-and-fruit-based alcoholic beverage sangria, sangrita (meaning "little blood") is a traditional accompaniment to a tequila served completo; a non-alcoholic sipper that cleanses the palate between fiery doses of agave.
The world of booze can be mystifying to people that don't work in bars or around alcohol all the time. I hear a lot of assumptions about the industry I'm in that are - much like 90% of what you hear in bars - completely false. Here are a few you've probably heard yourself.
The traditional garnish for a Pisco Sour is a couple of drops of bitters in the foam, but I've never been particularly impressed with the way these few paltry drops of bitters sat in their little egg-white mattress and didn't play along with the rest of the drink. I envisioned a Pisco Sour with a uniformly-distributed bitters-scorched foam: slightly crisp as the fire burnt the sugars, and slightly warm as the foam insulated the rest of the frosty cocktail from the heat. A pisco creme brulée in a glass!
I get so many visitors looking for tips on how to write a bartending resume that I thought I should finally post a tutorial on how to write your own. Click the headline to read more.
I always love showing up to a party with a gallon jug of pre-mixed margaritas, so I've decided to share my recipe. This margarita recipe is the perfect blend of strong, sweet, and sour. But be warned: this recipe packs a serious punch.
There isn't much I can say about this video that hasn't been said already. If you've read anything I've written about cocktails, you'll understand why this video symbolizes everything wrong with the state of bartending in America today. Watch and learn, but be warned: this one isn't for the feint of heart.
My name is Jeff Morgenthaler and I'm the bar manager at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon.
I've been tending bar since 1996 and writing about it since 2004. I started tending bar while getting my degree in Interior Architecture, and slowly I came to the conclusion that bartending was what I really loved, and that I might as well drop everything and focus on being a professional bartender. Over the years I have strived, both behind the bar and with this website, to elevate the experience of having a drink from something mundane to something more culinary.
The writing I do here is intended as a work in progress. My recipes are like my opinions: they are constantly being revised and refined as I work them through my mind and my fingers. Comments and participation are encouraged, so please don't feel the need to tread lightly here.
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This drink was created at the Pegu Club in Rangoon, Burma, probably in the 1920s. According to Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Club of 1930, people traveled the world round asking for this drink. It fell from popularity sometime around WWII, but its complex flavors and refreshing taste are well suited to today’s cocktail enthusiasts. We have recreated the recipe here as we make it at El Vaquero, adjusted for the modern palate.
2 oz gin – we prefer Beefeater
1 oz orange liqueur
¾ oz lime juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
I just got this really nice letter yesterday from someone who had been in to Red Agave last summer. I thought I’d share it, because it made my day:
I’m glad to have found your website. It’s fun and a good look into Eugene for this newcomer.
You served me dinner at the bar of Red Agave on what you said was your last night there before moving to El Vacquero.
It was a great meal made better by your confident and fun manner while running the show.
On your recommendation, I finished dinner with some Pedro Ximenez. What a marvelous desert drink–thick as molasses and tasting of raisins and figs. Much deeper in flavors than even good, vintage port. The perfect complement to chocolate. Neither of us knew exactly what Pedro Ximenez was–besides terrific.
That meal at Red Agave was my first in Eugene after moving here from Indiana. (What a promising introduction!) A month later, after my family and possessions had caught up to me, I was unpacking the few bottles of wine that made the trip. And what did I find but an unopened bottle of Pedro Ximenez given to me a few years ago by a friend who had visited Spain!
Wow! What a wine. My wife made a chocolate lava cake dessert for the next Sunday meal and Pedro was our honored guest. Gracious he was indeed.
Here is the Wikipedia for Pedro. And I looked for some bottles on the .net–Pedro isn’t cheap-but he is a value for what you get. $22 for a 375 ml bottle.
Thanks again for a memorable meal.
Last Friday, I was interviewed by Ellie Estrada and Sarah Simpson from KMTR NewsSource 16 here in Eugene for a story they’re doing about me, this website, and my bartending. We spoke for an hour in the afternoon, and then they came back that night and shot footage of the bar, and interviewed my boss, coworkers and customers. It was pretty cool.
Anyway, they’re running just a part of the story on the news on Friday night, and the full story will be on their website from Friday, March 31st at 11AM – Saturday, April 1st at 11AM
Update: BUMMER! The KMTR website only works in Internet Explorer for Windows, so all of us Mac and Firefox for Windows users out there are screwed! If anyone knows of a way to capture streaming WMV files, let me know so I can post it here.
This is actually pretty ironic. They filmed me working on my Mac and viewing my website in Safari. But of course, jeffreymorgenthaler.com is designed to work in all browsers… Ahem.
Update: Click here to watch the full story!
I check in on this blog from time to time, and I just noticed an older post from last month about El Vaquero. This woman is a biologist here in Eugene, and in her spare time she writes, eats, lives and breathes food. Anyway, she wrote an amazing write-up on her trip to Vaquero last month that I thought I’d share with everyone.
I wish I could write like that, to be able to capture the essence of a night so perfectly. Maybe one day I’ll actually learn how to write.
I’ve got to admit, I can’t stand this whole green apple cocktail phenomenon. I think these product lines of Jolly Rancher-flavored schnapps are ridiculous and do nothing for the world other than encourage binge drinking among teenage girls. And when a man walks into my bar and orders one, well, personally I think he becomes less of a man. But that’s just my opinion.
That said, I was still getting a lot of requests for them at Red Agave, so I came up with this as an alternative. It’s a vodka cocktail flavored with fresh green apple. No neon-green syrupy schnapps, just pure, fresh ingredients. And here’s how you do it:
1 quarter green apple, seeded
2 oz Absolut Citron
1.5 oz lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
Either muddle apple in a mixing glass or blend ingredients, without ice, until apple is pureéd smooth. Shake this mixture with ice and fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of green apple.
Update: Our friends at Natural Born Cynic now have a photo posted of this drink!
I was having this conversation with a writer about my new book on cocktail technique last week, and she got on the subject of bar tools. “A lot of this stuff is really expensive,” she said, “Do you have any advice for home cocktail enthusiasts who don’t want to spend a ton of money?”
And I [...]
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