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Old Jack

Old-JackEarlier this year, while driving up to the Hudson Valley to scope out some cherry orchards we happened across a new craft distillery, Hudson Valley Distillers. Their vodka was delicious but we were blown away by their barrel-aged applejack, which has a rich, oaky, spicy complexity like a whiskey. The weather was still too warm then to experiment with it in cocktails but we’ve been patient. It’s time for the Old Jack, a simple but delicious twist on the Old Fashioned that swaps in applejack for the rye, and maple syrup for the sugar. Black walnut bitters help seal the seasonal deal. Grab a sweater and a couple of these and get ready for a warm evening in.

Old Jack

  • 2 ounces applejack (used Chancellor’s Hardscrabble Applejack from Hudson Valley Distillers but Laird’s Apple Brandy is more widely available)
  • 4-5 dashes Fee Bros. Black Walnut Bitters
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 apple wedge for garnish
  • 1 large ice cube

In a rocks glass add the maple syrup and shake the bitters onto it. Let it sit and soak in then stir to mix the two together as thoroughly as possible. Pour in the whiskey and give everything a good stir.

Add the ice cube and garnish with the apple wedge.

The Pumpkin Alarm Clock

pumpkin-alarm-clockHere at Red and Brown HQ we enjoy pumpkin-spiced foods in moderate doses; coffee and beer are our go-to’s and anything past that just starts to get weird. Well, except for bourbon. One Saturday morning after making too much pumpkin spiced coffee, Brown decided to freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays. Pondering what to do with these autumnal coffee cubes he did the next logical thing: figured out how to mix it with booze. A great slow sipper for a cold weekend day (or whenever you need a buzz with your buzz), the coffee cubes sweeten and spice up the profile of the cocktail as they melt and ensure that you get just enough caffeine kick to keep you focused on your book/Bob’s Burgers marathon/football game/whatever.

 

The Pumpkin Alarm Clock

2 ounces bourbon
1 scant teaspoon honey (we prefer amber)
2 pumpkin-spiced coffee ice cubes (see instructions below)

In a rocks glass pour in your bourbon and, while stirring, slowly drizzle in the honey. It’s ok if it doesn’t get totally mixed, it will diffuse along with the ice.

Add in 2 pumpkin-spiced coffee cubes, give it a good stir, and proceed with Season 2, Episode 7.

Coffee Cubes

Take any leftover pumpkin-spiced coffee you have (Green Mountain, Dunkin Donuts, Union Market, Trader Joe’s…a lot of people make it) and pour it into an ice cube tray. Place in the freezer until solid, et violà.

Beer Review: Other Half Brewing Co.

Other-Half-Brewing

To say that Other Half Brewing Co. is my favorite brewery in NYC is like saying that it’s hard to find a cab when it’s raining; an obvious understatement. Though this spot just officially launched earlier this year it’s quickly become a go-to brewery for me and many other beer lovers in New York. Their IPAs are top notch, and they’ve got a few other Belgian styles and seasonal offerings that are also excellent. It’s hard to choose favorites but I’m particularly fond of their knock-you-on-your ass-only-have-a-couple All Green Everything, a 10.5% ABV triple IPA with a wonderful tropical nose and taste (pineapple and papayas). Their self-described “Super funky barnyard” Lembeek 86 Blonde is also a feat of great brewing. As advertised, it smells like a deliciously stinky cheese and has a taste that I can only describe as eating charcuterie while sitting on a bale of hay (not for everyone, but something Red and I would happily do all day). Other Half’s recently-opened tasting room serves beers Thursday through Sunday, a point that I annoyingly remind Red of every time we pass by the Smith and 9th Street stop on weekends. The room itself is small, even by New York standards, but the flavors are big and there’s nothing better than drinking a beer straight from the source. We highly recommend stopping by for a few next time you’re in the neighborhood, and more high recommend making the pilgrimage if you’re not. –Brown

Other Half Brewing Co.

Beer Review: Westbrook Gose

Westbrook-GoseRemember in June when you read all of those best-beers-of-summer lists and thought, “I can’t wait to drink those awesome beers once it gets hot”? Now that it’s hot and summer’s days are numbered you’re wondering where your lists went? Stop searching your inbox and just find some Westbrook Gose. Red & Brown HQ has been flush with sour beers this summer and Westbrook is one of the tops. The nose has light citrus notes with a briny backbone and some hints of yeast/wheat. The taste is sour (almost akin to taking a pickleback shot, minus the dill) with a coriander, herbal finish that lingers slightly. It’s thirst quenching and each sip forces you to go back for more (twist our arms). At a low 4% ABV you should be able to have a few of these during a session, as long as your taste buds don’t raise the white flag from so much sourness. A great foil for seafood and equally adept at cutting through fattier fare, we highly recommend finding a sixer before Labor Day hits. –Red & Brown

 

Westbrook Gose

12 ounce cans

4% ABV

Check out all of Westbrook’s beers here.

 

 

Beer Review: Fiddlehead Brewing Company Hodad Porter

Fiddlehead-Brewing-Company-Hodad-PorterWe’re sorry. We’re sorry that we didn’t post this sooner when we hit the Vermont Brewers Festival last month. We’re sorry that by the time you read this you probably won’t be able to find Hodad Porter (especially if you don’t live in or near Shelburne, VT). We’re sorry that you may or may not ever taste the best chocolate coconut porter we’ve ever had. Where other versions fail with either no detectable trace of coconut, or overwhelmingly fake flavors that make you feel like you’re chugging Banana Boat tanning oil, the geniuses at Fiddlehead have managed to create a delicious, harmonious beer. The taste is well-balanced with a light roasted maltiness characteristic of a good porter that transitions into semi-sweet chocolate territory and finishes with a hint of toasted coconut and vanilla. If you were to drop an Mounds candy bar and a pint of porter into a blender this is what you’d get (beer candy, ahhhhhhh). Find an excuse to drive up to Vermont, or make friends with someone who lives there to try to get your hands on some. When asked if they were planning on distributing in NYC any time soon the woman we spoke with said “We can’t even keep up with demand here,” so if you don’t get to taste any, well, we’re sorry. –Red & Brown

 

Fiddlehead Brewing Company Hodad Porter

Sold on tap and in 16 ounce cans

5.5% ABV

Check out all of Fiddlehead’s offerings here.

 

Chasing Cherries 2014

Cherries

If you’ve been following our adventures on Instagram and Facebook you know that July has been, ahem, busy. We’ve been scouring the Hudson Valley for the finest cherries to use in our cocktail garnishes, but Mother Nature just wasn’t having it. First the harvest was late, then it was accelerated, then it was gone. Luckily, we had a car, a can-do attitude, and Brown’s taller, bearded-er brother, Thomas, to join us in our 6:30AM trek north to find an orchard whose crop wasn’t already picked or wiped out by poor growing conditions. Fortunately we filled all of our pre-orders, but if you didn’t get one in you’re going to have to wait until next year (or make friends with someone who did). Check out our Facebook page for the full album, and stay tuned for a few videos rolling out over the next few weeks celebrating the fruits of our labor.

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–Red and Brown.

Craftsman & Wolves Smoked Butter Caramels

Recently, Brown’s travels took him to San Francisco. His first stop was Craftsman & Wolves in the Mission District, where he hoped to get his hands on one of their signature dishes, The Rebel Within. This savory cheese, meat muffin with a soft-boiled egg couldn’t be missed but, unfortunately, he showed up at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon and they were unsurprisingly out. Brown had to “settle” for a savory cake with sesame butter, shitakes, bok choy, kimchi, and togorashi peanuts (highly recommended).

craftsmen-and-wolves-smoked-butter-caramels

But enough about what didn’t make it home. In addition to great coffee, pastries, breads, desserts, and savory items, CAW also has a mini-store with take-home essentials like the smoked butter caramels Brown brought back to Brooklyn. These soft, chewy little morsels have a rich, sweet brown butter taste with just a wisp of smokiness at the end. We can’t wait to try their other candies like yuzu almond caramels and smoked almond brittle. All of them are available online, but you should probably just find an excuse to go pick some up in person. –Red and Brown

Craftsman and Wolves

746 Valencia Street
San Francisco, California 94110

Midsommar Night’s Dream

 

midsommer-nights-dream

No, that’s not a spelling error, it’s Midsommar, one of Sweden’s most revered holidays. Held every June, this nationwide party celebrates the longest day of the year with picnics, games, BBQs, singing, dancing, and plenty of drinking. To capture the jovial spirit and fresh flavors of the season I mixed the Scandinavian standby, aquavit, with notes of celery, elderflower, rhubarb, and artichoke,  yielding a refreshing cooler for a sunny afternoon. Mix a couple up, grab some gravlax and go celebrate in a sunny field. –Brown

Midsommar Night’s Dream

Makes 1 drink

1 1/2 ounces aquavit
1/2 ounce Cynar
1/2 ounce St. Germain
8 dashes rhubarb bitters
4 ounces Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda
1 cucumber disk
1 sprig thyme

In a highball glass, pour in all of the ingredients except the bitters and soda. Give them a good stir, add some ice and top with Cel-Ray soda. Add in the bitters.

Before garnishing, slap the thyme sprig in between your palms to help release some of the herb’s oils. Add it to the glass with a fresh cucumber disc and get to dancing. Skål!

Hot Doug’s

We were saddened to hear recently that Chicago institution, Hot Doug’s, is going on permanent vacation this October. Although we’re not likely to return before then, we’re fortunate to have gotten to stop there last October. The place had a rotating daily menu of sausages made from exotic meats, more standard combinations named after the celebrities they embodied, as well as one of the best versions of a classic Chicago dog around. Here’s to one of the world’s greatest encased meat emporiums. 

Hot-Dougs-sign

Hot-Dougs-2

A solid take on the classic Chicago dog and a not-so-classic but delicious duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse & Fleur de Sel.

 

Hot Doug’s (get there before October)
3324 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60618