Infusing...This Time With Wine

For those of you who are familiar with Bermuda, you are also familiar with that most wonderful of Bermudian condiments: Sherry peppers. Since I have been cooking regularly, I have found that I am almost unable to cook without my secret ingredient, the aforementioned sherry peppers. They are quite hard to come by in the States, and I didn't get to Bermuda this year.

What to do? Well, I could just get off my lazy butt and, you know, make them. In addition, Outerbridges, the only company which makes sherry peppers commercially (as well as rum and sherry-rum peppers) gets quite the pretty penny for them: $7 for a five ounce bottle or $23 for a fifth. On the other hand, I can make a batch of about half a liter of peppers for under ten bucks, and about ten minutes of my time. Moreover, I can then customize the sauce to my liking.
Sherry Peppers (Basic Recipe)
  • 2 c. - Sherry (Amontillado, preferably, just stay away from cream sherry)
  • 3-6 - Hot Peppers, quartered (Bird peppers or Scotch Bonnets would be traditional, but go with what you like.)
Allow to steep for at least two weeks, and up to a month, then strain and bottle.
There you go. Simple, easy, and while it takes a while, it barely takes any active time. However, I wanted to get a bit more flavour out of my sauce. If it was really that easy, the Outerbridges would be out of business. To get a bit more flavour out, I used a mix of peppers, and added a little more spice:
Scrivenal Spiced Sherry Peppers #1
  • 640 mL - Sherry (Taylor Gold)
  • 1 tsp - Ginger root, grated
  • 1 - Scotch bonnet pepper, quartered
  • 2 - Jalapeno peppers, quartered
  • 25 - Cloves, whole
  • 1 nut - Nutmeg, coarsely crushed
  • 1 stick - Cinnamon
  • 10 - Peppercorns, whole
Put ginger root, peppers, and sherry in airtight jar and allow to infuse for two weeks. Add cinnamon stick and peppercorns, and infuse for two more weeks. Add cloves and nutmeg and infuse for one to two days. Strain, season appropriately, and bottle.
That is the recipe I am following. Hopefully it will work out. I am hoping to get more complexity out of this batch, preferably something which I can also use as cocktail bitters.

This is the second of four posts I am presenting for Wine Blogging Wednesday. You can read the others from the original post, which you can find here.

This is the the first of several posts documenting my August Dramproject.

Well, that's all I got. Enjoy,
The Scribe


Hello, Hello!

I am writing to you from the new Dram of Brine, also known as A Mixed Dram. Yeah, I know, name changes, and everything. If you are on the old Dram of Brine site on Blogger, you should be looking at the new blog on Wordpress. If you would rather have the URL, it's:


The site is not 100% live yet. I am still getting the indexes linked up and I need to also get the graphic up for the main page, which should be up by this weekend. In addition, as I make the move, I am also going through old posts and updating them with photos where I have them. So, what is new at the Dram? Things should be continuing more or less as planned, though I am starting a new little tradition of a monthly project, which I'll get into on Thursday when I announce the first one. Otherwise, I have put up a few new features with the move:

  1. Comprehensive ingredient index. In the categories to the right, you will find a list of ingredients. You can find any drink I have published based on what is in it.
  2. Alphabetical indexes of both cocktails I have published here and also all the products that I have reviewed to date.
  3. List of ingredients I have on hand so you can see what I am playing with.

In other, slightly less exciting news, I also got both David Wondrich's Inbibe as well as Dale deGroff's The Craft of the Cocktail today, and I have a bunch of other wonderful books coming in the mail. As a little celebration, it seems appropriate that we make a cocktail to restart things, as it were:

The Manhattan from The Craft of the Cocktail

  • 2 oz - American Whisky (Old Overholt Rye)
  • 1 oz - Italian Vermouth (Martini & Rossi)
  • 2 dashes - Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
Stir with ice until chilled and serve in a cocktail class or champagne coupé.
My only complaint is that I cannot get anything other than my username to show up as the post author. I would prefer to use a nickname ("The Scribe") if anyone knows how to do this, please let me know.

If you are reading this on Blogspot, please note that I will no longer be updating this blog, so you should change your feeds and bookmarks to the new page.

Welcome to my new home,
The Scribe


The Times, They Are A Changin'

Just giving you all a heads up. A Dram of Brine is changing. I've been playing with Wordpress and I find it to be better than Blogger. To be honest, this website was mostly to start getting out there so when I moved to a domain (which should be happening within the year) I wouldn't be starting from nothing. While I am not sure that Wordpress works with domains easier than Blogger, I do find it to be a better publishing tool than Blogger, so just a heads up. The move isn't going to be made until I have moved all my posts over to Wordpress, and have the site completely up and running. Look for a change within the month.

As a complete aside, I may be looking at school on the West Coast specifically within the University of California system. If you have connections within the engineering school at places like UC Santa Barbra, I would like to know about it.

Take care now,
The Scribe


The Grape and the Grain

While the conventional wisdom is that you should never mix the grape and the grain, when I ducked into Downtown this afternoon, they seemed against that. They were offering tastes of Lowlands whisky, and Australian wine.

Sizing it up for the Scotch was Auchentoshan Select, a mixture of unspecified ages, but likely around eight years or so. This was a light whisky, as the Lowlands malts tend to be. It had more in common with Irish whiskey to my palate than to its landsmen. They were also offering Glenkinchie 12. This was a reasonably Scotch, though it was a bit rough on its own. Lastly, they were offering the Littlemill 12. This was the best of the bunch, and actually quite tasty. However, given that the pricetag is double that of many amber spirits just as fine, it's a bit beyond my budget.

In addition, a brand rep from an Australian winery was offering his product. As I recall it was either Madison or Mason Hill. However, I could not find either in an online search. They were offering their chardonay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and shiraz. All the wines were quite nice, and, as I recall reasonably representative of their vintages. Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared to stop in, as I just ducked in to get out of the rain, so I couldn't take any notes. The wines seemed a bit high to my sensitivities, but as a Chicagoan, I still haven't really adjusted to Boston prices.

Stay dry and drink up!
The Scribe


The Session: A Celebration

For those of you who are new to the Dram, what I do here is blog on beer and cocktails, in roughly equal portions. This month I am also blogging on wine. However, in general, you can find reviews of beer, usually three per month, plus beer cocktails, and other cocktails as well. Anyway, onto the Session:

Unfortunately, I couldn't get a six pack of Tuckerman's, which I usually drink when I get down from the eponymous backcountry ski area, one of the deadliest in New England. Otherwise, I tend to drink a sparkling wine for celebrations. However, this ale made this selection hard. In addition, since this is wine month here at the Dram, I had to find a barleywine, which is a style I don't tend to drink. Then, serendipity struck.

This weekend was my roommate's twenty-first birthday. This seems like the sort of the special occasion asked for by our good host. One of our guests even brought a little Sierra Nevada barleywine bottled under the name "Celebration Ale." Honestly, could the synergy be any better?

It is an interesting beer. It's a miserable winter seasonal, because it is not much of a winter warmer. However, it made an excellent summer cooler. It is my honor to present:

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.: 2007 Celebration Ale

Tasting Conditions: I enjoyed this winter warmer after work one day. I drank it from the bottle from, which had been sitting in the fridge for a few days. I drank it from a British pint glass of one imperial pint with room for some head proud of the pint mark.

Eye: This is a wonderfully honey amber ale. It had a lot of surge on the pour, but it subsided fairly quickly. The bottle is a fairly standard Sierra Nevada bottle, though it was in a winter theme.

Nose: There was a lot of good spicyness here, as well as some good hops, and some pleasant herbal notes.

Mouth: In the mouth this was a sweet ale with a pleasing bitterness. It was surprisingly refreshing for a winter beer, and had some Belgian tripel notes. There was also some sour, though more along the lines of cranberry than citrus.

Conclusion: I enjoyed this ale as a summer libation. However, I am not sure how it would taste in the dead of winter. In addition, I find winter ales to be the best seasonals. While this was good, other winter warmers do a better job in this regard.

Be sure to check out the wrap-up over at the Barley Blog.

May we have many more special occaisions,
The Scribe

August is Wine Month

That's right! Here at the Dram, I decided to make August wine month in honor of Wine Blogging Wednesday's four year anniversary. Here is what you can expect in the following month:
  • Wine reviews. Whether you like 'em sparkling, still, fortified, or infused, we'll be talking about them. The spirit review will be replaced by a fortified wine review, and the usual beer review will be replaced by barleywine.
  • Wine cocktails. That's right, we'll be mixing it up with wine, port, and vermouth.
  • The Session. In about...oh, three hours, I'll be posting a celebratory barleywine (yup, wine again) in honor of this month's Session.
  • Wine Blogging Wednesday: This month's theme is getting back to your roots, so only the best kosher wine will do.
  • Mixology Monday: I'll be digging through the annals of Boston and Chicago mixing to find a good wine-based local cocktail.
  • Experimentation! Yup, I'll be playing with wine, and other stuff, to try and make interesting cocktails.
For those with other drinks of choice, I will be featuring rum and beer in the coming months, though I may take a month or two off in between.

Don't change that dial!
The Scribe