A Slightly Better Cider

If you recall, three weeks ago, I reviewed Woodchuck's Granny Smith cider. I suggested that they offered many other varietals, and I would try some of them. Well, today I follow through on that promise with their Amber:

Woodchuck Cider: Amber Varietal Cider

Tasting conditions: It was stored for a while at room temperature in dark conditions for a while before I had the chance to drink it. Traditional 16oz pint glass. I enjoyed it with dinner while watching a movie.

Eye: Like most ciders, this is a dark yellow. Like other ciders, and some beers, it comes in a squat glass bottle, green in this case. The label continues this coloration, adding red. There is cute picture of a marmot enjoying a red apple on the label. On the pour, there is a significant amount of head, but it dies down quite quickly.

Nose: A slightly acid sweet apple aroma was evident immediately on opening the bottle. After the pour, the aroma quickly spread throughout the room.

Mouth: With the first sip, my thoughts immediately went to Martinelli sparkling (soft) cider. With more tasting, I tasted more of the taste of the hard cider. Still, at least when warm, this tastes close enough to good apple juice to fool a lot of people.

Conclusion: This is quite enjoyable. I think perhaps, it might be just a bit better a bit cooler than I tasted it tonight, since usually I enjoy this cider a little more. As that statement suggests, however, I go to Woodchuck’s offerings often for cider, if for no other reason that they are the best readily available cider in the northeast. I have tried three of their offerings: Granny Smith (which I reviewed), Pear, and Amber. I enjoy the amber the best.

Picture forthcoming.


An Irish Day in an Irish City

Three quick scenes for you all:

I went to the St. James Gate Brewery and the Guinness Storehouse. Now, personally, I think the tour was a little on the pricey side. You got to see how they make Guinness Draught Stout. The one really cool thing is that during the tour you get to taste Guinness that has not been through the secondary fermentation ("unconditioned"). You can taste the amount of flavor that the conditioning adds to the so-called "mild" beer. Afterwards, we were treated to the Guinness Storehouse annual St. Patrick's Day festival. This involved all the Guinness you can drink, learning to pour the perfect pint of Guinness yourself (which may be available all the time, I'm not sure), and tasting random dishes like Guinness-bread with salmon, some dish based on Guinness sour cream, and so on. Not too much needs to be said on the brew itself. If you don’t know what Guinness tastes like, you should. It’s quite a heavy beer that reminds me of coffee with a bare hint of sweetness and a fair bit of bitter. An Irishman informed me that the whole “perfect pour” thing promoted by Guinness is a load of tosh (surprise! surprise!), but that there is one surefire way of knowing a good pint: Hold your glass up to the light, and if any regions appear brown or red, or anything other than flat black, you should order something else for your next round.

I also went to the Old Jameson Distillery. The distillery tour was even pricier than the Guinness tour, and shorter. However, I think from a functional point of view, it was a much more informative tour. They show you the process of fermenting the mash, distilling it in pot stills, and aging it. The aging was the most interesting as they displayed barrels that were aging Jameson at one, three, five, ten, and eighteen years. You can see the angel’s share (almost 50% for the eldest cask), and how the color changes, and also how the color is leached from the wood. Then we got to taste. Some members of our tour were given the opportunity to do a tutored comparative tasting of several products of Irish Distillers. The traditional drink of Irishmen (nope, it’s not Guinness) is whiskey. Unlike their neighbors to the east, they spell it with an “e.” This is a surprisingly good whiskey, given its price point. Sipping it neat, on the rocks, or with a little water was a completely inoffensive experience, despite the fact that this dram is a lot younger than anything any single malt Scotch whisky drinker would ever consent to putting in his or her body. As to how it tastes, well, let’s just say it was a nice, complex whiskey, and I may have had a few too many drams for anything more sophisticated than that.

Lastly, we went to the St. Patrick's Day festivities in the city center. There was a fun parade, though I saw far too many American marching bands for my preference (including the Fighting Illini!). Afterwards we went to the Irish Folk Music and Dance festival where we learned Irish dancing. We stopped in a number of bars, including the Palace, the Temple Bar, and Dublin's oldest pub, the Brazen Head. However, the highlight was a little pub on Thomas Street known as Nash's. If you have the opportunity, I would definitely stop in there for a bit of honest "craic." Unlike the other pubs we visited in Dublin, where the only Irishman in the place was the publican, at Nash's, the only ones in the pub who weren't locals was us. There was a lot of singing. They'd sing us their songs, and then make us sing them ours. Unfortunately, coming from all over the wold, we didn't have too many of our own songs to sing them, but it was still good fun.

And on that note, I take my leave. Next up: A review of some cider.
The Scribe


A Superb Beer

I spend a lot of time in Woodstock, New Hampshire. (For those who are interested, the music festival was outside of Woodstock, New York.) In addition to being a great gateway to the White Mountains, where I love to go backpacking, mountaineering, skiing, and touring, the town is also home to the Woodstock Inn. The Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery is a microbrew with four main ales, an equal number of so-called "specialty" brews (including an amazing root beer), and five seasonal offerings. I tried one of the "specialty" ales, their Pemi Pale Ale, which is named for the Pemigwasset River Valley where the Inn is located, over my birthday. As you can see from the following review, I liked it a lot. You will probably see the remainder of the Woodstock line reviewed here as I get the time, and the beer.

Woodstock Inn Brewery: Pemi Pale Ale

Tasting conditions: It was stored for a while at room temperature in dark conditions for a while before I had the chance to drink it. Traditional 16oz pint glass. I enjoyed it as the second drink of the morning on my twenty-first birthday.

Eye: The first thing that caught my eye about this one was the label. While it’s a fairly traditional Woodstock Inn bottle and label, the logo on this one is a large spotted fish (a trout, perhaps?) drinking a pint. The other noticeable thing was the amount of head. As you can see from the picture, this one was pretty frothy. While I usually poor straight in to see how much head there is, I had to pout this one in three pours into a glass a third again bigger than the beer to allow the surge to settle. I will say that after the initial pour, the head settled fairly quickly, and in the time it took to write this, the head has almost completely collapsed. As to the color, this is on the dark side for a pale ale, closer to the red ale region. It’s a middling brownish honey.

Nose: A touch of hops added to a bready aroma gives you the nose of this beer, which is quite subtle.

Mouth: My first impression was that this is an incredibly bitter beer. I almost tossed the beer after the first sip it was so bitter. It definitely should have been drunk a bit colder than I drank it. However, behind the bitterness, it almost tastes like a stout with a nice chocolaty-fruitiness that is quite pleasant. The second sip allowed the bitterness to retreat. My theory was that the head held most of the bitterness. A taste of just the head confirmed my theory. Unfortunately, a lot of the complexity retreated with the loss of the head. It was still there, but much more subtle. In its place, a good, honest beery-ness with a nice hopiness came to the fore. A pause to write allowed some nice sweetness to come in on the tail. There’s a lot going on here, far more than I can describe.

Conclusion: This is one of the better beers I’ve had, and throughout my travels, I’ve had many. The subtlety of this beer is exquisite, and the flavors amazing. This bottling will definitely be a staple of my pantry for a long time to come. I simply can’t say enough about this beer. Next time I’m in New Hampshire, I will have to pick up a growler and make some syrup. The complexity suggests, to me at least, that this could make wonderful beer syrup as well as a great cocktail focus. While it might not carry as much punch as a spirit, the complexity exceeds many whisk(e)ys, and if you could bring out the goodness of that first sip without the overwhelming bitterness, you would have a wonderfully complex drink.


The Other Side of the Pond

Over my school's spring break, I had the privilege of going to London to see a friend studying there. Since the timing was fortuitous, we also spent a few days in Dublin for St. Patrick's Day. We arrived in London early in the morning, which allowed us to clear customs and so on and get to central London (Kings Cross) by mid morning. The friend we were staying with met us and brought us to her dorm, and we took a mini nap before having lunch at a local sandwich shop. Then we toured the engineering building at University College London (UCL). I was somewhat underwhelmed. I will suggest that the facilities the engineers have at most schools in the States seem a bit nicer. While my friend was in class, my traveling companion and I went to the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square.

Okay. This whole thing isn't working out too well. We need names. We'll call the friend I'm staying with Jane, and the girl I traveled with Katie.

Now then, after the National Gallery, we rolled over to the 2008 London Beer & Cider Festival. It's sponsored by CAMRA: The Campaign for Real Ale. For those of you who don't know about CAMRA, they are the largest consumer advocacy groups in the UK. They advocate on beer issues. It restores my faith in humanity that the UK the biggest consumer advocacy group advocates in favor of beer. I'll talk about the festival for my post for next month's edition of The Session, since that happens to be the topic.

The festival was a blast, but we could only stay for two hours or so before we had to leave for dinner at one of Jane's friends' house. It was here that I was introduced to the English style of drinking whisky: in a shot glass neat. Now I am from a family that drinks our whisk(e)y on the rocks...Did I just alienate another reader? I think I just did. Too bad...Anyway, being used to drinking spirits on the rocks in a short tumbler, drinking whisky from a shot glass was an eye opener, literally and figuratively. I believe what we drank was Balvenie Doublewood 12 year old single malt. It's quite a good dram. I found it quite spicy. In fact the spiciness overcame the alcohol. I wouldn't say that this was particularly smooth, per say. However, the alcoholic bite was not bad at all. I found the spiciness frankly a bit overpowering, and by far the dominant note in the drink. This is a drink that needs to be paired, I think, with some other element. Perhaps sharp cheddar or a creamy brie would be a nice foil, or, as we drank with dinner, a more complex counterpoint could be chosen. However, the meal we had made this a less than stellar choice. I did appreciate the fact that he gave us something slightly more special than a simple glass of whatever the day-to-day Scotch was, and I think that idea of doing something special for a guest was perhaps more important to our host than an ideal pairing.

The next day, we sight saw around the south bank of the Thames. We saw a protest of the headquarters of Scientology. The protesters were wearing Guy Fawkes masks to conceal their identities. We also hit up the Tate Modern and the old HMS Belfast...Well we planned to hit up Belfast, but for an admission price of £14 (GBP), or around $30 (USD), I, as the one most eager to see her, decided that I had seen many World War II warships and perhaps didn't need to see this one. We also went to Borough Market. Now Borough Market was perhaps one of the highlights of the trip. I, for one, really like public food markets, and whether it's Pike Place Market in Seattle, the Granville Island Market in Vancouver, or any of dozens of others, I find them a lot of fun. Borough Market, however, was special, even among its own kind. First off, almost everyone was offering samples, and most of those samples were really good. Second, they had every conceivable sort of edible or drinkable. We sampled everything from cheeses, to hummus, to white truffle oil (and yes, free samples of white truffle oil is...amazing), to venison, to mulled (soft) cider, to beer. And almost all of it was yummy.

The beer, in particular was interesting. I went up to the nice lady offering out beer samples. I asked what she was offering, and she answered me by asking what sort of beer I liked. When I responded that I liked dark beers, in general, her thought process went something like "He's a Yank. Yank beer is like making love in a canoe: It's *ehem* close to water. He can't possibly like beer that's actually dark. I'll give him an medium ale, and see if he's for real." After offering me said medium ale, and my comment that I generally preferred darker beers, she slowly took me darker into their product line, showing me first a darker ale, then a brown ale, and finally their imperial stout. I don't remember the brewery, but I will say that the offerings were all quite nice, and I wouldn't mind trying them again. We also tasted wine nearby, and cider. One of the stalls even offered Harpoon, which was quite surprising to me, since it's hard to get even State-side outside New England.

That evening we went out for Ethiopian food to a place called Addis. Really, really good food. They also had an Ethiopian beer. It was on their menu simply as "Ethiopian lager" and had Ethiopian script on the outside, so I have no idea what it is. However, we all sipped it, and basically all simultaneously said "Sam Adams." We then stopped at Tesco for rum and cider. One really weird thing over there is the fact that you'll be looking at mixers in two litre bottles: Coke, Sprite, Strongbow, Pepsi...Wait! Strongbow? In a two litre bottle? With all the sodas? Yeah. It's a shock. Though it seems appropriate after drinking a a fair bit of it, since the stuff is basically identical to soda with a shot of vodka. Also, Tesco brand rum? Big mistake, and at approximately $16/bottle, you'd think there would be something better. Gosling's for example.

Anywho, after pregaming we rolled over to the student union. Can I just say how amazing these buildings are? Notwithstanding that we were there on £1.50 drink night, when everything was £1.50, it's a great concept. It's really good that there is a controlled place for students to drink. Further since the drinking age is lower, all the students can drink at controlled bars, as opposed to in the uncontrolled environment of a frat. I won't get on my drinking age soapbox, but it was a pleasant contrast to what exists in the States. We whiled away the evening singing karaoke. Some of the people were really into it, including one guy who wore full evening dress for a Frank Sinatra number.

Well, that was the first half of my trip, the next two halves will be coming up. However, in the interim, I will be taking a trip next door and around the world. The blog should be set up to post automatically while I'm gone, at least until June 15th. If I'm still gone, well, the blog might take a little break.
Thanks for your patience,
The Scribe


Good Rum and Bad Tequila

We went out to dinner last night at a little Mexican joint, and being young college kids, decided to get thoroughly sloshed on margaritas. While each pitcher was enough for all of us to have two and a half large glasses, when we decided to move from the expensive pitchers made with ingredients like lime juice, Grand Marnier, and Cointreau to the cheap pitchers made with margarita mix, triple sec, and cheap tequila, despite the fact that we were all getting happy, it was both noticeable and unpalatable. The lesson: Don't use mix, and, further, don't use crappy tequila.

After sobering up, I realized that Wednesday was coming up and I had a spirits review to do. I know, I know, the sacrifices I make for you, my noble blog reader. I decided to review a wonderful gem of a rum:

Ron Pampero: Ron Anejo Aniversario

Tasting Conditions: I purchased this bottle for my twenty-first, and sampled it then. I pulled it out for this review. While I had a not insignificant quantity of margaritas earlier, this review was a few hours later, and I feel quite sober.

Eye: The rum pours a gorgeous middling gold, though my understanding is that it is, in fact, a fairly dark rum. It is a shade or two paler than Gosling’s Black Seal. The legs were fairly thick. The rum comes gorgeously packaged, with a squat, round bottle coming in a leather sack. A fine presentation. I sampled the rum this evening in a snifter of approximately eight ounces.

Nose: The nose was quite potent in the snifter suggesting that perhaps a tumbler might be the better service vessel. A low-to-high sniff reveals quite pleasant toffee notes, as well as caramel, vanilla, and just a bit of smoke, or possibly coffee. There is also, perhaps, an orange and berry aroma.

Mouth: I could taste some of the toffee simply inhaling the odors. On the taste, I got a nice honey flavor, tempered by caramel, vanilla, and a little fruitiness, perhaps apple. A second taste revealed additional vanilla, and some citrus notes. I found this rum to also be quite smoky. At this point I added a few drops of water (between two and three parts rum to one part water). The water revealed a pleasant buttery texture which I quite enjoyed, but did not add any flavor notes, as such. It did, however reduce the smokiness. I tossed in a cube of ice to further dilute and cool my drink. The ice suppressed the vanilla to a large extent, while bringing the citrus and caramel to the fore. It also changed the texture from the wonderful buttery sensation to almost that of ice water. The smokiness increased from the diluted version, though not to the extent of the neat service.

Conclusion: This rum is certainly a sipper. I tend not to be a neat spirit drinker, preferring my spirits at least with a splash of water, and usually a cube or two of ice. While I know I have just lost all credibility with my readership, I felt that this could have been sipped neat. It did, however, profit immensely from the addition of water. I felt the buttery creamy texture to be just gorgeous. I felt that it suffered a little when the ice was added, but it was still quite enjoyable. The price point of this rum ranges from just a tad above my stock aged mixers (Gosling’s and Mount Gay), to the mid-range of what I consider reasonable sippers. At the higher price point, it is acceptable, and I would certainly keep some around. At the lower price point, however, this rum would be a staple, and I would be happy to mix with it, which would generate a really gorgeous drink.


Mixology Monday: Rum

This is my first Mixology Monday, and I'm quite excited to be joining this little tradition. As it's my first time, you will have to forgive me if this post isn't quite up to the standard of what a MxMo post should be.

Today's topic is rum. Rum is a wonderful ingredient and a miserable ingredient. We can't simply say "rum" as an ingredient because you can have five similarly aged rums, and five distinct tastes. One rum might taste like fine French brandy, another like a wonderful Scotch, a third might remind you of a good spicy rye, a fourth could be it's own distinctively rum-y sipper, while a fifth might almost substitute for Curacao! And that's assuming these are all aged gold rums. I have used Bacardi's white rum in place of vodka in a screwdriver, and it worked perfectly. While I couldn't compare at the time, I would suggest that it was fairly similar, with barely a hint of rum to it. I could even see using rum in place of whiskey in a whiskey sour...Hmm...Maybe I should try that... And these are all "rum." We haven't even moved into cachaca, rhum agricole, and Batavia arrack, which are all usually lumped into the same category.

On the other hand, that very versatility and variety in flavor can work to our advantage in cocktails. People like Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber used the distinct qualities of a variety of rums in their drinks to create effects that could never be achieved with one rum alone. It is this idea, as well as the traditional whiskey sour, which inspire the drink I am about to present. (Did you like the foreshadowing there?) In this case, we take a simple whiskey sour, and replace the whiskey with a nice smoky rum. Looking at the margarita, we add Curacao into the mix, to accentuate the orange taste. However, instead of Curacao, I elected to use a very orange rum: Pyrat XO. This gives us:

The Rough Rider Cocktail
  • 1.5 oz - Smoky aged rum (Ron Pampero Aniversario)
  • 1 oz - Orange Juice
  • 1 oz - Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz - Aged rum with a strong orange flavor (Pyrat XO, if possible. You could use an orange spiced rum like Santa Teresa Rhum Orange, or even Grand Marnier or Curacao, but you would have to modify the recipe.)
  • .5 oz - Simple Syrup
  • 1 dash - Orange bitters (optional)
Shake with ice until chilled, then serve either as a sour over ice in a tumbler, or as a cocktail, neat, in a cocktail glass.
I hope you all enjoy. The name is inspired by the Teddy Roosevelt's unit in the Spanish-American War of the same name. I imagine when they invaded Cuba, they had to replace their Bourbon based drinks with the local tipple, just as we did.

Before I sign off, I just want to handle one bit of administratia. As of Wednesday, this blog will begin a set schedule of posting. Every Wednesday, I will be posting reviews of something or other. The second Wednesday of the month I will be posting a spirit or fortified wine review. The third Wednesday I will be posting a beer review. The first and last Wednesdays will be open reviews for whatever I have around. Ciders, unfortified wines, meads, bitters, and cordials are all fair game, as well as beer and spirits. On Sundays I will be posting other stuff: travels, tours, my experiments, and so on. Throughout the week, I will try and post for special events, like MxMo. This MxMo, I guess, will stand in as my Sunday post.

Okay, I lied. I have a lot more to say about rum. Most of it relates to sailing, though there is another drink in here somewhere, so you may want to pay attention. In almost exactly a month, Newport, RI throws its largest party of the year (actually, of two years): The sendoff for the Newport-Bermuda Race. This race will be full of hard sailing, bookended by weekends of inebriation off of that most sailing-like of spirits: rum. Specifically, Gosling's Black Seal. Rum has always had a close tie to sailing. According to Mount Gay, navigating to Barbados was a challenge, and some sailors took barrels of Barbados rum home as a trophy and proof that they made it to the island. While I think that story is likely a crock, Mount Gay, and Gosling as well, sponsors all sorts of sailing regattas to this day. In fact, one sure way to spot a sailor is to look for the red "Mount Gay hats" that we all wear.

This marketing strategy pays off, and both Mount Gay Eclipse and Gosling's Black Seal are staples in every sailor's rum locker. In fact, sailors love Gosling's so much that Newport is the only place in the world outside of Bermuda that Dark 'N' Stormies are sold premixed in cans. I'll put up a post on the dark and stormy, Dark 'N' Stormy, and rum and ginger in a month for the start of the Bermuda race, but I thought I would share a drink I learned of today: The Light and Breezy. The light and breezy is a combination of rum and Fresca, possibly with a bit of orange or lemon, mixed to taste. I have two thoughts about the origins of this drink. The first is a similar drink which is drunk quite often on Jamaica: rum and Ting. Ting, like Fresca, is a grapefruit soda. Thus, sailors could have replaced Ting with a more commonly available grapefruit soda, and a Jamaican rum with what was in their rum lockers, thus mating Fresca and Gosling's or Mount Gay. Another possibility is that we simply had a hard time finding good ginger beer, so we replaced it with Fresca. Pick whichever story you prefer.

This time I'm really done. Happy MxMo,
The Scribe


A Look Forward

Good afternoon everyone. Here in Boston it's a balmy 72 and sunny. I just thought I'd post some things that all my readers (both of you) can look forward to in the coming month:
  • I drank a lot of booze yesterday, and wrote reviews on the first three tastings: Woodchuck's granny smith cider, which I've posted, as well as Woodstock Inn's Pemi Pale Ale (a preview: it's really good), and Bogle's limited reserve vintage 2000 port (also good!). I also got a bottle of nice rum (Ron Pampero Aniversario), and another of bourbon (Bulleit), and so much more. Those reviews will be trickling out.
  • I also got a bottle of Smirnoff for my guests, who luckily had better taste than I gave them credit for, so I have over two thirds of it left. Now...What to do with the remains? How about an infusion? I also picked up a bottle of Wray and Nephew Overproof for the same purpose. I'm starting out ambitiously with the apple cider vodka suggested by the "mad scienceticians" over at Infusions of Grandeur which unfortunately appears to be defunct. I'll add my own twists, but I'm hoping it will be good. I'll also be starting on the Falernum recipe suggested by Paul of The Cocktail Chronicles, and we'll see how that comes out.
  • Mixology Monday is in two days, and the subject is one near and dear to my heart: rum. I have a pretty interesting idea for that, which I'll whip up this weekend to give a try to. It's somewhat traditional, but has a really good twist that I haven't seen before. It'll also give all of you an insight into my feelings on cocktails. Should be interesting.
  • Some party and bar reviews will also be appearing, as well as brewery, distillery, and winery tours. I had the good fortune to spend St. Patrick's Day in Dublin this year, and we visited some of the old bars in Dublin. I also got to the St. Jame's Gate Brewery and the Old Jameson Distillery while I was there.
  • In addition, I'm traveling after the end of school. I'm hitting up New York and Israel. Currently our trip includes a visit to the Barkan vineyard, which should be fun. When I get back, I'll be moving into new digs with a decent kitchen, for lots of more interesting goodness. If I drop off the face of the earth until mid-June, that's why, but I'll try to post a bit while I'm gone.
If you have any other thoughts about things you might like to see, let me know. All the best.
The Scribe


A Glass of Cider to Start Things Off

Good morrow folks. I woke up this morning, and decided to enjoy a nice glass of cider as my first drink of the morning. What? I'm turning twenty-one. There will be much drinking today, and it may as well start early! Unfortunately, the liquor store not being open, I couldn't pick up a nice bottle of Champaign or anything else, for that matter, but chose to enjoy a glass of Woodchuck Draft Cider's granny smith varietal cider. Here is my review. It should be similar in format to the other reviews I will write:

Woodchuck Draft Cider: Granny Smith Cider

Tasting conditions: It was stored for a while at room temperature in dark conditions for a while before I had the chance to drink it. Traditional 16oz pint glass. I enjoyed it as the first drink of the morning on my twenty-first birthday.

Eye: This is a little light in comparison to other ciders: a pale wheat color. Like other ciders, and some beers, it comes in a squat glass bottle, green in this case. The label continues this coloration in two shades of green. There is cute picture of a green tinged marmot (perhaps he’s jealous?) enjoying a green apple on the label. Do I sense a theme here? My only complaint about the packaging is it’s a bit, well, green and bland. On the pour, there is a little head, but it dies down quite quickly. On the other hand, it bubbles fairly continuously, much like Champaign. In fact, I would say if this came to me in a flute, I would assume, based on sight, that that was what it was.

Nose: The comparison to Champaign continues through the nose. There is a little fruitiness there, and a bit of must, and a lot of what I associate with carbonation in fermented fruit drinks.

Mouth: Even in the mouth, it might be mistaken for Champaign. I would say that this compares favorably to something like, say, an extra brut from a house like Korbel. The carbonation was somewhat evident on the tongue, and while it got more apple-y as I drank more, for the first sip or two, you could easily have given this to me in a flute, and I would have assumed you had bought Champaign. As I enjoyed more of it, I found more depth of flavor, with a little apple, approaching a profile that was reminiscent of say, Strongbow. However, I must say that it seems fairly one dimensional to me.

Conclusion: This is a decent cider, but I would not hurry to keep it in stock. Woodchuck brews significantly more complex, cidery ciders than this. On the other hand, since it could have been mistaken for Champaign, I think that it may have been appropriate for the occasion on which I drank it.

Picture will be forthcoming soon.

Welcome to A Dram of Brine

Welcome to my blog. You may be asking what is "A Dram of Brine?"

The scientific answer is that it's an eighth of a fluid ounce of saturated saline (that's about 3.70 mL in the US and 3.55 mL for our friends across the pond). Of course, I use it a bit more figuratively. A dram is a small amount of liquid, usually one containing that most pleasant chemical additive: ethanol or potable alcohol. Brine is but another word for seawater. Thus "A Dram of Brine" is my slightly salty journey through the world of spirits and cocktails. This will serve as my home base and the locale to which I will post my reviews of spirits, my cocktail creations, and my experiments.

As the tone of that last paragraph suggests, I am a scientific type. I like to understand the wherefores a whatfors of food and drink. As such I will occasionally dabble in such subjects as home brewing, home distilling, infused and spiced spirits and molecular mixology. On that note, I wish myself a happy twenty first birthday, and a happy entry into this brave new world of intoxication.

Thus I remain, your servant,
The Scribe