April 19, 2015
The Old 48 is a cocktail that I came up with on the cusp of my 49th birthday. The heat from the hellfire bitters is a great blend with a not too sweet bourbon. I sometimes use Blanton’s bourbon and have also used Rye in variations. The hint of chocolate in this drink blends beautifully with the often cloying cherry to make something better than the sum of its parts.
2 oz bourbon (basil-hayden)
1 oz blue Dolin’s vermouth (neither sweet nor dry!!)
1 dash chocolate bitters
6.5 drops Bittermen’s hellfire habañero bitters
Stir down. Strain over large cube. Lemon peel garnish (express and drop in).
Serving this on an ice sphere is far from necessary, but what the hell. Definitely do use a large piece of ice and not a pile of rocks if you can.
Yes, we know the governor of Indiana is a jackass. And as a serious participant in the Indiana business community, my company is not happy with the exclusionary stupid laws recently enacted. But it’s not like we can just pull up stakes and leave. So we sometimes have to go to Indy.
Last trip out, NPS gave the Alexander a shot with mixed results. This time, we found a better room (3044) and had a much better shower. Much less hamster cage. Much more bathroom kung fu. If we find a higher floor version, we will have what we actually want. Oh, and about that morning newspaper…
Not only was the shower glass, it had great shower pressure and plenty of hot water. YES!
I was so beat when I got to the Alexander, that I did not even go to the fabulous bar for a night cap. Slept like a log. Maybe next time.
Four shower heads for the Alexander. So much better than the awful Conrad!
In other Indianapolis news, other than a stupid jackass governor, the Libertine has moved to new fancier and hipper digs. Still the same great cocktails though.
Arriving too early for the event and just in time to squeeze in a cocktail, my companion and I were served by Benjamin Moran. After the event, three hours later, we returned for more. Here is the as yet un-named Libertine Experiment One:
2 oz Ford’s Gin
.5 Cocchi Torino
.5 Gran classico
.25 Dry curaçao
1 dash angostura
2 droppers scorpion grapefruit tincture (in house)
Stir down. Big rock. Grapefruit peel garnish for nose.
Benjamin was nice enough to make this for me even though his shift was over. But not to fear, Colin Lime was in the house to take over. Colin made us an Indiana Diamondback:
2 oz Bonesnapper Rye (local)
.75 Green Chartruese
.5 Demerara syrup (1:1)
2 dashes Angostura
3 dashes lemon bitters
shake. serve over big rock. lemon peel garnish.
Then it was back to Bloomington and the Grant Street Inn, but not before stopping in at the Irish Lion again for a Sazarac with Hendry.
April 16, 2015
Cardinal is using both wine and barley beer as mash for vodka and gin distillery. Currently, the vodka is available and the gin is almost ready for release (still in the titration stage with aromatics). There is some brandy and some whiskey recently barreled as well.
How new is the brandy and whiskey?
The experiment is still underway when it comes to gin.
Needless to say, the tour was fantastic. So much fun to see Cardinal Spirits booting up!
Now it’s time to taste the gin.
As a creature of habit, I always look forward to returning to my favorite haunts. The Grant Street Inn is my Bloomington home away from home. And room 30 is my room…though they changed it up!
Traveling at the height of Spring in Virginia is a tough row to hoe, but at least it is the height of Spring here too!
Four perpetual shower heads forever. Plus a garland of flowers.
Very sad Bloomington news though, the Rail has closed. This leaves precisely zero high end mixology bars in town. So it will be the Irish Lion for some bourbon I suppose. So bummed.
Dinner at Janko’s.
April 11, 2015
We have a new toy at the Coal Stove Sink Bar. It melts ice cubes.
April 9, 2015
I’ve been to the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria a bunch. In fact, it is now one of the “home away from home” hotels. This time when I arrived (in the mosquito) I was greeted by the doorman who recognized me (and my car). And so did the people manning the front desk. And so did Matt Hurlburt the GM. Cool beans.
I was assigned a great suite, room 503, which seems to be my usual room now. NPS approves!
The room has been spruced up a couple of notches since last visit.
As I was finishing up a call with California, an incredibly awesome amenity was delivered by Rae and company. Gotta love the “Shine and Swine.” Just awesome.
I had a few minutes to catch up with Matt for a cocktail after work (and before heading out for a business dinner at Vermillion). Dinner was workaday at Vermillion. The soup outshone the rockfish.
Late night was spent at Jackson20 served by barman Andy Nelson. As has become our habit, we had a Sazarac with Sazarac 18 (wow) and some Eagle Rare 17. Great bourbon.
Fantastic visit, five showerheads and some shine.
April 6, 2015
Kimpton has a property in Pittsburgh! Hot damn. And what a property it is. This first visit is going to be way too short. Rob Mallinger and his team are spoiling NPS big time. We approve.
We are in 835, a gorgeous space with high ceilings and lots of room.
Here is a short and silent video tour.
About the only thing we can’t get to work in here is the bluetooth speaker. I guess we could put some music on the android device, but our old school ipod does not speak bluetooth. Oh well.
While we were busy doing work on the interwebs, Marissa stopped in with a fantastic amentity from downstairs. Marissa was great. Based on her recommendation, we switched around the business dinner plan.
Of course, best of all was a make it yourself Stranahan’s whiskey-based beverage. The only question I have for barman Josh Holiday is what the bottle says??
Rob stuck his nose in for a chat early evening. It’s always fun to talk to people who run hotels for a living. Rob seems to specialize in starting up new properties. This one is great.
What a fantastic welcome to a new Kimpton property. Thanks to the Kimpton team, especially Marissa and Rob.
The report from Meat and Potatoes is that it is a buzzing nice little gastro-pub with good solid food. They are trying hard to make cocktails, but did not register on the “go there” scale. A much better bar is to be found at The Commoner right downstairs at the Monaco. We were served by Bryan Gastaldi who knows his way around the back bar. our experimental beverage was right down the center of the Bell curve (so no need to scribble it down).
Also, where do all the people in Pittsburgh go on Monday night?!