Glassaholic: Old 48

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.

Old 48
2 oz bourbon (basil-hayden)
1 oz blue Dolin’s vermouth (neither sweet nor dry!!)
.5 heering
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…

3044 has style at the Alexander

3044 has style at the Alexander

3044 bathroom console (includes unused TV)

3044 bathroom console (includes unused TV)

Bathub AND large glass shower cube

Bathub AND large glass shower cube

Not only was the shower glass, it had great shower pressure and plenty of hot water. YES!

Hallway

Hallway

Homage to the American TV

Homage to the American TV

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.

The Libertine Experiment One by Benjamin Moran

The Libertine Experiment One by Benjamin Moran

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.

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Cardinal Spirits is so new that their grass has not come in yet. We were honored to get an evening tour led by a mysterious partner.

The grass is still straw at Cardinal Spirits

The grass is still straw at Cardinal Spirits

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.

Where the mash is born.

Where the mash is born.

Cardinal Spirits still is about 6 stories in 4 connected sections

Cardinal Spirits still is about 6 stories in 4 connected sections

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Distillers notes

Distillers notes

Aromatics added here for the gin process

Aromatics added here for the gin process

The mysterious partner gave a great tour

The mysterious partner gave a great tour

How new is the brandy and whiskey?

One rick

One rick

This new!

This new!

New indeed. Born last week.

New indeed. Born last week.

You are in Indiana!

You are in Indiana!

The experiment is still underway when it comes to gin.

Gin testing bench

Gin testing bench

Bottler

Bottler

Needless to say, the tour was fantastic. So much fun to see Cardinal Spirits booting up!

Now it’s time to taste the gin.

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Spring at the Grant Street Inn

Spring at the Grant Street Inn

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!

The stylish new sink console. Nice.

The stylish new sink console. Nice.

Big huge tub shower thing remains intact: room 30

Big huge tub shower thing remains intact: room 30

Yes, the ceiling is tiled.

Yes, the ceiling is tiled.

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!

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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.

We have a new toy at the Coal Stove Sink Bar. It melts ice cubes.

The collection (well, maybe 1/3 of it anyway)

The collection (well, maybe 1/3 of it anyway)

New device

New device

Doge says.

Wow. Such ice. So cold. Much tail wag.

Wow. Such ice. So cold. Much tail wag.

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!

Room 508 at the Alexandria Monaco

Room 508 at the Alexandria Monaco

The room has been spruced up a couple of notches since last visit.

503 sitting room

503 sitting room

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The non-plastic shower in 503 bathroom is very spacious

The non-plastic shower in 503 bathroom is very spacious

Sparkling water and a mini-amentity

Sparkling water and a mini-amentity

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.

Holy cow, look at that, moonshine and charcuterie.

Holy cow, look at that, moonshine and charcuterie.

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.

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.

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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.

Birdcage light 835

Birdcage light 835

Door, door, door

Door, door, door

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The tub is IN the shower in 835. That's a new one.

The tub is IN the shower in 835. That’s a new one.

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.

Fruit and cheese, artfully displayed

Fruit and cheese, artfully displayed

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??

Mixology

Mixology

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.

We were hoping to make it to Butcher and the Rye, but it’s Monday and they are closed. So off to Meat and Potatoes it is. Meanwhile, it’s about time for that Stranahan’s Whiskey.

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?!

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