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Reading – The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore by Robert Simonson- 14 in a series

March 20th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore Robert Simonson – 14 in a series

Reading - The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World's First Classic Cocktail, with Recipes and Lore by Robert Simonson- 14 in a series

“What?”, you say? “An entire book about one cocktail?”

“Yes!”, I say. “And what a cocktail it is!”

The Old-Fashioned takes us through the long and complicated history of what is arguably America’s favorite cocktail. I know, for myself, that this has become my go-to tipple whether at home our out on the town. It is deceptively simple and when well made almost perfect. The woody bite of bourbon, a slight sweetness from your favorite sweetener (mine is maple syrup), a splash of bitter to mellow it all together and a slice of orange to complete both the taste and visual profile. Yum!

What started out as a relatively straightforward combination went through many changes over the years including the changing of ingredients, overburdening the drink with fruit and changing tastes, but a group of old-fashioned purists wrestled back the Old-Fashioned into something eloquently playable and ready to be experimented with once more. You’ll find old and new recipes here, showing you a place to start as well as excellent places to travel with your favorite cocktail.

** My version of this book was available from the Los Angeles Public Library in print and ebook versions.

From Amazon.com…

A complete history of one of the world’s most iconic cocktails–now the poster child of the modern cocktail revival–with fifty recipes for classic variations as well as contemporary updates.

No single cocktail is as iconic, as beloved, or as discussed and fought-over as the Old-Fashioned. Its formula is simple: just whiskey, bitters, sugar, and ice. But how you combine those ingredients—in what proportion, using which brands, and with what kind of garnish—is the subject of much impassioned debate.

The Old-Fashioned is the spirited, delightfully unexpected story of this renowned and essential drink: its birth as the ur-cocktail in the nineteenth century, darker days in the throes of Prohibition, re-ascension in the 1950s and 1960s (as portrayed and re-popularized by Don Draper on Mad Men), and renaissance as the star of the contemporary craft cocktail movement.

Also featured are more than forty cocktail recipes, including classic variations, regional twists, and contemporary updates from top bartenders around the country. All are accessible, delicious, and elegant in their simplicity, demonstrating the versatility and timelessness of the Old-Fashioned formula. 

With its rich history, stunning photography, and impeccable recipes, The Old-Fashioned is a celebration of one of America’s greatest bibulous achievements. It is a necessary addition to any true whiskey- or cocktail-lover’s bookshelf, and destined to become a classic on par with its namesake beverage.

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library.
Check it out! † Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, Drinks, Food, History, Recipe Tags:

My Los Angeles 50 – Shoutout to the neighborhood where I live via My Instagram

March 5th, 2018 Comments off

A goblet of Wee Heavy from MacLeod’s Ale Brewing Co as a belated birthday present

March 1st, 2018 Comments off

Reading – The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zachos – 5 in a series

January 19th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zachos – 5 in a series

 Reading - The Wildcrafted Cocktail: Make Your Own Foraged Syrups, Bitters, Infusions, and Garnishes by Ellen Zachos - 5 in a series

I know what you’re thinking…”Another cocktail book?!?!” Well, this is just the order I completed them in, not some evil scheme to get your drunk on a weeknight. (LAUGH)

The Wildcrafted Cocktail is certainly an extremely niche book. It is few people who go out into the woods and forage the ingredients for their cocktails, yet I still enjoyed the book greatly. It was wonderful to read about all the unique ingredients you might find in your own backyard. Still, I for myself I would be a bit leery gathering plants without a bit more knowledge, and confidence, that I wasn’t poisoning myself in the process. You might want to combine this book on a really good book on backyard foraging like Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn’t Know You Could Eat, to assist you in your search. Such detailed information is far beyond the scope of The Wildcrafted Cocktail, but very necessary to be successful.

That said, there was also some great, general information on cocktails including some history of cocktails,

“What is a cocktail? The first mention of a cocktail as an alcoholic beverage dates from 1806, when it was defined as a drink composed of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters.”

and the difference between the several types of simple syrup that are used behind a well-stocked bar, 

“The difference among these syrups is not only the degree of sweetness but also the mouthfeel. A rich syrup (twice as much sugar as water) is much silkier than a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water). A light syrup (twice as much water as sugar) is lighter and thinner on the tongue. Simple syrups are the most versatile and most commonly called for behind the bar.”

The Wildcrafted Cocktail is certainly worthwhile if only to expand your thinking about foraged ingredients and cocktails in general. Who knows? You might even have some ingredients in your very own garden that could find their way into your glass.

** My version of this book was available as an eBook from the Los Angeles Public Library

From Amazon.com…

Meet the natural lovechild of the popular local-foods movement and craft cocktail scene. It’s here to show you just how easy it is to make delicious, one-of-a-kind mixed drinks with common flowers, berries, roots, and leaves that you can find along roadsides or in your backyard. Foraging expert Ellen Zachos gets the party started with recipes for more than 50 garnishes, syrups, infusions, juices, and bitters, including Quick Pickled Daylily Buds, Rose Hip Syrup, and Chanterelle-infused Rum. You’ll then incorporate your handcrafted components into 45 surprising and delightful cocktails, such as Stinger in the Rye, Don’t Sass Me, and Tree-tini. 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Reading – 3-Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks in the Cocktail Canon by Robert Simonson – 4 in a series

January 16th, 2018 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Reading – 3-Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks in the Cocktail Canon by Robert Simonson – 4 in a series

Reading - 3-Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks in the Cocktail Canon by 	Robert Simonson - 4 in a series

This has to be the yummiest book I have read in a long time. I have never been someone to keep a fully stocked bar, but with this book, it isn’t required. With a bit of whiskey, some Italian Amaro and a variety of sweeteners, I was on my way to a wonderful new world of cocktails.I found myself sampling regularly as I worked my way through both classic and modern, reinvigorated, versions as well as learning much more than I ever knew about the world of cocktails. The Old-Fashioned has caught my eye recently as I always had ingredients on hand and wanted a way of dressing up my everyday whiskey selections. 3-Ingredient Cocktails took me far beyond that, though and gave me a through — and tasty — education.

I could see using this book as the basis for a great party. Each guest brings the spirit or ingredient of their choice, you provide glassware, bar tools, and ice and let the fun commence. Hmm, some of my friends should be expecting an invite any day now. (LAUGH)

Highly Recommended

** My version of this book was available as an eBook from the Los Angeles Public Library

From Amazon.com…

 

3-Ingredient Cocktails is a concise history of the best classic cocktails, and a curated collection of the best three-ingredient cocktails of the modern era. Organized by style of drink and variations, the book features 75 delicious recipes for cocktails both classic (Japanese Cocktail, Bee’s Knees, Harvey Wallbanger) and contemporary (Remember the Alimony, Little Italy, La Perla), in addition to fun narrative asides and beautiful full-color photography.

 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

 

Categories: Books, Drinks, Food Tags:

A lovely Christmas/New Years gift from good friends.  via Instagram

January 1st, 2018 Comments off

Reading – Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry – 2 in a series

December 30th, 2017 Comments off

I’ll be highlighting books that I am reading (or re-reading) on all sorts of topics this year — Douglas

Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry – 2 in a series

Reading - Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry - 2 in a series

While there are a few familiar recipes from my own pasta repertoire here, there are also a host of new recipes that I have already added to my “To Try” list. We are a half-Italian family by both blood and culture, so pasta is an important part of our diet and something we enjoy immensely. While I have some go-to recipes we make every month or so, it is always great to add a few new ones to the rotation.

Here are some of my favorites from Back Pocket Pasta…

  • Buttery Basil Pesto with Linguine
  • Sicilian Escarole and Sausage
  • Creamy Zucchini and Sausage
  • Easter Ham Carbonara (Just like the author, we always have plenty of leftovers)
  • Pretty “Parslied” Spaghetti
  • Tuscan Kale “Caesar” Pasta
  • Fusilli Alfredo (with NO cream, as it should be (LAUGH))
  • ..and many more!

From Amazon.com…

As much a mindset as it is a cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta shows how a well-stocked kitchen and a few seasonal ingredients can be the driving force behind delicious, simply prepared meals. Pantry staples—a handful of items to help you up your dinner game—give you a head start come 6pm, so you can start cooking in your head on the way home from work. For instance, if you know that you have a tin of anchovies, a hunk of parmesan, and panko bread crumbs, you can pick up fresh kale to make Tuscan Kale “Caesar” Pasta. Or if you have capers, red pepper flakes, and a lemon, you can make Linguine with Quick Chili Oil. With genius flavor combinations, a gorgeous photograph for every recipe, and a smart guide to easy-drinking cocktails and wine, Back Pocket Pasta will inspire you to cook better meals faster. 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library

Previously in (Re)Reading:

Categories: Books, Cooking, Drinks, Food, Italy-Sicily Tags:

05 Moka Pot Stove Top Coffee Maker  | Douglas E. Welch Holiday Gift Guide 2017

November 10th, 2017 Comments off

Dew gift guide 2017 header

See all the 2017 Gift Guide Entries


05 Moka Pot Stove Top Coffee Maker  | Douglas E. Welch Holiday Gift Guide 2017

After our last trip to visit family in Sicily, I switched over entirely to their style of home coffee making — The Moka Pot. I am sure you have seen these pots in stores everywhere here in the US, too. Their convenience and the quality of coffee they make are worth the fairly low-cost price. There’s no need to invest in espresso machines costing hundreds of dollars if you only want a good cup of coffee in the morning. Even better, it works great on a camp stove, too! — Douglas

05 Moka Pot Stove Top Coffee Maker  | Douglas E. Welch Holiday Gift Guide 2017

  • Produces 6 demitasse (2 ounce) cups of rich, velvety espresso in less than 5 minutes
  • Made of high quality polished aluminum in the classic Bialetti Octagon shape
  • Max Boiler Capacity : 10(fl oz), 300ml
  • Patented safety valve; Easy to clean and disassemble
  • 2 Year Warranty, Designed and Made in Italy

— Amazon



 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs

Categories: Cooking, Drinks, Food, Gift Guide, Products Tags:

The Best Bourbons for $20 and Under — Spirit Guides via The Kitchn

May 19th, 2017 Comments off
I’ve always had a sweet spot for bourbon as my go-to tipple, though I’ve never been one to chase the high-end of the market. Some of the most famous bourbons area unavailable no matter what the price, but I always look for something that shows off bourbon’s char and natural sweetness and goes down smoothly. I can foresee myself working my way through this list, just to expand my bourbon experience — and test out my taste buds. — Douglas
 

Living in Louisville comes with responsibilities; my 502 area code seems to confer with it bourbon ambassadorship. And while most of us around here just seem to have a good measure of bourbon coursing through our veins, I actually did study to become a Certified Bourbon Steward. However, being a bourbon enthusiast can get expensive, so I’ve learned how to do it without too much damage to the checking account. I’m always on the lookout for that sweet spot of price and flavor.

Here are eight favorites you’ll find on my bar — all for $20 or less. Pro tip: Serve them from a vintage crystal decanter and people will think you’re sharing your special stash.

 

Read The Best Bourbons for $20 and Under — Spirit Guides via The Kitchn


An interesting link found among my daily reading

DIY Instant Cocoa: How to Make the Best Hot Chocolate (Plus, It’s Mind-Blowingly Easy) via America’s Test Kitchen

May 10th, 2017 Comments off
Nothing like a tasty cup of hot chocolate to get your day started or relax at the end of the day. Here is an easy method of making a great hot chocolate that uses real chocolate instead of powder. — Douglas
 
 
 
Here’s how to make homemade hot chocolate—it’s super-convenient to make a cup whenever you have a craving. Made with real chocolate, our homemade version of gourmet hot chocolate is just as easy to make as the pre-packaged stuff and tastes infinitely better. 
Think of it as a go-to hot chocolate concentrate—and all you need is a microwave. No fancy equipment required.
 
Watch DIY Instant Cocoa: How to Make the Best Hot Chocolate (Plus, It’s Mind-Blowingly Easy) via America’s Test Kitchen



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!


An interesting link found among my daily reading