Thursday, January 30, 2014

APPLEJACK-OFF 2014: An Apple by Any Other Name

While Applejack is unique and somewhat rare, there exist many an apple inspired libation worthy of consumption. No not the green jolly-rancher concoctions that end in the suffix “-tini” but actual distilled spirits made from apples.

Here we have Half Moon Orchard Gin, and Indigenous Vodka from Tuthilltown Spirits. Not exactly an easy name... Tu-thill-town ...right? (Watch the video on youtube).  Anyway, it’s right here in the great state of New York, and we are a big fan of their Baby Bourbon, their Rye Whiskey, and their un-aged Corn-Water (we call it corn-water anyway). Unlike other un-aged white whiskeys, the one from Tuthilltown ...toothlytown, toon-town... whatever, the one from these guys is un-comparable. It is actually smooth.  No we’re serious, check it out.

But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here because of apples.   ...So what can they do with apples that's not Applejack?  Let's find out:

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To be honest, we didn't know what to expect, but the yin-yang of the vodka we just think is a bit off.   It brought good stuff to the table, but for ever 1 part of good it brought 1 part of kinda "meh" to it as well.  This was tested under extremely  harsh conditions though.  Neat at room temp, and then in a dry martini.  These are very unforgiving tasting environments for any clear spirit, and they deliberately leave a wide open door for any qualities (good or bad) to be exposed.  I'm sure they've already tried every number of distillations and ratios of apples to other sugars in the fermentation, but in our honest opinion, it just seems a bit off.  But that's doesn't mean it's bad.  There are some combinations that we see working well, like a fizz made with Sidral Mundet

*Additional:  We actually did make a Sidral Mundet fizz and it turned out great.  See it here.  ...We're still working on a name for it.

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We were totally expecting weirdness from an apple-distilled Gin.  Would you mix Gin with apple anything?  No probably not, so why would this be good?   Because it FUCKING IS.  Any harshness that the Vodka carried is nicely muted by the infusion of the herbal ingredients used in Half Moon Orchard Gin.  This is a very good Gin because it strays from the path but it doesn't suck as a gin itself.  We could easily see this in any gin cocktail, except maybe the Yankee Rose (the rose-water is fragile and this might apple it out of the way).  Is that making sense, we're not sure...  We only had the one drink since we're dead-set on saving this for its own episode, yeah that's how good this stuff is.   It was a very nice surprise and like we said, not in a bad way.  

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Next up is another Applejack Label.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TOM'S FOOLERY: Final Rating

We're back on track after a stint at the Hospital and despite the fact we have to take a bunch of pills every day now.   This situation is not permanent, but it took a lot out of us.

Our final thoughts

So we've had the applejack from Tom's Foolery neat, shaken, stirred, hot, and cold.   We think it's great stuff and here we lay it out.

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What does this stuff mean?  Well, we could have used numbers like 1 out of 100, but what the hell does that mean?  Our rating of 100 could be someone else's rating of purple dishwasher hat.  Subjectivity isn't gonna help here.  So our scale is a sliding one which goes between apply and smokey.  Smokey is basically straight up American Whiskey with no real hints of apple essences that come from the hearts and heads of a distillation of hard cider.  On the other end, the extreme end of appley means that it is very fragrant and is sitting next to apple moonshine in terms of how it comes off (so it has that bite).  

As you can see here Tom's Foolery is a well balanced applejack with an extremely smooth finish that just begs for the neat treatment but also makes it like the Seal Team 6 in the Toddy arena.

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So after our health issues we are regaining our energy and will be posting the rest of the Pinky Mixology Applejack-Off.    

Tom's Foolery is available in Ohio and other states, and you can check out their website here.  Additionally, Tom's Foolery will be releasing Rye and Bourbon in the near future, and we can only assume that it's going to have the amazing qualities that their Applejack has.


Monday, January 27, 2014

We're Back

OK, without going into too much, we were sick, got out, then something happened to waylay us much worse and we were right back in a hospital bed. 

Good news:  We're out and recovered (we needed a few days just to eat food again and regain our strength).  So although we're a bit delayed we are back in business.

Bad news:  We (I) take a lot pills now for stuff, and so drinking booze is a no-no.   This is not permanent, but it's a thing for now. However, we have already got our photos done, and so we now end the desert of no posts and we make good on our promise to our participants to get their week of applejack out there. 

So keep a look out.  We're going to get back to posting every day!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Remember that time when they asked you to work double-shifts because one guy was out with stomach flu, but it turns out that he must have touched stuff before he went home because 2 days after working 12hr shifts you have it, but you end up with a 103 fever and so you go to triage down the street and the first thing they do is give you an I.V. because you're dehydrated to the point where they tell you that if you were smaller or older you'd be dead? ...yeah, well... that. We're back. We're alive. Hopefully resuming in 24 hrs... but call it 36 just to be safe.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Tom's Foolery Applejack day 3:
Tom's Toddy

The Toddy is popping up all over cocktail culture these days, and if you're still in the deep freeze (or if you just feel cold), we bring you an applejack variation we call Tom's Toddy, as it's made with Tom's Foolery Applejack.

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That's basically just under 2 shots of Applejack and a shot glass full of raw sugar.

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You know exactly the tea we're talking about.

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While simple, this gives you the chance to taste the great quality of Tom's Foolery Applejack in a warm way (something tells us that no matter how awesome it is, we wouldn't want to have 130 degree Applejack just by itself.)  Of course, the amount of sugar is subject to your own tastes, and we noticed that a shot glass full puts it a bit far on the sweet side for us.  You can also add bitteres to this as well, and it's pretty good that way.
Garnish outtake:
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Now not to say this underwhelmed us, but the Hot Old Fashioned (Hold-Fashioned...?) was so amazing, that if we ever to a warm drink with applejack, we think that one will always be our #1 choice.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

TOMS FOOLERY: Apples & Oranges


Tom's Foolery Applejack could seriously take the place of whiskey in just about any drink.  This includes the ubiquitous whiskey sour.  So in re-initiating our fruit connection, we've taken on the Whiskey Sour and decided to come up with something called Apples & Oranges.  This is a simple one as well, but you will need:

Applejack (Tom's Foolery)
A Lime (...from wherever)
An Orange (try for organic, which won't have FD&C Red no. 2 in the peel.  Regular oranges have that).
Sugar (we use Sugar in the Raw, but honestly anything works).

Old Fashioned Glass
Bar Spoon /  Other stirring tool or device
Muddler (one that is good with citrus, such as the Arctic Chill)
Strainer (fine mesh).

Unlike shaken whiskey sours however, this cocktail is made in a bar glass, since muddling is involved.  This is because sour mix usually doesn't contain orange in it, and we want to make sure we get it in there (otherwise we couldn't call this Apples & Oranges).  

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If you choose to shake with ice, strain it first so that you don't get bits of lime and orange all on the inside of your shaker.  We found we didn't have to shake it at this point, and as you'll see a carbonated mixer in the next slide, we had not a reason to shake it at that point.

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Sidral Mundet can usually be found wherever you find Jarritos sodas, such as Mexican restaurants / take-out joints, as well as grocery stores and bodegas that cater to the south-of-the-border crowd.  See what it looks like on our Tumblr.  Sidral Mundet and Jarritos have become very popular in the U.S.A. for having no High Fructose Corn Syrup (seriously nothing makes a cocktail worse than HFCS stuff...), and also for having unique flavors like grapefruit and tamarindo...  Word of advice, never drink the tamarindo.

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We don't know what happened and we don't have any Tom's Foolery left (sad-face), so we could either fake it with tea or something and take a new photo, or just show the original to you as best we can.  Since color is important, we went with the authentic photo.   As you can see, it kind of looks like an unfiltered apple spritzer, but it's much better than that.

Have fun with it and we'll see you tomorrow!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

TOM'S FOOLERY: The Hot Old Fashioned

THE PINKY MIXOLOGY 2014 APLEJACK-OFF: Tom's Foolery day 2.

So it's been cold, and when you're cold, it's toddy time.  So for you all out who are wondering when the hypothermia is gonna set in, we are going to give you something that will warm those body parts of yours that need warming.

The Old Fashioned was once a standby drink for America, and is now a standby drink for hipsters who are so desperate to conspicuously consume anything that the Baby Boomers thought was too "square daddy-o" and all that.   You have also seen it here before.

But Tom's Foolery Applejack is a great way to take this cocktail to another level, and we've created an apple-centric toddy version that works great.  Seriously, our panel was worried it was going to be too sweet, but everyone was surprised at how good this was.   Trust us, you'll want to give this a shot.

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That's a tea-ball there, which can work well for keeping the spices from going all over the place.  If you'd like to see our Mulled Cider, click here.

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It really has to do with how large your destination vessel is.  A good rule is for every 2 parts Applejack, just add 1 part maple syrup.  It doesn't pump up the sweet flavors too much, so don't worry. 

This hot beverage mug isn't exactly Steuben, so while it kinda holds 8oz, that's if you fill it all the way to the top.  We like to leave a little room because filling it all the way to the top in any situation is kind of dumb.

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This is real maple syrup, from a little town outside Utica NY.

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It stands to reason that you should also use a good apple cider too.  It should really only contain apples and... that's it. 

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We have got to say, you won't really know how amazing this is until you try it.  The heat really amplifies what makes Applejack unique, while the bitters and the maple syrup shield your nose from that bitey little bit that Applejack always seems to carry with it (in cold drinks it's no big deal, but with warm ones everything gets amplified a bit).  Tom's Foolery already had a nicely tamed nose on it, and so it works in this one perfectly.  Go get some and try it, and you won't even notice you've been made sterile by the cold outside.

See you tomorrow.

 Cherry garnish out-takes:  Number one.   Number two.

Monday, January 6, 2014

TOM'S FOOLERY APPLEJACK: Review and Applejack Manhattan

It's time to bring out the big guns, and by that we mean the craft distillers who have participated in the first ever Pinky Mixology Applejack-Off.  4 Labels enter, ...none are leaving, they're all too good so we're totally gonna finish them and put them to good use.

Today we spend the first of 5 days looking at Tom's Foolery, in Chagrin Falls Ohio.  This craft distiller creates an excellent and unique Applejack, and they get it right by not doing things.  They don't mess with it.  They don't add anything that isn't needed.  They don't rush things or cut corners.  And if they only have enough to fill 7 barrels, they only have enough to fill 7 barrels.  This actually worries us because it is our mission to get more of this stuff, and if they run out we will have a sad.

Without recreating their entire website, we will give you what they've written about their batch #4: 

Batch #4 is a blend of seven Applejack barrels that have been aging for the last 2-3 years!  And we think it has been worth the wait!  The proof has been increased to 90, giving all you mixologists and cocktail crafters out there lots of flavor for your cocktails.

Now it's easy to make a New York City vs Cleveland joke...  so we will:  People in Cleveland now have a reason to live, and it's called Tom's Foolery.  Hell if we lived in Buffalo, we'd be stealing a car and driving over there right now (we don't own a car because we're too cool).   And just look at all the places you can get it (link).

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Here is the Wikipedia page for Chagrin Falls.

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You can see more of the way they made and bottled this applejack and the people at Tom's Foolery at their Daily Fool blog.

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This is based on the classic Manhattan cocktail, which you can check out here

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Here you see Antica Formula by Antonio Benedetto Carpano.  Here is an English language website where you can learn more about it.

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In case you were wondering, Tom's Foolery also produces both a Rye and a Bourbon which would both obviously make a great cocktail as well.  Their rye or bourbon would make a very fine Bloody Derby, as well as the variant Red Dead Redemption cocktail which we have planned for February (yes it's based on the video game).

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Come back tomorrow for a way to take the chill out of winter and put the chillaxing in your step.

See you then.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

APPLEJACK-OFF 2014: Ice cold words of warning.

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Freeze-distilled applejack can taste really good, but seriously we wouldn't recommend going off and trying this even though it seems kind of easy.  That's why we won't be showing it here.  But we know the internet exists, so here is a link to a video of some guy doing it and you can go watch it if you want.   You can mention the difference of distillation and concentration all you want but in the USA this counts as "distillation" as far as the Federal Government is concerned, and the ATF can bust you if they feel like it.  We did concentrate our own applejack while living in Tokyo, where they couldn't give a crap about that kind of thing, but if you're just gonna go do this with Mott's or something, you won't be getting anything amazing no matter what you do.

It's worth mentioning that if you go on and do this anyway, you can "strip" out the fusel nasties by simmering your final concentrate on the stove at maybe 170F for a few minutes to let them evaporate.  The problem with doing this is that you've just turned your kitchen into a bomb, since all these vapors are flamable and you've got the stove going (that situation can end in "kablooey" if they decide to go say hi to your open flame down there), so only do this if you have a stove hood with a vent that actually vents outside.   It's also worth mentioning that this can be a lot more trouble than it's worth, and we're going to show you some amazing labels out there that you can go buy just go buy some and you won't have to worry about any of this.

The only way Pinky Mixology is interested in hurting anyone is with a hangover and empty calories.  Anything else and you're on your own.

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You guys see the reflection of our tree in the glass there (it's in the title pic too).  That's pretty cool huh?  Yeah.   That's our very own Paula Red apple tree.  We might be doing something with that at the end of the summer.

APPLEJACK-OFF 2014: Doc's Draft Hard Cider

Hard cider is part of the origin story of Applejack, so we'll be looking into a few during our event.  We'll start with what is probably our hands-down favorite, Doc's Draft, from the Warwick Valley Winery.  We found this little gem of a cider at our local grocery store and have been taking it home with us ever since.  We save the bottles too, as they are useful to our home-brew friends and we've got about 100 of them all washed and stacked (hear that Warwick Valley?  We've broken the 100 bottle mark because this stuff is just so good).

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Actually, you can't really see Doc's Draft at the end of our Cape Fear Punch episode, but it's there.  You can see it in the episode right after that one; Sangira.

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Doc's Draft is a great example of the kind of difference a locally produced product makes.  Mass produced ciders are going to have different apples from different farms.  In order to make sure that their cider sold in San Diego is going to taste the same as one sold in Cleveland, they stomp out those differences with processes that make everything taste the same...  The end result is that you miss out on a lot.   Doc's is a great cider which avoids that whole mess, and the bottle you see featured here usually goes for about $5 to $6.  And like we said, if you do home-brew the bottles are great for re-use, and you can get the one label off just with a soak in warm water, they come off very clean with no residue.

If you live in our neck of the woods, Doc's Draft apple cider is available at a number of grocery chains including Met, Gristedes (and Gristedes's poor cousin Red Apple), and you can find the entire line of Doc's Draft, including their pear and rasberry at the recently opened 3rd & 3rd Whole Foods in Brooklyn. ...probably other Whole Foods as well, but we haven't checked.