Archive for the Tools of the Trade Category

A Cocktail App We Can Get Behind

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Tools of the Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 19, 2013 by cocktailvultures

Most cocktail apps are atrocious conglomerations of misinformation and fratboy “recipes” that make us cringe or laugh out loud.

The exception is Flip N’Drink, an app with recipes overseen by Gary Regan. The recipes contain interesting historical information as well as suggestions for similar drinks, and the photos are lovely.


Maraschino: a secret dusty old time ingredient

Posted in Classic Cocktails, Tools of the Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 7, 2013 by cocktailvultures


Maraschino lends, in simple terms, an Olde Time flavor to vintage and modern cocktails.

Once you’ve tasted it in a recipe, you’ll always recognize its strangely compelling flavor. A little goes a looooong way.

We can only recommend Luxardo as a brand because of the proprietary nature of the formula — it’s the real deal.

The Joy of Mixology

Posted in Booze News and Events, The Vulture's Library, Tools of the Trade with tags , , , , , , on March 28, 2012 by cocktailvultures

By Peggy Nadramia

I have a lot of books about cocktails, but this one is a basic I turn to again and again. Gary Regan (“Gaz”) talks about spirits, their background, history and uses brand names. He draws a fascinating chart of cocktails by ingredient and combination — duos, trios — and tells you when an old recipe needs personal “tweaking.” If you buy only one book about booze, make it this one.

The Joy of Mixology


Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka

Posted in Booze News and Events, Tools of the Trade with tags , , on March 26, 2012 by cocktailvultures

Here’s a product that lives up to its name and hype, as do most products we have tried from this line: Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka.

We have some outstanding drink recipes using this vodka, and we’ll be posting them in the next few days. Until then, go pick up a bottle and experiment. It actually tastes like what it says it does!

and that alone is a miracle these days

Here are the notes from the official website

  • History

    Newly introduced in 2009, Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka captures this sinfully delicious flavor in a natural caramel color.

  • Process

    Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka is hand-crafted in small batches through a unique double infusion method, using only natural ingredients and premium grain alcohol, insuring that Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka actually tastes and smells exactly as the name suggests: like luscious, pure caramel.

  • Notes From Tim Vos, Master Distiller

    “Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka balances the sweet caramelized sugar taste and creamy texture of the candy.. The taste is very decadent of pure caramel. Undertones of vanilla and chocolate are finished with caramel and coffee. We used the burned sugar to naturally color the vodka a rich shade of caramel.”

Shake It Like You Mean It: Our Favorite Cocktail Shaker

Posted in Booze News and Events, Girl Drink Drunk, Tools of the Trade with tags , , , , on February 27, 2012 by cocktailvultures

By Peggy Nadramia

In the realm of adult beverages and sophisticated fun, the image of the cocktail shaker has become iconic. Its shape is recognizable all over the world; it has no other purpose than the creation of joy. Baby formula and Instant Breakfast were never meant to sully its interior. This wonderful handheld mobile device requires only the power of your wrist, and when you use it you are walking in the footsteps of every great mixologist who has preceded you.

When flipping through the pages of cocktail books and snooping around on eBay, one is quickly exposed to the beauty and variety of cocktail shakers of yore. And cocktailians do love to collect them. I’ve tried using my old shakers and the problem is that many were poorly-designed or the metal or plastic in them has mutated with age. They leak; they won’t open; they won’t close. Leave them on the shelf or use them for straws or swizzle sticks.

On to the new. We can and will go into a discussion of Boston versus Cobbler shakers but this ain’t it. Today I’m going to tell you about my favorite workaday shaker, the OXO Good Grips cocktail shaker.

This baby sits at the front of my shelf and when I slap it down on the counter everyone knows it’s fun time. It’s a three-part shaker, cup, strainer and lid. The main part, the cup, is insulated and therefore comfortable to hold. The lid, or cap, has a nicely-designated measuring system inside it and functions as a jigger. But my favorite part is the strainer. I love the tapered nozzle as it enables accurate pouring into small cocktail glasses.

The somewhat-petite size of this shaker makes it more convenient for us ladies to hold and shake but it’s also its only drawback. You can’t do a batch of Martinis in the OXO, but then, in the best of worlds, every Martini should be fresh and made to order.

OXO manufactures several cocktail shakers, including a plastic one, so we’re including a photo and a link to our favorite for purchase on Amazon.

Go forth boldly, armed with the best! Always drink responsibly; always drink well.

OXO Steel Cocktail Shaker


Bottled Lime Juice=Epic Fail!

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Tools of the Trade with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by cocktailvultures

We don’t like to bother with focusing on what is wrong out there but this is basic information you should have before you start trying to mix your first drink. THERE ARE NO GOOD BOTTLED LEMON OR LIME JUICES!

They all at best taste like battery acid and none of them have the subtle perfume of real fresh-squeezed juice. Just compare fresh-squeezed orange juice to bottled juice. Bottled juices are DEAD; they are the decaying fluids left to rot in a bottle. The only methodology we have found for preserving fresh-squeezed juice is to bag it in smaller amounts in zip lock bags with all the air pressed out and freeze them. Use nothing more than room temperature to thaw them and you will have the closest approximation to fresh. If you go to a bar that is pushing a high-priced cocktailian menu and you see one of these plastic bottles be forewarned: you will be getting a mediocre at best drink and more likely a bitterly sour abomination that resembles it’s namesake in name alone. Try a test at home: squeeze some lime juice and compare it to one of the above and it will become obvious. Every supermarket sells lemon and lime juice in convenient little containers. They’re called “Lemons and Limes!” Nature’s little cocktail buddies. You have been informed and warned.


Vac-Pot Coffee The Best Cup of Coffee You’ll Ever Have!

Posted in Booze News and Events, Tools of the Trade with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2011 by cocktailvultures

The Vac-Pot Coffeemaker

Yama 3 Cup Vac-Pot

Hands down the best cup of coffee you will ever have, plus it is quite a beautiful piece of equipment and a wonderful show to watch in the brewing. This is not some newfangled gadget but an Olde Timey device that hails back to the middle 1800’s. I first found out about these over seven years ago quite by accident, having bought one at a flea market mistaking it for some fancy labware that would look nice on my bar….

After a whole bunch of happenstance research later, I found out its true purpose: making excellent coffee! I was even more excited to find a company making beautiful reproductions at a very reasonable price, thus taking the dread out of using a 150-year-old antique to make my morning coffee. The 3-cup countertop unit is perfect for making fancy coffee cocktails at tableside or right on the bar.

In the 1930’s-1950’s stovetop double-bubble style pots became all the rage but had a few drawbacks. Seen in a lot of Film Noir movies, the Vac-Pots became curious dinosaurs until now. They make a wonderful brew, completely extracting all the subtle flavors of a fine fresh ground bean. Because they use a fabric filter, much of the flavorful fats are left in the brew giving a rich smooth taste no drip pot can imbue.

Enjoy this video of a Vac Pot in action

Krush Kill Destroy or why we love the “Juice-O-Mat” juicer

Posted in Booze News and Events, Tools of the Trade with tags , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Peggy's Necromonger Junior

Face it: you can’t make a good cocktail without fresh-squeezed juice and you can’t make a lot of good cocktails without a lot of fresh-squeezed juice, and that requires a reliable and efficient juicer (and a good-looking one doesn’t hurt either). So let me introduce you to the Juice-O-Mat juicer.

This classic styled juicer not only looks great but does an amazing job of extracting every last drop out of whatever citrus you are putting to the test. With its all-metal construction and a geared lever handle, it is a tank of a juicer and will allow you to power through all your juicing needs with relative ease. I have had one for years, before I even started down the mixologist path, simply because I loved the way it looked. Our nickname for it is “The Necromonger” as it looks very sci-fi and particular to the style of the movie “The Chronicles of Riddick.”

I have come to juice all your limes!!!!

Here is one from my collection.

Juice-o-Mat Juice Monger

the inner workings

Now where to find one…… eBay or tag sales and thrift shops are your best sources. Sometimes you will find a very chipped, painted one; don’t fret, just take it apart, give it a quick dip in paint remover and either polish or repaint it. It is the best juicer you can have on your bar…….. Period! All the fancy plastic contraptions will cower in the mighty presence of your personal Necromonger juicer!!!!

Happy Hunting and Happier Juicing.



Posted in Booze News and Events, Drink It Like a Man, Tools of the Trade with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Every now and then we come across a product that catches our eye long enough that we give it a try…….. nothing ventured nothing gained as it were.  So when browsing our local super sized booze shop we happened across a bottle of Kraken rum….. it involved a giant squid and an Olde Timey bottle so I was half way there but the true test was yet to come. Could a decent rum be hiding beneath the inky depths of this intriguing black liquid or would it be just another slick marketing campaign pushing less than well quality hooch on an unsuspecting populace?  We can say with glad amazement that this stuff is great! Especially for the price! Is it a 15 year old Eldorado, no but its not in that category.  It is however the BEST spiced rum on the market in it’s and others prices ranges…… It is a great value and has a smooth spicy flavor that works in any drink calling for a spiced rum including my “Creature from the Black Lagoon” cocktail.  This is a domestic distillation and bottling and I can only hope they have something else up their salty sleeves soon enough.    I can’t bear to throw away the empty bottles and find any ridiculous use for them…. water jug at the gym, decorative vase, etc etc.  Try it in a Cuba Libre or in any Tiki drink calling for spiced rum.  It’s also great in Mulled Cider as it adds it’s distinctive warm spicy vanilla imbued flavor.   How could you not love a drink that let’s you yell “Release the Kraken” every time you pour a shot…… Now off I go to invent a drinking game involving “Clash of the Titans” and Kraken rum

Latest Read

Posted in Booze News and Events, The Vulture's Library, Tools of the Trade with tags , on November 12, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Here’s what I’ll be reading this week!PN