Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November Centerfold: Moscow Mule featuring 320 Main Copper Mugs

History Behind The Moscow Mule: Created in 1941 by Jack Morgan of the Cock N' Bull Tavern in Los Angeles and John G. Martin of the Hublein Company. John was introducing a Russian vodka to the United States and Jack had an overstock of ginger beer.  The two created the cocktail and teamed up with a friend of Jack's who had recently purchased a copper factory. Photos of the celebrities who frequented the Cock N' Bull Tavern on Sunset Boulevard enjoying the drink helped fuel sales as everyone wanted "the drink in the copper mug!"

See Jeffrey Morgenthaler's ginger beer recipe here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Laird's Apple Brandy: A Truly American Spirit

Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy and AppleJack are quite possibly my favorite spirits.

AppleJack was the first commercially distilled spirit in America and the Laird family established America’s first commercial distillery in Scobeyville, New Jersey in 1780. Scotsman Alexander Laird emigrated in 1698 and began producing AppleJack for his family’s use. Fast forward to 1760 when descendant Robert Laird served in the Revolutionary War under George Washington and the Laird family supplied the troops with Applejack. Mr. Washington himself was a fan, requesting the recipe and referring to the "cyder spirits" in his diary. 

The name AppleJack supposedly refers to the term Jacking, meaning creating a spirit from freeze distillation. This method involves freezing a fermented product (i.e. apple cider) and scraping the softer, high alcohol contents away from the frozen water. This method declined because the byproducts of fermentation (methanol, ethanol, etc.) cannot be separated and it was therefore inferior to evaporative distillation. Today’s AppleJack is made from naturally fermented apples which are distilled and aged for 4 to 8 years. This Apple Brandy is then blended with 65% neutral spirits to create AppleJack. Lairds also produces Bonded Apple Brandy, a 100 proof spirit made from 100% apple brandy aged 6 to 10 years.

The unique flavor of AppleJack is reason enough to stock your bar with it and it is also essential for classics such as the Jack Rose. But aside from these two reasons, I personally feel a sense of pride in being able to go through our country's history and collect things that are uniquely American such as this classic spirit. We are a young country and there are so few things that you can trace back to the beginning of America. It’s kind of my way of discovering who I am as an American - a way of reminding myself what it is to be American. We are entrepreneurs, inventors, builders and makers of things. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. That is why I love AppleJack. It is American through and through. Before there was Bourbon there was Rye and before there was Rye there was AppleJack, Laird’s AppleJack. 
- Jason Schiffer
 The Jack Rose is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury's classic bar book "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks."  The drink was popular in the 20's and 30's.

Jack Rose
1.5oz. Applejack
.5oz. Lemon or Lime Juice
.5oz. Grenadine
Shake/strain into a chilled cocktail glass
and garnish with a brandied cherry. 

What our friends say about the Jack Rose:
http://davestolte.com/?p=369 and http://www.homebarbasics.com/?p=390

Friday, November 11, 2011

Menu Spotlight: The Prime Double Bone In Pork Chop

320 Main Sous Chef Alex Dale showing off his pork tattoo.
When we said we were crazy about pork, we meant it.
Pork. It's the other white meat. And right now we can't get enough of it at 320 Main. (You saw our post on Pork Belly Medallion Centerfold.)  You could say we've gone a little pork crazy. How can  you blame us? Pork is not only delicious, it is also generally a healthier choice of protein than red meat. These reasons and many more are why we'd like to introduce you to our Prime Double Bone In Pork Chop. 

As you take your first bite of this dish, you'll understand why it is 320 Main owner Jason Schiffer's favorite item on the menu. Many pork dishes are dry, but not this juicy entree. In each bite you get a wonderful dichotomy: the moist, tender inside, and the salty, caramelized, seared outside. Don't even reach for the salt shaker, because this Babe (piggy pun intended) is seasoned to perfection. This savory hunk of pork is served swimming in a zingy pool of 320 Main's homemade whole grain mustard pilsner sauce (made with Mama's Little Yella Pils). To finish off this fine autumn dish: a side of roasted red pears, carrots, and onions. The pears are a wonderfully mild and sweet addition to compliment this savory dish.

Come in soon to try the Prime Double Bone In Pork Chop or one of our limited time seasonal menu items. 

Pairs Well With: "The Michigander" cocktail. A Jason Schiffer Original.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics) Launch Party & Charity Benefit

Come help kick off the launch of author and award-winning illustrator Dave Stolte's new book "Home Bar Basics (and Not-So-Basics)," a concise, pocket-sized, 114-page guidebook to setting up a home cocktail bar with an emphasis on history, quality, and craft at 320 Main in Seal Beach on Monday, November 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm.

$10 at the door.

$5 cocktails from the book will be served alongside free small bites from 320 Main's acclaimed menu. Raffle prizes include a basic bar kit from Hi-Time Wine Cellars, wine from the boutique Miramonte Winery, a one-on-one homebrew session with Topanga Brewing Company, Moscow Mule mugs filled with 320 Main drink tokens, framed cocktail art by Dave Stolte, and more.

All profits from sales of the book at this event and your $10 door entry will benefit CureDuchenne to help raise research funds for and build awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Spirits at the event will be sponsored by
Bulleit Whiskey.

RSVP on facebook!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cocktail Spotlight: The Michigander

The Michigander. Created by Jason Schiffer. Available now at 320 Main.

The Michigander's main 
ingredients: Cynar and 
Laird's Straight Apple Brandy.
In our previous post we introduced you to our sizzling new fall appetizer, the Pork Belly Medallions. Today we give you the perfect drink to pair it with: the Michigander. The fall season and its onslaught of holidays inevitably causes one to think of home. Home for 320 Main owner Jason Schiffer is Michigan. “I went through a time where I was missing home,” explains Jason of how this drink came to be. “My favorite time of year is fall. I get nostalgic about the chill in the air, the earthiness of burning leaves and the sweet smells of apple cider.” This is the basis from which the Michigander was created.

Jason is very visual when it comes to creating drinks. When creating the Michigander he wanted to mimic the deep fruity and contrasting earthy elements of fall in Michigan. He began with Laird's Straight Apple Brandy 100 proof. Laird's Apple Brandy is Bottled in Bond, which means it was produced in one distillations season, by one distiller, at one distillery and it was aged in a federally bonded warehouse under US government supervision for at least 4 years. Why is this important to you? Because it is a government guarantee that you are getting 100% straight brandy. Jason then added an Italian liquor called Cynar. Made of 13 different herbs and spices including artichoke, Cynar gives the drink a slightly bitter richness. To that Jason added honey, lemon and finally a grapefruit twist. The result is truly delectable and warming to your insides. It's the next best thing to fall in Michigan. A good friend of Jason’s, Ereich Empey, says this about the drink, “At its' heart a rather simplistic drink, with tons of flavor laying throughout, the Michigander is followed by complexity and depth on account of the ingredients.” [Musings on Cocktails]