Friday, June 15, 2012

The Gimlet

The Gimlet is a drink well-known and yet still somewhat forgotten. It’s a simple mix of gin and lime cordial - calling specifically for Rose’s Lime Juice - at equal parts of each. Beyond being codified in books like the Savoy Cocktail Book, the recipe was forever-etched into the memories of a generation when the character of Philip Marlowe in Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye said, “A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats martinis hollow.”

Today you’ll find most home bars stocked with what is likely a very old bottle of Rose’s Lime Juice, but in most cocktail bars that focus on Craft Cocktails, the Rose’s is conspicuously absent. This is because over the years, the formula for Rose’s has changed and it has steadily moved from being the lime cordial of choice for cocktails to, as Paul Clarke of Imbibe Magazine once said, an “anathema to the concept of a quality cocktail.”

This sea-change from fifty-plus years ago has meant that the Gimlet has fallen out of favor in the craft bars. But the Gimlet, at its core, is a seductive and delicious drink. It’s very close to being a gin sour with lime, but Rose’s Lime is a cordial or syrup, not actual lime juice, and that makes a big difference in the drink.

Refusing to associate the Gimlet is something akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. A number of bartenders have taken to adding a little fresh lime juice to brighten the drink a bit. Still others - especially bars with kitchens (like, oh, 320 Main) - have taken to making their own lime cordials.

2 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz Housemade Lime Cordial
¼ oz Lime Juice

Combine in a shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. At 320 Main, we’ve added Lime Cordial to our list of house-made syrups and tinctures - effectively creating our own take on Rose’s Lime Juice. We combine limes, ginger, sugar, and spices to create a bright and tart concoction that’s incredibly easy to quaff.

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare runs, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New York Steak

In Europe they call it a Club Steak. In Australia they call it a boneless sirloin. In North America it's been called the Shell Steak, Kansas City Strip, Strip Loin, Hotel Steak, Ambassador Steak, and contrefilet – but most people call it the New York Steak. 

The New York Steak, or New York Strip Steak, is cut from a little-used muscle of the cow near where the cuts are made for the rib eye and tenderloin steaks on the back of the beast. Because the muscle is not used very much by the cow, the New York cut is generally very tender. 

Of course it is nearly impossible to pinpoint the first time someone first cooked a certain cut of beef. However the strip loin first became “a thing” in the 1820's in – where else – New York City. It was there that the famous Delmonico's prepared the cut of strip loin by sauteing it in skillets over a wood-burning stove. 

In the 1880's the steak took on it's most common nomenclature when a chef named Carl Luger featured a cut of grilled strip loin on his menu at Carl Luger's Cafe, Billiards and Bowling Alley (apparently Carl wasn't into brevity) and named it the New York Steak. By the turn of the 20th Century, New York Steaks were showing up on menus all over the United States. 

320 Main's take on the New York is served bone-in and weighs in at a hefty 14 ounces. The steak is grilled to perfection before being laid upon a bed of beet and potato red flannel hash. It's a hearty meal of succulent steak and starchy, tangy hash that is certain to sate the appetite.

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare runs, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Oskar Blues Brewery

In 1999 a restaurateur named Dale Katechis decided that his cajun grill in Lyons, Colorado wasn't quite  enough. An avid homebrewer, Dale decided to turn his restaurant into a brewpub and began producing his own beer. It turns out that the beer was popular enough that in 2002 Oskar Blues Brewery began packaging and selling their beer in cans. 

Interestingly, it is probably the cans that garnish the most attention. It's something of a novelty these days to see any brewer smaller than Budweiser or Coors distribute their beer in cans. Dale and the others at Oskar Blues felt that cans were the best option because they were cheap, portable enough to be part of the outdoor lifestyle they all enjoyed, and also a little bit funny. "We thought the idea of our big, luscious pale ale in a can was hilarious," says Dale on the Oskar Blues webpage. 

 The smallbrew in cans didn't dissuade the public from trying out the beer inside, and soon Oskar Blues found itself making more and more varieties of beer. Today you can choose from the original Dale's Pale Ale, G'Knight Imperial Red Ale, Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, Gubna Imperial IPA, Deviant Dale's IPA, Old Chub Scotch Ale, and Mama's Little Yella Pils. All of the beer can be found in cans in liquor stores all over. 

Of course, at 320 Main, we don’t carry a lot of beer in cans. While all of Oskar Blues Brewing Co.'s are great out of the can, there's not really much of a debate as to whether any beer is better out of the tap. That's why we carry both Old Chub Scotch Ale and Mama's Little Yella Pils on draft. 

The Old Chub is a Scotch Ale that is brewed to 8% ABV with malted barley, "specialty grains," and beechwood-smoked malt. This smooth, dark beer isn't heavy like a stout, and carries with it flavors of toasted malt and brown sugar. 

Mama's Little Yella Pils is a pilsner style beer - light and refreshing. It carries with it flavors of honey and grain with a good herbal dose of hops. At 5.3% ABV, this is a beer that can be enjoyed for a good long time. 

Both beers, of course, can be enjoyed by the pint at 320 Main. Whether you're having a meatloaf sandwich, some Happy Hour appetizers, or just relaxing at the end of the day, it's hard to go wrong with an Oskar Blue's brew.

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare runs, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.