Cocktails + Libations = Cocktations

If you are wondering what a cocktation is, yours is a valid question. Cocktation is in fact a made-up word that tumbled from my mouth one day when I was trying to say the word concoction. That nifty little neologism was the seed idea for this blog, and here we both are today.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Odds and Ends to Close out 2009 and Ring in 2010

Gentle Reader,

Please accept my apologies for having neglected you so thoughtlessly since my last post on 12/24/09. I was on vacay from both jobs, and while I should have found ample time for sharing more of my beverage-related concoctions and imbibing adventures, alas I did not follow through. Today's post will be devoted to catching up with you on what I've been drinking and doing over the holiday season.

But first, I'd like to offer a few quote from one of my gustatory heroes, the inimitable (unless you are Meryl Streep) Julia Child:

Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.

You must have discipline to have fun.

Now, let's get down to business. On 12/17/09 I had the pleasure and honor of meeting one of my greatest wine heroes, Gary Vaynerchuk, at his STL World Market book signing for Crush It. Afterwards, my fellow Vayniacs and I retired with Gary to Robust for the special Vayniac wine flight that was being offered that evening, some delicious food, and some private time with Gary. For pics and more details on our time with Gary, visit the Robust Wine Vine blog

On 12/21/09 my local wine tasting group and I went to Brazie's Ristorante on the Hill and took over their back room with all of our holiday wines. Our theme for dinner was sharing a wine that really got each of excited about wine drinking. That night I was lucky enough to try Dom Perignon   (1995 vintage) for the first time, 2001 Clos Mogador, Silver Oak, an '88 Riesling, a '93 Tokaji, 2006 Tignanello, and a '64 Colhieta tawny port, to name a few. If you ever find yourself hungry for good Italian food at the corner of Watson and Arsenal, try Brazie's and don't leave without a taste of their amazing cassata cake. 

Christmas eve Santa brought a wonderful little treat to my house--one of the Del Maguey single village mezcals. The Minero to be exact. Ron Cooper runs an amazing operation and enables those of us stuck in boring old USA to sample the best sipping mezcals that the tiny, remote villages of Mexico have to offer. To me, the Minero tastes of a vanilla Tootsie Roll wrapped with a sliver of teriyaki beef jerky and hidden inside a fire-roasted chipotle pepper, dashed with a hint of vinegar, and coated with the lingering scent of a burnt tire. Although my description may sound anything but delicious, this delightful mezcal is meant to be enjoyed in moderation and will warm you from the inside with its seductive smokey-sweet scent and smooth character. Bottom line, you must try this beverage, and if you are in the STL area you can find it at Lukas Liquors and The Wine Merchant

Christmas morning found me opening what has become over the past week my cocktail New Testament--Gary Regan's "Joy of Mixology." In this book, Regan offers a cohesive theory of mixology that should enable any cocktailian to not only prepare the classics, but also move into new cocktail territory. His classification of cocktails into families, based on shared similarities, enables readers to gain a fundamental understanding of how the various ingredients function in any one drink, and thereby imagine new combinations based on this foundational comprehension. To quote from the book jacket, "Once you understand that the Margarita is a member of the New Orleans Sour Family, you’ll instantly see that a Kamikaze is just a vodka-based Margarita." Brilliant stuff, Gary!

New Year's Eve day found me playing around with a new bottle of Black Bottle blended Scotch whisky, and Drambuie to make a delicious Rusty Nail (2 parts Scotch to 1 part Drambuie stirred over ice and strained). New Year's Eve (and well into New Year's Day 2010) I enjoyed the heck out of a bottle of non-vintage Jacques Copinet Brut Rose. For my dollar, I generally prefer to select a Grower's Champagne to a Grande Marques Champagne. 

Finally, on Palidrome Day [01.02.2010], which was also my mother's 70th birthday, the family dined at our favorite little spot in St. Charles, Vivian's Vineyards and broke into a bottle of 2002 Domaine de Jamet Cote-Rotie. Even with aeration via the Vinturi (another gift from Santa) and time in a Riedel decanter, the wine never reached the heights of the 2003 Jamet Cote-Rotie. Serves me right for being cheap and not wanting to spend the extra 30 bones to get the 2003. Oh well, 2010, like all other years that preceded it will be full of opportunities to live and learn and endeavor to do better next time.  

Cheers! ~Dr. Cocktation

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