Louis XIII & Tei-An… Crack Twins:

Had to post this… I will generally, regardless of better judgement, find my way into some shenanigans. I run with a crazy herd… and some of our pack feeds at Tei-An. So, months ago, hanging out at the bar I meet this dude Sten. He's one of these guys, not unlike my buddy Mike, who win. They travel the world and profess the joys of cocktail culture, and specifically ultra premium spirits… In Sten's case that means Remy Martin's Louis XIII. …Good gig, if you can get it!

After many weeks of discussion, Sten, Teiichi and Yosuke finally got together some Tei-An faithful for a Louis XIII tasting. …wait, we have a few minutes… let me see the specials…:

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^ Marketing; Teiichi's Scallop Carpaccio.

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^ Louis awaits… ; Remy Martin Brand Ambassador Sten Lilja's Remy Crusta: Remy V.S.O.P., Grenadine, Lemon Juice, Angostura Bitters. (Start of my Fall Cocktail Watch, me-thinks…)

Noka Chocolate provides a nibble as we work through the history of Cognac… and Teiichi needles with:

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^ Mmmm Hmmm… Asparagus with Squid Ink Mayonnaise, Seared Cold Duck Breast, last-of-the-season Yellow Tomato – stuffed with Crab Salad (Teiichi's "crab salad"… damn…)  Oh, I forgot… we came here to enjoy:

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^ The Louis Treize. This is stupid good spirit crack. Put this on your "list", and enjoy it when the opportunity arises. I encourage you to delve into the culture of the brand, but the Cliff's Notes are as follows: Louis XIII is a Cognac manufactured from the grapes of the Grande Champagne terroir of Cognac, France. It's actually blended from 1200 eaux-de-vie (each aged at least 40 years, and up to over a century.) This blend is then aged in tiercons – barrels that are literally several hundred years old. To add insult to injury, it is sold in a handblown Baccarat Crystal decanter, itself worth more than most premium spirits. The current cellar master apprenticed for ten years, taking over the predecessor's 30 year stint. Well, it's as good as it should be, by the way.  (Oh, and they have an up-sell path as well…!

Uh, hang on… This is a blog about food crack:

Teiichi and I had a sidebar… in the kitchen:

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^ San Diego Uni in Sea Water… slurped off of Japanese Citrus… 
…it's not a contest…

Summer Cocktail Watch: Macallan Cooler (and Ice Balls) Abacus, Dallas.

I LOVE the Scotch whiskey. In fact, close friends know that I refer to a particular blend as a comfort food. When in a more discerning mood, single malts are de rigueur… and necessary. Amongst the most famous, one finds excellence: The Macallan. Burying the lead of a post to come, I can affirm that – after considerable research – Macallan Fine Oak 17 Year Old is about as good as you are gonna get – yum. (Strangely, the brand’s site now shows an 18 yr. in place of the 17 – research time.) 

Where was I… Oh! So, The Macallan had a promo event at Abacus recently – featuring a new cocktail by bar manager Stewart Jones, the Macallan Cooler: Macallan Single Malt Whisky, Cointreau, Regan’s Orange Bitters, Mint, Lemon Juice, Lime, Ginger Ale. We could debate all day about the best use of this spirit, but this cocktail WAS delicious.

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^ The bar at Abacus; and the Macallan Cooler.

Meanwhile: there was other action at the Macallan table. They are marketing “The Perfect Serve,” a compromise in the ongoing debate regarding ice usage with scotch (I generally prefer a wee bit). Here, The Macallan has taken inspiration from the Japanese tradition of serving fine spirits over a single, hand carved sphere of ice. My friend Yosuke Fukuda, now at Tei-An, first introduced me to this presentation while at Moosh:


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^ He used to claim he slaved 20 minutes over each sphere, but recently he admitted to taking some artistic license there. While Yosuke will serve you a hand carved sphere at the bar at Tei-An (if you ask nicely) – The Macallan people are using one of these nifty devices (also Japanese) to achieve the effect in a flash:


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A block of ice is placed above the lower mold; the upper mold (preferably lifted from a warm bath) is placed above and a weight applied. In a matter of seconds the ice ball is formed – nifty.


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The idea is that the perfectly efficient shape of the sphere allows the ice to chill the beverage without diluting it as quickly as chipped ice. Whatever – it’s cool anyways.

Summer Cocktail Watch: Chef’s Pink Lemonade – The Grape, Dallas

…and we have a new contender. Here's a fine option for sipping on the patio on a Sunday or Monday, awaiting your very own taste of Texas Monthly's "The Best Burger in Texas."


Chef/owner Brian Luscher's Chef's Pink Lemonade:

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Brian says "I didn't want to use Vodka, so it's Lemons, Raspberries, Sugar, Salt and Rum." Garnished with Mint and a Lemon Gel Candy Slice. The presentation in a Kerr jar earns this one a gold star. Kudos.

Summer Cocktail Watch: Jalapeño-Cucumber Margarita – Love Shack

After checking out the "For the Love of Lamb" gorge-fest behind Tim Love's new Love Shack Location at the So7 development in Ft. Worth, we wandered onto the patio for a few of these Jalapeño-Cucumber Margaritas:

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Very refreshing, not cloyingly sweet, nice bite – this rates highly on my summer list.

Summer Cocktail Watch: Masaryk, Addison

It was all blustery looking as I walked over to Masaryk this evening, then the sun came out and it was still only 88°. Cocktails!

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They have some well made Custom Ritas here at Masaryk Modern Mexican Kitchen. Today I opted for the Metrosexual (mostly to see what kind of crazy Google searches I show up in.) Corzo Silver Tequila, Gran Torres Orange Liqueur, Sangria, Lime Juice, Ice. It's sweet, but not too. I could have a couple of these here and there.

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My buddy ordered his usual "Top Shelf Frozen." It's good. Better get some Huaraches for good measure! Huaraches Merced: Corn Masa Discs / Black Beans / Pulled Pork Chille Pasilla / Crema / Queso Fresco / Shoots.

Summer Cocktail Watch: Jalisco Flower

Here's another fruity sounding cocktail, but this is pretty damned refreshing. It contains the seductive and fragrant elderflower liqueur, St. Germain. The Jalisco Flower contains fresh ruby red grapefruit juice, blanco tequila, and St. Germain liqueur shaken with ice, then topped off with Brut Champagne.

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^ On hand I had a regular grapefruit and Patrón Añejo, delicious. I finished off the rest over ice and the refreshment lasted a while longer!

Summer Cocktail Watch: Chelada

To celebrate the fact that it's only 88° right now (instead of the 104° it's been this last week,) I sat on the patio, caught up on some back-issues of Bon Appétit, and drank a few of these:

Chelada I call this a Chelada (not to be confused with the Budweiser offering – or the Michelada on which the canned version is based).

Mexican Beer (here some left behind Modelo), Ice, Sea Salt, Lime. Refreshing as hell! I do like Micheladas as well – made by adding to the above: Clamato, Worcestershire Sauce, pick a Hot Sauce, Maggi Seasoning Sauce (or Soy Sauce as a substitute.) It's heartier but delicious. I get them often at MiCo's, and they have a great one at Pepe at Mito's.

Kaboom Cocktails

It's always a good plan to have a mixologist hanging around, so for this year's Kaboom Town celebration Michael Martensen dropped by to get the evening going. I keep an eclectic selection of booze on hand just for such an occasion.

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Mike brought along some Bulleit Bourbon, "frontier whiskey" with a very high rye content. Spying the Green Chartreuse, Martensen whipped up a flowery sounding, but kick-ass old school cocktail: the Whiskey Daisy.

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^ Whiskey Daisy: here featuring the Bulleit Bourbon, Green Chartreuse, Lemon, Lime, Sugar.

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We popped some nice and affordable Charles de Fère Reserve Blanc de Blancs Brut. Then MM mixed some Bulleit, Ginger Ale and Lemon in plastic cups – I grabbed my Sangria (from a Dale DeGroff recipe) and we ran across the street to meet some friends and watch the fireworks from atop a new rooftop pool deal.

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The Leftovers:

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Michael Martensen is the shiznit.

Molecular Mixology.
Yes, a gimmick. Of course, right?
Well, go see my buddy Michael at the bar at The Mansion and get over yourself. (UPDATE: Michael is no longer at The Mansion… continue reading and drool.)


^Michael working up my tab.

What’s going on over there frustrates the both of us. He wants more clients… I see his star rising, and thus my days of BSing with him about cocktail theory are numbered.

Tobacco Rum. Deconstructed Cosmo. Smoked Coca-Cola. House-made Tonic. Oh, and one time he had come up with his own naturally effervescent lime soda. The guy is a nut.

Looks like to me, he got hoodwinked into leaving Nantucket and coming to Dallas 9 months ago. “The Mansion is committed to reinventing fine dining in Dallas, as well as providing a unique platform for a true artist behind the bar,” I imagine the pitch to have been. He’s here now, and loves the town BTW, but we need to keep him interested.

He was telling me the other night that they are building him an outside bar, on the sweetest patio in town. I’m looking into sponsoring a permanent seat for the fall.

Meanwhile, here is a recent concoction: Bacon Bourbon Manhattan.



Bacon Infused Bourbon… and, yes, Bacon Garnish. It’s insanely good.

Head over to Screen Door and get “Lucky” behind the bar.


…well, Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, that is. Like my buddy Michael Martensen over at The Mansion, “Lucky” is expanding our libatious vernacular with his brand of Molecular Mixology. And on this night at Screen Door, flowing forth is an endless stream of wisdom and facts regarding the spirits of the south – particularly, Bourbon.


(^) Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, obscured by “bar grass.”


(^) Here is a frickin’ good Mango Mint Julep. That frosty Julep cup makes this a real crowd pleaser.


(^) A “Tasting” of Manhattans – I mean, we had to frame the discussion… Each is prepared with a different Bourbon and style of Bitters – it was a fun discussion… Oh, we ate, too… too dark for the ol’ iPhone camera – we had some good selections from the Tasting Menu – will do another mission and report further. Meanwhile, it’s hot out – go see Lucky and be refreshed!

Read of a past Julep misadventure here!