Gift Guide: Father’s Day 2016

All Dad wants to do is drink good booze, read about some booze, and he doesn’t want rose gold barware. And maybe a steak. Actually, yes, grill him a steak too.

Father's Day Gift Guide 2016 // stirandstrain.com

Want to surprise Dad with something new? Well, how about the best American Brandy sampler you need in your liquor cabinet right now? And don’t try and slip in some chintzy jigger you scored at the airport on the way to see him. Cocktail Kingdom now has gunmetal black bar tools: the manliest of the manly. Oh but he’s that manly? Well, just get him an Opinel knife. You can zest, cut, and I don’t know what else with this knife…cut down a tree to make a barrel? Books? Yes, Dad wants books. About booze.

1. Whiskey: A Spirited Story with 75 Classic and Original Cocktails 2. Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki 3. Leopold Jigger 4. Koriko Hawthorne Strainer 5. Japanese Style Jigger 6. Opinel Blue Knife 7. Copper & Kings American Brandy Sampler 3 Pack: American Craft Brandy, Butchertown Brandy, and Un-Aged Apple Brandy

Electric Sidecar

A couple months ago my husband went to this reading an author was giving, and I guess to make things more interesting they also had a white elephant gift exchange (that’s the only reason I could think of for holding one). You all know what a white elephant gift exchange is right? That’s when people bring really stupid gifts and then exchange them.. trying to be ironic, or hip or something. Anyways, he came home with this bottle of liquor that was all in Japanese and what he claimed was “like Jägermeister”. But from Japan. The box looked like something from a 70’s dollar store and that alone kept me from even opening and smelling it for this whole time. Until now. Maybe because it’s become a staple on the shelf in the kitchen that I have found myself warming up to it. Oh good morning weird unknown Japanese liquor. No, I don’t think I will try you today. Maybe tomorrow.

Well now the day has come. But first, obviously, I had to look it up on the internet and figure out what the hell it was first. Oh, it’s called Denki Bran. And this article I found in The Japan Times Online sums it up as a “blend of brandy, gin, wine, vermouth, curacao and herbs”. Dang. That’s a lot of crap in there already.

Seeing that brandy made the first in the list of ingredients… well, this list. And also according to the article, Bran is Japanese for Brandy? (In the 5 minutes I spent looking around the internet I couldn’t confirm this so I’ll just be lazy for now and assume the person is probably correct) I wanted to use this in place of a Brandy base. After looking around for some ideas I landed on the Sidecar. And trying to be really clever with naming a drink, and that denki is Japanese for electricity, I have named this the Electric Sidecar.

1-1/2 oz Denki Bran
3/4 oz of Triple Sec
1 oz of Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (I used Meyer Lemons since I have bags of them hanging around the house right now)
granulated sugar for sugared-rim garnish

Shake all of the ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass with sugared rim.

This took a couple passes and ultimately I had to decrease the triple sec and up the lemon juice. Perhaps because the meyer lemon juice is sweet as it is, the drink needed to have the sweet of the triple sec toned down. The Denki Bran has some anise flavor, some citrus notes but also at the same time is sharp and woodsy. Maybe because it’s packed with so many ingredients. The biting medicinal taste of the liquor all but disappears when mixed here, adding some savory notes to the intense citrus in the drink.

Alright, my copy of the Joy of Mixology arrived in the mail. I’m going to go bury myself in that for a couple days and come back with some fizzy drinks and a bunch of recipes on how to use up bags of lemons that are crowding your kitchen counters.