Bartendering Ingredients

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Spirits
Distilled spirits have been with us since the 1100s when the art
of distillation, which had been practiced for centuries at that
point, was finally used to distill alcoholic products, such as
wine. Initially, because spirits were liquids that could be set on
fire, they were known as ardent spirits, from the Latin adere,
meaning “to burn,” but because they were first used as medicines,
they became known as the water of life, and this name is
still with us today. France produces eaux-de-vie; Scandinavia
makes aquavit, and both of these terms translate to “water of
life.” Even the Gaelic word uisga beatha (Ireland) or usquebaugh
(Scotland) which was anglicized to “whisk(e)y,” means water of
life. Here are some definitions for the main categories of
distilled spirits, along with some explanations of various specific
bottlings, and the most important distillation terms you
should know.

Absente: See Absinthe and Absinthe Substitutes.

Absinthe and Absinthe Substitutes: Absinthe was outlawed
in many countries during the first couple of decades of the
twentieth century, and although its popularity waned, it has
recently made a big comeback in countries where it wasn’t
banned—notably Andorra, the Czech Republic, England,
Germany, Japan, and Spain. The reason that absinthe was
banned was that it was said to be addictive and hallucinogenic
because of one ingredient, wormwood, a bitter herb,
that contains thujone, which has a molecular structure that’s
strikingly similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
In all probability, though, it was the high alcohol content of
absinthe—most bottlings verged on almost 70 percent alcohol
by volume (abv)—that caused absinthe drinkers to act so
strangely.
In the United States, where absinthe was made illegal in
1915, we now use absinthe substitutes—Pernod, Ricard,
Herbsaint, and Absente—when absinthe is called for in a
drink. These spirits are often consumed after dilution with
water, but in the case of Absente, it’s best to add sugar, too.

Amer Picon: Hard to find in the United States, this is a French
apéritif wine with orange/herbal notes.

American Brandy: Distilled from a fermented mash of grapes,
American distillers have a huge advantage over many other
brandymakers: the law does not proscribe which grape varieties
can be used, and thus, they can employ whichever
grape variety takes their fancy. The result is some truly great
American brandies that are loaded with complexity, perhaps
because they are made from top-notch grapes.


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Apple Brandy: Distilled from a fermented mash of apples,apple brandy is usually aged in oak barrels, sometimes fordecades, but more usually for about three to five years.Applejack: A blended apple brandy used in many cocktails.Armagnac: A grape brandy made in the Gascony region ofFrance, which is divided into three subregions: Ténarèze,Haut-Armagnac, and Bas-Armagnac. Armagnac must bemade only from white grapes, Ugni Blanc (also known asSaint-Emilion), Colombard, and Folle Blanche varietiesbeing the most common. Armagnac is usually aged in blackoak casks, and the minimum age of the brandy is noted onthe bottle using the same terminology as cognac.Bourbon: Distilled from a fermented mash that must contain aminimum of 51 percent corn, the other grains used are maltedbarley and either rye or wheat. Bourbon must be aged innew, charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years, thoughmost bottlings have spent at least four years in the wood.The name, bourbon, comes from the Kentucky county fromwhich whiskey from the area was shipped in the late 1700s.Bourbon can be made legally anywhere in the United States,although, with the exception of one Virginia distillery, at thetime of writing it is all made in Kentucky. Bourbon is the onlyspirit that was born in the United States; all others originatedelsewhere.Small-batch bourbon usually denotes whiskey that has beenselected from a small quantity of barrels that has aged intowhat the distiller thinks is a whiskey that’s superior to hisregular bottlings. Keep in mind, though, that each distilleryhas its own criteria for using this term, and it has not beenlegally defined.Brandy: Distilled from a fermented mash of fruits, the mostcommon brandies are grape-based, though many made fromother fruits are also available.Brandy de Jerez: A brandy made from a fermented mash ofgrapes, usually Airén or Palomino varietals, in the Jerez districtof Spain. Brandy de Jerez is aged in oak using the soleramethod, which means that the barrels are stacked on top of eachother, usually about 12 barrels high, and newly made brandy isentered into the top layer. Every few months, some brandy istaken from the bottom layer, which contains the oldest brandy,and this is replaced with brandy from the next level up. The procedure is repeated until what started out as young brandyon the top layer has aged its way through the layers and isremoved. All the while, newly made brandy is entered at the toplayer so that the continuous mingling and aging process can continue.“Solera” bottlings are aged for around one year,“Solera Reserva” brandies must spend two years in oak, andbottles labeled “Solera Gran Reserva” spend upwards ofseven years in wood.

BrandiesCognacs, Armagnacs, andCalvados use the followingdesignations to denote theminimum age of the brandyin the bottle:VS (Very Special):21/2 yearsVSOP (Very Special OldPale): 41/2 yearsVO (Very Old): 41/2 yearsRéserve: 41/2 yearsXO (Extra Old): 6 yearsNapoléon: 6 yearsCacha?a: A style of rum made from sugarcane in Brazil—essential to a true Caipirinha.Calvados: A brandy distilled from a fermented mash of apples,although a small percentage of pears are also used, made inthe Calvados region of Normandy, France. Calvados is agedin oak casks—mainly Limousin—and the minimum age ofthe brandy is noted on the bottle using the same terminologyas Cognac (see box above).Campari: A bitter apéritif from Italy used in cocktails andmixed drinks such as the Negroni. It is notable for its redcolor and its affinity to orange flavors.Canadian Whisky: Usually a blended whisky from Canada, whichcan be flavored legally with a small percentage of products,such as prune wine and even bourbon.Cognac: A grape brandy made in the Cognac region of Francewhich is divided into six subregions: Grande Champagne,Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, and BoisOrdinaires. Cognac, by law, must be made only from whitegrapes, and 90 percent of the grapes must be Ugni Blanc(also known as Saint-Emilion), Folle Blanche, and/orColombard. Cognac usually is aged in Limousin oak casks fora minimum of 30 months, at which point it can be labeled asa VS (Very Special) bottling. Cognacs aged for longer thanthis use a variety of other designations.Distilled SpiritsFrom the Latin dis or des, which implies separation, and stilla,meaning “drop,” distillation means “to separate, drop bydrop.” In terms of distilled spirits, this means that a fermentedmash, or “soup,” of fruits, grains, sugars, or vegetables, isentered into a still and heated. Since the alcohol in the mashevaporates at a lower temperature than the water, the steamthat rises contains more alcohol than the original mash. Thissteam is collected, then condensed, and depending on themethod of distillation used, it might have to be redistilled untilit contains enough alcohol—40 percent minimum—to be calleda distilled spirit.

Continuous stills, invented in the late 1700s or early 1800s, aretall chimney-like pieces of equipment fitted with numerousperforated plates situated at regular intervals in the chimney.Steam is introduced to the bottom of the still, while the fermentedmash is poured into the top. The steam evaporates thealcohol from the mash as it descends through the perforatedplates, and this steam, now laden with alcohol, can be drawnoff and condensed at various levels in the still. If the steam isallowed to reach the top of the still, it can contain as much as95 percent alcohol, but if it is drawn off at lower levels, it willbe weaker. Continuous stills, however, are not used to producespirits that have less than 40 percent alcohol, so redistillationis unnecessary. Continuous stills are used to produce vodka,and most other varieties of distilled spirits.Pot stills, usually onion-shaped copper vessels with a long,tapering chimney extending from the top, are used to makespecialty spirits, such as single malt scotches and variousbrandies. In this kind of still, the fermented mash is usuallystrained of all solids before being entered, in order to preventscorching. The still is heated, usually by means of a steamjacket, but sometimes coal and/or wood is still used. Thevapors rise up the tapered chimney and are condensed. Thisproduct of one distillation doesn’t contain enough alcohol tobe known as a spirit, so it must then be entered into anotherpot still, and go through the process again.Dubonnet: French apéritif wines—rouge and blanc—used indrinks such as the Dubonnet Cocktail.Eaux-de-vie: Distilled from a fermented mash of fruits, eauxde-vie are rarely aged, and are made in, more or less, everycountry that produces fruit. Most of the best bottlings comefrom the United States (mainly from California and Oregon),France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.Fruit Brandies: The most common fruit brandies foundbehind American bars contain a small amount of truebrandy, and are sweetened and flavored to be suitablecocktail ingredients.Gin: Gin was first made in Holland in the 1500s, and Englishsoldiers who fought alongside the Dutch in the Thirty YearsWar, brought the spirit home calling it Dutch Courage,because it had been used to prepare them for battle. Theword gin comes from the French genièvre, which means“juniper.”Basically, gin is a flavored vodka, the main flavoring agentbeing juniper, but other botanicals, such as angelica, caraway,cardamom, cassia, cinnamon, coriander, fennel,ginger, lemon zest, licorice, and orange zest can also beused.

Gin producers don’t normally reveal their recipes, andeven if they list their ingredients, they never tell us whatamounts they have used. London Dry Gin is crisp and dry,and the words denote a style, not necessarily where theproduct was made. Plymouth gin is similar in style to someLondon Dry Gins, but it must be made in Plymouth, England.Old Tom Gin was a sweetened gin that’s no longer on themarket. Genever or Hollands Gin is made in Holland andhas a malty sweetness not found in other styles. Gins flavoredwith citrus juice, such as lime and grapefruit, haverecently been introduced to the market, and there are evengins available now flavored with cucumbers, mint, andpassion fruit.Grappa: An unaged Italian brandy distilled from grape pomace—the leftover skins, seeds, and other detritus from thewinemaking process.Herbsaint: See Absinthe and Absinthe Substitutes.Irish Whiskey: Irish whiskey, like scotch, can be divided intotwo distinct categories—single malts and blendedwhiskeys—although most Irish whiskey is blended. Singlemalt Irish whiskey is made in the same way as single maltscotch, although peat isn’t usually used in theprocess, and therefore, the smokiness evident in scotch isn’tfound in the vast majority of Irish whiskeys. Blended Irishwhiskey is made by blending together single malts withneutral grain whiskeys, in the same way that blended scotchis made.Kirsch: An unaged brandy distilled from a fermented mash ofcherries.Marc: An unaged French brandy distilled from grape pomace—the leftovers from the winemaking process. Marc is theFrench equivalent of Italian grappa.Mash: A “soup” of fruits, grains, sugars, or sometimes vegetablesand water, that is fermented, by the introduction ofyeast, to produce alcohol.Mezcal: A Mexican spirit made from several species of theagave plant, but not the blue agave plant that must be usedfor tequilas. While tequila must be produced in certain designatedareas, mezcal can be made anywhere in Mexico.Mezcal is a much rougher spirit, often tinged with a smokyflavor from roasting the agaves in clay ovens.Pernod: See Absinthe and Absinthe Substitutes.

Pisco Brandy: True Pisco is a Peruvian grape brandy, mademainly with Quebranta grapes, and aged for short periods inclay vessels. It is essential to a Pisco Sour.Ricard: See Absinthe and Absinthe Substitutes.Rum: Distilled from a mash of molasses or sugarcane juice,most of the rum consumed in the United States comes fromPuerto Rico. However, rum is produced in and imported fromalmost every Caribbean nation, and, indeed, almost everysugar-producing country.Rums imported from Puerto Rico are required by law to be agedin oak for at least one year. Many rums are aged for far longer,developing into complex, dry spirits suitable for sipping.Rums are available in light (or white), amber, a?ejo, and darkvarieties, but since every rum-producing nation has its ownrules and regulations governing these products, it’s impossibleto know how long each one of them has been aged inoak unless an age statement appears on the label.Flavored rums have become very popular in the last decadeor so. It’s easy to find a variety of flavors, banana, citrus,coconut, lemon, lime and mint, orange, pineapple, raspberry,spiced, vanilla, and wild cherry among them.Rye Whiskey: Made from a fermented mash containing a minimumof 51 percent rye and aged in new charred oak barrels,rye whiskey is making a comeback among whiskey drinkers.Although some people refer to blended Canadian whiskiesas “ryes,” they are not; look for the words, “straight ryewhiskey” on the label.Scotch Whisky: Made in Scotland from a fermented mash ofgrains, scotch can be divided into two main categories.Single malt scotch is distilled in pot stills from a fermentedmash of malted barley, and must spend a minimum of threeyears in oak barrels before being bottled. Most bottlings,however, spend far longer than that in the wood, and this isusually reflected by an age statement on the label. Each singlemalt must be the product of just one distillery, the nameof which is found on the label of most bottlings. Complicatingmatters even more, single malt scotches as a category areoften further broken down according to the region in whichthey are made. Pure malt scotch, knownin Scotland as vatted malt whisky, is made by blending singlemalts from more than one distillery to achieve a specificflavor profile.Blended scotch is made by blending single malt scotch withneutral grain whisky, which can be made from a fermentedmash of any grain, although corn is usually predominant, anda small amount of malted barley is usually used, as well.

The amount of single malt scotch in a blended bottling usuallygoverns its price, so the more expensive blended whiskiestend to be made with a higher percentage of single malt.The smokiness found in scotch, whether it be single malt orblended, varies from one bottling to the next, but it comesfrom the barley, which, after germination, is dried over peatfires prior to being introduced to the mash. The amount oftime that the malted barley spends over the smoldering peatwill govern the amount of smokiness found in the finishedproduct.Single-Barrel Whisk(e)y: Most whiskeys, even single maltscotches, are made by marrying together whiskeys from anumber of barrels. In the case of single-barrel whiskey, thisis not the case, and these bottlings contain product from justone barrel that the distiller has decided has matured into asuperior spirit.________________________________________________________________Single Malt ScotchesSingle malt scotches can be made anywhere in Scotland, but generalizationsabout specific qualities found in whiskies from various regionscan be drawn, even though bottlings vary from one distillery to the next.Islay (EYE-luh) single malts, such as Ardbeg, Bowmore, and Laphroaig,are from an island just off the western coast of Scotland. Islaymalts are usually quite peaty and smoky with notes of iodine, andeven seaweed sometimes being present.Lowland single malts, such as Auchentoshan, Bladnoch, Glenkinchie,and Littlemill, are usually lighter in character than other bottlings,and they are seldom described as being overly smoky or peaty.Campbeltown single malts, such as Glen Scotia, Longrow, andSpringbank, from the west coast of Scotland, are known for theirbrininess, and usually display a certain degree of smokiness, too.Highland single malts, such as Edradour, Glenmorangie, Knockando,and Oban, vary widely in character, but most often they can bedescribed as being fresh and heathery, with some fruity notes presentin certain bottlings.Speyside single malts, such as Aberlour, The Glenlivet, and The Macallan,come from a sub-region of the Highlands that most aficionados claimproduces the best of the best whiskies. Speyside bottlings varytremendously from one to the next, but virtually all of them are verycomplex, well-knit whiskies, with hints of smoke and peat.________________________________________________________________Sloe Gin: Not every bottling of sloe gin uses gin as its base,but this spirit gets its flavor from the sloe berries found onblackthorn bushes.

Tennessee Whiskey: Distilled from a fermented mash containinga minimum of 51 percent corn, Tennessee whiskey mustbe made within the state of Tennessee, and it differs frombourbon in that it is filtered through large vats of sugarmaple charcoal before it is aged in new charred oak barrels,giving it a sweet sootiness not found in any other whiskeys.Tequila: Distilled from a fermented mash of blue agave (Webertequilana azul), a member of the amaryllis family that lookslike a very large pineapple, tequila is made in Mexico, andmust come from the state of Jalisco, or in demarcatedregions of the states of Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacán, orTamaulipas.The two basic varieties of tequila are 100-percent blueagave and mixto. By law, mixto tequila can be made withas little as 51 percent blue agave, with the rest of the productusually being made up of sugar-based products. Onehundred–percent agave tequilas are just what they soundlike—made only from the blue agave plant; these are mostprized by tequila lovers. Blanco, or “white,” tequilas arenot aged at all, but joven abocado, meaning “young andsmoothed,” bottlings, usually known as “gold” tequilas,contain a percentage of tequila that spent at least twomonths in oak. Reposado, or “rested,” tequilas spend aminimum of two months in barrels before being bottled,and A?ejo, or “aged,” tequilas spend a minimum of 12 monthsin the wood.Vodka: This spirit can be made from a fermented mash ofalmost anything, but it’s usually made from grains or potatoes.Whether vodka originated in Poland or Russia is a matterthat will be debated for centuries to come. Vodka containsvery few, if any, impurities, and therefore, it has little inthe way of flavor or aroma. However, individual bottlings dodiffer, and like any other spirit, some are better than others.As a massive generalization, potato vodkas, made mainly inPoland, although at least one is made in the United States,are a little sweeter than grain-based bottlings.Flavored vodkas have become very popular in recent years,and some of them are responsible for many of today’snewest cocktails and mixed drinks. Almost every flavorunder the sun seems to be on the market now; you canchoose from apple, berry, bilberry, bison grass, chocolate,cinnamon, citrus, coffee, cranberry, currant, honey, honeypepper, honey and quince, lemon, lime, orange, peach, pear,pepper, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla, wild apple, wild berry,and many more are sure to be on the shelves by the timeyou read this.

Whisk(e)y: Spelled with the “e” in Ireland and the UnitedStates, and without it in Scotland and Canada, whiskey isdistilled from a fermented mash of grains. See Scotch Whisky,Canadian Whisky, Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, TennesseeWhiskey, and Irish Whiskey.LiqueursLiqueurs are sweetened, usually diluted spirits that have beenflavored by specific botanicals, fruits, herbs, nuts, spices, andproducts from almost every food group. Sometimes known ascordials in the United States, liqueurs have been with us sinceat least the 1300s, when monks, seeking to make medicines,flavored distilled spirits with medicinal herbs, and sweetenedthem, sometimes with honey, to make them more palatable.Here’s a list of the most important liqueurs, along with explanationsof what to expect from them:Alizé: A passion fruit–flavored, brandy-based liqueur.Alizé Red Passion: A passion fruit– and cranberry juice–flavored, brandy-based liqueur.Amaretto: An almond-flavored liqueur that originated in Italy.Anisette: A syrupy aniseed-flavored liqueur.Apricot Brandy: An apricot-flavored liqueur containing apercentage of real brandy.Apry: A brand-name apricot-flavored liqueur.B & B: Bénédictine mixed with brandy—this delicious liqueurwas created at New York’s “21” Club shortly after the repealof Prohibition.Baileys Irish Cream: Made with Irish whiskey and heavycream, Baileys brand is one of today’s most popularliqueurs.Bénédictine: A French herbal liqueur made by Bénédictinemonks since 1510.Blackberry Brandy: A blackberry-flavored liqueur containing apercentage of real brandy.Chambord: A French black raspberry–flavored liqueur sweetenedwith honey and spiced with herbs.

Chartreuse: Made by French Carthusian monks since 1737,this is an herbal liqueur available in both green and yellowbottlings.Chéri-Suisse: A Swiss chocolate cherry–flavored liqueur.Cherry Brandy: A cherry-flavored liqueur not to be confusedwith kirsch, an unsweetened brandy made from cherries.Cherry Heering: A brand name of cherry brandy made inDenmark.Cointreau: A top-notch brand-name bottling of triple sec—by far the best triple sec on the market.Crème de Banane: A sweet banana-flavored liqueur.Crème de Cacao: A chocolate-flavored liqueur available inboth white and dark bottlings—both are similar in flavor toeach other.Crème de Cassis: A black currant–flavored liqueur originatingin France, though many bottlings are now made in theUnited States.Crème de Framboise: A raspberry-flavored liqueur fromFrance.Crème de Menthe: A mint-flavored liqueur that comes in bothgreen and white bottlings—both are similar in flavor to eachother.Crème de Noyaux: An almond-flavored liqueur that contributesthe pink color to a Pink Squirrel cocktail—substitute amarettoif you can’t find this product.Cuarenta y Tres Licor 43: A fruit- and herb-based Spanishliqueur, the name translates to “forty three,” the number ofingredients used in its production.Cura?ao: A sweet, orange-flavored liqueur, sometimes white,sometimes blue, and sometimes red—all bottlings are similarin flavor.Danziger Goldwasser: A German liqueur with mainly aniseedand caraway flavors and flakes of real gold. This liqueur hasbeen made since 1598, at which time gold was believed tohave healing qualities.Drambuie: A honeyed scotch-based liqueur flavored withvarious herbs and spices. The name comes from the Gaelican dram buidheach, meaning “the drink that satisfies.” Therecipe was supposedly given to Captain John Mackinnon byBonnie Prince Charlie in 1746, when Mackinnon shelteredhim on the Isle of Skye after his defeat by the English at theBattle of Culloden.

M A K E S 4 C U P S ( 1 QUA RT )3 cups water3 cups granulated sugarHeat the water in a saucepan set over moderately high heat.When it begins to simmer, add the sugar and stir until it dissolves.Do not let the mixture boil. Remove the pan from theheat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Pour the simplesyrup through a funnel into an empty, clean, 1-liter liquorbottle and cap tightly. Store in the refrigerator.Condiments and flavoringsAllspice (ground)Angostura bittersApplesBananasBerriesBlack pepperCandiesCelery seedCinnamon (sticks and ground)ClovesCocoa powder (unsweetened)Cocktail onionsCoffee beansCucumbersEggsFalernum syrupFresh mintGrapefruitsHorseradishLemonsLimesMaraschino cherriesNutmegOld Bay SeasoningOlives (cocktail, anchovystuffed,almond-stuffed)Orange bittersOrange flower waterOrangesOrgeat syrupPeach bittersSugar (granulated, superfine,and confectioners’; cubesor lumps)Peychaud’s bittersRose flower waterSalt (kosher)Tabasco sauceWorcestershire sauce

Apple Brandy: Distilled from a fermented mash of apples,apple brandy is usually aged in oak barrels, sometimes fordecades, but more usually for about three to five years.Applejack: A blended apple brandy used in many cocktails.Armagnac: A grape brandy made in the Gascony region ofFrance, which is divided into three subregions: Ténarèze,Haut-Armagnac, and Bas-Armagnac. Armagnac must bemade only from white grapes, Ugni Blanc (also known asSaint-Emilion), Colombard, and Folle Blanche varietiesbeing the most common. Armagnac is usually aged in blackoak casks, and the minimum age of the brandy is noted onthe bottle using the same terminology as cognac.Bourbon: Distilled from a fermented mash that must contain aminimum of 51 percent corn, the other grains used are maltedbarley and either rye or wheat. Bourbon must be aged innew, charred oak barrels for a minimum of two years, thoughmost bottlings have spent at least four years in the wood.The name, bourbon, comes from the Kentucky county fromwhich whiskey from the area was shipped in the late 1700s.Bourbon can be made legally anywhere in the United States,although, with the exception of one Virginia distillery, at thetime of writing it is all made in Kentucky. Bourbon is the onlyspirit that was born in the United States; all others originatedelsewhere.Small-batch bourbon usually denotes whiskey that has beenselected from a small quantity of barrels that has aged intowhat the distiller thinks is a whiskey that’s superior to hisregular bottlings. Keep in mind, though, that each distilleryhas its own criteria for using this term, and it has not beenlegally defined.Brandy: Distilled from a fermented mash of fruits, the mostcommon brandies are grape-based, though many made fromother fruits are also available.Brandy de Jerez: A brandy made from a fermented mash ofgrapes, usually Airén or Palomino varietals, in the Jerez districtof Spain. Brandy de Jerez is aged in oak using the soleramethod, which means that the barrels are stacked on top of eachother, usually about 12 barrels high, and newly made brandy isentered into the top layer. Every few months, some brandy istaken from the bottom layer, which contains the oldest brandy,and this is replaced with brandy from the next level up. The procedure is repeated until what started out as young brandyon the top layer has aged its way through the layers and isremoved. All the while, newly made brandy is entered at the toplayer so that the continuous mingling and aging process can continue.“Solera” bottlings are aged for around one year,“Solera Reserva” brandies must spend two years in oak, andbottles labeled “Solera Gran Reserva” spend upwards ofseven years in wood.

BrandiesCognacs, Armagnacs, andCalvados use the followingdesignations to denote theminimum age of the brandyin the bottle:VS (Very Special):21/2 yearsVSOP (Very Special OldPale): 41/2 yearsVO (Very Old): 41/2 yearsRéserve: 41/2 yearsXO (Extra Old): 6 yearsNapoléon: 6 yearsCacha?a: A style of rum made from sugarcane in Brazil—essential to a true Caipirinha.Calvados: A brandy distilled from a fermented mash of apples,although a small percentage of pears are also used, made inthe Calvados region of Normandy, France. Calvados is agedin oak casks—mainly Limousin—and the minimum age ofthe brandy is noted on the bottle using the same terminologyas Cognac (see box above).Campari: A bitter apéritif from Italy used in cocktails andmixed drinks such as the Negroni. It is notable for its redcolor and its affinity to orange flavors.Canadian Whisky: Usually a blended whisky from Canada, whichcan be flavored legally with a small percentage of products,such as prune wine and even bourbon.Cognac: A grape brandy made in the Cognac region of Francewhich is divided into six subregions: Grande Champagne,Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, and BoisOrdinaires. Cognac, by law, must be made only from whitegrapes, and 90 percent of the grapes must be Ugni Blanc(also known as Saint-Emilion), Folle Blanche, and/orColombard. Cognac usually is aged in Limousin oak casks fora minimum of 30 months, at which point it can be labeled asa VS (Very Special) bottling. Cognacs aged for longer thanthis use a variety of other designations.Distilled SpiritsFrom the Latin dis or des, which implies separation, and stilla,meaning “drop,” distillation means “to separate, drop bydrop.” In terms of distilled spirits, this means that a fermentedmash, or “soup,” of fruits, grains, sugars, or vegetables, isentered into a still and heated. Since the alcohol in the mashevaporates at a lower temperature than the water, the steamthat rises contains more alcohol than the original mash. Thissteam is collected, then condensed, and depending on themethod of distillation used, it might have to be redistilled untilit contains enough alcohol—40 percent minimum—to be calleda distilled spirit.

Forbidden Fruit: A brandy-based liqueur flavored with grapefruit,oranges, and honey.Frangelico: An Italian hazelnut liqueur spiced with cinnamon,cardamom, citrus zest, and various other botanicals.Galliano: An Italian liqueur with predominant vanilla andorange notes; it is essential for a Harvey Wallbanger.Glayva: A scotch-based liqueur that, like Drambuie, is flavoredwith honey and herbs.Grand Marnier: An orange-flavored, cognac-based Frenchliqueur, made since 1871 by the Marnier-Lapostolle family.Much of the aged cognac used to make Grand Marniercomes from the best regions of Cognac, and after beinginfused with orange peels and sweetened with simple syrup,the liqueur is then returned to barrels for further aging.Cordon Rouge is the bottling of Grand Marnier most familiarto us, but it is also available in Grande Marnier Cuvée duCentenaire, which was issued to celebrate the 100-yearanniversary of the liqueur, and Grand Marnier CentCinquantenaire, released to commemorate the 150-yearanniversary of Lapostolle’s company, which has been producingliqueurs since 1827. The Grand Marnier Cuvée duCentenaire is made with 10-year-old cognac, and the GrandMarnier Cuvée du Cent-Cinquantenaire uses XO cognacs.Irish Mist: Based on an ancient formula for Heather Wine, thisIrish whiskey–based liqueur is flavored with honey andspiced with herbs.J?germeister: A German liqueur, somewhat medicinal in flavor,but very popular in the United States. J?germeister, literallytranslated, means “master of the hunt.”Kahlúa: A Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur dating back to the1930s.Kümmel: A caraway-flavored liqueur from Holland.Limoncello: An Italian lemon zest–flavored liqueur that isbecoming increasingly popular in the United States. Store itin the freezer.Mandarine Napoléon: A French cognac-based liqueur with theflavors of tangerine zest.

Continuous stills, invented in the late 1700s or early 1800s, aretall chimney-like pieces of equipment fitted with numerousperforated plates situated at regular intervals in the chimney.Steam is introduced to the bottom of the still, while the fermentedmash is poured into the top. The steam evaporates thealcohol from the mash as it descends through the perforatedplates, and this steam, now laden with alcohol, can be drawnoff and condensed at various levels in the still. If the steam isallowed to reach the top of the still, it can contain as much as95 percent alcohol, but if it is drawn off at lower levels, it willbe weaker. Continuous stills, however, are not used to producespirits that have less than 40 percent alcohol, so redistillationis unnecessary. Continuous stills are used to produce vodka,and most other varieties of distilled spirits.Pot stills, usually onion-shaped copper vessels with a long,tapering chimney extending from the top, are used to makespecialty spirits, such as single malt scotches and variousbrandies. In this kind of still, the fermented mash is usuallystrained of all solids before being entered, in order to preventscorching. The still is heated, usually by means of a steamjacket, but sometimes coal and/or wood is still used. Thevapors rise up the tapered chimney and are condensed. Thisproduct of one distillation doesn’t contain enough alcohol tobe known as a spirit, so it must then be entered into anotherpot still, and go through the process again.Dubonnet: French apéritif wines—rouge and blanc—used indrinks such as the Dubonnet Cocktail.Eaux-de-vie: Distilled from a fermented mash of fruits, eauxde-vie are rarely aged, and are made in, more or less, everycountry that produces fruit. Most of the best bottlings comefrom the United States (mainly from California and Oregon),France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.Fruit Brandies: The most common fruit brandies foundbehind American bars contain a small amount of truebrandy, and are sweetened and flavored to be suitablecocktail ingredients.Gin: Gin was first made in Holland in the 1500s, and Englishsoldiers who fought alongside the Dutch in the Thirty YearsWar, brought the spirit home calling it Dutch Courage,because it had been used to prepare them for battle. Theword gin comes from the French genièvre, which means“juniper.”Basically, gin is a flavored vodka, the main flavoring agentbeing juniper, but other botanicals, such as angelica, caraway,cardamom, cassia, cinnamon, coriander, fennel,ginger, lemon zest, licorice, and orange zest can also beused.

Maraschino: A cherry liqueur that isn’t too sweet, Maraschinois made from Dalmatian cherries. I think this productdeserves more attention; it is a basic ingredient in manyclassic cocktails.Midori: A honeydew melon–flavored liqueur (Midori isJapanese for “green”) that is very popular in the UnitedStates.Ouzo: A Greek anise-flavored liqueur.Peach Brandy: A peach-flavored liqueur containing a percentageof real brandy.Peach Schnapps: A dryish peach-flavored liqueur.Peppermint Schnapps: A peppermint-flavored liqueur, usuallydrier than crème de menthe.Sambuca: An anise-based Italian liqueur, available in whiteand black bottlings—black sambuca is usually flavored withlemon zest as well as anise.Southern Comfort: A fruit-flavored American liqueur with predominantlypeach notes. Though everyone seems to thinkthis product contains bourbon, it does not.Strawberry Brandy: A strawberry-flavored liqueur containinga percentage of real brandy.Strega: An Italian herbal liqueur made with over 70 botanicals—the word strega means “witch.”Tia Maria: A Jamaican liqueur made from a base of rum andflavored with coffee.Triple Sec: An orange-flavored liqueur used in many mixeddrinks, such as the Margarita.Tuaca: An Italian herbal liqueur with predominant vanilla notesand a hint of oranges.Wines and wine-based ingredientsChampagne (and other sparkling wines)Effervescent wines are made in all winemaking countries, butthe methods used are based on those that originated in theChampagne region of France in the early 1700s. Most wineaficionados today still recognize champagnes made in thedelimited region of northeastern France known as theChampagne district, as the real thing.

Gin producers don’t normally reveal their recipes, andeven if they list their ingredients, they never tell us whatamounts they have used. London Dry Gin is crisp and dry,and the words denote a style, not necessarily where theproduct was made. Plymouth gin is similar in style to someLondon Dry Gins, but it must be made in Plymouth, England.Old Tom Gin was a sweetened gin that’s no longer on themarket. Genever or Hollands Gin is made in Holland andhas a malty sweetness not found in other styles. Gins flavoredwith citrus juice, such as lime and grapefruit, haverecently been introduced to the market, and there are evengins available now flavored with cucumbers, mint, andpassion fruit.Grappa: An unaged Italian brandy distilled from grape pomace—the leftover skins, seeds, and other detritus from thewinemaking process.Herbsaint: See Absinthe and Absinthe Substitutes.Irish Whiskey: Irish whiskey, like scotch, can be divided intotwo distinct categories—single malts and blendedwhiskeys—although most Irish whiskey is blended. Singlemalt Irish whiskey is made in the same way as single maltscotch, although peat isn’t usually used in theprocess, and therefore, the smokiness evident in scotch isn’tfound in the vast majority of Irish whiskeys. Blended Irishwhiskey is made by blending together single malts withneutral grain whiskeys, in the same way that blended scotchis made.Kirsch: An unaged brandy distilled from a fermented mash ofcherries.Marc: An unaged French brandy distilled from grape pomace—the leftovers from the winemaking process. Marc is theFrench equivalent of Italian grappa.Mash: A “soup” of fruits, grains, sugars, or sometimes vegetablesand water, that is fermented, by the introduction ofyeast, to produce alcohol.Mezcal: A Mexican spirit made from several species of theagave plant, but not the blue agave plant that must be usedfor tequilas. While tequila must be produced in certain designatedareas, mezcal can be made anywhere in Mexico.Mezcal is a much rougher spirit, often tinged with a smokyflavor from roasting the agaves in clay ovens.Pernod: See Absinthe and Absinthe Substitutes.

French champagne can be made only from three types ofgrapes—two black and one white—Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier,and Chardonnay. The grape juice is separated from the blackgrape skins before they can impart any color to the wine.Further, real champagne (and the best sparkling wines fromelsewhere) must be made using the méthode champenoise, astringent, time-consuming process proscribed by French law.The méthode champenoise involves adding sugar and yeast tothe wine at the time of bottling; this results in a secondaryfermentation that creates the bubbles in champagne. After thesecondary fermentation is complete, the champagne is disgorged;that is, the sediment created by the yeast is removedby immersing the neck of the bottle in a freezing liquid, andthe temporary cap and the sediment that clings to it, areremoved. Usually, a little sugar that has been dissolved inmature wine (dosage) is then added to the bottle before it isonce again sealed. All that just to get those wonderful littlebubbles into the wine and then keep them inside the bottleuntil it’s opened.Champagne TipsIf you really want lots of bubbles in your champagne, take the tip ofa very sharp slim knife or a small piece of very fine sandpaper, andscratch the bottom of the champagne glass. The carbon dioxidereacts to the rough bottom of the glass and your bubbly will bereally, well, bubbly.If you have a bottle of champagne that’s been sitting in your fridgefor too long and has lost its sparkle, take a raisin, squeeze it alittle, and drop it into the bottle. Be ready to drink the champagneright away, though—the bubbles won’t last forever.—from Robert Burke, proprietor, Pot au Feu, Providence, Rhode IslandStyles of French ChampagneBlanc de Blancs: Champagnes made from 100 percentChardonnay (white) grapes.Blanc de Noir: Champagnes made from Pinot Noir, and/orMeunier grapes; both varietals are black.Brut: Literally means “very dry,” but in fact these champagnesdo bear some sweetness.Extra Brut: Drier than Brut.Sec: Literally means “dry,” but these champagnes are usuallymedium-sweet.Extra Sec: Literally means “extra-dry,” but in fact, these champagnesare usually only medium-dry.

Pisco Brandy: True Pisco is a Peruvian grape brandy, mademainly with Quebranta grapes, and aged for short periods inclay vessels. It is essential to a Pisco Sour.Ricard: See Absinthe and Absinthe Substitutes.Rum: Distilled from a mash of molasses or sugarcane juice,most of the rum consumed in the United States comes fromPuerto Rico. However, rum is produced in and imported fromalmost every Caribbean nation, and, indeed, almost everysugar-producing country.Rums imported from Puerto Rico are required by law to be agedin oak for at least one year. Many rums are aged for far longer,developing into complex, dry spirits suitable for sipping.Rums are available in light (or white), amber, a?ejo, and darkvarieties, but since every rum-producing nation has its ownrules and regulations governing these products, it’s impossibleto know how long each one of them has been aged inoak unless an age statement appears on the label.Flavored rums have become very popular in the last decadeor so. It’s easy to find a variety of flavors, banana, citrus,coconut, lemon, lime and mint, orange, pineapple, raspberry,spiced, vanilla, and wild cherry among them.Rye Whiskey: Made from a fermented mash containing a minimumof 51 percent rye and aged in new charred oak barrels,rye whiskey is making a comeback among whiskey drinkers.Although some people refer to blended Canadian whiskiesas “ryes,” they are not; look for the words, “straight ryewhiskey” on the label.Scotch Whisky: Made in Scotland from a fermented mash ofgrains, scotch can be divided into two main categories.Single malt scotch is distilled in pot stills from a fermentedmash of malted barley, and must spend a minimum of threeyears in oak barrels before being bottled. Most bottlings,however, spend far longer than that in the wood, and this isusually reflected by an age statement on the label. Each singlemalt must be the product of just one distillery, the nameof which is found on the label of most bottlings. Complicatingmatters even more, single malt scotches as a category areoften further broken down according to the region in whichthey are made. Pure malt scotch, knownin Scotland as vatted malt whisky, is made by blending singlemalts from more than one distillery to achieve a specificflavor profile.Blended scotch is made by blending single malt scotch withneutral grain whisky, which can be made from a fermentedmash of any grain, although corn is usually predominant, anda small amount of malted barley is usually used, as well.

Demi-Sec: Literally means “semi-dry,” but these champagnesare actually medium-sweet to sweet.Doux: Literally means “sweet,” and these bottlings are verysweet.Vintage Champagnes: Bottlings containing only wines fromthe year noted on the label. A champagne is chosen to be avintage bottling when the wine of one particular year isdeemed to be exceptional by the winemaker.How to Serve ChampagneChampagne should be served at a temperature of about 45°F,so be sure to chill it well. Do not shake or agitate the bottlebefore opening it. Remove the foil that covers the neck, andthen loosen the cage by grasping the small wire loop anduntwisting it. Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle and takecare that it isn’t in a direct line with Grandma’s antique mirroror your best friend’s head. Firmly grasp the cork with one handand hold the base of the bottle with the other. Gently twist thebottle while holding the cork steady until the cork is released.Don’t “pop” the cork; ease the bottle away from it.Slowly pour the champagne into champagne glasses, ideallyflutes, adding small amounts to each glass and allowing thefoam to subside before adding more. Swirling is not recommended,but staring at the upward-rising stream of bubbles isa treat.DubonnetAn apéritif wine produced in two styles: Dubonnet Rouge andDubonnet Blanc. Though either product is highly recommendableas an apéritif—serve it over ice with a citrus twist—Dubonnet sometimes replaces vermouth in Martinis, othercocktails, and some mixed drinks.LilletA French apéritif wine that is produced in Blanc and Rouge renditions.Use Lillet as you would Dubonnet, or try substituting itfor vermouth in cocktail recipes. Lillet is somewhat fruitier andspicier than Dubonnet.MadeiraA red wine fortified with grape brandy, Madeira is named forthe island where it was born. The aging process for Madeira isunique to the wine industry: The wine is stored in oak casks inbuildings built especially for the purpose. Temperatures are kepthigh—usually between 104° and 114°F—for about six months.The wine then is transferred to cooler cellars where it rests for atleast a year and a half. Finally, it matures in a solera system, asdoes sherry. When you hear about the destructiveproperties of heat on wine maturation, remember that Madeira isthe exception; the heat it withstands is intentional. Once open,this hearty wine will last indefinitely without spoiling.

The amount of single malt scotch in a blended bottling usuallygoverns its price, so the more expensive blended whiskiestend to be made with a higher percentage of single malt.The smokiness found in scotch, whether it be single malt orblended, varies from one bottling to the next, but it comesfrom the barley, which, after germination, is dried over peatfires prior to being introduced to the mash. The amount oftime that the malted barley spends over the smoldering peatwill govern the amount of smokiness found in the finishedproduct.Single-Barrel Whisk(e)y: Most whiskeys, even single maltscotches, are made by marrying together whiskeys from anumber of barrels. In the case of single-barrel whiskey, thisis not the case, and these bottlings contain product from justone barrel that the distiller has decided has matured into asuperior spirit.________________________________________________________________Single Malt ScotchesSingle malt scotches can be made anywhere in Scotland, but generalizationsabout specific qualities found in whiskies from various regionscan be drawn, even though bottlings vary from one distillery to the next.Islay (EYE-luh) single malts, such as Ardbeg, Bowmore, and Laphroaig,are from an island just off the western coast of Scotland. Islaymalts are usually quite peaty and smoky with notes of iodine, andeven seaweed sometimes being present.Lowland single malts, such as Auchentoshan, Bladnoch, Glenkinchie,and Littlemill, are usually lighter in character than other bottlings,and they are seldom described as being overly smoky or peaty.Campbeltown single malts, such as Glen Scotia, Longrow, andSpringbank, from the west coast of Scotland, are known for theirbrininess, and usually display a certain degree of smokiness, too.Highland single malts, such as Edradour, Glenmorangie, Knockando,and Oban, vary widely in character, but most often they can bedescribed as being fresh and heathery, with some fruity notes presentin certain bottlings.Speyside single malts, such as Aberlour, The Glenlivet, and The Macallan,come from a sub-region of the Highlands that most aficionados claimproduces the best of the best whiskies. Speyside bottlings varytremendously from one to the next, but virtually all of them are verycomplex, well-knit whiskies, with hints of smoke and peat.________________________________________________________________Sloe Gin: Not every bottling of sloe gin uses gin as its base,but this spirit gets its flavor from the sloe berries found onblackthorn bushes.

The Styles of Madeira andHow to Serve ThemMadeira can be any of five distinct styles. All, except Rainwater,are named after the grape variety used to make them:Sercial: The driest style, Sercial should be served slightlychilled in a small wine glass.Verdelho: A medium-dry, highly acidic style, Verdelho shouldalso be served slightly chilled in a small wine glass.Rainwater: A versatile, lighter style of Madeira that is a pale,light blend of other Madeiras. Rainwater should be servedchilled, from the refrigerator, in a small wine glass.Bual: This Madeira is medium-sweet, perfect for after-dinnersipping. Serve it at room temperature in a small wine glass.Malmsey: The sweetest Madeira, wonderfully fragrant, fullbodiedand rich on the palate. Serve it at room temperaturein a small wine glass.PortOriginally a Portuguese wine that was fortified with local grapebrandy, port now is produced almost everywhere that tablewines are made. The brandy used to fortify the new wine isunaged and added to the wine at a very high proof. Since thisincreases the alcohol content, fermentation stops, leavingsome of the grape sugars unfermented, thus sweetening thewine. After fortification, the port is stored in oak casks.Inexpensive ports may be aged for as little as one year, butmany of the better bottlings are kept in casks for as long as 10and up to 40 years. Vintage port, the only type that is aged inglass after aging in wood, continues to improve after it is bottled.It should be kept at a constant temperature of about 48°F,and the bottle should be stored on its side.How to Decant Vintage PortDuring their aging process sediment develops in Vintage ports. Thoughharmless, this “crust” is visually and texturally unattractive; therefore,these ports are decanted before they are enjoyed. Several hours oreven a day ahead of time, stand the bottle upright—away from thelight and where it won’t be disturbed—to allow the sediment to settle.The ritualistic way of decanting a fine Vintage port is very theatrical:Line a funnel with a double or triple layer of dampened cheesecloth.Place the funnel into the neck of a decanter. Next, holding a candlebehind the neck of the port bottle, pour the wine into the funnel,checking the neck to see if any sediment can be seen. Once you seesediment, stop pouring. (If you want to modernize the ritual, use aflashlight.) Once opened, don’t linger in drinking a vintage port; itscharms will dissipate with extended exposure to air.

Tennessee Whiskey: Distilled from a fermented mash containinga minimum of 51 percent corn, Tennessee whiskey mustbe made within the state of Tennessee, and it differs frombourbon in that it is filtered through large vats of sugarmaple charcoal before it is aged in new charred oak barrels,giving it a sweet sootiness not found in any other whiskeys.Tequila: Distilled from a fermented mash of blue agave (Webertequilana azul), a member of the amaryllis family that lookslike a very large pineapple, tequila is made in Mexico, andmust come from the state of Jalisco, or in demarcatedregions of the states of Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacán, orTamaulipas.The two basic varieties of tequila are 100-percent blueagave and mixto. By law, mixto tequila can be made withas little as 51 percent blue agave, with the rest of the productusually being made up of sugar-based products. Onehundred–percent agave tequilas are just what they soundlike—made only from the blue agave plant; these are mostprized by tequila lovers. Blanco, or “white,” tequilas arenot aged at all, but joven abocado, meaning “young andsmoothed,” bottlings, usually known as “gold” tequilas,contain a percentage of tequila that spent at least twomonths in oak. Reposado, or “rested,” tequilas spend aminimum of two months in barrels before being bottled,and A?ejo, or “aged,” tequilas spend a minimum of 12 monthsin the wood.Vodka: This spirit can be made from a fermented mash ofalmost anything, but it’s usually made from grains or potatoes.Whether vodka originated in Poland or Russia is a matterthat will be debated for centuries to come. Vodka containsvery few, if any, impurities, and therefore, it has little inthe way of flavor or aroma. However, individual bottlings dodiffer, and like any other spirit, some are better than others.As a massive generalization, potato vodkas, made mainly inPoland, although at least one is made in the United States,are a little sweeter than grain-based bottlings.Flavored vodkas have become very popular in recent years,and some of them are responsible for many of today’snewest cocktails and mixed drinks. Almost every flavorunder the sun seems to be on the market now; you canchoose from apple, berry, bilberry, bison grass, chocolate,cinnamon, citrus, coffee, cranberry, currant, honey, honeypepper, honey and quince, lemon, lime, orange, peach, pear,pepper, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla, wild apple, wild berry,and many more are sure to be on the shelves by the timeyou read this.

Styles of Port and How to Serve ThemPorts are made in three colors—white, tawny, and ruby—sothey’re extremely easy to tell apart. Their qualities, however,are as different as their colors. Two other types are also produced:late-bottled Vintage port and Vintage port; one is acollector’s item, the other can be drunk right away.White port: Some are dry and light-bodied, but most aresweeter and medium-bodied, so each bottling must betasted to see what style it is. White ports are made fromwhite grapes. Usually offered as an apéritif, white portshould be served well chilled, in small wine glasses.Ruby port: Normally a young wine that has very often spentless than four years in casks (known as “pipes” in theport business). Wines from a variety of pipes are blendedtogether to produce a sweet, medium- to full-bodied portthat represents each individual producer’s style. Rubyport should be served at room temperature in small wineglasses; it is also the port of choice for cocktail- anddrink-making.Tawny port: When inexpensive, tawny port is invariably nothingmore than a blend of white and ruby ports. Aged tawnyports, on the other hand, are truly special. Tawny port startsits life as ruby port, and it is the extended aging period thatcontributes to both the change of the wine’s color—from adeep purple to ruby to a tawny brown—and its change in flavor:The longer the port rests in the pipes, the more itssweetness mellows to a complex, fruity nuttiness, until, ataround age 30, some ports bear the distinct flavors of driedfruits while retaining a pleasant dry nuttiness. Aged tawnyport should be savored at room temperature in small wineglasses.Late-Bottled Vintage port: Normally a good-quality port thathas aged in wood for over four years but seldom more thansix. These are fine wines that are far less expensive than vintagebottlings, but they do not improve in the bottle, andcan, therefore, be consumed immediately after purchase.Late-bottled Vintage port should be served at room temperaturein small wine glasses.Vintage port: Bottled after spending only two years in portpipes, these are wines that have been declared by a verystrict regulatory board to be of the finest quality. Unlikewood-aged bottlings, Vintage ports continue to age andimprove in the bottle and should be kept for at least 10 yearsor considerably more before opening. Many experts claimthat to experience a truly great Vintage port, a minimum oftwo decades of bottle-aging is necessary. Vintage portshould be served at room temperature in small wine glasses.

Whisk(e)y: Spelled with the “e” in Ireland and the UnitedStates, and without it in Scotland and Canada, whiskey isdistilled from a fermented mash of grains. See Scotch Whisky,Canadian Whisky, Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, TennesseeWhiskey, and Irish Whiskey.LiqueursLiqueurs are sweetened, usually diluted spirits that have beenflavored by specific botanicals, fruits, herbs, nuts, spices, andproducts from almost every food group. Sometimes known ascordials in the United States, liqueurs have been with us sinceat least the 1300s, when monks, seeking to make medicines,flavored distilled spirits with medicinal herbs, and sweetenedthem, sometimes with honey, to make them more palatable.Here’s a list of the most important liqueurs, along with explanationsof what to expect from them:Alizé: A passion fruit–flavored, brandy-based liqueur.Alizé Red Passion: A passion fruit– and cranberry juice–flavored, brandy-based liqueur.Amaretto: An almond-flavored liqueur that originated in Italy.Anisette: A syrupy aniseed-flavored liqueur.Apricot Brandy: An apricot-flavored liqueur containing apercentage of real brandy.Apry: A brand-name apricot-flavored liqueur.B & B: Bénédictine mixed with brandy—this delicious liqueurwas created at New York’s “21” Club shortly after the repealof Prohibition.Baileys Irish Cream: Made with Irish whiskey and heavycream, Baileys brand is one of today’s most popularliqueurs.Bénédictine: A French herbal liqueur made by Bénédictinemonks since 1510.Blackberry Brandy: A blackberry-flavored liqueur containing apercentage of real brandy.Chambord: A French black raspberry–flavored liqueur sweetenedwith honey and spiced with herbs.

Punt è MesThe brand name of an Italian apéritif that is like a bitter, lesssweetversion of vermouth.SakéIs it a beer or a wine? That’s the question. Saké is made fromrice, a grain, and therefore, should be classified as a beer since,technically, wines are made from fruits. However, the U.S.Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms classifies saké aJapanese wine that is made from “other agricultural products.”Go figure. In any case, no matter what it is, saké is good. Specifictypes of rice are used and then fermented to produce the productthat will mature in wood casks into saké. Not all sakes areserved warm; many of the finer ones are chilled for serving. Lookfor an increase in imports of high-end sakés that are made withthe care and precision of other fine wines—or beers.SherryA Spanish wine fortified with brandy that can be produced in adelimited area of southern Andalusía that encompasses thetowns of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Puerto de Santa María, andJerez de la Frontera. Originally known in England as Sherry-Sack, and commonly referred to in Elizabethan times simply asSack, it is thought that the wine gained its name from the townof Jerez (HAIR-eth), which was eventually corrupted to sherry.The sack part of the name probably originated from theSpanish word sacar, meaning “export.” It makes great sensethat sherry became a widely exported wine since the main reasonfor fortifying wines with brandy was to stabilize them sothey could stand up to long voyages at sea.The sherry-making process is complex: After the wine fermentscompletely, a process that takes several months, it is pumpedinto oak casks that are deliberately not filled all the way full.The winemaker then must wait to see if a thin white layer ofairborne yeast, known as flor, will form on its surface.When the flor forms a thick layer, the wine will become thelight, dry, fino style of sherry. If the layer is thinner, the winewill oxidize more than fino because it has greater contact withthe air; these wines will darken and become an amontillado.When no film appears at all, the wine is destined to become anoloroso sherry. Over the next one to two years, the wines arewatched closely and are checked for alcohol content. Dependingon the flor and the experience of the bodega master,unaged grape brandy is added to fortify the wine. Wines thatwill become olorosos are fortified to a slightly higher alcohollevel than those that will become finos. When ready, the wineis transferred to sherry butts—smaller oak casks—and arethen shipped to the solera for aging.

Although beer drinks aren’t actually cocktails, a recent trendincludes beer in some concoctions, and oftentimes a shot ofsome liquor or spirituous mixture is dropped into a mug of beerand drunk in combination. The classic Boilermaker, though nota cocktail per se, uses beer as the chaser to the whiskey shot.MixersMixers require little explanation; most are complete the wayyou buy them. One exception is simple syrup, which you willsee throughout the recipes in this article. I ardently recommendthat you make your own—it’s very simple—and keep it on handin the refrigerator; its shelf-life is practically infinite. Havingsimple syrup on hand and using it in place of granulated sugarand water in recipes ensures a better blending of flavors and abetter texture in the drink.Beef bouillonClamato juiceClub sodaCoconut creamCola (diet and regular)Cranberry juiceFruit nectars (peach, pear, apricot)Ginger aleGinger beerGrapefruit juiceGrenadineHalf-and-halfHeavy creamLemon juice (fresh)Lime juice (fresh)Lemon-lime soda(diet and regular)Lime juice cordial,such as Rose’sMilkMineral water (still)Orange juicePineapple juiceSimple syrup(recipe follows)Tomato juiceTonicWhipped creamSimple Syrup

The solera aging system is reserved for sherries, Spanishbrandies, and Madeiras. The sherrybutts are arranged in tiers—often 10 tiers high—with the oldestsherries on the bottom and the youngest on top. Whensome of the sherry—never more than half—is drawn off thelowest tier, it is replenished with wine from the tier above it.Thus, by the time a wine reaches the bottom level, it has agedand mingled, always with older sherries in the solera.Styles of Sherry and How to Serve ThemFino sherries: Pale, light, and dry, fino sherries should beserved chilled, from the refrigerator, in Sherry Copita glassesor on the rocks. They are an excellent apéritif and just rightfor late afternoon tapas.Manzanilla sherries: Cousins of finos, Manzanillas are aged inSanlúcar de Barrameda, a town located on the MediterraneanSea. They feature an extremely delicate body and a slightsaltiness, perhaps due to the location of their aging.Manzanillas should be served chilled, from the refrigerator,in Sherry Copita glasses or on the rocks.Amontillado sherries: Darker in color and nuttier on the palatethan their drier fino cousins, Amontillado sherries should beserved chilled, from the refrigerator, in Sherry Copita glassesor on the rocks.Oloroso sherries: These have a deep amber color, and a nutty,sweet, full body that fills the mouth. Serve them at roomtemperature in Sherry Copita glasses.Cream sherries: Actually a style of oloroso sherry, these, too,are sweet, and have a somewhat creamy texture. Creamsherries should be served at room temperature in SherryCopita glasses.Pedro Ximénez sherries: The sweetest of all, these should beserved at room temperature in Sherry Copita glasses.VermouthA member of the category known as aromatized wines, vermouthsare wines that have been flavored with botanical ingredients—herbs, spices, flowers, roots, seeds, and fruits—and arefortified with brandy. Italy produced the first vermouth in the late1700s; it was red and sweet and came to be referred to as“Italian.” The French produced the first dry, pale-colored vermoutha couple of decades later, and it came to be referred to as“French.” These days, vermouths are produced in many, manycountries; each bottling, though, has its own character and style.Though some inexpensive vermouths are made by merely introducingessences and flavorings to fortified wine, the best bottlingsare manufactured using a far more complicated procedure.

Many companies start out with a wine that has been aged,sometimes for as long as 12 months, and most vermouths—even most red, sweet vermouths—are made from white wine.The wine is then fortified, but only slightly, by the addition ofmistelle, a mixture of unfermented grape juice and brandy.Botanicals are then introduced to the wine by any of severalmethods. Sometimes they are infused into the wine at roomtemperature; sometimes the wine is heated slightly to speedup infusion time; and sometimes herbs are infused into distilledspirits, such as brandy, that are then added to the wine,fortifying it further.After the wine has been aromatized, it is sometimes returnedto oak casks for further aging. Before bottling, it must undergoa technical stabilizing process that filters out any tartrates.Styles of VermouthDry Vermouth: Usually made from very light, dry wines, dryvermouths are usually soft, herbal, and crisp. Vital for aMartini.Sweet Vermouth: Sweeter, of course, than dry vermouth, sweetvermouth also bears a slight bitterness due to the higherpercentage of quinine used in production, and the herbalaccents are often less forthcoming.Bianco Vermouth: Clear in color, like dry vermouth, bianco bottlingsare slightly sweeter than their dry cousins and somewhatmore herbal.Rosé Vermouth: Similar to bianco vermouth but pale pink incolor and dry on the palate.Storing and Serving VermouthOnce opened, store your vermouth in the refrigerator. And ifthe bottles you have are more than six months old, replacethem, because oxidation will have ruined their sprightlyappeal. If you don’t use vermouth very often, it might be agood idea to buy the smaller 375 ml–size bottles.Serve vermouths, straight from the bottle, on ice. The FrenchKiss cocktail—a 50/50 combination of sweet and dry vermouths—can be an excellent apéritif. Also, when cooking, if abit of wine is called for, vermouth can add more complexitythan most table wines.WineWine is an entire world of its own, and, indeed, it spans theworld, produced on every continent except Antarctica. Bartendinginvolves using all four types of wine: sparkling wine,like champagne and Prosecco; aromatized wines, like vermouthand many apéritifs; fortified wines, like port, sherry, andMadeira; and still wines, like your basic reds, whites, and rosés.Most cocktail recipes that call for still wines should be madewith a good dry white, dry red, or dryish rosé. And when yourguest or customer requests, say, a white wine, be sure that thewine you’re pouring is fresh and tasty and properly presented.

How to Serve WineThough dozens of different sizes and shapes of wine glassescan be found in the market, a good basic wine glass will have acapacity of at least eight ounces, preferably more, and ideally,it will be a stemmed glass. When you pour, do not fill the glassmore than halfway full and handle the glass by the stem only.White wines should be served chilled, not icy cold; red winesshould be at cool room temperature—don’t keep them next tothe radiator.How to Taste WineTasting wine requires your whole body. Start by looking at thewine; note its color, texture, and clarity. Smell the wine; stickyour nose well into the glass and take a deep breath. Next,swirl the wine in the glass and smell it again; new aromasmight present themselves. Now, taste the wine; take a mouthful,not just a sip, and swish it around your mouth so that itcomes in contact with all of your taste buds. Take note of everyquality—its feel, its texture, its flavor, its acidity. Finally, swallowthe wine. Does it linger in the mouth? Does it have anyeffect on your throat? Consider the experience. Did it taste likeit smelled? Did it look full-bodied but feel and taste thin in themouth? Would you like to drink more of it?Opening a Bottle of WineScrew caps—and they’re becoming increasingly popular—aside, many people are intimidated by the act of pulling a corkfrom a wine bottle. They shouldn’t be—if they have a goodcorkscrew and know how to use it. (I’ll repeat my personal recommendation,the Screwpull.) First, wipe off the bottle with aclean cloth. Stand it on a flat surface and use a small knife or afoilcutter to remove the top of the plastic or lead capsule thatcovers the cork. Cut just below the lip of the bottle. Next, positionthe worm of your corkscrew slightly off-center and beginturning it firmly to burrow the worm into the cork—because theworm is a spiral, starting it off-center will result in its beingcentered in the cork. Use levers, elbow grease, or whatevermechanism your corkscrew offers to extract the cork from thebottle. Finally—and this is important—use a clean cloth towipe the interior and exterior lip of the bottle before pouringfrom it.BeerLike wine, beer is an entire world of it own, the product ofgrains, hops, water, and yeasts that promote fermentation. Thecategory divides into two parts: lagers, which are brewed usingyeasts that ferment on the bottom of a tank, and ales, whichare brewed using top-fermenting yeasts. Lagers are low in alcohol,light in body, and the most popular style of beer in theUnited States; styles include light lagers, bocks, pilsners,smoked beers (rauchbiers), and malt liquors. Ales, generallyhigher in alcohol, heavier in body, and more robust in flavor,include many styles: stout, porter, wheat beers, pale ales, aswell as numerous others.

Chartreuse: Made by French Carthusian monks since 1737,this is an herbal liqueur available in both green and yellowbottlings.Chéri-Suisse: A Swiss chocolate cherry–flavored liqueur.Cherry Brandy: A cherry-flavored liqueur not to be confusedwith kirsch, an unsweetened brandy made from cherries.Cherry Heering: A brand name of cherry brandy made inDenmark.Cointreau: A top-notch brand-name bottling of triple sec—by far the best triple sec on the market.Crème de Banane: A sweet banana-flavored liqueur.Crème de Cacao: A chocolate-flavored liqueur available inboth white and dark bottlings—both are similar in flavor toeach other.Crème de Cassis: A black currant–flavored liqueur originatingin France, though many bottlings are now made in theUnited States.Crème de Framboise: A raspberry-flavored liqueur fromFrance.Crème de Menthe: A mint-flavored liqueur that comes in bothgreen and white bottlings—both are similar in flavor to eachother.Crème de Noyaux: An almond-flavored liqueur that contributesthe pink color to a Pink Squirrel cocktail—substitute amarettoif you can’t find this product.Cuarenta y Tres Licor 43: A fruit- and herb-based Spanishliqueur, the name translates to “forty three,” the number ofingredients used in its production.Cura?ao: A sweet, orange-flavored liqueur, sometimes white,sometimes blue, and sometimes red—all bottlings are similarin flavor.Danziger Goldwasser: A German liqueur with mainly aniseedand caraway flavors and flakes of real gold. This liqueur hasbeen made since 1598, at which time gold was believed tohave healing qualities.Drambuie: A honeyed scotch-based liqueur flavored withvarious herbs and spices. The name comes from the Gaelican dram buidheach, meaning “the drink that satisfies.” Therecipe was supposedly given to Captain John Mackinnon byBonnie Prince Charlie in 1746, when Mackinnon shelteredhim on the Isle of Skye after his defeat by the English at theBattle of Culloden.

M A K E S 4 C U P S ( 1 QUA RT )3 cups water3 cups granulated sugarHeat the water in a saucepan set over moderately high heat.When it begins to simmer, add the sugar and stir until it dissolves.Do not let the mixture boil. Remove the pan from theheat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Pour the simplesyrup through a funnel into an empty, clean, 1-liter liquorbottle and cap tightly. Store in the refrigerator.Condiments and flavoringsAllspice (ground)Angostura bittersApplesBananasBerriesBlack pepperCandiesCelery seedCinnamon (sticks and ground)ClovesCocoa powder (unsweetened)Cocktail onionsCoffee beansCucumbersEggsFalernum syrupFresh mintGrapefruitsHorseradishLemonsLimesMaraschino cherriesNutmegOld Bay SeasoningOlives (cocktail, anchovystuffed,almond-stuffed)Orange bittersOrange flower waterOrangesOrgeat syrupPeach bittersSugar (granulated, superfine,and confectioners’; cubesor lumps)Peychaud’s bittersRose flower waterSalt (kosher)Tabasco sauceWorcestershire sauce

Forbidden Fruit: A brandy-based liqueur flavored with grapefruit,oranges, and honey.Frangelico: An Italian hazelnut liqueur spiced with cinnamon,cardamom, citrus zest, and various other botanicals.Galliano: An Italian liqueur with predominant vanilla andorange notes; it is essential for a Harvey Wallbanger.Glayva: A scotch-based liqueur that, like Drambuie, is flavoredwith honey and herbs.Grand Marnier: An orange-flavored, cognac-based Frenchliqueur, made since 1871 by the Marnier-Lapostolle family.Much of the aged cognac used to make Grand Marniercomes from the best regions of Cognac, and after beinginfused with orange peels and sweetened with simple syrup,the liqueur is then returned to barrels for further aging.Cordon Rouge is the bottling of Grand Marnier most familiarto us, but it is also available in Grande Marnier Cuvée duCentenaire, which was issued to celebrate the 100-yearanniversary of the liqueur, and Grand Marnier CentCinquantenaire, released to commemorate the 150-yearanniversary of Lapostolle’s company, which has been producingliqueurs since 1827. The Grand Marnier Cuvée duCentenaire is made with 10-year-old cognac, and the GrandMarnier Cuvée du Cent-Cinquantenaire uses XO cognacs.Irish Mist: Based on an ancient formula for Heather Wine, thisIrish whiskey–based liqueur is flavored with honey andspiced with herbs.J?germeister: A German liqueur, somewhat medicinal in flavor,but very popular in the United States. J?germeister, literallytranslated, means “master of the hunt.”Kahlúa: A Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur dating back to the1930s.Kümmel: A caraway-flavored liqueur from Holland.Limoncello: An Italian lemon zest–flavored liqueur that isbecoming increasingly popular in the United States. Store itin the freezer.Mandarine Napoléon: A French cognac-based liqueur with theflavors of tangerine zest.

Maraschino: A cherry liqueur that isn’t too sweet, Maraschinois made from Dalmatian cherries. I think this productdeserves more attention; it is a basic ingredient in manyclassic cocktails.Midori: A honeydew melon–flavored liqueur (Midori isJapanese for “green”) that is very popular in the UnitedStates.Ouzo: A Greek anise-flavored liqueur.Peach Brandy: A peach-flavored liqueur containing a percentageof real brandy.Peach Schnapps: A dryish peach-flavored liqueur.Peppermint Schnapps: A peppermint-flavored liqueur, usuallydrier than crème de menthe.Sambuca: An anise-based Italian liqueur, available in whiteand black bottlings—black sambuca is usually flavored withlemon zest as well as anise.Southern Comfort: A fruit-flavored American liqueur with predominantlypeach notes. Though everyone seems to thinkthis product contains bourbon, it does not.Strawberry Brandy: A strawberry-flavored liqueur containinga percentage of real brandy.Strega: An Italian herbal liqueur made with over 70 botanicals—the word strega means “witch.”Tia Maria: A Jamaican liqueur made from a base of rum andflavored with coffee.Triple Sec: An orange-flavored liqueur used in many mixeddrinks, such as the Margarita.Tuaca: An Italian herbal liqueur with predominant vanilla notesand a hint of oranges.Wines and wine-based ingredientsChampagne (and other sparkling wines)Effervescent wines are made in all winemaking countries, butthe methods used are based on those that originated in theChampagne region of France in the early 1700s. Most wineaficionados today still recognize champagnes made in thedelimited region of northeastern France known as theChampagne district, as the real thing.

French champagne can be made only from three types ofgrapes—two black and one white—Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier,and Chardonnay. The grape juice is separated from the blackgrape skins before they can impart any color to the wine.Further, real champagne (and the best sparkling wines fromelsewhere) must be made using the méthode champenoise, astringent, time-consuming process proscribed by French law.The méthode champenoise involves adding sugar and yeast tothe wine at the time of bottling; this results in a secondaryfermentation that creates the bubbles in champagne. After thesecondary fermentation is complete, the champagne is disgorged;that is, the sediment created by the yeast is removedby immersing the neck of the bottle in a freezing liquid, andthe temporary cap and the sediment that clings to it, areremoved. Usually, a little sugar that has been dissolved inmature wine (dosage) is then added to the bottle before it isonce again sealed. All that just to get those wonderful littlebubbles into the wine and then keep them inside the bottleuntil it’s opened.Champagne TipsIf you really want lots of bubbles in your champagne, take the tip ofa very sharp slim knife or a small piece of very fine sandpaper, andscratch the bottom of the champagne glass. The carbon dioxidereacts to the rough bottom of the glass and your bubbly will bereally, well, bubbly.If you have a bottle of champagne that’s been sitting in your fridgefor too long and has lost its sparkle, take a raisin, squeeze it alittle, and drop it into the bottle. Be ready to drink the champagneright away, though—the bubbles won’t last forever.—from Robert Burke, proprietor, Pot au Feu, Providence, Rhode IslandStyles of French ChampagneBlanc de Blancs: Champagnes made from 100 percentChardonnay (white) grapes.Blanc de Noir: Champagnes made from Pinot Noir, and/orMeunier grapes; both varietals are black.Brut: Literally means “very dry,” but in fact these champagnesdo bear some sweetness.Extra Brut: Drier than Brut.Sec: Literally means “dry,” but these champagnes are usuallymedium-sweet.Extra Sec: Literally means “extra-dry,” but in fact, these champagnesare usually only medium-dry.

Demi-Sec: Literally means “semi-dry,” but these champagnesare actually medium-sweet to sweet.Doux: Literally means “sweet,” and these bottlings are verysweet.Vintage Champagnes: Bottlings containing only wines fromthe year noted on the label. A champagne is chosen to be avintage bottling when the wine of one particular year isdeemed to be exceptional by the winemaker.How to Serve ChampagneChampagne should be served at a temperature of about 45°F,so be sure to chill it well. Do not shake or agitate the bottlebefore opening it. Remove the foil that covers the neck, andthen loosen the cage by grasping the small wire loop anduntwisting it. Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle and takecare that it isn’t in a direct line with Grandma’s antique mirroror your best friend’s head. Firmly grasp the cork with one handand hold the base of the bottle with the other. Gently twist thebottle while holding the cork steady until the cork is released.Don’t “pop” the cork; ease the bottle away from it.Slowly pour the champagne into champagne glasses, ideallyflutes, adding small amounts to each glass and allowing thefoam to subside before adding more. Swirling is not recommended,but staring at the upward-rising stream of bubbles isa treat.DubonnetAn apéritif wine produced in two styles: Dubonnet Rouge andDubonnet Blanc. Though either product is highly recommendableas an apéritif—serve it over ice with a citrus twist—Dubonnet sometimes replaces vermouth in Martinis, othercocktails, and some mixed drinks.LilletA French apéritif wine that is produced in Blanc and Rouge renditions.Use Lillet as you would Dubonnet, or try substituting itfor vermouth in cocktail recipes. Lillet is somewhat fruitier andspicier than Dubonnet.MadeiraA red wine fortified with grape brandy, Madeira is named forthe island where it was born. The aging process for Madeira isunique to the wine industry: The wine is stored in oak casks inbuildings built especially for the purpose. Temperatures are kepthigh—usually between 104° and 114°F—for about six months.The wine then is transferred to cooler cellars where it rests for atleast a year and a half. Finally, it matures in a solera system, asdoes sherry. When you hear about the destructiveproperties of heat on wine maturation, remember that Madeira isthe exception; the heat it withstands is intentional. Once open,this hearty wine will last indefinitely without spoiling.

The Styles of Madeira andHow to Serve ThemMadeira can be any of five distinct styles. All, except Rainwater,are named after the grape variety used to make them:Sercial: The driest style, Sercial should be served slightlychilled in a small wine glass.Verdelho: A medium-dry, highly acidic style, Verdelho shouldalso be served slightly chilled in a small wine glass.Rainwater: A versatile, lighter style of Madeira that is a pale,light blend of other Madeiras. Rainwater should be servedchilled, from the refrigerator, in a small wine glass.Bual: This Madeira is medium-sweet, perfect for after-dinnersipping. Serve it at room temperature in a small wine glass.Malmsey: The sweetest Madeira, wonderfully fragrant, fullbodiedand rich on the palate. Serve it at room temperaturein a small wine glass.PortOriginally a Portuguese wine that was fortified with local grapebrandy, port now is produced almost everywhere that tablewines are made. The brandy used to fortify the new wine isunaged and added to the wine at a very high proof. Since thisincreases the alcohol content, fermentation stops, leavingsome of the grape sugars unfermented, thus sweetening thewine. After fortification, the port is stored in oak casks.Inexpensive ports may be aged for as little as one year, butmany of the better bottlings are kept in casks for as long as 10and up to 40 years. Vintage port, the only type that is aged inglass after aging in wood, continues to improve after it is bottled.It should be kept at a constant temperature of about 48°F,and the bottle should be stored on its side.How to Decant Vintage PortDuring their aging process sediment develops in Vintage ports. Thoughharmless, this “crust” is visually and texturally unattractive; therefore,these ports are decanted before they are enjoyed. Several hours oreven a day ahead of time, stand the bottle upright—away from thelight and where it won’t be disturbed—to allow the sediment to settle.The ritualistic way of decanting a fine Vintage port is very theatrical:Line a funnel with a double or triple layer of dampened cheesecloth.Place the funnel into the neck of a decanter. Next, holding a candlebehind the neck of the port bottle, pour the wine into the funnel,checking the neck to see if any sediment can be seen. Once you seesediment, stop pouring. (If you want to modernize the ritual, use aflashlight.) Once opened, don’t linger in drinking a vintage port; itscharms will dissipate with extended exposure to air.

Punt è MesThe brand name of an Italian apéritif that is like a bitter, lesssweetversion of vermouth.SakéIs it a beer or a wine? That’s the question. Saké is made fromrice, a grain, and therefore, should be classified as a beer since,technically, wines are made from fruits. However, the U.S.Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms classifies saké aJapanese wine that is made from “other agricultural products.”Go figure. In any case, no matter what it is, saké is good. Specifictypes of rice are used and then fermented to produce the productthat will mature in wood casks into saké. Not all sakes areserved warm; many of the finer ones are chilled for serving. Lookfor an increase in imports of high-end sakés that are made withthe care and precision of other fine wines—or beers.SherryA Spanish wine fortified with brandy that can be produced in adelimited area of southern Andalusía that encompasses thetowns of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Puerto de Santa María, andJerez de la Frontera. Originally known in England as Sherry-Sack, and commonly referred to in Elizabethan times simply asSack, it is thought that the wine gained its name from the townof Jerez (HAIR-eth), which was eventually corrupted to sherry.The sack part of the name probably originated from theSpanish word sacar, meaning “export.” It makes great sensethat sherry became a widely exported wine since the main reasonfor fortifying wines with brandy was to stabilize them sothey could stand up to long voyages at sea.The sherry-making process is complex: After the wine fermentscompletely, a process that takes several months, it is pumpedinto oak casks that are deliberately not filled all the way full.The winemaker then must wait to see if a thin white layer ofairborne yeast, known as flor, will form on its surface.When the flor forms a thick layer, the wine will become thelight, dry, fino style of sherry. If the layer is thinner, the winewill oxidize more than fino because it has greater contact withthe air; these wines will darken and become an amontillado.When no film appears at all, the wine is destined to become anoloroso sherry. Over the next one to two years, the wines arewatched closely and are checked for alcohol content. Dependingon the flor and the experience of the bodega master,unaged grape brandy is added to fortify the wine. Wines thatwill become olorosos are fortified to a slightly higher alcohollevel than those that will become finos. When ready, the wineis transferred to sherry butts—smaller oak casks—and arethen shipped to the solera for aging.

The solera aging system is reserved for sherries, Spanishbrandies, and Madeiras. The sherrybutts are arranged in tiers—often 10 tiers high—with the oldestsherries on the bottom and the youngest on top. Whensome of the sherry—never more than half—is drawn off thelowest tier, it is replenished with wine from the tier above it.Thus, by the time a wine reaches the bottom level, it has agedand mingled, always with older sherries in the solera.Styles of Sherry and How to Serve ThemFino sherries: Pale, light, and dry, fino sherries should beserved chilled, from the refrigerator, in Sherry Copita glassesor on the rocks. They are an excellent apéritif and just rightfor late afternoon tapas.Manzanilla sherries: Cousins of finos, Manzanillas are aged inSanlúcar de Barrameda, a town located on the MediterraneanSea. They feature an extremely delicate body and a slightsaltiness, perhaps due to the location of their aging.Manzanillas should be served chilled, from the refrigerator,in Sherry Copita glasses or on the rocks.Amontillado sherries: Darker in color and nuttier on the palatethan their drier fino cousins, Amontillado sherries should beserved chilled, from the refrigerator, in Sherry Copita glassesor on the rocks.Oloroso sherries: These have a deep amber color, and a nutty,sweet, full body that fills the mouth. Serve them at roomtemperature in Sherry Copita glasses.Cream sherries: Actually a style of oloroso sherry, these, too,are sweet, and have a somewhat creamy texture. Creamsherries should be served at room temperature in SherryCopita glasses.Pedro Ximénez sherries: The sweetest of all, these should beserved at room temperature in Sherry Copita glasses.VermouthA member of the category known as aromatized wines, vermouthsare wines that have been flavored with botanical ingredients—herbs, spices, flowers, roots, seeds, and fruits—and arefortified with brandy. Italy produced the first vermouth in the late1700s; it was red and sweet and came to be referred to as“Italian.” The French produced the first dry, pale-colored vermoutha couple of decades later, and it came to be referred to as“French.” These days, vermouths are produced in many, manycountries; each bottling, though, has its own character and style.Though some inexpensive vermouths are made by merely introducingessences and flavorings to fortified wine, the best bottlingsare manufactured using a far more complicated procedure.

Many companies start out with a wine that has been aged,sometimes for as long as 12 months, and most vermouths—even most red, sweet vermouths—are made from white wine.The wine is then fortified, but only slightly, by the addition ofmistelle, a mixture of unfermented grape juice and brandy.Botanicals are then introduced to the wine by any of severalmethods. Sometimes they are infused into the wine at roomtemperature; sometimes the wine is heated slightly to speedup infusion time; and sometimes herbs are infused into distilledspirits, such as brandy, that are then added to the wine,fortifying it further.After the wine has been aromatized, it is sometimes returnedto oak casks for further aging. Before bottling, it must undergoa technical stabilizing process that filters out any tartrates.Styles of VermouthDry Vermouth: Usually made from very light, dry wines, dryvermouths are usually soft, herbal, and crisp. Vital for aMartini.Sweet Vermouth: Sweeter, of course, than dry vermouth, sweetvermouth also bears a slight bitterness due to the higherpercentage of quinine used in production, and the herbalaccents are often less forthcoming.Bianco Vermouth: Clear in color, like dry vermouth, bianco bottlingsare slightly sweeter than their dry cousins and somewhatmore herbal.Rosé Vermouth: Similar to bianco vermouth but pale pink incolor and dry on the palate.Storing and Serving VermouthOnce opened, store your vermouth in the refrigerator. And ifthe bottles you have are more than six months old, replacethem, because oxidation will have ruined their sprightlyappeal. If you don’t use vermouth very often, it might be agood idea to buy the smaller 375 ml–size bottles.Serve vermouths, straight from the bottle, on ice. The FrenchKiss cocktail—a 50/50 combination of sweet and dry vermouths—can be an excellent apéritif. Also, when cooking, if abit of wine is called for, vermouth can add more complexitythan most table wines.WineWine is an entire world of its own, and, indeed, it spans theworld, produced on every continent except Antarctica. Bartendinginvolves using all four types of wine: sparkling wine,like champagne and Prosecco; aromatized wines, like vermouthand many apéritifs; fortified wines, like port, sherry, andMadeira; and still wines, like your basic reds, whites, and rosés.Most cocktail recipes that call for still wines should be madewith a good dry white, dry red, or dryish rosé. And when yourguest or customer requests, say, a white wine, be sure that thewine you’re pouring is fresh and tasty and properly presented.

How to Serve WineThough dozens of different sizes and shapes of wine glassescan be found in the market, a good basic wine glass will have acapacity of at least eight ounces, preferably more, and ideally,it will be a stemmed glass. When you pour, do not fill the glassmore than halfway full and handle the glass by the stem only.White wines should be served chilled, not icy cold; red winesshould be at cool room temperature—don’t keep them next tothe radiator.How to Taste WineTasting wine requires your whole body. Start by looking at thewine; note its color, texture, and clarity. Smell the wine; stickyour nose well into the glass and take a deep breath. Next,swirl the wine in the glass and smell it again; new aromasmight present themselves. Now, taste the wine; take a mouthful,not just a sip, and swish it around your mouth so that itcomes in contact with all of your taste buds. Take note of everyquality—its feel, its texture, its flavor, its acidity. Finally, swallowthe wine. Does it linger in the mouth? Does it have anyeffect on your throat? Consider the experience. Did it taste likeit smelled? Did it look full-bodied but feel and taste thin in themouth? Would you like to drink more of it?Opening a Bottle of WineScrew caps—and they’re becoming increasingly popular—aside, many people are intimidated by the act of pulling a corkfrom a wine bottle. They shouldn’t be—if they have a goodcorkscrew and know how to use it. (I’ll repeat my personal recommendation,the Screwpull.) First, wipe off the bottle with aclean cloth. Stand it on a flat surface and use a small knife or afoilcutter to remove the top of the plastic or lead capsule thatcovers the cork. Cut just below the lip of the bottle. Next, positionthe worm of your corkscrew slightly off-center and beginturning it firmly to burrow the worm into the cork—because theworm is a spiral, starting it off-center will result in its beingcentered in the cork. Use levers, elbow grease, or whatevermechanism your corkscrew offers to extract the cork from thebottle. Finally—and this is important—use a clean cloth towipe the interior and exterior lip of the bottle before pouringfrom it.BeerLike wine, beer is an entire world of it own, the product ofgrains, hops, water, and yeasts that promote fermentation. Thecategory divides into two parts: lagers, which are brewed usingyeasts that ferment on the bottom of a tank, and ales, whichare brewed using top-fermenting yeasts. Lagers are low in alcohol,light in body, and the most popular style of beer in theUnited States; styles include light lagers, bocks, pilsners,smoked beers (rauchbiers), and malt liquors. Ales, generallyhigher in alcohol, heavier in body, and more robust in flavor,include many styles: stout, porter, wheat beers, pale ales, aswell as numerous others.

Although beer drinks aren’t actually cocktails, a recent trendincludes beer in some concoctions, and oftentimes a shot ofsome liquor or spirituous mixture is dropped into a mug of beerand drunk in combination. The classic Boilermaker, though nota cocktail per se, uses beer as the chaser to the whiskey shot.MixersMixers require little explanation; most are complete the wayyou buy them. One exception is simple syrup, which you willsee throughout the recipes in this article. I ardently recommendthat you make your own—it’s very simple—and keep it on handin the refrigerator; its shelf-life is practically infinite. Havingsimple syrup on hand and using it in place of granulated sugarand water in recipes ensures a better blending of flavors and abetter texture in the drink.Beef bouillonClamato juiceClub sodaCoconut creamCola (diet and regular)Cranberry juiceFruit nectars (peach, pear, apricot)Ginger aleGinger beerGrapefruit juiceGrenadineHalf-and-halfHeavy creamLemon juice (fresh)Lime juice (fresh)Lemon-lime soda(diet and regular)Lime juice cordial,such as Rose’sMilkMineral water (still)Orange juicePineapple juiceSimple syrup(recipe follows)Tomato juiceTonicWhipped creamSimple Syrup

Styles of Port and How to Serve ThemPorts are made in three colors—white, tawny, and ruby—sothey’re extremely easy to tell apart. Their qualities, however,are as different as their colors. Two other types are also produced:late-bottled Vintage port and Vintage port; one is acollector’s item, the other can be drunk right away.White port: Some are dry and light-bodied, but most aresweeter and medium-bodied, so each bottling must betasted to see what style it is. White ports are made fromwhite grapes. Usually offered as an apéritif, white portshould be served well chilled, in small wine glasses.Ruby port: Normally a young wine that has very often spentless than four years in casks (known as “pipes” in theport business). Wines from a variety of pipes are blendedtogether to produce a sweet, medium- to full-bodied portthat represents each individual producer’s style. Rubyport should be served at room temperature in small wineglasses; it is also the port of choice for cocktail- anddrink-making.Tawny port: When inexpensive, tawny port is invariably nothingmore than a blend of white and ruby ports. Aged tawnyports, on the other hand, are truly special. Tawny port startsits life as ruby port, and it is the extended aging period thatcontributes to both the change of the wine’s color—from adeep purple to ruby to a tawny brown—and its change in flavor:The longer the port rests in the pipes, the more itssweetness mellows to a complex, fruity nuttiness, until, ataround age 30, some ports bear the distinct flavors of driedfruits while retaining a pleasant dry nuttiness. Aged tawnyport should be savored at room temperature in small wineglasses.Late-Bottled Vintage port: Normally a good-quality port thathas aged in wood for over four years but seldom more thansix. These are fine wines that are far less expensive than vintagebottlings, but they do not improve in the bottle, andcan, therefore, be consumed immediately after purchase.Late-bottled Vintage port should be served at room temperaturein small wine glasses.Vintage port: Bottled after spending only two years in portpipes, these are wines that have been declared by a verystrict regulatory board to be of the finest quality. Unlikewood-aged bottlings, Vintage ports continue to age andimprove in the bottle and should be kept for at least 10 yearsor considerably more before opening. Many experts claimthat to experience a truly great Vintage port, a minimum oftwo decades of bottle-aging is necessary. Vintage portshould be served at room temperature in small wine glasses.

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