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The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival (Nov. 18)

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AUTHOR MATT TEACHER WILL BRING THE SPIRIT OF GIN TO DC
WITH A BOOK SIGNING AND CURATED GIN FLIGHT AT WISDOM

On Tuesday, November 18 from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., gin expert Erik Holzherr (The Gintender) will host a special Book Signing with author Matt Teacher to celebrate the release of The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival (Cider Mill Press Book Publishers, November 2014) at Wisdom (1432 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, 202-543-2323). Guests will be able to purchase copies of the book at the event for Teacher to sign, and will also have the option to purchase and sip a specially curated gin flight that Teacher and Holzherr put together specifically for the event.

“Washington, DC has become a mecca for cocktail lovers, and especially for gin lovers, over the past few years, and I’m thrilled to visit and share my new book with the knowledgeable and curious drinkers in the District,” says Teacher, who is also the author of The Home Distiller’s Handbook (Cider Mill Press, 2011). Adds Holzherr, “We’re so happy to have Matt join us and share his gin stories first-hand with our fans and friends.”

10_20_14-GintenderAdTeacher and Holzherr created a special flight of three exceptional gins for guests to compare and contrast at the event which will include a traditional London dry gin, a historic Old Tom gin and a barrel-aged gin.

The Spirit of Gin is an engaging and informative chronicle of Teacher’s self-education on the oft-misunderstood and newly back-in-vogue spirit. The book, loaded with cocktail recipes, celebrated clubs, bars and top mixologists passionate about the spirit, as well as the large and small distilleries making the best gins today, belongs on the shelf of any serious home bartender, and would be equally at ease beside other best-selling cocktail books in any of the bars that Teacher visits on his gin-fueled journey. Each page leads readers through Teacher’s story in words, recipes and illustrations that range from clever original pieces to vintage advertisements and photographs. The book is a showpiece and makes a thoughtful gift for anyone interested in the contemporary cocktail revival.

Established in 2008, Wisdom is Washington, DC’s first dedicated cocktail parlor. The bar features the largest gin selection in DC/MD/VA, specializing in house-original cocktails, the finest American microbrews and the largest selection of authentic absinthe in Capitol Hill. Wisdom is also home to the country’s first Gin Club. It is located a half block from the Potomac Avenue Metro stop on the blue, orange and silver lines.

Matt Teacher is the co-founder and proprietor of Philadelphia, PA’s Sine Studios, a recording facility designed for acoustic optimization. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he is also a devoted spirits lover whose thirst for knowledge drove him to research and write The Home Distiller’s Handbook, and now, The Spirit of Gin. He resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Katie, a musician who frequently joins him on his travels and who he is proud to have transformed from a vodka kind of gal into a knowledgeable gin lover. He is also the author of The Musician’s Hit Song Writer’s Notebook (Cider Mill Press, 2009).

For more information, please visit thespiritofgin.wordpress.com.

Wisdom Gin Club

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Check out all Gin Club events and details

WHO:
NINE Amazing gins being featured ALL under one roof!

Erik Holzherr (the Gintender) will be on hand to talk about his love of gin, gin mixing basics, and how he has flavor-profiled them.

The Brand Ambassador for Leopold’s Gin
The Brand Specialist for Nolet’s Silver/Reserve
The Brand Specialist for Dorothy Parker Gin (NY Distilling Co.)
DC Mixologist Dan Searing representing: Half Moon Orchard Gin Jensen’s Tom Gin
Smooth Ambler Barrel-Aged Gin
Owner/Ambassador for Blue Coat Gin
Master Distiller(s) for DC’s Green Hat Gin

WHAT:

Wisdom is founding a new Gin Club-with 70+ different gins available, Wisdom Bar is the go-to spot for gin in Washington DC. Nine different gins will be represented with experts providing samples & expertise. Cocktail Specials ALL NIGHT with these different brands.

WHEN:

Next Thursday, February 6th at 730pm is the Grand Kickoff/Press Party

WHERE:

Wisdom Cocktail Parlour
1432 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
DC 20003
1/2 Block from the Potomac Ave Metro (Blue/Orange lines)

WHY:

Wisdom has the largest selection of gin in Washington D.C., the most knowledgeable staff on gin brands and talented bartenders at mixing gin and providing recommendations. Besides providing Gin Education classes, Wisdom’s brand new club will now award members for drinking gin. Rewards will include giveaways, tastings, trips, and discounts.

Check out all Gin Club events and details

The Reverse Martini

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It is no secret I have a healthy obsession with gin. It is the canvas I like to build most of my drinks on. But right after my obsession with gin is my obsession with aperitif wines/vermouth. In my humble opinion it is the least understood and most underutilized cocktail ingredient in our current cocktail rebirth. It is one of two ingredients in a Martini and one of three ingredients in a Manhattan, yet the majority of Americans and even many professional cocktail makers know very little about it and do not place importance on it.

There are three main reasons why Americans shy away from Vermouth. One, the famous haters such as Winston Churchill who declared that the way to make a martini correctly is extremely chilled gin and then bowing in the direction of France. Secondly, it is trendy to order a martini “dry”, although in my seven years experience behind the bar it is scary how many customers order a martini that way but do not really understand what they are asking…but it sounds correct! And finally, most do not realize that vermouth has a shelf life. And if you have ever had wine that has been opened for days/weeks that has oxidized it is horrible. The same thing happens to Vermouth (although it takes longer to turn). But if your first experience with the stuff is oxidized Vermouth, anyone sane drinker would want to keep it as far away from their lips as possible.

If you want to learn the magic of vermouth I suggest you sign up for a class with me, but in the mean time you can come in to Wisdom or Church & State and order a REVERSE MARTINI.

What is a reverse martini? Besides being the favored drink of Julia Child, it is a simple reverse in the ratio of gin and vermouth. It puts the vermouth/aperitif wine on stage and uses the gin for some body and a botanical subtle kick. Much lighter in proof than a standard Martini and yet much stronger than a glass of wine or beer. It may be the perfect drink for the individual who loves the elegance and flavor profile of a classic cocktail but whose tolerance level is not ready for the heat!

One combination that I recently came up with is the BLUE ROSE. The Cocchi Rosé is a new aperitif wine from Cocchi that has incredible depth and a nice layer of bitterness from the chinchona (ken-KEE-nah) bark that is added. BTW the “Americano” does not refer to American but to “Amer” or bitter.

THE BLUE ROSE

2.25 oz of Cocchi Americano Rosé Aperitif Wine

0.75 oz of BlueCoat Gin

dash of Orange bitters

I recommend stirring over the rocks than straining into a coup glass.

Optional Garnish: Orange Peel

Oh My Tonic!

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**Tammy Taylor Manager and head bartender at Church & State in Washington, D.C.**

By Tammy Taylor

I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with liquor, and it’s not just a small obsession. It’s huge and not just with drinking it. Though, I do not deny that’s part of it. I’m obsessed with what I can do to make it different, well, better. So when presented with a recipe to make my own tonic at Church&State, I jumped on it.

Originally, tonic was used for medicinal purposes to ward off against malaria in South America and Africa. The “tonic” was made by soaking the bark from the South American cinchona (kenKEEnah) tree to extract quinine, a natural prophylactic against malaria, and then drinking it as a tea. The quinine tonic was so bitter that eventually the British added lime and gin to tame the bitterness of the drink…so the tonic came first and the gin was the mixer! Thus the beloved “gin and tonic” was born.

But the tonic we drink today is a far cry from what the British drank back then. The first commercial tonic was produced in Britain in the 1850s by adding soda water and sugar. In 1953, Schweppes Beverage Co. brought to the American market. The quinine in the American tonic is produced by a chemical extraction; not by soaking tree bark. It also contains a lot less quinine because the U.S Food and Drug Administration limits the amount of quinine to 83 parts per million. This dilution, along with the high fructose corn syrup that is added, makes it a lot less bitter. It can be argued that American tonic produced for bars on the rail is so far removed from the original formula that it shouldn’t even be called tonic water.

How awesome was it to find out that it was not only better, but easy to make. I found the cinchona bark online without much trouble so I bought it and began experimenting. The earthiness you get is amazing and I, a non-bitter drinker, don’t even mind how bitter and sour it tastes. I haven’t had a gin yet that hasn’t been complimented by my new obsession. I have since modified the recipe and created the “tonic of the month” for our bars. So far, I’ve steeped in lavender, rose hip and the current tonic is hibiscus.

Here is a basic tonic recipe from Imbibe Magazine that you can try at home. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, come to Wisdom or Church&State to give my fresh tonic of the month a try.

Ingredients:
4 cups water
3 cups pure cane sugar
3 Tbsp. quinine (powdered cinchona bark)
6 Tbsp. powdered citric acid
3 limes, zested and juiced
3 stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil until the sugar dissolves, then turn the heat down to low. Add the quinine, citric acid, lemongrass, lime zest and lime juice. Stir well and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the powders are dissolved and the syrup is thin and runny. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the large chunks through a colander, then filter through cheesecloth or coffee filters to refine. This step can take a while—and many filters—as the bark is a very fine powder, so be patient.

*Gintender’s drunken wisdom*


If you are a fan of gin and tonics and you are sipping a super premium gin opt for a better tonic. It makes a dramatic difference! Schweppes is a solid choice as are artesian products such as Fevertree or Q tonic out of Brooklyn. If you are in a bar and have no options other then harsh rail tonic, consider choosing a heavier juniper London dry style gin versus a “New Western style” softer juniper spirit, that will be able to stand up to the tonic.

The Wisdom-Genever Cocktail Competition-18 July 2013

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Wisdom is hosting its first cocktail competition of Diep 9 Genever for industry and non-industry folks!

Why genever (Juh-nee-vur)? It is the precursor of Gin and has a flavor profile that has been described as a mix between gin, whiskey, and vodka. Before prohibition in 1920, Americans were drinking up to 7 times more genever than gin and today the spirit is almost completely unknown in the States.

It is free to enter, and if your recipe is accepted you will have a chance to win some great prizes including bar and restaurant tabs!

Every Sunday starting this Sunday (June 9th) you can visit Wisdom to try free samples of Diep9 old and young genever. Just tell the bartender you are interested in the competition. All recipes must be submitted to dcwisdom@gmail.com by Friday July 12th.

New to genever?  Check out our last post with Diep9’s Veronique Beittel and her new book Genever: 500 Years of History in a Bottle.

The nitty-gritty details:

Diep 9 Official Cocktail Competition Rules, Hints & Tips

Entry
1. Two entries per person maximum
2. Entries must be in the form of a long or short drink, not a shot and be a maximum of 4oz
Liquid.
3. Entries should be submitted by email to dcwisdom@gmail.com but are not officially accepted until email notice of acceptance is sent by the organizers.

Ingredients
4. Drinks must not contain more than seven ingredients, including fruit juices, syrups, drops or dashes. Solid garnishes are not considered ingredients. It is acceptable to additionally spray a citrus fruit zest over the drink if specified as a garnish. With a few exceptions it is the simple drinks that have gone on to become ‘classics’, and due to this the judges will be instructed to favor simple drinks with fewer ingredients.
5. Hot ingredients, premixes of any kind or home preparations are forbidden without advance written authority of the competition organizers. Competitors wishing to use these should submit their request at least 5 days before the day of competition but are advised to seek permission as soon as possible.
6. Recipes which can be easily replicated are preferred so unless judges give advanced written authority (rule 5 above) ingredients must be readily/widely available proprietary products, fruit and commonly found bar products.
7. Recipes must contain a minimum of 1.5 oz of Diep 9 Old genever or Young genever
8. Ingredients may be measured using a jigger or similar measure or freely poured.

Recipes
9. Recipes entered must be the original creation of the competitor and if a competitor is thought to have plagiarized a known, existing cocktail they will be disqualified.
10. Recipes entered must be expressed in ounces or with the use of ‘dashes’ and/or ‘drops’ limited to bitters, hot pepper sauce and the like. Fruit juice quantities must also be stipulated, e.g. “squeeze of lime” is unacceptable.

Drinks & Preparation
11. Drinks must be assembled in front of the judges.
12. Drinks may be hand stirred, hand shaken or blended in an electric mixer.
13. Competitors must supply their own bartending utensils (shaker, bar spoon, strainer etc.). An electric blender will be provided by the organizers.
14. Cocktails may be presented in any shape of glass, cup or other hygienic and safe receptacle. The organizer will supply limited basic glassware but competitors are advised to bring their own. Note, points are awarded for presentation. No brand name or logo other than the regular discrete mark of the glassware manufacturer should be visible (sponsoring brand excepted).
15. The organizers will supply ice
16. Drinks may be served hot (with organizer’s written consent), straight-up, or over cubed, cracked or crushed ice.
17. Each competitor must make at least two identical drinks for the judges to sample.
18. Competitors must be able to prepare drinks within a maximum of 5 minutes but will additionally be given a further 5 minutes, prior to making their drink, to familiarize themselves with the bar area and prepare equipment and ingredients.
19. Competitors serving drinks which appear inedible or working with unhygienic methods will be disqualified and their drinks discarded without being sampled.

Garnishes
20. Garnishes must be edible but may be mounted on sticks, skewers, straws, forks or other such common bar accessories. Use of edible fruits, herbs, leaves and spices my include sprigs, peels, barks, fruit shells etc. Any flowers and petals used must be of an edible variety.
21. Fruit for garnishes may be peeled in advance, but not sliced, wedged or pre-cut in any other way. Garnishes must be assembled within the five minute allotted drinks preparation time.

Copyright
22. By entering this competition, competitors agree to assign copyright of their recipe and drink name to the competition organizers.
23. Competitors and drinks presented during the competition may be photographed (still or motion picture) by the organizers and copyright of these images for any use, including advertising, will be retained by the competition organizers.

Drink Names
24. Drink names including rude, lurid, sexual words, or words associated with narcotics or motor vehicles are prohibited.
Conduct
25. Competitors are encouraged to talk to the judges while making their drink. Points will be awarded for general presentation and working methods.
26. Competitors using rude or swear words will be disqualified.

Adjudication
27. The competition organizers reserve the right to have the final decision on any matter relating to the judging of the competition.
28. The competition organizers will appoint the panel of judges and reserve the right to replace or appoint new judges before or during the competition.
29. The judges must remain impartial and declare any vested interest they may have in the competition or competitors. They must judge each competitor on their competition presentation and drink alone.

Liability
30. While every reasonable effort will be made, the competition organizers cannot guarantee the safe return of glassware, equipment or any product supplied by a competitor. Therefore competitors are advised to house their tools and product in bags/boxes which enable them to efficiently gather and hold their equipment and ingredients immediately after competing.
Responsibility
31. Competitors considered by the organizer to be practicing or promoting any form of irresponsible drinking, including ‘shots’ will be disqualified and may be asked to leave the venue.
32. Competitors must conduct themselves in a safe manner and any action considered by the organizers to endanger fellow competitors, judges or spectators will result in instant disqualification and possible ejection from the venue.

 

Hot Toddy Sundays at Wisdom

Beginning this Sunday (Dec. 16th), we’ll have all the fixings for Hot Toddies at your favorite neighborhood bar.

Best of all, they’re free!

You just pay for the pour. Brave the cold and warm your soul! Either build your own or ask the barkeep to give you a hand.

To help you get ready, here’s an excellent article on the history of the drink from Wonderland Kitchenhttp://wonderlandkitchen.com/2012/01/fuzzy-math-the-hot-toddy-a-history/ Toddilicous!

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