Tuesday, December 18, 2012

If You're Gonna Bet, Is Penguin the Best Choice?, or Casino vs. Tuxedo

The titles are seriously starting to stress me out.

The Casino cocktail isn't that far away from an Aviation that you'll remember from a previous post, except it adds orange bitters and uses a different type of gin.  Actually, both drinks in today's match use a different type of gin - Old Tom Gin.  The question is - what is Old Tom Gin?  So maybe there was a neighbor of mine, let's say old Tom Finklestein (or was it stine?) that used to drink gin all the time.  Maybe I used to think Old Tom Gin was just a saying around town for normal, everyday gin.  So maybe I would have been right, if I lived in the pre-prohibition era.  Then again, I'd be writing this on an oil powered computer too.

Old Tom Gin was the gin behind every bar pre-prohibition.  The production at that time was unregulated, so a lot of the gins were quite harsh and had impurities in them - the attempt to hide the harshness resulted in the addition sugar.  Basically, Old Tom could be considered Dry Gin's (today's "typical" gin) softer, sweeter, subtler relative.   It's alcohol bite isn't as sharp and it's a little sweeter than Dry Gin, although its mouth feel was pretty heavy in the Old Tom brand I picked up.  I've heard that some people have tried to add simple syrup to gin to get Old Tom, but that just doesn't work.  Until recently, you couldn't find Old Tom in the US, but there are a couple of brands being marketed now.  What I will try at some point, is a Gin and Tonic with both a Dry Gin and an Old Tom and report back here in a future post.  I'm tingling with excitement already...

Back to the Casino - I didn't enjoy the Aviation too much, but I did really enjoy the Casino - I think the big difference was the Old Tom Gin.  I would definitely order this drink in a club...or in a casino!

Casino Ingredients
1.4 oz. Old Tom Gin
0.3 oz. Maraschino Liqueur
0.3 oz. Orange Bitters
0.3 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice cubes, shake well, strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist and a maraschino cherry.

The Contenders
Now the Tuxedo was good, but I just didn't "get" as the IBA describing as an All Day Cocktail.  It's just too heavy to drink more than one of.  Ya know, too much booze in one drink for me (for those of you who know me well, you can pick your jaws up off of the floor now please).  I mean I can appreciate it, but I just wouldn't drink it again.

Tuxedo Ingredients
1 oz. Old Tom Gin
1 oz. Dry Vermouth
1/2 bar spoon Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 bar spoon Absinthe
3 dashes Orange Bitters

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into cocktail glass.
Garnish with a cocktail cherry and a lemon zest twist.

The clear winner for me is the Casino!

My bet is on this one...
 As a side note - both of these drinks have Maraschino Liqueur in them, so in my research, I was watching a video, and the bartender pronounced Maraschino with a hard k sound...so Mar-a-skee-no.  I thought the guy was off his rocker, so I had to check it out.  All of these years, I've been pronouncing Maraschino incorrectly!  It IS pronounced with a hard k!  Take that English language!  Wait....it's Croatian, isn't it?  Anyway - don't take my word for it - turn on your speakers, and check it out:  Maraschino @ Webster's.  Oh.  You already knew that?  Never mind then.

The Ingredients
For the Casino:
Old Tom Gin - Hayman's
Maraschino - Luxardo
Orange Bitters - Stirrings
Lemon Juice - Fresh

For the Tuxedo:
Old Tom Gin - Hayman's
Maraschino - Luxardo
Absinthe - St. George Absinthe Verte
Orange Bitters - Stirrings

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