January 2014 - Aviation American Gin

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Gin for Seahawks and Broncos

We celebrate all things American here at the home of Aviation American Gin. This February, we can’t think of anything more American than the Super Bowl. Being located in Portland, Oregon, I have no natural affiliation with an NFL team but I know how to host a good party. I supply my guests with the perfect balance of food, drink and American football. After that, the party pretty much takes care of its self.

You invite the guests, the NFL will provide the game and I’ll list all the recipes you need to make the perfect game day celebration.

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Gin and Lemon Chicken Wings from FoodRepublic.com

beers-knees

The Beers Knees for the classic beer drinkers.

spiked_fruit_punch

Aviation Spiked Fruit Punch for the easy refillable drink.

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Finally, Whiskey, Caramel, Marshmallow and Bacon Bark for dessert.

– Kelly Sanders, Marketing/Gin Quality Control Taste Tester

Bottling Line

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Working on the bottling line at house spirits can be a lot of fun, but ensuring our products leave the distillery looking their best involves a lot of hands-on labor.

The bottling of Aviation American Gin usually includes a team of 4-6 people, all of us motivated to create a good looking product, all of us with an eye for details and a desire to catch any mistakes before they leave the distillery. It can take a surprising amount of discipline to keep standards high after hand-bottling more than a thousand bottles a day for months, and our bottling crew has continued to impress.

Our current process for bottling Aviation American Gin has evolved over the past year to include the following steps.

  1. Gin is pumped from the bottling storage tank to a small bottling reservoir (the gin cow) capable of filling 6 bottles at once
  2. Check the glass for physical imperfections and quickly ‘cleaning’ the interior space with compressed air
  3. Capping the bottles
  4. Applying the front badge (with our batch number id)
  5. Applying the cap strip
  6. Applying the shrinky-dink
  7. Running bottles through the heating element to shrink the dinks.
  8. Before boxing, the boxes are dated and labeled with product info. The bottles have one more visual inspection before being boxed.
  9. Add a necker tag
  10. Stack boxes on a pallet and shipped out and about. If you love it, let it go.

-Aaron, Head Bottler

Getting Cozy This Winter

With these cold winter nights upon us, one of my favorite cocktails to imbibe on with friends and family is the House Negroni. The rich botanicals of Aviation American Gin play nicely with bitter herb flavor of Campari. Add the softness of well made sweet vermouth (I prefer Carpano Antica) it makes for the perfect conversation starter around those cold winter nights huddled around a warm fire with your closes friends and family.
house-negroni
Recipe:
2 oz Aviation American Gin
3/4 oz Campari (you can substitute Aperol if you prefer a lighter less boozy version)
3/4 oz Sweet Italian Vermouth (I prefer Carpano Antica)
Garnished with an Orange Peel
Directions combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, stir until chilled serve up or on the rocks over fresh ice.
-Travis Tober, Austin Brand Supporter

Bitters – Part 3

Bitter range

 

Alright if you’ve made it this far into our Bitters Blog (See part 2 and 1 here) chances are you have become the smiling owner of some spiced-up infusions (and may have even bypassed the dropper by just inverting them into soda water – I certainly do). If you are still homemade bitters free… why? Well, perhaps certain ingredients couldn’t be found or maybe you didn’t have the right tools. Did the work seem a bit too much for too few drinks that outright call for bitters? We will hopefully quell these concerns and put all the necessary elements – including more recipes – into your hands for this third edition.

Basic ingredients have been covered but sometimes certain ones won’t be found. Advancing your understanding of their functions will expand your versatility and could even lead to happy accidents.  For instance, most roots and barks may be considered to have a bitter contribution and should produce the desired effect – though, of course, not all the same flavors. I’ve even found guidance in herbal remedy books that give flavor descriptors along with their medicinal use. And with a plenitude of flavors being made including celery, grapefruit and sri racha bitters, you can always make due without, maybe, mission figs should they be (most likely) unavailable. But if you absolutely have to make that Cherry-Hazelnut Bitters with Schizandra berries here are some great sites that ship their wares.
Also keep in mind that different base spirits at different proofs can also give an array of results. Most people like to go right for grain alcohol but I’ve had great results with 101 whiskey or even an 84 proof vodka. These may take additional time to extract so give them a few more days and a few more shakes. Now if you are content to filter your bitters multiple times through cheesecloth then good on you, it isn’t really too much to ask. If your bitters making turns toward the obsessive however, or you are making larger batches, then a Buchner flask is the way to go. These can be attached to small pumps or a simple water aspirator that can send bitters through a coffee filter for just one easy pass. And I’d like to add that microplanes are essential to make this whole process exponentially easier for zesting and grating ingredients.
There are classic cocktails that couldn’t be made without bitters though it seems for the most part they held a very specific place. These days however bitters seem to have progressed from extraneous additive to integral mixing tool, with some drinks even based around them. There are even a few bartenders using Rotary Evaporators which gently break down ingredients into their basic components. In this way, flavor hints of any type may be added to drinks such as Absinthe or tobacco. Here are a few more ranging from classic to over-the-top bitters onslaught. Dig in.
Blue Moon
This drink is somewhat related to the wonderful Aviation Cocktail in that it uses a violet-flavored liqueur paired up with gin. It’s a classic and an interesting take on using red wine in a mixed drink.
What you need:
1.5 oz Aviation American Gin
1 oz Dry vermouth
1 tsp Creme Yvette
2 dashes Orange bitters
.25 oz Red wine, light in body
Glassware should be cocktail or coupe
The build:
1. Add gin, dry vermouth, Crème Yvette and orange bitters to a mixing glass.
2. Add ice and stir until chilled.
3. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
4. Using a bar spoon, gently float red wine over top of the cocktail. In fact, any spoon will do just use the back side of it for gentle cascading.
The Bijou
A bit decadent in sweetness, this drink is a great example of bitters ability to cut through and balance out a cocktail with perfect, almost austere, poise.
What you need:
1 oz Aviation American Gin
1 oz Sweet vermouth
.75 oz Green Chartreuse
1 dash Orange bitters
Garnish: brandied cherry (preferably Luxardo)
Glassware should be a cocktail or coupe
The build:
1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
2. Add ice and stir well.
3. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
4. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
The Sawyer
Coming out of the inventive minds at Momofuku Ko’s sister bar Ssam, this drink requires 28 dashes of bitters and should be had as the ultimate after-dinner soother. Credit must go to Don Lee
What you need:
2 oz Aviation American Gin
.5 oz Freshly pressed lime juice
.5 oz Simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
14 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
7 dashes Orange bitters (preferably equal parts Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters and Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6)
Glassware should be rocks
The build:
1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
2. Add ice and shake.
3. Strain into a chilled rocks glass.
Noticed a pattern yet? All these drinks need orange bitters which are requisite, I believe, for cocktails and deserve a place next to Angostura. I’ve included the recipe for Gary Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 5 because it’s one of the best out there. And although it’s an earlier trial version you should get pretty close. Here’s to creative inspiration. Cheers!
– Miles Munroe, House Spirits Distiller

 

Add an Egg

Rich

People don’t often associate eggs and cocktails, but I’m going to tell you why eggs make a great addition to your cocktail repertoire!  Making a cocktail is a lot like composing a plate of food, in that you want to pair flavors, textures, and presentation that will balance out to make something delicious for your palate.  Eggs, whether you use the whole thing, yolks, or just the whites, add lots of texture and mouth feel to your cocktail.  If you use just egg whites, you are going to get a lighter, fluffier finish to your cocktail that will have a beautiful froth on top, which is one reason they are traditionally served “up” or without ice.  Pisco Sour, Strawberry Fizz, and the Ramos Gin Fizz are all great egg white cocktails.  If you use just the yolk, you are going to get a much richer cocktail, heavier mouth feel and a longer finish.  The Golden Fizz would fall in to this category.  Finally, cocktails that use whole eggs will have a rich and creamy texture.  The Tom & Jerry, Flip, Red Eye (which you might remember from the movie “Cocktail”), and Egg Nog (probably the most widely known of all egg drinks and something you might have sipped on over the holidays) are great examples.  One of my favorite egg cocktails is an Aviation Blood Orange Fizz.

Blood Orange Fizz

2 oz Aviation American Gin

¾ oz Freshly pressed blood orange juice

¾ oz Simple syrup

white of 1 large egg

San Pelegrino Aranciatta Rossa

No matter what your favorite spirit is, there is an egg-based cocktail out there waiting for you to try!

 

Rich T Heider II, Brand Supporter – Arizona

One Bottle of Gin, So Many Cocktails

Pegu Club
As you can imagine, we experiment a lot with Aviation Gin in cocktails, and as we do, we find that it is incredibly versatile. I think the best, and most surprising, way to explore its versatility isn’t to concoct some crazy new drink but instead to turn to the classics. So here are some tried-and-true drinks, originally made with other spirits, that are as good or better when made with Aviation American Gin. And they are certainly worth the time and effort to make.

Original Base Spirit                 Original Cocktail                 Gin Version    
Rum                                         Daiquiri                               Gimlet
Bourbon (Rye)                       Manhattan                        Hearst
Tequila                                    Margarita                            Pegu Club
Brandy                                    Sidecar                                 White Lady
Vodka                                      Moscow Mule                     Gin Mule
– Christian Krogstad, Founder

Low Cal Cocktails

Mango and Soda

With New Year”s resolutions in full swing, were thinking about low calorie cocktails at The Distillery. A well-designed cocktail can be extremely high in flavor but equally low in calories.  We are always reminded not to “drink our calories” and here are a few cocktail recipes that allow us to indulge in creative and delicious beverages, without feeling guilty about it.

Diet Gin and Tonic – approximately 180 calories

1 ½ OZ Aviation American Gin

¼  OZ Freshly pressed lime juice

4 OZ Light tonic water

 In a collins glass, combine all spirits and mixers. Stir for 2 seconds. Fill with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Mango and Soda – approximately 160 calories

1 ½ OZ Aviation American Gin

½ OZ Freshly pressed lime juice

1 OZ Looza mango nectar

¼ OZ Light agave syrup* (1:1)

3 OZ Soda water

In a collins glass, combine all spirits and mixers. Stir for 2 seconds. Fill with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

*To make light agave syrup, combine equal parts light agave syrup with water. Stir until well combined.

 

Removing the sugar is an easy way to remove calories, however you must be sure the cocktail is still balanced and not overly bitter.

Grapefruit and Green Tea Deluxe – approximately 165 calories

1 ½ OZ Aviation American Gin

1 ½  OZ Freshly pressed grapefruit juice

1 OZ Green tea

1 OZ Soda water

In a collins glass, combine all spirits and mixers. Stir for 2 seconds. Fill with ice. Garnish with a grapefruit disc.

Jigger What?

Oxo

By now, most of us know that what is most certainly one of America’s most important contributions to the world of good taste, the cocktail, is seeing a monster comeback and slowly beginning to take its rightful place as an indispensable pillar of the modern culinary experience. Many bars and restaurants, too, have seen the light acknowledging that better ingredients make a better drink and made the switch to fresh juices and the near exclusive use of premium spirits and quality ice for their mixed drinks.

Alright, let me be the first (or hopefully not) to say, “Well done on a fantastic first step!!!”, but are you ready to really go the extra mile for your and the take the next one because, well, it might raise one or two eyebrows to say the least…

A ways back while I was implementing a vintage cocktail program at notable French restaurant,  the chef, who happens to be a James Beard Award winner and an avid cocktail enthusiast, made a very interesting observation while sipping on his Natural Daiquiri(a simple combination of white rum, fresh lime juice, and sugar).  To make truly great cocktails, you have a very small margin of error, smaller even, than that of preparing a dish on the line, and precise measurement in coordination with the use of only the finest ingredients is paramount the ultimate quality of the final product.  Further, the smaller the number of ingredients in a mixed drink, the more important perfect measurement becomes as even the slightest misproportion can take drinks like a Daiquiri, a Manhattan, or even a Cosmo (and yes, I believe that when made in perfect proportion, the Cosmopolitan is a yummy drink) from a memorable cocktail experience to a something strong, yet forgettable in the span of little more than a quarter of an oz.

Now, I know we are really in cocktail geek territory here, but folks, I believe our friend is right on the money and this conversation reaffirmed my belief that if we truly want to offer each and every one of friends/guests the best cocktails we can muster, we will have to reacquaint ourselves with a little tool most of us bartenders love to hate: The jigger.

Now, for most of us who have spent any time behind the stick, the word J-I-G-G-E-R reads more like a 4 letter word and I understand the disdain.  Most bartenders see the jigger as a form of “training wheels”, not too mention a hinderance to quick cocktail production.  On top of that, a lot of guests view it purely as a way to limit the amount of “fun going into their glass”.

But I am talking strictly about cocktails here, not your common well drink or straight spirit where, yes, you can, certainly argue, the value in the drink, for most people, probably lies more in the quantity(and the brand) than anything else.

The value in a cocktail, though, is something totally different and I say, in full confidence, that the average imbiber will take a perfectly balanced cocktail that dances cleanly and crisply across the palate, than one that is strong, served in a giant glass, and completely out of balance.

Most cocktail enthusiasts would probably agree, a cocktail is about the magic that comes forth from the perfect marriage of several ingredients to create a new and exciting flavor profile.  And this, my friends, most definitely requires precision.  Further, at $10.00 a pop, why shouldn’t a guest expect the same consistency from a cocktail as they would in a glass of wine at the same price point.

So, for the 8 years, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, having not only required of myself the use of a jigger for all precision cocktails, but begun the use of jiggers for all concepts and clients.

Do I face resistance?

Of course,, but after several tastings and trainings the proof was definitely in the pudding.  Each and every one of the bartenders I have worked with agreed that, yes, missing the proper proportion by even that quarter oz. changed the cocktail a great deal and the level of consistency they gained with the jigger was worth the stretch.  Checking back with the very same bartenders, I have found that they actually learned to love the jigger and the confidence and professionalism it afforded them.

Alright, so for all of you mulling over the heresy of using a jigger, humor me, and give it a try for a day or two.  Heck, make it even easier on yourself; try simply measuring the juices and modifying agents(which is what I recommend for a busy bar), which, in smaller proportions, make the biggest difference in the final product, while continuing to free pour the base spirit; a win/win situation for everyone.

 

– Ryan Magarian, Bartender

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