Located just outside the hustle and bustle of the West Side Market and bar scene near Ohio City is the Velvet Tango Room. It's not new and it's not a secret...it just does it own thing. And what a great thing they do. Hand crafted cocktails that are 100% speakeasy. People often complain that they are expensive ($16 each), they have to wait for drinks (individually hand crafted), there's a dress code (god forbid you have to care about your appearance!) and rules (they'll politely tell you to shut up if you get too rowdy). But in the age of People of WalMart and Applebee's 2 dinners for $10 crap-tactulars, I think we need a place that actually has some rules and regulations.
That said, they make a mean drink. Old favorites like the Moscow mule, the dark and stormy, the old-fashioned and negroni's all make an appearance. There's a food menu there too, but I've never tried anything off of it. If you are in the area, I suggest trying it...it'll definitely surprise you.
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Place mint leaves in a small bowl; add sugar syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, and grated orange peel. Cover and let steep for 1 hour.
Strain into a 1-quart container. Cover and keep refrigerated.
To serve, mix 1 part lemon mint mixture with 2 parts water. Serve over ice and garnish with lemon or orange slices and sprigs of mint if desired.
Makes about 1 quart syrup, or 3 quarts of lemonade.
Feel free to add your favorite chilled vodka and/or rum to inebriate.
Grappa is one of Italy's most popular alcoholic drinks, with somewhere in the region of forty million bottles of grappa being produced every year. It's also a very Italian drink; since 1989 the name has been protected by the EU, meaning that the drink can only be called grappa if it's sourced and produced in Italy.
The main ingredient of grappa is pomace, which consists of the grape skins, seeds and stalks that are left over from the wine making process. These are taken through a second process of distillation, which extracts the remaining flavors from the pomace before the waste is discarded. The grappa is then either bottled at once, which creates white grappa (grappa bianca), or aged in wooden casks to create the yellow or brown-hued grappa known as riserva.
Grappa can either be made from a mixture of pomaces from different sources, or from one grape variety. If at least 85% of the pomace comes from a single variety, the grappa can be designated di vitigno or varietale, and the type of grape can be incorporated into the name of the drink. Examples of this include Po' Merlot di Poli and Po' Pinot di Poli from the Poli distillery and Francoli's Barbera and Moscato grappas. However, the best wines don't always produce the best grappa; as the grappa is made from the leftovers of the winemaking process, the more the wine takes out of the pomace, the less remains for the grappa.
Grappa is a wonderful way to end a meal, drunk either as a shot on its own or added to an espresso (in which case it's known in Italy as a caffè coretto, or a "corrected coffee"). The Instituto Nazionale Grappa, the body that represents most of the grappa producers in Italy, recommends serving shots in small tulip-shaped glasses with open rims, rather than balloons or narrow glasses.
For those that find it has too "harsh" a flavor, I have heard it suggested that you can mix it with a little bit of ice and pomegranate/blood orange/tart fruit juice. (Although I personally recommend drinking it neat or chilled.)
Article by RomeFile
Funny enough, i see it in a lot of drink recipes...even i have included it in the negroni recipe on this page. Yet most people do not know exactly how to "express an orange peel" and after searching for it online, it's not really explained too much online.
Expressing an orange peel means to bring the oils on an orange peel to the surface of the orange skin. This can be done simply by removing the skin of an orange with a paring knife or a vegetable peeler...then twist/flex the skin of the orange to bring out the oils.
Be sure not to take too much of the white parts under the peel. That brings a lot of bitterness to the cocktail if you drop the expressed peel into your drink.
Simply fold the peel along the curvature of the stripe and pinch or gently twist to release the oils. The oils will spray along the fold, so aim it over your drink.
Another popular method is called flaming an orange peel. This is done by bringing the oils of the orange skin to the surface by gently warming it with a lighter.
Wave a lighter or match flame under the orange peel to bring the oil to the surface. There should be visible oil. When you are ready, squeeze the peel (in the same fashion as the expressing an orange peel) at the flame and it should ignite. Not only does it look cool, it does bring a bit of extra flavor into your drink. Just remember to aim the flame at your glass and you are good to go.
Even with equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth, the bitterness of a Negroni firmly establishes the drink as a Campari-based cocktail. No one is undecided about a Negroni. This Italian big brother to the Americano and distant cousin to the martini is so bitter that its dissenters swear it should be stored in the medicine chest. Its fanatical adherents bask in its ruddy glow and tongue-tingling taste. Some contend that this classic cocktail dates back to Florence in the 1920s, when the flamboyant count—and noted tippler—Camillo Negroni asked for a splash of gin added to his Americano. Others say that the drink, mixed with vodka or gin, has been around as long as the Americano. The Campari company, itself unsure of the origin, eventually decided that the drink should be called a Negroni to avoid confusion with all the other Campari cocktails.
For a longer drink, serve a Negroni with a splash of soda. The cocktail may also be shaken and poured straight up in a cocktail glass.
1 ounce gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
Slice of orange