Tag Archives: Imbibe

Holy Smokes!

The Cowboy Killer_MG_5673

  • Griffs Cowboy Whisky
  • Miracle Mile Chocolate Bitters
  • House made tobacco syrup

Garnish: Hickory Smoke and Orange Peel

Glassware: Small Mason Jar

I recently tried one of the most popular concoctions at The Wallace in Culver City, and it was so intriguing I felt the need to do a little post on it. If you live in close proximity (i.e. Anywhere in Los Angeles!) I highly recommend making the journey to the restaurant itself to have it made by its creator, Director of Beverages: Greg Bryson.

For my regular readers you will notice the format of this article is similar to past ‘Drink of the week’ posts, however I’m not including the amounts of ingredients in this one, mainly because the chances of anyone wanting to make this at home is very unlikely and also because the tobacco syrup took a long time for Greg to perfect (a few seconds too long steeping the tobacco makes it undrinkable apparently). There is also nicotine in the drink (not dangerous levels) but I would rather leave this one to the professionals and have you try the drink at it’s place of origin instead. :)Smoking The Cowboy Killer

There are a number of fantastic drinks on the current menu that Mr. Bryson has created, and although he says he usually tries to steer away from making any kind of drink that could be deemed “gimmicky”, this is certainly one of his show stoppers. Greg did point out that although the visual effect is great, the smoke is actually an important part of the drink itself. It creates an aroma that fills your senses when you take a sip and changes the flavors of the drink. “It isn’t JUST for show, there is a very definite reason for it’s addition.”

Reason or no reason, in my opinion the drink just looks seriously cool!

This Cocktail (and it really is a Cocktail in the fundamental definition of the word- Strong, Sweet & Aromatic) is sort of a smoky twist on an Old Fashioned. So many “twists” of classics keep popping up, but this is certainly a more unusual approach.  Greg smokes each drink in front of the bar guests using hickory wood chips in a Polyscience smoke gun and almost every patron at the bar pops their head up to watch the process when one is ordered.

The little mason jar (used as the glassware) quickly fills with a plume of smoke and is presented to the guest with the lid on. You can see the vapor swirling around in the jar so when they remove the lid a cloud of creamy white fog swirls up and it is at this point he suggests taking your first sip. The drink does contain tobacco, however it isn’t cigarettes you smell as the lid lifts…it’s more like a camp fire.

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The Cowboy Killer has a nice slight sweetness to it and the Griffs Cowboy Whisky compliments all the other elements in the drink perfectly. It isn’t too big for the non-whisky drinker to enjoy, and those who love any kind of smoky style drink (eg. Laphroaig or Mescal drinkers) will love this creation.

All in all, this drink isn’t only interesting to look at, but really great to sip on too. Stop in at The Wallace between Tuesday and Saturday to see Greg in person, but either way no matter when you choose to go in, I highly recommend you make a point of trying this wonderful tipple.

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Drink of the Week

The Singapore Sling

  • 1 oz. London dry gin
  • 1 oz. Bols Cherry brandy or Cherry Heering
  • 1 oz. Bénédictine
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. soda water
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients except soda water and bitters and shake in ice.  Strain in an ice-filled collins glass and top with soda water. Dash with Angostura bitters.

Today is my Dads birthday, so I thought it would be a fun idea to put up a drink in his honor. 🙂

This is a drink that has specific memories to me from my childhood. I used to go with my family to Australia almost every year and on a number of occasions we would stop over in Singapore for a few days. I can remember my dad was always excited when he arrived, he would get unpacked then announce to the family “I’m heading down to the bar for the first Singapore sling of the trip.”  As we were fortunate enough to stay at the gorgeous Raffles Hotel on many occasions, it is easy to understand why this was his recurring drink of choice.

When I first decided to write about the Singapore Sling, I hadn’t quite appreciated how much confusion revolved around its recipe. The drink itself is fairly well documented and most would agreed that the first recipe was created by Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel, Singapore, between 1900 and 1915.

However, there is suggestion that the drink may have existed already under the name ‘Straits Sling’ before Tong Boon brought it over to Raffles.  The original recipe has always been disputed, because there are numerous variations in existence that call for different ratios and ingredients.  The above recipe is from research by David Wondrich on the Sling, but if you were to go to Raffles 20 years ago you would receive another version most likely changed sometime in the 1970s by Ngiam Tong Boon’s nephew.

According to Wondrich, new data in the form of a searchable archive of Singapore newspapers shows the earliest reference to a sling is from 1897, nearly 20 years before the Raffles Hotel supposedly created it.  Today, many of the “Singapore Slings” served at Raffles Hotel have been pre-mixed and made using an automatic dispenser that combines alcohol and pineapple juice at pre-set volumes. They are then blended instead of shaken and include pineapple juice to make them more appealing to the ‘American tourists’ in a Tiki style drink.

I always remember seeing a ‘Recipe Card’ in the lobby of Raffles hotel that I believed to be the original recipe, however my research has shown that The Raffles Hotel management has always admitted that the original recipe card was in fact lost at some point during the 20th century.  The recipe in the photo above is variation 26!

With or without pineapple juice, with Cherry Heering or with Dry Cherry Brandy instead, this drink has a lot of history, is refreshing, flavorful and ideal for hot sticky summers in Singapore.

For me the appeal is its sentimental value because of the fond memories I have of my father sitting in the lobby of Raffles enjoying his pink drink.  If I ever return to Singapore in the future i’m sure I will make a point of stopping in at Raffles to order one for myself, if only to keep up the tradition.

Happy Birthday Dad!

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