Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Continued thoughts on Brandy and Sherry

Brandy and Sherry are the Double Whoopee? I needed a picture.

Well, the third week and I am excited to be writing for you lovely people again. It is interesting when thinking about how difficult routine can be and how powerfully influential it can be if we allow it. Which is all just code to say that I didn't want to write this, but I'm going to anyway; because I love you and I said I would. So to continue on the subject that I discussed last week, the utilization of what have become rarities in the cocktail world. It is a confusing conundrum to me how craft bartenders and cocktail historians don't immediately gravitate to brandy or Sherry. If you think about the beauty, fun and infectious character of vermouth or Rum (both of which, I love), a simple, easier, more accessible flavor profile than of both of those is Brandy and Sherry. If you look at cocktails that are now ubiquitous, that are now commonplace, such as the Margarita or Manhattan and it's very easy to see the foundations of the Margarita is the Sidecar or the Manhattan in a Metropolitan cocktail; both of which easily predate the originals by AT LEAST a half of a century. It's also easy to see and historically understand the foundation of a drink like a Sazerac, but there are bartenders, skilled, comprehensive, and well regarded that don't even know the original base of a Sazerac was Brandy and that the drink itself was actually named after a brandy called Sazerac de Forge Et Fils. To think about these contradictions and it's perplexing to me why craft bartenders and home bartenders don't immediately gravitate to the flavor complexity the use of Brandy.
To understand how these Titans of Mixology fell out of favor it's super easy to understand. At the historical moment when cocktails were gaining importance, movement, and traction in society across all cultural lines something terrible happened to the all the grapes in Europe where the Brandy and Sherry were coming from, it was the phylloxera blight. Right at the time, people could get their head around and their hands on something they thoroughly enjoyed, the availability went through the floor and the prices went through the roof--very suddenly. What would you do if all you could find was whiskeys, rums, liqueurs, and bitters? You would adapt--and QUICK. By the time they had figured out the phylloxera problem, what caused it the blight and a solution to get it under control, access, production, and supply models had completely changed. When Brandy and Sherry finally emerged, the world had moved on. But how do we get it back into everybody's hand? Now the well-aged, much revered and prohibitively more expensive than usable Brandy and Sherry is all anyone discusses. But in other parts of the world, this isn't true? So, I repeat: How do we get Brandy and Sherry back into everybody's hand? I promised drinks to try and I swear I will post them! I am doing a Silent Film Event on Thursday Evening (Laurel and Hardy, see I tied the picture in!) and was going to try to get pictures there. If you are around Long Beach on Thursday, let me know, I have a couple of guest passes or I could probably get tickets at a discount

So until next week, I lift my glass to you in a toast my friends. Be good to one another, love one another, share your kindness, your sweetness, and possibly a beverage with someone!

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