Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Martini mix-off 2009 wrap up

My friends and I had a lot of fun with the martinis! It was great to try fun cocktails that we would normally pass up because they didn’t fit into our normal repertoire of beverage. This got us out of our comfort zone and we found a few cocktails by which we were amazed.

The following is my beverage winners for the event. My friends are not in complete concurrence but for the most part, we were very close.

1. Vesper Reconsidered- Chandlers
2. No one came close enough
3. Blue-by-you- Pair

1. French Connection- Pair
2. The Bandit- Bonefish
3. Tolerance Juice- Red Feather

1. Barack O’PAMA- Chandlers
2. El Pepino- Bonefish
3. Ty Webb- Tablerock

I was very disappointed not to see Bonefish in the finalists of the Boise Weekly’s write up or the final judging. I was also appalled to see Bardenay make it into the finals. Their classic was weak, and the same exact drink they made in 2006. They didn’t even bother changing the name. Their Masala Martini in the original category was nearly the same as their 2006 Chaitini. They could use some originality!

Another disappointment of the mix-off was the Bouquet. They only got the special ingredients used to make their drinks in for the one night the judges were there. We felt as though they didn’t care what the other customers thought and they did not even come up with an appropriate solution. We sampled the drinks they could make for us and were so unimpressed by the experience, we did not even finish our drinks.

A huge high point in the mix-off was finding Bonefish. Our bartender Shannon is amazing! She takes such great care of us whenever we return now. The drinks are great, the food fantastic, and our service fabulous.

Overall we enjoyed the martini drinking and socializing!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chandlers Steakhouse

981 W Grove Street

Located in Hotel 43, Chandlers Steakhouse and Lounge are the epitome of class. High-end all the way, including the staff.

We opted for a late afternoon to enjoy the martinis so we would have the full attention of Pat, the fabulous bartender. We sidled up to the bar, all 8 of us, to enjoy the next hour. Pat provided us with some reading material for background on the drinks. It was more fun quips than real details but that extra step certainly adds to our ratings.

This year’s offerings:
44 Magnum
Wild Turkey Bourbon, Tia Maria, 44 North Rainier Cherry, cherry garnish

Barack O’PAMA
Absolut Vanilla vodka, Godiva Chocolate Liquer, Wild Turkey Bourbon, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, Pomegranate sugared rim and a chocolate coin garnish

Vesper Reconsidered (a 10-minute martini)
Plymouth Gin, Blue Ice Vodka, Lillet Blanc, a spooge of Orange Bitters, Lemon twist garnish

The 44 Magnum had some interesting qualities. Cherry flavors were present in the initial taste but the drink finished with a chocolaty-coffee taste. Some of my fellow tasters thought it more reminiscent of cough syrup but I thought it was a bit more subtle. The Wild Turkey seems to provide the continuity of this drink while the other liquor in the drink is what provides the true essence.

The Barack O’PAMA was a beautiful drink with its sugared rim and hint of red color. Pat suggested we try a sip, take a bite of chocolate, then another sip. I preferred it before chocolate, while Liz preferred it with the chocolate. Either way, we enjoyed this beverage. It wasn’t nearly as sweet as I had expected with just the right balance of flavors. The flavors stood up on their own while simultaneously working with each other. I have no idea how Pat is able to put it all together, but he does it perfectly.

The Vesper Reconsidered is worth every 10 minutes of the wait. Seriously! This is the best martini I have ever had. It is crisp, clean, and refreshing. It is dangerous! The orange bitters and lemon twist really bring out the crispness in this cocktail. As the drink slowly comes to room temperature, the flavors continue to evolve. It is a definitely stunner.

Chandlers does not have a happy hour but they do provide some tasty hors d'oeuvres. While we were there, we sampled some sliders and homemade jerky. We enjoyed our time there and the service was stellar.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Piper Pub

150 N 8th Street

The Piper Pub, referred to as just The Piper by locals, had good variety in their drinks.

Channel 7 was the Classic mixing Broker’s Gin, Absolut Vodka, 3 pumps of dry vermouth shaken and served up with olives. This was a great classic. I hadn’t tried Broker’s gin before and honestly I forgot I was drinking gin. It has a very delicate flavor, or at least combined with the vodka and vermouth, it does.

The Berry Picker was the Original martini. This panty dropper contained Absolut Citron, pomegranate Liquor, squeeze of berry puree, splash of 7-up, and muddled and strained basil in simple syrup, garnished with a pom sugar rim. It was sweet and frou frou. If you like girly drinks, this one is for you!

The Blue Collar was the cocktail and served in a hurricane glass. This one certainly gets honorable mention for glassware. This was brought to the table with colors layered from pale yellow on the bottom to sea blue on the top. Very attractive presentation. This beverage contained mint, coconut syrup, Absolut vodka, Curacao, and Meyer’s Rum. The initial sip was good but the finish of minty coconut was a bit too much. This drink required a good stirring. This is the drink I would like to enjoy while laying on the beach listening to the surf....but one is all I could handle.

And something else worth mentioning, The Piper does not serve PBR :-(


1010 W Main Street

The first time we attempted martinis at the Bouquet was the Sunday after the judges stopped there. We were told they didn’t have two of the key ingredients for two of the martinis. I was told they might have them in in about five days. So we returned five days later and they were still out of one of the ingredients- dry ice. The bartender working that day informed us that they only got in the ingredients for the martinis they made for the judges- wtf?? Part of what we were asked to do is judge the martinis. There was even a slip in our booklet to fill out for the judging. So we were treated to half-ass martinis and were unimpressed by the experience, as well as the poor service. As a matter of fact, we didn’t even finish our martinis. Other friends who tried to use their coupons there were treated with the same lousy experience. I won’t even bore you with the details here.


999 W Main Street

After two prior attempts at enjoying martinis at Angell’s, we were finally successful. The first time was a Sunday afternoon but their sign said they didn’t open until 5. The second time was a Sunday after 5; they were not open and their hours were no longer posted. Finally on a Thursday we were successful!

We went directly to the bar for our martini enjoyment. The lineup was as follows:

Classic- The Blissful Angell
Crystalhead Vodka garnished with 3 bleu cheese olives

Original- Hot Mamacita
Cilantro, pineapple juice, jalepeno, Silver Petron, rim salted.

Cocktail- Fallen Angell
Muddled basil, fresh grapefruit, yellow bell pepper, Absolut Vanilla vodka, bar sour, garnished with bell pepper

The Classic was crisp and pleasant and the olives were tasty, but it didn’t have any elements that set it apart from any other classic martini. While it was very good, it didn’t WOW.

The Hot MaMaCita was very interesting. A unique twist to the traditional margarita. The salt rim was a bit overpowering for this drink and its delicate flavors. The sips without the salt were perfectly balanced with sweet and spicy.

The Fallen Angel had a lot going on. The flavors were an odd combination that just didn’t seem to work together. It really needed something that would marry the combination better.

All the drinks were very enjoyable at Angell’s and the bartender was helpful with descriptions and the like. We didn’t find any of the libations to be winners, however.