Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Vanilla Porter Syrup Old Fashioned

While at the Cincinnati Food & Wine Classic, Trish and I went to presentations on the Old Fashioned by Butcher and the Rye, Molly Wellman and Robert Simonson. These presentations (and the accompanying drinks) changed my view on Whiskey drinks and have certainly made me appreciate the Old Fashioned.

One of the ideas that really intrigued me was demonstrated by the bartender of the Butcher and the Rye. He presented an Old Fashioned made with a Pumpkin Ale Syrup, made with reduced Pumpkin Ale. The flavor of the beer carried into the drink, bringing a spicy profile which complemented the whiskey.

Making the Vanilla Porter Syrup

After doing some research, I decided to give it a try myself. I started with a Breckenridge Vanilla Porter as that seemed to be the most complementary flavor based on what I had on hand.

My chosen sacrifice

The whole process took approximately 35 minutes. Essentially, I reduced the beer by 2/3 and then added an equal weight of sugar.

 First, I poured the beer into a sauce pan and warmed it under medium-high heat:

At this point, you really should get a good idea of how deep the beer is in the pan. This will make it a heck of a lot easier to know when you've reduced it by the right amount.

Keep a close eye on it and stir frequently. At one point, it tried to foam up and over the pan and only a quick pull off the heat prevented a disaster:

Shortly after the near-disaster, the beer slowed it's overflow, reached a boil and I reduced the heat to keep it simmering but not boiling. At this point, I put on the timer for 30 minutes and checked back in every few minutes for a level check and stir.

30 minutes later, I placed a tempered glass measuring cup on my food scale and zero'd it out. Next, I poured the beer into a measuring cup and luckily found it was exactly 2/3 reduced! I carefully added sugar until I'd doubled the weight of the mixture (7.2 oz in total) and stirred until the sugar was fully incorporated.

That's it! 

The final product is a sweet, complex syrup with a distinctly beer aroma and flavor. Very tasty!

Making the Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a pretty simple drink, mine called for:
  • 2 Sugar Cubes
  • Tiny Bit of Water
  • 2 Shakes of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Porter Syrup
  • 1.5 oz Bulleit Whiskey
  • Ice Cube (or Penguin in my case)
  • Orange Peel
I start by combining the water, sugar cubes and bitters and muddle everything together. 

Next, add the ice and whiskey and finally twist the peel to express the oils and garnish the drink.

This Old Fashioned was delicious, with enough sweetness and complex flavors to balance the whiskey. The first aroma is of orange then a mixture of sweetness and vanilla with the spice of the whiskey. Highly recommended!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

New House Pt1

We've been in our new house in Cincinnati for three weeks now.  At this point, we have most of the rooms downstairs set up.  Upstairs we're largely waiting on paint.

Here are some photos of the house provided by the owner from when they lived here:
From the street

The 'master' bathroom

The living room

The front entry way / stairs

The dining room

Sarah's Bathroom
Here are a couple of the rooms we have completed thus far:
The butler's pantry

The kitchen

The playroom


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Working Overseas: Leaving Brno

There were no meetings on my last day in Brno, so the client was okay with me getting in to the office a little later. I took the opportunity to visit the Capuchin Crypt.  The crypt was interesting, if morbid.  Due to the type of soil and the accidental design of the crypt which allowed air to leave the bodies were naturally mummified.  Inside were several people who had provided assistance to the order as well as the remains of several monks.  The monks took a vow of poverty so severe, that for their funeral they reused a single coffin with a false bottom and once the funeral was complete, they were taken down to the crypt and the body dropped out.

In the first room was the relics of St. Clement the Martyr, she had a wax mask affixed over her face which was pretty unnerving.  Another body of interest was that of a woman who was likely buried alive during a plague.  While most of the bodies were placed in a state of rest, her head was at an extreme angle, and her arms were stretched against the sides of the coffin.  This was apparently a common occurrence before the advent of modern medicine.

Since I couldn't take any pictures inside the crypt, here is a picture of the entrance.

After work, I started the drive to Vienna.  On the way I stopped at the quaint town of Mikulově, which sits on the border of the Czech Republic and Austria. Mikulově is the site of the castle Mikulově which overlooked the road between Brno and Vienna and was controlled by the Lichenstein family.

The view of the town below was pretty spectacular, but I couldn't linger too long, I had to get to Vienna at a reasonable time to return my car.

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I made one final stop on the way out at a Chateau of the Lichenstein family in Austria, unfortunately though it was closed, so it was a bit of a bust.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Working Overseas: Brno Days Two and Three

Day 2

Yesterday I was able to get into the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul.  The inside of the cathedral was ornate, though less so than I expected from the outside.

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On the way back I ran into a strange art installation with a number of pig mannequins and students playing music on a small stage.  I have no idea what was happening, but it sure was interesting.

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I also managed to snap a quick photo of the Brno train station outside the hotel before dinner, it's actually really neat looking with bronze roof and figures.

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Day 3

Today I was able to leave the office a little early and tried to visit the Capuchin Crypt, unfortunately it closed at 4:30.  Then, I tried to visit the Brno Museum, but unfortunately it was also closed.

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After regrouping at the hotel, I walked to the Špilberk castle, which is on a hill overlooking Brno.  When I first set out, I walked up the hill to the ramparts and looked out over the city to the actual castle sitting on the next hill over.

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Oops... so I started out again for the castle.  The walk was steep, but luckily not too far.  The castle grounds are actually a park and are completely open to the public.

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The view from the castle of the city below was pretty spectacular.

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After walking down from the castle, I had some great beer at a small pub and a kebab before heading home for the night.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Working Overseas: Brno at Night

After work, I went out to dinner with another consultant from Adobe.  We shared stories from the field and generally talked over surprisingly good steaks.

I forgot my camera when we went out, so after we got back to the hotel, I grabbed my camera and went out to get some pictures as night was closing in.

Here's the hotel I'm staying at, the Grandhotel Brno

The contrast of old and new buildings in Brno can be pretty shocking.

The Freedom Square or Lower Market, the largest and oldest square (ironically it's actually triangular) in Brno, we went to dinner at a restaurant just off here.

The Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul the seat of the diocese of Brno. It sits over the city on the top of the hill and can been seen from nearly any point.

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Working Overseas: Vienna

When I arrived in Vienna Sunday morning, I was pretty tired from the trip, but I really wanted to make the most of my chance to see the city.  I was able to delay picking up my rental car and foisted by bags off on the rental agency with a promise that there was nothing ticking in them.

After some checking I got a ticket for the S7 train into Wien Mitte (Vienna Center), the country coming into Vienna was picturesque.

Once into Vienna proper, I got off the train and promptly wandered into a food festival called Genuss Festival in the Stadtpark, one of the larger parks in the city. There I bought myself a traditional Viennese meal, roasted pork with potatoes, mustard & fennel sauerkraut and dark bread, and of course a beer. The food was really good and having the experience of eating it in this picturesque park was quite something.

After I finished my meal, I wandered up through the narrow streets to St. Stephen's Cathedral the main cathedral in Vienna. The square around the cathedral was quite busy and inside there was a mass going on.

Unfortunately, right as I was leaving the cathedral, it started to rain, leaving me to huddle under the awning of a closed store until it let up a bit and I set off to the Hofburg, the imperial palace of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and residence of the President of Austria.

There I walked the grounds and visited the amazing State Hall of the Austrian National Library. The sheer number of books there and their obvious age was just astounding.

After leaving the State Hall, I found a nearby cafe and got my kafee and apfelstrudel.

I walked around the Hofburg and it's grounds and was about to leave, when I stumbled onto Café Central, which I had been trying to find before. The Cafe had been a central meeting house for many notable figures of the 19th and 20th centuries and I could not give up the chance to go in, plus I really needed another cup of coffee.

After I finished the coffee, I really needed to get to Brno, the drive there was interesting to say the least as it was raining pretty heavily and the sun was starting to set. I made it safely, and pretty much promptly crashed.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Boat Motor Part 1

Earlier in August I found a boat motor under my mother-in-law's back porch.  She didn't want it, so I decided I would try to fix it up and make myself a fishing boat.  After some research, I found out that the motor is a Johnson DT-39.  I was even able to find a fully restored one online.

The motor, after being pulled out from under the deck.

Making a Stand

After I got the motor back down to Dayton, I made a stand for the motor.  It only took two 2x4's, some screws and a couple nuts & bolts.

The motor on it's new stand

It looks like the spark plugs need to be replaced, and I found some good tips on fixing up Johnson motors from this era.

Back of the motor with the cowling down

Other side of the motor

The back of the motor

Over the next couple months I hope to get the motor cleaned, fixed up and working.