Category Archives: More Goodlier

So you say you have a natural disaster. . . .

Since we here at BarBot are running around like a decapitated AT-AT at the moment, we’re going to cheat like a mofo and post something from our very good friend and A#1 robot support, Lem Fugitt of the superlative Robots-Dreams blog.

So say you are caught in a teensy Ice Age or an asteroid hits earth or (DEAR GOD NO) you run out of bourbon. You’re going to need an emergency way to communicate your very great distress. That’s where this little baby come in:

A fusion of robotics, amateur radio, and emergency service the Emergency Antenna Platform System (E-APS) is a tool for amateur radio operators (ARES, RACES) as well as First Responder organizations to turn any parking lot lamp post into and instant antenna tower.

Trumpet your coordinates for bourbon airdrop! Tell the chopper where to land the beer! Oh yeah and also let them know about Bob and his mangled leg or whatever.


For your Fall Enjoyment, the Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

OK, maybe it’s not quite pumpkin season yet, but it’s getting close to October, and that’s good enough for me. This cocktail is a dessert in a glass without being too cloying.  Jon Gilbert and I came up with this one night in a boozy attempt to use up leftover canned pumpkin. Betraying my extreme enthusiasm for bitters, there are two kinds here – the Tiki bitters add an essential spiciness, and the orange bitters contribute a nice roundness. Experiment as you like.

1 oz pumpkin puree
1 1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum (or substitute regular dark rum and double the molasses)
1/2 oz Laird’s Apple Brandy (another brandy might be nice? Try it.)
1 tsp molasses
1-2 dashes of Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6
Squirt of Tiki Bitters

Shake well with ice, strain into martini glass. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon.

Photo courtesy of Jon Gilbert

Photo courtesy of Jon Gilbert

PS: Any kind of pumpkin will do, but don’t use canned pumpkin pie filling, which already has sweetener and spices. It is the sort of cocktail that goes down rather easy, and an evening can slip away in a haze of spicy rummy goodness without you realizing it. Not that I have any experience in that.

Bitters, or How to Make Your Cocktail Extra Good

Bitters are alcohol infused with various botanicals to produce a strong, well, bitter flavor. The concoctions began as patent medicine, purported to cure a wide variety of ills and complaints, but live on as cocktail flavoring.

peychauds bitters

CC Image courtesy of _gee_ on Flickr

While a few years ago, it was difficult to find any sort of cocktail bitters aside from a dusty bottle of Angostura,  nowadays companies are producing bitters in countless varieties, from orange and grapefruit to habanero, lavender, chocolate – pretty much anything you can think of that might be delicious. Some of  the brands I like are the German The Bitter Truth, who makes a fantastically astringent grapefruit one, and Bittermens, based in New Orleans,  who do a wide range of inventive bitters, including my favorite, ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters.

There are also diehard bitters enthusiasts who’ve worked hard on recreating some once-beloved, now-extinct brands like Abbott’s and Boker’s. I can completely get behind that kind of obsessiveness.

Not generally meant to be drunk on their own, a couple of dashes of cocktail bitters often add a depth and complexity to a cocktail that pushes it from “OK” to  “Heck YEAH”. If you’re messing around with drink recipes and make a drink that needs something, that ‘something’ is likely to be bitters. Start with the classic Angostura, and as you explore give some of the more exotic flavors a try.

Do you have a BarBot that uses bitters in any of its drinks? I’d love to hear about it.

If you’re interested in the history of bitters and want to find out more really cool things to do with them, even things that don’t involve cocktails (gasp), I highly recommend reading Bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons.