Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holga in the Heide

For my birthday I got one of these Holga cameras, the old cheap Chinese plastic job that has become more popular in recent years for the old school aesthetic you get using a kinda messed up lens and 120 film. I'm sure there's an iPhone app now to emulate every kinda feature it produces, but really, it's pretty fun to go back to some high quality big ass good ol' film. I took it for an initial spin on a bike ride out through the Dresden Heide ("hills", a large park area), and was quite pleased with the results. Especially considering there's basically one shutter speed (1/100) and two aperture options (f8 and f11). Below are a couple of the images I got, for the rest checkout this Flickr slideshow.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


I've sort of picked up a hobby over the last few years of making cocktails at home. In the last couple months I've been taking pictures of them occasionally, and now I enough photos of most of my favorites to share them.

At some point Colby gave me a nice cocktail/bar recipe book, which I've used as the starting point for many of the cocktails I have here. Really, this is one of those cases when relying on the internet can be a big mess. There are probably a hundred different recipes for any given cocktail, some worse than others. And visiting a cocktail recipe website will give you tens of thousands of recipes where anybody can upload something. Nobody has time to try all those out.


The Manhattan is probably my favorite cocktail, and my go-to cocktail because it's quite easy. Bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Angostura Bitters (plus a Maraschino cherry for decoration.) As you see in the photo above I found these pretty cool cocktail sticks, that actually look like little silver sticks.


Another classic cocktail that I make often is the Sidecar. Also simple, it's just Brandy, Cointreau, and lemon juice. One way to make cocktails like this to taste GREAT is to simply use fresh squeezed lemons - world of difference.


Maybe the most popular, and easiest, cocktail to make of course is the Martini. Gin and dry vermouth. Only recently have a I really started making Martinis on a semi-regular basis, as I've found a way to give them just a subtle interesting kick - a few dashes of orange bitters.


Similar to the Martini, and sometimes considered the predecessor, is the Martinez. I make it with gin, sweet vermouth, Maraschino Liquor, and orange bitters. That makes it of course significantly sweeter than the Martini, and for my taste the trick is therefore to be very conservative with the non-gin ingredients, especially the Maraschino liquor, which can quickly overpower any cocktail.

Whiskey Sour

Another easy classic, just bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup. I make this less and less because between the sugar and lemon juice I just can't seem to add a small enough amount not to drown out the bourbon.

Mint Julep

I only started making this this summer, mostly because before I never had fresh mint around. But I planted some, and was very impressed with what I could come up with. Just a bit of simple syrup added to some bourbon with mint leaves. After my experience with whiskey sours, I figured it would be a waste of time to use a higher-quality bourbon for this, but I did a taste test and was TOTALLY WRONG. Just a tad of simple syrup and a few muddled mint leaves, and the complexity of the bourbon still comes through.


The classic. Again, using fresh limes here means ALL the difference. Also, as with most other cocktails, keeping the glasses in the freezer gives a nice frosty appearance and keeps them cooler that much longer.

Other favorites, that I haven't remembered to take photos of, include the Brandy Alexander (with Heavy Cream, Creme de Cacao, and Nutmeg; like a dessert), the Brandy Crusta (similar to a sidecar), the Gimlet (just gin and lime juice), and the Sazerac (think Whiskey Sour with a kick, by adding a little Absinthe and some Angostura bitters.)

And then occasionally I try something new. For example, an avocado margarita:

This looks pretty, but was a lot of work, and didn't taste like anything I'd ever want to make again.