I just ordered this:
4 1.75L bottles Smirnoff Vodka Red No. 21
1 750ml bottle Jelinek Gold Slivovitz Gold 10 Yr
6 1.75L bottles Everclear Grain Alcohol 190
1 1L bottle Braulio Liqueur Amaro Alpino
1 750ml bottle Cappelletti Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro
1 750ml bottle Fernet Leopold Highland Amaro
1 750ml bottle R. Jelinek Liqueur Amaro
1 50ml bottle Peychaud's Aromatic Cocktail Bitters
My liquor arrived today. I have sampled everything but the Everclear and the vodka. Am a little drunk now. But I can report that the rabarbaro is as I expected (I like it, and, like the other I've tried, it reminds me of cocaine--as does, for that matter, the rhubarb root that I purchased for my liquor making). Braulio is good; quite refreshing (it's those alpine herbs). Of the two fernets, I prefer the Jelinek. The Leopold is fine but no more than a less intense Branca, so what's the point? Finally, when I tasted the slivovitz, I could instantly imagine the hangover that would result from overindulging in it. Since I mainly bought it, however, to make a particular kind of ice cream and for macerating fruit, it will be fine.
What about the Peychaud's bitters? I hear you cry. Well, here is the exciting story: My liquor vendor didn't have them, so I ordered some from Amazon. The package arrived today, but when I opened it, what did I find but a bottle of Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6! This made me weep bitter tears and curse the gods, especially when I noted that the packing slip specified that I was to have received Peychaud's. But fear not--there is a happy ending! The vendor will be sending me the correct bitters forthwith, and I get to keep the 10-ounce bottle of Regans' for free. Since I already have a small bottle--and two other kinds of orange bitters to boot--I am now have enough of the stuff to last me till I die, probably--especially when I make some of my own, which I know I'm going to do this year, despite my well-stocked bitters larder, because I'm buying organic oranges and so have peel galore.
P.S. In honor of my new acquisitions, I am now having an Old Timber:
1 1/2 ounces (45ml) rye whiskey (I'm using Bulleit)
1/4 ounce (7ml) Jelínek Czech-style fernet, Fernet Leopold, or Fernet Francisco (I'm using Jelinek)
1/4 ounce (7ml) triple sec, such as Combier or Cointreau (I'm using Cointreau)
Cinnamon stick and orange twist, for garnish
Add rye, fernet, and triple sec to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well chilled, about 30 seconds. Add a large ice cube to a rocks glass and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick, express orange oils onto drink, and add twist to glass.
P.P.S. I just realized that you must all be dying to know about the ice cream I someday plan to make with slivovitz. Here is the recipe, a frozen take on the Guggle Muggle, which is an old Jewish cure-all:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cream
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup strong honey
Zest of 3 lemons
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup brandy, divided (recommended: Slivovitz plum brandy)
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced small
1/2 cup candied ginger, diced small
In a three-quart saucepan, combine milk, cream, ginger, and salt. Heat on medium-low, just below a simmer, for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and honey together in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. After ten minutes, slowly add about 1/2 cup of dairy into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer whisked mixture back to saucepan, whisk to combine, and cook on medium-low heat until custard coats the back of a spoon and a finger swipe leaves a clean line. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into an airtight container.
Stir in lemon zest and 3 tablespoons brandy, then transfer to refrigerator to chill overnight. In separate containers, combine candied ginger with 2 tablespoons of brandy and apricots with another 2 tablespoons of brandy. Macerate overnight in refrigerator.
The next day, churn ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. In last minute of churning, slowly add soaked apricots, ginger, and any remaining brandy. Freeze for two to three hours before serving.
P.P.P.S. The Old Timber is quite tasty. I'll have to try it with the Leopold fernet sometime.