I spent the past week up in Boston. It’s a magical place that constantly is in flux. There are all kinds of new construction and the skyline is practically changing overnight. This bridge, (shown above) is the perfect example of the new style of architecture found all over the city. Sure it’s still a very conservative town in architecture- stoic perhaps, but here and there are found points of light and brilliance. You just have to look up when you’re driving at night and there they are!
My stay was punctuated not by the need to have a vacation (what’s that?) or the desire to experience negative temperatures prior to Nemo. (The blizzard, not the fish) I was up in the Boston area to participate in the photographic element of my upcoming book. A book? Yes. Stay tuned.
We shot the book up in Beverly, Massachusetts at the studio of Glenn Scott. He’s a kind, soft-spoken man who seems to photograph all kinds of important brands in a style that is immediately comfortable to view. His studio is furnished like our home in NJ. Primitive farm furniture and textures abound. I really enjoyed participating in the creative process. Of course my editor and the art director of the publishing house were there to make sure that all went on task. It was a magical experience and one that I will always know that I had a creative hand in the process. One of the pictures in fact has my hand in it! You’ll just have to wait for the book to come out to see this shot.
Patience until October, please.
A rare look at Vodka
I hardly ever drink vodka or even take the time look at it very seriously. I feel that flavored vodka is seriously misleading for the consumer and most brands are little more than fermented grain and water plus candy ingredients. My rate card specifically states that I don’t review flavored vodka- no cake or bubble gum flavors thank you. I occasionally receive bottles of flavored vodka and rather than review them, I give them to the depths of the liquor cabinet and forget about them. Vodka is not traditionally for me a spirit that I find intriguing. I’m more of a gin kind of guy. I like the flavors that gin holds within. I’m not talking about the London Dry style, mind you- that version can almost taste like vodka! I prefer the Botanical variety- laden with spices, citrus peels and fat, oily juniper berries. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve found some vodka that I like, others less so. It’s just not been my primary topic!
That is until I found Broken Shed. Or shall I say it found me.
From the handsome packaging with the long narrow neck and vivid graphics, this is vodka aimed at the bartender. The neck fits well into my hand and pours easily. The graphics are of a broken down shed with a red roof, set against the jagged mountains of New Zealand. It’s striking and handsome with the bottom 2/3 of the bottle in frosted glass. The label reads PREMIUM in red, set against the frosted glass. The rest of the lettering is in black with NEW ZEALAND in bold lettering. There are all kinds of optical illusions on the bottle. Hold it in the sun and marvel at them. But the obviously carefully designed bottle is not the real draw, nor is the cork finish (nice touch) but it is what is in the bottle. I made a perfectly delicious drink yesterday with the Broken Shed Vodka and I’ll share it after I give my tasting notes.
Tasting Notes of the Broken Shed Vodka
Sweet nose of milk chocolate gives way to a pain grille mouth feel that moves into toasted brioche rolls smeared with sweet butter and orange marmalade. It’s very soft against the palate and it works even better with a few drops of spring water sprinkled over the top to bring out the sweeter elements of the grain.
There is plenty of heat at eighty proof, but don’t let that scare you away. This vodka is equally at home neat in a snifter with a sprig of chocolate mint or woven into a cocktail with grilled fruit juices and ice cubes crafted from Mavea “Inspired Water” filtered water. I like my filtered water mixed 50/50, with unsweetened coconut water- then frozen into large hand cut ice cubes. Broken Shed evaporates off your tongue and only the chocolaty sweetness remains, coating your throat and mouth in a espresso-chocolate syrup-like finish that goes on and on.
I like it very much!
And now the weekly cocktail made with Broken Shed. Seek it out. It’s worthy of my acclaim.
The John Balch Cocktail- named after one of the original residents of Beverly, Massachusetts
3 oz. Broken Shed Vodka (or your choice)
1 oz. Spodee (Wine and Shine) Spiced Wine
1 oz. Royal Rose Tamarind Simple Syrup
1 oz. Grilled orange juice – score rounds of oranges over charcoal, cool and juice
1 oz. Grilled pink grapefruit juice – score rounds of pink grapefruit over charcoal, cool and juice
2 Drops Bitter End Memphis Barbeque Bitters
2 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
Coconut water/Mavea filtered water ice in large chunks
To a Boston shaker add:
Broken Shed Vodka
Royal Rose Tamarind Syrup
Bitter End Bitters
Then fill 3/4 with ice and shake for 15 seconds or until well frosted
Strain into a Collins glass with two large hand cut ice cubes made from coconut/Mavea filtered waters
Top with a good splash of the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
John Balch was born in Bridgewater, Somerset, England in 1579. He and his first wife, Margaret, were part of a group sent to New England by the Dorchester Company to establish a fishing industry. The Dorchester Company first landed in Weymouth in 1623, then moved north to Gloucester in 1624, but the settlement there was not successful. When the company was recalled to England, the Balches, Roger Conant, John Woodbury, Peter Palfry, and others stayed in Massachusetts and moved south to Naumkeg, now Salem, in 1626.