The Old Fashioned cocktail August 5, 2011 8:24 pm

The Old Fashioned is a classic bourbon cocktail.  Many modern versions turn it into a fruit salad by muddling oranges and cherries, but the following is the simple recipe I prefer.


Bourbon or rye whiskey
Angostura bitters
A sugar cube or simple syrup
Orange peel
A rocks glass


The traditional recipe calls for placing a sugar cube in a glass, adding three dashes of bitters and then muddling the sugar to start dissolving it.  I use three dashes of bitters and a small squirt of simple syrup.  Sugar doesn’t dissolve that well, so I stick with syrup.  Go sparingly; you don’t want a sweet cocktail.


Next we need two ounces of bourbon or rye whiskey.  Woodford Reserve is a sipping bourbon, but it also makes great cocktails.



Using a vegetable peeler, get a nice slice of orange peel.  Trimming the edges is optional, but it looks nice if you’re making it for a guest.



Give the orange peel a good squeeze/bend lengthwise into the glass to get some of the oils into the cocktail.  Swirl it around a bit and leave it in the glass as a garnish.


Add a few ice cubes and serve.  This is a great cocktail – strong with just a hint of the orange and bitters for a nice flavor.


Beta Testing July 4, 2011 1:19 pm

4th of July, 1pm.  The smoker’s been running empty for about an hour and the ribs just went on.  The remote temperature monitor app has also been running.  I think the difference between my Maverick is due to some of the thermocouple being outside of the smoker, so I just need to compensate for the 10-15° difference.

Remote Temperature Monitor (beta version) July 3, 2011 5:41 pm

There was much coding done today.  The beta version of the remote temperature monitor app is finished and will be getting a trial run with a batch of ribs for the July 4th holiday.  I have a Maverick wireless thermometer to verify the temperature readings.  It works pretty well but the range sucks, which is why I hacked together all of the following.

Let’s take a look at how all this comes together.

The Arduino is parked outside next to my Weber Smokey Mountain with the thermocouple running under the lid.

It’s using a thermocouple and a MAX6675 chip to send data via a USB extension cable to a Linux netbook.

The Linux box runs a cronjob once a minute, grabs a few temperature readings (cat) and posts the data up to a PHP page (curl) which stores it in a MySQL database.  We use some regex to parse the temperature reading out to its own field.

The web server has a PHP page with an API for performing various actions.  For example. we can return the latest temperature as JSON.

[{"ID":"6337","TemperatureData":"104.45 104.45 104.90 104.90 ","Timestamp":"2011-07-03 14:10:11","Temperature":"104.90","Parsed":"1"}]

The Android app is written as a sticky foreground service and it has a client app to view the temperature data, change alarm settings, etc.

The high and low temperature alarms are adjustable and the app will beep and vibrate the phone for one second when an alarm occurs, but we can turn off the beeping if necessary.

Using the AlarmManager class, we set up a repeating task to download the latest temperature and parse it using Gson.  There is a continuous notification showing the latest temperature.  If there’s been no updated temperature data in the last 15 minutes (say a squirrel stole the Arduino), we throw up an additional notification as well as vibrate/beep the phone.

The Nexus One can do colored LED notifications, so it also flashes the LED yellow to indicate a data problem.

If the temperature falls outside the high/low range, we throw up a notification/vibrate/beep thusly.

We flash the LED red if it’s too hot…

…and blue if it’s too cold.

If all goes well tomorrow, I’ll have a nice set of data and will work in some line graphs with Google Charts.  The Arduino also needs some sort of enclosure for long-term outdoor use.