February 26, 2010

Podcast? That's not anything like "pod people," right?

So after discussing it with a few friends, I've decided to create a podcast for this blog, to be updated sporadically (read: "whenever the hell I feel like it and/or remember to"). You can find it here for now, and I'll update if and when iTunes approves it.

EDIT: iTunes has approved the podcast. You can now find it by searching iTunes for "Urbane, Not Cosmopolitan" or by clicking here.

Hope you enjoy it!

February 21, 2010

Mixology Monday XLVI: Absinthe

So, I missed a couple of Mixology Mondays, but I'm back in the game with this one! The focus this month was on crafting drinks with absinthe, as suggested by Sonja over at the "Thinking of Drinking" blog. I happen to have a locally distilled absinthe that I'm quite fond of, and I figured "Hey, let's use that!"

So I set about looking for a drink to feature this time. I initially planned on making one up, but my first attempt fell rather ignominiously flat (should have worked in theory, did not work in practice) and so I turned to reworking an already extant drink. There's a very simple tipple called the "Foggy Day" that uses just gin and absinthe, with a twist of lemon for garnish. I decided to tweak that a little bit, and make it my own. So I now give you:
The Foggy Day in Kingston Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Tanqueray No. Ten gin
1/4 oz Amerique 1912 Absinthe Verte
dash of limoncello
2 dashes Jamaican bitters

Shake all with ice, pour over ice in a small glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
The grapefruit and spice notes of my Jamaican bitters really meld with the anise notes of the absinthe, plus the citrus of the Tanqueray No. Ten and the limoncello (there's such a tiny amount that I wasn't about to call the limoncello brand) blend quite harmoniously, as well. I think it's quite a nice take on the classic Foggy Day, and a little more interesting than the original, to boot.

Foggy Day in Kingston Cocktail

Thanks again to Sonja for hosting this month's MxMo. She's one of the geniuses behind Chicago's North Shore Distillery, and they make some AWESOME stuff (no that's not a plug, just a declaration of love) so try it if you have access to it!

February 19, 2010

No, I didn't forget I had a blog...

It's just been a busy couple of weeks. So busy, in fact, that I've even forgotten to make ice! But my trays are full of water and in the freezer, and I'm aiming for a new drink tomorrow evening. Here's hoping!

February 6, 2010

"Torna a Surriento, famme campà!" (updated)

A friend of mine recently asked me if I create a drink for her; she said she was passionate about mojitos, but she wanted something that was a bit novel, a little less standard, a little more interesting. So I told her I'd do some digging around, and would come up with something for her. Gary Regan made a really interesting version of the Mojito swapping in limoncello for the rum...it's very very citrusy, but it also called for muddling four lemons (at least, so said the adapted version of his Massa Mojito from the Cocktails+ iPod Touch app I refer to sometimes. Mr Regan has very kindly reproduced the original recipe in the comments, which I have added to the end of this post). That seemed a bit excessive, even for me, so I did some tweaking to his drink, called the Massa Mojito, and I came up with this:
The Sorrento Mojito

1 lemon, cut into eighths
2 barspoons raw sugar
15-20 fresh mint leaves
2 oz lemon juice
2 1/2 oz limoncello

Muddle lemon, sugar and mint in a tall mixing glass. Add lemon juice, limoncello and ice and shake well. Strain into a tall glass, topping up with club soda, and garnish with spring of mint.
First of all, it's lemony. I mean, crazy woo-woo lemony. But it's got that deep green herbal mint flavor in there, too, though the mint really hits you as an aroma. It's fantastically refreshing, and I think if you're tired of the basic rum-mint-club soda Mojito, you may enjoy this one.

EDITED TO ADD: As I said above, Gary Regan actually stopped by and commented on my blog, setting me straight on the original recipe for the Massa Mojito, which I will concede is not only easier to make than the adapted version I saw, but likely a damn sight tastier than mine (I'll try it this evening and report back, but he's a professional, and I'm an enthusiast, so the odds are in his favor, I'd say). Here is his original guide for the drink:
Gary Regan's Massa Mojito

Adapted from Pizzicato Restaurant, Philadelphia

30 ml (1 oz) fresh lemon juice
20 ml (.75 oz) simple syrup
15 fresh mint leaves
60 ml (2 oz) Massa Limoncello
club soda
1 mint sprig, for garnish

Muddle the lemon juice, simple syrup, and mint in a mixing glass. Add ice, and the limoncello. Stir and strain into an ice-filled collins glass. Top with the soda. Add the garnish.
The Sorrento Mojito

February 4, 2010

"Ensign authorization code 9-5-wiktor-wiktor-2"

So, it should come as no surprise to regular readers that I'm doing yet another show. This time I'm working a little bit behind the scenes as a dialect coach, in addition to the on-stage role I've got. One of our actresses has to do a Russian/Ukrainian dialect (doesn't have to be perfect, just suggestive) and so I got to thinking about Russian drinks. I looked through my collection, and I found one that sounded intriguing (if slightly risqué), and I served it up at rehearsal tonight (relax, it was just a table reading...we weren't stumbling around on stage. We'll save that for performances!) I present it to you now.
The Vladivostok Virgin

1 1/2 oz London dry gin
1 1/2 oz vodka
1 oz grapefruit juice (canned is traditional)
dash of Angostura bitters (I threw a dash of my Jamaican bitters in, as well, just for kicks)

shake all well with ice. Garnish with a cucumber slice, or, failing that, a lime slice
Tart. And herbal. And vodka-y. You all know I'm not a huge fan of vodka...I sort of consider it the Muzak of the liquor world...there to fill space, but not really bringing anything to the drink. And here, it really serves to just dilute the botanical notes of the gin, sending it into the deep background. Still, though, the grapefruit juice does something kind of interesting, and makes an almost basil or tomato leaf flavor pop into the drink, and that's kind of cool, though I have no idea how it does that.

All in all, it's tasty. I'm not sure exactly what's virginal about it (maybe it looks like it's blushing?) but it's still a tipple worth sampling.

Vladivostok Virgin