Showing posts with label vodka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vodka. Show all posts

May 16, 2011

"Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye"

And after yet another lengthy delay, I'm back. Again. Really.

Stop laughing!

Seriously, what can I say, gang, besides "I'm sorry?" My work schedule is never really the same twice, so I'm constantly working early, or getting home late, or both on consecutive days, or vice versa. And so, while I do mix myself a nightcap more often than not, I really never can convince myself to photograph it or blog about it. I may tweet about it every now and then, but...

Anyway, on to the booze. Today I went to my local hooch parlor looking for a new whiskey that my friendly area distillery has released. Sadly, they didn't have it on the shelves yet, but I did find something else that had piqued my interest previously...

OK, you know and I know that I'm not a huge fan of vodka. I often think of it as training wheels for booze, as something that's just so bland. It's the Muzak of the liquor world, right? And FLAVORED vodka? Why not just dissolve a handful of Jolly Ranchers in a bottle of Popov and save yourself a bunch of dough, right?

Well, I will admit that I had been curious about a certain variety. Absolut occasionally mixes up some vodkas named after a region or another; New Orleans, Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn. And, as Camper English over at Alcademics.com has pointed out, those regional drinks often end up becoming a regular player; New Orleans became Absolut Mango, Los Angeles became Berry Acai, Brooklyn has transmuted into Orient Apple, and Boston is now Absolut Wild Tea. It was Wild Tea, with it's black tea and elderflower flavoring, that had attracted me.

Elderflower cordial, like St Germain, is tasty, but a bit too sweet sometimes, for my liking. Black tea is a flavor that you don't get too often with booze (sweet tea, on the other hand...) but put 'em together? Hello, Novelty! And so I picked up a bottle, and sipped a shot poured over ice. I'll be damned. Tasty. A little astringent, a little floral, not too sweet at all. And very smooth.

And VERY botanical. It got me thinking about other botanicals, and then I had the bright idea to try mixing it with green Chartreuse, chock full of botanicals. And then, because I'm a theatre geek, I named it after a character from Shakespeare that I once played, who was similarly obsessed with botany.
The Friar Lawrence Cocktail
2 oz Absolut Wild Tea vodka
1/4 oz green Chartreuse
2 dashes acid phosphate
10 drops Bittermens Boston Bittahs
2 drops absinthe

Stir all well with ice and pour over a single large ice cube.
Green. Vegetal. Slightly sweet, a hint of citrus, and herbs. Quite fitting for Friar Lawrence, the Franciscan in "Romeo and Juliet" who got zapped with a phaser set to "Sudden Interest in Botany." I still remember entirely too much of his monologue, given that I played him more than 10 years ago, but here's the relevant section relating to botanicals...(Act II Scene 3, for those of you reading along at home):
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and night's dank dew to dry,
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
The earth that's nature's mother is her tomb;
What is her burying grave that is her womb,
And from her womb children of divers kind
We sucking on her natural bosom find,
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some and yet all different.
O, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities:
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live
But to the earth some special good doth give,
Nor aught so good but strain'd from that fair use
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied;
And vice sometimes by action dignified.
Ah, memories! Yes, kids, the good Friar was picking herbs and flowers and quite possibly creating something akin to Chartreuse, or Benedictine, or Fernet Branca, or Strega...medicine in alcoholic form. Now I'm not claiming that the Friar Lawrence Cocktail will be any kind of curative agent, but as a libation? Pretty damn tasty.

Friar Lawrence Cocktail

March 21, 2010

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what do pears do? Deflect chiropractors?

Oh ye gods, it's been a long time since I posted. I suck, and that's sad. But I've also been broke, once again (stupid car insurance payments), and getting busy once more with rehearsals for my latest theatrical engagement, so posting time has been at a bit of a premium. Mea culpa, everyone.

It is, however, because of rehearsals that I came across this drink to begin with. I had managed to pick up a bottle of St Germain Elderflower liqueur for a song, and went about looking for something to make with it. And lo and behold, I found this...it originally billed itself as a martini, but you know and I know that simply serving something up in a cocktail glass does not a martini make. It has no gin and no vermouth, and therefore I have demoted it to "cocktail" status. It also contains a flavored vodka, which you purists know I tend to cringe at. Surprisingly, however, this vodka wound up not being too synthetic-tasting (although I suspect an eau de vie of the fruit could have been even more interesting, albeit much more expensive). And furthermore, I had to tweak the proportions from the original, as it was WAY too sweet in its first incarnation. Plus, I added some bitters. You know me, I like to make modifications! So, I'd like to introduce you to:
The Pear Tree Cocktail

1 1/2 oz pear-flavored vodka (I used Smirnoff)
1 oz St Germain Elderflower liqueur
1/4 oz lime juice
1 dash Urban Moonshine Organic bitters

Stir all but bitters briskly with ice for a good minute, or until well mixed. Strain into a cocktail glass coated with a dash of Urban Moonshine bitters.
First off all, it's got a very true pear flavor. The St Germain actually augments this, and adds some sort of rounded, mellow tropical fruit notes. The lime juice prevents it from being sickly-sweet, and the Urban Moonshine bitters give it a nicely vegetal nose, adding to the fresh pear impression. It's still a rather sweet cocktail, and one that I wouldn't drink every day, but as a nice drink for someone who doesn't want a strongly alcohol-flavored libation, it's pretty damned good.

Pear Tree Cocktail

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

August 6, 2009

Mixology Monday XLI: Vodka is Your Friend

0EE1C1B7-51D9-464A-9FD4-3362608E69F5.jpgAugust's Mixology Monday challenge is one that I had some trepidation over...vodka. I'm not much of a vodka fan...I think the asking price for what's essentially neutral grain or potato spirits on a lot of big name brands is ludicrous, and being relatively flavorless, vodka just never appealed to me. That being said, it is the first alcoholic beverage I ever had, so I suppose, deep down, there's a small part of me that still likes it (and hates it, for the same reason, presumably). But, as it turns out, there's a local distillery that produces a vodka that caught my attention despite all this, so I figured I'd see what I could make with it.

The distillery, as I've mentioned in my post on gin martinis, is Great Lakes Distillery, the founder and distiller is Guy Rehorst, and it's his name that's on the gin and vodkas. The vodka that caught my eye is Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Citrus and Honey Vodka. It's made with Wisconsin honey and real lemons, so my usual grumping about test tube flavors doesn't apply. And it's local, which is a big deal for me, because I like keeping as much of my money in the local economy as I can.

So, what did I make of it? Well, I came up with two drinks. One's pretty easy and straight forward, the other is a little more complicated, but has a lot more depth of flavor. We'll go with the simpler one first.
Milwaukee Lemonade

1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
2 1/2 oz Rehorst Citrus and Honey Vodka
seltzer to top
splash of pomegranate grenadine

shake all but seltzer and grenadine with ice, pour into ice filled DOF glass, top with seltzer, drizzle in grenadine.
This one really lets the vodka come to the forefront. It's a really great spirit in that, while it's got the fruit and honey in it, it's not overwhelmingly sweet. In fact, sipping the vodka straight, it's really smooth and mellow in the mouth, with no burn, and no cloying sweetness. I tasted the lemon first, and then the honey, faintly but there, in the back of my mouth. I really, really like this vodka. I mean really. Anyway, I mixed it with a little lemon juice and even less simple syrup, shook it up, added some seltzer for fizz, and drizzled in the pomegranate grenadine. It's pretty, and it's tasty, really letting the vodka shine.
Milwaukee Lemonade


The other drink I made is one that's got a lot of layers going on, but reflects my initial approach to mixing with this spirit; I was brainstorming what flavors complemented both lemon and honey and the first one I could think of was ginger. And so I ran with that.
Fiery Citrus Cocktail

a scant 1/2 oz thinly sliced ginger (unpeeled)
1 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz limoncello
2 oz Rehorst Citrus and Honey Vodka
dash of orange bitters

Muddle the ginger with the simple syrup, then add remaining ingredients. Shake all with ice, and double strain into glass
This one really has the ginger sitting in the forefront, but once that blast of heat dies down, then the lemon and the sweetness from the simple syrup and the round mouth-feel of the honey pipe up. This would be a good cocktail for soothing your throat, too, come winter, although my old college voice and diction teacher would kill me for suggesting that alcohol can soothe the throat. However, after a couple of these, you likely won't care if you actually feel better as long as you're not feeling anything! I like how this one turned out, but I think that the Milwaukee Lemonade showcases the spirit better.
Fiery Citrus Cocktail

June 22, 2009

What can I say, I felt like experimenting.

So. Short and sweet because I've got to return some videos got eleventy-billion library books to read before they're due, and I want to make some headway on my days off from the the show. I made up a drink tonight. It's quite tasty and subtle and I think you should try it. I have not named it. If you try it and like it and want to serve it to other people, you can say it's just something you threw together. I give you full permission to claim it as your own.
1 3/4 oz orange flavored vodka
3/4 oz London dry gin
1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz Tahitian limeade
dash of Peychaud's bitters

Build over ice in an Old Fashioned glass, stirring well to combine.
The citrus all plays very well together, the coconut water and the botanicals from the gin live together in perfect harmony (oh lord, why don't we?) and the Peychaud's extremely subtle notes waft through the whole thing, tying it all together. I like it. Hopefully you will do.

Now to read!
The Nameless One

May 20, 2009

It was hot today...I want a popsicle. With booze.

It was a most peculiar weather day here at Chez Casa Urbane Not Cosmopolitan...85ºF and windy. And it's still in the 70s well after sundown...so I don't plan to do anything too crazy tonight...I'm just gonna sit in bed, read, and sip on this little drink of my devising...I'm trying to power through that Svedka Clementine, so I mixed it with some seltzer and threw a few drops of homemade vanilla extract into it. Light, fizzy and it tastes like a Creamsicle. Simple, convenient, and refreshing. Can't ask for more than that.
See-Thru Creamsicle Fizz

2 oz Svedka Clementine or other orange vodka
5-6 oz seltzer or club soda
5-6 drops homemade vanilla extract (halve the amount if using commercial vanilla extract, it's much stronger)

Build over ice, sit back, and sip.
See-Thru Creamsicle Fizz



Apologies for the brevity tonight, gang. It's been a long day. I'll have some good ones up going into the weekend. Pinky swear.

May 17, 2009

"Et Keanu Reeves, il n'a pas de cheveux, et Jeff Daniels est déjà mort."

Minor variations...they can change a lot just by changing a little. I mean, Hollywood's been doing it for years! "Instead of holding one person hostage, let's hold a whole bus load of them hostage! And instead of threatening to shoot them, let's make the bus blow up if it slows down!" "Brilliant! What's it called?" "I call it, 'The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down.'" "You've got a gift, my friend!"

So by changing one ingredient, we can change the whole tenor of the drink. Take for example, the Knickerbocker; rum, orange curaçao, lemon juice, raspberry syrup (or fresh raspberries) and a slice of lemon. Simple, straight forward, and a great balance of sour and sweet. What happens if we're out of rum? What do you do, hotshot? What do you do?

How about a flavored vodka? Now you know I'm generally against them, but I found a bottle of Svedka Clementine vodka for dirt cheap, and I just had to snap it up to experiment with in horrific and depraved ways. So I tried it out here. And you know what? It worked. I do, however, need to change the name. Since it's the same drink with a different kind of spirit, I decided to name it after a different hotel. So I went with the ritziest hotel in my hometown. I give you...
The Pfister

2 oz Svedka Clementine (or other orange vodka)
1/2 oz orange curaçao
6 raspberries
3/4 oz lemon juice
lemon slice
flamed lemon peel for garnish

In your shaker or mixing glass, muddle the raspberries with the curaçao and lemon juice, squeeze in the lemon slice, and drop it in, add vodka and ice, and shake to the tune of "What Made Milwaukee Famous." Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with flamed lemon peel.
You get that great tart lemon taste balancing the sweetness and earthiness of the raspberries, with a whisper of orange bringing up the rear from the vodka and curaçao. This one's a keeper. And it's such a nice color...
Pfister 2

April 27, 2009

See, I have this weird problem...

I like to drink Windex.
Blue Monday

You see, I have the tendency to take off my clothes for no reason and go running around the neighborhood...so I drink Windex to help me with it. It helps to keep me from streaking.

*rimshot*

Actually, it's not really Windex in the photo (or I'd be on the phone with my local Poison Control Center). Rather, it's a very appropriate drink for today...it's a Blue Monday. The Blue Monday is one of the first "novelty drinks." It's nothing special, taste-wise...it's just fun to look at, because let's face it, blue foods are not exactly common on this planet (Tattooine has blue milk, apparently, if "A New Hope" is accurate, but as Alton Brown says, "That's another show." Probably the one in which I give you all the recipe for my "Flaming Wookie" shooter. It's on fire. Seriously.)

The Blue Monday is just vodka, Cointreau/white curaçao/triple sec, and blue food dye. It's citrusy, but a little sweet. So I did my usual futzing with the drink to make it a little more interesting, and came up with this:
Blue Monday
2 oz vodka (I used that Clementine-infused stuff I've got)
1/2 oz Cointreau or another good white curaçao or triple sec
2 or 3 drops blue food dye
dash of orange bitters

Stir well with cracked ice and strain it into a cocktail glass.


It's not a great drink, it's not a bad drink. It's just a blue cocktail that tastes, paradoxically, of orange. It's a goofy drink, and some days (usually Mondays), that's all you need.