November 29, 2009

Can't get theah from heah...

This was another libation I served at Thanksgiving, and again, it will require a little prep for one of the ingredients. However, it's non-alcoholic, so little Johnny and Susie can have one, as well as Mabel, your tee-totaling great aunt, thrice removed on your mother's side. I got this recipe from the November/December 2009 issue of Imbibe Magazine, and they built it thus:
New England Buck (mocktail)

4 oz apple cider
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz sage and juniper syrup (recipe follows)
2 dashes orange bitters
ginger beer (I used mostly ginger ale and a splash of ginger beer base I had sitting around)

Combine all but ginger beer with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake to mix. Strain into an ice-filled double old-fashioned glass and top with ginger beer. Gently stir and serve.
Sage and Juniper Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
5 fresh sage leaves
10 juniper berries, cracked in mortar and pestle

Heat ingredients in saucepan until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, let stand 10 minutes, then strain into a clean squeeze bottle or glass container. Keeps for up to a month in the fridge.
The cider's natural tartness plays with the really fresh flavors of the sage and juniper and makes something that's really unique and crisp-tasting. The ginger gives it a little warmth, too. It's really an appealing drink, and a good one to serve at any fall or winter family gatherings. It would also work well for, say, a brunch with certain family members who don't believe in mimosas before noon.

New England Buck

November 26, 2009

This drink is not kosher, halal or safe for vegetarians.

As I said, as long as I had leftover base ingredients from my Thanksgiving mixology experiments, I would share the fruits of my research and testing. And tonight, I have something that may shock, terrify and amaze you. Those of you with sensitive dispositions, please leave the room now. If you have small children...why the hell are they reading this blog with you?

Tonight's drink requires you to devote several hours over the better part of a week making one of the ingredients, and the guide for that will follow the main recipe. Believe me, though, it's well worth the effort. Behold! I give you...
The Bacon Old-Fashioned

2 ounces bacon-infused bourbon (recipe follows)
1/4-1/2 oz maple syrup (less if you use Grade B, which is stronger in flavor)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
orange zest
Urban Moonshine Maple bitters (optional, but if you have them, great)

Place orange zest in the bottom of an Old-Fashioned glass with Angostura bitters and maple syrup. Gently muddle to express oils. Add ice and bacon-infused bourbon, stirring gently to combine. Add two dashes Maple bitters to top.
Bacon-Infused bourbon (makes about 750 ml)

750 ml bourbon (nothing too pricy...I used Evan Williams)
4 strips of bacon
a 1-liter Mason jar with lid

Slowly cook bacon over low heat, in a cast iron skillet if you have a well-seasoned one, reserving drippings (which should total about 1 ounce). Eat the bacon or set aside to eat later. Allow drippings to cool slightly. Meanwhile pour the bourbon into your scrupulously clean Mason jar (rinse well with boiling water, and swish a little high-proof neutral grain spirits around inside if you have them) and add the bacon drippings. Store at room temperature overnight (or about eight hours) then move to the fridge for three days. Move to the freezer for one day, and then strain out solidified drippings. Run bourbon through a paper coffee filter, rebottle and refrigerate. Bourbon should keep for several weeks in the fridge.
Yes. Bacon-infused bourbon. No, I have not lost my mind. It really is fantastically good...the sweetness of the bourbon is the predominant flavor to begin, but then the smokiness of the bacon makes itself known. It's also wonderful for horrifying your friends when you tell them what you've made. Well, horrify or delight...the reactions usually go to one of those two extremes.

Bacon Old-Fashioned

November 24, 2009

A new homemade ingredient

I've been making a whole slew of tinctures and other homemade ingredients lately, some of which you'll hear about in the post-Thanksgiving drinks. But one that I recently started mentioning here in my drinks is "Jamaican bitters." Let me tell you how I make them.
Jamaican Bitters

Zest of two grapefruit, with as little pith as possible. A Microplane grater works well for this.
2 slices fresh ginger, with skin still on
6 allspice berries
6 whole cloves
1 inch of cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
6 tbsp neutral grain sprits (the higher the proof, the better. I used 190-proof...basically generic Everclear.)

In a mortar and pestle or food processor, break up the spices into small pieces, but don't pulverize. Macerate spices and grapefruit zest in neutral grain spirits for a week. After a week, add two tablespoons of water and filter through a coffee filter or double-thickness of cheesecloth into a small jar or used (and well cleaned!) bitters bottle.

Makes a scant 1/2 cup.
This has a predominantly grapefruit flavor, as you'd expect, but it's got an underlayer of spice that really makes it interesting. If you've got a week in which to make them, it's really a fun flavor to play around with.

Aw, how can I stay away from you guys?

Ok, I stumbled across a drink that sounded too interesting to keep under my hat until after Turkey Day here in the US...I went looking for drinks that might use some of the 1/3 remaining bottle of Dubonnet in my fridge, and while this one takes only two barspoons of it, that's still two barspoons I don't have to contend with anymore. Plus, it's sort of unusual in its proportions, so that's worth something, as well. And third, it's got an interesting name, and thus I bring it to you this evening.
Alfonso (Special) Cocktail

1 dash Angostura bitters
2 dashes Jamaican bitters (or 2 dash Bittermens Grapefruit bitters...this is my addition but it works)
2 barspoons Dubonnet (or, lacking that, sweet vermouth)
1 oz London dry gin
1 oz dry vermouth
2 oz Grand Marnier

Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
With two full ounces of Grand Marnier, you may think that a sweet citrus flavor would dominate, and it's there, make no mistake...but the bitters and gin and dry vermouth and even the Dubonnet to a degree help temper that, and while the predominant flavor is of course orange, it's still got enough other things going on in there that it's not too monotonous. It has some other citrus notes in there, some spice, and some botanicals. As long as you serve it in a scrupulously chilled glass after no less than 30 seconds of shaking, it's a great just functions best when ice cold.

Alfonso (Special) Cocktail

November 23, 2009

Just a heads up.

No, I haven't forgotten that I have a blog. I'm just waiting. You see, I've got some great drinks for Thanksgiving planned, and I want to make sure I've got some of the base ingredients left over so that I can prepare them for the blog. Trust me, they're spectacular. So just bear with me, gang, and I'll have some new stuff featured soon.

November 15, 2009

Adventures in horrible drink names

I was just hanging out in the chat room for Tiki Bar TV, and an unofficial challenge was hanging in the air. Create a drink or shot themed around "sweat." I decided to go with something that I've termed:
Frog Sweat

1 oz absinthe
1/2 oz gin
3 dashes Jamaican bitters (or Bittermens grapefruit bitters if you don't feel like waiting a week while your homemade Jamaican bitters mature)

build in a chilled shot glass.
Very spur of the moment, but the name's kinda whimsical, in that absinthe is traditionally associated with the French, those Frenchy-froggy-froggy-Frenchies. Tastes good, though.

Here's a quick photo I snapped off of it.
Frog Sweat

For the full list of Sweat themed cocktails (some of which may not be very good...they wound up drifting toward the theoretical), please visit Dogs and cats, living together...mass hysteria.

November 13, 2009

If this drink is Irish, then Sean Connery's a Spaniard...

As promised, I'm bringing you a drink this time that's about as un-Irish as you can get, despite it's name. You see, this one is named, I suspect, for it's color, not it's cultural awareness. You'll see why when you run down the list of ingredients...gin, Cointreau, and green curaçao. Yes, green curaçao. Remember, it comes in many colors, but only one flavor. If you don't have green curaçao and don't feel like tracking down a bottle of it, just use triple-sec (which, if you'll recall, is "white curaçao") and add a couple drops of green food dye to it. That way, you can mix up your own:
Hibernian Special

1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin
1 1/2 oz Cointreau
1 1/2 oz green curaçao (or your homemade equivalent)
splash of lemon juice

shake all with ice, strain into cocktail glass. toast in the direction of the Auld Sod, or possibly the Caribbean.
Yes, as Data said about Aldebaran Whiskey in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "It is green." I suspect that's what made this drink's creator think of Ireland. Perhaps he was homesick, perhaps he was just really quite drunk, who knows. That being said, it's not bad's very orangey, but you get the botanicals from the gin and the sourness from the lemon keeping it out of cough-syrup territory. Worth a shot. But then please wash it down with something authentically Irish...Jamesons or Guinness or something. Even a wee dram of poitín, if you've a mind...

Hibernian Special

November 11, 2009

Oh, ye think ye're a true Scotsman, do ye?

Yes, it's been a bit since our last drink. Sorry, all.

I'll make up for it by writing this one in a Scottish dialect. Set your brains to Sean Connery mode.

Thish drink ish shimple enough to make, but it'sh shtill quite'sh got four very shimple ingredientsh, and while none of them are Shcottish, I enjoy it jusht the shame.
The Old Chomlean Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Canadian Club whishkeh
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz lemon juicshe

Shake all with ische and shtrain into your chilled cocktail glassh.
OK, enough with the Connery, before he starts telling off-color jokes about Alex Trebek's mother. I have no idea why I opted for that, apart from perhaps the word "Chomleans" having a Connery-esque chewy feel in the mouth when you say it. Anyway, this is a simple drink, but a good one. You don't need or want an expensive whiskey in it, just one strong enough to hold up to the various orange-y liqueurs and the lemon juice. In some ways, it's similar to a whiskey sour, but it's got enough different from it that it's worth a taste.

Next time, a drink with a true Irish name that contains absolutely nothing Irish.

The Old Chomlean Cocktail

November 2, 2009

Lone Pine Mall serves this drink in their food court.

I was nosing around some of my cocktail guides, looking at the pages that I'd dogeared for future mixing and consumption, and stumbled across this old beauty. It's another one from the great old Savoy Cocktail Book, and it's called:
The Lone Tree Cooler

juice of 1/4 lemon
juice of an orange
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 oz London dry gin
1 oz grenadine
club soda to top

shake all but club soda with ice, strain into tumbler, top up with soda.
This is really a nifty drink...the flavor is so much more than the sum of it's parts. I find it really hard to describe, but it's so simple to make, perhaps you should try it for yourself and see what you think? Yes? Hmm?


Lone Tree Cooler