August 16, 2011

Happy National Rum Day, Rummies!

I couldn't let a momentous day like National Rum Day go past unremarked upon, could I? Additionally, it's special for me because a year ago today, I attended a hiring event for the awesome job I now hold. So, I figured, hey, let's kill two birds with one stone and celebrate both.

I'm going with a cocktail today that's a newer one, and the recipe comes from the creator of one of the ingredients. You may recall my adventures making falernum, that clove/lime/ginger/allspice cordial that plays such a significant role in Tiki drinks. Well, I exhausted my supply, and rather than spending a large amount of time making a new batch, I figured I might as well try someone else's. You may also remember Trader Tiki, now, thanks to some jerks who have a foot in the Tiki world and also call themselves "Trader," have forced him to rejigger his nomenclature. He is now operating under his own name, B. G. Reynolds, and his new site is Okole Maluna, selling almost all of the old goodies. He's ramping things back up to where they were, and I have no doubt all will soon be ship-shape and Bristol fashion. (I'll leave it to you to figure out who the villain is, though I have my own theories on who chose to Victimize our poor Mr. Reynolds)

Anyway, his falernum, while not soaked with overproof rum as mine was, is still damned tasty, and on the back of the label, he offers this recipe. I've modified it a bit, as I don't have any aged rum handy, but I don't think it suffers for my substitutions.
Mi Deh Yah Cocktail (modified)
1 ½ oz aged rum (I used Rum Matusalem Platino)
½ oz falernum (I upped it just a hair to ⅝ oz)
½ oz lemon juice (I used key lime juice, and scaled it back to ⅜ oz)
dash of aromatic bitters (Angostura for me)

Shake all with ice, strain into a small cocktail glass, and garnish with a whole allspice berry.
Quite the agreeable little tipple. If I were using my alcohol-based falernum, I'd likely scale it back a bit, but for this version, I quite like it! It's got just a hint of spice, tartness from the lime juice, and some great aromatics from that allspice berry floating on the surface. The perfect little drink for relaxing in a hammock on the beach somewhere.

Mi Deh Yah Cocktail (modified)

August 4, 2011

Linkovich Chumovsky

I have no new drink for you tonight, but I do have a link. Over at Caskstrength, there's an ongoing series of posts, 10 Rules of Drinking Like a Man (or Woman, or Pro, one supposes). Go. Read. Be enlightened.

June 26, 2011

I give you Carte Blanche on this blog...

Yes, it's been ages. Shut up.

I'll have you know, in the pursuit of mixology, I've suffered a most grievous wound. Well, one requiring stitches anyway. There was an incident whilst slicing cucumber with a mandoline for a cucumber martini...I- I don't want to talk about it. It still hurts.

Tonight's drink is not quite so perilous, though it does require cucumber (slice carefully, everyone!). It is yet another modification...but it works! That's the beautiful thing about a blog, you don't have to suffer through my failures, just my successes.
The Carte Blanche (modified)

2 oz Hendrick's Gin
2/3 oz lime cordial (bonus points for homemade, but that's another show post)
3 slices cucumber, reserved
1/4 oz dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
3/4 oz tonic water

Muddle all save for 1 slice of cucumber, gin, and tonic water. Add ice and gin, shake well to mix. Double strain into cocktail glass, add tonic water, garnish with remaining cucumber slice.
It's vegetal, it's refreshing, it's tart. It's fantastic. You could alternate these with Pimm's Cups and have a bloody wonderful day. And you should.

Carte Blanche (modified)

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 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 31, 2011

And now for something completely different

So. This is a drink that I just threw together tonight. I snapped the photo with my iPhone. It's not as well prepped as the previous ones have been, but I wanted to try to get one up with less than a month elapsing since the previous one. Mission accomplished.

This drink is cut from the same cloth as the Hanky Panky Cocktail, but it's got enough changes in proportion that I feel justified in calling it an original. However, bearing in mind its provenance, in lieu of calling it a Hanky Panky, I am, instead, calling it:
The Cat's Pyjamas Cocktail
2 oz dry gin (I'm using Small's Gin tonight)
1/4 oz Fernet Branca
1/4 oz dry vermouth
13 drops Bittercube Bolivar bitters

Stir all with ice, strain into a coupe, garnish with an orange twist.
So yeah, we're swapping up the proportions a bit, using dry instead of sweet vermouth, and adding Bittercube's Bolivar bitters, redolent of dried fruit and chamomile. It's very subtle when held up against the Fernet, but it's there…

Anyway, I like this one. It's crisp, bracing, forthright, and yet still a bit nuanced. It's a nice spring thaw drink. Here's hoping that thaw comes soon…

Cat's Pyjamas Cocktail

March 8, 2011

"We're gonna make it the Las Vegas of Asia…"

I've been rewatching my DVDs of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" lately, and grumbling about how all the brilliant shows get cancelled…"Firefly," "Studio 60," "Sports Night," while the long-in-the-tooth shows that are seldom (if ever) funny last for-frakking-ever. Anyway, I digress.

Ed Asner's character in "Studio 60," the Chairman of the fictional NBS network, plans to get in on a deal with a consortium of companies and turn Macao (or "Macau" if you prefer, as Wikipedia seems to) into a fantastical destination. Already noted for gambling and tourism, I guess they would've installed a Universal Studios park and a Hard Rock Café and declared victory or something, I dunno. But…it got me thinking…

I wondered what a Manhattan would be like with a slew of disparate influences on it. I mean, Macao was a Portuguese colony in Chinese territory, a port for any number of exotic cargos…what would that have done to, or how would that translate to, a whiskey and vermouth based drink? And so, after jotting down some notes, I came up with this:
Macao Cocktail

2 oz blended whiskey (I used Canadian Club)
3/8 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz Trader Tiki's Orgeat Syrup
1/8 oz Trader Tiki's Don's Spices #2
1 barspoon ginger liqueur
2 dashes Acid Phosphate
Dash of Donn's Tinc
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Dash of Bittermens Burlesque Bitters

Stir all ingredients smartly with ice, strain into cocktail glass, and garnish with a brandied cherry and a flamed orange zest.
So first thing to note is that this is going to start off sweet. The syrups and the ginger liqueur will guarantee that. Which is why I brought some things in to counter that: the acid phosphate for one. Made and sold by Darcy O'Neil from The Art of Drink, this brings sourness without any citrus juice. (I was going for a non-cloudy drink here.) Secondly, Bittermens new Burlesque bitters is a blend of açai berry (sweet), hibiscus (tart), and long pepper (long. I mean, 'hot') which further complicates things. Plus you've got the other bitters, the vanilla and allspice notes from Don's Spices #2, the almond of the orgeat, the grapefruit and cinnamon from Donn's Tinc, and the little bit of heat from the ginger liqueur.

It's a complicated drink. It's polyglot. It's multicultural. But it's sophisticated. And nuanced. And I think it's a fairly good invention.

Macao Cocktail