Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MxMo LXXV: Bolaños

Thanks to Frederic of the Cocktail Virgin Slut for extending the submission deadline a bit for this month's Mixology Monday.  Last minute MxMo posts are fetishized in the community; my mind recalls a defiant submission by cocktail blogger godfather Paul Clarke to my very own MxMo event with a cocktail called the "11:59", to signify the last minute on a Mixology Monday that one could possibly submit a post.

This month's theme is "Flip Flop!", which celebrates making thoughtful substitutions in drinks to change its character but to perhaps keep its spirit, if you'll pardon the pun.  Like many ingenious MxMo themes, this one provokes me to finally tackle a recipe or subject that I've been meaning to, but never did.

The project in question was simply to make a thematic swap to the Bombay cocktail. (Fun fact: As a holder of a degree in Geography, I always recall my favorite professor asserting that the city of Bombay, now called Mumbai, will be the largest city in the world before too long.)  I've always wanted to apply a latin theme to the drink for some reason, and so I submit the below for everyone's approval.  This swap in particular used Patrón Citrónge, which is a tequila-based orange liqueur.  While not exactly the most versatile ingredient out there, Citrónge is really enjoyable, especially to the purist who wants more tequila in any drink they make.

I tinkered with the original ingredients' ratios, because the recipe is simply too vermouth-heavy.  I recently found out that Doug of Cold Glass also prefers to dial down the vermouth, even when using the original Cognac.


1.5 oz añejo tequila
.25 oz sweet vermouth
.25 oz dry vermouth
.25 oz  Patrón Citrónge (substitute Triple Sec)
2-3 dashes absinthe

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass.  No garnish.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mixology Monday LXXII: Drink Your Vegetables

This month's Mixology Monday is hosted by Rowen of the Fogged In Lounge, who is perhaps my favorite blogger who still posts regularly.  I expected a good theme, and Rowen didn't let me down, though I should probably not be surprised that it's a hard one: Drink Your Vegetables.

Instead of taking a safe route for this post, I'll instead expand upon a simple rule that I've discovered over the years: that the Martini is a bulletproof recipient of almost any flavor you throw at it.  Now look, I'm not going to wax poetic about how perfect the Martini is, and I'm also not going to suggest that putting weak bullshit like curacao or Angostura bitters in your Martini is exciting and new at this point.  Anyone who knows my blog knows that I post some unorthodox shit.  I don't intend to disappoint.

I'm here to suggest that you try to get a bit crazy when it comes to adding things to your Martini, and you might be surprised at how well it works, in the end.  If you're in a floral mood one day, I might suggest adding a few heavy dashes of rhubarb bitters to your Martini; I've also even been known to put a drop of rosewater in the mixing glass before stirring.  If you can tolerate a shaken Martini, your options widen.  For a fruity mood, try adding a few pieces of citrus peel into the shaker and let the ice pulverize it.  Try that with chunks of pineapple, pear, or ginger.  For an herbal mood, try shaking with basil leaves.  A savory mood is my favorite...  shake the Martini with a sprig of rosemary.  Or add a dash of mezcal or Islay Scotch.

Today I'm taking you to two extremes of savory and herbal Martinis, respectively.  The former is a way to drink your vegetables, and the latter is simply a bonus.  I decided to end up naming them due to cocktail ego, but I won't be giving them the Original Remix tag.  I ended up calling them the Chef's and Gardener's Martinis.

Martini au Chef de Cuisine

1.75 oz gin
.5 oz dry vermouth
1 drop (not dash) celery bitters (optional)
1 half thin slice of red onion

Shake all ingredients with ice.  Double strain into a cocktail glass.  Olive or cocktail onion garnish.

The onion doesn't taste like you think it will.  It adds a sweetness to the drink and perfumes it in a way that's not very much like onion.  This is a great choice if you want an extra savory Martini before a big meal.

Martini au Jardinier

2 oz gin
.5 oz dry vermouth
.25 oz absithe
1 sprig parsley
2 sprigs cilantro

Chop herbs with 2 or 3 cuts, and shake all ingredients with ice.  Double strain into a cocktail glass.  Half lemon wedge garnish.

If you never muddle mint in your Juleps and are afraid of bitter chlorophyll, this isn't the drink for you.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Ralfy's SunnyD and Rum

This post deliberately comes on the heels of Tiki Month 2013.  Why?  Because although this drink isn't a tiki drink, it could be construed as Tiki Compliant® in a fairly low-class kind of way.  Before you judge the recipe below, read on...

Anyone who enjoys reading blogs and other online amateur writing can tell you the bittersweet feeling of coming across a great blogger or website; the sweet is that you've found a new source of information that you enjoy consuming, but the bitter is that you often wonder how you've gone so long without discovering that source.

I've just recently experienced the above with Ralfy of Ralfy.com, a Scottish chap who primarily vlogs his reviews and thoughts about Scotch whisky, along with other sundry advice and tips.

Ralfy is also quite knowledgeable about the internet, much more than his age's stereotype might have you believe.  This knowledge includes internet culture, and especially YouTube culture.

In 2012 there surfaced a YouTube video of a nice lady(perhaps inebriated) named Chris Athey who decided to create an impromptu original song proclaiming her love of SunnyD and Rum - simply a mixture of rum and Sunny Delight.

In typical internet fashion, clever folk decided to endlessly remix this remarkably off-tune diddy into overly-processed musical masterpieces.  Ralfy celebrates these works of creativity and, in a moment of commemoration, tries out this much-lauded Sunny D and Rum drink.

Ralfy is not just an expert on whisky, but is also a learned rum drinker.  In a moment where Ralfy flexes his perhaps-atrophied mixological physique, he creates his own version of Sunny D and Rum using the sage choice of J. Wray and Nephew White Overproof rum.

I thought I'd give it a whirl.

The first problem was with SunnyD variations.  Uninitiated fans may not realize that there are over a dozen flavors of SunnyD in the US alone.  Being in the UK, Ralfy is using California Style, a version which isn't even sold anymore on this side of the pond, but sources tell me that the American SunnyD Smooth flavor is the almost identical to it, if not the same.

The problem was that I couldn't find SunnyD Smooth anywhere, and I looked in quite a few places.  I found Tangy, Orange, and even a 20oz bottle that didn't specify its flavor.  However, I tried this drink with all of them, and they're all good.  And I also must say, I've been around the block of processed food and drink (I even have another blog about it), and I remember SunnyD California Style from my childhood; it wasn't so different from the flavors above.

The last hurdle in this drink was overcoming my cocktailian ego.  Ralfy's recipe and preparation of this drink was decidedly obsolescent: under-iced, over-diluted, ungarnished.  I went to work in my lab and experimented extensively *hiccup* to modernize the recipe and bring it into fashion.  I tried things like making the booze-to-mixer ratio higher in booze, shaking the drink with ice and pouring onto more cubes, or crushed ice, or serving it up in a cocktail glass, garnished with a slice of orange, or even rinsing the glass with absinthe.  None of these things worked.  None of them tasted remotely as good as Ralfy's manifested rusticity, the thing for which he is known best.

This drink is surprisingly good.  The funk of the Jamaican rum cuts through the juice's artificiality perfectly while the absinthe perfumes the whole into an experience I wouldn't hesitate to call a tiki long drink.  The recipe below is transcribed as best I can from how Ralfy prepared it on screen.

SunnyD & Rum (Ralfy Mix)

3.75 oz cold SunnyD (California Style/Smooth preferred, substitute with Tangy or Orange)
.75 oz J. Wray & Nephew White Overproof rum
1 heavy dash absinthe

Build in an Old Fashioned glass over the largest cubes/chunks of ice you have and stir.  No garnish.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recipe & Rating: Lazy Bear

I first heard of the Lazy Bear only recently from Frederic Yarm of the Cocktail Virgin Slut.   Fred in turn got this recipe from Jacob Grier, one of perhaps the greatest bartenders on the west coast and also, in my opinion, one of the greatest cocktail writers in the world.

The Lazy Bear was originally crafted by Grier specifically to be served at his friend's wedding.  Lovely!

This drink uses one of my favorite combinations: whiskey and lime juice.  A more bird's eye glance at the recipe will quickly indicate, whether Grier intended or not, that this is a tiki drink.  And because it is Tiki Month, the yearly tiki celebration hosted by the legendary Doug Winship, my timing is perfect.

Below are the recipe and ingredients I used.

Lazy Bear

3/4 oz Jamaican rum (George Bowman aged small batch rum)
3/4 oz rye whiskey (George Dickel Rye)
3/4 oz lime juice
3/4 oz honey syrup (1:1 clover honey)
3 dashes spiced bitters (equal parts Angostura Bitters and allspice dram[this recipe])

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass(tiki mug?) filled with ice. Add a straw.

I had a hard time articulating my thoughts on this drink, so instead of thick prose I'm going to give my impressions in bullet points:

-One of the few tiki drinks which is almost completely spicy and not fruity
-The two aged spirits combined with the bitters' tannins to provide a dry and woody backbone
-Lime juice here operates mostly to lend its sourness and not flavor, as its flavor is mostly dashed by all the other assertive ingredients
-Dry and sour overall, refreshing
-Earthiness provided by rye and pimento dram
-Herbal sweetness provided by dram and honey
-Sweet funkiness provided by honey and rum
-Dry spiciness provided by dram, rye, and bitters
-Bright lime juice cuts through all the funk, dryness, spice, sugar
-My theory still stands that most of the best tiki drinks use honey

This is one of the best tiki drinks I've ever had, and I don't consider myself a tiki novice.  Make this drink, and thank Jacob Grier.

Rating: 10/10

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mixology Monday LXIX

This month's Mixology Monday is being hosted by Jordan of Chemistry of the Cocktail.  His blog is one of my favorites currently, which has really gotten into a groove during this last year of 2012.  Do yourself a favor and put his site onto your RSS feed or your weekly rounds.

Jordan's theme for this month is fortified wines.  Why does he seem to exclude vermouth from this theme?  Probably because vermouth would be too easy.  Either way, I'm up for the challenge.

This is a drink that I created years ago and return to often.  It began, as things do, when I was trying to drain some almost-dead bottles in my playroom.

In creating the drink, I realized that brandy and Madeira go very well together but that it was missing something.  As with many cocktails, it was bitters that it needed to tie the other ingredients together.  Let that be a lesson, if you've not already learned it.

Original Remix

Later That Day

1.5 oz Cognac (or brandy)
1 oz Madeira (substitute Amontillado sherry if you must)
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash simple syrup

Build over ice in an Old Fashioned glass.  No garnish.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yardarm & Omniglot

It was almost a year ago for Mixology Monday that I posted about the Main Brace tiki drink. The loveliness of the drink aside, the post contained a bit of history on the nautical significance of the mainbrace and its importance in historic drinking terminology.

A gent named Simon Ager over at the Omniglot blog explains a bit more about the relationship between booze and sea vessel anatomy with the yardarm. Simon's websites Omniglot and Omniglot blog are rich online resources for anyone interested in language(s), and I highly recommend them. Check out his post here.