Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Foggy Mountain Breakdown

Another scotch cocktail for the dank chill on the hills around the Fogged In Lounge. This one’s for my buddy Matt who gave me that swell bottle of Peat Monster. Many good drinks have come out of said bottle.

Foggy Mountain Breakdown

  • 2 oz blended scotch (Peat Monster)
  • 3/4 oz Drambuie
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ginger ale or ginger beer to fill (Fever Tree ginger ale)
Combine all except ginger ale over ice and stir. Strain into 10-oz tall glass. Add fresh ice and fill with ginger. Stir gently.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mango Nectar Taste Comparison

I’m sending this one out to DJ HawaiianShirt, wizard of the aging barrel and the inspiration for this post. We were discussing a recipe I submitted for his excellent MxMo in April, and I said that the results varied with the brand of mango nectar used. This variation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you want the spirits to be fairly forward in a mango drink, it’s worth noting that the thickness and intensity of mango nectar are widely different from brand to brand.

So I decided to taste some products that were available within walking distance of my front door. Alas, one of the nicer brands for mixing I had found months back had vanished without a trace. (I can’t even remember the name.) This left Ceres, Looza, R.W. Knudsen and a fresh juice product I had never seen before from Mollie Stone’s, a local supermarket chain. Another item I would’ve included, a national brand, was left out of the contest due to the presence of high fructose corn syrup. (Yeah, I know—it’s in everything. We can do without it this once.)

The testing procedure for each of these brands was simple: taste it by itself, then mixed 4:3 with Mount Gay Eclipse. The nectar would be evaluated on its own merits, the degree to which it tasted like mango, and how well it played with the rum. The tasting notes below list the brands in the order in which we tried them. We went through all the brands for each of the two parts of the test separately, though for convenience, all the notes are shown together under the name of the brand.


Ceres Mango: Of the two ingredients, the first is pear, and it definitely tastes like pear. Not much like mango, though tasty. Not too sweet. A little candy-like with Mount Gay.

R.W. Knudsen Family Mango Nectar: Lots of different fruits in this. General impression is more apple-peach than mango. Warmer flavor than the Ceres. Housemate preferred the Ceres. Combined poorly with Mount Gay.

Mollie Stone’s Mango Madness: Very fresh. Distinct mango flavor and somewhat thicker body than the previous two. Contains white grape as the second ingredient, which drops into the background. The flavor of the Mount Gay came through, though the nectar was so clean and fresh that a little sugar would’ve helped it talk to the rum.

Looza Mango Nectar: Rich, velvety, big mango flavor—especially on the finish. The only adjuncts are water and sugar, so it really tastes like mango. Goes beautifully with the Mount Gay but absorbs it into its seductive golden thickness.


The Ceres and Knudsen were good as bottled juice beverages though I wouldn’t use them in mixed drinks that call for mango.

The Mollie Stone’s may have some applications in mixed drinks, though it’s so refreshing it might be used to temper something with a liqueur component.

Looza was the standout, as I expected it to be, though it tended to smother. We mixed it 50-50 with El Dorado 5-Year and drank that on the rocks at the end of the experiment, and it worked out fine. The rum and the fruit combined into a sort of liquid caramel in the glass. It’s a tricky thing to balance the amber fire and the golden fog.

With this in mind, here’s a recipe that attempts some sort of compromise between the rum and the mango.

Misty Mango Hop
  • 2 oz gold Jamaica rum
  • 2 oz Looza mango nectar
  • 1/2 oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Hart 151 rum
Combine all except Lemon Hart 151 with one cup crushed iced and stir until cold. Pour into a large glass and add crushed ice to fill. Float Lemon Hart 151. Cherry, lime. Straw.

I know—there’s no straw in the picture. (All I had were striped bendy straws.) Drink this with a straw, though. If you suck the Lemon Hart off the top first, you won’t taste the other stuff much. It’s better if the float just stays at the top and fortifies the drink as you get to the icy part at the end.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Red Goldfish

Life at the Lounge is in no small part aquatic. There are all manner of piscine and amphibious creatures of all forms and sizes. (A couple of ’em are bipedal and merely drink like fish, but whatcha gonna do.)

I’m playing a lot with Campari lately. This drink strikes me as slightly Asian with its citrus, ginger and almond notes. The falernum and Campari together seem almost savory, taking the burn off the lime without adding much sugar.

Red Goldfish

  • 1 1/2 oz Cruzan light rum
  • 1/2 oz Appleton V/X rum
  • 1/2 oz Velvet Falernum
  • 1/2 oz oz Campari
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • few drops Peychaud’s Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Orange ’n’ Stormy

The signature highball of Gosling’s Black Seal and possibly of Gothic novelists as well, the Dark ’n’ Stormy is amenable to the sorts of additions that generally go with rum. Black Seal Rum in particular has a certain affinity for orange, as is demonstrated in this orange bitters variation I had a while ago at Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro here in town, a reliable refuge of house-made cherries and such when the downtown shopping morons drive you to seek the waters of Lethe. Annabelle’s did it with Regans’ No. 6, which makes a tasty drink, though I used Angostura Orange this time.

Orange ’n’ Stormy

  • 2 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
  • ginger beer
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
Build over ice and stir gently. Orange wheel.

Monday, July 11, 2011

R for Rocket

I’ve been waiting for another idea for Campari and cacao. Here it is with another favorite, aquavit. Caraway goes nicely with the bittersweet notes in both Campari and cacao. (If you like caraway as much as I do, it goes with everything.)

R for Rocket
  • 1 1/2 oz aquavit (Aalborg)
  • 3/4 oz Campari
  • 1/4 crème de cacao (Joseph Cartron cacao brun)
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
Stir with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Wood and paper rocket toy by LEAFpdx.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Demerara Cocktail

It’s tempting to call this “remixed” since I keep doing slight variations of this potent number by Mariano Licudine, but it’s just a matter of running out of some basic ingredient whenever I feel like making one. And I often feel like making one. It’s spirit-forward, rich, complex—great for those moments when you find yourself saying you want a real drink.

Demerara Cocktail
  • 2 oz Lemon Hart Demerara rum (El Dorado 12 Year)
  • 1 oz gold Puerto Rican rum (Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados rum)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz passion fruit nectar
  • 1 tsp sugar syrup (1/4 oz Trader Tiki passion fruit syrup)
Shake with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fogged In Sangria

This Fourth of July, I volunteered to command the grill, so I had my punch ready two days in advance—an opportunity to play with maceration. I went for sangria this year, and used the peels from the citrus and some sliced red plums, all of which I strained out the morning of the party.

Fogged In Sangria
  • 2 bottles Rioja
  • 12 oz gold rum
  • 4 oz curacao
  • 4 plums
  • 4 oranges
  • 2 lemons
Remove the colored part of the orange and lemon peels with a sharp vegetable peeler, avoiding the white pith. Set in large bowl or jug. Add sliced plums, juice of oranges and lemons, rum and wine. Store in the refrigerator for a couple of days, then strain. Serve with ice and a bottle of soda on the side. Guests can dilute the sangria to taste.

This had plenty of citrus oil on the nose, as you might expect, and some tartness and fresh fruit notes from the plums that went very well with the wine. Nice and dry, and good with the food. (I was double fisting in the smoke and the heat with a Sierra Nevada, and it went OK with that too.)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things: Mayahuel Roundup

There’s such an array of riches on the Mayahuel list that I’m sort of amazed our bartender Kate could keep it all straight. I’m not even sure I remember everything my friends and I tasted on this recent adventure (I know somebody ordered the cocktail in the photo above) but three stand out:

The Mad Cardoon is a long drink of mezcal, cognac, pineapple, lemon and Cardamaro. Funny to think of it but I hadn’t put it together that Cardamaro’s got cardoon in it. I confess to never having eaten a cardoon so I couldn’t say what one tastes like, but the pineapple was very forward and gave it that balance of smoke and fruit you hope for in such potations. The brandy seemed to help too.

The elegant Warlock, an aromatic elixir of reposado tequila, Punt e Mes, pear eau de vie with a rinse of mezcal and absinthe, is one I’ll be playing with at home. If you’re in for a long session, the Warlock would be a good place to start before your palate gets smoky from all the drinks that are heavier on mezcal and from that amazing red salsa.

The West of East India Cocktail is a like a list of sure-fire ingredients, so it’s not too surprising that it’s so drinkable: reposado tequila, Demerara rum, East India sherry, falernum, Amaro Nonino and Xocolatl Mole Bitters. Broadly appealing, it looks like a few of someone else’s favorite things too.

All these fine concoctions were compounded with aplomb by Kate, who made us feel at home right away. Many thanks to her for a great visit.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Slivovitz Cocktail

I just got back from a packed trip to New York City which included lots of family business and socializing, both leading to drink in one way or another. Here’s one I did on the fly when visiting some friends who invited me to make use of their bar. I’ve had slivovitz with them often over the years so it seemed apt to make a drink with it that evening. I pretty much did what would’ve been called a Fancy Brandy Cocktail in Jerry Thomas’ day. It’s actually fairly plain by modern standards unless you’re in the habit of taking your slivovitz neat.

Slivovitz Cocktail

  • 2 oz slivovitz
  • 1/4 oz triple sec
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Build over ice.

This should really have a twist, I guess, but it was one of those evenings when there was such a thing as too fancy.
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