Monday, October 31, 2011

Hot Rum Punch

Here’s a Jamaica rum punch with arrack I’m working on—tasty but maybe in need of fine tuning. I used tea to heat it, which did the job within tolerance but could’ve been hotter going in.

Hot Rum Punch
  • 1 1/2 oz Jamaica rum (Smith & Cross)
  • 1/2 oz arrack (Batavia Arrack van Oosten)
  • 1/2 oz lemon
  • 1/4 oz rich simple syrup
  • 4 oz strong black tea
  • lemon peel
  • about 15 allspice berries
Boil water to make tea and heat a mug. Pour boiling water over tea, the yellow part of the peel of a lemon and allspice berries. While tea is steeping (4-5) minutes), heat mug, then discard hot water. Combine spirits, lemon and syrup in mug. Strain tea into spirit mixture and stir briefly.

I made the tea in an open vessel, and now see that I should’ve worked a little harder to keep the warmth in it. The spirits and stuff cooled it more than expected, though it was still quite drinkable. I’m also thinking I might’ve bruised the allspice berries a little too. But the housemate and I both enjoyed it. Well worth doing again. The Smith & Cross rum I used gave the right funk for the 18th-century feel of this.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Last Word?

From time to time, I find a great drink from a bygone era that’s a little sweet for my taste. Such is the case with the Last Word, an equal parts cocktail that’s two parts liqueur. A certain amount of drinking of things not entirely to your taste is par for the course in the appreciation of classic recipes. But I’m not averse to drying them down if it doesn’t mean dumbing them down too. Luckily, the Last Word has a lot of flavor and adapts easily. I added a little more sour to cut the sweet, but mostly I made it ginnier.

The Last Word (Paraphrased)

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz maraschino
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

As with most classic cocktails, the history of the Last Word is anecodotal. Paul Clarke sums it up with typical elegance.

Speaking of the Last Word, I try not to annoy bartenders, but I had this once in a bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn while waiting for the rain to let up, and the person working there shook the thing until I finally had to stop her. She was a little too special to begin with, and didn’t like the customer explaining how he wanted the drink. Kindly don’t over-dilute my booze.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bel Canto

I was trying to think of something else to do with my Gran Classico when this drink came to mind, which turned out to be something else to do with my orange blossom water as well. (Surely it had to be good for something besides melon salad.) Both ingredients seem 19th-century somehow. Careful when you pour the orange flower. Note that those are drops and not dashes, or you’ll end up with a glass of perfume. Do it in a spoon over the measuring glass and not over the shaker.

Bel Canto
  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1/2 oz Gran Classico Bitter
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 drops orange blossom water
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lime twist from a fresh lime with a sharp vegetable peeler.

Sort of a Margarita relative but with a long ago and far away feel. More bitter-herbal with a hint of orange blossom honey.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

MxMo LXII: Morning Starfish

Many thanks to Kevin of Cocktail Enthusiast for hosting this month’s Mixology Monday and for a theme very close to my own heart: morning drinks—a theme I hold so dear that this very post was held up a bit by a protracted celebration of the morning. But fear not—dawn’s very rosy finger has touched the recipe offered below. (Hey, it’s dawn somewhere.) A bright and bubbly tequila-grapefruit-Campari thing that’s light enough to let you have at least two, even in the morning.

Morning Starfish

  • 1 oz gold tequila
  • 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1 1/2 – 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • soda
  • salt and cracked pepper mixture, garnish
Moisten half the rim of a 12-ounce glass with lime or a little honey, and roll carefully in salt-pepper mixture. Set aside. Flash melt honey about 5-10 seconds in microwave. Stir together with lime juice. Add tequila and grapefruit juice and shake with ice. Strain into prepared glass, add fresh ice. Add Campari, top with soda.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turn of the Screw

This one’s like a Rusty Nail but tarted up with some lime juice. I thought about calling it a Nail for a Screw. (Heh.) The housemate was somewhat surprised that scotch was the greatest component, as the other stuff tempers and harmonizes with the peat quite a lot. It’s another drink that seems so basic that I suspect an older version somewhere, but didn’t find it with a quick search. If anybody knows a different name, please comment.

Turn of the Screw
  • 1 1/2 oz blended scotch (Johnnie Walker Black Label)
  • 1/2 oz Drambuie
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
Sitr with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Scotch Collins

A Scotch Collins sounded like a great idea but for some reason, I couldn’t find a recipe that talked specifically about scotch. In the end, I used David Wondrich’s Tom Collins as a rough guide to proportion. Maybe it was a little lighter than intended but definitely good in the warm weather we’ve been having, and the weighty scotch I used came through all the soda.

Scotch Collins
  • 2 oz blended scotch (Johnnie Walker Black Label)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rich simple syrup
  • soda to fill
Stir all but soda with ice, and strain into an ice-filled collins glass. Fill with cold soda. Lemon garnish.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Smith & Cross Cooler

Don’t know what it is—maybe the San Francisco Indian summer—but I’m craving fizzy rum sours. I was just saying to the housemate that my drinking today has been all of a type: brunch was a Pusser’s Navy Rum Collins, then later a Churchill’s Southside while I was taking a break from my errands. At home, I stared at the bottles for inspiration but it was the same story.

Smith & Cross Cooler
  • 2 generous dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 oz Smith & Cross
  • juice of half a lime
  • spicy ginger beer, about 3-4 oz (Fever Tree)
Build in a 12-ounce glass over ice cubes. Stir gently and briefly.

These are all things that are made to go together. It’s nicely dry and clean, with a balance of aromatic, bitter, sour and strong. I guess it’s a classic drink, though I have no idea what else you’d call it so I named it after the rum.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mai Tai Punsch

I was sipping a little Rhum Clément and thinking how well it would go with a tea note. This strained drink borrows flavors from the Mai Tai with Swedish Punsch in place of the curacao. I used BG Reynold’s orgeat. Lately, it’s got interesting little bits of almond, but they would’ve been strange in this so I strained them out.

Mai Tai Punsch
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

St. George Negroni Three Ways

As a number of earlier posts attest, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the new gins from St. George Spirits. I’ve been playing with the Dry Rye and the Terroir, and now I’ve found the Botanivore, a sort of super-gin of 19 botanicals. The least outrageous of the three, it’s elegant dry gin for classic cocktails made the traditional way. Thinking of this classicism, I decided it would be interesting to try the three gins in the same Negroni recipe to show their differences. The Negroni has a ton of personality—a perfect match for three personality gins.

For the Negroni recipe, I went with an ounce and a half of gin and three-quarters of an ounce each of Campari and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, orange twist. I briefly considered the classic one ounce of each, but wanted to emphasize the gin, and like my Negronis drier anyway. I also opted for straight up, stirred, instead of on the rocks.

First up was Botanivore, and the resulting cocktail tasted, well, like a Negroni. A good one. I wanted to use less of the other stuff to taste the gin, which is what always happens to me unless the drink is made even drier than 2:1:1.

Next there was Dry Rye, and the juniper and black pepper notes not only overpowered the Campari, believe it or not, but crushed it. Tasty, but not much like a Negroni. I remade it later in the 1-to-1-to-1 ratio, which worked a lot better. Big and fruity.

Last came Terroir. This gin is about surprise and the Negroni made with it was no different. The Douglas fir and bay laurel came together with the citrus and spice notes from the Campari and vermouth in a uniquely aromatic feast redolent of frosty mornings, the mountains and Christmas. It was sort of recognizable as a Negroni, but with a highly distinctive green note. I’d like to try this in the equal-measure version as well, though it was good the way I made it.

All three St. George gins performed very well. For this recipe, the Botanivore was classic, the Dry Rye needed to be balanced differently, and the Terroir shone in a special way.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Willett Rye

I bounced into my local with a grin and told the bartender, “I got me a new baby—Willett Rye!” I had it there several days before when the other guy was on. Unless I’m in a cocktailian bar, I almost always drink Manhattans if the place can actually make a cocktail. It’s sort of endearing to be remembered for a drink—something that doesn’t happen to me as much since I left off drinking neat scotch. And as I still like some alcoholic heat, I was very excited to find Willett. The bottle of single barrel rye I went out and bought within that hour was a 4-year at 55 percent alcohol. Mixed with a sufficiency of Carpano Antica and Angostura Bitters, it’s like driving a sofa down the freeway.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Telegraph Hill

I’m not sure what I was browsing when I found the Drakensburger in the CocktailDB, a white rum sour with Van der Hum sourced from the Café Royal Cocktail Book. I liked the 1930s look of it. The Rose’s Lime Cordial would make it far too sweet, but it was clearly a Pegu Club relative. I thought right away of the new St. George Terroir Gin with all its evergreen funk as a more complex base for the aromatics of the tangerine liqueur. In place of the Van der Hum, I used Mandarine Napoléon.

Telegraph Hill
  • 1 1/2 oz St. George Terroir Gin
  • 1/2 oz tangerine liqueur
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fort Greene

This cocktail owes some inspiration to the Slope, which Frederic posted last week and I wanted to try. But it would’ve meant opening a bottle of Punt e Mes, and my fridge was looking a little overcrowded with similar bottles of aromatized wine and the like. I reached for the sherry instead.

Like the Slope, Fort Greene is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.

Fort Greene
  • 2 oz rye
  • 1/2 oz Amontillado sherry
  • 1/4 oz apricot brandy
  • dash Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Autumn Fruit Gin Sour

More homemade stuff again—and not by accident this time. I don’t know what came over me, but I actually felt motivated enough to overcome my sloth and make cocktail syrup. Come to think of it, I was inspired by the spicy rye and peppercorn notes in St. George’s Dry Rye Gin, my new favorite thing on earth. It’s a natural for pairings with all the fruits of fall and winter—I could even see it with a large orange vegetable or two. But for this syrup, I used a combination of ripe pears, figs and apples, about 2-3 of each. The pear really stands out with the juniper and pepper. Whatever fruit you use, poach in rich simple syrup (2:1) until soft, as you would for fruit to use over ice cream. Remove fruit and reserve (for ice cream, of course). Pour through a fine mesh strainer and bottle. I added a splash of Lemon Hart 151 to mine to improve shelf life.

Autumn Fruit Gin Sour

  • 2 oz St George Dry Rye Gin
  • 1/2 oz autumn fruit syrup
  • 1/2 oz lemon and/or lime juice
Shake with ice and train into an chilled cocktail glass.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Monterey Bay

Old Father Time checked, so there’d be no doubt,
Called on the north wind to come on out,
Then cupped his hands, so proudly to shout,
“La-de-da, de-da-de-dum, ’tis Autumn!”
—Henry Nemo, ’Tis Autumn

A big, smoky one full of fruit for the turning of the season. Fall makes me all dreamy-eyed, like I don’t want to do anything but sit around and watch the sky and the stuff floating inside my head. It’s the time in Northern California everybody seems to like best.

Monterey Bay
  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1/2 oz crème de framboise
  • 1/2 oz crème de cassis
  • 1/4 oz mezcal
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz soda, or to taste
Combine all but soda and shake with ice. Top with soda and stir gently. Lemon wheel.
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