Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Persimmons: More Crazy Produce for the Juicer

Whenever I go grocery shopping, I always want to buy persimmons. They look so neat. But I never really know what to do with ’em. I guess I could take the trouble to find out but never do. Or at least I didn’t until I decided to try throwing one in the juicer. There were two types available so I picked up one of each. Apparently, one can be eaten firm like an apple. The other one should be allowed to ripen to mush or you’ll end up with an indigestible ball in your stomach like that chewing gum horror story your first grade teacher used to scare you with. Seriously. Anyway, a variety to eat firm is the fuyu, which resembles a squat tomato. Core like a tomato, slice it up, stick it in the juicer. One fuyu gave me 2 ounces of sweet, mild flavored juice.

Rum Fuyu
  • 2 oz 10 Cane rum
  • 2 oz fuyu juice
  • 2 dashes Bar Keep Baked Apple Bitters
Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Very fresh and bright, and nicely balanced for sweetness. I tried not to slam it with a lot of ingredients because the persimmon is delicate. A little like pumpkin but fruitier.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gimme a Beet

Playing with the juice extractor again to make a Thanksgiving vegetable cocktail. I went to the nearby market that juices everything to look for ready-made beet or beet combinations, but you never know what they’ll have juiced on a given day. So I did my own bloody beets, as it were, and a Granny Smith apple as well. I’ve been thinking about the possibility of a snapper-type cocktail with beet and aquavit for a while now, and here’s a first try.

Gimme a Beet
  • 2 oz aquavit (Aalborg)
  • 1 1/2 oz beet juice
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh apple juice
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
Stir with ice and strain into a old fashioned. Ice cube or two.

Nicely earthy from the beets and the aquavit’s caraway, and of course the color is amazing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Forbidden City

There was a half grapefruit in my fridge left over from the previous post, and I wanted to do something Tiki with it. This drink was inspired by descriptions of the old Forbidden Fruit pomelo liqueur, which seems to have been a fine thing indeed.

Forbidden City
  • 2 oz gold Barbados rum
  • 1 oz Demerara rum
  • 3 oz fresh white grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp allspice dram
  • 1/4 oz honey syrup (1:1)
Shake with ice cubes and strain into a large, ice-filled glass. Long grapefruit twist.

The twist really makes this, contributing bright, delicate grapefruit top notes over the dark molasses and spice. I took the twist with a sharp vegetable peeler, removing a little pith with my bar knife.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

MxMo LXIII: North Sea Breeze

A big Fogged In thank you to Jacob Grier of Liquidity Preference for hosting this month’s Mixology Monday. Jacob’s theme is Retro Redemption, the resurrection of drinks from the not-too-distance-past, those post-war decades some still remember, yet others can only glimpse in pictures while laughing at the haircuts. We’ve been challenged to find a good recipe in all that banality, or at least find one that has the potential to be revitalized with a makeover.

For this test of mixological metaphysics, I’ve selected the Sea Breeze, a vodka-cranberry-grapefruit number popular in the 1980s, and which some would say can never really die. [Sounds of zombies moaning.] I have to say I don’t pour much vodka, which tends to disappear in mixed drinks. My favorite replacement is aquavit, which happens to go particularly well with grapefruit juice. While we’re substituting like this, I’m not that fond of prefab cranberry “cocktail,” preferring the full-strength, unsweetened, deep red juice that can be adjusted to taste. Honey goes with grapefruit and aquavit too, so that will be my sweetener.

North Sea Breeze
  • 2 oz aquavit (Aalborg)
  • 3 oz fresh white grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz undiluted cranberry juice
  • 3/4 oz honey syrup (1:1)
Stir with ice and pour unstrained into a 12-ounce glass.

I stirred this gently instead of shaking to avoid beating it up too much and losing the intensity of the flavors. This is more bracing and astringent than the classic Sea Breeze. The cranberry suddenly seems very Scandinavian as the tannins get together with the caraway of the aquavit.

The Formica in the photo also belongs to the Sea Breeze era.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Parting Shot

Thanksgiving week in the United States means that the holidays are upon us once again (quick—the pepper spray!) and I’m reminded that for various reasons, you need to have some booze-free recipes on hand. So how about the other beverage kick, caffeine?

Now I’m not talking about some gigantic dairy-laden thing in a paper cup. This is a shooter that your guests can slam before going off into the night in a car. And you can prepare it in advance and have it waiting in the refrigerator. You’ll need to make an anise syrup for it, and you’ll need to make or buy some espresso.

Parting Shot

Start by preparing anise syrup:
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3-4 Tbs anise seeds
  • 2 Tbs fennel seeds
  • 4 star anise pods
Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring gently about 15 minutes. Cool and strain. Refrigerate if preparing in advance.

Combine syrup with an equal amount of espresso and chill before serving in chilled shot glasses.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November Weather

Dreamers with empty hands
May sigh for exotic lands
It’s autumn in New York
It’s good to live it again
—Autumn In New York, Vernon Duke

Lately I’m longing for a Brooklyn visit, but I’ll have to be content to email and phone my peeps back there. In honor of the Big Apple, I’m posting something with my new Bar Keep Baked Apple Bitters, which add a light, woodsy spice note to whiskey and rum cocktails. (I tried them in tequila too but they were too subtle and got lost.) This one’s with Black Label, much enjoyed by my friends back in Brooklyn.

November Weather
  • 2 oz blended scotch (Johnnie Walker Black Label)
  • 3/4 oz madeira
  • 4 dashes Bar Keep Baked Apple Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I like the way the acidity of the madeira combines with the damp smoke of the peat like a chill you can smell outside the house but don’t feel cuz you’re inside and warm. The apple bitters mostly come through on the nose and brighten the madeira a little.

Monday, November 14, 2011


You eat your vegetables? Me neither.

Kidding. In fact, I’ve been so into cooking different veggies lately that thought occurs that they ought to appear in more cocktails. I happen to have a centrifuge-type juicer for doing my own root vegetables and apples and stuff, though if I get lazy, there’s a place five blocks away that sells most of the ones you might expect: carrot, carrot-celery, beet, etc. I get the feeling after cleaning the juicer after carrots that I’ll be headed over to that store soon.

  • 2 oz gold barbados rum
  • 2 oz carrot juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 oz spicy ginger beer (Fever Tree)
Shake all except ginger beer with ice and strain into a double old fashioned. Top with ginger and add fresh ice.

The carrot comes through, nicely accentuated by the spices and the sugar cane from the rum, but keeps the vegetal thing and doesn't get too sweet.
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