Monday, October 19, 2015

MxMo See Ai Ai! Spooky Sips

"Is it sweet?" She asked, half watching netflix and half playing on her phone.
"No... it's more sour," said the imbiber.
"You like sour"
"Yes. Yes I do."
 For a moment she appeared to ponder whether she herself was sour or sweet.

                                   *                                       *                                             *

This month's Mixology Monday theme is Spooky Sips. Chosen by our old pal JFL at Rated R Cocktails. I thought it was gonna be easy! It occured to me that a good place to dig up recipes might be Sloshed! (seemingly now defunct) or perhaps 12 Bottle Bar. So to the interwebz I went. The Vampire just wasn't what I wanted to present to you. The Jack Torrance though grotesque would require buying at least one bottle and perhaps some cookery. That just smacks of effort! So to VS&FC I went wherein I found Satan's Whiskers. I can't recall the last time I made a Satan's Whiskers but I do recall not enjoying it. Last time was curled, this time I went straight. No sir, don't like it. Odd really as it seems like something I would drink. I'm not sure what the problem is. Perhaps it's the Between The Sheets problem....

I decided to go Tiki. A couple of drinks came to mind. Well, maybe more than a couple. I made as near as I could to a Mai Kai Black Magic. What could go wrong? Tiki and the occult. Mysterious sweeteners and unobtainable rum. It should be a slam dunk! Turns out it's just not my bag. Don't get me wrong, it is a good drink. It has many layers and evolves over time, but I'm not dying to have another one.

Back to the drawing board I went. My girlfriend had shared some buzzfeed nonsense recipes. I was doubtful. One did look tasty, essentially a New York Sour with tequila. Not particularly spooky though... The other ghoulish delight called for Absinthe and coconut. This seems to be a common combo for Hallowe'en. I came across a similar recipe seemingly promoted by Lucid. It tasted like an All Sort. A coconut roll to be precise. It did look spooky though...

I was getting concerned that I'd have nothing to offer. In other circumstances I'd say to Hell with it and try again next month. I was loathe to disapoint JFL and not have a submission. To my library and the internet I returned. All things dead, devilish, diabolical, and Hallowe'en related I read about. Mostly I stuck to CVS and Savoy Stomp. I still wasn't convinced I'd found the right thing. A Zombie and all it's iterations seemed too obvious. Making up a drink seemed too exhausting.  I even considered going out and buying a watermelon...

So, there I was without a drink to drink let alone blog about. I decided to return to the Atomic Grog list. There had been that second drink name that popped in my head when I called up the Black Magic recipe. Perhaps it's my Catholic upbringing or perhaps it's my teenage exposure to Skinny Puppy but the name sticks in my mind. I had recently made falernum and also made passion fruit syrup. (For a punch or two) how could I pass this drink by?

Last Rites
1 oz lime juice
0.5 oz passion fruit syrup
0.5 oz falernum
1 oz light rum (Porto Morrettes Cachaça Prata)
1.5 oz gold rum (Appleton V/X)
8 oz crushed ice

Blend on high for 5-7 seconds. Pour into a chimney glass or tiki mug. Add more crushed ice as needed.

adapted from Atomic Grog

In and of itself there's nothing really spooky about this. It is a sour. As is most Tiki. A sour with a little of this and a little of that. Give it a foreboding name and an ostentatious garnish and voila! (A story about a drink returning from the grave doesn't hurt either!)


Monday, September 21, 2015

Mixology Monday See? Aye! : Orange Juice

It's time for the monthly online cocktail party! Seems of late this is the only time my blog gets an update; I ought to change that! Anyway, this time 'round DJ Hawaiian Shirt has chosen orange juice as the theme. "Not orange liqueur, or oil, or bitters, or tangerine juice. Orange Juice." Alright then there are usually at least two varietals of oranges available from grocers here. I believe bottled, canned, or carton-ed juice is also permissible so that's, uh, a few options.

Some of you may be expecting a drink with an onion. Yeah, that's not going to happen... this time! While I like to think of myself as a gin drinker or a whisky drinker I'm sure my blue box would attest that rum is my most frequently recycled tipple. My girlfriend once had a forgiving theory that rum drinks call for a larger pour and rum drinks usually attract company so going through rum more quickly than other liquors is an illusion of sorts. So now you know a rum drink is coming. You also know what an enabler is.

I may have mentioned in past posts that Schumann's American Bar was to my mind a book to be taken seriously. I recall making this drink according to the recipe therein (I may have omitted the nutmeg) and being unimpressed. I suspected that fresh orange juice would have improved it. For some reason I didn't make the drink again. Even after reading Colonel Tiki's treatise about orange juice. Even after stocking the bar with more and better rums and syrups life went on. Life went on without this drink in my repertoire.

I let the days go by; I let the water hold me down; I found myself living in an apartment in a divvied up old house. I was cognisant of how thin the walls (and ceiling/floor) were. Sometimes late(ish) at night I'd want a drink and not want to disturb my neighbours (well, really just the one. If I disturbed the others I wasn't too concerned) with blending or shaking so I'd stir. Occasionally though a Sazerac or a Vieux Carre wouldn't do. Something more tropical would do!

I discovered some things. It was possible to build and stir (rather than shake as directed) this one drink and still have tasty results. It was also not necessary to always use the same varietal of juice nor the some type of rum. Each time I'd make this drink I would be eminently satisfied and wonder why I spent so much time combing through recipes (for which inevitably I was always one ingredient short) when I could be drinking one (or more!) of these! What was my problem exactly? I don't know, being a completist perhaps.

So, it was always tasty. It still is. Whichever varietal of orange I squeezed. Whichever dark rum I grabbed from my shelf. Whichever recipe/brand of grenadine I used it was always accommodating. This accommodating drink is an idea I've wanted to blog about. Maybe we'd call them "forgiving drinks"? I expected the Vieux Carre to be my first such post but it looks like that will have to wait for another day. Today we're talking about orange juice. Orange juice and rum. Forgiveness over ice you might say.

What be this drunkard's dream forgiving drink? Planter's Punch. You will encounter many recipes for such. The common thread seems to be rum, orange juice, and syurp. I usually use Schumann's recipe, as I alluded to, which gives a range for the rum measurement. However, if you underpour here and/or overpour there (with any of the ingredients) it will matter little. Delicious it still will be!

Planter's Punch
0.75 oz lemon juice
0.25 oz grenadine
2.75 oz orange juice
1.75-2 oz dark rum
stemmed cherry

The directions are "Shake well over ice cubes in a shaker, strain into a large highball glass over ice cubes, add orange wedge amd cherry, sprinkle with nutmeg." So do that. Or use a DOF, or build and stir, or use mace instead of nutmeg, or omit the cherry. Or all or none of that. You won't hurt the punch's feelings.

Be well!

Perhaps next time I ought to present a steadfast unforgiving drink. We'll see!

Thanks you Mssrs. Clarke, Yarm, Hwalek.

ps The photo is of a different drink, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It's Mixology Monday, See?

So here we are. One hundred Mix Moes. Time to chronicle a cocktail, if you will. I could tell you about the drink that brought me to the whole crazy booze-blog world. I could tell you about the drink(s) that have made me appreciate the alchemy of a good cocktail. I could do lots of things, like, say, link and strikeout and be pithy. Instead why don't I tell you a story?

Once upon a time I didn't know any better. We've all been there. I know better now. I (believe) I continue to improve. My tastes have changed, which I think happens to everyone as they age. Literally too! Ones tongue must age along with the rest of us, mustn't it? There was a time when I didn't much care for olives, but these days they're a favourite. I did often enjoy a lemon twist back then though. I found a smoothness that improved my enjoyment of a drink. Sourness was always something I enjoyed...

I don't recall how I came to know of it. I don't know if it pre-dated my acquisition of C. Schumann's American Bar but somehow I came to appreciate the pickled onion as a garnish. Being a neophyte I figured a Gibson was just a Martini with and onion. In fact I may have erroneously believed that the drink began life at a steakhouse in Chicago. I put the blame for my mistaken beliefs squarely on a promotional "recipe book" from Smirnoff.

Over time I have realised some things about my booze-blogging. As I never set out with any particular intent for this blog when it became more about drinks and less about me there was no clear style to uphold. Firstly I realised that I am not a cocktail historian. As much as I enjoyed reading the claims and the apocryphal stories of origin I had neither the means nor the training to delve so deep. So I tried various attempts at aping other blogs and ultimately, somehow, arrived at my own style. Alright, that's not actually "some things". But it brings us somewhere...

There are stories of men named Gibson. There are stories of how gin and sweet vermouth and bitters metamorphosed into the icon of chill. I'm not going to present these stories here. I've read what I've read. I know what I know. You think, as I once did, that a Gibson is a Martini with an onion. (Well, okay, not all of you!) But that's backwards. A Martini? It needs bitters. That extra extra dry drink we're all supposed to be too hip to actually drink anymore? It's a Gibson..., without an onion.

So, if you want have a vermouth cocktail go ahead. They're delicious! Especially with orange juice, but I digress. To truly appreciate the Gibson use more vermouth than Churchill would but less than, say, you might get in Madrid. Chill it until your mixing glass frosts and then begs for mercy. Strain, or double strain, into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass... But wait! If you like surprises and evolving flavours place the onion in the glass first. If you prefer a little brine floating on top then drop the onion in. Drink it while it's still laughing at you. Enjoy the chill. Eat the onion! No, really, crunch that thing! Now make another, or better still: eat your dinner.

Oh, a recipe? Alright...

2oz London Dry Gin
0.25tsp-0.25oz Dry Vermouth
no bitters

Chill rotationally with much conviction. Seive. Enjoy!

Be Well!

ps Thank you to Mssrs. Yarm and Clarke.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mixology... Wednesday?: XCIX: Ice, Ice Baby

It's MxMo time again and The Muse has chosen ice. Here's a snippet:

"It's that time again... Can you believe we're up to Mixology Monday 99, folks? And in all this time there hasn't once been a theme dedicated to that undersung-yet-essential part of nearly any cocktail: ICE. 
The word says it all. Big ice cubes for Old Fashioneds, pellet ice for juleps and cobblers, shaved ice for adult snowcones, crushed ice molded into a cone for a classic Navy Grog. The art of the blender. Tell us why your selected or invented cocktail needs this particular ice usage. Show us how to make perfectly clear ice at home or what you get to work with as a professional drink-slinger.It doesn't even have to be pure H2O, either. Flavor it up! Teas, juices, liqueurs, bitters, other frozen edible objects serving as ice. Tell us the nuances of a properly-made Il Palio. Show us why a decorative approach takes your recipe to the next level. Whatever tickles your tastebuds and refreshes you this summer.As you can tell, scaffas are right out the window this time around. Spirits named Van Winkle, Larceny, or actual vanilla ice cubes are pure bonus."

Ice, eh? I was gonna blog about that once. How's about I dust off the draft?

An oft overlooked component of a drink is ice. People don't really care about it. Some even scoff at paying for ice! Though I've found bagged ice from the store to what some freezers in some apartment kitchens can muster. I've read about ice. I've read about dilution. But it didn't really sink in until two things happened. Firstly I made a Coconaut properly, finally! Second I read The Bar Book. The first put in my purview the importance of the amount of ice, the second put in the quality (and in the case of shaken drinks the amount) of ice. I won't divulge secrets from Mr Morgenthaler's book but I will encourage you to buy it, or borrow it from your local library. Borrow it and takes notes, metal notes!

So this wouldn't be a booze blog post without a drink recipe but first a little preamble.

I haz a confuse. What has all this been?

Quiet you!

Anyway, Hemingway... Found on several blogs is a drink called the Coconaut. I can't recall where I first read of it. Likely it was Rumdood although it could have been K.P. or Mountain Of Crushed Ice. Oh, oooh, I get it now! A mountain!

It was apparently a hit. A delicious delicious hit. I made it, it seemed too sweet. I tried again. I tried again with the King Of Hogo (possibly also with JWray) it still seemed really really sweet. I drank other things for a while. Then I re-read the recipe. I'd been using far too little ice. A blender-full of ice! When the recipe is followed properly it's delicious! It might even be on fire! So here it be, Nihil Utopia style.

Coconaut Flaming Re-Entry
7 oz dark rum*
8 oz cream of coconut**
2 oz lime juice†
4-5 cups of crushed ice††

*the funkier the better, Jamaican
**Coco Lope if available, Real Coco works too
†save spent lime shell(s)
††use the cleanest possible ice. Use the Camper English/Dave Stolte method. Buy The Bar Book and use the "suck it up you're drinking at home" method. Go to a place that supplies ice sculptors, damned if i know how you'll get it up to your 3rd floor apartment!
‡I stop blending based on sound, you do whatever works for you.

Pour the result into a large tiki vessel (or two less large ones, or four miniscule ones) place a lime in the centre and fill the lime with overproof rum (or a crouton soaked in lemon extract) turn down the lights and light with a fireplace match if you're sensible or a regular match if you're me.

Voila! One (and a second) Coconaut.

You'll never doubt the importance of ice again.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mixology Monday XCVII: I'll Take Manhattan

Our illustrious lead cat-herder has taken the helm this month and presented us with I'll Take Manhattan. Whilst I was researching the not-a-Martini I came across many recipes which are not a Bronx. This in turn got me thinking that I could flesh out the blog for much of the remains of the year with drinks which are not a Manhattan. Seems Fred has beat me to it, and enlisted all of you as well!


Once upon a time my Manhattan was, uh, perfect immature. Then it became this. Then....

Manhattan (Dry)*

3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 oz rye whisk(e)y
1 oz sweet vermouth

Stir well over ice. Strain. Garnish with an olive.

adapted from For Home Use

There you have it. My current Manhattan, for the most part. I find Carpano Antica is a nice olive accompaniment. Also a good bold rye stands up well to both the garnish and the ratio.

Be well!

*The book in which this recipe is found calls for (simple) syrup in the Manhattan recipe. This syrupless version is then the "dry" version and a third "extra dry" version calls for dry vermouth.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mixology Monday XCV: Call Me Old Fashioned

Unlike some past occasions which have found me scrambling for a recipe at the last minute or other occasions wherein I have tested recipes for days or weeks prior to a Mixology Monday this time I picked out a drink rather quickly. The write up of such is what took the time. The reasons fror the delay? Quite personal.

Laura Cloer of Sass & Gin is our host this month with the theme of Call Me Old Fashioned!. I looked through my meagre library and came upon the celebrity section of the Esquire Drink book. In the future I may blog of Art Linkletter's Papaya Cocktail or Guy Lombardo's bridge  Gibson. Today I bring you Oliver LaFarge's Laughing Boy Cocktail. This drink differs from this one and is very close to this one. As written there is not an actual amount given for the rum merely instruction to fill the glass to the brim. I've taken this to mean one wineglass (two ounces). It also calls for New England (or Medford) Rum which I do not have. I suppose Lamb's would suffice as a supposed London Dock Rum but I suggest any flavourful aged rum, I've used El Dorado 12 and English Harbour 5 (seperatley) one of which makes for a drier drink than the other. Here it is:

Laughing Boy
2 oz El Dorado 12
1 tsp Carpano Classico
1/2 tsp sugar
1 dash Angostura bitters
lemon peel
orange slice(s)

Place sugar in an Old Fashioned glass. Dash upon it the bitters and let the sugar absorb such. Meanwhile measure out rum and crack some ice. Add to the glass the vermouth. Briefly stir to incorporate the bittered sugar. Add ice. Pour in rum. Stir again. Garnish with a lemon peel and orange slices, if the mood suits.

adapted from Esquire Drink


Friday, February 20, 2015

MxMo XCIV That's Not A Martini: Recapitulation

C'mon now, you didn't think I'd call this a "roundup" now did you? This past monday was the virtual cocktail party known as Mixology Monday.  I challenged everyone to present a Martini that is more than a Martini. Anyway, on with the hat parade:

 First, and (UPDATE: no longer) frustrating for me, is Craig Eliason with his entry on eGullet: The Girly-O Martini. Here's a link instead as well to the Kindred Cocktails listing he's made. A rejiggered Gilroy. Too bad I'm out of Heering, I like the sound of this one!
Next The Boozenerds present a savoury offering and a citrusy one: North Of The Wall and Hot House. Any time whisky and olives can be combined I (perversely) enjoy it!
Brenda Sharpe of 4:00 Delicious Cocktail Time makes some deft substitutions and presents us with Elmakule Martiki. Definitely not a Martini! ...also not not a Martini. ;)
The cocktailian, epicurean, anesthesioligist, Gary "Doc" Elliot presents us with two drinks. One to fight malaria and one to promote good digestion, perhaps. The Gin-n-Tini takes the fizz out of a GnT and, well you'll see. Perhaps you'd rather get your feet wet (or not) with The Wellington. I imagine it's like Motorhead in a glass...

Despite the criticism Marius Iordache of Arcane Potions gives his own drink it's not "all thumbs''! In fact it may be necessary for me  to pick up a new liqueur so I too can imbibe a Green Thumb Martini.

Our fearless leader Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut leafs through his impressive library and gives us a Louisiana named drink on this the Monday before Shrove Tuesday... or maybe sometimes a red stick is just a red stick. 

Next Matthew of Augustine-Bar puns it up with an Alginquin (yes, you read that right). Gin and pineapple, would that not be nice?
Also from Germany is the mysterious host of Swizzzzzzzlesticks. Oops, I may have added too many zeds! Here we have a spicy little number of which some components are round and pink: the Madras. You'll need to plan ahead but, whoa boy!
Bespectacled Ian Lauer of Tempered Spirits gives us what a Scandinavian James Bond might drink while gambling in China, or not.  The Shanghai. (I wanted to comment about the photos but do you think I could remember my wordpress password?)

Back in Ontario Whitney Munro of Tipicular Fixin's gets down and dirty with Preserved Lemon Dirt. As a weekend kitchen project I may have to give this one a try! 

Hilary of Spirited Away brings us La Fee Verte Martini. A vermouth split, an Absinthe rinse, why am I not drinking this right now? Oh, right, I'm not at home. All I've got is Beau's LugTread and some Kirsch... Anyway, this is the drink I wish I had presented but I didna. And it's from a MxMo first timer too, good show!
So what did I come up with? What's Dagreb's hat upon a Martini? Well, it's not a men's magazine that's for sure! A less cluttered Twentieth Century I stirred up a Maxim.
Tiki-slinger exceptionnel, my longtime Mixoloseum and twitter compatriot JFL of Rated R Cocktails tempts me and taunts me that my homemade creme de banane won't be good enough for his Mane'o Keke Martini. We shall see, we shall see.
The alchemist at The Shrubbery, Beca, makes no bonds about it and shakes up The Canticle Of Bond complete with bitters I haven't got and an intriguing shrub!
FrogPrincesse, Parisienne by way of San Diego, at Tartines To Tikis gives us a true twist with the Plum Blossom Martini
Regular MxMo host and contributor Andrea of Ginhound smokes us out with spiced gin and Ardbeg in, wait for it, her Smoky Martini. There's also a hint of Tiki Month in the post, check it out!
So there you have it folks- wait, what? Oh yes, the stragglers:

Muse asked for an extension. Since I wouldn't be able to do a proper write up until week's end I figured missing the deadline was no big deal. Besides, there's always a guest or two who's late to the party. So what have we got?

Muse of Doom at Feu de Vie uses my favourite descriptor of this MxMo: "Your proboscis will discover much herbacity" when alluding to the aroma of her Kyprian Pirate (no, no, not Kypreos). Arrack and pastis and rose water, oh my!

Staggering straggling in a week behind schedule is Laura of Sass & Gin with what I at first thought (through poor reading comprehension) was a Half-Montgomery (or would that be a double Montgomery?) but is actually a sweet Martini. Why not try it... and get your feet wet! ;)

Much thanks to Fred for taking my theme suggestion seriously. Thank you to all the contributors for a great Mixology Monday! If I've neglected anyone please let me know by commenting here or on the announcement post or by tweeting me @dagreb.