Daisy de Santiago

Tonight I decided to give the Daisy de Santiago a spin, to see if it would do for my next Tiki Thursday, which is rapidly approaching. I was hoping that the Yellow Chartreuse would give this rum-based drink a nice herbaceous tang that would be a good contrast to the sweeter Twelve Mile Limit I'm planning on serving. Alas, that was not the case. This one really didn't do it to me; my first sip tasted a bit watery and flat and while it developed a bit more over the course of my drinking it, it never wowed me.

There might be a number of reasons for this; I poured in a bit too much rum (about 1/4 oz more than the recipe called for) but, if anything, that should have made this drink taste stronger. It could be that my SodaStream carbonated water is no substitute for a good store-bought seltzer. It could be that I had no mint for the garnish. It could be that I decided to be lazy and use cubed ice instead of crushed ice. (It could be that my palate was a little fatigued from this afternoon's Martini drinking.) I used the recipe from Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki, which calls for the mixing of all of the ingredients together. Checking Baker's The Gentleman's Companion, I see that he called for the Yellow Chartreuse to be floated on the top of the drink; maybe I'll try that next time.

In any case, I'm not going to serve this one at August's Tiki Thursday and the search for that elusive third drink continues. I'll continue my search (or maybe just default to the Jungle Bird if I don't find anything by the end of Sunday.)

Recipe

As mentioned, this one comes from Martin Cate's excellent Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki. If you don't have a copy of this book, you should get one. And if I haven't mentioned it, my product links are Amazon Affiliate links so if you click through here and buy the book (or anything) from Amazon, it will help me out. On the the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz. rum (Appleton Estate Signature Blend)
  • 1/2 oz Yellow Chartreuse 
  • 1 oz. soda water
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Demerara Syrup

Directions

 

  1. Combine ingredients in a shaker, add some ice, and shake for about 15 seconds
  2. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice
  3. Garnish with a sprig of mint

As mentioned above, you might try floating the Chartreuse on the top and see if that floats your boat. Enjoy!

 

Twelve Mile Limit

I started a little early today, with the thought I might have more than one cocktail as I drink my way through some potential tiki drinks for my upcoming Tiki Thursday. I'm finding it amusing that I haven't yet selected a cocktail that would be served in a Tiki mug, but I've been avoiding having to use crushed ice and that's likely a big reason everything so far has been strained into a coupe.

I went again to Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki for the recipe for tonight's Twelve Mile Limit. This delicious mixture of rum, rye, brandy, grenadine, and lemon juice lets a bit of that rum flavor through while augmenting the sweetness with the grenadine and leveling it out a bit with the lemon juice. The rye and brandy are definitely playing supporting roles in this one. Technically, this is a Prohibition-era drink and not a Tiki drink but it's got rum in it, so who cares? This one will likely be the "sweet" rum drink on the menu; now I have to find something that tends towards the bitter end to balance it out. More research!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz. rum (something lightly aged, like the Appleton Estate Signature Blend is perfect here)
  • 1/2 oz Rye (I used my standby, Old Overhold)
  • 1/2 oz. Brandy
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine (Small Hand Foods grenadine is both excellent and local (if you're in the Bay Area)
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a shaker, add some ice, and shake for about 15 seconds
  2. Double-Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
  3. Express the oils from a lemon peel over the drink and then use the peel as a garnish.
  4. Enjoy! This one gets better as it warms up a bit.

Experiment: Cucumber Martini

It's the gin that gives it that dark color

I had some left over cucumber juice from my Professoressa Montenegro the other night and I want to find something that used it before it went bad. I didn't have any other recipes on tap that called for the juice, so it was time to try to cobble something together. Gin and cucumber always seem to go pretty well together, so I thought I might go with something that combined those two. It was pretty easy to keep it simple and go with some type of martini variation.

Initially, I tried just going with gin and about a half ounce of cucumber juice. The gin, especially this St. George Reposado Dry Rye Gin (lovely stuff, by the way), simply overwhelmed the juice. So I doubled up on it and got closer, but it was too cucumbery and a bit too bitter. To bring it back more towards the martini, I mixed in a half ounce of Dolin Dry Vermouth and that was much more pleasing. I threw in a dash of my Cilantro-Lime bitters to give it a bit more characters, stirred it with some ice and strained it into a cocktail coupe.

The result is something with the gin upfront and a definite cucumber feel on the back. The vermouth mellows it out a bit and I'm not sure I'm really getting the bitters at all. Next time, I'll probably try a more herbal (but robust) gin, cut the juice back to 3/4 oz and throw in another dash or two of the bitters. Still, I'm calling this one a qualified success.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. botanical-forward Gin
  • 1 oz fresh Cucumber Juice
  • 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 1 dash Cilantro-Lime Bitters (homemade)

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing glass, add some ice, and stir for about 15 seconds
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
  3. Garnish with a slice of cucumber (I was too lazy to do this tonight) and maybe a little fresh cilantro.

As previously described, to make fresh cucumber juice, peel a cucumber, slice off and discard the ends, cut it into pieces and puree it in a food processor or blender. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, using a spatula to press on the pulp to extract all of the juice. 1 cucumber makes a few ounce of juice, which will last a week in the fridge.

Professoressa Montenegro

 It's all garnished and everything!

It's all garnished and everything!

I was listening to the Bartender Journey podcast the other day and Brian had an excellent interview with Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo, a fascinating-sounding bar in New York that I really must visit. So when I saw that one of the cocktails features on the Amaro Montenegro page was created by Max Green of that bar, I just had to give the Professoressa Montenegro a try. This was good as I had a lemon i'd been using for garnish that I wanted to use before it went bad and it seemed like a great use for the Cinnamon Syrup I'd made in large quantity a while ago. 

This is  really a lovely, well-balanced cocktail. The strawberry comes through on the sip and the fresh cucumber juice is nicely astringent after that. It really makes the Amaro Montenegro shine, which was the whole purpose of the cocktail. 

I tried to replicate this one as best I could, but I don't have access to the fancy ice machine that Max does in Amor y Amargo (and no, I'm not planning on putting one into the apartment.) I made some compromises with the ice; I used crushed ice (I hammered a clear ice cylinder I'd made for an ice sphere) in place of the pebble ice. Using the (mostly) clear crushed ice worked well; I didn't experience a lot of dilution as I sipping on this one. All in all, it was a fair amount of work for an afternoon's cocktail, but worth it.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Amaro Montenegro
  • 1 oz fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz fresh Cucumber Juice
  • 1/4 oz Cinnamon Syrup
  • 2 medium Strawberries

Directions

  1. Cut the strawberries in half and muddle them in a shaker
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, throw in a couple of ice cubes and shake to chill.
  3. Double-strain into a large wine glass and top with crushed ice
  4. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a burnt cinnamon stick, throw in a couple of straws, and enjoy sipping this one!

Making the cucumber juice is easy. Peel a cucumber, slice off and discard the ends, cut it into pieces and puree it in a food processor or blender. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, using a spatula to press on the pulp to extract all of the juice. 1 cucumber makes a few ounce of juice, which will last a week in the fridge.

As mentioned in my last post, I found this one on the Shakestir website. If you want to follow Max Green, his Instragram handle is @maxwellsgreenhammer

Montenegro After Dark

It's fun to play with Amari

While I was surfing around the web, I came across this competition-winning recipe on the Shakestir website. This competition was sponsored by the folks who make Amaro Montenegro, one of my favorite Amari, and looked too good not to try. Fortunately I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I whipped up a small batch of demerara syrup, mislabeled the container, and went to work making my evening cocktail. This is a lovely mixture of bitter and sweet, with a nice smokey depth provided by the mezcal. It's well-balanced and goes down pretty smoothly. It should be a lower ABV cocktail, as the main ingredient, the Amaro Montenegro, is only 46 proof.  However, I think the mezcal and bourbon go a long way to providing more a spirit kick. As I sip on this one while I write this blog, I think it would benefit from a large ice cube or ice globe rather than the 3 cubes the recipe calls for; it would benefit from a slower dilution. I'm going to think of Nero Wolfe while I drink this one and maybe reread The Black Mountain this evening. L'chaim!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Amaro Montenegro
  • 1/2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Mezcal
  • 1 barspoon Demerara syrup
  • 2 dashes Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6
  • 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into a rocks glass over 3 ice cubes (or an ice sphere)
  4. Express an orange peel over it and use the peel as a garnish.
  5. Break out your Rex Stout novel and dispatch your minion to go do some legwork for you.

As I mentioned, I found this one on the Shakestir website. As soon as I get some cucumber juice, I'm going to try the other winner on that page.

Banana Boulevardier

It'd been a while since I had made something without citrus in it, so I turned to my bar book to find something interesting that didn't use any citrus (or other fruit.) I settled on the Banana Boulevardier, because it looked like a lovely variation on the Boulevardier and it gave me an excuse to crack open the bottle of Banane de Brèsil I picked up yesterday when Brad and I went to Cask

I put my own twist on it by swapping the Campari for Gran Classico Bitter and the result was a nice success. Good bitter taste on the sip, followed by the bourbon, with a real nice banana finish. Very nice balance and I'll be revisiting this one soon. It reminds me of my Tiki Thursday party without being an actual Tiki drink. It's a nice change of pace; I've been on a real Tiki tear recently.

I think using the Gran Classico Bitter in place of Campari is generally a good move. While it doesn't bring that same vivid red color, it also doesn't bring any red food coloring with it. And the flavor is more complex than the Campari while being as nicely bitter.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Bourbon
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Gran Classico Bitter (or Campari)
  • 1/2 oz Giffard Banane de Brèsil

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into a cocktail coupe
  4. Express an orange peel over it and use the peel as a garnish.
  5. Enjoy!

My source for this one (as for many of my drinks) is the excellent Cocktail Virgin blog.

Pooh Bah

...or the mystery of the missing Cognac. Tonight's cocktail was going to be a Shylock, a tasty-looking combination of brandy, vermouth, Crème de Caco, Torani Amer, and Swedish Punsch. I was especially looking forward to messing about the the Swedish Punsch in a cocktail. However, as I assembled the bottles for the cocktail, I could not find my bottle of Cognac! I remember buying it but could not find it. Strange.

So tonight's drink became the Pooh Bah. This one still used the Swedish Punsch I wanted to play with, but change out the brandy for gin and rum. Always a great combo! Rich and a little orange on the taste, you get a hit of the rum and gin as it develop in your mouth. NIce, but maybe it could use a splash of orange juice to bring out a bit more citrus.

 Pretty nice for a cocktail call-up.

Pretty nice for a cocktail call-up.

It's definitely an tasty drink and one that's a bit on the sweet side (but not overwhelmingly so.)  This one is worth revisiting at some point. However, so many recipes and so little time... we'll see when I get back to it.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Jamaican Rum
  • 1 oz Dry London Gin
  • 3/4 oz Swedish Punsch
  • 1/4 oz Apricot Brandy

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into a cocktail coupe
  4. Express an orange peel over it. Use it as a garnish if you'd like.
  5. Sip while researching the history of Swedish Punsch -- it's fun stuff! 

Pisco Sour

In preparation for Tiki Thursday, I have a new bottle of Pisco in the Lair (Pisco Punch is one of the cocktails I'll be serving.) Since I needed to test the bottle to make sure it was good, I decided to whip up a Pisco Sour this evening.

Pisco is a bit less salty than the Singani I'd been using as my substitute and it's nice to revisit the classic recipe. Still smooth, still a nice citrus sour from the lime juice, still pretty damned wonderful. I think I got a excellent consistency on the egg white on this one, not too foamy, just about the right size, and an excellent mouthfeel, I used a milk frother on this one and it worked well. Just enough power to whip up the white without over-emulsifying it.

I also broke out the bitters stencil to see how it would do with a a dark bitters. I think it came out pretty well, given the limitations of the stencil. I think I might need to see if my friend Bryce can laser-cut me a stencil with crisper edges to see how that does. 

Not bad for a hack job on the bitters stencil...

Tomorrow I'm going move towards preparing for the upcoming Tiki Thursday get-together. I think I've decided on the menu; a Hulu Skirt for a nice rum cocktail with a bit of a bitter kick, a Lava Flow for a sweet, classic touristy rum drink (I'm curious if mine will be as pretty as the ones I've seen in Hawaii), and a Pisco Punch for the non-rum drinkers. I picked the last one due to its San Francisco connections; it dates back to 1853 and the Bank Exchange Saloon. I'm sure I'll natter on more about those three cocktails as the July Tiki Thursday approaches.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 oz Pisco
  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 Egg White
  • Dash of Angostura bitters (Angostura instead of the classic Amargo bitters because that's what I had in my mister.)

Directions

  1. Combine everything in a shaker.
  2. Vigorously dry shake (without ice) for 30 - 60 seconds to emulsify the egg white. Or, use a milk frother or other immersion blender to whip the drink for 10 - 20 seconds.
  3. Add ice and shake for 20 - 30 seconds to chill.
  4. Double strain into a cocktail glass or coupe.
  5. Relax and start planning your next vacation to Peru where you can drink Pisco Sours in their native setting.

Petruchio Cocktail

...or more fun with egg whites!

Hot on the heels of my failed experiment, I went back to the egg white recipes because I wanted to give it another try. Plus I wanted to try a stencil for bitters on a cocktail and you really need a good egg white topper for that. I supposed you could do it with a cream float as well, but I don't have any heavy cream, so egg whites it was.

This one was a success. The egg whites are light, fluffy, and had a nice float on top of the drink. My secret? I pulled out the immersion blender and used that in place of the dry shake. It did the job in a few seconds, with no mess and much less wear-and-tear on my arms. It felt a little industrial-strength for the job, though. Next time, I'll try a milk frother to see if I get the same kind of results with less wattage.

I like the way this one looks.

While the idea of making a pretty picture in bitters seems like a good one, it didn't work out in practice. The Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6 aren't really dark enough to show up against the Aperol-colored egg white. This probably led me to over-bittering the drink, but that works for me!

This one is smooth and orangey and a bit sweet, with a nice touch of bitterness to it. I'd be interested in swapping the Aperol out for Campari or Gran Classico to see what it does to the flavor. I might also try a contrasting bitters next time; something more aromatic would bring some interesting notes.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Gin
  • 1 oz. Aperol
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 2 dash Orange Bitters
  • 1 Egg White

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker tin. Shake the crap out of it for 1 minute or two, keeping in mind that the volume will expand, which can force the shaker apart. Or succumb to the lure of technology and use a stick blender on it for a few seconds.
  2. Add ice and shake again to chill, 20 - 30 seconds.
  3. Double strain into a cocktail glass
  4. Consider making pretty pictures on the top with bitters and then change your mind.
  5. Toast the wonders of science.

Source

I got this one from the always excellent Cocktail Virgin blog. Check it out!

 

Petal on the Wind

Tonight's cocktail of the evening is a variation on the Aviation, which is one of my favorite gin drinks. I wanted to play with a hibiscus-based liqueur here, in place of the Crème de Violette that gives this cocktail its beautiful blue color. I don't know if there are any commercially-made hibiscus liqueurs out there, but I wouldn't want to buy a bottle just to try this one drink. Instead, I turned to Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki for a house-made recipe that would work. I wanted something a little more botanical and earth for the gin, so instead of going with a London Dry-style gin, I turned to St. George Terroir Gin. A bit of that earthiness comes through, especially on the back of the taste. Next time, I might try this with their Dry Rye Resposado Gin to see what that  brings to the mix. (The problem with that is that it's a limited release, so when that bottle is gone, I'm not going to be able to duplicate the drink.

The color kind of makes this look like a Campari cocktail; not subtle at all.

I think this one is a success, though I think I used the wrong glass and garnish for it. It deserves to be spread out in a coupe, with a hibiscus flower floating on the top. Also, I want to play a bit with the proportions; I might cut the Crème de Hibiscus down to a barspoon or two to see what that does (and I might kick it up to 1/2 oz to see what that does.) I'm calling this one Petal on the Wind, with all due apologies to Wash and Joss Whedon.

I made way more of this than I needed to; next time I do 1/4 of the recipe instead of 1/2.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 oz Hibiscus Liqueur

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker, add ice, and shake for 20 - 30 seconds to chill.
  2. Double-strain into a cocktail coupe.
  3. Garnish with a fresh Hibiscus blossom
  4. Go re-watch Firefly while enjoy this beverage.

A Failed Experiment

Tonight's cocktail was an attempt to make what I call the Word Up, which is basically a Last Word cocktail with an egg white thrown in. I'd successfully made this one when I was living in Hamburg and really enjoyed the texture and richness the egg white brought to this lovely drink. Tonight, however, it didn't work. I failed to get decent emulsification of the egg white and thing just felt flat and listless.

I can think of a few reasons why it might not have worked:

 Alas, I didn't get a good emulsification on the egg white on this drink.

Alas, I didn't get a good emulsification on the egg white on this drink.

  • I could have failed to shake this one enough.
    This is unlikely to be the reason; I really shook the heck of the cocktail. I think I gave it a good minute plus during the dry shake. I might resort to using a blender to really whip it up next time to see, though.
  • The egg whites could be old.
    Again, I think this is unlikely. I just used this carton of egg whites on Thursday to make a pretty acceptable Singani Sour, so I think they have as much fluff to them as ever. Also, they are no where near their expiration date. While pasteurized egg whites aren't as fluffy as fresh ones, they still have no problem doing the job.
  • I didn't use enough egg white.
    This might be the culprit. I only used about a half egg's worth of white in there, and that might just might not have been enough for the volume of the other liquid. I'm going to give this a try in a few days with a full egg white and see what happens. 

In any case, it was a noble experiment and certain one I'm going to revisit. I think there's a lot of room out there to incorporate egg whites into classic sours, and I'm going to be giving that more and more of a try.

Word Up

(with all thanks to Murray Stenson for reviving the Last Word)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine the ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake the crap out of it for a minute or two. Seriously shake weight action here. Be careful! As the egg white emulsifies, the volume of the liquid expands and can force the shaker open, especially if you're using a Boston shaker. Also, without the ice in there, you don't get as firm of a seal (the ice chills and contracts the metal shaker, which helps make a tight seal.) I usually wrap a dish towel around the shaker at this stage to prevent any spills.
  2. Add ice and shake to chill, about 20 - 30 seconds
  3. Use a Hawthorne strainer and a fine-mesh strainer to strain the drink into a martini glass or cocktail coupe.
  4. Express a lime peel across the top and garnish with a Maraschino cherry.
  5. Admire the nice egg white float you earned through the strength of your arms. Sip and enjoy.

Singani Sour

I love Pisco Sours but, oddly enough, didn't have any Pisco in the Lair. So I reached instead for my bottle of Singani 63 to bring a Bolivian flair to this classic cocktail. Singani is the national liquor of Bolivia I'm told, and it works very well in this drink.  You can find more about Singani 63 here; it's an interesting story.

I love the velvety texture and mouthfeel egg whites bring to a cocktail, but I kind of hate separating eggs. It always leaves me with a yolk I'm not going to use and can take me a couple of eggs to get right (because I can be kind of a klutz when it comes to that.) I picked up a small carton of pasteurized egg whites at the local grocery and I've been playing with those. They're working pretty well, but I'm not getting as much egg foam as perhaps I'd like. This could be due to not using fresh-fresh egg whites or just to me not shaking the drink for long enough. It obviously calls for more experimentation, which I'll gleefully do; I have a lot of egg whites left in that carton.

For those who'd care to try this at home:

  • 3 oz. Singani 63 (or Pisco)
  • 1 oz. fresh Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 fresh egg white 
  • 6 - 8 drops of Amargo bitters (or Angostura if you don't have the Amargo)
  1. Combine the ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake the crap out of it for a minute or two. Seriously shake weight action here. Be careful! As the egg white emulsifies, the volume of the liquid expands and can force the shaker open, especially if you're using a Boston shaker. Also, without the ice in there, you don't get as firm of a seal (the ice chills and contracts the metal shaker, which helps make a tight seal.) I usually wrap a dish towel around the shaker at this stage to prevent any spills.
  2. Add ice and shake to chill, about 20 - 30 seconds
  3. Use a Hawthorne strainer and a fine-mesh strainer to strain the drink into a martini glass or cocktail coupe.
  4. Drop the bitters in a nice pattern on the top of the foam. Use a toothpick to make pretty designs with it if you'd like.
  5. Enjoy!

This recipe would also be interesting with other types of brandies, though you'll have to experiment to get the right amount of sour and sweet to balance the spirit. I'm looking forward to doing that... after I revisit the Word Up.

I still need to work on my bitter art, but it's getting better.

Lovely Stuff, this.