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.

D.I.Y. Projects

I've slowly been getting back into some bitters making and other craft cocktail projects. Right now, I've got a batch of Pear Bitters going in the chunky mason jar; I managed to find some nice, ripe Bartlett pears to use in these, even though it's not yet pear season. I'm trying to get more pear flavor into this batch than I got into the one I did a couple of years ago. We'll see how that goes. The other mason jar has a hibiscus infusion (using the recipe in Martin Cate's excellent Smuggler's Cove book) that will eventually become a Crème de Hibiscus liqueur. I'm looking forward to playing around with that in place of Crème Yvette and Crème de Violette to make what may well be some perfectly vile concoctions. We'll see.

It may be crooked, but it's my cabinet.

To the right, you can a couple of bottles of Cilantro-Lime bitters that I made last month. Those things seem to work pretty well in gin-based drinks (and I imagine they'll go pretty well in Tequila and Mezcal cocktails) and I should look towards spreading some of them around among my friends. If you want some, let me know -- I have a limited supply.

As you can see, I have plenty of empty bottles waiting for other bitter, infusion, and tincture projects. I'm not sure what will be next, though I suspect it will be some fairly hot chili bitters for my version of the Chocolate Manhattan I've been working on. We'll see.

Niagara Cruesta Revisted

 A little messier than I'd like.

A little messier than I'd like.

Tonight's cocktail was another go at the Niagara Crusta. I decided that I wanted to experiment with pasteurized egg whites, since they are easier to handle and likely a little safer to consume, so I used them in this drink. However, I made the mistake of using a cobbler shaker that was too small and didn't really have enough room to shake the thing cold. And my layering of the Creme Yvette was not good. Still, complaints aside, it was a tasty drink and I really like the way the flavor changes as you drink it down and the Creme Yvette gets mixed in. I might try this one yet again, or mess around with a different creme liqueur to see what that does.

My source for this one was the always excellent Cocktail Virgin blog.