New Column: The Traveling Bar

The Traveling Bar // stirandstrain.com Hello Readers!

It’s been a hot minute since I introduced a new feature on the site so I wanted to hip you guys to something new starting tomorrow: The Traveling Bar.

I’ve asked some of my cocktail blogger friends and drinking aficionados to name THE place in their city to get a drink. Stay tuned as we roll out new places every few weeks (give or take). And if you have a city you’d like to know about, drop us a line at info@stirandstrain.com. I’d love to hear from you guys!

Monday Booze News the case for vodka, degrees in beer making and the Coconut Club is back in October

boozenews-cornshot

Monday Booze News Jack Daniels is GIVING AWAY GOLD, cool distilleries, and....Red Sox...Wine...

Fevertree Booze News // stirandstrain.com

MxMo: Night Call

Mixology Monday: Night Call Cocktail // stirandstrain.com
Mixology Monday LogoIt’s been awhile since I’ve done something simple on here. By that I don’t mean poured some whiskey in a glass handed it to you as a post; you don’t need a post on how to do that. I hope.

What I mean is something straightforward. Something you don’t need a timer to make, or cheesecloth, or 48 hours to wait until you can drink it. And for this month’s Mixology Monday theme of “The Unknown”, I have just the recipe. Chris from A Bar Above has dared us all to work with an ingredient (or technique) that we have never worked with before and I spent over a week thinking about just what I would do. Mixology Monday: Night Call Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

And then I had an answer: I chose balsamic vinegar. Yes! That liquid you pour on your salad! Actually, this has been on my ideas list for some time now, but the opportunity never really came up to make something with it. I’m distinguishing this from shrubs, which I have used, because in those cases I made the shrub and also because I haven’t used grape musts before, which is the base for the balsamic I am using. The one caveat here is that I am using a reduced balsamic, which is more of a syrupy consistency. I was initially going to reduce a balsamic vinegar for the recipe but I’m trying to be simple, and I love the flavor of the one I have on hand. So, there you go…one less step.

Mixology Monday: Night Call Cocktail // stirandstrain.comBalsamic vinegar by itself is a pretty powerful ingredient. Even in this condensed, sweeter form, Crema di Balsamico still sings back to its vinegary beginnings. So I had to find another powerful star for this drink, and for that I turned to mezcal. In fact, all of the components to this drink are stand outs, but together in the cocktail they somehow work to balance each other out. They all become team players here instead of divas.

So let’s crack into the Unknown and make a drink.

1-1/2 ounces mezcal, Montelobos used here
1 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce Crema di Balsamico
grapefruit peel for garnish

  • In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, combine mezcal, grapefruit juice, Aperol and balsamic. Shake hard to mix well (that balsamic might need some help getting out of the jigger too) for about 25 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a grapefruit peel.

While the mezcal does provide a hefty backbone to this drink it doesn’t overpower the whole. Grapefruit gives a bit of sweetness and also a touch of bitterness while the crema di balsamico adds the essence of “tang” instead of “vinegar”. Aperol was a later addition to the drink and ended up connecting the dots of the cocktail, roundimg out the flavors and making them work well together.

 

Big thanks to Chris this month for hosting Mixology Monday and as always to Fred for keeping it alive. Looking forward to everyone’s submissions. 

Make It: Macadamia Nut Orgeat

Make It: Macademia Nut Orgeat // stirandstrain.comEvery word I just tried typing in the title I misspelled. It’s late and it’s been one of those weeks. This recipe was a lot like that. Every turn was a mistake until I finally threw up my hands and swore at the second batch I’M GIVING UP ON YOU.

But I couldn’t really give up. So I shelved this orgeat recipe until I felt like I could confidently proceed with it again. Third try was indeed a charm.Make It: Macademia Nut Orgeat // stirandstrain.com

Initially I tried a few different recipes but in the end I turned to the Beach Bum for help on this one. Who else would know more about this essential Tiki drink ingredient?Make It: Macademia Nut Orgeat // stirandstrain.com

I’ve had this recipe out there for so long on my “to make” list that I can’t even remember how I decided to come to develop a macadamia nut version of this almond-based syrup. All I can say is that regular orgeat is lighter in flavor, while the roasted macadamia nuts give a more hefty, robust nuttiness to the final product. It’s still quite sweet, as it should be – it’s a syrup. That said I don’t see this as a blanket replacement for regular almond orgeat. The macadamia nuts would do well to balance out some sweeter flavors like coconut or give dimension to some blander fruits like banana.Make It: Macademia Nut Orgeat // stirandstrain.com

If you make this, tell me what you found it worked best in!Make It: Macademia Nut Orgeat // stirandstrain.com

Now on to the recipe!

Adapted from Beach Bum Berry Remixed
Yields aproximately 1-1/2 liters

500 grams raw macadamia nuts
800 ml water
700 grams granulated sugar, organic
1 ounce vodka
2 teaspoons orange flower water (start here and gradually add more to taste)

  1. Start by roasting the macadamia nuts. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lay macadamia nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven for 15-17 minutes until golden in color. If your oven runs hot, start checking around 12 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Macadamia nuts are expensive and you don’t want to waste them.
  2. Cool the nuts and place them in a bowl. Fill with water to just cover them. Soak them for 30 minutes. Drain, place them in a freezer or Lewis bag, and crush them with a meat tenderizer (I found this work much better than with a rolling pin and I didn’t feel like busting out the food processor).
  3. Place the crushed nuts in a large bowl and add the 800 ml of water to it. Let stand for two hours. Strain the nuts and water into another large bowl through a layer of cheesecloth, squeezing the cloth to extract all liquid. Add the nuts back into the strained water and let stand for another hour. This removes the oils from the nuts.
  4. Strain the liquid into a sauce pan and set aside the nuts for another use (I recommend making chocolate bark because… chocolate). Add the sugar to the pan and stir over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved (scrape the bottom occasionally with a spoon to remove any sugar that sticks). Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes, then add the vodka and orange flower water. Stir and store in a clean glass bottle or air tight container.

 

P.S. if you happen to be in Los Angeles in October on either the 6th or the 27th, you can taste this wonderful orgeat at The Coconut Club in our signature drink. Just saying. 

Monday Booze News win some Fever-Tree, DIY light beer, and Denny's will serve you a proper Manhattan in Manhattan

Monday Booze News - Fall Ciders // stirandstrain.com

{Now Closed} Giveaway // Fever-Tree 6 Pack Sampler

Fever-tree 6 Pack Sampler Giveaway // stirandstrain.comA few weeks ago I posted a photo of Fever-Tree’s Elderflower Tonic and we all agreed on one thing: we ALL love their tonics. So today I’m giving all my U.S. readers out there the opportunity to get your own pack of Fever-Tree products in this week’s giveaway. Wooo!

I’ve been using Fever-Tree on the site here for years because of the high quality of all-natural ingredients they use. And NO high fructose corn syrup (Which is in a surprising number of mixers on the market. Gross.). And now one lucky reader will get a 6 pack sampler including:

  • Fever-Tree Tonic Water
  • Fever-Tree Naturally Light Tonic
  • Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon
  • Fever-Tree Ginger Ale
  • Fever-Tree Ginger Beer
  • Fever-Tree Club Soda

Want to win this? Just check out the options below to enter and get up to 12 entries to win. Giveaway ends at midnight PST September 18th, 2014. Please see terms and conditions below. For more information on Fever-Tree products, please visit them at Fever-Tree.com Good Luck!

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Bottled Corpse Reviver #2’s with a scientific study on bottled juice

Bottled Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail // stirandstrain.comYou guys must really have some patience. I alluded to this post probably over a month ago and nary a peep from anyone about why I hadn’t posted it yet. Oh…you forgot about it too?

Never mind the formalities then, let’s just jump to the point. While doing some research during the Salted Peanut Old Fashioned Bottled Cocktails post, one of the points stressed by many was that you couldn’t do two things: bottle cocktails that contained dairy and those that contained fresh juice. Since I too can fall victim to the echo chamber here on the internet, I initially took those as solid facts that could not be defied. That is until I decided I didn’t quite believe the one about the juice.Bottled Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

I was fairly certain that you could bottle juice in a cocktail, what would change over time would be the quality. So, I decided I should find out what that shelf life would be.

The cocktail I chose to test was the Corpse Reviver #2. Why? Because lately this had become Christopher’s drink of choice at home and he could give a fair assessment of the changes the bottled drinks would take on over time.Bottled Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

A couple notes here before we start:

  • I am not a scientist, although I like to pretend to be in my head.
  • The experiments were not done in a controlled lab situation but in a home kitchen, like the one you have, so that’s probably a better place to test these out if YOU are making them.
  • Bottles were stored in a refrigerator to help keep them climate controlled. If you leave these in your pantry your results could be different.
bottled-corpsereviver2-pouringIf you went ahead and bought some of those nifty home bottling accessories for that Old Fashioned post, you’re ready to start. If not, check the bottom of this post for links!

Bottled Corpse Reviver #2
yields 5 cocktails (or 5 bottles)

3.75 ounces gin, here I used Broker’s
3.75 ounces Cocchi Americano
3.75 ounces Cointreau
3.75 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained of pulp/seeds
5 dashes Absinthe, here I used St. George Spirits
5 ounces filtered water

Sanitize five 187 ml bottles (dishwasher works fine for this, or you can place bottles in boiling water for 10 minutes). Combine all ingredients into a large measuring glass with a pour spout. Stir to combine. Mix should total 20 ounces. Using a funnel, pour 4 ounces into each bottle. Cap the bottles and store in the refrigerator. To serve, gently shake bottle, uncap and either serve from the bottle or pour into a chilled cocktail glass.Bottled Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

And the results?

  • Bottle #1: 24 hours later from start date. Sharp lemon flavor with strong anise notes. No compromise in quality.
  • Bottle #2: 48 hours later from start date. Lemon less sharp. Mellower flavor. No noticeable compromise in quality.
  • Bottle #3: 96 hours later from start date. Still no noticeable compromise in quality. Flavors still distinguishable but overall less sharp.
  • Bottle #4: 10 days from start date. Drinkable but flavor is one note and muddied. Too mellow. Bland.
  • Bottle #5: 15 days from start date. Not passable. Too bland. Still drank it in the name of science though.

If you’re having company or expecting people to drop by at any time, a small batch of these kept in the fridge for a week will be fine! But after that, the quality starts to drop and guests will think you mucked up the recipe. So…drink ‘em up.

Product resources for bottling cocktails:  Caps / Bottles / Capper

Monday Booze News 30 days of Happy Hour Club, where do bartenders like to drink, and saying goodbye to dive bars

Monday Booze News - Fall Cleaning // stirandstrain.com
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