MxMo: The South American Hurricane a.k.a. the “Perfect” Hurricane

Mixology Monday: The South American Hurricane a.k.a. the "Perfect" Hurricane // stirandstrain.comWhoa! Mixology Monday has rolled around once again and this month Joel from the Southern Ash blog has challenged us with “Perfect Symmetry”. Just what does that mean? “Perfect” as in a cocktail that splits one of the liquors equally (you guys can read the full announcement here!). Not “perfect” as in the absolute best; I don’t think I’d ever refer to a drink as perfect. Improved, yes.

I’m coming off of a few weeks vacation on here (although you guys probably didn’t notice what with all the posts going up) and although that might read to you as “I’m totally rested and going to write a million posts”, what that actually means is “dang guys, I have waaaaayyyy too many emails to go through”. So, I’m keeping this post brief today.Mixology Monday: The South American Hurricane a.k.a. the "Perfect" Hurricane //

What’s a perfect Hurricane? Well, I decided after a long debate about what to do for MxMo this time that rum and cachaça might be a good combo to try and make into a “perfect” cocktail. So naturally my mind went to Tiki drinks. But you know what? It’s kinda hard finding a Tiki drink with one rum in it. Now, there were a few contenders with just one rum in the recipe but I wanted to revisit the Hurricane. I just love passion fruit and, well, I have a crap load of homemade syrup in the fridge right now.

Cachaça is a close cousin to rum. I tried to make the distinction in an earlier post but I believe here that there is enough of a difference that it qualifies for this recipe (they have different names!!). If you disagree, please feel free to leave a comment below.Mixology Monday: The South American Hurricane a.k.a. the "Perfect" Hurricane //

2 ounces aged rum
2 ounces aged cachaça, Leblon used here*
2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-3/4 ounces passion fruit syrup (homemade if you got it!)

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add all ingredients and shake well. Fill a hurricane glass or large tiki mug with about 20 ounces of crushed ice. Strain drink over the ice and add more crushed ice if desired.

Thanks to Joel for hosting again this month, and to Fred for keeping MxMo alive!


*Items generously given gratis and appear here because I like them. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

Monday Booze News beer makes you smart, drink like an ancient Greek drunk, and making boozy Fall snacks

Monday Booze News with JR Ewing Whiskey //

Spicy Tomato Water Martini

Absolut Spicy Tomato Water Cocktail // stirandstrain.comThis is a sponsored post. 

Today I just realized that soon, tomato season will be over. This is a hard pill to swallow because somehow this summer sped by so fast that I don’t feel I indulged on enough tomatoes. To compensate, I went to the farmer’s market this weekend and I, perhaps, overbought by a pallet or two.Absolut Spicy Tomato Water Cocktail //

Lately, if you’ve been reading on here with any regularity, you might have noticed that I’ve been lamenting the summer produce as it starts to slowly leave the aisles of the local farmer’s markets. Using seasonal products has always been a priority on here, and really, for many people now, it’s not a very new concept anymore. However, after years of living with the same produce available all year round, I find that I’m still getting used to this idea. You mean I can’t have fresh tomato pasta in a few weeks? No more bruschetta? No more PEACH DAIQUIRIS?!?!

OK, I’m calm now but I still have this giant bag of tomatoes that have to get preserved somehow. Well, I can eat only so many of these guys, so then I turned to preserving the flavor of tomatoes. Yup, the flavor.Absolut Spicy Tomato Water Cocktail //

For this recipe, in partnership with Absolut Vodka, I get to hang on to that summer tomato flavor for as long as I have this bottle handy (which actually could get used up pretty quick in my house). Absolut is a good match because they also care about making things seasonal and local; in making Absolut Original they use local ingredients and keep farming and production in the surrounding community of Åhus, Sweden. They have a craft approach to details, like using crop rotation to naturally restore the area’s wheat fields, and making all the famous bottles at a 300 year old glassworks nearby. Their name for keeping everything in Åhus is One Source. They even feed the local farm animals the spent grains from production; talk about a happy cow!Absolut Spicy Tomato Water Cocktail //

For the base, I chose cherry tomatoes over larger ones so that I could get a nice mix of tart, sweet and sour flavors to make the “water” more layered and not just a single note. I also decided to add a touch of salt to each individual cocktail instead of the larger infused batch. This was done so that serving this, guests who liked things a little salty could add more salt, and those who might even want to forego salt altogether could (although I wouldn’t suggest it).  The base itself then would remain a consistent flavor. Using the Absolut Original vodka also means that I have a consistent flavor and quality in all the cocktails.

The black pepper and thai bird chili give the base its earthy, spicy flavor and the heat factor is completely up to you (as it should be). I like enough heat so that the cocktail has some zip to it, but I don’t let it overpower the other star ingredients. Otherwise I would have made you a chili pepper cocktail.

Let’s make a drink!Absolut Spicy Tomato Water Cocktail //

Spicy Tomato Water Infused Absolut Vodka
750 ml bottle Absolut Original Vodka (a little over 3 cups)*
3 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 thai bird chili peppers, roughly chopped with seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, whole

Combine all ingredients in an airtight container. Leave in a cool, dark place for 3 days. Strain ingredients through a cheesecloth lined fine strainer into a clean, airtight container. For optimal flavor, use within 6 months. This recipe can easily be scaled down or up.

Spicy Tomato Water Martini
3 parts Spicy Tomato Water Infused Absolut Vodka (recipe above)
1/4 part Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
pinch of good sea salt
cherry tomato and cocktail onions for garnish

In a mixing glass filled 2/3 with ice, add vodka, dry vermouth and salt. Stir about 20 seconds and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with cherry tomato and cocktail onions.Absolut Spicy Tomato Water Cocktail //

*This post is sponsored by Absolut Vodka. If you’d like to find out more on their consistent commitment to exceptional quality vodka, please visit them here!

The Traveling Bar: The Daily & Amor y Amargo // New York City

The Traveling Bar - The Daily in NYC // stirandstrain.comToday we’re headed off to NYC where we’re doing a double header with Emily from Gastronomista. Two bars in one night sounds just about right when one visits the Big Apple (is it still called that?). ~ Elana

Who: Emily Arden Wells
Website: Gastronomista
Where: New York City

1. What do you look for in a bar?
Fantastic cocktails, welcoming hosts/hostesses, and a comfortable and well designed aesthetic. A great bar needs to have a feeling of novelty, yet must be as comfortable as your living room.

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?
Oh man, I can’t pick just one. My two favorite NYC bars are The Daily and Amor y Amargo. I’d do a double header on a Friday so I could see my favorite bartenders in the city.

3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?
Great bartenders and even better cocktails! These are two bars that are making fantastic cocktails and do it in an approachable and fun way.

Nacho Jimenez and Masa Urushido of The Daily offer a daily selection of 5-6 fantastic cocktails. I always love their choices, and am continuously impressed by the creativity of the cocktails they create. Friday nights these two old time buddies are behind the stick – it is always a good time.

Sother Teague is at Amor Amargo on Fridays and he makes amazingly complex amaro and vermouth cocktails. They have an intense cocktail list with a lot of spirits most people haven’t heard of, but they are really friendly and explain their cocktails to those who inquire. Every visit is an education.

The Traveling Bar: Amor Y Amargo in NYC // stirandstrain.com4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?
Some drinking buddies are more adventurous than others, so I generally let people pick their own poison. I do try to encourage them to get something interesting so I can enjoy a sip too!

The Daily: Whatever Negroni variation is on the board.
Amor y Amargo: Dealer’s Choice.

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?
The Daily: The Chick Pea Fries and the Veggie Plate with Charred Baba Ganoush. TDF.

Amor y Amargo: Deviled Eggs with cauliflower puree and Trout Roe.


Photos courtesy of Samir Osman, Melissa Horn and Amor y Amargo.

Monday Booze News Win a Fall Entertaining Basket, plaid flasks because...October, and an easy wine and food pairing cheat sheet

Monday Booze News Fall Giveaway //

Fall Cocktail Roundup

For those few of you who have a job that gives you a 3 day weekend starting today, lucky you. I’m pretty sure that last time I had that Monday off I was in college… a long time ago in college. But let’s not focus on that for now. Even if your weekend is only two days long, or even one, I’ll also give you guys an excuse to drink a good cocktail. Here’s a roundup of my Fall favorites.

The Private Club Cocktail // stirandstrain.comPrivate Club Cocktail

The Royal Affliction Cocktail //

The Royal Affliction

Spiced Pumpkin Bourbon //

Pumpkin Spiced Bourbon

The Golden Hour Cocktail // stirandstrain.comThe Golden Hour

Honey Vanilla Hot Toddy //

Honey Vanilla Chai Hot Toddy

Giveaway // Fall Liquor and Entertaining Basket from VOM FASS

VOM FASS Fall Entertaining Giveaway // stirandstrain.comThe air is electric with the prospect of Fall entertaining and today I’ve teamed up with VOM FASS to help get you started on that! How you may ask? With a giant basket of Fall liquors, oils, olives and salts. All kinds of flavor combinations will be at your fingertips with these items:

50 ml Tripple Carre Bottles:

  • Mandarine Liqueur
  • Vodka
  • Gin
  • Crancello Liqueur
  • Elderflower Liqueur
  • FassMix Pomegranate Simple Syrup
  • FassMix Raspberry Simple Syrup
  • Maletti Aceto Balsamico
  • Quince Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
  • Calamansi Balsamic Vinegar
  • Star Fig Balsamic Vinegar

200 ml Futura Reana Bottles:

  • Star Apple Balsamic Vinegar
  • Honey Balsamic Vinegar
  • Chili infused Sunflower Oil

20ml Sample Bottles:

  • Pepone Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Cru Cravenco Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Basil Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Garlic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Additional items:

  • Green Calcidica Olives
  • Black Truffle Fleur de Sel

See?! So many items to try out. Try some oils in your cocktail! Did you see my cocktail with the balsamic? Now you can try your own out! Just check out the options below to enter and get up to 10 entries to win. You MUST BE 21 and OLDER to WIN. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST October 17th, 2014. Please see terms and conditions below (some states unfortunately are excluded from shipping liquor to). For more information on VOM FASS products, please visit them at vomfassusa.comGood Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apple Elixir Cocktail

Apple Elixir Cocktail // stirandstrain.comThis is quite possibly the most APPLE cocktail I’ve ever made. But it’s October so who cares! Let’s enjoy it!

I was bouncing ideas around with the Serious Eats people and decided on creating a multi-layered apple cocktail. One where you’re getting hit with apple flavor from all directions: apple cider concentrate, hard apple cider, apple brandy. Heck, I even threw on an apple chip garnish. You might be thinking to yourself…how one note this seems. But no! It’s super flavorful in unexpected ways, and if you don’t have the time you can even skip on the garnish.Apple Elixir Cocktail //

Apple cider brings me back to my childhood in New England. Or rather, it brings me back to unrealistic longings of days gone by. It is true, you can’t seem to throw a rock without hitting an apple orchard there. Especially if you hail from Rhode Island, where you can’t throw a rock without hitting Massachusetts or Connecticut either (it’s a really small state). My grandparents lived near an orchard. My aunt and uncle HAVE an apple orchard. Cider was just synonymous with Fall. Now I have to deal with 90°F and over temps through October in Los Angeles. The only saving grace of it all is not having to deal with deicing my car come January anymore (please don’t throw rocks at me). Apple Elixir Cocktail //

Being an adult means I’ll always have conflicting feelings about my childhood. All those sweet memories of riding around on the back of a wagon in a corn field, and there’s the actual reality of having to go to school and being told what to do and all the unpleasantness of being a kid that I tend to forget about. One thing that I don’t have any conflicting feelings about is making this cocktail. So let’s do that!

Apple Elixir Cocktail // stirandstrain.comFor the Spiced Cider Concentrate:

4 cups fresh apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
4 allspice berries, whole
1 teaspoon cloves, whole
2 teaspoons black peppercorns, whole

In a medium saucepan, combine cider, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and black pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a simmer, uncovered, until reduced by 3/4, and consistency is viscous like maple syrup, about 2 hours. Strain and let cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

*Note: you can also buy apple cider concentrate if you don’t have the time or if apple cider (*gasp*) is not available in your neck of the woods. Find some here!

For the Cocktail:

2 ounces Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
1 ounce apple cider concentrate syrup
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice from about half a lemon
4 ounces hard cider such as Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider
Apple slice or apple chip for garnish (optional)

Combine apple brandy, spiced cider concentrate, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with hard cider. Garnish with apple slice or apple chip if desired.

A small amount of lemon juice not only brightens up the drink, but the acid helps meld the flavors and prevents a sensation of just apple after apple after apple. The result is refreshing, boozy, and a tad dry.

Monday Booze News Coconut Club TONIGHT, Chicago bar recommendations, and is that bourbon in my Twinkie

Monday Booze News with Patron and Highland Park //

The Traveling Bar: Haven // Oakland

The Traveling Bar - Haven in Oakland // stirandstrain.comWelcome to the inaugural feature of the Traveling Bar here on Stir and Strain. Today we’re traveling to Oakland where A Bar Above chats with us on their favorite place to sip (and dish). Enjoy! ~ Elana

Who: Chris Tunstall
Website: A Bar Above

Where: Oakland, CA 

1. What do you look for in a bar?
I always look for a place that has some character, something unique about it and a comfortable atmosphere. If the bartender is fun, the music is good, the drinks are great, there’s not much else you can ask for.

2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?
We live out in the East Bay of the San Franciso area and there is an emerging craft cocktail scene with bars like the Hotsy Totsy, Honor Bar, Prizefighter and a newly opened Tiki Bar making fantastic drinks.

If I only had ONE bar, it would be Haven in Jack London Square.

3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?
Haven has the perfect balance of being somewhere that would be interesting for a tourist, great food, a fun atmosphere and fantastic cocktails. They take the ingredients of craft cocktails very seriously, but have great music and a fun atmosphere at the bar.

The other fun thing about Haven is that it sits directly across the historic Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon. Heinold’s is famous for being one of the places that Jack London would frequent., and the fact that the floor is noticeably uneven,the level is off by a few feet, as a result of the 1906 earthquake.

The Traveling Bar - Haven in Oakland // stirandstrain.com4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?
For my friend I would order their version of a Moscow Mule with their house made beet and ginger beer. For myself I would have to get their Barrel Aged Negroni. They make their own Malorts and the barrel aging integrates the ingredients really well.

We would finish off the evening with some of their house made Cynar.

5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?
Haven is part of the Daniel Patterson Group of restaurants which include Coi, Plumbar and Alta. The food is what originally brought us into the restaurant, and we end up going there every time we have a special occasion. With an Executive Chef and a General Manager that came from Manresa, you know the food is going to be great. I recommend the Bone Marrow, the Stone Valley Pork and make sure to save room for dessert. The sweet corn budino is only slightly addicting. The price for the quality of food and drink make it our favorite place in the East Bay.

Photos courtesy of A Bar Above.


GUYS! Also this week, A Bar Above has rolled out their new online cocktail program over on their site. Check it out! In the comfort of your home bar (or heck, kitchen if you will) you can learn ALL the aspects that go into making great cocktails and gain the knowledge to make you comfortable mixing and serving up drinks for any crowd. Want to learn more? Follow this link to the class site.

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