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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you guys!
Intrigued by this? This week I teamed up with Dine X Design to create a Fall cocktail to take us from these long, hot Summer days into the (finally!) cooler ones of Fall. Ready to experience the magic of apple cider ice cubes?! Click on over for the full recipe!
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.
Balsamic 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.
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?
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.
If you make this, tell me what you found it worked best in!
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)
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.
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).
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.
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.
A 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!
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.
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.
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.