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 // stirandstrain.com

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 // stirandstrain.com

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.

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 // stirandstrain.com

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 // stirandstrain.com

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 // stirandstrain.com

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 // stirandstrain.com

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 // stirandstrain.com

*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!

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 // stirandstrain.com

The Royal Affliction

Spiced Pumpkin Bourbon // stirandstrain.com

Pumpkin Spiced Bourbon

The Golden Hour Cocktail // stirandstrain.comThe Golden Hour

Honey Vanilla Hot Toddy // stirandstrain.com

Honey Vanilla Chai Hot Toddy

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 // stirandstrain.com

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 // stirandstrain.com

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.

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. 

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

Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri

Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.comSo you’re not into frozen fruit daiquiris. Although the peachy one looked tempting, it’s not for you. That’s cool; I’m not going to judge you. You want something more on the savory side? I can help with that too.

Cucumbers!

Cucumbers are that gateway vegetable where fruit isn’t going to cut it in your cocktail, but you sure as hell are not going to put kale in there. Please don’t put kale in here.

A daiquiri base is a simple yet beautiful combination of rum, lime juice and sugar. If you have great ingredients to begin with, you’re outcome will be fantastic. Although, one bad lime will completely ruin a drink (I speak from experience on that one). The base though is also super versatile and a little savoriness will do it no harm.Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Now, we’re not just going to add in cucumbers and call it a day. I’m not that lazy. Instead I tweak it just a little more with the introduction of Green Chartreuse. A little bit added here gives the whole cocktail a spicy punch: hints of licorice, some bitter citrus in there, and lots of other mysterious herbal flavors that make up the ridiculous amount of ingredients found in one bottle. Green Chartreuse balances everything out, taking a somewhat demure drink into very bold territory.

Yes, it might seem like suddenly frozen drinks are popping up on my Instagram feed like mushrooms in a forest, but trust me, this is all in the name of science (not really). I’m just here to make blended alcoholic drinks not suck. Again, as with the frozen peach daiquiri, chilling beforehand will give you a freezing cold base to start with, offering very little dilution when you add the ice. However, if you’re short on time, feel free to skip this step.

8 ounces white rum, such as Caña Brava
4 ounces freshly squeezed juice from 4 limes
1 1/2 ounces Green Chartreuse
2 ounces simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
2 cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
4 cups ice cubes
4 cucumber spears and lime zest for garnish

At least 1 day before you’d like to serve the cocktail, combine rum, lime juice, Green Chartreuse, and simple syrup in an airtight container. Store in the freezer for at least 8 hours. Pour pre-chilled base into blender with cucumber rounds and ice. Blend until even in texture. Pour into serving glasses, garnish each drink with a cucumber spear and lime zest, and serve.

Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

 

And if you’re on board the frozen daiquiri train now, you can always go back and check out that peach one.

 

*This post was originally part of a longer article I wrote over on Serious Eats.

Frozen Peach, White Pepper and Green Tea Daiquiri

Frozen Peach Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.comOh OK, I know you want to roll your eyes because someone is trying to sell you on a frozen fruit daiquiri. Get it out of your system. Please. So that we can continue on and I can tell you all about how delicious it is and completely NOT your typical frozen daiquiri.

September is a crazy transitional month. Here in Los Angeles it gets crazy hot and for all intents and purposes it’s still summer even after the calendar tells you it’s Fall. But then suddenly temps will drop and we’re all scratching our heads wondering where we put that sweater.

We’re also at the end of the stone fruit season. (Already?! I’m putting on a sad face typing this.) It seems that every week we are losing all my favorite fruits as quickly as they came on to the scene. I can’t eat another cobbler, so this week I blended some peaches into a daiquiri. A not-too-sweet frozen cocktail with a dose of delicate, earthy flavors from white pepper and green tea infused syrup. So summery, so delicious, so not filled with high fructose corn syrup.Frozen Peach Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

The best part about this cocktail is that you can batch the base days ahead of time if you want. Or not. Making the base and sticking it in the freezer the night before gives you a super chilled mix (it won’t freeze) that when you blend with ice cubes the next day, it prevents it from getting too watery and diluted. If you’re pressed for time, you can just blend it all up without freezing too. I’m not going to stand in the way of you and this drink.

White Pepper-Green Tea Syrup:

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 green tea bags
2 tablespoons white peppercorns, whole

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Let steep 5 minutes, then remove tea bags. Stir in peppercorns. Cover and let sit for 1 1/2 hours. Strain and bottle into an airtight container. Keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

Frozen Peach Daiquiri:
serves 3-4 cocktails

8 ounces white rum, such as Selvarey
4 ounces freshly squeezed juice from 4 limes
2 ripe peaches, roughly cubed (about 3 cups)
2 1/2 ounces White Pepper-Green Tea Syrup
4 cups ice
4 peach slices and lime zest for garnish

At least 1 day before you want to serve the drink, combine rum, lime juice, and White Pepper Green Tea Syrup in an airtight container. Store in the freezer for at least 8 hours. When ready to serve, pour pre-chilled base into blender with peaches and ice. Blend until mixture is uniform in texture. Pour into serving glasses. Garnish with a peach slice and lime zest, and serve.

Juicy peach flavor that  is not too sweet. Lovely earthiness from the white pepper and green tea while the lime and rum give it just enough zest.

*I originally posted this recipe on Serious Eats!

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