This is the recipe for the butter base in my Hot Buttered Warm Up drink (which should be the next post after this or links here).
½ cup (4oz) unsalted butter
2 T of muscovado sugar
4 large cardamom pods cracked and seeds ground finely
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste (Vanilla paste can quite pricey and is usually used by a. people who bake things in large quantities and need containers of paste or b. people who find the act of trying to slice open a single vanilla bean and scrape out its contents an utter pain in the ass. I am not a baker. I’m sure you could use vanilla extract here and get the same flavor, but I wanted pretty flecks of seeds in there.)
Cream the butter and the sugar together in a stand mixer. Add in next 2 ingredients, mix to incorporate. Scrape butter mixture into a dish, cover tightly and refrigerate.
I happen to work at a place that sells a lot of high end supplies and food and bar stuff here in Southern California. I own way more crap in my kitchen than I need due to the employee discount, however, it seems that I am lacking in the bar mixer ingredient department. Since I’ve set out now to become more active in learning about cocktails, I did a big stock up today. Falernum (how was I making Tiki Drinks without this stuff?), Fee Brothers: maraschino syrup, orange bitters, mint bitters, some luxardo cherries. Sweet! Now I have a couple more layers to work with here. Except.. what do I do with the bitters?
Well, I guess one should taste all of their ingredients first.
Unfortunately I tried the luxardo cherries first and decided I’d try the rest later as these were the most amazing things I’ve ever tasted. And I had to try a Manhattan with one of these little jewels resting in the bottom of my glass.
I am not 100% sure on the exact proportions of how much sweet vermouth really should go in here, but the recipe below is what I usually follow.
2 oz Rittenhouse Straight Rye 100 Proof
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
1 Luxardo Cherry for garnish
Add a the cherry to the bottom of a chilled cocktail glass. Stir ingredients in a mixing glass filled 2/3 way with ice. Strain into the cocktail glass.
This Rye has a lot of sweet nose to it but is surprisingly not as sweet as I expected when straight up. Luxardo cherries also are not as cloyingly rich as you would expect. Even though as you strain one out of that dark, luxurious syrup in the jar, all you can compare it to is those maraschino cherries on your ice cream until you taste it. This is restrained sweetness. I feel like the sweet vermouth is what adds all the …sweetness (really am at a loss for another word here) to the drink. With a bourbon I would use less sweet vermouth, but here the proportions balance out. And at the end you get a nice boozy cherry.
Recently my husband and I took a trip to Vegas for a couple of days. Unfortunately the morning of I had come down with a horrible bout of food poisoning. We ended up canceling all of our dinner plans, but kept the cocktail tastings since that was about all I could take. We visited the bar at Postrio at the Venetian, had a beautiful drink with Hendrick’s Gin and Grapefruit juice (I wish I could tell you all the ingredients; hell, I wish I remembered them so I could make this at home). The garnish was this large section of grapefruit. It really looked… beautiful. But it was pretty clumsy to drink. I love a garnish that adds to the drink, but if you’re concerned with it falling off, or on your face, while you’re trying to drink, then what’s the point? We ran into a similar problem at a Champagne bar at the Palazzo. The lemon twist was HUGE. I had to take it off to drink out of the flute… otherwise it might have come tumbling out. Not to make this a downer post, but the champagne cocktail itself was a one note drink. Which made me think about what I’d want in one. And hence a post about drinks with Champagne (or, Prosecco since that’s all that I have on hand).
Well. Damn, I still have that container of orange simple syrup lurking in my fridge. And well, I’d love to riff on the French 75 I had at that champagne bar. How could a drink made with lemon juice and gin.. have no flavor?
I have a tiny bit of Citadelle Gin that I should use up. Do you ever have a bottle that has been hanging around for awhile, and not because you don’t like it.. you just have a tiny bit left and cannot throw it out? Welcome to my world. I cannot waste things, like food. I cry if I find a half dead head of lettuce in the fridge and I have to throw it out. And I also have on hand is some brand X prosecco(it’s really not that great of a prosecco here and you would laugh at how much I bought it for. So really, any dry bubbly will work here) that is going into a risotto recipe after this. But on to the drink recipe…
2 oz Citadelle Gin (this boasts 19 different ingredients and since it had both orange and lemon peel on this list I figured this would work fine)
1-1/2 ounce Meyer lemon juice
1 oz orange simple syrup
prosecco to top it off with
Shake the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a highball glass. Top it off with prosecco. I would suggest not filling the glass all the way to the top with prosecco as you will drown out the other flavors (and possibly have it fizz all over you and the floor).
I upped the lemon juice by a here for some more zing in the drink and to balance out the very dry prosecco. The orange simple syrup added just a hint of sweet orange flavor. The gin is a bit buried in this drink. And honestly, for all its boasting of ingredients I couldn’t really distinguish them all when tasting it by itself, so mixing it in here just added one more level of flavor. Oh, and due to some camera difficulties and white balance, the full glass is not shown here due to it looking like a big ol’ glass of pee. It was starting to go flat and I wasn’t about to waste it.
So, comparing this drink with the French 75 I had in Vegas… well, for starters you can taste the citrus, and there is not a hint of bitterness. It is sweet and sour and light. And I think I’ll have another.
Admittedly I really had no idea what St. Germaine was until their clever marketing campaign of old timey postcards of scantily clad women came across my way. A framed woman from the 20’s stands nonchalantly with a croquet bat (bat? Not sure what they are really called at the moment) in the master bath at the house, sans clothes, grandfathered in from my husband’s bachelor days. There is some draw to these photos.. oh but we should be moving on to the drink here. Anyways, I picked up a bottle after trying a cocktail out where they had slipped some in with gin and tonic water. It was just enough to give the G&T an extra layer of flavor without being overwhelmingly sweet (which you can do if you pour too much in. Which I have done and wasted a drink over.). Then came the day when I was out of tonic, and gin, and still had this HUGE BOTTLE of elderflower liquor sitting on the shelf getting dusty. I slightly modified a drink on the St. Germain site and came up with this:
2-1/2 oz Tequila
1 oz St. Germain
Dash of Dry Vermouth
I’ve had it both stirred with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass, or just mixed and kept over ice. However if you drink it too slow over ice it dulls the flavors and washes it out a bit. So I would just stir it gently with ice and strain. Or would that be stirred?
This is going to be a two-parter because I haven’t perfected this drink yet. A couple weeks ago when citrus season started around here.. does anyone else ever feel weirded out that such summery fruit as citrus are in season in the winter? Living in Southern California and it being 75 out today at the beginning of February while my parents are snowed in back in New England should probably make me feel less confused (it sure feels summery around here)… but I find myself surprised when my CSA basket arrives and there are a bunch of oranges rolling around on the bottom. Every year. It always gets me. So anyways, I got my first batch of oranges, and then a second batch and I just was not eating them fast enough so I decided perhaps I’ll use a bunch up in something that I will want to eat a lot of. Like cake. The recipe I followed (which you can read here) had one making what I thought at the time was really a LARGE amount of orange simple syrup. I was candying orange slices in it, but really, 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water is a lot of room for 2 small oranges. Fast forward to when the cake was done and I had to brush on the syrup. I felt I was being more than generous practically pouring it on there, but I was still left over with a tub of orange water with a couple left over slices in it. I thought to myself, well, I could definitely use this in something. And so it sat in my fridge for 3 weeks.
This past week I received a copy of The Grog Log in the mail. Very excited to try something in there, but realizing I am very low on resources on the shelf I looked over the book to try and find the simplest of recipes in there to use with a very nice bottle of rum someone brought as a gift during Christmas to the house. Side note here that I am not a fan of rum as is. I can remember being read a bedtime story and my mom leaving her glass of Rum&Coke by the bed for a second and being totally disgusted by the taste. I pretty much still have the same reaction to the drink now almost 30 years later. So, I like to mellow out the flavor in Tiki drinks by mixing it with about 6 other things. However, this rum was supposed to be far superior to the Puerto Rican stuff in a gallon sized jug that I don’t know what to do with. And that at least warranted mixing it with only a few ingredients. Because I am just not going to drink it plain. The simplest I could find was a combination of rum, lime juice and simple syrup. I switched out the simple syrup with the orange syrup and was pretty sure this would be a nice, refreshing drink on such a lovely day. Celebrations were in order what with it only reaching a high of 65 the previous day (it took a very brief period of time to adjust to living in this climate after living 20+ years in New England, and after 8 years my entire family has practically disowned me due to getting the shivers one November when I came back for Thanksgiving).
Ah, but one thing I didn’t count on was the large organic limes we bought would taste like utter crap. And that was the only fresh lime juice to be had. I also think I need to adjust the syrup to a slightly higher mix. ½ an ounce and you could barely taste the orange at all. It’s a nice delicate flavor, as I used extremely sweet, fragrant oranges that stood up after being simmered with sugar for an hour (this was for the purpose of candying the orange slices, no need to do it this long if you are making a simple syrup). Does anyone know how long a boiled sugar concoction like this lasts?
So this week I will try and pick up some different limes and try this again with the adjustments. Stay tuned.
Place sugar and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium once the sugar has dissolved. Add oranges. Simmer until rinds become very soft and syrup begins to foam, about one hour. Cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Bad whiskey. Or at least not sip-able whiskey. Is sitting on the shelf left over from it’s need during Christmas time as being the main ingredient in my home made egg nog. Which reminds me I need to invest in a larger punch bowl. It’s Old Crow. And really, it is fine mixed in with diet coke, and even was fantastically subdued in the egg nog. But you can’t sip it while watching an old episode of Murder She Wrote. On netflix. Yes, I’m watching it on purpose. So what to do with it? Well, sometimes I will make a poor version of a Manhattan (because it is not Rye), but oops, no sweet vermouth either tonight. And really, I’d like to get back to the mystery and make this quick. So what other flavor is delicious where you want to still taste some whiskey? Oranges. Grand Marnier. Bitters. While this combination is not new, it really makes a couple glugs of Old Crow quite tasty. So here is the loose recipe.
2 Fingers of Old Crow
½ ounce of Grand Marnier
3-5 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters (to taste)
I’ve lovingly nicknamed this the Angela because I like to make this lately while watching the above mentioned show. And on a last note… this blog is a record of sorts of me putting down some drink recipes and concoctions. And really is a discovery into mixology for me. I’m not a bartender, or mixologist. The only drinks I’ve made and sold to people were coffee based about 10 years ago, and the closest I’ve come to working in a bar was as the DJ here in Los Angeles. However, I do love a good cocktail, especially if it leans towards the classic variety, and occasionally veers off wildly into the realm of Tiki. I also am a believer of the art of crafting your own ingredients, even growing them. This is not meant to be an encyclopedia of drinks by any means, and will evolve as my journey through learning about cocktails and their history reveals itself to me. So there may will be corrections. And I am sure I will say something wrong at some point. This is the internet after all. Comments, corrections and ideas are welcome and encouraged. Now let’s go make some drinks.