Trinidad Spell (with a whole lot of bitters)

Trinidad Spell Cocktail // stirandstrain.comOne day trolling the internet I came across a drink called the Stormy Mai-Tai. This tropical sounding cocktail totally threw me for a loop–there was a whole lot of bitters in there. Like, a WHOLE lot. An ounce and a half.

Somewhere along the way through my cocktail education, I mistakenly thought bitters contained lethal amounts of alcohol that when taken in large doses would kill me. Clearly I was mistaken. Here was a drink that showed you could use bitters as a base and not just an accent. Also, I had overlooked the fact that Angostura only clocked in at 44.7% ABV, not lethal.Trinidad Spell Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

I had thought of recreating the Stormy Mai-Tai here for this site, but when I was asked to come up with a bitters-heavy drink for Serious Drinks, I thought I’d see where else I could get bitters to work in large doses; so I turned to Tiki drinks.

I adapted the Polynesian Spell (which you can find in the Grog Log) by replacing the grape juice (there’s a head scratcher), triple sec, and peach brandy with Angostura, apricot brandy, passion fruit and citrus; I kept the gin. I was going out on a limb trying to shove Angostura in there, but after a couple of tweaks…wow. It was a success.

1 ounce Angostura
1 ounce gin, London Dry style
3/4 ounce Rothman & Winter Apricot Brandy
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice from 1/4 orange
1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup (see note)
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled 2/3 with ice. Shake hard for 30 seconds to incorporate and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish according to your own inner-Tiki style.

Yes, the flavor is strongly bittered, but there’s also a cascade of cherry and clove, fruit and sweetness. The aroma is fiery from the Angostura with strong hints of passionfruit and orange. The slight numbing of your tongue may serve to remind you: you’re drinking a heck of a lot of bitters.

For this recipe, I used a Cobalt shaker*. I was sent this shaker to try out and I’ve used for several of my tiki drinks for a few reasons. One, the shaker gets things cold, really cold. And two, for the boozier drinks, I like the small ice chips that slowly melt as I drink the cocktail. It’s also roomy for large volume recipes like these too.

cobalt shaker // Trinidad Spell Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

*Items generously given gratis and appear here because I like them. All opinions are my own and no monetary compensation was given. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

The Parker Misfire

The Parker Misfire // stirandstrain.comIt must be spring. I’m sneezing and dreaming of my mini Palm Springs vacation coming up in the summer (I’m always planning ahead, way ahead). Also, pineapples are popping up all over the place. For example, this new beauty:pineapple-bronze2

It was listed as a possible ice bucket on Etsy, but I don’t think standing water would be so great in the brass. For now I’ll just let it hang out with the liquor bottles.

I love the flavor of pineapples but they always get the rap of being put into a tropical drink. While I have no problem with that whatsoever, I really wanted to try a pinapple drink that wasn’t tiki.

This drink is a good base. It’s not pow-bam terrific but it’s getting there. The first incarnation came straight from the Joy of Mixology. And immediately I knew this was not really great. It tasted… weird? So I tried to think up what it was missing and came up with the recipe below.

The name, The Parker Misfire, is based off of the original recipe name, The Algonquin. I associate that with the name of the hotel where the Algonquin Round Table was housed. While many notable names sat there, I remember it fondly for Ms. Dorothy Parker, whose acerbic wit I strive for in my daily life. While this drink has some bite, it doesn’t deliver quite the zing it needs. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.parker-miss2

1-1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye 100
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice, unsweetened
1/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
2 dashes of Miracle Mile Yuzu Bitters

Combine all ingredients except for bitters in a shaker 2/3 filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add two dashes of Yuzu bitters on top.

Sweet and savory with a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel. The apricot balances the sweetness and cuts through the dry vermouth to prevent it from becoming ‘too savory’, which I found to be a real problem with the first version of the drink. The Yuzu adds a subtle bite of acid while providing a clean citrus nose to the drink. The rye is not a powerful flavor here as the pineapple covers up a lot of its bite.

So, there you go. Feel free to try this recipe out and let me know what you did differently to make it appeal to your palate. 

Mixology Monday: Smoke on the Vine Cocktail

For this month’s Mixology Monday, I found myself with an already half-concocted recipe I could leap off with for January’s theme of “Fortified Wines”. Which was great, because I’ve already given up on resolutions and have been spending my time waiting for the temps to rise nursing Hot Toddies to my heart’s content not posting on here and needed an already running start. Hosted this time around by Jordan Devereaux of Chemistry of the Cocktail, he’s asked us to try our hands at mixing fortified wines (sherry, port, etc…) into a cocktail.

I usually enjoy a glass of Port by itself, but have yet to delve very far into trying much else with them. After reading through the PDT Cocktail Book lately, I noticed a few drinks calling for Port and Sherry as an ingredient. This piqued my interest and spawned an earlier version of this cocktail. Needing some guidance for proportions, the end result, Smoke on the Vine, is a variation on the La Perla cocktail (a tequila and sherry base that I subbed out Mezcal and a Tawny Port for).

This particular cocktail project also helped make Twitter useful for me. Last month, I got so busy with Holiday crap that I forgot all about checking websites and missed the last assignment. This month I changed my settings to get an alert whenever the MxMo account tweets, which thankfully is not every 30 minutes. Now I can just let my phone remind me about such things.

And here we go…

1-1/2 oz Vida Organic Mezcal
1-1/2 oz Yalumba Antique Tawny Port
3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
2 dashes of Miracle Mile Forbidden Bitters
Lemon peel for garnish

Fill a mixing glass 2/3 with ice, add all ingredients except for garnish. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Twist the lemon peel over the drink, expelling the oil into it and drop the peel in.

Mezcal sometimes needs a strong companion in a drink, otherwise it will dominate the palate, your nose, and anything else it comes into contact with. Dividing the main stars of the drink up 50/50, the Port provides a syrupy sweetness that balances well with the savory nature of the Vida. It also gives the drink a nice, rich mouthfeel. Adding a touch of acidity and your first hit on the nose, the lemon oil and lemon peel are more than just a garnish. Opting for a wide open glass, your nose will sink into that lingering lemon oil mixed with the strong hit of mezcal, punching everything up until you sip into the sweet layer of Port. And that Apricot liqueur! I’m putting it in all kinds of drinks lately. Notes of cumin and wood, as well as a necessary dryness provides that last balancing act for this cocktail to work. The bitters, while just barely there, I found cut the sweetness back by just the right amount (earlier takes of this drink, while pleasant, tipped a bit too much to the sweet side making the drink sit flat).

Now I can pat myself on the back for getting this done and get back to business on here thanks to the MxMo gang.

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Here’s the round up post of everyone’s drinks from this month’s MxMo!

The Golden Hour Cocktail

I’m really trying to give rum a fighting chance outside of Tiki drinks in my house. For this cocktail, I wanted to try something more ‘stiff shirted’ if you will. I guess I only moved a hair over from something tropical, but it’s a start.

What this is though is delicious. I’ve gotten hooked on this Apricot liqueur, as I am finding it quite versatile in all manner of cocktails lately.

Named for the time of day lately when these start getting passed around in the house, they bring a lovely glow and just a little hint of warmth.

1-1/2 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum
3/4 oz. Grand Marnier
1/2 oz. Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup
2 dashes Miracle Mile Forbidden Bitters

Combine all ingredients into a shaker 2/3 filled with ice. Shake well to combine and strain into a chilled coupe.

This drink is quite dry. Sweet and tart are well balanced with the cinnamon and bitters lingering in the back adding a hint of spice.