The Sparkling Jungle Bird

Sparkling Jungle Bird #Cocktail // stirandstrain.comIt’s currently awful weather-wise in most of the country, except here in Los Angeles. I’m getting snow reports from my family while we skip about in light sweater cover ups. But don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll get another major earthquake  soon to even things out.

Weather really shouldn’t be a factor in what you’re drinking though. Sure, a nice Hot Toddy is fine by the fire, but so is an ostentatious Tiki drink. I’d sip that by the fire too. Today’s recipe is just that: a Tiki drink to sip regardless of where you’re sitting this winter. It’s the last in my series I did for the Serious Drinks site on sparkling cocktails. It will also get you hammered if you drink it on an empty stomach, so don’t do that.

You’ll need a few days to prep the infusion, but after that, you end up with some deliciously boozy pineapple chunks and a lovely, bright tropical fruit infused rum. Can’t complain about that hanging out in your fridge.

Sparkling Jungle Bird #Cocktail // stirandstrain.comFor the Pineapple and Lime Infused Rum:

One medium pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced in 1-inch thick wheels
1 cup aged rum, such as Mt. Gay Eclipse
1 oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
Peeled zest of 3 limes, plus 1/2 cup juice from about 8 limes total

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place sliced pineapple on a foil-lined pan and roast until tender and starting to brown, about 30 minutes total, flipping halfway through. Let cool and chop roughly. Measure out 1 cup roasted pineapple for infusion.

Combine rum, 1 cup roasted pineapple, and simple syrup in an airtight container. Let sit for 2 days, agitating once a day. After two days, add lime zest and juice. Let sit one day. Strain and reserve pineapple chunks for garnish.Sparkling Jungle Bird #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

For the Cocktail:

2 oz dark rum, such as Gosling’s Black Seal
2-1/2 oz Pineapple and Lime Infused Rum
1 oz Campari
4 oz chilled sparkling wine

For the Garnish:

Rum soaked pineapple chunk (reserved from infusion)
Pineapple leaf
Lime wedge
Luxardo cherry

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add dark rum, infused rum, and Campari. Top with sparkling wine and stir gently if desired. Garnish with a skewered pineapple chunk, lime wedge, pineapple leaf, and Luxardo cherry.

This drink is bright and bubbly with a touch of bitterness. And in true Tiki fashion, it’s super strong. There’s a lot of rum in there, but what’s a decent Tiki creation without a giant heaping helping of booze?

Drink up folks, and let your mind wander to something warm and tropical.

Low Rent Cocktail of the Month: Muscle Milk-Nog

Low Rent Cocktail of the Month: Muscle Milk-Nog // stirandstrain.comRight now is that fine line between pushing the holiday spirit to its limits and bemoaningly starting your New Year’s resolutions. Let me help you out with this one.

In my fridge there are usually a few bottles of the protein shake known as “Muscle Milk”; these do not belong to me. Months back Christopher joined a gym and this is his post-workout drink of choice. Mine is usually a Manhattan. If you have joined a gym, or started on some workout regimen this week, you might also be stocking these in your fridge. You are also probably the kind of guy who likes to crush beer cans on your forehead and therefore do not own a proper cocktail glass. Please continue reading.

If you’ve run out of the carton of egg nog you were using as a coffee creamer (or a dare), you might not be aware that this protein shake makes an excellent substitute. Not convinced? Well just add a whole raw egg to it and throw in some rum. You can feel like Rocky jogging in place with the theme song running through your head as you convince yourself this is an excellent idea for a post-workout drink. Or a breakfast shake. This can double as that too so you can hang on to the holidays just a little bit longer. I’d say grate some nutmeg on top but who are we kidding? You don’t own a microplane.

Low Rent Cocktail of the Month: Muscle Milk-Nog // stirandstrain.com

Feel the burn:
One bottle of Muscle Milk, flavor of your choice, with at least two big gulps taken from it
1 raw egg, organic
2 oz. Amber Rum, such as Mount Gay Eclipse

To make, take a few big gulps from the bottle of Muscle Milk to leave room for the other ingredients. Crack open the egg and pour whites and yolk directly into the liquid. Add rum and screw the cap back on. Shake really hard; might as well get a couple reps in. Unscrew the cap and gulp it back.

You can now feel good about starting on your resolutions while still stubbornly clinging to last month’s festive cocktails. Enjoy!

**Post NOT sponsored by Muscle Milk.