Apple Cider Rum Old Fashioned

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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!

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!

MxMo: An Isle Away coconut cardamom foam cocktail

An Isle Away #Cocktail with cardamom coconut foam // stirandstrain.com
Mixology Monday LogoI bet you were wondering what the heck to do with that bottle of cardamom tincture we all made last week. Well, wonder no more!

For awhile I’ve been wanting to pair up coconut and cardamom, and this month fate stepped in and gave me Mixology Monday’s challenge of COCONUT! Want to know more about what exactly MxMo is? Read on here.

This month, Rated R Cocktails challenged us to work with the versatile coconut. A cocktail ingredient that not only gives us several liquid choices, but also offers itself up as a drinking vessel as well! It’s also in the name of the Tiki-inspired supper club I am part of. (We even have a coconut cocktail served in the shell.)An Isle Away #Cocktail with cardamom coconut foam // stirandstrain.com

This recipe came about in my search to find a light, refreshing cocktail that wasn’t weighed down by the usual culprit of coconut cream. However, I still found myself wanting to mimic the cream and I remembered awhile back that Todd over at Honestly Yum, did a pear foam last year that had similar structure for what I was looking for: light as air foam that still had a dense appearance. So here coconut water becomes a coconut foam. Adding the cardamom to the foam also meant getting the lovely aroma in there, but not effecting the taste profile I wanted for the cocktail under the foam. This is one of those times where I was looking to transform the drink from first sniff to last sip.An Isle Away #Cocktail with cardamom coconut foam // stirandstrain.com

Again, as for many posts, you will need a piece of special equipment. An ISI whipped cream canister makes this fast and gives you a stable foam. I suppose you could whip this up in a stand mixer and then spoon it on your cocktail, but, well, I like an excuse to bring out the toys. All of this is available online and I’ll provide links below.

There was a possibility that this drink was going to make it on to the supper club menu, but we decided to go another direction. Also, I’d hate to ruin the surprise at the dinner when you get one!

The foam makes enough for quite a number of drinks, so if you’re having some guests by, table side foam art is highly encouraged.An Isle Away #Cocktail with cardamom coconut foam // stirandstrain.com

Part 1: Make the Coconut Cardamom Foam
adapted from Honestly Yum

7 ounces coconut water
2-1/2 ounces egg whites
2 ounces simple syrup
3-4 drops cardamom tincture (recipe here)

Add all ingredients to a whipped cream canister. Close the canister, shake hard, charge it with a whipped cream charger and refrigerate at least one hour until ready to use. Will keep fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Part 2: Make the Cocktail

2 ounces white rum, such as Selvarey*
2 ounces coconut water
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 ounce passion fruit syrup
cardamom pod for garnish

In a cocktail shaker 2/3 filled with ice, combine rum, coconut water, lime juice and passion fruit. Shake to combine about 20 seconds and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Using the whipped cream canister pointed straight down over the drink, add foam in a circular motion until the top of the drink is covered, about a 1/2″. Add a cardamom on top for a garnish.

Strong cardamom aroma with a hint of coconut. The cocktail itself is very light and dry. Coconut flavor sits in the back while more of the fruit notes move forward from the passionfruit and this particular rum’s flavor profile. Quite delightful.

Where do I get the equipment from?

 

Thanks to Rated R Cocktails for hosting this month, and to Fred for keeping the party going!

 

*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.

Happy National Rum Day! ...yup another one of those "holidays"

I’m not going to go on a tirade here about the ridiculous amount of non-holiday “holidays” that have sprung up over the past few years. Instead, here’s a reason to drink today: rum.

Rum and I took a little while to get to like each other, but now we’re totally besties. Here’s a few picks of some of my favorite rum drinks on the site. Enjoy!

Smoked Ice Hazy Sunset Cocktail // stirandstrain.comHazy Sunset Cocktail

Mixology Monday: Sweet Corn and Strawberry Smash #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Sweet Corn and Strawberry Smash

5 Spice Ti' Punch // stirandstrain.com

5 Spice Ti’ Punch

Cherry Sumac Swizzle Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Cherry Sumac Swizzle

Mary Pickford Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Mary Pickford Cocktail

El-El Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

The  El-El After-Dinner Cocktail

 

Make It: Smoked Ice (and a cocktail to enjoy it with)

Smoked Ice Hazy Sunset Cocktail // stirandstrain.comIf you like tinkering in your home bar with projects, then this post is for you.

Today I give you a magic trick for your guests (and drinks): the transforming cocktail. Now, for most of you who go out and enjoy a cocktail or three, the idea of a cocktail changing flavor as you drink it shouldn’t be too strange to you. But I’ve found it’s the usual roster of changing flavors, Campari ice, fruity ice, familiar flavors that transform your drink from this to that. But earlier this year when I was hosting the SMOKE MxMo, Raul from Death to Sour Mix sent me a link to this guy (strangely enough from a site that Christopher has looked at for BBQ) that had tested and given detailed instructions for making your own smoked ice. His ice cubes were going into a Bloody Mary, which seems like a perfect vehicle for smoky flavors, but I wanted to take that idea and put it into an unexpected cocktail.

I had pitched this idea over on the Serious Eats site, and they also thought it was a cool idea. And now I’m making sure all of you get a chance to play around with it too. OK, granted you will need some special equipment, although if you want to MacGyver a roasting pan with a grate and tinfoil, that works surprisingly well too. Now, if you’re wondering how complicated it is to create smoked ice, allow me to reassure you: it is simple.Smoked Ice // stirandstrain.com

Since I tinkered awhile with this technique, here are some tips to consider:

  • A smoker makes this easy. Whether it’s a stovetop smoker, or an electric smoker (which is what we have already), it means just dumping wood in and starting a fire. Easy.
  • The type of wood you use is important! Apple wood is very mild. Mesquite is quite strong. It really just depends on your tastes, but I would consider playing with a few if you’re already gone this far considering it.
  • The size of your ice matters! Do you want your drink to quickly taste of smoke? Use small ice that melt fast. Want your cocktail to take its time changing flavors? Use big ice.
  • And speaking of ice, yes, it totally makes sense scientifically that starting with ice cubes, letting them melt, and then refreezing them will give you smokier ice cubes per the principle of thermophoresis.
  • Lastly, consider your cocktail. If you have doubts that smoke will improve, or at least make interesting, your drink, then perhaps you should pick another to work with.

Smoked Ice // stirandstrain.comOk, so let’s start with that ice!

1 tray ice cubes
Wood chips for smoking
stovetop or electric smoker

  • Place ice cubes in baking dish or pie plate. Following instructions of your smoker, heat wood chips until smoking. Set dish of ice in smoker, cover, and smoke until ice has melted, 10 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, line bottom of roasting pan with aluminum foil and arrange 1/2 cup wood chips on one side of pan. Using a butane torch or long-reach lighter, carefully burn wood chips until smoking but not in flames. Carefully set rack in roasting pan, set dish of ice on rack opposite the wood chips, cover, and smoke until ice has melted, 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Pour smoked water into ice-cube tray and freeze.

For the cocktail, I wanted something a bit surprising that would really showcase how the smoked ice slowly changed the flavors of the drink. I’ve created this recipe specifically to highlight that transformation; you can, however, think of it as a suggestion or a first-timer’s guide… and then feel free to try the same technique on another drink. This cocktail, the Hazy Sunset, is at first sip a tropical, Tiki-inspired pineapple-rum drink. However, as the ice cubes melt, it starts to add just a subtle hint of smoke until the entire drink is transformed into a rich, almost savory sipper. A long way from its beginnings.

Ready to try those smoked ice cubes in a drink now?

Hazy Sunset

1-1/2 ounces light rum, such as 10 Cane
1/2 ounce overproof rum, such as Lemon Hart Demerara
2 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice from 1 lime
1/4 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
non-smoked ice cubes for mixing
Smoked ice cubes
Fresh cherry, pineapple chunk, and mint sprig, for garnish

Add both rums, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters to a cocktail shaker and fill 2/3 full with non-smoked ice. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Add smoked ice cubes to a double rocks glass, and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with a cherry, pineapple chunk, and mint sprig. Serve immediately.

If you try this experiment out, I’d love to hear what you’re using them in!

Cherry Sumac Swizzle

Cherry Sumac Swizzle Cocktail // stirandstrain.comI’m realizing that since it’s gotten warmer around these parts, I’ve been prone to make a lot of crushed ice recipes. Apologies if you do not own an ice crusher and have had to resort to a bag and rolling pin method. Unless that’s your de-stress time which concludes with a cocktail. Actually, that doesn’t sound half bad.

Before we get to today’s drink, I just wanted to let you guys know that I’ve been hopping all over the internet this week invading other people’s websites, like I sometimes do. Please check out the links for some drink recipes not found on this site! Especially tasty for summer!

Blog Links

dinexdesign freutcake

Now, onto the drink.

Cherries are just blowing up right now at the farmer’s market, so I keep using them. And also apparently crushed ice. But what I’m seriously, stupidly, into right now is spices. That might sound weird, so let me explain. In the same way that I will read cocktail books and make lists of all the ingredients I don’t have so that I can purchase at some point in time, I tend to read cookbooks and do the same with ingredients I’m unfamiliar with. After getting the Jerusalem Cookbook I started making lists of spices that I’d never heard of, or had seen before and hadn’t a clue as to what I should do with them. So now I have packs of za’atar, urfa pepper, ras el hanout and sumac crowding the shelves with 3 different kinds of cinnamon, pounds of multicolored peppercorns, and so much star anise I’m considering turning it into a wreath for Christmas this year (I’m never going to use it all). Clearly, I like to hoard spices (at least it’s not cats).Cherry Sumac Swizzle Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

So I decided to use one of these unique spices to come up with a drink for the Serious Eats team: sumac. Sumac is awesome by the way. It has so much going on that it’s a pretty versatile spice to have on hand. Both sweet and savory, a little bitter, a bit more sour… it really can be used in place of lemon in a lot of dishes. But, since we’re talking cocktails here, I decided that those sweet summer cherries could use a little sourness to them. That and tons of ice.

Swizzles are serious drinks with a not so serious name. They can pack a punch on the booze side, and should be treated as a sipper, not a big gulp. Also, they require special tools. To make a proper swizzle one must use a swizzle stick that comes from the swizzlestick tree. Seriously, that’s its name. You can get by with a bar spoon too, so don’t feel like you need to go buy any special equipment. Although, if you’re already planning on doing that, I’ve picked out a couple things at the end of this post.Cherry Sumac Swizzle Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Now, some of you are probably properly trained in the ingredients of a swizzle, so allow me some liberties here as I tell you I left out the traditional lime juice so that the tartness from the sumac shines through. There’s some falernum added to justify that though too.

For the cherry-sumac syrup:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and quartered
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sumac

For the cocktail:

2 ounces demerara rum (such as El Dorado 15 year)
1 1/4 ounces cherry-sumac syrup
1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum
Crushed ice
Dried sumac, for garnish

  • For the syrup: Combine sugar, water, cherries, and sumac in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 2 hours. Strain into an airtight container, reserving cherries for garnish. The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
  • For the cocktail: In the bottom of a highball or pilsner glass, add rum, cherry-sumac syrup, and falernum, and fill glass with crushed ice. Throw in a couple of those reserved cherries left over from the syrup too. Using a swizzle stick or bar spoon, rapidly spin back and forth between your hands while also moving it up and down. Add more ice to fill the glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of sumac and several of the reserved cherry quarters from the syrup.

First, this is a pretty satisfying drink. The tangy sumac and cherry syrup balances the heady vanilla and spice flavors of the rum and falernum. Second, it’s not super boozy, but the rum is very much present.

Will you be seeing more crushed ice recipes on here in the coming months? Yeah, probably, so be prepared to whack that hammer.

Bake It: Piña Colada Baked Doughnuts

Piña Colada Baked Doughnuts // stirandstrain.comDid you know the song Do You Like Piña Coladas is about a couple who decide  to cheat on each other just to find out that the anonymous person they were talking to was actually each other? Kinda makes the idea of drinking one of these a tad sleazy. I’m not making you a Piña Colada today; not one you can drink anyway. You’re going to get one you can EAT.

I have a love/hate relationship with all these food holidays and designated “weeks” “days” and “months”. It’s OK, I guess, to celebrate meatballs or Velveeta, but doughnuts? I’m getting on board with this one… if only because it gives me another excuse to bake for this site.Piña Colada Baked Doughnuts // stirandstrain.comPiña Colada Baked Doughnuts // stirandstrain.com

On twitter, there are a hefty amount of bakers, food bloggers, etc. that I follow. And why not? I like food. At some point this week I picked up on the hashtag #doughnutweek and realized that it culminated with this Friday being national doughnut day. Now, lately I will look for any excuse to make doughnuts. And before you go thinking I’ve got a fryolator out on my back porch, I mean baked doughnuts. The easiest, fastest, marginally-better-for-you-version of the regular doughnut. So I decided I’d add one more recipe to this pile; except my recipe would have rum in it. Naturally.Piña Colada Baked Doughnuts // stirandstrain.com

I’m not even sure why I thought a Piña Colada doughnut would have to be it. Maybe it was that dang song I had stuck in my head. But that was pretty much my first thought about what doughnut to would make an appearance on the site. So here you go folks, let’s bake.pinacoladadoughnut-6

Coconut Doughnuts

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
yields 6-8 doughnuts
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
scant 1/3 cup (59g) granulated sugar (I used Zulka Pune Cane Sugar here*)
1/4 cup (60ml) Coco Lopez Coconut Cream (or sub full fat coconut milk)
1/4 cup (60g) Greek yogurt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon amber rum

Pineapple-Rum Glaze

6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon amber rum
2-1/2 tablespoons pineapple juice

Toppings

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons pineapple pieces

  • For the toppings: Heat oven to 250°F. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add shredded coconut. When it starts to brown, start stirring so nothing burns and all the coconut gets browned evenly. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Place pineapple pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat, spread so none are touching. Bake to dehydrate for 3 hours, turning with a spatula every hour. Turn off heat and let rest for an additional hour. Remove from oven and cool in an airtight container.
  • For the doughnuts: Heat oven to 350°F. Spray doughnut pan with nonstick spray, or, if your pan is nonstick, this is optional (I never need to add anything to my pan).
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Whisk the Coco Lopez, yogurt, and egg together until smooth. Add the melted butter and rum, whisking until fully combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick.
  • Spoon the batter into the donut cups. (I also used the trick mentioned in the original recipe where the batter is spooned into a ziplock, one end of the bag snipped off, and the batter piped into the doughnut pan. This is a pretty good trick)
  • Bake for 9–10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow the donuts to slightly cool before glazing.
  • For the glaze: Combine sugar, rum and pineapple juice in a small bowl. Using a small whisk or form, stir until all sugar has been dissolved. Add dehydrated pineapple to the glaze.
  • Assembly: When doughnuts have cooled slightly, dip into glaze and then dip into toasted coconut shreds.

These doughnuts are SO moist. Not too sweet and super coconut-y. If you’d like to make these kid friendly, just take the rum out. It’s not like they’re going to miss it (or at least I hope not). The pineapple pieces stay in place if you stick them in the glaze first and then dip the doughnuts in. Also, dehydrating the pineapple is totally optional. They taste great fresh too. And if you want to completely skip the toppings and just eat them straight out of your pan, you can do that too. It’s doughnut week after all. Piña Colada Baked Doughnuts // stirandstrain.com

*Zulka Pure Cane sugar is an all natural, vegan, non-gmo and minimally processed sugar. 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.

Mary Pickford Cocktail (Tiki in disguise)

Mary Pickford Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Let’s begin this post by acknowledging that this darling cocktail is not one of my originals (in case you didn’t know). However, in the buzz surrounding Oscar weekend, I thought I’d bring out a classic. Do we need to start with who Mary Pickford is? Mary Pickford won the first best actress Oscar for a “talkie” in 1930. Considered “America’s Sweetheart”, this cocktail, created by Eddie Woelke, borders on the fun and fruity side.

In fact, it’s really just a Tiki drink in disguise. Seriously guys.

A lot of rum, some pineapple, a touch of grenadine… so far all of this works. Maraschino liquor? Sure, that can work too. Give it a grand garnish and you’ve got yourself an afternoon sipper while you throw rubber darts at Ryan Seacrest on tv.Mary Pickford Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

2 oz. white rum, such as Caña Brava
1-1/2 oz. fresh pineapple juice
1/4 oz. grenadine, homemade preferred
barspoon maraschino liqueur, such as Maraska

pineapple wedge, lime wheel and cherry for garnish (and some edible gold stars if you got those hanging around too!)

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add all ingredients and shake for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

After one sip your mind goes straight to tropical. The grassy rum holds up next to the sweetness of the other ingredients while a tart pop rounds it out. Fresh pineapple juice is not as cloyingly sweet as out of the can, and here it’s just superior where you need that freshness to cut through the liqueurs. You only need just a small amount of maraschino, as a little goes a long way. Light and fruity, it’s a great starter drink for your afternoon.

Note: you may notice that this drink is not very pink like the other versions you might find. The reason being that maraschino syrup is not used, which is often dyed red. Maraska is clear in color, so your two coloring agents are the yellow from the pineapple juice and red from grenadine.

Mixology Monday: 5 Spice Ti’ Punch

5 Spice Ti' Punch // stirandstrain.com
Mixology Monday LogoApologies for the hasty nature of this post. I’m heading out the door on my way to Palm Springs Modernism Week to bask in even hotter temps than Los Angeles and to have my eyes filled to the brim with mid-century architecture. I almost didn’t make this month’s Mixology Monday, “Sours” hosted by the Ginhound blog, but remembered that I have a cocktail for a supperclub dinner coming up next week that would fit the bill.

Ti’ Punch is in that sour category alongside daiquiris, margaritas, etc… A liquor at the base with a sour component and a sweet. To fit the theme of the dinner, I created a 5 Spice Ti’ Punch, infusing the whole spices usually found in that blend into a demerara syrup. The result was a honey rich syrup that almost had a “chai” like aroma to it. Not too overbearing on the palate but enough of a kick to give the drink an unexpected new flavor profile.5 Spice Ti' Punch // stirandstrain.com

In keeping with tradition of the Ti’ Punch being an aperitif (served before a meal), this strong tipple will be served to guests arriving. Hopefully it will loosen the tongue just enough to make this a lively dinner. This will be served punch style, however for this recipe, I’ve scaled it down to a punch for one.

First, let’s make the syrup!

5 Spice Syrup

1 cup demerara sugar
1 cup water
1 star anise
1 4″ cinnamon stick, broken in two
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp whole fennel seeds
5 whole cloves

Combine sugar and water over medium high heat in a small sauce pan. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then add spices to the pan. Bring to just a boil and then remove from heat. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Uncover and let come to room temperature. Strain into an airtight container.

For the cocktail

2 oz. Rhum J.M. Gold Agricole
1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice from 1/2 a lime
1/2 oz. 5 spice syrup

In a mixing glass 2/3 filled with ice, add rhum, lime juice and syrup. Stir 30 seconds to chill and then strain into an iced filled rocks glass.

This is one boozy sour. That grassy cinnamon agricole rhum comes in at 100 proof, so you’ll probably only need just the one punch. But by all means have two if you want. The 5 spice compliments the rhum more than overpowers it in that hey-look-at-me way that 5 spice sometimes can. Infusing the spices in a demerara sugar created a viscous, honey like syrup that had a deeper color and flavor than regular cane syrup. Also, I thought it would have a better mouthfeel in a drink served over ice. The syrup really does taste more like a chai than what I associate with this Chinese spice blend too. Overall a satisfying cocktail with some bite.

Note, I did use black peppercorns rather than Sichuan ones, but only because the black were readily available and I was short on time. Had I been able to use the Sichuan, the flavor profile could have turned out a different way. If you get your hands on some and make this, I’d love to hear about how yours turned out.

Thanks to Andrea for hosting this month’s Mixology Monday! Please visit her site and check out everyone’s entries.