Monday, July 22, 2013

Spear Thrower

     The end of a five year challenge has finally come.  Cocky as I was in my younger years, I made the mistake of opening my mouth, "I can make a cocktail out of anything!" I think was the gist of it.  Boy did that statement bite me in the butt.  But after years of cocktailing and blog following I came across the Corn Goddess created by one of the best (if not the best David Wondrich) and this drink got the wheels a moving.       Although the drink sounded amazing and looked as everyone had described it ,"fresh," I was not a fan of Campari or tomatoes at that crossroad in life. A little further research and I stumbled upon the Atole de Elote, a Salvadoran corn drink that dates back to the Mayans.  Now this is more my style; thick, rich, creamy and sweet; now all it needs is a little alcohol.
     Starting with some fresh wood-oven roasted corn, thanks Dante crew, I began to puree it with a little half & half.  The yield was small and insignificant, but enough for a trial rum.  Trying to add a bit of complexity I opted to use some "corn crema" that gets used in a pasta dish to help add some thickness and round out the palate.  Now to make it alcoholic.  The first thing that came to mind bourbon and spiced rum, I believe these will work beautifully.  A little time spent with the Vita-Mix and a chinois  and we have run number one.
     The mixture concocted was rich, creamy and subtle on the corn. The definitive flavors actually came from the spiced rum; it had an intense nutmeg and cinnamon note on the aftertaste. All in all the drink was delicious and I can only wonder how it will taste with Pyrat rum or a nice rich dark rum.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ransom Note

     Ransom Old Tom Gin is finally here,  praise the liquor gods!  After a nice tasting I find myself leaning more towards the vermouth than the actual gin,  I love the taste Ransom produced on the dry vermouth,  it's like nothing I have ever tasted before.  This is seriously a sippable dry vermouth,  I didn't think that was possible. Outside of the Chrysanthemum Cocktail a dry vermouth was never the highlighted base, or at least one I would go for.  I am quite fond of the Chrysanthemum and my beer-based Dusted Mums Cocktail.
     Now let's just see what a martini version of these two lovely spirits would produce.  I prefer to follow the Marguerite Cocktail recipe for making my martinis,  I believe it is the most true to spirit as does David Embury.  Pick up a copy of The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,  if you'd like some light reading, the recipes are exactly the same.

Ransom Note
2 oz. Ransom Old Tom Gin
1 oz. Ransom Dry Vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters (Regan's)
- stir and strain;  lemon twist garnish

The nose of the drink was quite complex.  It smelled of old tom and citrus and a nice white wine fruitiness. The initial sip was slightly boozy at first but melded into a very nice light cocktail with a spicy cinnamon and absinthe-like finish.  Everyone who tried it was so impressed they kept coming back for more.  If this is what drinking in the '20's was like I want to go back.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Corpse Reviver No. 3

     The challenge: to try them all, isn't that always the case?  But seriously, how many renditions of the Corpse Reviver are there?  Number one, it's kind of a beast, number two a nice tasty "warm weather" drink, and now let's try number three.
     The color is that of all descent drinks, a nice pink hue.  But the taste... Oh boy! I think I can stand Campari if it's served like this.  The flavor is much reminiscent of Hawaiian Punch with a nice bitter hint on the end.  I think I have found my favorite Corpse Reviver.  Try one some time.

Corpse Reviver No.3
1 oz. brandy (Hennessy Black)
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Triple Sec (Cointreau)
1/2 oz. lemon juice

Mont Blanc

     Thumbing through my newest cocktail book, World's Best Cocktails, I can only feel dubious to it's self-proclaimed greatness.  After a few days and some quick re-referencing here and there I believe that I have found another great cocktail book to add to my collection.  " The Provencal" from Employees Only keeps tickling my fancy. Lavender-infused gin, herbs de Provence-infused dry vermouth, how could this not be amazing?
     I infused the lavender into a bottle of Tanqueray for the better part of a shift (about 5 hours) and did the same with the vermouth, choosing to use fresh herbs for the herbs de Provence blend.  Some basil, a little thyme and of course rosemary all together with a nice vermouth blanc.  After the blends were steeped and strained my senses were overwhelmed with the aromas of Italian foods.  I think that this will work nicely.  A quick 2:1 "martini" mix was concocted just to have a control taste.  Overpowering!, Wow those are intense flavors, and very much a soapy texture were all presented in this mix.  It's definitely going to be needed toned down.  I see now why EO used a bit of Cointreau.  Sounds good but I want to keep it herbaceous as much as possible and this is where I think St. Germain would come in nicely.  A good floral tone with a nice citrusy undertone.  Just enough to tame this beast. 

Mont Blanc
1.5 oz. Lavender-infused gin (Tanqueray)
1 oz. herbs de provence-infused vermouth (Dolin Blanc)
0.5 oz. St. Germain
1-2 dashes Celery bitters 
-stir and strain into chilled coupe
     lemon twist garnish (not shown)

     This cocktail, The Mont Blanc, had a good mouth feel, a decent amount of citrus "play", a nice herbal essence and was all together quite drinkable. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mexican Flower

     How I do love impromptu cocktails. "Fill the list," is always what I here on a precursor to the weekend. So let's have a little fun, shall we? Tequila is my ever elusive spirit. Don't like the stuff, not ordered often, but yet very similar to my all time favorite, rum. Let's use it as a basis for a cocktail.
     A little tequila, some cachaca, honey syrup, some wine-based amaro and of course some lime. This drink is beginning to come together. Wanting a little more herbal sensation to go with the amaro, I opted for a "sink" of creme de violette.
     I described the drink as a cachaca-based Aviation cocktail meets a honeyed Margarita. The layered effect work nicely and the drink was very similar to a tequila-based Bee's Knees. But on the sip the finish was all creme de violette. I was surprised at how well this cocktail turned out especially for its on-the-spot nature, but give it a try.

Mexican Flower
0.75 oz. Tequila (Sauza)
0.75 oz. Cachaca (Cabana)
0.75 oz. Cardamaro
0.5 oz. spiced honey syrup
1.0 oz. lime juice
- shake and strain
sink 0.25 oz. Creme de Violette

Monday, June 24, 2013

Supreme Poet

     Rhubarb season is here, and that entices me.  I love rhubarb and have always wanted to play with it in a cocktail.  Thankfully my allies in arms, the sous chef and all the other cooks had brought some in to make rhubarb jam.  I'll just reallocate that to the bar.  Nothing like a little fresh rhubarb juice and pulp to get the creative juices flowing.  After making a quick 1:1 simple syrup with the rhubarb juice, let the experimenting begins. I knew I'd be using Aperol but that was only the basis for this cocktail. I was thinking something akin to the Dulchin or the Final Rhuse.
     Trial one; cachaca and grappa mixed with Aperol and lemon juice.  Now that's a funky cocktail, but where is the rhubarb?  Trial number two; contemporary gin, Aperol, lemon and syrup.  Ok, we're getting close but man that syrup is subtle.  The final hope is a venture I don't take willingly, vodka.  I tend to find vodka an abomination that should be left to college kids and people who don't like flavor.  It's whole purpose it to be "flavorless".  With this in mind the rhubarb should shine through.  A quick equal parts cocktail a dash of bitters and yes let's throw some crushed rhubarb in for good measure.  I think we have it.
     The result is a light cocktail with a subtle hint of rhubarb and just the right amount of bitterness. Well rounded I must say and perfect for the summer heat.

Supreme Poet
(1) 1" chunk of rhubarb
0.75 oz. Vodka (Stolichnaya)
0.75 oz. Aperol
0.75 oz. rhubarb syrup
0.75 oz. lemon juice
1 dash Fee's Grapefruit bitters
- muddle, shake and strain, rosemary sprig garnish

Friday, June 21, 2013

Forest Fire

     Ever since my stunning night at Manifesto in Kansas City I have had a soft spot for this bar in my heart. Remembering, not so much, more reviewing the menu, online, I am coerced by the Beautiful Red Bell of a night long gone.  But more recently I had been researching cocktails on Post Prohibition and came across El Comediante  and was again intrigued by the red bell pepper cocktails. So let's make something, huh?
     Infusing red bell pepper into silver rum was rather simple. All one needs is a knife, a bell pepper, some rum, and a container... and about 24 hours. The real task for this drink becomes balance. My first attempt was a cocktail of four parts red bell pepper (RBP) rum, one part lime juice, one part falernum all shaken up and strained over ice with a ginger ale topper and a red wine float. A descent enough drink but many declared that it didn't have enough "spice", or kick from the said belle pepper. I had to remind them that the red bell pepper is the sweetest of all peppers. That being said I wasn't at all satisfied either. The red wine I float was giving me a rather vinegary taste on the initial sip, but that could be fixed.
     Trial number two produced a cocktail much to all's liking. I cut back the falernum and introduced a bit of allspice dram, that should bring the spice level up. The drink was well balanced with a definitive red bell pepper flavor and a finishing spiciness.
Forest Fire 
1.5 oz. RBP infused rum
0.25 oz. Velvet Falernum
0.5 oz. homemade allspice dram
0.5 oz. lime juice
-shake and strain over ice
near fill with ginger ale
float dry red wine (nero d'avola or nebbiolo)