Posts Tagged ‘cocktails’
Yeah, you heard it right. Just in time before the weekend slips away, treat yourself to this awesome summer refresher.
(Yes, as a self-proclaimed cocktail snob I should be ashamed, but what can I say: I was hit on the head today, and this could be the internal hemorrhage talking.)
The basic idea is to mashup two alcoholic beverages that are very refreshing on their own for a uber-refreshing drink.
Before you start, a word of caution: there are quite a few recipes out there if you google ‘beer margarita‘; but please, please and please, do not follow them. Most of the recipes ask you to use limeade (ugh!), and give you wrong advices like avoid micro-brews to prevent overpowering your margaritas, calling instead for (gasp) Corona!
For those who use limeade (or any of those ready-made margarita mixes), to paraphrase the immortal Mr T , ‘we pity the fools’!
As for micro-brews, yes avoid the over-hopped Stone/Doghead etc, but there are many micro-brewers and homebrewers (such as moi) who make lagers and light ales that actually taste something other than lightly diluted water. So don’t be shy of using some craft/home-brewed or imported lager/ale that is on the sweeter, but less malty and certainly not hoppy side (however, for the sake of experimentation, a well-hopped ale could be tried). However, German lager, which are heavy on the malt, may not work very well.
I used my home-made California Cream Ale, which is light (~4.5% ABV) and has a very light sweetness to it and is neither very malty or hoppy.
Also, in my opinion, to really balance the beer and the tequila, I would recommend a Reposado tequila (tequila aged 2 months to a year in oak barrels). Reposados are mellower than the ‘gold’ (the lowest end of tequilas that have caramel etc added to give color, and IMO should never be used expect for college kids and poor grad students to get drunk quickly) or ‘blanco’ (un-aged tequila, that is 100% agave and quite strong consequently). They are also less expensive than the aged tequilas that are a waste in cocktails anyway. Plus, with this drink, it’s not worthwhile wasting your high-end tequilas like Patron.
This was my recipe:
- 2 parts Tequila (I used Hornitos)
- 1 part Triple-sec (again, not worth using Cointreau or anything expensive, the regular stuff will do)
- 1 part freshly squeezed juice of lime
- Home-brewed California Cream Ale to top off.
Pour everything into a shaker with lots of ice and shake. Pour into a glass that has been rimmed with margarita salt. It is better to put some fresh ice in the glass and strain the shaken mix over the ice. Carefully top off with beer.
A word of caution: this will get you drunk very fast. I assume no liabilities.
The SuperBowl to be played between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday, will have at least a few certain winners from the city of New Orleans. If the Saints win – the connection is obvious, and the French Quarters will erupt. But even if Indy wins, Peyton Manning happens to hail from NOLA, as does his father – who spent a long career playing with the home team (back in the dark days when the team was mocked as the ‘Aints).
So anyhoo, all this is a long lead up to say that I’ve always had a sort of romantic longing for NO, especially after reading ‘A Confederacy of the Dunces‘ (easily one of the more underrated gems). A city with a laid back attitude, rich musical heritage, spicy food, and a number of classic cocktails does absolutely fine by me.
Of course, being a lazy ass has meant I’ve kept putting off the trip down there (In fact - totally useless piece of personal trivia - we we had almost made bookings for the weekend that Katrina stuck NO, and some work made us cancel it). Oh well.
But in the spirit of celebrating Orleans, here’s the most famous cocktail from the city – and apparently, the very first cocktail to be ever invented. There are several versions of the drink , but I really liked how this one was written, so I pretty much followed the directions:
1/2 teaspoon absinthe, or Herbsaint (a New Orleans brand of anise liqueur)
1 teaspoon of simple syrup (or 1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar)
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 small dash, a scant drop, of Angostura bitters (extremely optional; some feel it helps open the flavors, but traditionalists may leave it out).
2 ounces rye whiskey. (I used Old Overholt Rye)
Strip of lemon peel
And I followed the traditional method outline there, using the Herbsaint, which I was lucky to find at the local BevMo:
The traditional method: Pack a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. In another Old Fashioned glass, moisten the sugar cube with just enough water to saturate it, then crush. Blend with the whiskey and bitters. Add a few cubes of ice and stir to chill. Discard the ice from the first glass and pour in the Herbsaint. Coat the inside of the entire glass, pouring out the excess. Strain the whiskey into the Herbsaint coated glass. Twist the lemon peel over the glass so that the lemon oil cascades into the drink, then rub the peel over the rim of the glass; do not put the twist in the drink. Or, as Stanley Clisby Arthur says, “Do not commit the sacrilege of dropping the peel into the drink.”
It takes while to make this drink, but the effort is quite well worth it.
Edited on the morning after: I made about 6 of these last night, and seems like a good idea to go easy on the sugar. For me, about half teaspoon of sugar hit the spot.
So here to the Saints (or the Colts) and the weekend in general. Cheers.
Not sure if it is related to their upcoming demise, but Gourmet magazine online is doing a feature where they publish their 20 favorite cocktails of each decade, starting from the ’40s. They are upto the 90s now.
Simply gazing at the wonderful photos are probably worth the time by itself, but it is wonderful stuff for any cocktail connoisseur and additionally, a good lesson for aspiring mixologists.
Being Gourmet magazine, they also obviously get their preparations right: Martini is to be stirred (not shaken), the vermouth is ‘to taste’ (and they stress this fact) with nary a mention of vodka. We can but only appreciate.
All the other cocktails similarly exude class and style – no tropical forests hanging out of brightly colored, over-sweetened drinks calling for 10 different liquors!
So suitably inspired, I have got it into my head now, of trying out all the cocktail recipes posted on the site and then blogging about it!. Of course, given my record in such matters, ‘all’ might be rather stretching it. But this is alcohol we are talking about – so I will give it a fair go.
I wanted to start with a drink I’ve never had before and settled upon this rum-based recipe from the 50s: Frangipani. A combination of being intrigued by the name and the fact that it used gold rum, which I have rarely tried before, and Maraschino liqueur, which I wanted to try out for a while, made me go this one.
I had this theory that there might be some sort of Sanskrit roots to the word Frangipani (pani = water and all that), but as far as I can find out, Frangipani refers to a tropical flower (and a few other stuff). How that relates to the cocktail, I have no idea and the web is sparse on details. The only other mention of it as a cocktail has a very different recipe. As Gourmet put it, the drink is a variation of the Hemmingway daiquiri:
A cynical cocktailian might look at this as a dumbed-down Hemingway Daiquiri (or Papa Doble, as it’s sometimes called), but substituting more grapefruit juice for the lime and the sugar actually results in a very different drink. Look for Luxardo’s maraschino liqueur.
This is how I made it, based off the Gourment recipe :
- 1 part Golden Rum (I used the Dominican brand Ron Matusalem)
- 1 part Pineapple Juice
- 3 dashes Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo, as suggested in the recipe, I was lucky enough to find it at BevMo)
Give it a few nice hard shakes jig in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a pre-chilled martini glass. The toughest part of making this drink was getting the Maraschino Liqueur right: three dashes mean dashes – pour a bit too much and the drink is overwhelmed by the honey-almond taste of the liqueur.
In terms of taste, it is indeed a very different drink from the Hemmingway Daiquiri – and much sweeter as expected with the pineapple juice. I also thought that the juice and the Maraschino liqueur hid the taste of the rum (but then perhaps I need to get myself a better quality or a more aged rum). Overall, even though I don’t like my alcohol too sweet, I can picture myself drinking this while relaxing outdoors on a weekend afternoon. The drink could be a a nice after-dinner cleanser as well.
As such, I also made my own version of the drink by increasing the portion of run to 1.5 parts and then adding a dash of lime juice (in the form of clarified Key lime) to have a bit of balance.
Not a bad start really. Cheers.
I blogged about the Manhattan before, but lately I have developed a renewed affection for this drink. (Also, in that earlier blog, the drink was more of an after-thought – wanted to expand on it a bit).
This renewal of affection came about possibly during the trip to Boston earlier this year, when fellow connoisseur BH led me to this wonderful watering-hole in a Cambridge alleyway. Over the stretch of a Friday evening, the extremely sympathetic barman treated us  to an array of Manhattan variations, the names of which I fail to recollect, but various other New York city subdivisions were involved.The variations mostly involved using different kinds of whiskey, bitters and vermouth (well duh!).
The other reason is the discovery of Gentleman Jack, a double charcoal filtered, extremely mellow Tennesee whiskey that seems ideally suited for this drink .
Note that the kind of Manhattan you prefer, like Martinis, is a personal choice: the type of whiskey, on the rocks or straight up, dry or sweet and cherry or not. etc are some of the options one is faced with. Couple of ground rules though. First, the obvious – never use expensive whiskey like single barrel bournbons, or single malt scotch. Second, even if you partake a cherry – don’t add the syrup – the drink will be too sweet. For the rest, go by your own taste.
The Manhattan hasn’t yet replaced the dry Martini as the pre-dinner drink of choice, but it is running close. This is the way I prefer it now, especially on summer evening after work:
- 2 parts Gentleman Jack
- 1/2 part Dry vermouth
- 1/2 part Lillet
- Dash of Blood Orange Bitters (or Angostura)
Shake in a cocktail mixer with lots of ice and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Optional cherry garnishing (best way to do this: add the cherry – sans the syrup – to the bottom of the glass and pour the drink over it).
As you can see, I prefer straight up. Unlike the Martini, where on the rocks is a definite no, a Manhattan is okay over ice. However, I recommend that you use ice a bit more fine than usual for this.
: No, we paid for the drink, but the barman possessed that ideal quality so severely lacking in many of the profession: anticipating our next drink -both in terms of when we needed one next, and what we would enjoy. In a Friday-evening crowd, that is a fine