Another month, another MxMo, so they say. And who are they? I cannot say. But for sure, this is a challenging MxMo idea, as hosted by The Scribe over at A Mixed Dram. So, broaden my horizons, eh? Well, the first thing that came to mind was, thankfully, the first thing in the description, Tequila!
As happens to so many of us, a bad incedent with Tequila at a tender age involving a few Margaritas in red solo cups, little people dressed as KISS, and a hot Los Angeles day did not bode well for my favor with the spirit. I’ve come to respect it, surely, through continued application of the good stuff (Del Maguey Mezcal, Cazadores Añejo), but can’t say I’ve had anything other than a straight shot in a good decade or so.
Well, the liquor fairy arrived at my doorstep a few weeks back with a delivery of what I’m hoping will pull me out of this particular mixological slump, in the form of Inocente Platinum Tequila. Inocente is a triple distilled tequila with an emphasis on removing the “nasty bits” that can easily lead to a hangover, and arrives in a nifty blue “twist” of a bottle that could make a nifty vase, or cheap christmas present. The nose is a sweet but clear tequila scent, with a bit of pear to it. The flavor is a bit relaxed, really only coming in a moment or two into the sip, but is an unmistakable smokey, fruity tequila, with almost no burn. This is definitely a great platinum to ease my way back into tequila mixology.
To mix it up, the emphasis on the smoke and fruit will be brought out by a very simple mix of orange oil, Grand Marnier, and Regan’s Orange bitters in a drink called the Cadillac Coupe. This one’s a bit of a tribute to a chef friend of mine, who, after work, enjoys nothing more than a bit of Platinum Tequila with just a splash of “Grandma” (Grand Marnier).
- 2 oz Platinum Tequila
- 1 oz Grand Marnier
- Regan’s Orange Bitters
- small square piece of orange peel
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with a 3 dashes of orange bitters. Stir the spirits with ice until well chilled, and strain into the glass. Finish by flaming a bit of orange oil over the surface of the drink. This can be accomplished by slicing an inch by inch piece of peel from an orange, holding it over a flame over the drink, and giving a generous squeeze. This will release the oils, and create lovely aromatics, as well as a real crowd-pleasing burst of flame.
The drink is a kick, don’t get me wrong, but the smooth tequila and Grand Marnier mix incredibly well, just as they would in a Cadillac Margarita, of which this is a condensed version (none of that cheap garbage, just booze please!). The flavors are primarily smoke, and orange, with a nice silken mouthfeel from the stirring.
Got your own mixological challenge, a spirit not stumbled upon, or liqueur not liked? Trying mixing it up sometime, there’s nothing like a good challenge to stir your spirits!
Cross-posted from the Mixoloseum blog
When searching through the liqueurs available at your local (or internet local) liquor store, there are some liqueurs that immediately catch your eye. After skimming over the peach brandys, various schnapps and Curaçaos available, there are quite a few selections that just make you wonder how the hell they came up with that idea. One that particularly comes to mind, and thankfully arrived in my mailbox a few weeks back, is Castries Peanut Rum Créme.
Yes, Peanuts and Rum together again for the first time. Formerly known as “Nuts ‘n Rum”, this was relabeled sometime after 2005 as Castries, named for a region in St. Lucia, where it is distilled and bottled. The rum base is from St. Lucia distillers, makers of some regionally popular but difficult to find in the U.S. rums.
As a liqueur by itself, this stuff is, plainly said, just damned delicious. The nose starts off with a fair hint of vanilla and peanut, with the rum coming in to play if you take a real big whiff. The flavor is extremely well phased, with the cream initially blocking the peanut, making the peanut come into play later in the flavor, but it lingers ever so long. The flavor is like freshly roasted and crushed peanuts, like the peanut butter you’d get fresh made at a natural foods store. I’m as excited about this stuff as I was when I first found out about Thai Peanut Sauce. It’s like Peanut Butter in your dinner! Other flavors that come in to play are a slight bit of cinnamon at the end of the flavor. It’s an exquisitely well-balanced liqueur, with no flavor dominating, and a wonderful mouth feel without leaving you reaching for your toothbrush.
The bottle is, to say a few words, distinct. Resembling, perhaps, a peanut pod, it ends up a bit near the line of sex toy. Well, distinctive is better than being lost in the crowd I suppose.
You can read more great information here at Scottes Rum Pages, or at the Ministry of Rum.
As for mixing, I decided to give a shot to Rumdood’s Heartless Jezebel. However, being out of Amarula, I decided to give it a more potent edge. I present, the Half-harted Jezebel.
- 2 oz Castries Rum Cream
- 3/4 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
- 3/4 oz Lemon Hart 80 Demerara Rum
- .5 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
- Fresh Cinnamon
Shake or Mix in top-down mixer with crushed ice. Pour into Old-Fashioned. Top with Cinnamon, and Garnish with a Cinnamon stick.
It’s a combination of that calm, mellow peanut flavor with a bright burst of cinnamon and allspice, backed by a hearty and rich combination of rums. I think you’ll like it. Try it against the original Heartless Jezebel, or have your own interesting Castries cocktail? Post your thoughts in the comments!
Cross posted from the Mixoloseum Blog.
Wassailing, now known mostly as that strange word in that one Christmas song, was once a holiday tradition so filled with mildly hidden threat, the Victorians banned the festivities. Laborers, ne’er do wells, and whoever else happened to be in the vicinity would drop by the boss’ or governor’s manse, wishing joy and peace in trade for a bit of tipple. Of course, in the lack of tipple, there could also be a lack of joy an peace, if you get my drift. A bit of the Trick or Treat, just more wintry. For more information on the history of the tradition, check out Stephen Nissenbaum’s The Battle for Christmas.
Of course, what could be a better pick me up during a night of drunken revelry on a winter night than a warm bath of mulled ale or cider, known then (as now) as Wassail.
In my research on this tasty winter beverage, I found two clearly distinct lines of Wassail. One, such as exampled in my copy of Joy of Cooking (1963), and another at Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Wassail post. This Wassail omits the Ale or Cider, and instead hefts up the Brandy, and adds a whole lot of egg. This seems more in the tradition of an Egg Nog or Tom and Jerry, with a big foamy dope hefting the liquid about. I’ll admit to not having yet made it, as I’m far too fond of the more traditional method, which is that of a warm mulled ale or cider.
Here’s the recipe I used at a recent holiday feast. The original recipe comes from Stanley Clisby Arthur’s Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix Em. For a bit of a traditional twi, I added hard cider, to apple things up a bit, and increased the proportions to satisfy all guests as well as fill the crockpot. It went over smashingly (by jove!), and I think you’ll like it too.
’tis the Season to have a crockpot, for sure.
- 3 Baked Apples
- 1/2 cup fine sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground Allspice
- 1 Tbsp whole Allspice Berries
- 1 lemon, juice and peel
- 1 Liter Hard Cider
- 1.5 Liter Brown or Winter Ale
- 1 pint warm sherry
Spiral slice the apples (or however you can maximize surface area), coat lightly in brown sugar, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes until browning begins. Place apples in a crockpot with all other ingredients, and set the crockpot to Hot for about 30 minutes. Leave the Crockpot on warm to serve. Serve in warmed punch mugs. Makes about 3.5 Quarts
This drink warms to the toes, and fills your brain with just enough bubbles to start tossing out the holiday cheer left and right. The first batch I’d tried, the apples weren’t imparting enough flavor for me, hence the addition of cider. The Cider used was Blackthorn (cheap and good!) and the beer was Pyramid’s Snowcap, a nice full-bodied, mildly spiced winter warmer.
Got your own holiday classic crockpot drink? Post your favorite in the comments!
The theme for this month’s Mixology Monday, hosted by my great friend (and nearby neighbor) Craig over at Tiki Drinks and Indigo Firmaments, is Spice! What a time for it too, with all the weather we’ve been having here in Sunny (snowy) Portland, there’s no better time for a bit of hot mulled something.
Though, if you’ve got a Tiki bar in the basement, and a decent furnace, then it’s a quick jot downstairs to create a tropical escape from the winter weather. Crank up the thermostat and close all the windows, next thing you know it’s time for a tall, cool, and spicy one.
Since this is such an all-encompassing MxMo topic, I thought I’d not focus on not just one or two spices, but Five Spice! Yes, the lack of pluralization is correct. I got turned on to Five Spice syrup thanks to Martin Cate, who uses it in the Forbidden Island specialty drink, the China Clipper. I twisted it a bit with a darker sugar. We all gotta make it our own, eh?
Five Spice powder, bought or freshly ground, is generally a mix of Cassia, Cloves, Szechuan Pepper, Ginger, and Anise. There appears to be a bit of here and there regionally, with the ingredients, omitting ginger, adding cumin, adding Cassia Buds, but the overall approach is a sort of all in one flavor profile. This spice hits all five points of flavor (omitting Umami), and is usually used for meats and stews in Chinese Cuisine.
These flavors are already used separately in drinks, and apply themselves quite well combined with a a nice blend of rich dark rums. I utilized these flavors for these extremely inspired drink that I can barely take credit for, which I like to call, FIN.
- 4 drops Falernum Bitters
- 4 drops Hebsaint
- 3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
- 1 1/2 oz Lime Juice
- 1 1/2 oz Rich Five Spice Syrup
- 3/4 oz Coruba
- 3/4 oz Lemon Hart 151
- 2 oz Soda Water
Place ingredients with 1 cup of cracked ince in tin shaker and mix with top down mixer for 3 seconds, or pulse blend for no more than 5 seconds. Serve in a tall tiki mug, with an orange spiral.
It’s hard to recognize the juices in this, as they almost reach an orange flavor, aided by the cassia in the five spice. There is no burn to the drink, but an overall smoothness that is almost unsettling. There is a note of the peppercorn in the end flavor, but not enough to recognize it if you didn’t know it was in there. It’s spicy and mellow, and I like this drink a helluva lot, you should too.
I suppose you want to know how to make Rich Five Spice Syrup, eh?
Rich Five Spice Syrup
- 1 TBSP Five Spice Powder
- 2 cups Natural Cane or Demerara Sugar
- 1 cup Water
Combine Dry Ingredients. Bring Water to a boil, add sugar and spice, and reduce heat. Stir until clear and take off of heat. Strain through a fine metal strainer to remove any of the larger bits of five spice powder, let cool, and refrigerate. Makes about 24 ounces, and can keep for a damn long time.
So, the last time I talked about Small Screen Network, there were a few decent videos on Tiki Drinks.
I doubt it had anything to do with my encouragement, but in the two months since then, Robert Hess has gone TIKI MAD, popping out 6 new videos on Tiki Drinks, including his own invention, The Voyager Cocktail.
So, since I can’t embed them here, go over and check out what’s new!
The Hula Hula
Beach Bum’s Own
The Voyager Cocktail