Tag Archives: Cocktail

Spanish (Iced) Coffee: Mixology Monday LXX

I had this great idea for an inverted cocktail after reading the Mixology Monday announcement.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out quite the way I’d hoped, but I didn’t have to walk away empty handed.

Putney Farm, the gracious host of this month’s mxmologodecided to challenge everyone with inverting a classic cocktail or at least something to that effect.  Here’s what they said:

A while ago, while researching Julia Child’s recipes, we noticed that she was well-known for enjoying “upside-down” or “inverted” Martinis. This is a version of the classic cocktail that swaps the ratios of gin and vermouth, turning the Martini into something of a “long drink”… We wondered if we could apply the same “inverted” approach to Mixology Monday and, at first, didn’t think it would work. But then we asked ourselves, what does “inverted” really mean? Well, here is the definition, “To turn inside out or upside down; to reverse the position, order, or condition of.” Hmm…it appears that the definition is pretty broad. It seems that “inverted” really just means something “flipped on its head”. And that can mean almost anything, and leaves plenty of room for creativity… You can invert the ratios of spirits, liqueurs or bitters in a cocktail, but we suggest you go beyond that and “invert” whatever you want. Spirits, name, ingredients, proof, color, geography, garnish and glassware are all fair game.  An apéritif made with Navy-Strength booze? Give it a try. A beer-based cocktail that tastes like champagne? Sure. A clear Manhattan? Worth a shot (and good luck with that). The only thing we expect is the unexpected. Have fun.

The Booze

The Booze

I pondered it for a minute and then had the idea of inverting the Spanish Coffee recipe from Huber’s Café in Portland, OR.  I ran across this recipe on the Imbibe website while researching coffee cocktails.  I had been working on cold brewed coffee / tea in cocktails project recently (more on that in a future post.)  Remembering the Spanish Coffee, I decided I would swap out the hot brewed coffee with the cold brewed.  Since the cold brew is concentrated, I figured I could invert the amounts of coffee and rum.  Three ounces of rum is a fair bit and at 151 proof seemed dangerous.  Well, that wouldn’t really stop me, but I had a couple types of rum available in my arsenal, but not 151 so figured I would balance the increased volume with a lower proof spirit aka use what I had.  That and lighting it on fire should allow for a pleasant, but not overly boozy cocktail.  The fireworks, in blue blazer style, would serve several purposes – it would burn off excess alcohol, heat the cold brewed coffee, and be theatrical!  

Putting a Flame to Rum

Putting a Flame to Rum

I started the week before by brewing up some coffee liqueur.  This time, I started by cold brewing a nice medium roasted Guatemalan coffee.  Then, I made a simple syrup with Turbinado sugar.  Once the sugar was all dissolved in the water, I let it simmer for a bit before adding in the coffee concentrate.  Over lowish heat, I reduced the coffee and sugar syrup together by a third to a half careful not to boil or even vigorously simmer the liquid.  Just kept it steaming. Took about an hour.  When it had reached a consistency that I liked, I turned off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.  I then filtered it into a bottle through a fine mesh strainer, added the rum and half of a vanilla bean split lengthwise.  Gave it a little shake and refrigerated it for a week.  This liqueur turned out much better than the last time I made my own.  I do, however, have a few tweaks for next time, but this is not a coffee liqueur post, so, on with the cocktail!

It was all ready to go.  I cold brewed again, this time a natural processed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe bursting with dark berry and chocolate notes.  I had it in a mug with the coffee liqueur.  In the other mug was the 2.5 ounces of Pyrat rum.  The idea was to light the rum on fire and pour it into the coffee/liqueur mixture which would start to burn the rum in the liqueur.  Pour it all back into the other mug and then pour back and forth in a stream of blue flame a couple more times to mix and heat the drink.  Finally, pouring it all into a sugar rimmed glass swirling the burning liquid to lightly caramelize the sugar and then, douse with the curacao.

All Ready to Go

All Ready to Go

Didn’t happen.  Couldn’t get the 80 proof rum to ignite.  Go figure.  Okay well maybe if I added a half ounce of 100 proof Captain Morgan.  Nope.  Still no fire. Okay, okay… What if it was just the 100 proof?  Nothing.  Match after long match.  No fire.  A tiny blue flare up that disappeared before you even realized it happened, sure, but no stream of blueish flaming booze.  Not sure why, at this point.

Well, if it doesn’t want to light on fire, fine.  Spanish coffee is typically served hot so, I’ll invert that and serve it iced.  Take that, amazingly non-flammable alcohol.

Shaken not Flamin'

Shaken not Flamin’

Shaken together with ice those ingredients provided a delicious, frothy cocktail.  One which I would have no issue consuming…I just better not have much planned for the rest of the day.  It was a boozy concoction.   Almost went with that, but there was this nagging.  I knew it could be better.  What if I inverted the inversion?  Bring it back to the original ingredient quantities?  I gave it a go.  It was the weekend so why not.

Spanish (Iced) Coffee

1 ounce Rum (I used Pyrat)

1/2 ounce Curacao

2 ounces Coffee Liqueur

3 ounces Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate (Nat. Ethiopian Yirgacheffee Gelana Abaya)

Fresh grated Nutmeg for garnish

Sugar Rim

Sugar Rim

Shake, with some vigor, the above ingredients together with ice.  Strain into a small snifter glass, run the rim with a bit of lemon and sugar it.

This was better.  This was good.  Less boozy and the coffee came through more.  The shaking helped to create this foaming action that cascaded just like a Guinness.  Much better suited to a breakfast cocktail.



Garnish with freshly grated Nutmeg.

Garnishing with Nutmeg

Garnishing with Nutmeg

So that’s my Spanish Coffee inverted to become a Spanish Iced Coffee.  Not too shabby.

Spanish Iced Coffee

Spanish Iced Coffee


Glögg: Mixology Monday LXIX

Each year for the holidays, we select a different country and explore their traditions and perhaps, most importantly their cuisine.  This past season we spent some time with Sweden and made a full on Smorgasbord.  It was hit or miss, but a lot of fun none-the-less.  I actually have started considering a rematch.  Since I now have the framework of tradition under my belt (figuratively and literally), I’ve brainstormed some tweaks and revisions here and there that could really make the various dishes shine.  But that’s another blog altogether.

The Line Up

However, one of the best elements of the dinner was the glögg!  It really hit the spot and went down pretty easy…maybe a bit too easily.  The warm depth of baking spices blended wonderfully with the raisiny and nutty density of the port wine.  The rum and bourbon took the warming quality to the next level.  As the spice aromas filled the house and the light boozy burn warmed us from the inside, we decided that glögg was the perfect foil to the cold snowy night outside our door and would definitely be a tradition that we carry over from year to year.

So when Jordan Devereaux of Chemistry of the Cocktail, this month’s host of Mixology Monday, announced that his theme would be fortified wine, I knew exactly what I would be making.  It was the perfect excuse to make this again.  Here is Jordan”s description of this month’s theme,

Fortified wines began, in large part, as a way to deal with the difficulties of shipping wine long distances in the holds of sailing ships. Without the rigorous sterilization that is possible today, wines would often spoil en route. However, increasing the alcohol concentration to around 20% ABV was enough to keep them from going off. Coincidentally, this also made it possible to age those wines for very long periods, increasing their richness and depth.

These wines held an important place in the ur-cocktails of punch and have continued on in cocktails proper, the personal punches of the past several hundred years. Though less common nowadays, sherry, port, and, to a lesser extent, madeira and marsala, all find their way into various mixed drinks.

For this month’s Mixology Monday, I’d like to see what you all can do with these versatile wines. They can play many different roles – from taking the place of vermouths in classic drinks, to providing richness and sweetness in winter tipples, to serving as a base for lighter aperitifs. Whether forgotten classics or new creations, let’s see what you can put together.

Click here to read the MxMo round up.

Granted glögg is one of those things were you can find seemingly infinite variations.  Everyone of them claiming to be the most authentic recipe that so and so’s Swedish/Norweigen/Danish/Finnish/etc. grandmother/grandfather made and passed down as had been done for generations.  I make no such claim.  I found a couple of recipes that looked decent and co-mingled them to come up with this version.  So here is our recipe: …At least I think this is what I did last time… 🙂

All in the Pot

All in the Pot

Glögg (gleug)

1 (750 ml)  bottle Port, Ruby or Tawny (I used the tawny last time and I think I prefer that)

6 oz  Bourbon or Rye

6 oz  Rum

2-3  Cardamom Pods, cracked

1  Cinnamon Stick, cracked in half (or about 2 tsp. Cinnamon Chips)

3-4  Whole Cloves

3 points of a Star Anise

1 small sliver of Ginger

Peel of half a large Orange

1-1/2 oz  Raisins, plus some for garnish

1/2 oz  Almonds, blanched and slivered, plus some for garnish

2 Tablespoons  Turbinado Sugar

Combine everything in a medium saucepan except for the sugar.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the temperature so that only a few bubbles surface at a time.  Let it slow simmer, or just under simmer, for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.



Then light the pot on fire with a match and let it burn for about 30 seconds.  Pour the sugar into the flames.  Woohoo!  Now cover the pot with a lid to put out the fire.  Give it a few good stirs to dissolve the sugar and then return to lid to the pot and let it rest for an hour.



Strain out the solids and your ready to go.  Serve warm and garnish, if you like, with some raisins and almonds in the bottom of the glass.  Optionally, you can also add an orange peel garnish.

I think it actually gets better if you allow the glögg to cool completely and then reheat to serve.  It gives the flavors more time to mellow and blend together.



Enjoy the pleasant burn and keep warm.  Skål!

Humbug: Mixology Monday LXVIII

Wow!  Another Mixology Monday…  I really meant to post another blog inbetween the last  and this one.  We have two that are almost ready, but we just haven’t had them time to finish them off.  I will have another post later this week, but first we must Mix a drink for the upcoming Monday.  (Twist my arm, right?)

This month’s theme is hosted by  JFL of Rated R Cocktails.  (Click here to check out the round up.)  This is what he has to say about his Humbug concept:

Let’s face it the holidays suck… You put yourself in debt buying crap people will have forgotten about in a month. You drive around like a jackass to see people you don’t even like, or worse they freeload in your house… Plus if you work retail, you’re pretty much in hell, so don’t we all deserve a good stiff drink? So for this Mixology Monday unleash your inner Grinch. Mix drinks in the spirit of Anti-Christmas. They can be really bitter and amaro filled. They can be filled with enough booze to make you pass out in a tinsel-covered Scrooge heap. They could be a traditional holiday drink turned on its ear. Or they could be a tribute to your favorite holiday villain. If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, then you still suffer through the holidays, so feel free to join in with your Anti-Holiday drink as well…

In light of this and after a weekend of baking cookies, I felt a break from the sweet was in order.  Spice – A perfect foil to the sweet candy-coated season.  But none of that baking spice would do.  I knew in an instant it must be Saint Sriracha.

Mmmm Sriracha!

Mmmm Sriracha!

That jolly ol’ red rooster ready to light up the dark night of winter.  To further push away the chill in the air,  we added some ginger, mole bitters, and a helping of summery citrus.

However, I may have stumbled a little with the addition of a seasonally inspired simple syrup…

Either way, what we have is a definitively spicy, yet balanced cocktail that warms you up and inspires a bit of cheer, in spite of itself.  In much the same way, Scrooge and the Grinch eventually come around and embrace the holiday season which admittedly, can often lose its own way in the hustle and bustle.

Without further adieu,

Jolly ol' Rooster's Little Helpers

Jolly ol’ Rooster’s Little Helpers

Jolly Ol’ Red Rooster

2 oz  Anejo Rum (We used Flor de Cana 7 year, but silver rum will work too.)

1/2 oz  Cranberry-Orange-Ginger Syrup (See recipe below)

1/4 oz  Curacao (We used Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao)

1/2 oz  Lime Juice

7 drops Sriracha

2 dashes Bitterman’s Xocolatl Mole Bitters

1 Cranberry

Garnish with flamed Lime Peel and a Cranberry

Please, disregard the blatant holiday cheer in the background.

Please, disregard the blatant holiday cheer on the left.

Combine all ingredients except the garnish, of course, in a shaker tin.  Add ice and shake it.

Shake it like you mean it.

Shake it like you mean it.

Double strain into a cocktail glass, flame your lime peel and garnish.

The Double Strain in action.

The Double Strain in action.

COG (Cran-Orange-Ginger) Syrup

Didn't actually put sriracha in the syrup.  Don't let it fool you... Tricky rooster...

Didn’t actually put sriracha in the syrup. Don’t let it fool you… Tricky rooster…

1/2 C  Turbinado Sugar

1/2 C  Water

1/4 C  Cranberries

Peel of half a large Orange

1 t  Fresh Ginger, sliced

Simmer 3-5 mins

Simmer 3-5 mins

In a small sauce pan, dissolve the sugar in the water over medium-high heat.  Once the sugar has pretty much dissolved add the cranberries, orange peel and ginger.  Bring to a boil.  When all of the cranberries have “popped” reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes, then strain out the solids into a clean jar of some sort.

Jolly Ol' Red Rooster

Jolly Ol’ Red Rooster

After drinking a round of these, we felt the only right thing to do was make enchiladas!



The Revolver

I ran across this drink while trying to figure out what to do with my newly created coffee liqueur.

The Revolver was created by Jon Santer of Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco.  The next time I happen to be in San Fran, I will definitely be stopping in.  I’m not exactly sure how the drink came about, the inspiration behind it and what not, but if you’re out there Jon, would you care to comment?  Otherwise I shall be forced to come up with an outlandish story…

The recommendation is to use a rye-heavy bourbon such as Bulleit, Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare.  Honestly, I think, any bourbon would probably work, but the rye edge gives the drink it’s spicier character which balances the rich sweetness of the liqueur and helps to bring out the earthy coffee tones.  You could use Tia Maria (that’s what Jon used) or other coffee liqueurs, if you did not make your own.  For the bitters, I used Scrappy’s Orange Bitters which have a bright, sharp zip to them.  Fee Bros would be a second choice.  Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6 would work, too, but  think the fresh orange quality of those other bitters helps tie the drink together more so than the spicier Regan’s would.

The Revolver

2 ounces Bourbon

1/2 ounce Coffee Liqueur

2 dashes Orange Bitters

Combine with ice in a mixing glass and stir, about 40 revolutions.

Strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with an orange peel, flaming optional.

(How to Flame a Citrus Peel coming soon…)

I tried one version of the Revolver with a flamed orange peel and one without.  The caramelized sugars of the peel brought out the creamy caramel notes in the liqueur and bourbon which nicely smoothed and rounded the flavors.

The ashiness of the coffee liqueur still came through (see coffee liqueur #1).  It wasn’t undrinkable or anything, but I felt that it took away from the sweet balance in the drink.  A round 2 with the coffee liqueur is going to happen.  And soon.

To compensate for the ashy liqueur I made:

The Revolver 2.o

2 oz Bourbon

1/2 oz Coffee Liqueur

1/2 tsp Sweet Vermouth (Noilly Prat)

3 dashes Orange Bitters

2 Orange Peels

One of those orange peels was added to the mixing glass along with the vermouth and bitters.  I gave it a light muddle, to press out the oils, not to pulverize.

Then added the bourbon and coffee liqueur, filled with ice and stirred.  Strained out into a cocktail glass and garnish with the other orange peel, which got a little flame treatment as well.

The goal here was to better utilize the coffee liqueur I made by boosting the sweetness and the orange-y essence.  Taking a note from one of my favorite cocktails, the Manhattan, I felt the vermouth would provide enough sweetness while contributing to the overall complexity of the drink.  It is a small enough addition to almost fly under the radar, but large enough to move the drink in the direction I wanted it to go.

The muddled orange peel and additional dash of bitters were enough to successfully connect with the hint of orange peel in the liqueur and to really make the aromatics pop.

I think succeeded in making the other elements of the drink more diverting and only, lightly masking the ashy finish. There was an awkward bitterness in the finish, not ashy, but distracting.  Still not quite there.

24 hours later – I made both of these drinks again, just for the photos…  This time we liked the first rendition of the Revolver better.  The ashy quality from the night before was more subdued.  Not really sure why.  The first time through we used Bulleit and this second time we used Eagle Rare.  That might have made the difference.  I also did a better job on flaming the peels.  On version 2.0, that odd bitterness was still there like a sore thumb.  We found it more unpleasant then the new, less ashy version of 1.0.

Let’s revisit this when the new coffee liqueur is ready.

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