Tag Archives: Mixology Monday

Blue In Green: MxMo XCIII

Blue like the January sky.

Blue ghosts cross a white field

Ice blossoms dance in cold sunlight

Blue is the memory of color.

Chilling the Coup

Anyhoo, Blue is the theme for this month’s Mixology Monday hosted by Ginhound!  The blue cocktail trend is supposed to become a thing, so this seems very a la mode.   I’m not really one to add food coloring to my drinks just in order to turn a perfectly good martini blue, or a beer green.  However, it is near impossible to walk a hard line on food coloring.  I’m pretty sure that Campari contributes a fair amount of it, as does Angostura and a host of other common occupants of my bar, for that matter.  But as for just adding a few drops of blue… well, that would be too easy anyway.

So, I originally set out thinking about how I could turn a drink blue more naturally.  (I also didn’t have any Blue Curacao or other blue liqueur.)  Ginhound had plenty of good ideas of using red cabbage, blueberries and the like, which could totally work, but I wasn’t feeling it.  Then I thought about ingredients that have blue in the name, then cocktails that have blue in the name…  But that’s when things got more interesting.  I started thinking about blue outside the food context and things/feelings associated with that color/word.  The challenge to create something around an abstract theme is exciting!

Enter Miles Davis

A smoky, blue lit club swirling sounds about the atmosphere.  Jazz always has had this hazy blue vibe to me.  Not all jazz recordings of course, but rather the general idea of it.

Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is one of the greatest jazz albums of all time.

“Why does Kind of Blue possess such a mystique? Perhaps because this music never flaunts its genius…. It’s the pinnacle of modal jazz — tonality and solos build from the overall key, not chord changes, giving the music a subtly shifting quality….”  – AllMusic senior editor Stephen Erlewine

Let’s create a cocktail inspired by Kind of Blue!

Establishing 1

After listening to the record, I knew right away that the rounded sophistication of the sound called out for cognac.  Naturally, my thoughts turned to the Vieux Carré, hailing from the land of jazz with a solid base of cognac.  But I didn’t want to just make a classic cocktail.  I wanted something that spoke to the source material more specifically.

Lemon

The finer details of the drink, therefore, needed more boundaries.  So, I narrowed the album down to one track in particular, Blue in Green.  The soft piano and bass undertones would be played nicely by the cognac.  An accent of scotch for my smoky haze.  The brassy inflections that pop above those undertones add complexity and high notes to the sound and really make the music interesting.  Bitters and a twist of lemon.  A little sweet vermouth to echo the Vieux Carré, add mouth-feel and round it all out.

Let’s swirl some green chartreuse into a chilled coup for the improvisation and a subtle shout out to another New Orleans classic.  Then, we’ll pour our Blue into the Green!

Chartreuse

The Stir

The Pour

From Above

Blue in Green

1 oz  Cognac

1 oz  Scotch

1/2 oz  Sweet Vermouth

2 Dashes  Angostura Bitters

2 Dashes  Peychaud Bitters

2 Dashes  Orange Bitters (Fee Bros.)

1 Bar Spoon Green Chartreuse

Lemon Peel for Garnish

Set a cocktail glass to chill.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a mixing glass/tin.  Add ice and stir.

In the chilled glass, add a bar spoonful of green chartreuse and swirl it around the glass.

Strain the contents of the mixing glass into the coup, twist the lemon peel over the drink to release the oils and garnish.

Profile

Blue in Green – a “subtly shifting” cocktail.

Check out the Mixology Monday round up here.


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.

Cascading

Cascading

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.

Fire!

Fire!

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.

Straining

Straining

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.

Glögg

Glögg

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!

Yum!

Yum!


Garnish Grandiloquence: Mixology Monday

Alright, this latest edition of Mixology Monday is all about garnish.  Here is a bit of what host Joseph Tkach of Measure and Stir fame has to say about it:

I’m always shocked by the way that an orange peel or a lemon peel can transform the experience of drinking a mixed drink from something mundane to something magical. In a similar vein, eating the olive in a martini will totally transform the imbiber’s perception of the drink. So this Mixology Monday, let’s really make a study of art of the garnish, by mixing up drinks where the garnish plays a central role in the experience of the drink… This type of garnish is traditionally in the realm of tiki, but you could mix anything, so long as the garnish is the star of the show.

When I read this month’s theme, I was reminded of a dinner party we had a couple of summer’s ago.  It was a great ode to the the bounty of summer.   On the first course, I paired some soft-ripened cheese (Seal Bay Triple Cream, mmmmm), fresh fig, walnut, and a drizzle of orange blossom honey with a summer edition martini.

(Above two photos circa 2010 courtesy of Michael Thrash)

The only thing that changed about this classic cocktail was the garnish.  However, the way the it changed the feel and ambiance of the drink was dramatic enough that we are still talking about how it set the stage for the following courses.  I think that the garnish really became the central player and the fact that it was in a really well known cocktail, and essentially recreated the drink experience, makes it a perfect fit for the Garnish Grandiloquence.

So even though it didn’t evoke the essence of fall, it did remind us again of summer and inspired us to add some flowers to our Thanksgiving dinner.

Martini d’Eté

2 oz Gin (We like Hendricks)

1/4 oz Dry Vermouth (We prefer Dolin Dry Vermouth, but for this rendition we used Vya Dry which is nice as well)

1 dash (or 1/4 tsp) Orange Bitters (We used some homemade orange bitters, but really enjoy Scrappy’s Orange Bitters in Martinis)

Peel of Lemon

Flowers

Stir in a mixing glass with ice until nice and chilled.

Strain into a martini glass.  Next squeeze a peel of lemon over the drink to spritz the citrus oils onto the surface of the drink and then rub the peel along the rim of the glass.

Discard the peel.  Garnish with an edible flower.

The flowers are easily the focus of this drink and really add something special to the martini.

Cheers!


frugalfeeding | Low Budget Family Recipes, UK Food Blog

n. frugality; the quality of being economical with money or food.

Cold Glass

You can make these cocktails. Start right now.

Milkweed Farm

A coastal Maine farm that employs sustainable organic and biodynamic farming practices.

runranron

Anything that's too long for a status update.

The Liquid Culture Project

Dedicated to a Culture of Better Drinking

Putney Farm

Get some good food. Cook it. Share with friends. Have a cocktail.

Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients