January 11, 2015

MxMo MCIII: Blue

January needs a bit of color - or perhaps the month after all the holiday mania makes you feel.....blue?

Either way this months Mixology Monday is a chance to live those emotions out.

You can dazzle us with a brilliant blue drink or you can share that blue feeling with a melancholic drink ?

Blue has been predicted as a new cocktail trend several times in recent years, and I have seen it on several menus, but more as a ironic statment than wholeheartedly love. I will say however that the Shark I had this October at PDT tasted like love to me.

But any mixer of blue drinks is faced with a bit of a dilemma as there is nothing “natural” about E133 - the most common of blue food colors: Do I really want to mix chemicals into my prefect mixture of fresh juices and good booze.

Feel free to interpert blue as freely as you wish - if natural is the way you want to go blueberries, violets, cornflower or red cabbage could be good ingredients to work with.

Me? I just started my homemade blue curacao - as seen in the photo above. And I am prepared to go all in with E133.

Here's how to play:

  • Find or develope a recipe that demonstrates your take on the theme of blue
  • Make the drink and then post the recipe, a photo, and your thoughts about the drink on your blog, tumblr, or website or on the eGullet Spirits and Cocktails forum.
  • Include in your post the MxMo logo and a link back to both the Mixology Monday and Ginhound sites. And once the round-up is posted, a link to that summary post would be appreciated.
  • Provide a link to your submission in the comment section here, tweet me at @husejer, or send an email to andreadoria56-at-gmail.com.
  • The due date is Monday, January 26th and as I am in Copenhagen, Denmark I will interpret it as before midnight here. If your late send me and email, and I will include your entry in the round-up.

December 27, 2014

Universal Soldier

On one hand this drink is a failure, on the other it is rather tasty.

It's a failure because I wanted it to be clear to show off the lemon flavored cocktail sugar and the sour armyman that my friend brought me back from her first trip to the US.

So I learned the hard way that even 1/4 oz or 0.75 cl lemonjuice is enough to make a cocktail cloudy.

Other than that the taste is quite close to Tom Walker's amazing Maid in Cuba which blew me away two Tales of the Cocktails away.

And yes it's named after Buffy Sainte-Marie's song - who by the way also co-wrote Mr. Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes' big hit Up where we Belong </showingoffwithuselesstrivia>
  • 6 cl white rum - I used Plantation Three Star
  • 0.75 cl clear creme de menthe - I used Tempus Fugit Spirits Creme de Menthe Glaciale
  • 0.75 cl lemon juice
  • 6 cl clear cucumber water - I used Qcumber 
Shake everything with ice and strain into lowball glass with a rim of yellow cocktail sugar. Add a green sour armyman. 

December 15, 2014

The Banker

This month's MxMo theme remedies a great oversight in my bar cabinet: The complete absence of any kind of apple based spirit.

So thank you Frederic for sending me shopping. Our host describe the theme in his announcement post this way:
Apples have been an American booze staple with Johnny Appleseed as its symbolic hero. John Chapman became that legend by planting apple tree nurseries across the northern Appalachia and the Midwest. He did not choose grafting techniques to reproduce sweet edible ones, but bred them to make sour apples perfect for cider and applejack. Michael Pollan in The Botany of Desire proclaimed, “Really, what Johnny Appleseed was doing and the reason he was welcome in every cabin in Ohio and Indiana was he was bringing the gift of alcohol to the frontier. He was our American Dionysus.” Apple products began to enter into the mixed drink literature in the 19th century with the Stone Fence appearing in Jerry Thomas’ Bartender Guide and got quite refined by the end of the century such as the Widow’s Kiss in George Kappeler’s Modern American Drinks. Indeed, apples have found their way into modern cocktails via Calvados, applejack, sparkling and still cider, apple butter, and muddled apple.
That got me thinking. Mainly on how come Denmark, which prides it self on it's apples, never made booze from them. I'm sure households enjoyed cider back in the day, but no booze and no industry.

We do have a great selection of fresh apple juices but that is about it.

My drink - The Banker - is a tribute to a good friend and great barman - Henrik Steen Petersen of the sadly now closed Moltkes Bar Speakeasy in Copenhagen.

He happens to have a background in banking. It's a great combination. He is very meticulous with his work, I take that to be part of his banking skills.

But since he left banking to work with people instead of money he has a genuine grasp on the concept of hospitality.

I know that he likes Laird's Applejack, I hope he likes this drink:
  • 6 cl applejack- I used Laird's
  • 2 cl raspberry syrup - I cooked a 1:2 in favor of the raspberry juice syrup from frozen berries from my garden
  • 1 cl Fernet Branca
Shake the ingredients over ice and then strain into an Old Fashinoned glass over a huge cube of ice.

December 6, 2014

Bananary Buzz

Recently I conducted a cocktail beginners class for my coworkers.

It was a lot of fun. Very attentive pupils and always a joy to teach the alchemy of a well put together drink.

I'll not be so bold as to state with absolute certainty that my Bananary Buzz is that kind of a cocktail, but I'm quite pleased with it.

It is obviously a riff on a rye Manhattan - but it is mostly a tribute to the buzz.

One of my coworkers - who took the class - reminded me just how pleasant that first hit of strong booze on a late Friday afternoon anticipating a weekend off is.

How clever, pretty and on top of the world that one drink - maybe two (after three I'm under the table, after four I'm under the host) can make you feel.

And since a good drink needs a good snack, I tried out a recipe I noticed from Not Whithout Salt - Sweet and Spicy Peanut. I just used fresh rosemary instead of thyme and loved both the kick and the sweetness.
  • 6 cl rye whiskey - I used Rittenhouse 100 for that perfect buzz
  • 0,75 cl sweet vermouth - I used Carpano Antica
  • 0,75 cl banana liqueur - I used Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • 0.75 cl Maraschino - I used Luxardo
  • 0.75 cl lime juice
  • 0.75 cl simple syrup - made from moscavado
Measure all ingredients into a stirring glass and stir until quite cold. Strain into rocks glass with huge chunk of ice.

November 17, 2014

ToniCoffee Punch

Let me first admit, until I read the announcement post for this month’s MxMo, I had never heard about shim cocktails.

But I like the concept and the challenge.

Instead of my trying to explain, here is what Dinah of bibulo.us have to say on subject. And she is the expert, as she has coined the term:
This month’s topic is near and dear to our hearts as it is our favorite type of lower-proof cocktails: shims! These drinks contain no more than half an ounce of strong spirits (i.e. those containing 40% ABV or above).

Heavy-hitters are fun to drink, sure, but it’s way too easy to over-consume and under-enjoy when you’re playing hardball. Let’s stretch out our evenings and get to sample a bigger variety by lowering the proof without lowering our standards. Shims don’t require giving up on flavor, complexity, or—interestingly enough—even your favorite ingredients. Get a new understanding of your favorite high-proof spirit by using just a half or quarter ounce of it along with a milder leading player. Or take a low-proof character actor that usually supplements the main show and see if it can take the lead.
My ToniCoffee Punch is probably not for everyone. There are some pretty harsh flavors involved, but I love it and can’t wait for summer to return, so I can drink it on my patio.

The inspiration comes from several places. First, on a recent visit to New York - where I had the good fortune to stay in Brooklyn in stead of Manhattan and there for saw neighborhoods I had never thought to visit - on a morning constitutional along Smith Avenue, I passed a sign describing a Swedish Tonic. It was in front of an actually Swedish Bakery right there in Brooklyn.

I had a peek inside - and a sniff of their delightfully smelling cinnamon buns - but I was on my way to Momofuku Milk Bar and didn’t want to spoil my appetite. So I snapped a picture of the sign and went on my way, reminding myself that I could get to a bakery in Sweden from my home in an hour and a half.

And also reminding myself to learn more about a mixture of tonic water and espresso.

Since I have learned that it was first created in Helsingborg Sweden, at Koppi - a coffee shop one and a half hours travel from my front door, so I am planning a trip.

The people at Koffi may have been inspired by a Norwegian barista. (link in Swedish).

And that started my second line of thought. How Scandinavians have always loved their coffee and how integral to our cultures coffee have always been. (Add in Finland for the Nordic vibe and you will find all four countries on the top 10 list of coffee consuming countries).

A few years back I made myself a cocktail in honor of the old Danish tradition going back to the start of the 17th century of mixing coffee and aquavit - or snaps as we call it. Back then it was called Strong Coffee to set it apart from Coffee with out the aquavit and later on it gained names like “a small black” and coffee punch.

(The recipe for traditional coffee punch in Denmark goes like this: In the bottom of a cup place a small coin, add coffee until it is invisible, then add snaps until it visible again.)

So now I had an idea for a shim:

Start by making the coffee - I used this Cuban coffee method - if you use a regular espresso maker just stir in the sugar once you have pulled a shot.

In a tall glass - add the aquavit and some ice cubes then pour in the tonic and then the sweetened coffee on top. It looks cool when the coffee swirls in the tonic (probably more noticeable in a clear

November 7, 2014

Genetic Polymorphism

I have loved the taste of violets since the first time my Dad brought home some lovely chocolates filled with violet creme from one of the oldest chocolatiers in Copenhagen.

Today one of my favorite teas is the black tea with violet from Kusmi.

And then sometimes in the late 1970s or early 1980s when stuff like hummus and coriander/cilantro hit these distant northern shores I fell in love with Coriandrum sativum and to this day it's my favorite herb.

But you can't love those to distinct tasts without encountering people who hate one or both.

I've learned it's no good arguing about it, people are genetically disposed for either love or hate. And to honor that fact I decided to mix with both:
  • 4,5 cl gin - I used Sipsmith VJOP which really stood firm against both C & V
  • 3 cl lime juice
  • 1,5 cl simple syrup
  • 0,75 cl Creme de Violette - I used Bitter Truth
  • bunch of fresh cilantro/coriander
In a shaker add the lime and syrup and muddle the cilantro/coriander for a bit. The measure in the gin, add ice and shake well.

Strain - or in case you find bits of herb in cocktails indelicate double strain - into glass. Pour the Creme de Violet gently in for a layered effect.

Personally I love bits of herb in drinks, so I did not double strain.

October 18, 2014

The Perfectly Perfect Chartreuse Swizzle

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday is perfect. Joel of the Southern Ash blog has challenged us to create perfect symmetry.

Or as he writes read in his announcement post
Perfect symmetry is your theme this month!  A “perfect” drink splits the liquor or liqueur evenly between two related ingredients.  The most common “perfect” drink is a Perfect Manhattan where the vermouth is split between sweet and dry to create an altogether different experience.  A perfect Old Fashioned splits the bourbon and rye are both used to create a singularly distinct experience. When done well, splitting the liquor lets each of the unique flavors and components of the shine through.  Because they share a background, they don’t war with each other but instead you get both the mellow sweetness of the bourbon with the spicy backbone of the rye in that Old Fashioned… Why make a choice when you can have it all?! Your challenge is to create a new cocktail or explore an existing cocktail that splits the liquor or liqueur evenly in a “perfect” manner…  Can you challenge yourself with gin and vodka in a light summer appropriate beverage?  Perhaps you’ll delve deep into splitting Sambuca and ouzo in an anise-flavored digestive? Getting bored with tequila, maybe a perfect margarita with the backbone of mezcal will reawaken your appreciation? Campari too assertive for you?  Maybe make a Perfect Negroni with Aperol lightening the weight. Let you imagination run wild!
Took me a while to wrap my head around that job, but I went looking for a cocktail that would allow me to split all the ingredients and finally I picked one of my favorites: The Chartreuse Swizzle. I have previously fiddled a bit with this cocktail and figured I would give it another go.

The original recipe is very straight forward:
  • 4 cl Green Chartreuse
  • 1,5 cl pineapple juice
  • 1 cl lime juice
  • 0.75 cl velvet Falernum
I decided to split the Chartreuse between Yellow and Green, and the Falernum between Velvet and Golden, the lime juice was split with lemon. Splitting the pinapple juice came down to what was freshly available at my local store, so I went for mango.

Let me tell you fresh pineapple and fresh mango from a Danish chain store in October does not a lot of juice yield.

Also since I still haven't got a real swizzle stick I went looking in the woodlands around my house and found a sprig of fir. Since it was still ozing sticky resin as I debarked it I suspect a bit of that ended up in my final drink.
  • 2 cl each Green and Yellow Chartreuse
  • 0.75 cl each fresh pineapple and mango juice
  • 0.5 cl each lemon and lime juice
  • 0.37 cl each Golden and Velvel Falernum
Add all of the ingredients to a tall glass of crushed ice, turning the swizzle stick between the palms of your hands give everything a good stir moving your hands up and down. Garnish with a bit of pineapple top and enjoy a cool, refreshing taste of nature at it's finest.  

September 22, 2014

The Unknown - Gimlet

Chris of the ABarAbove blog is this month's MxMo taskmaster and he has set us a really hard task: He wants us to try something we have never tried before. Or to quote from his announcement post:

Basically the idea is to try something new, an ingredient or technique that you’ve never had experience with before and create a cocktail around it… Use a spirit that you’ve never used before. It could be a base spirit, modifier or that Belgian Ale that rings in at 15% alcohol. Use an ingredient that has always captured your imagination in the supermarket. Maybe that weird looking fruit that you always walk by at Whole Foods, or that unusual looking vegetable that you can’t even pronounce. [or] Use a new technique that you’ve never tried, but have always wanted to. Have you been dying to make your own vermouth, amaro, or martini glass made completely out of flavored sugar.

I have chosen Rose's Lime cordial - an ingredient I have never mixed with, and I can't really say I have been daydreaming about it either.

However the lime cordial is part of the history of the Gimlet and so I secured a bottle of the light green stuff.

And then I chose Raymond Chandler to be my guide and use the ratio he heralds in The Long Goodbye: We sat in a corner of the bar at Victor's and drank gimlets. "They don't know how to make them here," he said. "What they call a gimlet is just some lime or lemon juice and gin with a dash of sugar and bitters. A real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's Lime Juice and nothing else. It beats martinis hollow."

I believe many would suggest mixing with Plymouth Gin for the cocktails connection to the British Navy and the curative mix of lime and gin that kept the sailors from getting scurvy. I chose a Sipsmith VJOP in stead for the generous amount of both juniper and alcohol - thinking that might even be a more authentic gin taste from way back when the mix of lime and gin did not have a fancy name and was not written up in cocktail books.

But I'm not sure if it is the 1:1 ratio or the choice of gin that let's this particular drink down - it's just not a nice taste. The decidedly synthetic taste from the lime cordial catches on the strong juniper flavor of the gin and leaves you with a taste of cough syrup and unwashed underwear.

So I think it's safe to say - I've bought my first and my last bottle of Rose's Lime.

September 6, 2014

Green Tea Martini

Sometimes the internet will take you places you didn't know you wanted to go to. Like to a page where a Green Tea Martini is mentioned, and then that idea gets stuck in your brain and won't leave.

That is what happened to me today, and fortunately I had - or thought I had - the right ingredients for the cocktail.

A while ago I picked up a bottle of small batch vodka in a newly opened store in Copenhagen. The guy running the store had distilled it and he has chosen the name The Clumsy Bear for his vodka.

I thought this would be a good cocktail to test the vodka on.

The original recipe calls for a traditional japanese syrup called Kuromitsu made from black sugar. I have no access to that, but I figured instead I would use barley malt syrup for a flavorful sweetener. Also it ties in with the barley malt used in the vodka.

And then I was absolutely sure I had some small packets of powdered green tea - and sure enough at the back of my cupboard I found a stack of packets. Since I have no recollection of ever making green tea from them, I do not know if the powder have become too old and changed color or just are of a different kind than the type Takumi Watanabe uses.

In any event my Green Tea Martini was more of a bog swamp color than the bright green color in the pictured with the original recipe.

Taste wise I like it a lot - it has a dry quality to it which is a bit surprising with 3 cl creme de cacao in it. So maybe I should look for some bright green green tea powder and add it to my repertoire.
  • 6 cl vodka
  • 3 cl white creme de cacao - I used Bols
  • teaspoon powdered green tea
  • 1 cl barley malt syrup
I started by stirring the tea into the vodka and then added the other two ingredients, then filled my shaker with ice and gave it a good shake. Owing to the fact that the vodka bottle had a wax seal that had floated a few bits into the bottle I double strained the cocktail.

August 24, 2014

The Leaky Coconut

I know better than to name my contribution to this month's MxMo Coco Tai: I want to live a long and full life, shortened by neither the Tiki-Gods nor their followers. So I chose a better name....

I don't remember ever having to work as hard or thinks as long when it comes to a MxMo theme. But ever since JFL of the brilliant blog Rated R Cocktails published the theme of coconut I have been struggling.
His reasons for choosing the theme did not help me at all:
Ah the Coconut, so round, so firm, so fully packed… with flavor… Coconut is versatile, coconut is magical, not only is it edible but it can be made into scores of products. However, this month you need only concern yourself with the liquid variety as I unveil MxMo Coconut. Yes friends, it is my sincere belief the coconut does not get the love, nay the respect it so richly deserves. Because this easy going tropical seed had its heyday in the Tiki era, it’s happily associated with the same fun loving drinks… Despite all the great Tiki drinks coconut appear in most people are down on the humble seed because of the Piña Colada. Friends, this need not be so; I say we take this delicious ingredient and show it can yield a tasty, well balanced cocktail. It doesn’t have to be tropical necessarily. I’d really love to see some of my friends more classically minded come up with a cocktail more befitting a pre-Prohibition mindset.
Because you see - I don't like coconut - as in could live happily ever after, if I never tasted it again.

Consider this: I live in Denmark on the 55th parallel. What ever coconut I've come into contact with have been old, stale and in some instances rancid. Or on most other occasions....fake.

But I'm not one to turn my back on a challenge. So I persevered. I really did think long and hard how coconut could find it's place in a pre-prohibition gin cocktail but I could not come up with an answer.

Instead I kept returning to a trusted friend - the Mai Tai. And I thought what if I replace the orgeat with a coconut syrup made the same way? Switch lime juice with rose hip juice and the curaçao with limoncello?

  • 1 oz Jamaican Rum - I used Appelton V/X
  • 1 oz Demerera Rum - I used El Dorado 8 yo
  • 1 oz rose hip juice (I cooked about 15 ripe rose hips with seeds and all in 2 dl of water for about 2 minutes and strained it)
  • 1/2 oz of coconut syrup (I used this recipe for orgeat - substitution organic coconut flakes for almonds, coconut sugar for the regular sugar, coconut water for regular water and added rose tincture at the end)
  • 1/4 oz limoncello

Shake all ingredients with crushed ice, pour into hollowed out coconut, garnish with a piece of fresh coconut and a rose hip.

And the name....guess who's coconut leaked......?