November 19, 2018

Swimming Pool

A few days ago I found myself in an indoor public swimming pool. I don't think I have visited one for close to 13 years. It was quite a good experience.

Very different from how it was in my childhood, where every winter the communal outdoor pool was covered with an inflated dome. It was bitterly cold inside and the stench of chlorine was over powering. 

Not so today and I was reminded how much I just to like swimming - I rediscovered the way my sense change tenor under water and how my body seems to embrace the very fist element it ever knew.

Once you have found your rhythm and just swim lane after lane the mind can wander freely - mine back to the days under the done, when - thankfully - the public school system in Denmark taught me to swim.

Yes it was a time of being almost blue with cold, of the chlorine stench and stinging eyes owing to the fact that swim google were unheard of for school children.  But it was also a time of being immensely proud when I earned a silver badge for being an excellent swimmer and going to swim meets - thankfully in real indoor swimming pools. Good times.

And what do you know? There is a cocktail encapsulating all of those feelings: The Swimming Pool.

It's blue, it's German and it contains vodka but it is so tasty:

  • 2 cl rum - I used Appleton Reserve Blend
  • 2 cl vodka - I used Ketel One
  • 1 cl Blue Curacao - I used my own
  • 6 cl fresh pineapple juice
  • 2 cl coconut cream - I used Coco Lopez but will make my own next time
  • 2 cl whipping cream
Add all ingredients to shaker (or keep the Blue Curacao back) shake hard and strain over crushed ice in a tall glass - could be a hurricane or a pineapple glass.

If you held the Blue Curacao back pour it over the back of a spoon. I personally think a Swimming Pool should be a solid blue but the floated variety looks cool too.

October 13, 2018


After a long hard week at work I needed something soothing and gentle in my glass. The Painkiller is all of that.

According to Beachbum Berry this cocktail was created in 1971 at the Soggy Dollar Bar on the island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. Clearly a riff on a Pina Colada.

The bar is still there - and reopened after hurricane devastation earlier in 2018.

It's not a cocktail that blows your mind but a nice soothing mix even thousand of miles from the Caribbean.

  • 3.5 cl overproof dark rum - I used Plantation O.F.T.D
  • 3.5 cl golden rum - I used Appleton Estate Signature Blend
  • 3 cl fresh orange juice
  • 3 cl Coco Lopez coconut cream
  • 12 cl fresh pineapple juice
Measure everything into a shaker, fill the shaker with ice, shake well and pour unstrained into a large glass or a favorite tiki mug. Grate nutmeg over the top, garnish with orange slice, cinnamon stick and perhaps a homemade cocktail cherry.

September 9, 2018

Negroni Gummy Bears

Like all cocktail enthusiasts I often get asked: What is your favorite cocktail.

I used to answer along the lines of: I like many different styles of cocktails, and it depends on many things which I will prefer in a given situation.

And that was perfectly true, all though for a while - if pushed, I would answer: A Mai Tai.

Which is a little bit ironic, when you call yourself a Ginhound.

Fortunately my taste changes and evolves constantly - so at the moment, I have a more gin-correct answer: The Negroni.

A couple of years ago when I was in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail I met the Italian author and bartender Luca Picchi who gave me his book: Negroni cocktail - an Italian Legend. I have been fascinated with the cocktail - that I always liked - ever since.

Over the summer I have conducted experiments with different styles of vermouth - the single ingredient in the three equal part cocktail that makes the biggest difference in my opinion.

Especially as I have yet to find a real alternative to Campari - not that I have been searching hard - I love the carmoisine red stuff to bits.

Some of the more interesting vermouths are only sold in 1 liter bottles in Denmark - a bit of a challenge, that.

But there is great comfort in knowing 3 liters of ready mixed Negroni rests securely in bottles and a small glass barrel in my fridge, ready for consumption.

My latest mix i 1 l Tanqueray, 1 l Campari and 1 l Berto Vermouth.

A very fresh and singing Negroni - that slightly edges a mix with La Quintinye Vermouth Royal vermouth as a go to everyday summer edition of the Italian classic. Royal makes a dark, intens almost brody Negroni - sure to become a winter favorite.

My 3 liter Negroni stash may have made me reckless or I just love a good challenge: I, like everybody at the moment, wanted to make my ovn home made boozy gummy bears. I sent off for the molds and started planning.

Not enough it turned out - first two batches were slimy disasters - meaning 250 ml of perfectly good Negroni went down the drain.

I finally did some proper research and on the third attempt - they where good.

So here is what I did:

  • 125 ml Negroni - mix equal parts of your favorite gin, vermouth and Campari.
  • 2 teaspoons powdered gelatine*
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice 
  • 4 dashes Orange Angostura Bitter

Bloom the gelatine in 2 tablespoons cold water while you add the rest to a bowl that will fit snugly over a pan of gently boiling water.

Then add the gelatine and stir only it is completely dissolved don't let your Negroni mix come to a boil keep it at a point where whiffs of steam comes of the surface but no more.

Add to gummy bear moulds - I bought these - put in the fridge for a couple of hours and then store in an airtight container until needed. Store them away from kids and do not let them have any - remember it's 125 ml of a really strong cocktail made up to look like candy - bad combination for kids.

* A word about gelatine - don't take my measurements as gospel - you have to read up on the specific product you are using. Powdered gelatine is a relativ new ingredient in Denmark - we used to only have clear sheets of gelatine available that needed to be soaked in cold water before use. The brand available to me specifies that one teaspoon equals two sheets of the old stuff - I was taught by my mother that for a stiff gel - I should use 8 sheets for 500 ml of liquid. I figured i wanted stiff bears and that the alcohol content - which is just below 30 procent in my Negroni-mix - would counteract some of the firming action. I was right (or lucky as I have only made them once.)

May 8, 2018

Bourbon Slush Punch

I have been a fan of Deb's food - and drinks - blog Smitten Kitchen since I read her first entry.

Her writing style is fun and clever - next to drink and food words are the big love of my life - and her recipes are always easy to follow with a brilliant end result.

Så when she re-posted her take on a Bourbon Slush Punch I knew I had to make it as soon as possible.

It takes a little bit of planning - the cooling of tea - but once the base is made time from bottle to glass is short: My kind of drink.

I am not going to write a recipe here - my tweeks are not substantial enough - but it's a recipe born to be played with.

And that is another thing about Deb's food and drink - she never forgets that eating and drinking can be fun - in my opinion should be fun.

So what did I do to make it mine? I substituted 2 oz of maple syrup for the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar Deb's recipe calls for.

Lemon juice loves maple syrup - Deb taught me that with her Vermontucky Lemonade recipe back in the early days of my cocktail mixing.

And since the tea I used was Early Gray with a strong taste of bergamot I added 2 oz of Italicus Rosolio de Bergamotto - a bergamot liqueur. It played well with both the lemon and the orange.

January 31, 2018

Espresso Bongo

I have really wanted a Tiki bar for quite som time. It's nok gonna happen in my tiny house, but I can dream and build one from lego. Which is what I did today and then I decided to celebrate it's grand opening with a drink I have been craving since I mixed the Karmic Alarm Clock a couple of days ago: An Espresso Bongo.

It is a drink created by the the worlds most knowledgeable expert on Tiki cocktails, Jeff Berry also known as Beachbum Berry.

According to this recipe he had always wanted to name a cocktail after the 1959 film Expresso Bongo and got his break through when he mixed espresso, fruit juice and rum.

I have tinkered a little with the recipe - I know it's almost sacrilege - mainly because I seldom have passion fruit juice or nectar but I do have a commercial passion fruit syrup which is as sweet as simple syrup.

Also I simply wanted to make the recipe easier to remember - for seconds.

So I suggest you try the original if you have fresh passion fruit and only revert to my take if you have to use passion fruit syrup.

  • 6 cl golden rum - I used Mount Gay
  • 1.5 cl orange juice
  • 1.5 cl lime juice
  • 1.5 cl pineapple juice
  • 1.5 cl cold espresso 
  • 1.5 cl passion fruit syrup - I used Giffard
Add all ingredients to a shaker, fill it with ice, shake and then cocktail and ice into a low glass. Garnish with a Lego tiki bar - or what ever floats your drink.

January 28, 2018

The Karmic Alarm Clock - Asserbo Style

How fair is it to try a recipe for a cocktail, when half the ingredients are out of your reach and you have no way of knowing, what the end result should taste like?

Not very - if you do it for any other reason than: But it's the only way I can get to taste this mix that intrigues me!

And it did speak to me. Mainly because it sounds like a meal more than a drink but also because it woke up a powerful longing for all things New Orleans

The drink originates from SoBou, a bar I have visited a couple of times. Unfortunately I do not think I'll get to visit New Orleans or SoBou in the foreseeable future.

I remember finding SoBou's cocktails and bar menu playful and fun - but not over the top crazy.

When you read a recipe of a cocktail containing curry caramel you might think: That's over the top -especially as it is partnered with rum, cold-brew coffee and the Italian artichoke bitter Cynar.

Having decided the only way to taste the mix, was to try to recreat it - I faced a few problems:

Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum is not for sale in Denmark, so I had to find a substitute. I've read a few reviews - some of them talk of a rum with strong hints of Christmas spice.

I suppose I could try spicing up a golden rum with som cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove but I have to admit - that particular mix is not a favorite of mine.

Instead I decided to use a mix of Stiggin's Fancy Plantation Pineapple and Myers dark rum.

My reasoning goes like this: Pineapple play well with curry and equally important with coffee.

My next problem was the call chicory cold-brew coffee. Whatever substitute I could find in Denmark would never match the original New Orleans coffee.

So instead I went for a strong espresso - which is probably at the exact oppersite end of the coffee scale to chicory cold-brew - but Espresso Bongo.

And then on to making the curry caramel. I started by dividing the recipe by 4 - I might love this cocktail, but not enough to drink the more than 70 that can be mixed from the amount of curry caramel the original recipe makes.
  • 4.5 cl rum - I a mix of Stiggin's Fancy Plantation Pineapple and Myers dark rum
  • 1.5 cl Cynar
  • 6 cl coffee - I used chilled espresso
  • 2 cl curry caramel*
And no I did not cook an extra salted caramel just for a garnish, I simply rolled half of the mouth of the glass in a little of the curry caramel and then som yellow sugar. I am lazy that way.

So how did it taste? Pretty much the way I expected. It tasted sort of how you feel after eating a salad of artichoke, a good curry, something sweet for dessert with an espresso. Only with booze...

* I cooked 250 g sugar with 1.25 dl of water over medium heat for a good 15 minutes and heated 6 grams of a strong curry powder in 2.5 cl of whipping cream until the cream just shivered on the surface. Just before adding the cream to the boiling sugar I poured it through a sieve.
P.S Happy 60th birthday Lego-brick!

December 5, 2017

The Potential Reviver

The name of this new Danish cocktail might lead you to believe it is a riff on a Corpse Reviver - it's not really - more like the child of a Mai Tai and a Corpse Reviver.

It's that rare bird: A gin based Tiki cocktail.

That is probably what attracted me to it when I came across the recipe in a new book on Danish gin.

The book - Danske gin og ginmagere (Danish gins and gin makers - full review in Danish here) - is written by Christian Wendelbo who happens to be the son of a dear colleague.

Not only does the book cover a great number of new Danish gins and a few of the established ones like Geranium and Jensen, it also offers more than 30 cocktails developed to suit each individual gin.

On top of that there is a nice introduction to both gin history and the science of distilling. And then a good starting point for anyone wanting to get started shaking cocktails at home. Even the Gin and Tonic drinker get's nice pointers about which gin goes with which tonic.

So a very interesting book that quickly left me thirsty for a drink.

When I came across The Potential Reviver I knew I had found the one to try first. I did not have the gin this cocktail was developed for - Marstal no 31 - but I substituted an orange forward gin instead:

  • 4 cl gin - I used Copenhagen Orange Gin
  • 1 cl aquavit - I used D Argentum
  • 1 cl orange liqueur - I used Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • 1 cl banana liqueur - I used Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • 1 cl orgeat - I used Giffard
  • 2 cl lemon juice
  • 2 dashed orange bitters - I used Angostura Orange
Add everything to a shaker, fill the shaker with ice, shake and then double strain into a Tiki or old fashioned glass over fresh ice. Garnish with orange.

June 28, 2017

Imperial Opal

Danes are up there with the Dutch and the Finnish when it comes to eating licorice as candy. Perhaps unsurprisingly that has given rise to a host of ready mixed shots flavored with the most popular types of licorice.

I wish it would open more peoples tastebuds - and eyes - to a cocktail like the Imperial Opal. Rich in licorice taste from the anise in both absinthe and anisette.

It heralds from Maison Premiere in Brookly, New York.  All though there is an Opal cocktail in William Schmidts The Flowing Bowl from 1891  - only the absinthe seems a common denominator.

And naming an absinth based cocktail anything opal - seems a very obvious thing to do.

  • 3 cl absinthe - I used La Clandestine
  • 1 cl anisette - I used sambuca
  • 1 cl simple syrup
  • 1,5 cl yellow Chartreuse
  • 3 cl water
  • rose tincture or rose water
Measure all but the last ingredient into a shaker, fill it with ice and shake. Strain into a low glass filled with crushed ice and drop a bit of rose tincture or rose water on top. Garnish with lemon, rose and perhaps lavender.

April 2, 2017

The Beachbum

It is time for this ginhound to declare: The Mai Tai is my favorite cocktail.

I often get asked: What's your favorite, and I always say something along the lines of: I have many, it depends on the circumstances...

But if I were to live the rest of my life out on a - somewhat - desert island, where they would only serve me one cocktail, I would choose the Mai Tai over contenders like Last Word, 20th Century, Corpse Reviver Nr. II and Sazerac.

However I am not a Mai Tai fundamentalist - I've come late to the cocktail and have very limited experience of botched versions served at bars with no reverence for the traditions of Tiki - or cocktails.

I have no qualms tweaking it and I find that adding a tiny amount of good Amaretto to the recipe retro engineered by Jeff Berry is my favorite. A true crowd pleaser - I have also had some succes with making a riff - Tøppe aka The ESC has a small following among my friends and coworkers.

So when I came across another riff the Beachbum I hopped to it.

  • 2 cl fresh lime juice
  • 2 cl fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 cl orgeat
  • 1 cl Apricot Brandy
  • 3 cl light rum - I used Plantation 3 Star
  • 3 cl golden rum - I used Mount Gay 1703
Measure everything into a shaker, add ice, shake and strain over ice into a low glass - garnish with spent lime shell and garish cherry. 

December 30, 2016

Hot Pink Flamingo

Ever since I saw a BBC video about flamingo chicks and the brightly colored "milk" they are fed just after they hatch, I have been thinking about creating a vivid flamingo cocktail.

Unfortunately most pink cocktails are more bland than hot and I wanted mine with a but of punch.

I finally came up with a solution: Using a riff on Brazilian lemonade as a pink base and then adding a bit of chili liqueur for the hot part.

Hot Pink Flamingo

  • 6 cl cachaca - I used Fio Do Bigode
  • 8 cl pink bergamotte-ade - Brazilian style*
  • 3 cl chili liqueur - I used Ancho Reyes
Measure everything into a shaker,  fill shaker with ice and shake for 10 sekunds. Strain into cocktail glass - garnish with a raspberry on a cocktail pick, serve with pinkish beet buttered pop corn**.

* Pink bergamotte-ade

Cut the two ends of a small bergamotte and then cut it into 8 bits but the bits and whatever juice that ran out into a blender. Add a 2-3 fresh og frozen raspberries - just to color the mix pink - add a few dashed of yuzu and 700 ml cold water. Blend for a few seconds, then strain the mixture and pour it back into the blender after rinsing it out. Now add 3 table spoons condensed sweeten milk and blend again. Taste and adjust color with more raspberries if necessary and the level of sweetness with simple syrup.

Strain and chill until you are ready for cocktails.

** Pinkish beet buttered pop corn   

Clarify 50 g of butter, then add some chili sauce and fresh beet juice or the pickling liquid from pickled beets and mix well. You may have to pour the mixture into a small jar and shake it to get the two to mix.

Pop corn and then coat them lightly with the red butter and salt. Serve hot.